'Looks like Lisa knows how to cook.' Bobby smiled after he pulled away from our hug and dropped his bag by what would be his bed for the next few nights. I had put on a few pounds but nothing crazy. I couldn't face eating while I was hitting the nine to five but once at home and once the darkness had set in, I would down anything Lisa put in front of me, and then some just to save another few minutes of thinking about something else.
'She looks after me.'
'That's good. You need it.'
No, what I needed was my brother back. 'How about you? How are you doing?'
Bobby shrugged and I noticed for the first time how much older he was looking. He had lost a son as much as I had lost a brother. Guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. I hadn't been there for him. I had been too consumed with my own misery that even though I knew he had been suffering I wasn't aware of just how much.
'I'm sorry.' I said to him.
'For not checking on you more.'
He gave me a classic Bobby expression. 'I don't need to be checked on. I'm old enough and ugly enough to look after myself.'
'Now you don't go worrying about me. That's not what I'm here for.'
No he was here for me and I loved him for it. 'Want to go into town? Get a drink?'
'Good, let's go.'
I always had to catch myself when I laid eyes on a pool table. My first instinct was to give the players the once over to see if I had any hope in hell of hustling them, then when I realized I didn't need to anymore, my guts would squirm and I would feel like tipping the whole damn table over, balls and all.
We took a seat by the window and placed our beers in front of us. I didn't know where to start and I didn't know what to say. Bobby knew it all, I had told him over and over what this hell I was living through felt like. There was nothing else to say. So we drank and looked at each other and made small talk about nothing important while he worried about me and I thought about my little brother.
'It's a nice town you're living in.' He said after he looked up and down the main street through the window.
Was it? I didn't really know. Nothing had really been nice for a long time. 'Yeah.' I agreed though, just for the sake of agreeing. Bobby could see right through me and I didn't care. I just took another swig and wondered why I wasn't feeling all that much better even though my best living friend was sitting opposite me.
I hated that I had to eat, it really was an inconvenience - so was drinking and sleeping and having to go to the bathroom, but I was human and they were all things humans had to do…so I had to do them.
As soon as the clock ticked over to three o'clock in the afternoon I literally forced myself up from my indented position on the couch and made myself get dressed. It was cold out but I didn't bother with my jacket. Sometimes I wanted to feel the cold. The cold was refreshing and revitalizing and I hoped one day, it would be able to refresh and revitalize me.
I needed a haircut and new clothes and more money and less time to think about things, but none of those things were forthcoming and I couldn't be assed going out and getting them myself. So all I would do, every day was walk five minutes to the local store which was in between both the motels, grab a salad sandwich and a water and try to will myself to think further ahead and get some sort of dinner while I was there. But that was too much of an effort and all I really wanted to do was go back to my room and watch some sucky daytime TV and try to talk myself out of going back to Lisa and Dean's street that night.
It was the same thing every day.
I was fully aware that I was falling into a different kind of hole, a rut that I couldn't climb out of because I couldn't find any reason to. I wasn't one of those people who took life by the horns when given a second chance and appreciated every single detail of being alive. I probably could have been if I had my brother by my side but because I didn't and because I had no one, even though I was in a far better place than I had been mere weeks go, I hadn't yet been able to shake the feeling of being totally out of control and completely alone.
And by God was I alone. If Dean was here he would have told me how I spent my life wishing for just that, running away and chasing it. And he would have been right. My one true wish was to be out of the life I was living and be safe and free, but now that I was, I couldn't even remember how I could have ever desired this. This was crap, this was nothing. This was not a life, this was an existence. And even though I knew that, I took a seat on the couch once again and ate what I could of my tasteless, watery salad sandwich while the TV murmured in front of me.
'We should go out.' Cas materialized and told me.
'Can't you knock?' I asked him finally able to feel my heart beat again. The only other time I could feel it was when I stood and watched Dean from a distance.
He frowned at me. 'You know I can.'
'Then try it next time. See what happens.'
'You wouldn't let me in.'
'Sam,' he sighed. 'We should go out.'
'I'm not going anywhere.'
'We should go out and get a drink.'
I found the thought of a drink inviting. In fact, I really could've used a drink. 'Go get us some and bring it back here.'
'You need to get out of here.'
'I just was.'
'For longer than fifteen minutes. Let's go to a bar. I haven't been to one in so long and either have you.'
'Knock yourself out. Just bring me back some beer okay? Thanks.'
'You're being annoying.'
'So are you.'
He stepped over to me with two fingers pressed together aiming for my head. He was actually going to teleport me to a bar? Really? I had to wonder why. I stood up and reeled back on him. 'Is that where Dean is?'
He dropped his hand and stood still. Son of a bitch.
'No tricks Cas. Jesus!'
'You need to make contact!' He was getting flustered but now, so was I.
'If I do, it will be on my terms okay? Not yours.'
The little bitch started to step towards me again. 'You come any closer Cas and you'll regret it, I swear to you.' I was not playing around.
With that he disappeared, leaving me not really relieved but instead now feeling the compulsion to head on over to the freaking bar myself God damn it.
Once again I felt sorry for Bobby. Bobby was the one I didn't put any airs and graces on for. He was the one that got me how I really was and that had to truly suck for him because basically, I was a mess. Absolutely no entertainment at all and I wondered, as we got back into the impala, if he was already regretting coming all this way to visit such a sorry assed sad sack.
'That's where I work.' I nodded to the Walmart as we passed.
'Ever think of going back to study?' Was his concerned reply.
'Studying what? No I haven't.'
'Studying anything. Nothin' wrong with working in Walmart Dean but it's not really you is it?'
'It's not really most of the people who work there but they still do it and someone has to right?'
'Not someone like you.'
'I'm no better than anyone else.'
'I beg to differ.'
I rolled my eyes, I couldn't help it. This wasn't a self worth thing that my family –or my second father – would always hassle me about, this was life and in life you had to do what you had to do and you had to sometimes sacrifice your wants so you could get to your needs. Supporting a family took any chance of being what I wanted to be in my work life right away from me – just like most other family men I guessed. There was nothing wrong in it, it was just life.
'What about working in a garage and training to become qualified or something even? If money is the issue, you know I can give you some.'
'Money isn't the issue.' Money was an issue, but money wasn't the issue. He knew what the issue was. He was living the issue just like I was.
'I know you are going to hate me for saying this and that is fine, but –'
'Then don't.' I frowned not ready to hear my one support being snapped off right in front of me, my one person who could still empathize and sympathize with me.
'I'm going to.' Bobby promised and then continued just because we were stuck in the car and I couldn't get the hell away from him, 'You have to move on Dean. Sam wouldn't want you-'
'Bobby, please.' Tears sprung up again and I bit back a huge sob. 'Please.'
Thankfully he stopped. Thank God he stopped. I slammed down my foot on the accelerator and hoped the speed we were doing would wipe away any such thoughts from springing out of his mouth again – because one thing was for sure, I couldn't take hearing them. I couldn't even take thinking them.
The roar of the Impala entering the driveway of the Motel made me jump. I didn't have to look out the window to know it was that car. For some stupid reason, I turned the TV off and stood up, nervous to see it. It wasn't as though I hadn't seen it being driven since I had been back, I had. Dean and Lisa would go out somewhere on a Thursday night and Ben and he would drive off in it on a Saturday or Sunday – it was just because it was driving right towards me.
Surely Cas didn't tell him. Surely.
It was when Dean turned left and pulled up, that I noticed for the first time the truck he parked next to. It was just to the side of my room and I couldn't believe I had walked right past it without even noticing; it was Bobby's truck. Bobby was here? Staying here?
'Did you plan this too?' I called to Cas quietly even though he wasn't even here.
'No.' He answered from nowhere in the room. My head darted around but stopped as soon as I laid eyes on Bobby. He and Dean were getting out of the Impala. As dramatic as it sounded, my heart broke all over again seeing him - and seeing him with my brother. I wanted them to just stand still for a minute or two just so I could soak up all the good times we had had together before they went inside and I was shut out once again - but they didn't and they were gone again so quickly that my tears didn't really have time to well.
'You could fix all this.' Cas said venturing out of my bathroom. 'You know that don't you?'
'Fix what? And what were you doing in there?'
I frowned but really, I didn't much care so I left it alone and asked again, 'Fix what?'
'Why Bobby is here.'
'Okay I'll play, why is he here?'
'Why do you think?'
I shrugged, 'I don't know. Poltergeist, werewolf, vampire? Visting Dean?'
'Visiting Dean why?'
'You tell me Cas. You seem to have all the answers.'
He looked at me as though I hurt his feelings. I never hurt his feelings so I don't know why he was putting that face on. Nevertheless I didn't feel the least bit of guilt so I just stared at him and waited.
'Because Dean is not coping.'
Okay now the guilt had made its appearance. 'Don't go putting that on me –'
'That…' he emphasized, ' is why Bobby is here. That is the truth. He is worried about your brother because your brother is not coping – and he is not coping because he still thinks you are trapped in hell.'
'He seems alright to me.' I said trying my hardest to shake this overwhelming feeling of shame and remorse. 'When he's with Lis-'
'He is pretending Sam. You know you're brother better than anyone. When he is with Lisa and Ben he is pretending.'
'Are you telling me the truth?' I questioned feeling as though my guts were going to explode.
'Of course.' He took a step towards me and I took a step back. He frowned honestly confused. 'What else did you expect?'
Truth was, now the words had been spoken to me, I didn't know what else I had expected. Even though it was only seconds ago that I knew, now, I honestly couldn't remember.
Cas didn't have to say anymore. I stepped over to the bedside table, sat down on my bed and picked up my phone.
While I took a deep breath in to try to calm myself and waited for the phone to connect, Cas smiled.
(to be continued…)