The guys had been gone almost ten minutes when Benny spoke up. “I get the feeling they don’t come back when they say they will.” Benny said from the table as I started rinsing off dishes.
I shrugged. “They get in this rut of just being the two of them and they forget that some of us like being around company.”
“You don’t get much company?” Benny asked, standing to come help me with the dishes.
I kind of gave a dry laugh. “The last time a man was in my house before last night was probably a solid year ago. So no, can’t say I do.”
“Any women then?” He asked with a bit of a smirk and I knew he was trying to lighten the mood.
“No women either. Friends or otherwise.” I said with a smile. “People in town think I’m the manageable kind of weird.”
“Oh?” Benny asked. It was an odd syllable. He wasn’t prying, simply curious, but ready if I didn’t want to answer him. And yet, it made me want to tell him.
I shrugged. “Sometimes I get flashes of the future. Sometimes I black out. People think you’re weird when you pass out at the grocery store. Can you believe that?” I asked sarcastically.
He smiled. “Silly.” He said and we fell into a comfortable silence. “What does green mean?”
His question took me a little bit off guard. “Huh?” I asked stupidly.
He smiled at me. “You said I have a mix of green in me.”
I nodded. Right. I was hoping we could totally avoid that. “Detail oriented.” I said, lacking conviction.
Benny just stood there as we finished loading the dishwasher and he watched me.
How did he do that? Why did I want to spill my guts to him? He was starting to frustrate me. I’d known him the better part of the hour. I wasn’t sure it was even that long. “Green means you’re filled with love.”
“Why didn’t you want to tell me that?” He asked curiously as he leaned against the counter.
I tried to pretend I didn’t hear him as I put soap in the dishwasher and hit the start button. But when I looked back up at him, he just watched at me. I sighed. “Green is… weird for me. Anger, resentment, envy, obsession, fear. I can deal with all of those things. They’re easy to word and work around. Love is… different.” I told him.
“Why is love any different?” He asked.
“I don’t know love as well. I don’t know how to work around it or deal with it.” I told him as I started picking up the kitchen; mostly so I didn’t have to look directly at him as I said this.
“Dean said your uncle was his friend Bobby.” Benny said. But the way he said it wasn’t as if he was confirming this; it was as if he was asking if Bobby loved me.
I rubbed my forehead, feeling a headache beginning to take root. “Bobby adored me. But Bobby’s love isn’t like having a lover or having a stalker. Bobby’s love was the kind of love you give a stuffed animal when you’re sad. It’s hard to explain.” I told him as I saw the look he was giving me.
“I don’t mean to pry.” He said, and with his accent, I could imagine him out on a river boat.
I shrugged. “Bobby loved me as best as he knew how. He thought of me as his own and he was the only father I ever knew. But even still, that’s not the kind of love you have in your heart.”
“And what kind is that?” He asked.
I looked over at him for a minute. “The kind you hold onto after it’s gone. The kind you have when you meet your soul mate and lose them.”
He was quiet, his gaze falling to watch the floor.
“I’m sorry you lost her.” I said, coming to put a hand on his arm. “I can’t even imagine.”
He smiled, though I could see the pain in his face. “S’alright. Suppose it wasn’t meant to be after all.”
I smiled up at him. “You know the best part about losing someone you love?” I asked, hoping to lift the mood.
Benny’s face scrunched up a bit. “What’s that?”
“Getting drunk and sleeping with as many people as you want.” I said with a wink.
“That happen to you a lot?” He asked with a smirk.
“Me? God no. Guys go for the hot girls, not the weird ones that sit in the corner and read.” I said. “I’m gonna go get dressed. Make yourself at home. You can crash for a couple hours if you’d like.” I said, trying to steer the conversation away from me.
“Thank ya, darlin’.” He said with a smile and wandered out of the kitchen towards the living room.
I took a deep breath and walked down the hall to my bedroom. I closed the door and sat on the bed. Out of instinct, my eyes landed on one of the only framed pictures I had. It was taken on my sixteenth birthday. Bobby decided I was finally old enough to go hunting with him. He didn’t want me running around like Sam and Dean.
It was a pretty easy demon exorcism. John actually took the picture for us before we left the house. But now both John and Bobby were dead. The life took them both from us. I had never liked being around John for excessive amounts of time, but he was a good man with good intentions.
I reached up to push my hair out of my eyes and found that I’d started crying. I grabbed a wash cloth from my dresser and dried my eyes. “Oh, Bobby. Why’d you let them get to you?” I said, gently touching the frame of the photograph.
I changed into a pair of jeans and an old shirt. As I was about to leave the room, I pulled my 9 mm out of my night stand and tucked it into the waist band of my jeans. I was never a fan of the Glock 17, but Bobby gave it to me when I moved out. I went back to the kitchen for another cup of coffee and found Benny examining my book collection. “Find anything you like?” I called to him.
“Don’t suppose I’d know. I’m much older than any of these except these two.” Benny said, holding up a leather bound copy of Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales and a collection of H.P. Lovecraft’s horror stories.
“Both are good books.” I said, leaning against the door frame.
He nodded. “My ma used to read me the Grimm’s stories when I was little.”
“The scary versions or the Disney versions?” I asked, taking a sip of my coffee.
“The scary ones.” He said, returning the leather bound book to its place on the shelf.
“Bobby used to read me the scary ones, and then tell me each of them was a lesson. Just as there’s a bad thing out there, there’s a good thing that can set it right.” I said.
Benny nodded. “I hope ya don’t mind my askin’, but you don’t got no TV, no movies. Ain’t no pictures on the wall.” He said.
I shrugged. “When my mom was alive, we moved five or six times a year. When she died and I went to live with Bobby, we didn’t move around. But then we’d pack and leave the house for two or three weeks. Guess I never shook the feeling.” I said, looking over at him. “Everything important in this house will fit in the bed of my truck.”
He nodded. “So what to do for another few hours?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know about you, but I need to go grocery shopping.”
“Suppose I’ll come with then.” Benny said.
I nodded. “Since you’re up, you can help me open the cellar.”
“You can’t do it on your own?” He asked, curiously.
“Well, I can. But it’s difficult. I keep the important stuff in the house. The not so important stuff is stashed.” I told him, pocketing my wallet, cell phone, and truck keys.
“You got more stuff in your pockets then I’ve ever had.” He said, pulling the door closed behind me.
I nodded, going around to the back of the house. I unlocked the padlock on the door of the cellar and stood back. “If you’d be so kind.”
He nodded and easily pulled open the door.
“God, I miss having a guy around. Can you do that with pickle jars too?” I asked with a smile as I descended the steps.
“Only if ya ask nicely.” He smirked.
I shook my head at him, pulling my flash light out of my pocket.
“Are you a boy scout?” Benny asked as I searched for the jar of red ooze.
“What? No, why?” I asked, finding it in the corner where I left it.
“Money, keys, phone, flash light.” He said.
“Don’t forget two knives and a gun.” I told him, moving the jar off to the side to find the darts I had loaded with dead man’s blood.
“Darts? And where you hidin’ a gun?” Benny asked, giving me a once over.
I smiled at him. “Darts won’t kill a vamp, unless it’s all six, but it’ll sure slow them down.” I told him as I picked up six of the darts. He nodded, ducking his head a little. I pulled the Glock out of the waist band of my jeans and loaded the six empty spaces in the clip with the dead man’s darts. Eleven bullets and six darts. That should cover it.
Benny nodded. “You hunters never cease to surprise me.”
I shook my head. “Don’t work hard; work smart. I’m too small to put up a close combat fight. I need an edge in that department.”
Benny just smiled. “Darlin’, I don’t believe that for a second.”
I smirked as I clicked the safety on and put the gun back. “Ready to go shopping?” I asked.
He nodded and gestured for me to lead the way out of the cellar. When we were on solid ground, he replaced the door with the same ease that he’d opened it. I returned the lock to its place and led the way around the house to my truck. I glanced down the road and saw a beat up old pickup with a camper shell.
“Your rig?” I asked, nodded across the street.
He smiled. “She don’t look like much but she rides like a dream.”
I smiled and climbed on up as Benny followed suit. “Ain’t this a bit much, darlin’?” He asked.
I gave him an odd look. “Bit much? This is my baby. Dean has the impala, I have this.” I told him as I started her up.
Benny shook his head as we drove into town. I waved at people as I passed them.
“So how’d you get sucked into this thing with the guys?” I asked Benny after a few minutes of silence.
He shrugged and was silent for a moment, thinking. “Demons are trying to re-open Purgatory and bring all the monsters back.”
“Oh, well. That explains a lot.” I told him.
He nodded, obviously not really wanting to talk about it.
“Can I ask a personal question?” I asked with a glance at the passenger seat.
He didn’t say anything, just nodded.
“What was her name?” I asked, being unable to help myself.
“Who?” He asked, looking over at me.
“The girl you loved.” I said, making a left turn.
There was a moment of silence in the truck and I could feel how conflicted he was. “Andrea Kormos. She was a Greek heiress. She was sailing on her yacht when I attacked it.” He said quietly, intently watching out the windshield.
I blinked. Don’t make a joke, don’t make a joke, don’t make a joke… I told myself.
“What’s wrong with ya, darlin’?” Benny asked, turning to me.
I just shook my head and gestured for him to continue.
He kind of moved in the seat so he could look at me better. “Tell me.”
“Nope. No jokes during sharing time.” I told him.
He just kind of looked at me harshly.
I sighed. “Vampirates? You were a vampirate?”
Benny laughed, confusing me a little bit. “Dean said the same thing when I told him.”
I nodded. “Ok, that was my joke. Go on.”
He nodded, returning to himself. “I fell in love with her the first time I saw her. I even left the nest for her.” He said with a sad smile. “My maker turned her in revenge against me.”
“Oh, that’s terrible.” I said as we pulled into the parking lot of the grocery store.
He nodded. “But when I went to find her after I came back, she wasn’t the woman I loved, before.” He said, looking up at me. “She went to attack me and Dean killed her.”
I put my hand over my heart instinctively. “I’m sorry she changed.”
Benny nodded sadly. “I changed too, ya know. Just… differently.” He said with a nod.
I nodded and felt we needed a little lighter discussion. “So, you ready to be drug all over the store?” I asked with a smile.
He smiled back at me. “Don’t suppose I’ve been grocery shoppin’ in a while.”
I nodded and popped open my door, sliding out of the driver’s seat and pocketing my keys. Benny came around to my side and held his arm out for me. “Why, thank you kind sir.” I said with a smile.
He shook his head a little. “You smile, but you’re surprised.”
I nodded. “I always am when I find out a guy isn’t a total jackass.”
He shook his head. ”Shouldn’t be that way.”
“No, it shouldn’t.” I told him, grabbing a plastic hand basket, which he immediately took from me. I just raised an eyebrow at him.
“You wanted a guy’s help. Lemme help ya, darlin’.” He said with a sweet smile.
I nodded. “You’re totally right. I will let you help as much as you’d like, while not fringing on my independence.”
He chuckled and we walked over to produce.
I picked up two apples and a pear and put in the basket in Benny’s hand. “Would you eat alfredo if I made it?”
Benny shrugged. “Suppose I could try it. Best not make me eat too much.” He said with a smile.
I nodded. “Ok, well. You can pretend to eat it then because I hate cooking for just myself.” I told him, picking up a tub of shredded parmesan cheese.
“I can pretend.” He said with a nod. “Don’t suppose you know why we keep gettin’ funny looks.” He said, glancing to his left. There was an older lady; maybe a handful of years older than Bobby. She made no move to pretend she wasn’t watching us very carefully.
I smiled over at him. “Remember when I told you I’m the manageable kind of weird that everybody leaves alone?” He just nodded. “Now I’m a weirdo with a really hot guy in the grocery store. Weirdo’s don’t go to the grocery store with really hot guys.”
He raised an eyebrow. “You think I’m really hot?”
“I love how that’s the only part you caught.” I said with a silly grin.
He smiled as I took his arm again. “You think it’s so weird for people to see you with somebody else?”
“When that’s somebody else is much more attractive than I, yes it is. If I brought Sam in here, I wouldn’t have so much trouble.” I said with a smile as I gently pushed against him.
“You don’t think Sam’s attractive?” He asked.
I shook my head. “He’s the geeky brother that impresses your friends with his weird facts and general intelligence.”
“And Dean?” Benny asked.
“Dean is the ruggedly handsome brother that hits on your friends while you’re standing right there.” I said with a shake of my head.
Benny laughed and I smiled at the sound. “Did he really?”
I nodded. “I was in eleventh grade. Bobby wanted me to go to the local high school so I’d have some friends and meet people. I became best friends with this girl Renee. She was blonde, gorgeous, she ran for the track team and did volley ball. Both of which I was too clumsy to play.” I said and Benny just smiled.
“Dean just fell all over her and for the next three weeks all I heard was, ‘Dean’s such a babe’ or ‘When is your cousin coming back into town?’ It was horrible.” I told Benny as I picked up a package of cold chicken breasts and put in the basket.
“I suppose that would put a damper on a friendship.” Benny said as I took his arm and we strolled down the coffee aisle.
I picked up a package of coffee and set it among the other things I was buying. “So if you don’t have a family,” I said, glancing at the lady standing twenty feet from us, who tried to be less obvious that she was listening intently. “Do you just travel around?”
Benny nodded as we strolled past the lady. “I was living in Louisiana until the boys called me.”
I nodded. “Let me guess; Cajun cook?” I asked.
He stopped and turned to me with a funny look that just made me smile. “How on earth would you know that?”
“Because you look like a guy that knows how to cook. And I already knew you were Cajun of sorts.” I said with a smile. “It’s not all about being psychic.” I said, leaning towards him. “Although it helps.”
He just shook his head as we rounded the corner.
I picked up a pint of heavy whipping cream and a container of mint chocolate coffee creamer. “Thanks for going shopping with me. It’s nice to have some company.”
Benny smiled at me as I took his arm again and we meandered towards the front of the store and the check outs. There were quite a few eyes on us as Benny put my groceries on the conveyor belt.
“Ms. Leigh. How’s your day?” Alice asked me. She was nice; maybe twenty or so years older than me, a little bit of gray sneaking into her dark brown hair, and a bright smile.
“Alice, must you insist on calling me Ms. Leigh? That was my grandmother.” I told her with a little smile as she scanned my items.
“Well, Vivian, who’s your friend?” Alice asked.
“This is a friend of mine from Louisiana, Benny.” I said with a smile.
“Friend.” Alice said with a wink.
“Nice to meet ya, ma’am.” Benny said, holding out his hand to shake hers.
She pretended to fan herself with her left hand as she shook Benny’s with her right. “He’s definitely a keeper.”
I just kind of giggled. “Well, I’m glad you approve.”
“You know I worry about you.” Alice told me. “She’s alone a lot.” Alice said, directing her later comment to Benny.
“Alice.” I said, kind of dragging her name out.
She held her hands up and finished scanning my lunch stuff. “I’m just saying it’s not healthy for a young lady like yourself to be alone all the time. Nothing good comes from being alone too long.”
I nodded, silently agreeing. “Well, Benny’s in town for a couple weeks to keep me company, so you don’t gotta worry about me for about fourteen days, give or take.” I said with a smile as I paid for my food.
She just grinned at me as Benny picked up my bags. “You kids have fun.”
“Thanks mom.” I said back to her as I took Benny’s arm. “Could she make any more of a scene? Oh my god.” I said under my breath to him as I took a glance around on our way out.
“She means well.” Benny said with a hint of a smile.
“I know that better than anybody, but that was terrible. If Old Man Miller glared at me any harder, I’d probably catch fire.” I said with a sigh.
Benny shook his head. “That’s why I’m here.”
“So I don’t spontaneously combust?” I asked as we made our way through he parking lot to my truck.
Benny laughed and I couldn’t help but smile. I hadn’t made anybody laugh in quite a while. “Well I don’t think I could help that, darlin’.” He said, calming down. “But I ain’t gon’ let anybody hurt ya while I’m here.”
I just shook my head with a smile and pulled the driver’s door open and slid the seat forward. I took the grocery bags from him and set them behind the seat. “Rule number one; Never make promises you can’t keep.” I said.
He took my arm as I was starting to climb into the truck. “There’s a great many things I can’t guarantee, but this ain’t one of ‘em.”I just stood there for a moment before I leaned forward and hugged him. “C’mon Cajun. Let’s get home and make lunch.” I said with a smile. Benny smiled back at me and went around to climb into the truck.