"It's really good to see you, too," he says as she steps back to let him step into the house. This place is a palace, huge and opulent, and that's just the entryway, tiled in slick marble with tiny bronze statues nestled beside green-leaved plants on top of small dark wood tables.
"This way," she says, walking with one light hand just barely touching his arm, leading him to a grand staircase. She picks the flight on the left and skips quickly up it, heading for a room that's decorated in hunter green and cream, richly furnished but still somehow strangely anonymous, like an expensive suite at an exclusive hotel. He'd bet that this is one of many guest rooms furnished for a male visitor, and that across the hall or maybe in another wing entirely there is a series of pink and white rooms designed with important ladies in mind. "Sam?" she asks, interrupting his train of thought. "Is this okay?"
She's so casually generous; she can afford to be. "It's great, Sarah, really. Sorry, I'm just a little tired after the bus and the train and that stupid cab driver."
"And probably hungry too?" she guesses, big grin on her face. "We can -"
"Actually, I really need to clean up before we do anything else, if that's okay." His toes are squelching uncomfortably inside his wet and probably toxic socks and there's a faint aroma of public transportation clinging to his hair and clothes.
"Yeah, okay," Sarah nods agreeably. "I'll just be downstairs. Come down whenever you're ready." She pulls the door shut behind her and he slumps to the ground, not wanting to contaminate the clean, soft bed with his dirty clothes. He digs through his bag for his phone, trying to decide if he should call or text Dean. His dilemma's rendered moot when he hears a steady beeping, and realizes Dean's already sent him a message. Still hot. Still checking out your ass. Yes or no?
"What are you, in sixth grade, Dean?" he asks, amused, when Dean finally picks up after a dozen rings. "Check yes or no?"
"Me in sixth grade or you in sixth grade?" Dean asks, clearly differentiating between the two with an obnoxious sing-song voice.
"Yes, she's still hot -"
"That part I knew, man. Google doesn't lie."
"You're like a stalking Yenta, Dean! What's wrong with you?"
"Oh, too many things to name," Dean laughs.
"And, yeah, I think she's glad to see me, and that's all you're going to get." Actually, he probably shouldn't make it sound like he's daring Dean to drop everything and come out here. "I'll call you, okay?"
"Only when you come up for air, huh? Sammy, you dirty dog."
"Just -" No, it's not worth protesting, because Dean's just slipping into a role. "Are you there yet?"
"About another hour on the road and I'll be kickin' back with a little holy beer."
He refuses to picture that warm kitchen, those teetering stacks of books, or Bobby. "I'll call you," he repeats instead, and hangs up.
The bathtub is gleaming green marble, streaked with beige, and big enough for him to swim a couple of laps in. There is no way he can settle for anything less now that he's seen it, and he turns the taps, lets the water fill up while he hunts in the closet for bath soap. All he can find are these chalky spheres that look kind of like globes made of SweeTart stuff and smell vaguely like cologne. They fizz when he drops them into the water, dissolving and making the whole bathroom smell kind of musky and sweet.
Under the water, his mind finally falls silent, and the lapping of the water against him is like the easy motion of the Impala when Dean's driving and praising her, when they're not running to or running away, just driving, watching people and places, animals and industries go by from the safety of their car.
He stays under until he can't breathe. He surfaces, dives below again, and emerges once more.
"Sarah," he says as he walks down the stairs; she's curled up in a wing chair with The Tenant of Wildfell Hall open on her lap. At the first touch of his hand to her shoulder, she starts, coming wide awake in an instant, hardbound book falling off her lap and landing with a thump.
"Sorry, Sam," she says, looking mortified as she pushes wisps of her hair away from her face, half-squatting nervously to retrieve her book, standing again when he beats her to it.
Something about her behavior feels wrong, and he needs to set things straight. "Look, Sarah, I think maybe I gave you the wrong impression. I'm not expecting anything here, and I know you haven't been waiting around for me to show up at your door again. And I know what Dean's message said, but that's Dean, he's like convinced himself that you're madly in love with me and that you've waited for me all this time, and I just want you to know that I came here because I liked you and wanted to hang out with you and was hoping maybe you'd want to hang out with me too. That's all."
Sarah tilts her head to the side like she's assessing him, but he sees from the way the color's rising in her cheeks and her eyes have gone a little wider than usual that at least part of what he said struck a chord.
She doesn't seem to be able to speak, though, so he decides to just come out with it. "I know that I already owe you about a million favors, but could I ask for one more?"
Now he's getting an eyebrow raise from her, and she's surprisingly good at that.
"Have you got a washer and dryer somewhere in this place?"
She clears her throat delicately. "I think we should be able to accommodate you," she says. "Grab your stuff and meet me in the kitchen."
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