Back to Chapter Four
It was almost 8pm and the sun was setting in his rear-view as Sam drove north. Dean had said Friday, but Sam wasn’t going to wait until Friday. It had been days since he’d seen his brother and Sam wasn’t waiting any longer. He had to see Dean now and he didn’t care what Dean had to say about it.
A voice he didn’t recognise came through the intercom. “Yes? Who is it?
“It’s Sam. Sam Winchester. I’m here to see my brother.”
There was no answer but the gates started to open at that ponderously slow pace. Dean’s car was parked out front which was a good indication that Dean was around somewhere. Sam got out of his car and walked up to the front door. He hesitated. Was he supposed to knock? Someone knew he was coming, they’d let him in after all. He looked around, the house was quiet and still, no tell-tale noise. He stepped back onto the drive and set off around the side of the house to the pool. The pool was empty, water softly lapping against the tiled edges, the canopy rolled back against the side of the house.
He tried the French windows, surprised to find them unlocked. He pulled them open, half-expecting a wailing alarm to go off somewhere, the maid or whoever it was that had let him in, to come running with a baseball bat in hand. But there was nothing, no alarm, no booby traps. He stepped into the kitchen. It was clean and tidy, everything neatly put away. He crossed the room and paused at the passageway, shoving his hands in his pockets and looking around. Should he be shouting for somebody? For Dean?
He padded through the passageway and into the big living room. He’d only been in there once, and it was empty now, save for the oil paintings, huge ornate fireplace, guilt mirrors and other antique-style furnishings. There was a door on one side of the room he’d never noticed before, and he crossed the floor to open it. It led to a small den, decorated in a completely different style to the rest of the house. It was – almost normal, comfortable even, like a regular room in a regular house. One corner was dominated by a flat screen TV (the first TV Sam had actually seen in the place), DVD player and DVR. There was a comfortable fat leather couch and armchair, a plain wooden coffee table, and a small fireplace. A couple of bookshelves lined one wall, crammed with paperbacks, car maintenance manuals and DVDs. On the mantelpiece above the fireplace, there were several family photos.
Dean’s room, he thought. He could just imagine Dean kicking back with a beer, watching sports, his feet on the coffee table. He took a closer look at the photographs, surprised to find a photograph from his own college graduation among them, a duplicate of the one in Mom’s living room. The old family portrait from Christmas 1989 sat in pride of place in the middle of the mantelpiece, probably the very same picture that had sat on top of the TV in the house in Lawrence for so many years. Next to it was a photo of Dad and Dean he’d never seen before: both of them wearing hunting vests and plaid shirts, Dad holding up an enormous fish, Dean with a rod in his hand and a smile on his face, his other hand on Dad’s arm. Dad was bald in the picture, and he looked thin and tired, though he was still smiling, that same big, warm grin Sam remembered. This must’ve been taken towards the end, one last fishing trip, one last day out before Dad had been hospitalised for good. Sam swallowed and replaced the photo, feeling a tug in his chest, a prickle at the back of his throat. There were photos of Dean and Lester too at the other end of the mantelpiece, a couple of wedding pictures, another of them on holiday somewhere, all smiles and easy happiness on some exotic looking beach. He didn’t linger over those.
He tried the garage next, stepping back out into the sunshine and strolling around the other side of the house. He could hear the sound of the radio and intermittent metallic clanging and banging noises. He pushed open the garage door to see Dean dressed in some torn, grease-stained jeans and t-shirt, leaning over the hood of an old, beat-up car. The radio was playing If You Want Me to Stay by Sly and The Family Stone, and Dean was humming along, intermittent bursts of lyrics from his lips when he remembered the words. Sam watched him straighten and round the car to the tool bench, shaking his hips and whistling along as he fiddled with a socket wrench. The song finished and the station cut to commercials.
“Dean,” Sam said.
Dean dropped the wrench onto the bench with a clatter and whirled around. “Jesus Christ, Sam! What the fuck? Almost gave me a heart attack!”
“Sorry, sorry, man. Didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Yeah, right.” Dean frowned at him, looking annoyed. “What’re you doing here?”
“Came to see you,” he said simply. He spread his hands, took a couple of steps towards him. “What do you think I’m doing here?”
Dean let out a long breath and looked around him. “Fuck, Sam. You can’t do this.”
“You know why not. ‘Cause this is my home and Lester is—“
“Is he here?” Sam interrupted.
“Yes, he’s here. He’s in his office, working.”
“So he’s probably not going to emerge for ages, right?”
Dean picked up another tool and turned his back on Sam, stalking back towards the open hood. “That’s not the point.”
“Dean.” Sam followed him, coming around the side of the car so he could stare down into the engine. As usual, it was like staring at a piece of abstract art. Dean bent over and started screwing something to something else.
“I told you Friday,” he said. “I told you, I’d see you after that spa shoot.”
“Yeah, and Friday’s not for three days. I couldn’t wait another three days, it’s been ages.” Dean didn’t acknowledge him, just kept doing whatever he was doing. “Dean,” he repeated.
Dean finished and straightened up. He turned to face Sam. “What? You should leave.”
Sam’s heart sank. He swallowed hard, tried to meet his brother’s eyes, but Dean was putting his back to him again, going back to the workbench to pick up something else. He was moving around Sam like he was in a play, like he was following some dramatic blocking.
“Dean,” he said again. This time more urgently.
Dean hesitated, and threw the spanner in his hand down onto the worktable. He hunched over, curled his fingers around the edge of the bench like he was using it to hold himself up. The radio had started playing Without You by Air Supply, the dramatic words and music belting into the air between them like the song was mocking them.
Dean pushed himself up. “Christ, that’s all we need,” he muttered contemptuously. He snapped off the radio, turned around. “Sam, I think – this is getting out of hand.”
“I think it’s already out of hand,” Sam said.
Dean’s mouth twisted into a grim smile. “Right. Jesus.” He passed his hand over his face, smearing grease on his cheek.
“You got some—“ Sam started to say, gesturing to his own cheek.
Sam advanced on him; his heart was thumping in his chest, his pulse starting to trip-hammer as he got closer. “There,” he breathed. He was close enough now to reach out and drag his finger through the smudge of grease on Dean’s cheekbone.
“It’ll wash off,” said Dean, and then he was fisting Sam’s tie in his hand and yanking him into a kiss.
Sam fell into him, their knees bumping together, Dean’s back hitting the workbench hard enough for the neat line of tools to rattle and clank. Dean winced but he didn’t stop, his mouth all over Sam’s face, his fingers grasping in his shirt and tie and hair.
“Goddamn, Sam, Jesus...” Dean panted. He shoved his hand between their bodies, fingers brushing over Sam’s fly.
“I thought you said – not here – you said—“
“Shut up!” Dean growled. Giving up on opening Sam’s neat button fly, he snarled in irritation and forced his hand past Sam’s waistband, wrist catching on Sam’s belt and fingers fluttering teasingly over the rock-hard line of Sam’s dick.
“Too long, way too fuckin’ long...” Sam was murmuring as he devoured Dean’s mouth, as he fumbled with his own stupid belt, trying to loosen his waistband around Dean’s wrist enough for Dean to pump his cock. “I can’t stand it, Dean, gotta be with you, gotta—“
“Jesus, Sammy, shut up!” Dean hissed and squeezed his cock to make his point.
They rutted against each other, kissing frantically between awkward jacks of Sam’s cock. Sam spilled into Dean’s fingers with a curse and Dean drew away, wiping his grease and come stained hand off on an oil-stained rag.
“You, what about you,” Sam panted, and he was sinking to his knees, dragging down Dean’s zipper. He sucked Dean off on the floor of the garage, knees aching from the cold concrete. He drank down his brother’s come, watching his brother’s thighs tremble.
He got slowly to his feet, wiping his mouth off with the back of his hand. Dean’s head was bowed, shaky fingers fiddling with the zipper of his jeans as he put himself back together. Sam fixed his own fly and belt, cursing when he noticed the stains on his pants. He untucked his shirt, unknotted his tie and undid the top couple of buttons on his shirt, attempting the casual, scruffy look. He looked at his brother; Dean looked surprisingly put together, considering. Aside from his flushed cheeks, razor burn and that post-sex gleam in his eyes, he looked like he could’ve been innocently working on the car all this time.
Sam watched him cross the room to bend down in front of a mini-fridge. He straightened up and tossed a bottle of water over the roof of the car. Sam caught it awkwardly. “Rinse your mouth out,” he said.
Sam chuffed out a laugh but he complied, twisting the cap off and taking a long gulp. He gestured at the partly covered car in front of him. “So, what’s this? New project?”
“This was supposed to be a surprise for you. But you’ve kinda fucked that up now.”
Sam blinked at him. “Uh, what?”
“You remember I told you I was gonna get you a decent ride. Something you won’t be embarrassed to be seen with. Unlike that current heap of plastic junk you call a car.”
“You bought me a car?” Sam said, mouth dropping open in shock.
“Yeah, and before you say it, I bought it with my money,” Dean said. “I got it from this dude I know in San Diego. This, my brother, is a classic Chevy Camaro, 71 SS350 model. Or it will be when I fix it up.” He gave the roof a couple of satisfied pats. “Isn’t she awesome?”
“Uh, yeah. Yeah, it – she looks great, Dean. So, what kinda mileage does it get?” Dean rolled his eyes and Sam laughed. “Just kidding. No, it’s. I mean, it’s awesome.” He surveyed the car. In truth, it didn’t look all that awesome. It looked like another of those huge muscle cars, just like his brother’s pride and joy, except it wasn’t in as nearly good condition. The leather upholstery inside was ripped to shit and the paintjob was scuffed and rusty. But Dean had gotten it for him. And Dean was working on restoring it and putting it back together. For him. No one had ever done anything like that before for him. He swallowed, his throat felt tight, the backs of his eyes hot.
“Oh God,” groaned Dean, “you’re gonna blubber.”
Dean laughed and placed one hand on his back to steer him around. “We should go inside. Chase up, Lester. Got to be time for dinner.”
Oh, Lester. He’d forgotten about him. Sam bit his tongue and nodded, shielding his expression as Dean led him out the garage and back inside the house.
“He showed you the car, didn’t he?” said Lester.
They were sitting at the kitchen table, or at least, Sam and Lester were. Dean was putting some finishing touches to an enormous chicken salad which he carried to the table and deposited unceremoniously in front of them.
“He did,” Sam said. “It’s amazing.”
“It was supposed to be a secret,” Lester said. His eyes followed Dean as he crossed back to the oven to take out the pan of garlic bread. “You told me it was a secret,” Lester called out to him. “You told me I couldn’t say anything.”
“It was a secret,” Dean answered dismissively. He dumped the garlic bread onto a bread board and started slicing it up, tossing each steaming piece into a bowl. He carried the bowl over to the table and slid onto the seat opposite. “But he ruined it.”
Sam protested, “No I didn’t.”
“You walked in on me working on it.” Dean said. “Help yourselves, by the way. Food won’t eat itself.”
“You could’ve told me anything. I had no idea you were working on that for me.”
“Well, it’s ruined now,” said Dean, spooning salad onto his plate. Sam watched Lester snatch up several pieces of garlic bread.
“It’s not ruined. I still want it.”
“Good,” Dean said. “’Cause it’s yours whether you like it or not.”
Sam laughed and spooned some of the salad (it seemed to consist of anything and everything: hard-boiled eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, anchovies, walnuts, asparagus, avocados, olives, chicken of course, with an abundance of delicious lemony flavoured dressing) onto his plate. “What do you call this?” he asked, indicating the food.
“Big salad,” said Dean.
“It’s amazing,” Lester put in. “Help yourself before I eat all of it. And have some garlic bread, that’s home made too. He’s such a great cook.”
“Shut up,” Dean said, with an eye-roll, but he looked pleased. “And, dude, do what he says, eat the garlic bread. It’s just taunting me. I’m not allowed it, got three days to lose two pounds. Fucking agent.”
Dean wasn’t allowed alcohol either, so Sam shared the bottle of wine with Lester, who was as loquacious as ever, treating Sam to a long-winded Cambridge story involving Mr Van der Horst. Dean sat back in his chair and watched his husband talk, idly sipping at his water. Sam tried to catch his eye a couple of times, but Dean was ignoring him, all his attention on Lester.
“Did Mom tell you about the party?” he said into a break in the conversation, Lester shutting up long enough to eat the remaining garlic bread.
Dean looked at him. “Their engagement party? Yeah, she told me. Told me they’d booked some fancy gardens for it. Wanted to make sure we were available.”
“He thinks it’s ridiculous,” Lester said, speaking to Sam in a confiding sort of a tone. “We didn’t have an engagement party.”
“That’s ‘cause we got married two months after you popped the question.”
“Well I couldn’t wait. Couldn’t risk the chance you’d change your mind. I had to get that ring on your finger as soon as I could.”
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever, you’re just impatient.”
Lester shrugged, “Guilty as charged.” He turned back to Sam, giving him that confiding, conspiratorial look again. “Look at him.”
“Huh?” Sam blinked.
“He’s desperate to go out there. That’s what this tetchiness is about. Go on. Indulge your filthy habit, my love.” He leaned over the table to brush one long finger over Dean’s knuckles.
Dean rolled his eyes at his husband. “You’re too kind,” he said dryly. He pulled his hand back and got up, sliding his cigarettes and lighter out of his jeans pocket. “Won’t be long,” he said. He crossed the room and opened the French windows to step outside.
Sam watched him go. “He’s smoking a lot these days.”
“What? Um, yes, I suppose so. I think it’s the modelling thing. An appetite suppression thing too, I would imagine.”
“That doesn’t concern you?” Sam frowned.
“Of course it concerns me,” said Lester. “But he won’t listen to me. I want him to do something else with his life. I’ve been telling him that for months. He just thinks I want to change him.” He gave Sam a wry look. “Sometimes I think he’s being deliberately obtuse.”
Sam swallowed, the back of his throat felt dry. “Maybe, I mean, if Dean feels that you’re trying to change him—“
“I don’t want to change him. I just want him to be happy. That job is not making him happy. Surely, you agree?”
Sam nodded, not meeting the other man’s eyes. “Uh, yeah, yeah. I guess.”
He could feel Lester’s eyes on him, that intelligent, level gaze piercing into him. He felt a prickle of sweat under his armpits, the back of his neck burning, he daren’t look up, daren’t meet Lester’s eyes. He felt certain that the guy would be able to see it there in his eyes: the truth, the guilt.
“He wants to earn his own money and I agree with him. I don’t want him dependant on me. He has this crazy idea that everybody sees him as this little, lost kitten that I rescued.” Lester paused, smiled wryly. “He feels he has to prove something to everybody – to me, to himself. And with the modelling, well, the money’s good and he’s been very successful, but he despises himself for it. He has these crazy ideas about what kind of job a man should be doing, and modelling isn’t it.” He paused again, shook his head ruefully. “Sometimes I think he despises himself for marrying me.”
Sam licked his lips. Dad, he thought, that’s Dad’s influence, still lingering, still fucking up Dean’s head. But was he any better? He thought suddenly of his own suggestion to Dean that he should go back to college, do something that he’d feel good about, something he would be good at. But had he really been thinking of Dean when he’d suggested that? He didn’t want Dean to be a male model, that was true enough. He felt embarrassed when he thought about it, when he thought of Dean letting all those assholes objectify him that way, see him as just a pretty face or a hot body. Dean was so much more than that.
He could feel Lester’s eyes on him, watching him as he sipped his wine.
He swallowed again. “He doesn’t. I’m sure he doesn’t feel like that. About you.”
Lester nodded, reached to refill his wine glass. He looked thoughtful, a little sad. He loves him. He really, really loves him. He felt suddenly sick to his stomach, a knot of guilt and nausea tight in his belly.
They both started when they heard the French windows open, Dean stepping back inside. Dean hesitated, his eyes flicked between the two of them. He raised his eyebrows. “So, what were you saying about me?”
Dean walked Sam out to his car when it was time for him to leave, smoking a cigarette while Lester did the clean-up. He rested a hand on top of the Prius and shook his head. “I’ll be so damn glad to see the back of this.”
“Shut up, it’s not that bad.”
“It is, Sammy. It really is. A brother of mine.” He exhaled a stream of smoke into the dark sky, watching Sam from the corner of his eye, a smile playing over his lips.
“Is Friday – are we still on for Friday?” he asked.
Dean looked away, flicked the ash from his cigarette. “Yeah, we can do that.”
Sam felt his mouth curl up at the corners. He pushed out a breathy laugh. He felt ridiculously relieved.
“Sam, you know you can’t just show up here randomly like that. You must see that, right?” Dean gave him a frank look, his expression serious.
He nodded reluctantly. “Yeah, I guess.”
Dean nodded again. He flicked away his cigarette butt, ground it out with his heel, gravel scraping under his boot. “You should get going.”
“Okay,” Sam said. He rounded the car to the drivers side, slid his keys out of his pocket. He hesitated, staring over the roof at his brother. “Friday, then?”
“Friday,” Dean repeated. “I’ll call you.”
Sam watched him turn around and walk back towards the house, then he unlocked the car and got inside.
On Friday night Sam waited at the table for over two hours, enduring increasingly sympathetic looks from the wait staff on duty. He drank a bottle of wine and two whiskeys on the rocks and dialled Dean’s phone six times. By nine thirty he gave up. There was a line waiting to be seated and some of the sympathetic looks were getting downright hostile. He got the check, tipped grandly out of guilt for hogging a table for so long, and left the restaurant feeling a little buzzed and a lot pissed.
He called Craig on his way home, dialling his number as he drove.
“Whatssup, dude?” Craig answered. “Haven’t heard from you in freakin’ ages.”
“You doing anything tonight?” Sam cut in.
There was a hesitation, and when Craig came on again, he sounded anticipatory. “Could be.”
“Cancel it. Come round my place. Bring your best weed.”
Another hesitation before Craig finally answered, “Give me a couple of hours. Got some errands to run.”
“Take as long as you want, I’m not doing anything,” Sam responded and thumbed off the phone.
He had a new slideshow on his laptop. He’d put all the photos he’d taken of Dean onto his hard drive, set them up into a slideshow. He slumped on the couch, bottle of whiskey cradled in the crook of his arm and stared at his brother’s sleeping face, his brother’s sleeping body, the freckles on his shoulders, the shine of sweat in the crooks of his elbows and knees, the pale, vulnerable nape of his neck, the dip and curve of his spine and the golden hairs on his toned, muscled thighs. His cock was heavy and thick in his pants, though he felt too drunk and listless to do anything about it.
His Blackberry vibrated and he forced himself out of his stupor, struggled forward to pick it up. DEAN the display read. He swallowed thickly, stared at the pictures on his screen and pressed the Accept Call button.
“Where were you?”
“I’m sorry, but he came to the shoot. He was there waiting for me.”
“Lester,” he said flatly.
“Yeah,” said Dean. He sounded distracted. “Listen, I can’t talk for long, just stepped out for a cigarette. We’re having dinner.”
So they were at a restaurant, having a romantic dinner together. How nice. How fucking nice.
“I waited for you for over an hour. You could’ve sent a fucking text, Dean.”
“No, I couldn’t. My phone was dead.”
“Seems okay now.”
“’Cause I charged it.”
Dean sighed and Sam could hear the exasperation in his voice. “At the hotel. Jesus, Sam, I’m sorry, okay? He – just, he was here. When I came off the shoot, he was there. Waiting for me. What was I supposed to do? If I’d told him I was meeting you, he would’ve just tagged along. You know he would.”
“And that wouldn’t do, right, Dean? That would’ve just been awkward.”
Dean blew out a breath. “Whatever. Just – enjoy your fucking hissy-fit, Sam. You know what this is. You know how this works. I’m married. You know that.”
He gritted his teeth. On his screen, Dean’s face was in close up, his soft, parted mouth, the red imprints of the pillow case against his cheek. Sam’s stomach recoiled, a wrench of want and lust so hard he felt like screaming out loud, like putting his fist through something. He wanted Dean here; he wanted to put his hands around him and squeeze him hard enough to leave bruises.
A knock on the door startled him and he whipped his head up, his brain stumbling in a confused whirl. Craig. He’d invited Craig over.
“I got to go,” he said. “I got company.”
“Company?” echoed Dean.
“Yeah. It’s this guy I like to fuck. He’s come round so we can fuck and get high. Should be good.”
Dean gave a hollow laugh and Sam felt his stomach flip over again. “Aw, whatever. Have fun, Sam.”
The line went dead. The knock came again. Sam ignored it, stared down at his phone, at Dean’s name and number. He ground his teeth together and tossed the phone onto the coffee table then he got up and made his stumbling way to the door.
Craig was leaning against one side of the doorjamb – no, not leaning, posing, hip cocked. “What took you so long?”
“I was jackin’ off,” Sam slurred. He held the door open just wide enough for Craig to slide in around him, their bodies brushing together. Craig gave him a look, one eyebrow raised.
“You smell like an Irish bar,” he said.
Sam stumbled past him to the couch. He fell down into it, tilted his head back and blinked up at him. “Did you bring pot?”
“I did.” Craig circled the coffee table and perched on the couch beside him, their thighs brushing. He reached into his messenger bag and pulled out a baggie of weed. “Shall I roll?”
Thirty minutes later and they were onto their second joint. He was slumped down into one side of the couch and Craig was on the other. He took a drag on the joint and exhaled, held it out to Craig. Sam stared at him through his hazy, fuzzy eyes.
“That guy’s hot.” Craig waved the joint at Sam’s laptop which was still playing the Dean slideshow on an endless loop. “Who is he? Ex-boyfriend?”
“My brother,” Sam said blankly. He was too stoned and too uncaring to make something up.
Craig rolled his head towards him and blinked. “Your brother. The male model guy?”
“Yeah, that’s right. We’re sleeping together. I’m in love with him.”
“It’s true. I’m in love with him,” he repeated, “and when I’m with him, when we’re together...” He broke off for a second, licked his lips. He could feel Craig’s eyes on him, watching him intently.
“What?” Craig prompted.
Sam rolled his head Craig’s way. He smiled softly. “It’s better than any drug. Better than that,” he pointed at the joint in Craig’s hand, “better than this,” he shook the bottle of whiskey in his hand, hearing the liquid slosh around. “It’s better than anything. But he’s married.”
“And he’s your brother,” Craig added.
Sam snorted. “Yeah.”
Craig nodded and bent over to drop the smoking butt into the ashtray. “And that’s him, your brother?” He pointed to the laptop.
“Yeah, that’s Dean.”
He nodded a couple more times like he was thinking it over then pursed his lips. “Fuck, if my brother looked like that, I’d probably want to fuck him too.”
Sam snorted again, the laughter fizzing out of him like a shaken up bottle of coke. Craig turned his head and looked at him for a couple of beats. “Shall we fuck now?”
“You forgot, didn’t you?” Mom sounded disappointed when he finally answered the phone.
He blinked, pushed his hand through his hair. It felt greasy and wiry and gross under his fingertips. He made a face, squinted at the stupid, bright sunlight blazing through his window. He really should’ve closed the curtains last night. Hell, he should’ve done a lot of things last night.
“Sam?” Mom prompted.
“Uh, yeah. Yeah. Um, hi, Mom?”
She sighed mom-fully. There was no other way of putting it, that I’m disappointed in you, Sam sigh that he could remember from missing curfew and being late with homework. Not that he’d done any of those things very often. She should be grateful really.
“Sam, family lunch. At Dean and Lester’s place.”
A cosy family dinner at Dean and Lester’s place? Well that sounded awesome. That totally sounded like something he wanted to do right now. He gritted his teeth.
“Sam? Are you there, honey?” The tone in her voice was slipping from exasperated to concerned. He felt that familiar bubble of guilt pop in his belly.
“Um, yeah, yeah, I’m here. That was today? That dinner thing?”
“Lunch. And yes. It’s today. It’s Sunday.”
Sunday already? What the fuck had happened to Saturday? He rolled over in bed, noticing for the first time since he’d woken up that he wasn’t alone. Craig was still there, lying in his bed beside him, snoring with his mouth gaping open. Sam stared at him, wet his lips. His head felt like cement and his stomach was doing that nauseous swoop-swoop thing. The last thing he felt like was a family lunch at Dean and Lester’s place.
“Shall I tell them you can’t make it?” said Mom. She sounded concerned still. “You are okay, aren’t you, Sam? You’ve been acting very strangely recently.”
He pressed his lips together, forcing down the bubble of bitter mirth. He felt like laughing, absurd and hysterical laughter. That’s because I’m in love with my brother. I’m in love with Dean but he doesn’t want me like I want him.
“Mom, I’m fine. Just – a heavy night, you know.”
“Oh, right.” Now the concern was switching to disapproval.
“Yeah, but I’ll make it. I might be a little late but I’ll be there.”
He was definitely going to be there, if only to see Dean. It was a mark of just how pathetic, just how far gone he was, that seeing Dean all happy and play-house with his husband was still better than not seeing Dean at all. Then again, maybe he’d get a chance to talk to him, get him to explain – no, to apologise for standing him up on Friday.
He hung up and tossed his phone to the nightstand with a sigh. He was sitting on the edge of the bed, feet on the floor, elbows resting on his thighs. He pushed his hands through his hair again and made a face. He needed a shower.
“Hey.” He reached behind him to prod Craig in the side. “Hey, you got to get up. You got to leave.”
Craig groaned and tried half-heartedly to push Sam’s hand away.
“No, hey, I’m serious. You got to go, man. I’m going out.”
Craig blinked his eyes open and stared balefully at him. “What? I thought you said you didn’t have plans.”
“Yeah, well, there’s been a change of plan. I’ve got this family thing.”
“With your brother?”
Sam froze and remembered suddenly that he had done that – he had been stupid enough to spill it all to Craig – to tell him about Dean. “With my whole family.” He got up, strode towards the bathroom. “I’m taking a shower.”
He drove north with the sun in his eyes and a wicked headache nagging at the back of his skull despite the prescription painkillers he’d crunched before leaving home. He parked up beside Greg’s Lotus, relieved to note that he was only thirty minutes late. Considering the state he’d been in when Mom had called, that was pretty good going. He got out the car, slammed the door behind him and winced. He adjusted his shades, set his shoulders into a stiff, defensive line and circled the house to the back.
Dean was the first one to spot him, looking up from his food and shading his eyes as he watched Sam draw near. Sam stared back at his brother, grateful for the sunglasses hiding his expression. But Dean might as well have been wearing sunglasses too for all he was giving away, his expression completely unreadable.
“Ah! You’re here!” Lester exclaimed as Sam stepped closer. He got up from his seat and pulled out the chair beside him, the metal feet screeching on the terracotta tiles. “Sit down, sit down, tuck in.”
Mom got up from her chair and leaned over to kiss him, her hand lingering on his arm and her eyes scanning quickly over his face. She squeezed his wrist before she dropped back into her seat. “Glad you could make it, honey,” she said.
“I nearly didn’t,” he admitted. “I completely forgot.”
“Had better things to do,” Dean interrupted. His voice was flat, no malice, barely any expression there at all. “Right, bro?”
“Yeah, you could say,” he said. He met Dean’s gaze steadily for a couple of beats.
“You gonna take those shades off. Kinda rude to keep them on when you’re eating,” Dean said.
Sam said nothing, but the corners of his mouth pulled up into a wry grimace. “Right, course. Sorry.” He slid the sunglasses up into his hair, hoping that his eyes didn’t look too bloodshot or haggard.
“Ohho, so it was a big night last night I see,” said Lester with a laugh.
Evidently, he did look as bad as he felt.
“Well, you’re only young once,” said Greg with a conciliatory tone.
“Hair of the dog, Sam?” asked Lester, leaning over the table with the wine bottle.
“Why not?” said Sam, tilting his glass back at him.
Dean was quiet and distracted throughout the meal, getting up to fetch things from the kitchen, to clear plates and bring out more wine and food. He’d cooked everything himself. All my favourites, Lester boasted when the traditional British summer puddings came out, leaning over the table to lace his fingers with Dean’s and give him one of those besotted looks. Sam put his sunglasses back on and took refuge in his wine glass, watching his brother from behind the dark glasses.
Dean looked uncomfortable; nothing like the Dean who’d spent the weekend with Sam only a few weeks ago. When they were together Dean had laughed and joked and grinned that dazzling, heartbreaking grin. Dean had talked to him, he’d told him stuff, admitted stuff that Sam knew he’d never told anyone else – even Dad. When Dean was with just him he was relaxed and happy. Dean wasn’t any of those things right now.
Dean got up after dessert had finished, disappearing around the side of the house for a cigarette. Sam gave him a minute before following.
Dean was leaning against the side of the house, one leg bent behind him, his heel against the wall.
“What took you so long?” he said as Sam approached.
“We need to talk,” said Sam.
“Do we?” Dean lifted the cigarette to his lips, inhaled, held the smoke in before exhaling it up into the air.
“Yes, yes we do,” said Sam, more forcefully. “What’s going on, Dean? Is it over? Is it—“
“Do you want it to be over?” interrupted Dean.
“No, God, no! Of course I don’t. Do you want it to be over?”
“It should never have started, Sam.” For the first time that afternoon Dean let the expressionless mask fall away. He looked defeated, tension in the way he was holding himself, in the way he sucked on his cigarette like it was a lifeline.
Sam stared back at him. His fingers itched to touch him. He wanted to hurt him – to scratch and bruise him – to remake his face into something that didn’t affect him so damn much, that didn’t have so much power over him. He wanted to look at him and not feel – not feel this – this horrible, nagging, never-ending want. But at the same time, he wanted to pull him in, pull him close and comfort him, tell him it would be okay and that he wasn’t allowed to look like that, so defeated and helpless and bitter.
“You don’t mean that,” he said, hearing his voice shake and hating himself for it.
Dean pushed out a breath, a bitter half-laugh. “Oh I do. I really do. I shouldn’t. Look – I know, I know it’s my fault. And I’m sorry, I’m so sorry for that. But I think this is it. I think we should—“
“Should what?” Sam burst out. “You can’t just say that! Christ, Dean, you – you’re all I think about! I can’t think straight anymore. The other weekend when we were together. You can’t just forget about it, pretend like it didn’t happen. You can’t do that to me, Dean!” He bowed his head, heaved out a strangled breath. He stared down at his shoes, at the pebbles and gravel beneath his feet.
“Sam, Sammy.” He flinched when he felt Dean’s hand on his shoulder and reached for him, clutched and grabbed at him, pushing, burying his face in Dean’s shirt. “Sammy, please. C’mon, get hold of yourself.” Dean’s hands stroked through Sam’s hair, gentle and tender. He must’ve thrown away his cigarette, Sam thought fuzzily, because he was touching him so carefully, so tenderly, like he really cared. “Sam, c’mon.”
Sam sucked in a breath and raised his head. His sunglasses were skewed, pressing uncomfortably into his nose. He pulled them off, dropped them to the ground. He swiped the heel of his hand across his eyes, feeling the hot tears scald his skin. He brought his hands up to clutch at Dean’s shoulders. He sank his fingers into the firm muscle of Dean’s shoulders and gripped tight.
“Are you okay?” Dean said tentatively.
He sucked in a breath, let out a harsh, derisive laugh. “No. God, no. So not okay.”
“Look, I. I’ve got this lunch with my agent on Saturday. Maybe after that we could—“
“That’s a week away, Dean. I need to see you before then!”
“No. I can’t. That’s the best I can do.”
“Okay, okay.” He swallowed, giving in. What else was he going to do? He was so pathetic, he’d take anything. He’d been brought to this. Dean had brought him to this. He watched his brother look away again, a fierce burst of resentment quickening in his gut. Dean blinked, his tongue came out to slick across his bottom lip. Sam followed it, feeling the resentment twist into a heat that pooled and fizzled in his belly. His fingers flexed on Dean’s shoulders and he felt Dean flinch underneath him, make to pull away. “Saturday then,” he said quickly, trying to pull Dean back, but Dean wrenched himself away, out of Sam’s grip.
“Fine,” Dean said. He ducked down, picked up Sam’s shades. “Here, take these back.”
Dean was eying him warily, but his lips were a little parted, his cheeks flushed, and there was a glimmer of sweat on his top lip. Sam felt the heat in his gut coil and spring free and he pushed forward, snatching at Dean’s shirt and fisting the fabric between his fingers. Dean’s eyes widened almost comically, and Sam forced him backwards, slammed him up against the wall and swooped in to devour his mouth. He could feel Dean trying to fight it before he gave up; relaxing and going limp and letting Sam take what he needed.
Sam peeled his mouth off Dean’s and panted for breath. His lips were tender, his heart throbbing, his cock hard as stone. He cupped the side of Dean’s face, brushed his thumb lovingly over his brother’s mouth. Dean’s expression was hard, his gaze baleful. He threw Sam off, roughly, made to stalk away, then stopped, held out the shades still in his hands. “Put those on. You’ll need them,” he said, his tone cold and dismissive.
Chastened, his heart still hammering and stomach twisted into painful knots, Sam took the sunglasses from his brother’s hand. Dean turned around without another word and stalked off in the opposite direction. Sam put on his shades, straightened his crumpled shirt and walked slowly back to rejoin his family.
Forward to Chapter Six