Maggie tapped her pen impatiently on her desk. God this was the longest shift. Yes, she thought that everyday. But she was certain she was right about it this time.
The bell, above the door, chimed obnoxiously, signalling another human-interaction she’ll have to grit her teeth through. Biting back a groan, and turned toward the guest.
She perked up. It was Dean Campbell, dressed in a nice dark green button-down instead of his usual grey cover-alls. He smiled politely at her.
“Hey, Dean.” She twirled her pen in her hands and fluttered her eyelashes. Damn, she might as well say, take me right here, babe . “You’re coming in late today.” She said instead.
“Yeah, uh, Jack’s school had some production thingy today.” Dean shifted the black and grey bag hanging off his shoulder, she guessed it held his work clothes. “It was cute. Kid nailed all his lines.” He had a smile that was different than all the ones she received. This one was clearly proud.
“You have a son?” She tried not to sound too disappointed. Having a son does not mean he’s married, Maggie. ‘I didn’t realize you were a dad.”
“Oh, yeah. Well… He’s, uh, a good kid.” He looked thoughtfully downward, remembering. “You know, when we got him four years ago, I was so scared. But he’s a good kid. A great kid.”
“Well I’m sure you’re a great dad, too.” Don’t think about him holding a baby, Maggie.
This time when Dean smiled, it was shy. Very rare to see him anything less than his usual confident, flirty self. “Thanks. Cas says so, but…” He rubbed the back of his neck. “Cas has been great--they both are. Kid’s a miniature-Cas, though, kinda funny. God, the two of them keep me on my toes.” He punctuated his statement by bouncing playful on his tippy-toes.
Ah, so he was married. Or at least in a relationship with the kid’s mom. And the way he talks about her, about them both… Clearly a devoted family man. Damn. Why is that so hot?
She tried not to stare too deeply in his green eyes, lest she get lost there. That shirt really brought out his eyes.
“Uh thanks. I think that was Cas’ motive when picking it out.” Fuck. Fuck! Did she just say that outloud?
And he even politely turned her down by mentioning his wife again. Her face felt so hot right then, she willed the ground to swallow her whole.
She was saved from further embarrassment when Dean gestured to his bag and said he had to get to work, but that he’ll see her around. She watched him make his way to the restrooms. When he was gone, she dropped her head to her desk. She gave herself one minute of self-pity before pulling out her phone to text Jessica about it.
“Man, I’ll tell you what.” James started, slamming the hood of the car, startling Dean from where he was hunched over his own engine, elbow deep. “Shows these kids watch these days. Goddamn awful.”
Dean chuckled and scrunched his nose. “I know what you mean.”
James shook his head. Trying to will the annoyingly catchy theme song that had plagued his psyche for the last 3 hours out of his head. Unsurprisingly, just like the last twenty times, it didn’t work. “My 16 year-old, yeah I can get her to watch some good movies with me, but my 12 year-old?” He tsked. “She watches them shitty disney shows that make you want to blow your brains out.”
Dean laughed loudly. “I tried to get Jack into westerns.” His coworker shook his head, fondly. “But he’s much more into Star Wars. Can’t blame him, just wish he liked westerns a little more.” Dean leaned back over his engine with a new tool in hand. “That’s kids for ya. They break your heart and insult your taste.”
James wiped his hands and began packing up his own tools. Dean enjoyed talking about his kid. It was one thing he and James bonded over when Dean started working at the repair shop a year ago. And, unfortunately, that was the extent of their similarities. Both being Dads with teen kids. But it was a good way to keep friendly conversation going during the long work days. When you got him talking, he could go on forever. He was damn proud of Jack, that much he was sure of.
They fell into a comfortable silence as they worked. James hopped over to assist Dean on the Camry he was working on.
“Jack’s got this one show, I hate it, it's called Riverdale .” Dean handed him a wrench. “It’s totally inappropriate for his age, but Cas lets him watch it when I’m not there. They think I don’t know, but I know.”
“Yeah last week, I came home early and they were watching it in the living room. They claim they fastforward over the ‘sex parts’ but it just don’t sit right with me.” Dean gestures for James to get behind the wheel. “They even had a stripper scene, Jamie. Strippers. In High School.” James laughed, and waited for his signal. When Dean held a thumbs up, he started the vehicle. It purred to life beautifully and Dean smiled.
He heard Dean’s laughter before he saw him. “Ah man! Who brought in the pimpmobile?” Liam was currently wedged beneath said horrendous vehicle.
“Yeah yeah. Just don’t let our customers hear you insulting their car.”
“Well they deserve it,” Dean said. “My buddy Cas had a car like this, though it was a much uglier color. He’s got no taste in cars, but he tries, I’ll give him that.”
Liam pulled himself out from under the car. “He doesn’t have it anymore?” Dean shook his head. He ran his hand down the length of the car.
“Nah I wouldn’t let him keep that piece of shit around.” His hand paused at the headlight. Liam thought of the man who dropped it off. He had grumbled and acted as if taking his car to the shop was Liam’s fault. And begrudgingly referred to the Lincoln Continental as his wife’s car. Despite Dean’s earlier insults, he touched the car as if it held meaning. “Now he’s got a minivan. Says it’s safer for the kid. Whatever, he looks like a soccer mom.”
“Ah well if he’s chained down you can’t blame him.” Dean gave him a confused look. Liam must have pulled him out of a deep thought. “You got a wife?”
“Uh, no, just Ca--”
“Good. Keep it that way.” Liam threw his tools haphazardly into his toolbox. Dean cringed. “Don’t tie yourself down man. Just today my wife was bitching about how I missed dinner with her friends because of work.” He scoffed at the memory. “You know, the work that pays for her dinner.”
Dean studied him for a moment. He opened his mouth, but aborted whatever his response was. “Right, uh, well. I’ve got Sammy doing that for me anyway. Kid can’t mind his business.”
“Sammy?” Liam didn’t remember the taller man ever mentioning a ‘Sammy’. Though they didn’t necessarily talk too much. Liam wasn’t sure why.
“Yeah, he’s obsessed with getting me to eat healthy. Don’t know how we’re related. Ever since he read that stupid health text book--” Was Sammy his kid? “--he’s convinced I’m gonna die of heart disease and has been on my ass ever since.” Dean finally tore himself away from the car, and made his way over to his own vehicle. “He and Cas are ganging up on me. Doesn’t help, Cas is obsessed with gardening. My kitchen is now full of rabbit food.” Dean still sounded fond, despite the obvious indignation in his words. Liam didn’t like the sound of Cas. Didn’t sound like the kinda guy Dean would hang out with. Dean’s a Man’s Man. The kinda guy Liam would go get a drink with and shoot the shit.
Dean’s mentioned Cas before, and everytime he just seemed… well he sounded like somebody his wife would hang out with. But Dean said he was his best friend, so maybe he’s reading into it wrong.
“Dean!” Hannah raced over to where Dean had been packing up for the day. “It’s Thursday night. Are you joining us at Johnny’s?”
“Appreciate it, but can’t. Anniversary dinner tonight.”
“Oh right.” Of course, they just talked about this last week. Hannah even helped recommend him some poetry books for a gift idea. “I really hope Cas likes those books, Mandy says they're her favorite, but I wouldn’t know a difference. Big plans tonight?”
Dean threw on his jacket after locking up his chest. “I’m cooking dinner. The kid’s staying at my brother’s tonight. I think Sammy’s more excited than any of us.”
“Aw, look at you.” She shoved him gently and laughed when a blush snuck its way up his neck. “Well enjoy your alone time.” She wagged her eyebrows. “You deserve it.”
“In the meantime, I will be trying not to strangle Liam, since somebody decided to ditch me tonight.”
“Sorry Han.” Though he definitely doesn’t look sorry. “I promise I’ll help you hide the body in the morning. Just don’t call me tonight, I’ll be too busy.” He winked.
“Yeah yeah, loverboy. Go make your moves.” She waved him off and turned to leave. “Have a nice night, I’ll see you in the morning. With a shovel.”
Dean laughed even louder. “See ya.”
Hannah set her beer down and took a seat next to Maggie. Maggie looked up and exchanged a smile for the other beer in her hand.
“God, thank you, Han.” They both took a sip. “Dean’s not coming?” The others at the table looked at her waiting for an answer. Liam was across from her and James was on the side of her not occupied by Maggie.
“No, sorry to disappoint, but your eye-candy has other plans.” She offered her friend a smirk, and Maggie visibly deflated.
“You and Dean, huh?” Liam chimed in. “You two sleeping together then?” He gave Maggie a knowing look, as if he figured it all out already. Hannah knew better than that. The way Dean talked about his wife… she’s surprised Liam would even suggest that.
Maggie sighed. “No.” She frowned and took another sip. “I think he’s in a relationship anyway. But a girl can still look, right?”
“Nah he’s single.” Liam took a confident swig of his beer. He said it as if he’s proud. Like Dean was one of him. He probably honestly believed that, as if he didn’t have a wife at home. As if Liam was half the man Dean was.
Maggie’s horny ass honest-to-god choked. “What? Really?” Maggie almost slammed her drink down.
“No, he’s definitely married,” James spoke up finally.
“Today’s their anniversary,” Hannah said. She at least sent a sympathetic look to Maggie. Even if she didn’t fully mean it. Dean seemed happy, and Maggie wasn’t the relationship type.
“No way. I talked to him not too long ago.” Which, being as Dean steadily avoids Liam, could be months ago. “He said he wasn’t married. He did mention a kid I think.”
“Oh, Jack.” Maggie confirmed with a nod. Jack? Hannah thought his name was Sammy.
Liam voiced her thoughts. “No, I think he said his name is Sammy.”
“No, you’ve definitely got your information twisted,” James said. Liam glared at him. ”His name’s Jack, he’s in High School.”
Maggie's hands froze from where she was idly twisting her beer. “Uh, no, he’s four years-old.”
“No, he’s in High School and it’s Sammy.”
Maggie slammed her hands on the table causing it to shake. Hannah kept her drink steady. “No way. It’s Jack and he’s four. What would you know, Dean doesn’t even like you.”
Hannah was pretty sure his name was Sammy. But she wasn’t positive. She said as much.
“We talk about our kids all the time. I know all about the kid. And I know about his wife.” This was James.
“I’m telling you I asked the guy, he said he wasn’t married,” Liam huffed.
No, no way, Hannah thought. If he wasn’t married, what was all the poetry talk about last week? “Well I helped him pick out Cas’ anniversary gift, so I think it’s safe for me to say he’s married.” Hannah’s fingers slipped gently across the table, feeling each individual ridge in the wooden table. Dean’s hands similarly scratched at the table when they talked last week.
“Cas?” Liam looked sharply at her. “No that’s the name of his best friend.”
“People tend to marry their best friend, dickwad.”
“No, Cas is a guy . And he has a wife and kid.”
“Cas is definitely the name of his wife. He even said Jack was just like her.” Maggie stared bullets at Liam and Liam stared back, leaning in further. Every Thursday night they did this. Nobody really liked Liam, but Maggie always made it especially clear she would leave him in a burning building.
Ignoring the tension between the others, James suggested Cas and Dean were dating but not married. James and his wife didn't get married until Sophie was 3, it's not unheard of. Which technically, he’s not wrong. If their son, Jack or Sammy, or whatever his name is, is four or in highschool, clearly they had a kid together before getting married.
They were definitely married now, though. “No, no. Definitely their wedding anniversary. He specified it was their first one,” Hannah said. She knew because she told him paper was the traditional first anniversary gift. A lightbulb had clearly turned on behind his eyes, the way they lit up. Cas loved poetry, he told her. But they had a pretty extensive library already. She promised to get some recommendations from her girlfriend.
Liam pulled out his phone. “Okay fine, why don’t we just ask him.” He yelped when Maggie kicked his shin.
“No, leave him alone, it’s his anniversary, dude. Ask him tomorrow morning.” The music changed to an old country song. The bar had started to fill up with more of the Thursday night regulars.
“And say what? ‘Hey Dean, by the way, is your wife’s name Cas or is that your best friend? Are you even married? Also, is your son Jack or Sammy and is he four or in highschool?’”
“I’ll figure it out.” Hannah took another sip. Their conversation took its natural turn to other things. But her mind found itself wandering back to Dean. She didn’t mean to. It’s not that his personal life was particularly interesting to her. But she considered them friends, and yet she didn’t seem to know too much about him. She thought his son’s name was Sammy, and his wife's name was Cas. But now she wasn’t sure. How could she have a whole conversation about what poetry she likes, and not know anything about them? She still didn’t know where Dean lived before moving to Lebanon. He said Lawerence, and “on the road” and was very vague about most things. She didn’t even know how he met his wife. How old his kid was. Was “Cas” short for something? Cassandra? Even when she wanted to drop something off to him, he would only meet her at a nearby gas station, refusing to give her his address. Maybe they weren’t that close.
The next morning, Hannah found Dean chatting with Maggie at reception. A cup of coffee from the breakroom in his left hand, his right arm supporting his weight. She tried to eavesdrop on their conversation, she hoped Maggie wasn’t harassing him too hard about his personal life.
“Hey Romeo, how was last night?” she stepped in.
Maggie eyed her. “Cas loved the books, thank you again for the recommendation.”
“First wedding anniversary was a hit, then?” She tested carefully.
“Better.” He smiled, but not at her. At a memory.
Maggie tapped her nails on the desk distractedly.
“Oh, does Sa-- uh Ja--I mean. Does your kid like cars?” Smooth, Hannah.
“Loves them. Likes working on Baby with me too.”
“You let him work on Baby?” Maybe he was in high school.
“With my supervision. Of course. But he’s a natural.”
Then she got an idea. “You should bring him by one day, show him around.” Smart, Hannah. Smart.
“You’d be okay with that? He’s pretty high energy, he’d be getting into everything.” Okay, maybe he was a toddler. And maybe bringing him around the shop was a bad and dangerous idea.
“Come on, I’m not that much of a hardass boss, am I?” Realistically, she probably could be, but only when her employees acted remarkably stupid. “Bring him. I want to meet him.”
“Sure, I’ll have Cas bring him by after school Monday. He’ll go nuts.”
“Great! I’d love to meet her, too.”
Dean’s smile fell. Hannah wasn’t sure if she said something wrong or if Dean just realized his whole family was coming to work and got weird about it. Or if he thought Hannah would be annoyed at him to assume his wife could also come.
“Uh yeah, I can’t wait. I got to get to work.” He stood up straight and gestured vaguely toward the garage. “My boss is an asshole and I don’t want to hear shit from her later.” He smirked but it didn’t reach his eyes. He left for the garage, the door swinging back and forth in his absence.
“Well that didn’t answer any of our questions.” Maggie piped up.
“Hmm, no, but it will.”
Monday rolled around. Hannah tried not to be too disappointed when Dean walked in 9am, alone. She knew he said they were coming around 3pm, but the questions had been nagging her all weekend.
And by the looks on everyone elses’ face, they were disappointed too.
Dean worked in a cheerful mood all day. Perhaps the idea of your son visiting work was exciting. Hannah still wasn’t sure why he seemed upset after the conversation on Friday. She even talked to him later, he assured her they were still coming to visit.
Dean received a call in the middle of the day. Almost every hand quieted and every head peered over to listen. Grasping at every tidbit of information they could get on this guy.
The conversation was short and sweet. Presumably, it was Cas.
“Hey Sunshine…..Yeah that sounds great, that’s perfect……..And apple pie….What do you mean, it’s always a good time for pie.... Fine…..Deal…..I’ll see you soon. Love you.”
The next couple hours went on without much entertainment. The bell chimed close to three, and every head turned toward the sound. The double doors blocked the site of whoever entered the lobby. But eventually they crept open revealing a dark haired man, and a teen. They looked a little lost.
Hannah approached them. They both held take-out in their hands. “Hi, can I help you?” She plastered on a fake customer-service smile.
The man spoke, deep and gravelly. “We’re looking for--”
“Cas!” Yeah, aren’t we all… Wait.
Dean was wiping his hands on a burnt red cloth. Every worker turned their attention back to the pair that just walked in. James and Liam pulled their way toward the group, Maggie appeared out of nowhere, slipping through between the doors.
Dean finally reached them. Before any of them could even speak or process, Dean pulled the dark haired man in for a kiss, when he pulled away he ruffled the kids hair. “How was school, kid?” Clearly didn’t realize he had an audience. Clearly didn’t realize he had effectively broken his coworkers’ brains.
“Good. Dad said you would show me the cars,” The teen--Jack or Sammy--got straight to the point. He wasn’t looking at Dean, or any of the others. He was just staring at the red BMW to his left. His hand twitched like he was ready to get his hands on it, but knew better than to touch without permission. Hannah suspected if he wasn’t holding all that food, he would be all over it.
Dean laughed. “I will, I promise. First we’re gonna eat.” Dean turned to the others. Hannah couldn’t see her own face right now, nor could she see her coworkers’ faces, but she was sure their jaws were dropped. She tried to save face and school her expression. “Uh, this is Hannah,” Dean said. He waved a hand at her. “And Maggie, and that’s James and that’s uh Liam.” He pointed to the other workers who weren’t nosy enough to walk over, just nosy enough to stop working and watch. “That’s Rodney back there. And Danny. And lastly that's Cheryl.”
“ No .” He wrapped his arms around the two other men. “Everybody, this is my husband, Cas and our son, Jack.”
When Hannah finally recovered she held a hand out. Cas took it, his grip was strong. “Nice to finally meet you.”
“Thank you for inviting Jack,” Cas said. And, boy, was his voice nice to listen to. “He has been talking about it all weekend.”
“Well, I’m glad to have him. I won’t keep you, I can tell he’s excited. You boys go have your lunch and then Dean can give you the tour.” She smiled as Dean nodded and led them into the break room. Jack was practically vibrating the whole way there, asking Dean 100 questions about the cars, and the building, and his job. Each one Dean answered patiently.
The four of them all stared at each other in their absence.
James finally broke the silence. “So we were all wrong.”
“Some more than others.” Maggie looked pointedly at Liam, who was still staring in the direction Dean’s family went.
Liam who constantly called Dean a “ladies’ man.” Who very clearly looked up to Dean and saw himself in Dean, found out Dean is gay, or bisexual. He found out Dean is married to a man and couldn’t seem to get over the fact. “No way,” he whispered.
Hannah couldn’t help but laugh at his face. Yeah, she was shocked. But that’ll teach her to assume anymore. Christ, she was a lesbian herself, and hated when people assumed she was anything but. And now she was a hypocrite.
But Liam’s face was still very funny to watch.
Later when Dean was showing Jack the car he’d been working on that day, Hannah reintroduced herself to Cas, who was sitting on a nearby bench, pretending to read. Instead he was watching his husband and son fondly.
Jack was working on the car while Dean gave instruction. She overheard Jack ask for his own cover-alls to wear, and she watched as Jack studied Dean carefully. Sometimes, mimicking his moves exactly.
Hannah learned some more about their family from Cas, but gained even more questions. “Cas” was short for “Castiel” which was unusual. She asked if he was named after an angel, he laughed and said not quite, but that it was an angel name. She didn't know what that meant. He didn’t answer when she asked where he was from. When she asked how they met, he said he saved Dean’s life and in return, Dean saved his. He didn’t elaborate. He told her about his garden and his homemade honey. Apparently he had a booth at the farmer’s market, and he and Dean went there every weekend. Jack had a blast talking to all the other venders. Cas smirked when he said Jack charmed all the other venders into giving him samples. He got that from Dean, according to him. Jack, who they had adopted four years ago, was a big theatre kid, and learned puppy dog eyes from Sammy. She also learned that Sammy was actually Dean’s little brother. And that he was planning a wedding for later that year. She eventually got pulled away when Maggie called her over. But she promised they would all have dinner together, and she’d bring her girlfriend. Cas nodded and they said their goodbyes and he turned back to watching the other two interact.
When she was leaving she noticed the book he was reading was Dante’s Inferno. The book Dean was set on getting for their anniversary. She wasn’t sure why he chose that one out of her recommendations, but Dean kept saying, “Trust me, it’ll be funny.”
She pulled herself back from her thoughts, and let the family be. She did have an actual job to do that didn’t involve prying into her coworkers life, after all. But not before texting Mandy everything of course.