'Joanna Beth, you put that poor boy's toy down, or so help me.' Ellen Harvelle's voice is sharp, a perfect order that has her young daughter's eyes widening, before immediately placing the toy truck back on the table, in front of the boy with the brown hair.
'Sorry, mom.' Jo replies, bowing her head and even though she looks perfectly sorry from a distance, the woman and two young boys sitting at the table can see the smile playing on her lips.
'Uh-huh,' Ellen murmurs as she finally reaches the table, sending the mother of the two boys a warm smile. She sets a cup of coffee in front of her, her smile widening as she does.
'I didn't order -' the woman starts, but Ellen just raises her hand, waving her off.
'You looked like you needed it; two young boys and judging by the luggage, a long journey too. Seems like a recipe for being worn out. Don't worry about it.'
The woman smiles, not a wide smile full of teeth, just a mere stretch of her lips that somehow seems more happy and genuine that anything Ellen's ever seen before.
'Thank you.' She declares softly, her hands coming up to wrap around the mug of coffee, and Ellen notices the gold band around her finger of her left hand. It reminds her of the one she still wears; it's been years but there's no way she's ever going to take it off. It's the only reminder of Bill she has. 'My name's Mary. Mary… Winchester.'
Ellen doesn't miss the hesitance as she gives her the surname, but she says nothing about it, deciding that it's best to let it lie.
'Ellen. Ellen Harvelle… but you probably guessed that already.' She smiles. 'It's nice to meet you, Mary.'
'You too, Ellen.' Mary replies, raising the cup to her lips, taking a sip of the coffee; it's just a little too sweet for her liking, but she doesn't have the heart to tell Ellen that, especially when she brought it to her without even being asked.
When Ellen goes to turn away, she bites her lower lip for a brief second, before calling, 'Ellen?'
The woman turns around to raise an eyebrow, a kind, gentle and warm smile still etched on her face.
'Do you know of any hotels around here? I don't want my boys sleeping in a car…' she trails off, wrapping her arm around the oldest boy; his face spattered with freckles, bright green eyes fixed that are his younger brother and a head of blond hair, and even Ellen can see the startling resemblance between the young boy, that couldn't be any older than sixteen-years-old, and his mother.
'There isn't one for miles,' Ellen starts, then she sees the way Mary's face falls, how she tightens her hold on her eldest son, who in turn wraps an arm around his younger brother. Ellen can feel Jo's eyes on her, wondering what was wrong with the family, but Ellen has more pressing matters than explaining life and death, and falling in and out of love to her ten-year-old daughter. 'But, I have a spare room you're more than welcome to use. For as long as you need… until things are better and you're back on your feet.'
Mary's eyes look hesitant at first, before they seem to lose all hints of distrust and weariness. She nods her head in thanks and acceptance, giving Ellen another closed mouth smile, and Ellen's starting to think it's just her way.
'Dean, why don't you and Sammy make yourself comfortable. Try and get some sleep, love.' She whispers, leaning in to press a kiss to Dean's forehead first, before pressing one to Sam's. Sam hops off his seat, but before Dean even thinks about moving, he wraps his arms around his mother's form, pressing a soft kiss to her cheek.
'I love you, mom.' He whispers into her golden her, before he pulls back sharply and hops off his seat too, moving to his younger brother.
'Jo, why don't you show the boys the spare room?' Ellen orders, and Jo is more than happy to comply, waving Sam and Dean over to the backdoor, before they disappear from sight.
As soon as they do, Mary reaches up to wipe at her eyes, wiping the tears away before they have a chance to gather, before she gives Ellen another smile.
'Thank you. So much. You really didn't need to do that.' Mary declares as Ellen moves closer once more, thinking about sitting down in one of the now empty seats, but deciding against it. Maybe she wants space. 'It's just, their father just died in a car accident, and we've been on the move ever since, and ugh, it's hard on them, and I hate seeing them upset.'
'You've just got to be there for them.' Ellen explains. 'Jo's just lost her father, and she's hit the stage where she's almost in denial. Shock. She's pretending nothing happened and that he'll walk through that door any minute. It's hard, but one of these days, she'l understand, and I'll just… be there for her. And that's what you need to do with your boys.'
Mary reaches across, placing her hand over Ellen's that she has resting on the table, another kind smile on her face.
'Thank you.' Mary repeats, before she stands. 'I think some sleep would do me good too.'
Ellen nods her head in agreement, watching as the blonde woman walks away, leaving her coffee behind.
'Move your ass, Jo, I'm only home for three more days, and if you think for a single second I'm gonna be running you wherever you wanna go, you are sorely mistaken.' Dean's voice cuts through the room, but Jo just rolls her eyes.
'You'd think going to college would've matured you a bit, but no, of course not.' Jo retorts as she stands. 'Mom, Dean and I are going shopping!'
Ellen turns her head, turning away from the customer at the bar for a second. She smiles at her daughter and the boy that's like her son, and waves them off.
'Mary, they're away.' She calls through to the back room, after setting the bottle of beer in front of the customer.
'Already? I've barely saw him! He's going to be away for good in three days!' Mary sighs softly at the end; both of her sons are away at college, Sammy just starting this year, but it's still hard on her. She still has Jo to gush over, but it's not the same. Her sons were her sons, even though Jo was like a daughter to her now.
Ellen moves away from the counter, wrapping her arms around Mary's neck and pressing a brief kiss to her lips.
'It's gonna be okay, honey. They fly the nest, but they always come back. It's the way of the world.'
Mary sighs again, but she manages a small smile, nodding her head as she wraps her arms around Ellen once more.
'I know, I've still got you and Jo; that's definitely an upside.' She smiles, more genuine this time, before she leans down and presses her lips to Ellen's.
And yeah, her sons have definitely flew the nest, but maybe now she can focus more on the sole reason she managed to keep herself together for them in the first place.