Bentley doesn't notice the Impala at first; she's too busy being irritated by its driver.
Ben and Idris are out in New Orleans, having a fancy dinner to celebrate the occasion of their 50th date. Fifty dates in fifty years, a meeting every June. Sometimes Ben picks a city on Earth, and a decade; sometimes Idris takes them Elsewhere. Despite the variety, they've fallen into something of a routine.
That routine does not typically include one part of the couple being hit on by a man, who seems rudely impervious to the other woman's presence. Ben supposes that they don't give off the kind of vibes this man would associate with a lesbian couple; then again, he doesn't seem too emotionally aware in the first place.
"It's like there's something familiar about you. I'm serious, have we met before? By the way, that dress is gorgeous..."
It takes a special kind of thickheadedness to just ignore it when a Time Vortex is giving you the stinkeye. But apparently that's the exact brand of persistence that this Dean fellow possesses.
Ben has to give it to him, the man isn't bad-looking. But she is loyal to one man(-shaped being) only, and that's her driver. She grins a little, imagining Crowley's face and what he would do to this American if he saw Dean touching his Bentley, the way he's brushing his hand against her fender right now.
The man mistakes the smile as being aimed at him, and leans in closer, his lips practically brushing her cheek. They're nice lips, and he doesn't smell bad either — sort of metallic and well-oiled, like a clean-running engine. Still, he is so very not her type.
"Wanna get out of here, maybe go someplace a little bit... quieter?" And then he winks, blatantly and flirtatiously, long eyelashes like wiper blades, flashing down and back.
Across the table, Idris rolls her eyes so hard it might have made her dizzy. Ben can see a golden glow starting to show around the edges of her irises. Uh-oh. It's time to de-escalate, before this "dude" gets himself tossed into an alternate dimension. (Ben can never stop herself from putting mental air-quotes around American slang. She may have picked up this habit from a certain angel who frequently shares her passenger seat.)
"Actually," Ben adopts her haughtiest tone, "my date and I were just leaving." She pulls herself up to her full, if somewhat below-average, height, and gathers the folds of her gown around her in a manner that she hopes indicates polite resolve.
"Your... Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't realize that you were... Wait a second, her? Wow." Dean looks at Idris for the first time, and quickly looks away, a flush rising to his cheeks.
Alternate dimension in 5...4...3...
"I'm sorry, that came out wrong." To his credit, the man seems to realize he's put his foot into his mouth. "Not... I didn't mean there's anything wrong with it, or anything. In fact, that's pretty hot... I mean, um. Sorry."
As apologies go it's fairly lame, but it seems to mollify Idris somewhat.
"Of course, my dear. Consider the matter resolved." Ben takes Idris' arm and pulls her firmly toward the door, resolving that maybe they'll try Bangkok instead.
They make it outside without further trouble, and start looking around for a convenient alley in which to disappear.
The humid late-spring air settles around Ben's shoulders like a shawl, and she rolls her neck contentedly. Despite this small annoyance, she feels relaxed and good, and the night has just begun. Colored lights twinkle along the car-lined street, and the sound of saxophone jazz fills the air. She's survived an Apocalypse, the world — hell, the multiverse — is her oyster, and she has the most interesting being in it for her dinner companion.
She is one lucky car.
Her self-satisfied mood is interrupted when the door to the restaurant clatters open, and out rushes the man from before. Oh no, not again? He looks down the other direction, and then turns. When he sees them, his eyes light up.
"Oh, thank goodness! There you are."
Ben can feel Idris' hand clench around her arm. Abort, abort! Turn back while you can! she thinks at the man, loudly. But he shows no sign of psychic hearing as he trots over, holding something in his fist.
"Here you go, miss, you dropped your keys on the floor."
Ben's mouth opens in a silent O. Her keys... how could she have? Her keys are practically a part of her; she wears them on a silver chain around her wrist. How could they have fallen off and she not noticed? This could have been a catastrophe!
The man — Dean — holds them out to her, but then he pauses and pulls his hand back, studying the key and its insignia. He gives a low whistle under his breath. "Wow, do you really drive a Bentley? God, that's hot. I've never even seen one..."
Ben blushes, not sure how to respond.
"Do you..." he looks up at her, green eyes puppy-wide, and lays a pleading hand against her arm. "Do you think I could see it? Sorry, I know that sounds weird, but I'm really into cars, and it would just be the best thing ever if I could just —"
His words are cut off by the loud blast of a car horn. It seems to come from the parking spot right next to where they're standing, but when Ben turns to look, the car — a long, black thing with "Chevrolet" writ on the grill — is dark and empty.
Dean looks at it, and frowns. "Hmm, that's weird. Anyways, like I was saying, I would really really love to see your Bentley —"
Another horn blast cuts him off, again. "What the fuck?" he says, and then with more alarm, "Hey, what are you doing?"
Ben looks to see Idris standing next to that car, the Chevrolet.
"Hey, I'm sorry for hitting on your girlfriend, but back the fuck away from the Impala, alright lady? That's my baby you're touching, there!" Dean lurches toward Idris as if to shove her away, but before he can move the blue-dressed woman does this thing with her hands, a sort of complicated gesture involving downward and outward and more fingers than exist on a normal human hand.
There's a loud pop, and space folds inward and up in a way that makes Ben's eyes sting and water. When her vision clears, there in the space that previously held a 1967 Chevy Impala, stands a tall, lean, well-muscled black woman. She has short, no-nonsense hair, and is wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, tight black jeans... and more holsters and knife-belts than Ben has ever seen.
Somehow Ben has no doubt that the Impala knows exactly how to use every single one of those weapons, and could access it in the time between heartbeats.
The woman promptly strides over to Dean, and without comment, reaches her arm behind her and gives him a good, hard slap across the face. The crack resonates through the air like a gunshot, and when she pulls back, his cheek carries a handprint.
"Dean Winchester, what on God's green Earth do you think you're doing, flirting with that... that... that antique?!" The Impala points a dramatic, accusatory finger at Ben. "Don't think I didn't see you playing with her keys! What, are American cars not good enough for you all of a sudden?"
She pushes her finger into Dean's chest, hard. "I don't care how big her headlights are or how shiny her paintjob is. You are my driver, buddy, and you better not forget it!"
Dean looks at her, opens his mouth and closes it again. He seems unable to move or speak.
"Well?" she demands. "What do you have to say for yourself?" Her voice is deep and throaty, the accent vaguely Midwestern; Ben finds it strangely compelling.
Dean's mouth opens, and his mouth closes again. Open-close, open-close, over and over, like the blinking of a turn signal on a 50-mile straight highway. It's slightly mesmerizing, but Ben finds herself wondering just how long he'll keep it up.
Idris apparently has a shorter attention span. After a few of these cycles, she steps over to Dean and presses two fingers toward his forehead. He sees her coming and tries to duck away, but she is inhumanly swift, her movements blurring. He only has time to croak, "Not you too —" and then he is slumping to the ground, already snoring.
Impala turns to Idris with her hands on her hips. "What did you just do to my driver?" she huffs.
"Don't worry about it, I've just sent his consciousness elsewhere for awhile. You weren't going to get much out of him anyways, in case you didn't notice," Idris explains, bending over and picking Dean up like he weighs nothing. Ben looks down the sidewalk, and notices that they are no longer surrounded by buildings and people. At some point during this little episode, their chunk of sidewalk and street has become encased in a convenient patch of glowing grey fog.
Impala gives the fog an experimental poke, and recoils when it tries to wrap around her finger. "Where are we?" she demands, turning toward Idris while reaching toward one of her many holsters. "And what have you done to me?!?"
Suddenly Ben has had quite enough.
"You there!" Impala turns at the sound of Ben's voice. "Don't talk to my girlfriend that way! She isn't trying to hurt you, she's trying to help. Didn't you enjoy being able to yell at your driver, instead of just honking? You should thank her, instead of offering threats!" The Impala looks at Ben with narrowed eyes, but she moves her hand away from the gun.
"Yeah, I guess that was pretty sweet. Heh, I love the man, but I've been wanting to do that for awhile."
Impala pauses and eyes Ben up, considering. "Is your 'girlfriend' the reason you look like a driver?"
"Yes, Idris gave me this form, just like she did to you just now. But she didn't create my mind, and the same goes for you. You had it already, didn't you?"
"Didn't you ever wonder where it comes from? I mean, you're around other cars all of the time, right?"
"And they don't all have minds of their own, do they?"
"...I don't know. I mean, how would I know if one did?"
"...Hmm. That's a good point." Ben had never thought about it before. Could all cars be driving around thinking to themselves?
Idris chimed in. "They don't. I can see it when there's something more, the spark of life. And there are only a handful of 'cars' in this spacetime that possess that spark."
"Yes, exactly what she said. And why do you think that you and I are special?"
Impala tilts her head to the side. "Can't say I know," she says slowly.
"It's because of your drivers," says Idris. Impala smiles at her fondly. "Both of your drivers love you with a love that goes far beyond the normal affection between a man and his vehicle. And both of them are also... special individuals, albeit in different ways. Both are... chosen, in a sense, due to the force and weight of their affections; both carry the ability to bend the universe, if only just a little, with the power of their will."
"And because of Dean and Crowley, here you both are." She steps up and puts her arms around both of them.
"How about you? I mean, what are you anyways? You don't look like any car that I've ever seen," asks Impala.
Idris smiles, secretively. "Oh, I'm not. In your language I would be called a Time and Relative Dimension in Space, or TARDIS, although that isn't a fully accurate translation. I was born this way, as are all of my people. And I don't have a driver; I have a Doctor." She puts her hand to her mouth, as if sharing a wicked secret. "I stole him away," she whispers, "and now he's mine. He calls me Sexy."
"Humph," Impala rolls her eyes. "Well, Dean calls me Baby, so whatever."
Ben feels briefly left out, and decides to nudge Crowley in the direction of a nickname.
"So, what, you guys sneak off and go on lesbian car-dates or something? A little lube job and some regular maintenance?" She smirks.
"Yes, that's pretty much it," says Ben, ignoring the insinuation. "In fact, we were just thinking about changing venues. How about it, Impala? The night is still young, and Idris can return you before Dean notices you're gone."
Impala grins broadly, showing off a grill of straight white teeth. "Fuck yeah, I'm in. And, by the way, you guys can call me 'Pala." She throws an arm around Idris, and Ben can feel fingers playfully grabbing at her rear bumper. "This might be the most fun I've had in a long time — and I say that as a car who leads a pretty crazy life. Let's go!"
Carried along by the other car's excitement, Ben slings her arm around Idris as well, and slips the tips of her fingers into the trunk of Pala's tight black jeans. The three women share a smile as they once again prepare to hit the road.
Coming up next: Possibly some sex, if the author can man up enough to write it!