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Somehow Mary had figured that the words "He's dead" would have gotten easier to say by now. No such luck.

"Too bad. I liked him," Stu said, as if that was John's most remarkable feature.

Mary had Sammy balanced on her left hip, and was simultaneously trying to keep an eye on her eldest and get a free meal out of her former employer. Not that she really needed to do either, but saving a little never hurt, and Dean would stop clinging eventually. So they told her, at least. "Yeah," she said, "me too." The conversation paused. "Look," she said when it became clear that was all Stu had on the topic. "I'm trying to get up to my brother's out past Dubuque, and things are a little tight right now, so I was wondering..."

Stu really must have liked John because he didn't even try to get her to do dishes or put in half a shift on the tables for old times' sake. Dean's silent, wide-eyes staring would probably freak out the customers anyway, if Sammy's diaper didn't do it first.

Half an hour later, she had everyone fed, packed into the Impala, and back on the road.

Though she must have driven by it fifty times, she hadn't set foot in Stu's Roadside Dinner since her last shift ended almost nine years ago. John had always wanted to stop, but Mary never could stand the place. In all her years there, he had been the only good thing to come through.