The rusted U-Haul truck gave a great sigh as it rolled hazardously onto the gravel drive of 37867 Gore Road; it’s tires desperately trying to find traction with it’s worn treads. Dean hated driving U-hauls and would have much preferred to have made the trip from Kansas in his father’s old Impala than in that rusted excuse for a vehicle. Hell, he wasn’t sure it was even road safe. Luckily it had managed to carry him to the old, slightly rundown farm house that the man was supposed to call ‘home-sweet-home.’
He yawned tiredly as he scrapped the worn plastic hatch open on the U-haul door, stepping out onto the drive. He had been driving for nearly fourteen hours straight, only stopping twice; once in Indianapolis for a tank of gas, and once in Sarnia for more gas and a greasy bag of take-out.
He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and trudged down the drive to plunk himself ungracefully on the farmhouse’s old porch swing. His realtor was supposed to meet him at the farm house at quarter after six. He raised his wrist to his face, staring blankly at the shiny watch that read ‘five forty five’. Half-an-hour early.
He sighed, unsure what to do with himself for half an hour before his realtor handed over the keys to his new home. I could catch a few z’s before she gets here, he thought. With a muffled groan that comes from sore muscles and too long sitting down, Dean stretched his body out on the chipped white surface of the porch swing.
“Dean Winchester?” A feminine voice stirred him from his nap. He blinked his eyes wearily in the still-too-bright sun of the Canadian summer.
“Yeah,” he sat up slowly, “You, uh...you must be Tamara?”
The woman in front of him was a tall, slender woman with dark skin and a short pixie cut. She smiled politely at him, “That would be me. I see you’re already starting to make yourself at home.”
Dean looked down at the porch swing beneath him, “Yeah, I was early. Figured I’d get a bit of sleep in before I was absolutely forced to move my crap inside.”
Tamara nodded, her hands fishing into the pocket of her black pencil skirt, “Well, sorry to spoil your nap. I have your keys here.”
She held out a set of about four or five keys on a silver neck-chain. Dean reached for them mindlessly, his fingers looping around the chain as Tamara let them go.
“Thanks,” he nodded in her direction in a sort of perfunctory effort to convey his gratitude.
Tamara nodded in much the same way and pointed to one of the keys, “That’s for the house.”
She pointed to the next as Dean held it up for a statement on it’s purpose, “The barn.”
The next key, “The silo.”
And so on, “The chicken coop, the shed, and the goat house.”
Dean nodded his acknowledgement, “Great.”
Tamara nodded, “Well, if that’s all I can help you with Mr. Winchester, I’ll be heading out.”
Dean nodded, “That’s it. Thanks, Tamara.”
Tamara smiled, “No problem, Dean. You take care now.”
“You too,” Dean watched her walk down the porch steps and get into her Ford pickup. Once she had backed out of the drive she hung a right and headed out to the bluewater highway.
He let another deep sigh leave him before leaving the relative comfort of the porch swing to fish the rolled up sleeping bag and pillow from the passenger seat of the U-Haul. He tucked the soft roll under his arm and made his way back to the steps of the farm house. He slid his new house key into the lock and turned until the tumblers clicked and the door squeaked open.
He cringed at the smell of too much bleach and Windex; the remains of the effort it took to wipe the blood from the century old hard-wood. The house had been an estate sale he had gotten for cheap (not many people were too keen to buy murder houses).
He wrinkled his nose and set his bed roll down in the middle of the moderately-sized living room. It felt a bit like squatting as he crawled into the sleeping bag and hit the pillow like a rock. He was soon asleep.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Dean? Dean, you in there?”
This time, when Dean was woken in up, it was morning. The sun was peaking softly through the windows and he groaned.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Jesus, I’m coming! Give me a minute, would ya?”
He shimmied out of his sleeping bag, not bothering to unzip it as he shuffled to the door. He opened it blearily and glared at the familiar man on his door step.
“Daniel, it’s,” he checked his watch, “six am. What the hell do you want?”
Daniel Elkins huffed at him, “Nice to see you too. I had popped by to say welcome to the neighborhood with a invitation to breakfast, but if your highness needs his beauty sleep..”
Dean sighed and opened the door a little wider to invite his father’s old military friend into his new house, “Fine, if I must enjoy free food.”
Daniel laughed, pushing past Dean and into the house, “You don’t have any other clothes out I suppose?”
Dean shook his head with a yawn, “Nah, everything is still in the van. I hope you don’t mind dining with a man of questionable scent.”
Daniel shrugged, “The girls at the Grill have seen worse than you roll through their doors.”
Dean stretched out his limbs with a tired crack, “Well, my baby’s still hooked up to the trailer, so I guess you’re driving too.”
Daniel rolled his eyes as Dean scratched his armpits lazily, “Guess so. Come on, before the rush starts.”
Dean gestured to the door, “Lead the way, boss.”
Daniel shook his head and lead Dean out the door and into his own ford pickup. Dean shut the door on the passenger side and clicked the belt into place over his hips, “So does everyone around here drive a Ford?”
Daniel chuckled as he pulled the truck out onto the road, “Pete out on Hawkins drives a Chevy.”
Dean grinned, “Good man.”
Daniel nodded, “Good enough, as men come.”
They rolled into Goderich at quarter-past and parked the old pickup in front of Goderich Grill on courthouse square (a street which was incidentally a circle and not an actual square).
Dean slinked out of the pickup and stretched his limbs lazily, “Original name.”
He refereed to the ingenious title of ‘Goderich Grill’ which had been standing for a few decades now (not including the eleven month period of renovation after the tornado that ripped through town four years prior).
Daniel shrugged, “Doesn’t have to be original, just has to serve good food.”
Dean quirked his lips and shrugged in agreement; as long as they had the real maple syrup he was promised upon immigrating he couldn’t care less what they named the place.
He followed Daniel inside the restaurant where a sign proclaimed in big chalk letters that they seat themselves. Daniel took no notice of the sign; having been a regular customer of the establishment for the past ten years, he simply walked right in and sat down at a table near the right wall of the restaurant.
Dean followed, pulling out a plastic chair that belonged to the 90’s, “So, what does this place got to eat?”
Daniel rose a brow, “Just your usual Canadian breakfast foods. I warn you though, if you’re in a mood for grits, you’ll find none here.”
Dean wrinkled his nose in distaste, “Never liked the stuff anyway.”
A plump woman about sixty or so seemed to notice their arrival as she scuttled over to them with a set of menus clutched in her slightly wrinkled hands, “Elkins! Good to you see you. How’s work at the mine?”
Daniel smiled, “Hey Ellie. The mine is fine, still operating at top form.”
Ellie grinned widely as she set down the menus, “Good, good. Can’t let our biggest export run dry now. Who’s your friend?”
Daniel patted Dean roughly on the shoulder as way of introduction, “This here is Dean. I served with his Daddy in the marines. Got him a job working Benjamin's old shift.”
Ellie smiled, “So you’re a mechanic then? That’s nice.”
Dean cleared his throat and shook his head, “Engineer, actually. I’ll be working maintenance on the machines down in the mine, as well as fixing up the dump trucks down there.”
Ellie nodded with a smile, “Well, welcome to the neighborhood, son. Let me know when you’ve decided on your breakfast.”
Dean gave the old gal a winning smile and a polite, ‘yes ma’am.’ She shook her head fondly before scuttling off to another customer.
Dean flipped open the worn, slightly ripped menu and perused the breakfast section. It wasn’t exactly a buffet of selection, but there were enough options to make his morning meal interesting. He scanned the options, hoping for something with bacon, and preferably pancakes.
“Hey, what do you usually get?” Dean looked up to see Daniel hadn’t even opened the menu; obviously having memorized their options by now.
“Oh, I usually get one of their skillets; a bunch of meat and cheese and stuff all scrambled up with eggs and potatoes. Margo has the best ones in this town. Granted, she only has about two other places competing for title,” Daniel shrugged once more, a peculiar habit that Dean was starting to pick up on.
“Hmm,” he looked back at the menu before deciding on just saying what he wanted; pancakes and bacon.
Instead of Ellie coming back to their table, a younger woman in her mid to late forties was the one to return for their order, “You’ve decided then?”
Daniel nodded, “The usual for me, Donna.”
The woman nodded and a strangling red curl fell from he pony tail and into her face, “And for you?”
Dean flipped his menu closed, “I’ll have blueberry pancakes and a side of bacon.”
Donna nodded, “You want regular or peameal?”
Dean squinted his brow, “Huh?”
Daniel rolled his eyes, “Give him one of each; he just immigrated from America. Time to immerse him in Canadian culture.”
Donna scoffed, “If you say so. I’m not sure how peameal bacon can be considered culture... Anything to drink?”
They both ordered a cup of coffee and watched as she scribbled on her notepad before wandering off to the kitchen.
Dean rose his brow, “Is that some sort of fancy Canadian bacon?”
Daniel shrugged, “Fancy, no. Bacon, yes. It’s pretty much a slice of pig with fat and peameal on the edges. Good as hell though. Put it on a burger with a fried egg and some onion and you’re looking at one of the best burgers you’ve ever had.”
Dean wasn’t sure anything could trump the bacon double cheeseburgers from the Roadhouse. He raised his brow skeptically but didn’t comment.
A good ten minutes later and Ellie popped out of the kitchen with three plates in hand and waddled over to them, “Here we are; a western skillet for Elkins with a side of Hollandaise sauce; and for our new friend Dean, a stack of blueberry pancakes and two sides of bacon done both ways.”
She placed the plates on the table as she listed them off and Dean grinned at the tower of three, majorly fluffy breakfast cakes on his plate, “Awesome.”
Ellie smiled politely, “Enjoy.”
Daniel pulled into the drive of 37867 Gore Street at eight am, “Do you need a few extra hands getting your stuff inside?”
Dean hopped out of the truck, “If you wouldn’t mind. Some of the furniture is too big to carry by myself.”
Daniel nodded, “Best get too it then. I have a dentist appointment at noon.”
It didn’t take them too long to unload everything once they had gotten the Impala unhooked from the truck (they kept it attached to the car trailer, so that when Dean had to bring back the van he’d have a ride home).
The last thing the brought into the house was an old brown suede couch which they shoved unceremoniously in living room corner. They grunted from the strain on their muscles before pulunking down into the sofa they had just hauled in.
Dean panted out a sigh, “Thanks, man. For everything.”
Daniel waved his hand, “Don’t mention it. Just don’t fuck up this job or it’ll be both out heads on the chopping block. Speaking of, I’ve got some of your papers in my glove compartment. You wait here while I go get them.” He struggled to his feet from the sink hole of a couch and shuffled out the screen door to the porch.
Dean sighed, stretching out his limbs and looking around the small open concept space of his new home. The previous owner had obviously renovated the place well (before he was murdered and the property value dropped, this place would have fetched a pretty penny). The kitchen had dark granite counter tops and a small island that broke up the kitchen and living room space. The cupboards were a dark cherry wood that contrasted well with the lighter birch hardwood. It was a beautiful kitchen. Unfortunately Dean didn’t see himself cooking in it much. As a kid he had spent many years cooking for his brother and had since lost his willingness to do it (it didn’t help that in the six years he served at Fort Riley, that all his meals had been prepared for him).
Daniel kicked the door open lightly and threw a folder on his lap, “Here. Your contract, your union papers, and anything else management threw at me.”
Dean nodded and opened the folder on his lap, briefly skimming the contents before closing it, “Thanks, Daniel.”
Daniel nodded, “No problem. I have to be heading out now, enjoy settling in.”
Dean smiled, “See ya.”
Daniel waved over his shoulder as he left.
Dean took another look at the mess of boxes around him before deciding he’d better start making some headway. He pulled himself out of the couch and set to work tearing open boxes. His new life in Goderich, Ontario was going to be a bit uncomfortable if he didn’t.