It was hot outside. Well, not just hot, more like the hot as in ‘hellfire with a dash of cayenne peppers and jalapenos mixed in as the whole thing baked inside of the Devil’s industrial oven’ hot. Cookies could be burnt to a crisp on the sidewalk, children’s bicycle wheels melt before they pull out of the driveway, and even the birds were sweating in their shady tree nests.
Dean wiped his brow with his arm, smiling a little to himself as he continued to work on the engine of the old Ford in front of him. Maybe he exaggerated the heat index’s effect, but it really was fucking hot outside and he wished that he had taken the day off when Bobby had offered. Instead he’d waved his boss away, saying, “Aww come on, Bobby! It won’t get that hot today!”
He glanced up at the digital clock on the rickety wooden table that now resided in the workshop since they’d gotten a new table for the waiting area. It read 102 degrees, and that was the clock being nice since it was only halfway outside anyway.
Promising himself that he’d take a beer break in fifteen minutes if he finished up fixing Rufus’ carburetor, he made himself ignore the heat and the gradual trickle of sweat down his neck. He’d just gotten the wrench he needed when he heard a car pull up behind him. Singer’s Salvage barely even qualified as a mechanic’s shop—what with only Bobby, the owner and namesake, and Dean working there, only one garage, and a room that operated as an office but had started out as a storage room—but it was all that the people of Rifle, Kansas needed.
Taking a rag out from his back pocket, Dean wiped his hands on it as he turned around and looked at the car that had pulled up. It was a silver Camry, one of the more recent ones if the shine and sleek of the vehicle meant anything, and it was not a car Dean had ever seen in person before. He leaned against the grill of the truck as he waited for the driver to get out. Dean knew every vehicle of every citizen of Rifle—all hundred or so of them, and most of them were Fords or Chevys. The people in these parts really liked buying “homegrown” products.
When the driver stepped out of the car, Dean began coughing, and it definitely was because of the fact that Rifle was a very dusty area and not because he’d choked on his spit at his first good look at the driver’s face. The man stood about Dean’s height, and had dark hair tousled as if he’d been running his hand through it a lot and eyes blue as a cloudless summer day. He wore a long tan trenchcoat that he must’ve been wearing since his place of origin because you’d have to be clinically insane to be wearing such a thing in the middle of July in Kansas. So he was damn attractive, but also damn lost.
Giving his surroundings a look of distaste, the man asked, “Do you know where I am?”
“This here is Singer’s Salvage; something wrong with your car?”
The man didn’t appreciate Dean’s attempt at a joke, or didn’t get it, and went on, “No. What city am I in?”
Dean sighed. So the guy didn’t seem to really have a sense of humor either—a damn shame for that face of his because if it was good-looking know, Dean could only imagine what it’d look like if the man smiled.
“Rifle, Kansas.” A low string of curses came out of the man’s mouth, and Dean forced himself not to do anything more than grin in amusement. “I’ll take it you’ve got a different destination in mind, then?”
Clearly annoyed, the man met Dean’s eyes and said, “I’m trying to get to Chicago for my sister’s graduation.”
“Maybe you should’ve flown.” Dean nodded towards his license plates that had California scrawled across the top in red.
“Ah, gotcha. My little brother Sammy goes to college out in Cali too. He only comes home for Christmas and summer break.” Grin softening a little, Dean asked, “So I’m guessing you’re wanting I-70, huh?”
“If you wouldn’t mind.”
“Go back the way you came, turn right when you get to the caution light, and stop at the Roadhouse. Ellen will treat you to some of the best damn pie this side of the Mississippi. From there you can keep going straight and you’ll find the interstate in about ten minutes, or,” Dean hesitated a moment before smirking, “Or you can take a left, which will bring you back here. I’ll be done with this truck by then, so I could show you around before you head off.”
Something akin to amusement flashed over the man’s face, but all he said was, “Thank you.” He got back into his car and began backing up before Dean could even say that he was joking—mostly.
Dean sighed, watching longingly at the sight of the Camry slowly disappearing inside the clouds of dust stirred up as it moved across the dirt road. He hadn’t even gotten the man’s name. All he knew was that he was heading for Chicago, had a sister who was graduating, and that he went to college in California. He’d learned everything but his goddamn name.
Frustrated and still hot as balls, Dean grumbled as he turned back to Rufus’ truck. Bobby had told him to finish up this and then he could go. It wasn’t like they were busy anyway; everyone was staying inside to avoid the sun and its deathrays. Ten minutes or so passed, and Dean had mostly forgotten about the Camry and its owner. He would ask Ellen about it when he stopped by for a beer on his way home, but other than that he doubted he’d ever see the man again. If he’d been propositioned by some greasy ass mechanic while asking for directions, he’d probably run away too.
That’s why when he heard a car approach, he turned around expecting Bobby coming back to get something or maybe even Sam with a surprise sack of burgers. What he wasn’t expecting was to see the silver Camry, even dustier than when it’d pulled up the first time. Dean didn’t move until the man got out of his car again, a paper bag in one hand and a couple beers in his other.
Smiling—it was just as perfect on his face as Dean had hoped—the man walked up to Dean, holding up his items. “I was told by Mrs. Harvelle that you’d like some as well.”
Dean couldn’t help laughing as he took the bag, looked in, and saw the sizable slice of pie that Ellen had written his name on before placing it inside. He met the man’s eyes, holding out the hand that has less grease stains and said, “I’m Dean.”
The man took his hand and shook it, smile widening a bit as he replied, “I’m Castiel.” He held up the beers pointedly. “Know where we can drink these out of the heat?”
Grin never wavering, Dean replied, “I think I can name a few.”
It was still hot outside, maybe hotter even due to the fact that it was just after midday and the sun was relentless, but none of that mattered now. Dean had a beer, a piece of pie, and the company of a very handsome man with a weird name and bad taste in cars to look forward to, and he wasn’t going to let a heat index of over a hundred stop him from enjoying it.