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Always Room for One More

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Sam doesn’t even know where he’s driving until he’s almost there. He convinces himself that he’ just driving, just to get away. But really, he wants Jody. The mom voice, the most comforting person he’s known in years.

So, he ends up in South Dakota. The crater of the remnants of Bobby’s house are less than a few miles away, and it seems odd to come this far and not go there, as he did for so many years. But hr doesn’t drive that way, instead stopping at the sheriff’s house.

The door swings open as soon as he knocks. He blinks. “Sheriff Hanscum?”

“Heya, Sam,” she grins. She waves a somewhat stern finger at him. “You know you’re supposed to call me Donna.” The sterness disappears, and she smiles. “Didn’t expect to see you here. C’mon in.”

Sam looks around. He’s sure he has the right house. Just the wrong sheriff.

Still, he walks in.

Claire and Alec are both on the couch. They look up, and Claire even offers a half-wave, but they don’t say anything.

“Jodi-o’s in the kitchen,” Donna says. “I betcha you could use some food.”

It’s a fair assumption. Sam hasn’t eaten in eighteen hours.

Jody is in the kitchen, and apparently happy to see Sam. He finds himself sitting at the table, food in front of him.

“Wanna talk about it?” Jody asks quietly.

Sam swallows, then shakes his head.

“Okay,” Donna says bracingly. “That’s fine, Sam.” She stands up.

“Wanna tell me what this is?” Sam asks Jody quietly. 

Jody, shockingly, blushes. “Nope,” she says. “You want more food?”

Donna comes back with ice cream. “Fixes most everything,” she announces, putting down the pint along with three spoons.

Sam manages to laugh a bit, then picks up his spoon. “Cheers!” Donna says, and they all dig in. Jody gets up after a few minutes to go back to dinner.

“How long are you staying, Sam?” Jody asks when the pint is half gone.

Sam shrugs. “How long can I?” he asks. The last thing he wants to do is go home right now, but he doesn’t want to overstay his welcome, either.

“As long as you want,” Jody says immediately. “Gonna be on the couch, though. Don’t have that many rooms.”

“Couch is great,” Sam says. He’s definitely slept on worse.

“Great!” Donna say. “I’ll getcha some blankets.”

“Dinner’s in ten,” Jody says. “Maybe get the girls, too.”

Donna nods, then disappears. Jody moves closer to Sam, leaving the pot to simmer.

“You’re always welcome with us,” she says quietly. “Always room for one more.”

Sam manages to smile again. He’s beginning to get that idea.