"I never heard of this place before. Still it does look nice. Maybe there's a history to the place. That would appeal to Angie." Haley looked around the general ground of the Wilkerson House. Out of the blue she received a message from Dean stating that he and Sam were planning a surprise for her friend and asked if she wanted in.
Of course she wanted in since she really hadn't had the chance to thank Angela for everything and they left rather quickly after the tournament and then it was business as usual over the next few months. She and Aaron hit the road then and she helped out people wherever she could. They were actually taking care of a witch problem. It brought Haley down to a low but it had to be done. She just disliked it when witches abused their gifts.
The note though was a little out of place since a text would have been easier and Dean would have had her number. She did all her usual tricks to make sure it wasn't something like a hex bag or anything like that. When it proved negative on that, she opened it and made the discovery. She did have to admit that it was a little out of character for Dean but she had seen his reaction before when Angela had gotten hurt.
There was no time to send a reply if they were going to make it in time. Though maybe she could try scrying and then send a reply. That would take up time too. Well they wanted a surprise, I guess this would be part of it. So they took off and took the better part of two days to get there.
Aaron didn't raise objections but then again he accompanied her wherever she went. It was an order from the tribes since she did have a piece of the seal. He was happy to follow and do his job. Right now he was flanking her like a protective dog as they stood in the main lobby of the Wilkerson House. Haley saw the desk and a pleasant woman behind it. She walked up and asked, "Um, excuse me. Is this where the surprise party is to be held?"
Haley had every right to be confused because the place looked a more like a resort spa in some places. It was strange. She looked at the front desk person who smiled big and replied, "Oh yes we have been expecting you. Your rooms have been reserved and are ready for you to check in." She smiled as she pulled out the register and laid it flat on the counter so that Haley could sign in.
Rooms? Since when does Dean have the money to do that?
Haley was sure that there must be some mistake and she inquired about it. The lady at the desk replied, "Oh there is no mistake. You see the reservations were made and we were given a list of who would be attending. We were to make sure you were comfortable."
Haley paused to think it through. Sam and Dean wouldn't have the money for something like this. Was it somebody else who convinced them to do it? Highly unlikely. Unless it was a trap or something. Then she would have to stick around and make sure nothing happened to those three and that was assuming they were heading there too. She glanced at Aaron.
The Nephilim had been thinking the same thing. He didn't say much but when he did, it was worth listening to. In the past few months, she had gotten to know how to read her bodyguard and his nonverbal gestures so she could tell that he was thinking the same questions she was asking herself. They could up and leave but if it was a trap, then they should stick around and try to keep Angela and the Winchesters out of trouble. Though it seemed that trouble followed them like a lost puppy dog.
Aaron had been scoping the place out while Haley had been doing the talking. He couldn't detect anything out of the ordinary except what was being told about the reservations and whatever. He had heard much of the Winchesters and had seen them in action and he knew that they were not the kind to be dishing money out for this. He suspected a trap and he was certain Haley picked up on that and he knew that she would want to help out. He gave a nod.
Haley, upon receiving confirmation, looked at the girl and said, "Alright." She smiled and signed the register using the week's current fake ID.
A maid led the pair up the stairs to their rooms and they were adjacent to each other. It was like those motel rooms where a door connected the two and all that. Haley looked around and raised her brows. Okay so we just have to stay alert. She glanced at Aaron who looked like he would rather have lunch with a demon. She said, "Well at least we don't have to worry about dishing out for a room."
"I don't like this."
"I don't either but maybe the boys stumbled across something like a free vacation package or something."
"I find that highly unlikely. Something about the Winchester luck," Aaron replied as he looked around the room that was to be his. At least there was a door between their rooms and he could do what he needed should the worst happen. "I am more inclined to think that somebody is up to something."
"That thought crossed my mind too," Haley admitted, "Which is why we should be here just in case it is a trap."
"They are hunters. They can get out of their own messes and they have Absolution."
Haley resisted the urge to correct Aaron on how to address Angela. He tried but when he got his back up in his patrol mode, he went back to his old habits. He was rather young, roughly her age, maybe Sam's (?) but he took his job seriously. She replied, "They are my friends and that's what friends do."
"Wouldn't a phone call do?"
That thought hadn't occurred to Haley. She could have called and maybe she could get through. She fished her cell phone out of her pocket and dialed Dean's phone. She held it up to her ear.
Hi, this is Dean's 'other' cell phone. Leave a message.
"Voicemail," Haley muttered. She waited until the beep sounded and then said, "Hey Dean, it's Haley. Listen I need you to call me as soon as you get this. I want to ask you something about the letter you sent me. Call me."
"Shut up Aaron," Haley replied, "Like you're any better. Mr. I Have No Idea Why I Need to Make a Message." She waved her hands to tease the Nephilim since he was so serious that he didn't get the concept of leaving a funny message.
"I am only pointing out the obvious."
"If that is a joke, you seriously need to work on it," Haley countered. She played with her pendant as she thought about what to do. They really couldn't do anything until Dean called her so that was an out for now. They could scope out the place and explore.
"What do you have in mind now?"
"Maybe check out the place and make sure that nothing is after my friends," Haley shrugged her shoulders as she played with the pendant. That was all that was coming to her at the moment.
"I agree. Maybe we will actually run into Dean while we are here."
It took Haley a moment to process the fact that Aaron made a joke albeit a small one. There was also the possibility that it was made in sarcasm too but she took it as a joke. Haley replied, "I think there is hope for you yet." She gave a tug on his jacket sleeve and they left their rooms to explore the building.
Seraph walked around the town of Heber Springs. She kind of liked it. It wasn't like the huge cities some humans preferred to live in. It was good sized and there were plenty of places for people to shop and buy what they needed and for luxury.
Why do you want me to wander around the town?
Think of it as a practicum in observing humans… and I know they will be going through town first and maybe make a pit stop.
Seraph should have known that Gabriel wanted her to delay them a bit. He always kept the more elaborate stuff to himself and he gave just enough for people to bite but not enough to enjoy. She figured that was where Absolution learned her tactician's mind from. Gabriel may be the Messenger but he was an archangel and they were the best soldiers of heaven.
It wasn't that bad though to be there. Seraph thought that being around humans was good for her. She didn't completely understand when the goddess sent her with Horus before but now she understood why Gabriel liked them. At least to some degree. She walked through the streets dressed like them, in jeans, shirt and jacket. It also occurred to Seraph that neither of the Winchesters ever saw her before and therefore wouldn't react as bad. She had heard of what Gabriel did to them before.
Seraph didn't generally approve of trickster pranks since they could get deadly but she did have to admit that the one about the alien was a nice touch. How she found out, well Gabriel couldn't resist gloating on occasion and she suspected that it was mostly to get back at the boys for separating from Absolution. True he pitted the brothers against each other but at least they didn't kill each other over the stupid stuff. It was true insight to how her brother felt especially about Absolution.
Seraph walked into a store. It was one of those mom and pop stores (interesting concept) and they specialized it seemed in antiques and pretty things… more like secondhand things. The items looked to be in good condition and held Seraph's curiosity. She began studying the items after assuring the proprietors that she was just looking. They held a certain appeal to her and it worked to keep her busy for a time.
She walked out after about twenty minutes and a polite chit chat with the elderly woman who ran the register. She started walking down the street to keep out for the Winchesters since given the rate Dean would be driving… so Gabriel told her. She was wondering how she was going to interact with them without Absolution being around.
She ran into a bit of luck as she walked down the street trying to work the cell phone that Gabriel gave her. She was becoming frustrated with it as she tried inputting a number and was ready to smite the thing when she ran into someone that was tall. She said, "Sorry," and gave up trying to do what she wanted to do.
"It's okay. My fault."
Sam walked down the sidewalk wondering what the hell he was supposed to do now that Dean told him to get lost and that was after Angela requested to be dropped off at a plant store. Sam didn't question it, thinking she was thinking of something for the sorcerer's apprentice. She certainly was in a better mood than yesterday. Maybe Dean's idea and the plan that dropped in their laps was a good thing.
Get lost Sam. I gotta go and maybe find something.
What are you doing Dean?
That thing Sam. Maybe you'll strike gold too.
Sam knew that Dean wanted to find a birthday gift for Angela. He didn't have to spell it out in so many words. He thought it was crazy that Dean was really going to town on this but then again his brother was not one to show his true feelings unless he felt the need. Sam could see that Dean wanted to make Angela happy and he was seizing on a means to achieve it.
Sam had no idea what money Dean was going to use since the credit cards were out. Then again there was the pool money they hustled the night before. Sam gave a slight eye roll at that since they almost got into trouble because Angela decided to challenge someone to a drinking game using the hard stuff and she won.
It had Sam worried a bit since she never indulged in stuff like that except well at the festival after the tournament. Even then all she ended up doing was loosen enough to poke fun at him, Dean and Bobby in a bar song. This time though it was like she threw caution to the wind and decided to be well... reckless like Dean.
She drank the guy under the table after probably fifteen shots, maybe more, of tequila and she wasn't even buzzed. The guy's buddies thought she cheated and were ready to fight to get their money back. He and Dean had finished their hustle and were ready to help her. It worked out because the guy she had drunk under told them to back off. The guy was actually pleased that someone could last longer than he could.
Sam could have sworn that Angela looked a little disappointed that she wasn't going to get into a fight but she accepted her winnings and another shot of tequila. They left the bar mostly intact and Angela went to sleep off the alcohol in the back seat. Sam did have to admit that one good thing about her ability to keep her head with alcohol was that she didn't get hangovers. She slept it off and was ready to go, professing the need to visit a nursery and she clarified it so Dean didn't get any funny ideas.
Wandering around the street he had chosen to walk down, Sam wondered if Angela was really getting into taking a couple of days off idea. If so the drinking was more like trying to imitate Dean and his idea of fun. At least she didn't have his brother's libido. She wasn't even interested in that and for some strange reason he was glad that wasn't so.
While he was walking, he ran into someone and immediately apologized. She appeared to be a little snappish and over a cell phone. She looked ready to throw the phone. He asked, "Bad break up?"
Seraph hadn't expected to run into Sam Winchester and especially on the street. At least he was polite even though she was frustrated with the stupid cell phone. His question had her baffled. She frowned and asked, "What?"
It was obvious that Sam realized he had made a mistake with his question. He was quick to rectify it and said, "Sorry. The only other person I know who would get that angry over a cell phone and want to throw it is a friend of mine. You just don't seem to be like her and well…" He shrugged his shoulders.
Seraph looked at the younger Winchester. She could see that his embarrassment was a major attraction to women. At least he was polite; a complete opposite of his brother. That much she was able to garner from Gabriel when he told her his stories. She responded with a smile and said, "Well your friend must be unique or have a bad temper."
"No. She only gets that angry if something is really bothering her," Sam replied. He then got a look on his face like he just realized that what he was saying could be taken the wrong way and made to shut up. "Well I gotta go."
Seraph understood though what he was getting at. She could see that what he was saying held affection for Absolution. It was interesting in her mind. When he started to walk away she took his jacket sleeve and replied, "Wait. I get it. So what are you doing here?"
"Just passing time."
"Doing nothing?" Seraph decided to try to be nosy but friendly. "Come on." She studied the internal debate going on behind Sam's eyes and decided to go with that. "There has to be a reason. I'm guessing it's not for your brother so maybe your friend?"
It seemed to work since Sam replied, "Sort of. I think Dean is blowing this out of proportion though."
"Must be something you wouldn't usually do if it makes you feel uncomfortable."
"It's not that. I just don't think that Angie would like being surprised on her birthday like that." Sam then shrugged his shoulders and added, "Sorry to bother you with that. I'll just go now."
Seraph may not be too experienced with humans but she had experience with Absolution. She had seen first hand how she could inspire loyalty but here she could see that wasn't the case. She knew Gabriel's plan and what was bothering the younger brother too and she thought it was rather sweet. From what she had observed, most people saw the battle prowess of Absolution and not her human side, as to call it. She said, "Hey, the best thing I found to work in these awkward situations is to find something that tells what you mean so even if you mess up saying it, it will say the rest."
Seraph watched as Sam paused a moment to look at her. She added, "Just from experience."
It was just the trick. Sam gave a look at Seraph and started back down the street. Seraph had to grin when he stepped into the store she had spent some time in. He would be fine even if he was unsure about everything. Now she had to find Dean. Time to quit playing human.
Dean was in a store picking up things for the Impala while trying to figure out if he should get something for Angela. Maybe Sam was right in that the surprise alone would be enough but he felt the need to at least have his part in it. Hell he could always say that it was for her finally entering his world of drinking and hustling at the same time. Not that she would buy that for a second. She could always see through the bull and straight to the heart.
Dean grabbed the bottles of oil and stood in line. He tried not to swear since it was getting close to when he said that he would pick her up from her plant shopping. It was like a gift from heaven when she requested to be dropped off to shop though Dean had to admit that her choice in stores was a little strange. Then again he figured she was planning on a new lesson for him. At least that hadn't stopped but it seemed that lately she had little heart for it.
Dean stood in the line wondering what the hell was taking so long and wondering if Haley was in the middle of setting things up. He toyed with the idea of calling her and he probably should have before they set out but at the time it seemed like a good idea. It was like a free vacation just dropped into their laps and in a place that would appeal to Angela. Granted it was down south and in the boondocks but it had that outdoor quality thing or whatever the health fetish nuts called it.
Making up his mind, Dean dug into his jacket pocket and retrieved his cell phone. He flipped it open and dialed Haley's number, not noticing the message icon on the screen. He listened to the ring tone and almost swore when her voicemail picked up. Oh well. When the beep sounded he said, "Hey Hale, it's Dean and I'm just calling to ask about the shindig for Angie. I just want to know if everything's good or not. Give me a call."
The line moved another person. Dean sighed in a fit of impatience. Did everyone decided to shop today? He was about ready to chuck everything and leave but his baby needed oil and maybe he could get Angela to help him out with that. She hadn't done any serious maintenance on a car since he didn't know when.
"Busy day today huh?"
Dean turned to find himself face to face with a hot chick. She had dirt blonde hair and she looked like one of those girls that didn't take lip from anyone. So the usual bull crap lines he used on women wouldn't work. He replied, "Seems like it. All I wanted was to get some oil for my baby."
"Gotta love a guy who loves his car."
"Damn straight. Maybe Angie would like the honors," Dean replied.
"Nah. A friend. She knows her cars and she could put a mechanic to shame," Dean replied boasting a little.
"Must be nice."
"Well Angie knows things and I know things and we swap them." Dean paused as he moved forward. It brought him next to a rack of watches. They were fairly cheap but an idea occurred to Dean. He once asked Angela why she looked up at the sky to tell time and she said that she learned to tell time before they invented watches. He looked at them. There were a few that didn't look too girly.
"Interested in time?"
"Nah, just an idea for a birthday gift."
"For your friend?"
"Yeah. Thing is I'm not sure…"
The woman looked at the watches. The line wasn't going to move anytime soon since there was a lady who seemed to have bought the whole store. She studied what Dean was looking at and then noticed the watch on his wrist. She asked, "Um for you or someone special?"
Dean shuffled the bottles of oil to steady them as he continued to study the watches. The more he thought about it, the more he grew to like the idea. It was a first giving a gift to a girl and have it mean something but he was sure that she would get it even if he meant it in jest. He heard the chick talking and he replied, "For a friend. Part of a joke but one we laugh about all the time."
"A joke about watches?"
"About a quirky habit she does when telling time. Thing is she's always accurate when she does it." Dean used his fingers to go through them. Most of them didn't seem right. Yeah there were a few that would probably be acceptable but they really didn't stand out.
"So you want to get a watch to tease her?"
"Something like that but she knows what I mean."
Dean wanted to retort at the chick. What the hell did she know about how he felt about Angela? And why was he spilling his guts like a girly soap opera? He shut his mouth and scowled as he continued to look through the watches. He didn't have to listen to this crap. Maybe what he had in mind was stupid but it was something related to what he and Angela shared.
"I think it's a good idea. Getting something that will hold some meaning. It makes it all the more valuable even if to other people it is a cheap thing."
Dean didn't look up but he listened. The chick sounded a bit like Angela when she was trying to make a point. What she said was how he felt. As far as he was concerned, Angela was a friend and maybe something more but not like what people thought. No way. That attraction thing is between her and Sam. His thing with her was more like his feelings for his brother. "My thoughts exactly."
Dean looked through the watches and thought he was going to have to decide on something really girly like pink. He could just imagine the look on Angela's face. He saw her as a girl but she had that modesty thing about her and she didn't like color conventions. She said the only thing pink she would wear is if someone made her march in a breast cancer walk. He was about to give up when he found the perfect one.
It took him a few minutes undo the clasps and get it off the rack thing. By that time the line started moving. It became an even more beautiful day when another register opened and it went by even faster.
A/N: Some doubts start to filter in their minds. Typical of a hunter. Dean and Sam look for something to give to Angie. Stay tuned for next time on 'Trick'steen Candles...