Temporary Home

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Authors: Aliyah Burke
see Laila standing there. After a small jump, she smiled.
    Laila gave her a tired smile. “Hey, yourself. Sam said you were in here. I see Eric’s bonded well with him. He’s out there chatting away while Sam works on his truck.”
    “I saw them earlier. It’s nice to see.” She gave a nudge with her chin. “What’s up with you? You look exhausted.”
    “I am.” Laila sat at the table, a groan escaping.
    “Everything okay at work?”
    “Yeah, that’s not it. It’s…well, Dean Jr.”
    Roxi clenched her fingers around the spoon handle she was using on the spaghetti sauce. She was making a dish Eric had asked for.
    “What’d he do?” No response prompted her to glance at her friend. “Laila? Answer me.”
    “They’re not good house guests. Chris was smoking inside when I got home. They’re demanding and just rude.”
    Tamping down her immediate desire to rush over there and kick their asses, Roxi remained where she was. “Tell them to stay at a hotel, then.”
    Another peek at her friend and she witnessed Laila chewing on her lower lip with a bunch of indecision in her expression. When she sighed heavily, Roxi tasted the sauce and placed the spoon on the dish before giving Laila all her attention.
    “What’s the problem?”
    “I don’t want to lose him, he’s family. They all are.”
    She narrowed her eyes. “Bullshit.”
    Laila jerked like she’d been shot. “What?”
    “Sam is more family to you than Junior Fuck over there or his two useless brothers. You know it, yet you continually take Dean’s side when you know damn well that excuse of a human wouldn’t cross the street to piss on you if you were on fire.”
    “Language, Roxi.”
    She scoffed. “Don’t have time to be delicate, Laila. Sam would move mountains for you. It’s time for you to make a decision on who is more important.”
    Laila’s eyes flashed fire. “You don’t know what it’s like to lose your family, Roxi. So kindly keep your damn advice to yourself. Dean’s in a tough spot.”
    Ignoring the stab of pain, she lifted her chin. “Just because I haven’t lost my parents doesn’t mean I can’t recognise an asshole when I meet one.”
    The sound of the door opening reached them and she knew there was little time before either Sam or Eric arrived. Perhaps both.
    “However, if you need to believe Dean’s above reproach, then go deal with him.”
    “Hi, Aunt Roxi,” Eric said, bounding in. The seriousness which had surrounded him while he’d been dressed in his academy uniform had vanished. “Hi again, Miss Laila, are you staying for dinner?”
    “No, she can’t,” Roxi spoke up before Laila could. “She has company at her house she wants to spend time with. Her family. ”
    Laila met her gaze, anger and hurt in her eyes, then she looked away. “Maybe some other time, Eric.”
    Sam appeared in the doorway and Roxi knew he recognised the tension. Turning back to the stove, she picked up the spoon and stirred the sauce. “Bye, Laila.”
    The chair scraped back and she heard Laila’s farewells to Eric and Sam before her voice faded. Roxi chewed her lower lip. Maybe she had overstepped but damn it, it was about time Laila stood up for herself.
    Eric popped up beside her. “Almost ready?”
    His eager question made her smile. “Will you please set the table?”
    “Yes, ma’am.”
    When she drained the spaghetti, she watched Sam assisting Eric. He nodded occasionally as he’d done near the truck, but still rarely spoke. Eric, if he noticed, didn’t seem to care his companion was mostly silent. He chatted along happily.
    Pasta in a bowl, she placed it on the table beside the pot of sauce. Spinning back to grab the salad and bread sticks, she ran into Sam.
    He steadied her and she struggled not to press closer. “Everything okay?”
    She glanced around for Eric.
    “He’s washing up. Answer me.”
    “Fine,” she managed to mutter before extracting herself from his grasp.

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