Feels Like Home
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Chapter Four: Feels Like Home

“Nice to meet you, Castiel, I'd shake your hand but..” She gave him a wider, more assured smile and handed him the plate of cookies. Their hands were too busy at the moment to meet. He glanced down at the cookies and his own smiled widened--what a coincidence--macadamia nut was his favorite type of cookie! He relieved her full hands and motioned her into the kitchen. He sat them gently on the counter after quickly shooing a now angry Jasmine.

“These look amazing! Did you bake these yourself?”

A little bit of pink started to fill her cheeks and she gave a nervous laugh, “It took a couple of attempts, but yeah. These ones are edible, I promise.”

At that moment, Nathan came up behind Cass, yet again, “Oh, another visitor? Hello! I’m Nathaniel. And you are…?”

Ellie seemed a bit confused and turned an even deeper shade of pink, “Oh! I’m Ellie Wyatt. I live across the street, just over there.” She motioned to the cream-colored, brick house over her shoulder. It was simple and smaller than their own, but still nice. “It’s really nice to meet you both….” She trailed off, looking between the two of them. She cleared her throat and said, “Well, I guess I’d better head back and get ready for work tonight. I’ll, uh, I’ll see you guys around!”

She turned away and walked hurriedly back to her house without another backward glance.

“That was odd. She seemed a little distracted,” Nathan said.

Cass looked turned to him, “She seemed perfectly fine until you came along. I hope you didn’t make her feel awkward. You could’ve at least put on a shirt, bro.”

Nathan shrugged; it was his favorite gesture. “I was working out! And YOU’RE one to talk. Remember Jenna this morning? You were half naked! And I didn’t do anything weird just now, so I wonder what’s up. But man, we hit the jackpot, here. Two beauties knocking on our door in one day? I love it here!” He winked and then looked as if an idea had struck him. “I call dibs on the ginger.”

He laughed and stalked off back to his bedroom to assumedly finish his work out. Cass just shook his head, “Typical.”

It was around dinner time and Cass was in the kitchen preparing meatloaf. It became one of his favorite meals. He had spent hours poured over piles of cookbooks at the old library in Twikki Bay, making notes of new recipes to learn and try. He wanted to make sure that his little brother could have decent meals rather than live off of boxed and canned foods and noodles for the rest of his life. Pulled from his thoughts, Cass heard a noise--a car door slamming shut--and looked out the window above the kitchen counter he was working on.

It seemed as though Miss Ellie Wyatt was leaving for work. He watched her rover pull out of the driveway and head up the road. He didn't know why, but she had found her way into his thoughts throughout the day. Maybe it was because he had eaten half the cookies already. He wondered though, why she had suddenly acted so strange after introducing herself. What could have possibly happened to make her bolt like that? That is, if Nathan was right and his shirtless demeanor weren't to blame. Cass was curious about it, but he also couldn’t stop himself from thinking of her endearing, self-assured smile and her honesty in that instance he has asked her about her cooking. She could have easily lied and left out the part revealing her struggle to bake them a simple batch of cookies. She could have just bought them from a local shop or a bakery! But she put in a lot of effort into making them feel welcome. It was a very kind and genuine gesture. If only more people could be that way. He, too, had to admit that she was a very attractive woman, from an aesthetic point of view. She was short and had a warm color in her kind eyes. She had a good shape to her, too...she was on the smaller side but looked sturdy, as if she worked out often.

“Yoga? Pilates? Sports?” he wondered to himself, thinking briefly about the defined muscles in her arms as she had flexed when handing him the plate of cookies.

Anyway, the kindness from his new neighbors was a good sign; maybe things could be good here. He smiled to himself as he placed the pan of meatloaf in the oven.

The house was feeling more and more like home. He loved the layout. The front door led right into the open concept kitchen. There was a half-wall that led right around to the living room. He actually took a liking to the pale yellow walls with its white trim. It even complimented his furniture choice. The dining room was a bit smaller, but big enough to fit an older dining set and his wine shelf. It was plainer than the rest of the house, but it was enough to satisfy him for now.

Now that everything was done, he needed to return the moving van before the company would double his rent charge. The brothers didn’t have their own vehicle and would have to call a cab, but this was something they were used to, living in bigger cities. Having a car had never seemed like a necessity, in their case. The thought of owning things, reminded him of finances, which made him consider something he had been meaning to do, “It’s time to look for employment.”

Of course, he still had his side job as a blog writer. He’d always enjoyed journalism. It didn’t make near as much as construction, but it brought in a little side cash, nonetheless. Once they were settled in, he would have to browse the web for places hiring. He made a mental note not to forget to do that when he was done with dinner.

“This looks and smells awesome mate. I’m starved,” Nathan stated as they sat in the dining room and started to eat.

“Thanks, little man,” Cass replied. It was nice to be appreciated for one's skill, and he definitely worked at it. He had to, once they started out on their own but thankfully, gone were the days of undercooked spaghetti and burnt eggs as far as Cass was concerned. Nathan had a little more work to do in that regard.

They began to eat in their usual silence, but Nathan interrupted it, “Hey Cass? Do you care if Sandy comes up for a couple of days? I told her we’d watch some recent movie she’s wanted to see when she gets here.” He followed up his question by rolling his eyes as if the LAST thing he wanted to do was watch some cheesy, romance movie. Sandy was a resident of Twikki Bay and seemed rather infatuated with Nathan. They had been “friends” for quite some time now. Cass wondered if she would ever make it out of the ‘Friend-Zone’. “She said she would be here in a couple hours,” added Nathan. Twikki Bay was only a five hour distance from Pleasantview.

Cass gave a nod as he swallowed a mouth full of food, and threw his brother a teasing grin, “Sure. You know, you don’t have to ask me to have, uh, guests over. You’re a grown man, now.”

Nathan laughed, “I just figured you’d appreciate the respect, that’s all, considering this is your house.”

“OUR house, Nate. But, thanks for letting me know. I have to take the moving van back anyway. I’ll just take a look around town while I’m out; get to know the place a little better. That should give you all time and privacy,” he gave his brother a wink.

They finished eating and Cass received a surprise when Nathan offered to clean up. As he had mentioned, he went to return the van. He pulled up the parking area of the rental service, left the van off there, and found the key return. Once he had completed that errand, he pulled out his phone and called a cab.

He waited by the closed building as the sun set, creating a dusky atmosphere with the light reflecting off the vans shadow slowly consumed them all. He did enjoy the scenery of the town, and how cozy it seemed. It wasn't bustling like he was used to, and he felt a more relaxed, personal vibe to the place so far. He briefly craved to eat more of the macadamia nut cookies but realized he probably should save some for Nathan. Cass was full from dinner anyways. Even if he wanted to, he had promised to give Nathan and Sandy some privacy so barging in to eat cookies would have been rude or awkward. Probably both. The cookies were, in fact, very delicious and he thought back to Ellie telling him how much she had struggled to make them. Well, it was a job well done and now that she was in his thoughts again...he couldn't get her out.

The cab arrived, and Cass entered the back seat and told the driver, “Take me somewhere that the locals enjoy.”

The driver nodded and off they went. The town was smaller than he expected, but still as beautiful. Fall was right around the corner--the hills were made of various shades of orange, green, and brown. It made for a nice view and wouldn’t make for a bad painting. It would give him an excuse to use his easel, finally. He made another mental note, this time to dig his paints out and make sure he had the appropriate colors.

They passed streets filled with beautiful homes that he would never be able to afford, a mobile home that was much more decent than the ones in the city, and a commercial area with little shops on the corners. He could tell that most of these businesses were locally owned. He passed a smaller, but beautifully decorated bar and grill and noticed a written ‘Help Wanted’ sign on the window. He may have to look into that--another mental note was made.

They came upon a peaceful looking park with a playground. The cab driver looked around at Cass and said, “People seem to like this place, well enough. A lot of families n’ young folk like to come out. It’s a nice place if you needa little time to kick back n’ relax.”

Castiel smiled and handed him some cash. “It’s perfect. Thanks, man. Keep the change.”

The driver smiled in return and pulled off from the curb once Cass had stepped out. There was a large, wooden gazebo toward the center of the park, and stone pathways that led to all the different attractions. There was a large pond off to the side of the gazebo, where he saw, what he assumed, was a couple with their young son enjoying some fishing. He smiled as he watched them.

“Maybe one day…” he mused. Though that would be a long time off considering he couldn't find any women to date much less start a family with. He saw that the playground was well-kept as he continued down the trail--surrounded by so many trees, greenery, and flowery shrubs. There were small picnic tables and grills spread out throughout the park as well. The driver was right, it looked like a great place to relax; he had made a good choice, this was nice.

Once he reached the gazebo, he sat back against the bench and took a deep breath. The air was crisp and tasted much cleaner than what he was used to. He did miss the sea-salt smell of the ocean that was not far from the bay that he once lived near, but this was just as nice. This felt like peace. This felt like home. He closed his eyes and smiled to himself.

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