That the boy was Sam's son there could be no doubt. The face was still that of an adolescent, the hair darker, but the rest was unmistakable.
Above the panic and protectiveness, anger flared up in her and an inbuilt sense of danger added fuel to it.
As if it was yesterday, she remembered the words she'd said to Dean when she'd been under Veritas' spell.
'I didn't expect Sam to come back. And I'm glad he's okay. I am. But the minute he walked through that door, I knew it was over. You two have the most unhealthy, tangled-up, crazy thing I've ever seen. And as long as he's in your life, you're never gonna be happy.'
But she had no time to dwell longer on the muddled mix of her memories, as Dale got up and came towards her.
'Uh. Hi mom.'
Her heart missed a beat at his smile, so similar to that of his father, the only difference between him and Dean was the colour of her son's hair, a dirty blond. Her family were all dark-haired, she could only assume the colour came from some unknown grandparent on his dad's side.
Though she'd moved on, had forged a new life for herself in a different city with a loving partner, the past was difficult to put to rest, especially when you had a living breathing reminder.
The kid stood up too, hovering at Dale's back, an apology stamped on his face, so similar to the one his father gave her when Dean had made his choice, which had been no choice at all, and had left her to go back to Sam.
'I'm sorry to burst in on you like this, Mrs Braeden, but your son insisted.'
With a sigh, Lisa nodded to the kid. 'It's fine. Dale has a history of looking out for strays. I've lost count of all the schoolyard bullies he took out back in grade school.'
'Mom!' Dale complained, rolling his eyes.
She turned away, heading towards the kitchen. She needed a moment to think.
Why was the boy here? How had he found them, no, how had he found Dale? She wasn't foolish enough to believe Sam Winchester's son had turned up here for any other reason than Dale.
She was willing to believe the kid knew nothing of the past, that it was some sort of homing instinct which had brought him here, but whatever it was, it stopped now!
She turned on her heel, a false smile plastered on her face.
'So, Dale. Fill me in on your young friend.'
Dale had cooked up a story about Matt having run away from home for a bet he'd lost with a friend at school. He'd ended up sitting on a bench on the sidewalk. Lost and without a cent to his name to get back home.
'So, mom. I said he could spend the night on the couch, and I'd lend him the money for a bus ticket tomorrow morning. Take him to the station and see him on his way. He'll wire me the cash when he gets back to his mom and dad.'
Something like relief washed through Lisa, yet at the same time she wondered if it would be quite as easy to get rid of this 'Matt' as Dale said he was called.
'I guess we can manage that for a lost boy,' she smiled.
'Ben,' she called to her eldest son. 'Did you get the groceries on the list I left you this morning.'
'Yeah, mom. I stashed it all away.'
Ben was home on leave from the army. She'd wanted more for her boy, but he'd insisted on signing up and she'd had to agree. He'd grown into a man, strong and level-headed. A son to be proud of, which she was.
He hadn't seemed to have recognised anything in Matt of his father Sam, though he'd only seen the younger Winchester rarely. For that she was relieved.
'Okay then. Spaghetti Bolognese it is.'
She studied the three of them as they ate.
Ben was thirty-two. He wasn't married, though he'd had on and off relationships with a good few women. Like mother, like son, she thought wryly.
She too had struggled to find a steady relationship with a guy. She reckoned she'd finally found that with Dave. She loved him, though it wasn't with the flare of passion she'd felt for past lovers, but she was older and wiser now, and happy with what she had.
Dale was chatting to Matt, insisting that taking bets was the most stupid thing in the world unless of course you were one hundred percent sure of winning!
He'd be off to college in the fall. Engineering. Her boy was smart, brighter than Ben. He'd breezed through school with minimum fuss. Though he wasn't the studious type by any means, he had a natural intelligence and an almost photographic memory.
No, she vowed. Sam's offspring wasn't going to interfere in Dale's life. Tomorrow he'd be on a bus back to wherever he'd come from, she wasn't interested where, as long as it was far away from her son.
The next morning, Dale ushered Matt into the dated Ford Fiesta. 'It's not much, but it's better than nothing', he shrugged. 'It's all I could afford just doing odd jobs and tutoring kids, even though Mom contributed what she could too.'
'It's great,' Matt answered. 'I'm not really into cars. For me, if they get you from point A to point B, that's all I ask.'
'You're a weird kid, you know that? ' Dale remarked. 'I still can't get over you coming all the way from Texas to Missouri just because of a dream.'
'You can't deny I did find the house I'd been dreaming of,' Matt replied. 'So there must have been something in it.'
'Whatever,' Dale shrugged. 'Maybe you saw the neighbourhood on the news channel or something and it remained in your mind.'
Matt shook his head. 'No. The dreams were very specific, and the address of your house was revealed in stages.'
'Fine. Arguing the point is going to get us nowhere. I've got your number, you mine. When you get back to your parents, give me a call so I know you got home safe and sound.'
At the terminus, Dale pressed the bus tickets into Matt's hand and stuffed snacks and cans of soda into his back-pack.
'Okay, squirt,' he grinned, tousling Matt's wild hair. 'At least you won't die of hunger before you get home!'
Matt smiled at him, and Dale felt he was going to miss this kid even if he'd only known him for a day.
'I'll be waiting for that call, understand kiddo?'
The teen nodded, feeling as if his journey had been for nothing, as had all the nights he'd had to suffer through those stupid dreams. Not to mention his mom and dad who'd been super-pissed over the phone last night when he'd called to reassure them.
'I suppose I'd better go. The bus'll be leaving in a couple of minutes.'
But the words were all he got out before he fell to his knees on the tarmac, clutching at his head, leaving Dale to look on in horror.