Disclaimer: I don't own Four Brothers…but I wish I did.
Chapter 2: Jack and Katy
Three years later, nine-year-old Katy ran across the street to the brother's house. She didn't bother knocking; she just barged in and ran into the kitchen.
"Bobby!" she yelled throwing her arms around the startled man. "You're back!" He set his beer down and wrapped his arms around her.
"Look at you, Kates!" Where'd my little chica go?" he asked looking around.
"What, Bobby? I'm right here!" she pleaded.
"No, you're getting too big to be my lil' chica anymore," he said playfully ruffling her hair.
"No, Bobby, I'll always be your little chica," she smiled hopefully. He smiled down at her.
"Alright," he said ruffling her hair again.
"Hey, Bobby," said a voice coming from the doorway. Bobby spun around to see a young boy with light brown and slightly messy hair and blue eyes leaning on the doorframe. "Who's that?" the boy asked.
"Oh, Jack, this is Katy Stevenson. She's our nine-year-old neighbor. Katy, meet my new baby brother, Jackie Poo. He's eleven so you're pretty close, age wise," Bobby said pushing Jack forward.
"Hi," Katy said holding her hand out. Jack just looked at her hand with a raised eyebrow. Bobby slapped him on the back playfully, but Jack tensed and his eyes darkened.
"Manners, Jackie, she's family," Bobby said still not realizing Jacks mood swing. Katy backed up. This new brother was strange. He was quiet and rude and intimidating. He wasn't at all like Bobby…or even Jerry and Angel for that matter. She wasn't sure she liked Jack Mercer.
"Bobby," Jack said looking at the man, his body still tense but his eyes less threatening. "Angel and Jerry are up for some hockey. You in?" Bobby nodded, still looking at Katy's worried face. When she wouldn't look him in the eye, he gave up and turned around.
"Let's get ready," he said walking out of the kitchen. Jack followed closely behind him. Angel came running down the stairs as Bobby reached the top step. He spun around and watched as his brother ran out the front door. Jerry came walking out of his room pulling on a jacket.
"Where'd Angel go in such a hurry?" Bobby asked, eyeing his brother.
"He's got some new girl, Sofia or Sofi or something. She called and five minutes later, he's runnin' out the door. He's whipped man," Jerry said buttoning up his coat. Bobby nodded.
"So, you up for some hockey?" Bobby asked. Jerry looked down at his feet nervously.
"Yeah, well, Camille called. She wanted to do something today. I figured we'd go see a movie," Jerry said walking down the steps.
"Who's whipped now?" Bobby yelled down the stairs.
"What's goin' on?" Jack asked walking up to Bobby.
"Jerry and Angel bailed. I guess we'll do hockey some other time, little brother," Bobby sighed. Jack looked disappointed.
"Aw, come on man, I wanted to play hockey today."
"You wanted to play hockey today?" Bobby said in a mocking voice. "Come on, you fucking fairy, get you skates. If we can't play a real game, at least we can get some practice in so we can beat Jerry and Angel's asses next time they wanna play." Jack walked towards his room to get ready, muttering something about "fairies."
Katy came to the bottom of the stairs. "When are we going?" she asked pulling her gloves on. Bobby shook his head and laughed, walking down the stairs.
"Oh, no, lil' chica, hockey is just a little too rough for a nine-year-old. Maybe some other day."
"But Bobby, you'll be leaving again soon to play hockey, and you never visit!" she pouted and stomped her foot. Bobby crossed his arms and frowned. Katy's temper tantrums had no affect on him.
"No, Katy, hockey is just too dangerous for you to play. You don't even know how to skate. I wouldn't be able to watch you the entire time. You're not going," he said, not meaning to sound so harsh. Katy looked down at the floor and her shoulders shook. "Katy?" Bobby asked, taking a step forward. She looked up and he saw tears running down her cheeks.
"Don't cry, Katy," he said bending down on one knee, "Don't cry. I'll take you to the ice rink with me and Jackie. I'll teach you how to skate. How 'bout that?"
"It's just," Katy sobbed, "You're always gone and I never get to see you anymore. You don't wanna hang out with me anymore." Katy broke into a fresh bout of tears.
"That's not true, Katy," Bobby said hugging her. "You're like my sister. I know I have hockey but it doesn't mean I don't want to see you." Booby stood up and grabbed his coat. "Come on, we'll have you skating in no time. Jackie! Get down here now or we're leaving without you." Jack came bounding down the stairs. "What were you doing up there," Bobby asked as they walked out the door, "looking at yourself in the mirror?"
"Shut the hell up, Bobby," Jack muttered under his breath. Katy walked ahead of them towards Bobby's car, oblivious to their arguing.
Once they reached the ice rink, both Jack and Bobby slipped their skates on. Jack went in right away while Bobby stayed behind to help Katy into a pair of old skates from when he was eight that he found in his closet. They were still in good condition, the blades were sharp, and they were only slightly too big on Katy's feet. With that accomplished, he helped her to the entrance.
"Okay, the trick to it is to keep your weight centered on the blades. Try to bend your legs a little…it sometimes helps to lean forward a little," Bobby said, trying to explain things to the girl. She just looked more confused.
"So, I pretty much just skate forward…right?" she asked. Bobby laughed and nodded.
"Somethin' like that, kid, somethin' like that."
In no time at all, Bobby had her skating in between him and the wall. She still held onto his hand but had stopped holding on the wall for extra support. She had fallen a few times, but she surprised him by not wanting to quit. Jack was still skating around, whipping past them with the puck, then sliding to a quick stop, spraying ice everywhere. He'd hit the puck, making it fly through the air, right into the goal. Bobby had to admit the little fairy was a hell of a skater and a decent hockey player, too. He was just worried about the kid.
In the three weeks he'd been at the Mercer's, Evey said he's been fairly quiet, especially when he first came, but slowly making improvements.
Evelyn stood up and walked to the door as she heard the doorbell ring. "Oh, hi Laureen! Come in, come in." The brown-haired woman smiled and stepped through the door. On the doorstep stood a boy with light brown hair and a frightened expression. He was dressed in ripped jeans and an old sweatshirt.
"Come in, Jack. Evelyn doesn't need to heat the entire neighborhood!" Laureen admonished the boy. He stared at her for a moment before slowly entering the household. Laureen closed the door firmly behind him. Hearing the door shut, Jack jumped and spun around, his chest heaving slightly.
Laureen laughed nervously. "This one, he's a bit jumpy, if you know what I mean. He's good though. Doesn't steal, doesn't run…he's just…jumpy."
"I understand," Evelyn reassured the social worker. "Hi, Jack," she said, turning her attention towards the boy. "How are you?"
Jack lowered his gaze to the ground. All was silent for a few seconds before he answered with a small "Good." It was apparent to both Evelyn and Laureen that Jack was extremely apprehensive about his new home.
"Do you want a drink, Laureen? Yes? How 'bout you, Jack? Do you want anything?" The boy shook his head. "Well, I'll be right back with your drink. You can have a seat on the couch," Evelyn said, walking into the kitchen.
Once she was out of earshot, Laureen turned to Jack and sighed. "Why is it, Jack that whenever I take you to a new home, you refuse to talk? You really don't get it, do you? Evelyn is the best thing that could happen to you. This isn't another place where you'll be leaving again in a week. When she brings you into her home, it will be your home for life. Understand?" Jack nodded weakly. "Good. Really, she is the best woman out there. You even have brothers. I'm sure they're around here somewhere."
Jack tensed and shrank back slightly. The thought of brothers was overwhelming. They were probably older, bigger, and stronger than he was. If he messed up, it wouldn't take them a lot to do serious damage to him.
At that moment, Evelyn walked back in carrying two glasses of lemonade. "I felt bad not getting you anything," she said to Jack. She set the glass in front of him. He took a little sip and thanked her. He zoned out while Evey and Laureen talked about the adoption papers. He really didn't think he'd be staying all that long. His attention was brought back to the two women as Laureen stood up.
"Alright, Jack. Don't take this the wrong way, but I hope we won't be seeing each other soon," she said laughing. Jack just looked at her with a blank expression. Laureen's laugh turning into an uncomfortable chuckle. "Well, alright then, I'll be going. Here's my number, Jack, if you ever need to get a hold of me." She handed him a slip of paper which he slipped into his pocket.
Once she left, Jack stared at his hands uncomfortably, aware of Evelyn gazing down at him. She cleared her throat and stood up. "Well, Jack, I'm gonna make some lunch. Do you want any?" He shook his head but didn't look up at her. "Alright then, well, I'm going to call your brothers down to eat. Is that alright with you?"
He nodded meekly and looked into her blue eyes. "How many are there?" he asked seriously.
She laughed lightly. "Three; Jerry and Angel are upstairs. Bobby is away playing hockey. He'll probably be home in a couple of weeks. Don't worry, you'll love them." She turned away from him and yelled up the stairs, "Jeremiah, Angel, come down and meet your new brother!"
A moment later, two boys came bounding down the stairs toward their mother. Jack stared at both of them, suddenly afraid of living there. Both boys were huge. They looked to be between sixteen and eighteen years old and both were black.
"Hey, I'm Angel," the younger one said.
"I'm Jerry," the other said, introducing himself.
"Jack," he felt himself mutter. How was he going to live with these boys? They could tear him apart in a second if they wanted to. Evelyn ushered all of them into the kitchen and began making sandwiches for them. The silence between them was awkward, but Evelyn kept trying to ease the tension.
"So, Jack, how do you like it here so far?"
"It's nice," he replied as she set the food in front of the boys. It didn't take long for all of them to forget the awkwardness and focus on their sandwiches.
Later that night, Evelyn showed Jack up to his room. "This will be your room from now on," she said flicking the lights on. The room was a bluish grey color and had a bed, a nightstand, and a dresser. The rest was left pretty bare. "I wanted you to be able to decorate it yourself," she explained.
He set his bag down and nodded. This was the best room that he'd had so far in all of his former homes. Evelyn noticed his approval and said 'goodnight' before closing the door. After turning off the lights, Jack laid on his bed and drifted into a fitful sleep.
Angel and Jerry both claim that Jack had had nightmares almost every night since he'd arrived. The nights they don't hear him yelling in his sleep, he's awake, staring out the window. Bobby knew they were both telling the truth because he heard Jack tossing and turning most of last night. He felt bad for the boy. He figured he probably came from the same background he did. Parents didn't want him so he gets passed from one foster home to the next, or to whoever is interested in money. Then, the so-called "parents" feel it's necessary to use a firm backhand whenever something goes wrong…pretty much a living hell. But, at the same time, Jack seemed ten times more messed up than Bobby ever was. It only took Bobby a few days under Mom's roof to end his nightmares, and he was four years older than Jack when he came. Something had definitely happened to that boy that had scarred him so badly, he couldn't trust even a little nine-year-old.
His thoughts were suddenly cut off by the ringing of his cell phone. He looked down at the number. He had to take it. "Sorry, Kates, but business calls. Do you wanna keep skating?" She nodded. "Alright, well, hold on to the wall and Jack will help you. Stay away from the center; once you fall down out there, it's harder to get back up," he said skating away.
While Bobby was on the phone, Katy continued to slowly skate around. Jack was staying as far away from her as possible. She looked over her shoulder to see where Bobby was when she suddenly lost her balance. She landed with a thud on her butt, her eyes welling up from the sharp pain in her back. Jack stopped skating but refused to come closer.
"Jack," Katy yelled, her voice shrill, "come her now! Help me up!" He didn't blink. "Bobby won't be very happy with you!" she called out. As she said this, Bobby looked up and noticed that she had fallen. He also noticed that Jack was just standing there. His facial features darkened and he started motioning to Jack to get over to Katy and help her. Jack threw him a dirty look, but noticing that Bobby was extremely pissed, he decided not to refuse and silently glided over to the girl. He gave her a hand to help her up. Once she was back on her own two feet, he tried to take his hand out of her grasp but she held tight.
"I don't wanna fall again," she explained. He looked at her warily through the corner of his eye. She seemed sincere enough to him. After five minutes, Katy couldn't keep her curiosity to herself anymore.
"So how long have you been at Aunt Evey's?" she asked.
"Three weeks," he answered shortly. He knew she'd start asking him tons of questions. He didn't have any patience for that right now.
"Where did you live before here?" came the next question.
"A lot of places," he answered.
"Like foster homes around Michigan," he replied getting angry. But the questions didn't stop.
"Why didn't you stay with those families?" Jack clenched his fists in anger.
"Because…," he said crossly, "they weren't nice and they didn't want me."
"But why?" Katy asked innocently.
"Because some people are just like that, okay. Some people don't like kids. Some people have to be like that!" he yelled.
"Aunt Evey isn't like that," Katy said soothingly But Jack had had enough. He pulled his hand out of hers and raced towards the middle of the rink.
Katy was mad. Jack was supposed to help her skate. She asked him a few simple questions and he ran away. She looked over at Bobby, who had his back turned, and back to Jack, who was standing in the middle of the rink, staring at nothing. Katy made up her mind. She let go of the wall to test her balance. 'That wasn't so hard,' she thought. She slowly pointed her feet at the center of the rink where Jack was standing. She pushed off from the wall and started gliding toward the boy. Before she could reach him, she felt her balance beginning to falter.
Bobby picked that moment to turn around. He knew what was going to happen: Katy was going to fall.
Suddenly, the girl's feet flew out from underneath her. She screamed out in pain as she landed. Bobby dropped his phone, not caring if the conversation was over or not, and flew over to her. She was crying and rocking back and forth.
"Katy," Bobby said trying to calm her down, "where does it hurt?" She pointed to her left leg, the jeans of which, he noticed, were being soaked through by a dark liquid. He lifted her pant leg up calf high to reveal a nasty cut as long as his pointer finger running across her leg. He saw it wasn't deep, but it was bleeding and it probably hurt like hell. Her blade must have caught her leg as she fell. Bobby knew he had to get her leg to stop bleeding.
"Jack!" he yelled, but Jack was already standing at his side looking at the cut with fear. "Go to the car. I should have a rag or something in there. Hell, even a napkin would help. Anything clean," Bobby ordered. Jack just stood staring at Katy's leg. "Jack!" Bobby yelled snapping the boy back into reality. "God, this is no time to go walking down memory lane. Go to the damn car, NOW!" Jack took one more fearful look at Katy's leg before skating off.
When he came back, he had two rags and a sweatshirt in his hands. Bobby quickly put the rag on Katy's cut. By this time, the girl had stopped crying and was staring intently at her leg. "That's my girl, no crying right?" Bobby asked, stroking her hair with his free hand. She nodded her head. It didn't take long for the bleeding to stop. Once it did, Bobby wrapped her leg with the other rag and picker her up off the ice.
"I can walk, Bobby, it's okay," she said, but he held her tight.
"No, I'll just carry you to the car and then we'll let Mom clean you up," he said wrapping her up in the sweatshirt. Jack stopped suddenly at the mention of his mother.
"You're going to tell her what happened?" he asked. His face had lost all its color. Bobby was beyond pissed at Jack for leaving Katy alone. He wanted to yell at him, knock some sense into him, but Jack looked terrified. Bobby suddenly understood why Jack was so afraid. "You're gonna tell her…Evey…what I did?" he asked again, backing up.
"What's wrong, Jack," asked Katy, twisting around in Bobby's grasp to place her hand on Jack's shoulder. He flinched but didn't back up further. "I'm alright, Jack. Aunt Evey won't be mad at you. She's not a bad mom," said the nine-year-old with wisdom beyond her years. Jack looked her in the eye, searching for the truth. He nodded in understanding and followed them to the car.
The short car ride was a silent one. When they pulled up in front of the house, Bobby took the girl inside and set her on the couch. Jack ran into the bathroom to get peroxide and gauze wrap. Once the wound was cleaned and dressed, she and Bobby curled up together on the couth to take a nap. Jack left the two and went to his room.
He was so afraid that Evey would be angry with him. He didn't really want Katy to get hurt, it just happened. Plus Bobby scared him too. The look in his eyes told him everything. Bobby blamed him and was pissed at him. Bobby's attitude really made Jack remember his last foster home. And with Katy lying on the ice, hurt, he couldn't help but put himself back there. Every hit, every punch, slap, break, he could feel again. He shuddered at the memories. He wanted this family to be different, to work out. He really did. He just wasn't sure. He didn't want to raise his hopes and get settled in, and then be forced to leave again. He sat looking out his window trying to rid himself of all his memories.
Katy woke up, eyes blurry and leg sore, but still rested. She sat up slowly and looked around. Bobby wasn't beside her. She knew Aunt Evey wasn't home because the front door opening would have woken her up. She sat listening for a moment to see if there was any movement in the house. She didn't hear anything which made her worry. She thought about Jack and wondered how he was doing.
Katy slowly climbed the stairs, trying to be both quiet and careful because of her leg and because she didn't want Bobby hearing her and stopping her from moving. She stopped at Jack's room and peaked in. He was lying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. She tapped softly on his door; he didn't move.
"Jack?" Katy asked placing one foot inside his room. Still nothing. "What's wrong, Jack?" She started walking towards his bed. She touched his arm, but he was cold and his eyes were glazed over. He still didn't move. He didn't blink, didn't speak…nothing. Katy screamed…
...Katy sat up, gasping for air. She was still on the couch. She hadn't gone upstairs. It had been a dream. No…a nightmare. She looked around. Bobby wasn't there still. The fear of the nightmare still gripping her, she ran up the stairs to Jack's room.
"Jack!" she practically yelled, bursting into his room. Jack sat up quickly, alarmed at her entrance.
"What?" he asked looking concerned. Katy, now embarrassed for her outburst, looked down apologetically and mumbled something Jack was unable to catch. "What?" he asked again, this time with confusion added to his voice.
"I had a nightmare," she said quietly, not looking him in the eye. He stared at her for a moment, trying to comprehend what she'd just said. Finally, he understood.
"Come here," he said, pulling back the covers and patting the bed beside him. She came willingly and sat beside the boy. He pulled the covers up around her. She was shivering, but not from the cold.
"What was the nightmare about?" he questioned, lying back on his pillow.
"I woke up," Katy explained, "and no one was there. So I went upstairs and you were lying in bed…and you…" she trailed off. Jack sat up.
"I…what?" he asked.
"You…you were dead!" she said sobbing. Jack didn't know what came over him, but he pulled the crying girl into his arms. She buried her face in his chest.
"I'm here, I'm okay. It was just a nightmare," he soothed. He had to admit, this was a complete change of character for him, but he felt something for this girl. He saw her crying, and he didn't want her to cry ever again. Just like when he saw her get hurt, he felt so horrible about it. Not a guilty felling, but a concerned feeling. Bobby would say he felt the same way about Katy. Even Jerry and Angel felt that way about the girl. They were her brothers; name and blood never mattered much to them anyway. Finally, Jack understood brotherhood and the feelings you have for your siblings.
Finally, Katy's sobs ceased. She snuggled closer to Jack, and for once in his life, he didn't flinch or tense or back away. He rested his chin on her head. He was happy…happy and tired. He felt his eyelids droop as he fell into the first peaceful sleep he'd had in long time.
Evelyn arrived home shortly afterwards, and Bobby explained what had happened. He conveniently placed himself at fault. No matter how mad he was at Jack, he couldn't blame him for what happened. Jack needed to trust him, and that couldn't happen unless there was something for him to trust Bobby about.
Evey went upstairs to Jack's room, figuring Katy might have gone up there. She peaked her head inside his room. She felt her heart flutter with compassion as she saw the two, Jack curled around Katy, both sleeping soundly. She knew both were comfortable and she hated to ruin such a cute moment, so she slowly closed the door and walked back downstairs.
A/N: So that's the end of chappie two peoples. You like? I hope so. I TOLD you it was gonna be longer this chapter. Thanks to all of my reviewers. YOU ROCK! Anywho's Read my home slices fic, Where I Belong. It's by ImAdctd2A3rdClssRkStr. LOVE YA BIZZY BOO HOME SLICE.