Disclaimer: Four Brothers not mine…how sad.
Katy woke up the next morning feeling content. The sunlight was muted through the blinds in the window and the house was still. She figured Evelyn had already left for work and was surprised she didn't hear her leave. Feeling something stir behind her, she glanced over her shoulder to see a sleeping Jack tucked closely to her body. His arm was slung lazily over her stomach, and he snored softly into her hair.
Smiling softly at his sleeping form, she attempted to wriggle out of his arms without waking him. The slight movement roused him, and his grip tightened on her waist. She gave an exasperated sigh and rolled her eyes. 'What a baby.'
Giving up on her effort to escape Jack for a shower, she settled against him and let her thoughts drift back to the night before. She'd been so upset, and Jack's reaction hadn't made anything better. She couldn't help but think if only Bobby were here, she wouldn't be so worried. He would make things work out in the end. Telling Jack her situation hadn't given her much reprieve from the fear that plagued her mind. It had only worsened her worries not knowing if Jack would overreact to the situation. It was just like him to get too involved and end up getting hurt. She closed her eyes and tried not to let her doubts dominate her thoughts.
Waking up a short while later and tired of waiting for Jack get up, Katy pulled herself from his grip. His eyes shot open and glared as she pulled the covers from his body. His gaze widening, he pulled the covers back up to his waist and looked at Katy sheepishly.
"I don't even want to know," she muttered. Jack threw a pillow at her and grinned awkwardly. "I'm gonna take a shower. Then you might want one, too. When you're…better…go make me breakfast. I'm starving." She ran out of the room laughing as he attempted to throw another pillow at her. Exasperated, Jack let himself fall back into the bed with a huff, covering his face with a hand.
Katy laughed as she ran the hot water for her shower. It wasn't the first time an incident like that had happened. She remembered Bobby trying to explain to a twelve-year-old Jack why morning was a difficult time for guys. She'd been hiding behind the corner as Jack approached his older brother with a confession. She giggled at the memory of Bobby's shocked and appalled face and how obviously uncomfortable he was when the discussion finally turned into "the talk".
The phone rang as Katy was pulling her brush through her wet hair. From somewhere downstairs, she could hear Jack's voice answering the call. As his voice drifted closer, she could hear his spiteful tone.
"Yeah, she's here. Why do you wanna talk to her?" Her heart jumped a little as he said this and nervous spasms went through her stomach.
"Whatever, here she is," Jack said in a contempt voice. He passed the phone to her. "It's your boyfriend," he stated in obvious disdain. She felt her muscles relax, and she smiled. The way Jack had been talking, she was afraid her father was on the phone. "What does he want?" Jack leaned in, mouthing the words, but Katy just pushed his face away.
"Down Cujo," she joked, as she put the phone to her ear. "Hey, Jake. What's up?"
"Hey, I was just wondering if you wanted to eat with my family tonight? My mom really wants you over. She was disappointed last night," he explained, pausing for an answer.
She wanted to, but she was afraid Evelyn might need her help again tonight. "I'd love to Jake, but—"
"What? Does Jack want you there? I thought I was your boyfriend."
"Will you just stop acting like it's a damn competition between you and my best friend?" Katy asked impatiently. "Seriously, both of you are acting like you have property rights or something. I already explained this yesterday, Jake. I am not Jack's girlfriend, I'm your's. And yes, I'll come over tonight for dinner. See you, bye." She hung up quickly, annoyed with the fact that Jake was acting super-possessive of her. It was as if Jack was some huge threat or something.
Jack walked into her room and sat on her bed, watching her brush her hair into a ponytail. He wondered if she remembered what had happened the night before. He couldn't explain why he kissed her, though he knew it had to do with Jake. He wasn't afraid to admit that he was slightly jealous of the time Katy was spending with her new boyfriend. She had always spent so much time at the Mercer's that he didn't expect it to be any different. He also knew that Katy would have talked to him about the kiss no matter how she felt about it. She'd obviously been half-asleep when it happened, and he was relieved he didn't have to explain himself.
"Well, I have to go spend "quality time" with my boyfriend and his family," she sighed, picking up her purse. "Don't get into any trouble while I'm gone," she said with a smile.
Jack rolled his eyes. "Okay, mother. I'll try not to do anything stupid."
She laughed and walked down the stairs and out the door.
"These are for you," Jake smiled, pulling a dozen roses from behind his back.
Katy gasped. "You didn't have to buy those for me!" He handed them to her and shrugged, pulling her inside the house.
"I've been a jerk lately, and I want to make it up to you. I'm sorry about earlier and I'm apologizing for all the times I may get…jealous of Jack in the future." He pulled her into a hug and kissed her softly on the lips.
She pulled back and laughed. "You are too good, Jake."
Just then Jake's mom appeared in the hallway. "Oh, Katy, I didn't know you were here yet." Her southern accent was somewhat of a surprise when Katy first met her. She hadn't known Jake's mother was from the south. Now, she saw it suited her personality: laid back and always smiling. "Come on into the kitchen. I'm just starting dinner, but it'll be a while."
Katy smiled politely and followed her into the kitchen. "Let me help you," she said, reaching to fix the salad.
"If you'd like, dear. God knows I need more hands around here," Helen said smiling. "Jake and his father are lazy bums." Her eyes twinkled, and the corners of her lips turned upwards.
Katy laughed. "We'll just have to fix that, won't we?"
Jake's mother smiled affectionately. "Darlin', at the risk of sounding like a bad soap opera, I'm glad you're with Jakey."
"Me too," she said with a small smile.
Jake walked in at that moment and put an arm around Katy's waist. "Come up to my room?" he asked quietly in her ear. Nodding, she followed him up the stairs. Helen just shook her head and smiled. "Kids," she murmured.
As soon as they were in his bedroom, he immediately closed the door and began kissing her softly on the lips.
"What's this for?" she asked breathlessly.
"This is part two of my apology," he said into her lips, running his hands up and down her back.
She shivered with pleasure as he pulled her even closer to him. "Well, if that's the case, I don't forgive easily." She could feel him smile as he deepened the kiss.
Later, thoroughly kissed and forgiving, Katy walked into the Mercer's house with a smile. She heard voices from the kitchen and immediately headed towards them. She saw Jack first, turned slightly away from her, with a crooked smile on his face listening intently to the next person Katy saw.
She didn't recognize the girl but immediately noted she was beautiful. Long curly hair fell in a seemingly golden halo around her face. Big eyes, full lips—no wonder Jack was entranced. She was thin—actually ungodly thin—and her too small long sleeve shirt which she kept pulling down didn't completely hide the cuts along her wrists. Everything added up but nothing helped explain who she was.
The girl noticed her first. She glanced at her warily for a moment. "Uh, Jack," she started, pointing a finger towards Katy. He seemed confused for a second before turning around.
"Oh, Katy!" he said hurriedly, standing up and walking up to her. "This," he said waving a hand at the girl who was slowly standing up, "is Chase Parker." He announced her name like it was a great privilege.
"Hi," she said nervously, her hand reaching for her sleeves again.
Katy reached her hand out to shake the newcomer's, but Jack gave her a look, and she dropped it. Instead, she simply smiled. "Hi, nice to meet you."
"Chase is gonna be staying with us for awhile. Mom is her social worker."
"I thought—," Katy started, but another severe look from Jack stopped her. She tried to save face, but Chase seemed to know what she had been about to say.
"I know…my name isn't exactly a tell-tale sign of my gender. Jack already expressed his, uh, "confusion" when he met me," she said with a half-smile. "I'm guessing Evelyn just told you my name and nothing else, right?"
"No worries. It happens all the time." She turned to Jack, "uh, where's the bathroom again?"
He walked off to show her and Katy was left alone. She wasn't hungry since she ate at the Beirson's so she opted for just sitting at the kitchen table. She started thinking about little things like where Chase would sleep and if she was attracted to Jack like he obviously was to her.
The last thought brought an unwelcome rehashing of the unfortunate events surrounding Jack's last girlfriend. She certainly didn't want another Rianne around. The other girls at school felt he was slightly un-dateable with Katy around—what with her reputation for duking it out with his girlfriend and all. But Chase didn't know about the reputation or Rianne for that matter. Katy had to admit she was a little apprehensive of the possibility of romance between the two.
Just then Jack walked back in, running a hand through his thick hair and laughing quietly to himself. "Wow," was all he said.
"Yeah, wow," Katy replied. "I'm just a tad bit embarrassed about the whole gender confusion thing."
"Don't worry about it. Chase told me she thought you seemed nice," he admitted, taking a seat next to her.
"Yeah…," she trailed off. She sat thinking a moment before speaking up again. "How long is she gonna stay here?"
"Mom says not long. Hopefully only a few weeks. But who knows? It could be more and it could be less." His voice seemed to prefer the former rather than the latter.
"Where is she sleeping?"
"She's set up in Jerry's room. Don't worry," he said smiling, "we wouldn't kick you out of Bobby's room."
She rolled her eyes. "That's not what I was worried about." He seemed to know she was lying and just shook his head.
"She went to bed, but I have ice cream in the freezer if you want to get two spoons?" he offered.
"What flavor?" she questioned with interest.
"Moose tracks, of course," he said with a smirk.
They settled down on the couch and started talking about different things. Katy asked Jack how his day was and he told her it had been pretty boring until Evelyn had brought Chase home. When he asked her how her day was with Jake, she blushed and said it was fine.
He scrutinized her for a moment. "Be careful, please."
"Jack, I don't understand what you have against Jake."
"It's not that I have anything against him," he sighed. "You're like my little sister and I have to protect you."
"Or you could be my best friend and support me," she suggested.
"I'm your best friend, too, but you need someone to protect you. Bobby did a good job—,"
"Bobby was over-protective. As in 'to the extreme.' I don't need that anymore."
"All the same," he said, not giving up, "I just want you to be careful. Guys, well, we're known for breaking hearts."
"Wow, Jack, I'm not marrying the kid."
"Katy," he said severely, "please, please be careful."
"Okay. You be careful, too. Some of us are known for being psychotic bitches that cheat on our boyfriends and beat up their best friends," she smirked at his annoyed face. "I'm just saying is all."
After blowing through half a carton of her favorite ice cream, Katy was ready for bed. Jack was asleep beside her on the couch, the spoon used in the crime still in his hand. She stood up carefully so as not to wake him and gently pulled the utensil from his hand. She tiptoed to the kitchen, put the ice cream away (hopefully Evelyn wouldn't be mad for the obvious murder of the dessert), and crept back to the couch where Jack was softly snoring.
"Jack," she whispered. Nothing. "Jaaack," she whispered again, poking him in the side. He snored a bit louder but made no move to wake up. "Jack!" Frustrated, she plugged his nose and waited. His eyes popped open and he grabbed her wrist, wrenching it away from his face. She laughed at the murderous glare he was giving her.
"What?" he asked tiredly.
They marched tiredly up the stairs, whispered goodnight, and closed their doors. Katy crawled under the covers and was asleep before she knew it.
Opening her eyes the next morning, the first thing she saw was the red numbers blinking 10 o'clock. She blinked with confusion, wondering how she could have slept in so late. Normally the sounds of Evelyn or Jack moving around would've woken her up at a much earlier time. She opened her door carefully and looked out into the hallway. Jack's door was closed but she went up to it anyway.
Without bothering to knock, she cracked it open and peeked inside. She gasped in shock and quickly closed the door. The image of Jack laying on top of Chase, kissing her fervently, his hand disappearing into her shirt was forever burned into Katy's mind. She quickly ran down the stairs, her hand over her mouth in shock and disbelief. 'How long did THAT take?! One night and they're practically in each other's pants!'
Reaching the kitchen, she immediately noticed a note from Evey saying she'd run out for more breakfast things and would be back soon. 'They'll be hungry by then, I'd imagine,' she thought sarcastically to herself. She heard Jack's door open and close again softly and footsteps treading carefully down the stairs.
Jack tiptoed into the kitchen, only to stop dead when he saw Katy. "Oh, hey," he said trying to act nonchalant.
"I just wanted some…orange juice," he said nervously, opening the fridge.
"We're out. Evey's out getting more."
"Yeah, I…uh…thought I heard her leaving."
"Mmm hmm," she murmured, pretending to be more interested in her cuticles.
"I didn't know you were up yet."
Katy rolled her eyes. "Hmm, well, I know that you've been up," she said with a biting tone, "and you've been pretty busy all morning, haven't you?"
His eyes widened and his mouth hung open slightly. She whipped around and stalked off towards her bedroom. He recovered a moment later and stopped her at the bottom of the stairs. "Katy, wait." He grabbed her shoulder, but she shrugged him off.
"I don't want to talk about it, Jack."
"Listen, please. It's not what you—,"
"Don't you dare say it's not what I think it is. I'm pretty sure it's easy to interpret what was going on in there."
"I said I don't want to talk about it." She flew up the stairs and slammed her door, locking it quickly behind her. She wouldn't be so perturbed if it wasn't only the first twenty four hours that Chase had been here. Her thoughts were racing as she heard the front door open and Evelyn walk in. Guilt washed over as she decided she'd overreacted. If Jack wanted to act like that, then it was his choice. Not hers. She would just have to get used to the idea.
The phone rang suddenly, but she didn't bother to answer it. Someone else must have picked up because there was silence after the second ring. She rolled off her bed and opened the door, deciding it wouldn't hurt to grab some food if she was going to spend the entire day avoiding Jack.
She made it to the bottom of the stairs before running straight into Jack. Preparing to turn around, she noticed he wasn't paying attention to her. Instead his eyebrows were furrowed as he concentrated on Evelyn. Katy turned her attention towards the older woman.
Her face was ashen, her hands were shaking, and she was mumbling something quickly into the receiver. Jack and Katy stood side by side waiting for her to hang up the phone. She finally did and immediately sat on the couch, her head buried in her hands.
"Mom, what's wrong?" Jack questioned, taking a step forward.
She lifted her head and stared tearfully at the teens standing before her. "Bobby…he's been in a car accident."
The house was immediately a flurry of activity with everyone getting things together for their trip to the hospital. Bobby had been in Chicago with his team, so it was a five hour trip to the hospital he was taken to.
"How serious is it?" Katy whispered to Jack as she shoved her suitcase in the trunk.
"I don't know. Ma hasn't said much since the call. But to see her like this, it can't be good."
"How did it happen?"
"Honestly, Katy, I don't know. I know about as much as you do."
Evelyn walked out of the house and quickly got into the car. Jack, Chase, and Katy piled in after her. She'd stopped shaking, but her face was creased with worry and she still looked pale. Katy glanced at the speedometer as they flew through Detroit. The needle reached past the speed limit and kept inching higher. She'd never seen Evey so frantic. Whatever condition Bobby was in, it couldn't be good.
Jack seemed to notice the same thing as he securely fastened his seatbelt. "Ma?" he asked quietly, trying to break her out of her frenzied state. He touched her shoulder and the speedometer slowly inched back down.
She let out a small sob and reached back to pat her sons hand, still resting on her shoulder. "Bobby's in the ICU."
Katy let her head hit the window. She felt like her breath had been knocked out of her. Five hours seemed like a lifetime when Bobby was in critical condition. What would they find when they got there?
A/N: Wow, another chapter…finally, right? No real excuse for the long delay. At first it was because of finals and graduation (yes! I'm free!), but after that, I just wasn't writing. So, hopefully I didn't lose too many readers and to those of you still reading, I apologize.
On a cooler and mucho awesomer note…I was shooting for 120 reviews…and I got 125! How awesome is that?
Many thanks to:
Lady Jamie 178