The Last Time

Summary: What if Evelyn knew that something was going to happen to her the night before the liquor store hold-up? How would you handle saying the most important words to your sons for the last time?

Disclaimer: I don't own the brothers, Evelyn, Jerry's family, or the first scene in the movie "Ms. Evelyn" that I put in at the end. Or the song from Jefferson Airplane either. The only things that I own are the DVD and a picture of Jack in my room…

A/N: Hey, guys. I'm glad you've all liked my Four Brothers stories up until now. Check out "A Secret to Kill For" if you want. I was finally able to update it… Anyway, I'm just warning you now that this story is very sad, but it's worth reading. To get most of the detail that I could, I watched the movie dozens of times for different scenes. I actually cried while writing it, but then again, I'm the girl who cried the first time I saw Jack die… and who almost cries all the time after. This might also be slight AU, but I'm not 100 sure on that! Lol! Oh, I also have an injured finger from falling on pavement at the lake this weekend (if you really care enough, you can ask. I'm not gonna go into detail right now…), so if there are any typos, please excuse them! Anyway, I hope you enjoy. Hope you have some Kleenexes or something…

Evelyn slowly set her fork down on her half empty plate, suddenly not feeling very hungry. She stood up and put the remainder of her dinner in the garbage, then went to the sink and washed the dishes. She slowly put the plate and silverware away after drying them and walked over to the calendar to check the date. November 20th. She sighed as she stared at it. In all of her years, Evelyn had never experienced a day crawl by so slowly.

After making sure that the kitchen was clean and organized, Evelyn slowly wandered back into the dining room, standing in front of a picture-filled wall. There were smaller pictures of her four sons as they grew up under her care, and there were a few more on the desk resting against it. But none of these pictures had her anywhere in them. Evelyn looked over these photos, taking in the memories as here eyes sparkled.

Bobby's hockey games… Jack's concerts… Angel's first days as a soldier… Jeremiah with his wife and two girls… the boys playing together when they were younger and had no cares… all of the memories came back to her as tears formed in her eyes. But then, her attention traveled to four larger pictures that were hanging higher on the wall.

Each one contained one of her sons. Evelyn started with the one farthest on the left, sighing as she looked at it. The smiling face of Angel was looking back at her, and Evelyn knew that she had captured one of the few rare moments where he actually did smile. It was a shame that he didn't smile more often since he had a beautiful smile that almost seemed uncharacteristic for his gruff nature. She slowly reached up and touched the frame delicately for a moment before moving onto the next one.

Bobby looked back down at her, a broad smile on his face. Evelyn smiled herself when she saw that her oldest son was giving an actual true smile instead of his natural playful smirk. Bobby had a reputation for being a hothead, but if you got past the rough exterior, you would find his caring interior. The main reason this was her favorite picture of him was because his sweet nature was showing through in it, which was the side of him that she liked best. He might not have liked to think, but he was very smart. That was what was showing through in this photo. She lightly touched the bottom of the frame so she wouldn't leave her fingerprints on the glass and looked at the next one in line.

Jeremiah was laughing as he looked back at Evelyn from his picture. But that was Jerry, always trying to be cheerful. Evelyn knew that when this picture was taken, he didn't have as many cares as he had now. For the past few years, Jerry had been more secretive about his business. But Evelyn still knew. She knew that he was having problems, and she tried to help him in her own way. But this picture showed the Jerry before all of that, the true smile of Jeremiah. Those days were gone, but Evelyn would have given anything to return to them with her sons. She touched the frame for a moment before turning her attention to the final picture.

Jack, her little Jackie was looking at her with the shy smile that he always wore. But Evelyn knew her youngest son well enough to know that his shy exterior was a mask to cover up his true nature. She could see it in his eyes, which always showed what he was feeling. There was a child-like innocence that remained in those eyes, leading to curiosity. He had always been interested in what she had done, which showed his lighter side… the side that wasn't plagued with dark memories of his past. But this photo showed this lighter side, the side that showed the love he had for his brothers and her; the side he always tried to keep hidden. She shakily ran her fingers over the frame, the tears in her eyes threatening to fall.

Evelyn slowly backed away from the wall, looking at the four pictures. As she looked at the four people in each of the photos, she couldn't stand to think about what would have happened to them if she wouldn't have gotten to them first. She had given them a safe place to live… a last name… a purpose in life… a feeling of family… Evelyn sighed, but it was a sigh of happiness. These four men, who she had watched grow since they were young boys… were her sons. She couldn't have been more proud of them if she had given birth to them herself. She loved all of them more than anything in the world.

Feeling weak in the stomach, Evelyn left the dining room and walked up the stairs and entered her room. She sat down on her bed, glancing at the picture of her, Bobby, Jerry, Angel, and Jack at the surprise birthday part they had thrown her last year before she picked up four pieces of paper. Fighting back more tears, she wrote messages on each one of them, each one unique from the others. When she was finished, she folded them neatly and wrote a name on the front of each of them. She stood up, leaving the one that read "Bobby" lying on her bed. Then, Evelyn left her room, leaving the one that read "Angel" in his old room and the one that read "Jack" in his old room. She sadly looked back at the slip of folded paper on her youngest son's bed, then went back downstairs.

Evelyn went into the living room and sat down on the couch in front of the television, but she didn't turn it on. Instead, she turned to the phone next to her. With shaking hands, she picked up the phone and dialed a number she knew very well. She closed her eyes as it began to ring.

Then, on the third ring, a deep voice answered. "Hello?" a man greeted.

"Angel? This is Mom." Evelyn said, opening her eyes. "How are you, honey?" She could feel his surprise.

"Oh! Hey, Mom." Angel replied. "I'm doing fine; still livin' in Vegas. But this is a surprise. How are you?"

"I'm fine, dear." Evelyn told him with a laugh, hoping to cover up her true feelings. "I was just thinking about some things. Thanksgiving is coming up in a few days. I was wondering if you would like to come to Detroit to celebrate."

Angel laughed. "Like we did last year?" he asked. "I remember the only one who didn't come was Bobby."

"Well, let's hope that he can come this year." Evelyn answered. "Would you like to do that again this year, honey?"

"Yeah, definitely." Angel said. "I'll see how soon I can fly there. Don't worry. I'll get there before Thanksgiving."

Evelyn smiled. "Great. I'll see you then, dear." she replied.

"Okay. Bye, Mom." Angel muttered, preparing to hang up.

Evelyn suddenly gasped. "Angel, wait!" she exclaimed.

There was a stunned silence on the other end of the line for a moment. "What is it, Mom?" Angel finally asked, feeling a little worried.

"I love you, Angel." Evelyn said quietly, hoping that he couldn't hear the tears that had formed in her eyes.

"I love you too, Mom." Angel replied. "Bye." Then he hung up.

"Good-bye…" Evelyn whispered, hanging up the phone and closing her eyes again. Once here tears were gone, she picked up the phone again and dialed another number. On the fourth ring, the answering machine picked up.

"Hey, this is Jack. I'm sorry that I'm not able to answer your call at this time. I'm probably at a rehearsal or performing, but once I'm through, I'll get back to you as soon as I can if you leave me your name and number. Thanks!" Then, came the tone, alerting her that she could start her message.

"Hi, Jackie. This is Mom." Evelyn said to his answering machine. "I'm just making plans for Thanksgiving, so call me back when you can, dear. Thanks. I love you." Then, she hung up and prepared to dial yet another number.

But before she could, the phone rang under her hand. Confused, she picked it up. "Hello?" she asked.

"Hey, Mom. It's Jack." she heard her youngest son answer. "I just walked in the door from my rehearsal for my concert tonight when the answering machine picked up. I couldn't get to the phone in time. So, what's going on for Thanksgiving?"

"I was thinking that we could do the same thing as last year where you boys came home and we celebrated together." Evelyn told him. "Would that work with your schedule, dear?"

Jack thought for a moment before he said anything. "Yeah, it does." he said. "The only thing that I have going on is a concert tonight and a major rehearsal tomorrow. I'll leave a day or two before Thanksgiving, depending on when I can get a flight. But I'll be there."

"That's great to hear." Evelyn replied. "I'm looking forward to seeing you."

"Will Bobby be there this time, Mom?" Jack asked.

Evelyn was silent for a moment. "I'm not sure, honey." she answered. "I haven't called him yet."

"Well, let's hope that he can come this year." Jack said. "Thank you for the call, Mom."

"Sure thing, dear. I'm glad you can make it." Evelyn replied. "I'll talk to you soon. I love you, Jackie."

"I love you, Mom." Jack told her. "Bye." Then, he hung up.

Evelyn set down the phone. Then, she picked it up again and dialed a third number. Again, after the fourth ring, the answering machine picked up.

"Yo, you've reached Bobby. But, you probably really haven't reached me because this thing is blabbing to you. I'm out doing some, uh, stuff… Is this thing even working?

"Yes, Bobby, it's recording you." That was Jack's faint voice.

The answering machine continued on.

"Oh, right. Anyway, I'm not home right now. Sorry, Jack. You know that I'm not used to these things. Ma always handled the voice mail…"

Evelyn smiled as she heard Bobby's voice on the answering machine talk to Jack. He really must not have been used to answering machines…

"Man, talk! It's recording!" That was Jack again.

"Damn it." Bobby's voice was back. "So, as I said, I'm not home right now. Damn. I need a cell phone… Okay, now I'm probably out trying to buy a cell phone. Anyway, no matter where I am, just leave a message and I'll get back to you whenever. It might be in like a week, I'm just warning you now…

"You're not very good at this, Bobby.

"Shut up, Jack. Anyway, leave your message now… Where's the tone?

"You have to push the button it told you to so that you can tell the phone that you're done recording." Jack said with a laugh.

"Smart ass.

"Bobby, everyone who calls can hear you.

"… Okay then. Well, jus leave your name and number, and I'll call you back when I can. Bye."

Finally, the tone came.

"Bobby, this is Mom." Evelyn said. "Jack is right. Whoever calls can hear that mouth of yours. I would get a new voice mail. Anyway, I'm calling because I was wondering if you were busy this Thanksgiving. Call back when you can, dear. I love you."

Evelyn hung up the phone and sighed. She knew that Bobby was going to be the hardest to get a hold of since he was away from his house so much. He was very hard to track down. She now found herself wishing that Bobby did have a cell phone…

She sat on the couch for a few minutes, waiting to see if he would call back. But the phone didn't ring. Evelyn sighed and got to her feet, grabbing her coat and car keys. Bobby could wait. She would handle other matters first.

Xxxxxxxxxx

"This is a surprise, Mom!" Jerry said after he let her in. "I didn't expect you to stop by so late."

"It's only a little after seven." Evelyn replied with a smile. "I don't think that's so late."

Jerry smiled back at her. "It's great to see you, Mom." he muttered, giving her a hug. "I'll take your coat for you."

"Oh, no. That's all right, dear." Evelyn told him. "I'm not going to be staying that long. I just wanted to ask you what you were doing on Thanksgiving."

"Well, Camille is taking the girls to go visit her family. I was going to go with, but I can change my plans easily." Jerry responded. "What did you have in mind? Something like we did last year?"

Evelyn nodded. "Yes." she said. "Jack and Angel have already said that they can come, but I'm not sure if Bobby can yet. I haven't heard from him…"

"Yeah, sure. I can do that." Jerry told her. "Besides, I don't want to be the first one to say that I can't! I'll be there. Do you want to say hello to the family?"

"Really quickly." Evelyn said quietly, almost hesitantly. "Then I should go…"

Jerry nodded and turned toward the stairs. "Camille! Come here a moment and bring the girls!" he shouted. "Someone's here to see ya'll!"

They heard light footsteps come down the stairs, and Daniela and Amelia came into view. "Grandma Evey!" the cried happily when they saw her, running into her arms. Evelyn laughed as she bent farther down and hugged them tightly.

"How are my two little girls?" she asked.

Jerry smiled as he watched them. He turned his head back when he heard more footsteps, and he nodded at his wife as she came down the stairs. Camille also smiled when she saw her daughters.

"How are you, Evelyn?" she said as she gave the older woman a hug.

"I'm doing fine, dear." Evelyn replied as she hugged her back. "You're a very lucky woman to have a husband like Jeremiah, you know that, Camille? And I'm not just saying that because he's my son."

Jerry smiled with embarrassment. "Ah, Mom…" he muttered. Evelyn laughed.

"Would you like to stay for a little while, Evelyn?" Camille asked. "We'd be happy to have you."

"Thank you for the offer, Camille, but I really think that I should be going…" Evelyn began.

"Please, Grandma Evey?" both Daniela and Amelia begged in unison.

Evelyn looked down on them, then finally gave in and smiled. "All right." she said. "For a little while."

Camille smiled when she heard her daughters' shouts of joy. "Into the living room, girls." she told them. "Evelyn will meet us there."

Jerry was about to follow them, but Evelyn put her hand on his shoulder to hold him back. He looked back at her, concerned. "What is it, Mom?" he asked.

Evelyn dug around in her purse, finally pulling out a piece of folded paper with Jerry's full name on it. Jerry took it from her and prepared to open it, but Evelyn put her hand on top of his to stop him. "Don't open that until the twenty-second." she told him quietly. "That's two days from now. I know it's strange, but please do it. I love you, Jeremiah."

Then, she walked past him and entered the living room without another word, leaving Jerry behind to ponder her statement.

Xxxxxxxxxx

Evelyn closed the door of her own house behind her an hour later, hanging up her coat and putting her car keys in the proper place. She then walked into the living room to check the answering machine, hoping to have gotten a message from Bobby.

But there wasn't one. Evelyn sighed and sat down on the couch next to the phone, trying to get the visit she had just had with Jerry and his family out of her mind. Even though it was great seeing them, it had been a very painful time for her…

After her dark feeling had passed, Evelyn picked up the phone and dialed Bobby's number again. Soon, the answering machine picked up.

"Yo, you've reached Bobby. But, you probably really haven't-!"

Evelyn sighed and hung up the phone, cutting off the answering machine. She didn't want to listen to the entire voice mail again. She knew that she would just have to wait for Bobby to call her or try back later. In the meantime, she would find other things to do.

Time passed slowly for Evelyn. She read an entire book, the one she had been wanting to read; sewed some of the holes that had appeared in the sheets of her sons' beds; and even began to knit a little.

Soon, four hours passed when the clock struck midnight. Evelyn wiped the tiredness from her eyes, along with some tears. She wished that she could talk to Bobby… She finished knitting some socks for Daniela and Amelia and put them in a small bag on the couch with Jerry's name on it to find. Then, Evelyn went upstairs to her room.

She was just putting her knitting equipment away when the phone rang. Evelyn hurried downstairs and picked it up on the third ring. "Hello?" she asked.

"Ma? Wow, you're still awake…"

Evelyn smiled when she heard her oldest son's voice. "Oh, Bobby. It's great to hear from you, dear." she replied, sitting down on the couch. "Don't worry. You're not calling too late. I'll be up for the rest of the night."

She could sense the man on the other end's concern. "Why, Ma?" Bobby asked. "Is everything all right?"

"Everything's fine, honey." Evelyn answered. "I'm just busy planning Thanksgiving… which leads me to why I called you. Last year, Jack, Angel, and Jerry came here and we celebrated together, but we couldn't get a hold of you. We're going to do the same thing this year, and I was wondering if you could come."

There were a few moments of silence. "You know what? I think my schedule is clear this year." Bobby told her. "I can make it."

"Oh, good." Evelyn said, beaming. "I'm so glad. It will be great having you this year. I can't wait to see you. Oh, and are you going to get a new voice mail like I suggested?"

Bobby laughed a little. "Yeah, I will." he said. Then, there was silence again. Evelyn held her breath. Was her oldest son aware that something was wrong? Finally, Bobby sighed. "Are you sure that everything's all right, Ma?" he muttered. "I can leave tonight if you want me to…"

"No need. Everything is fine, love." Evelyn repeated, tears now sparkling in her eyes. "I'm just happy to hear from you." She realized that since Bobby had lived with her the longest, he might have picked up her strong intuition himself…

Bobby didn't say anything. He could tell that something was different about his mother… "All right. I love you Ma, and I'll talk to you soon, all right?" he told her.

Evelyn nodded, the tears now falling freely from her eyes as she whispered her next words.

"I love you, Bobby."

Xxxxxxxxxx

When the truth is found

to be lies.

All of the joy

within you dies.

Don't you want somebody to love?

Don't you need somebody to love?

Wouldn't you love somebody to love?

You'd better find somebody to love…

Evelyn parked her car against the curb in front of the liquor store, making sure that the snow was off of her windshield before she turned off the ignition. She sighed as she turned off the car and the radio, waiting for a moment before she left. When she felt like she was ready, she finally stepped out of the car.

She looked around her at the deserted street, not taking any notice of the car that had parked a distance behind her. As she looked at the darkness, Evelyn's thoughts landed on her sons. If there was one thing that she was proud of in her life, it was that she got to see how each one of the young boys she once had grow into young men. There was such a difference in them from when she first took them in… it was incredible.

Evelyn sighed as she turned around and shut her car door and locked it, slowly walking toward the store. She hoped that Bobby, Jerry, Angel, and Jack would continue to watch over each other when she no longer could. How much she would miss them…

Then, she finally reached the door and walked inside, never to know the full extent of the impact that she had left on the people she loved.

The End

…. Or is it? Hey, this is the author's note. Hoped you enjoyed the story! I know it's sad, but wasn't it worth it? I hope so. Anyway, if I get enough reviews, I'll post a little surprise!