Author's Note: So here's the truth…I lost of sight of Jack and Belle for a bit (Yeah, nearly two years…hate me much?), but thanks to two lovely PMs from ollie-oxycotyn and chicaespanola17 (you girls are both lovely) as well as a post on Tumblr made by the lovely maxiekat (seriously follow her for amazing Garrett related things) about the best ffs of Four Brothers and a comment about my less than stellar updating skills inspiration suddenly kicked in and I wrote this. It's not my best, I'm a little out of sorts, but Lyssa (aka XxCrashAndBurnXx) threatened me if I didn't post it when I was tempted to not do so…So if you hate it send her the "love." Alright this is love and annoying I am sure and you don't want to read my speech anymore.
I hope you enjoy it.
P.S. Sorry for the lame chapter title. :/
Of all the people Isabelle had wanted to be confined to an apartment with, Bobby was the last person on that list. To say that things between them were cold was putting it lightly. Ever since their fight two weeks earlier Bobby had said nothing to her. Even as the family packed up their belongings for their trip back to Detroit and the rest of the family said their goodbyes he stood off to the side, watching them until he muttered that he was going down to the car. Because of this, it surprised Isabelle, to find him standing in their doorway just a few days before, suitcase in hand with Abigail and Lyn beside him.
It had been Jack's idea, she had found out from Lyn, as Bobby walked into the apartment and past her without so much as a glance in her direction. Jack, newly worried now that Isabelle had been put on bed rest, decided that she needed someone to keep an eye on her. It had amused her that when the doctor had said to remain in the apartment, walking only the small distances that were necessary, and to remain stress free that Jack had thought of inviting his brother, the instigator of nearly every Mercer family fight to help. It wasn't until Isabelle had sat down with Lyn one night, relaxing as Jack had taken Bobby out of the apartment for a night out that Lyn had told her it was only supposed to be her and Abigail but that Bobby had insisted he come along.
The truth was that it hadn't been as bad as Isabelle would have thought it would be. Yes, Bobby refused to talk to her, his entire vocabulary directed at his sister-in-law was as creative as that of a caveman, allowing nothing more than grunts of disapproval or anger. Sometimes, especially in the moments when she purposely tested him, she'd get a verbal response out of him, a loud "fuck" before he stopped her and finished doing whatever she was in the process of doing for her. It should have pissed her off, and at times she was short with him, but for the most part it didn't upset her. Bobby might not have spoken to her but his grunts and the fact that he was there showed that he cared.
Isabelle was sitting on the couch on the fourth day since Bobby and Lyn's arrival, her eyes closed as she rested her back against the couch and tried to ward off the discomfort she felt throughout her body. Bobby was sitting on the couch opposite of her, flipping through channels so fast she was sure he couldn't tell what was on the screen as Jack and Lyn got ready. It was the night, the one Jack had been waiting for since they were kids, the release of his band's CD. He had been restless all afternoon, pacing around the apartment anxiously, cursing at himself as he screwed up a lyric that he had known by heart only hours earlier and was sure he'd continue to forget once he took the stage for the release and saw the large crowd of people who were there. When Isabelle had assured him that he was going to be fine, that he had never gotten stage fright before, he had groaned and told her it was different before going off on a tangent of fans versus business people. She didn't understand it, to her a crowd was a crowd, and if there was one place that she saw Jack really feel at home, it was one a stage performing for one.
"Aunt Belly, look!" Abigail said, bounding into the living room. She pointed to her face, covered in Lyn's makeup applied in a disastrous layer that only a toddler could do. "Pretty?"
"Beautiful." Smiling, she grabbed a tissue from the box beside her and pressed it to the toddler's face. "Did you get into mommy's make up?"
"I wanted to be pretty like mommy."
"You're gorgeous, but I think this might be just a bit too much."
Abigail climbed onto the couch, plopping down beside Isabelle and tilted her head as she examined the swell of her aunt's stomach. Grabbing her hand, Isabelle placed it over the spot the baby had been endlessly kicking all day and watched as her niece's face lit up. She had grown used to the little motions over the weeks but lately he had been kicking more aggressively, his little feet pressing against the skin of his stomach already stretched tight.
"Your tummy shakes."
'That's because your cousin is very fidgety."
"Stop kicking Aunt Belly, Jackie," Abigail said, lowering her face so that she was speaking directly at Isabelle's bump.
Isabelle wrapped her arm around her as she cuddled up against her side. Abigail kept her hand on her aunt's stomach, reacting each time she felt the kick against her little palm with a giggle or squeal. It was easy for Isabelle to forget her discomfort when she saw the joy on the little kid's face.
"So, how do I look?" Lyn asked, walking into the living room.
Jack hadn't wanted to go to the release on his own, it didn't matter that his friends and bandmates would be there, he needed someone there just for him. It was how Lyn ended up being volunteered to be his date. She had tried to get him to ask someone else, uncomfortable with the idea of being in a room of people she didn't know, but as soon as Rachel had come over as a favor to Scott and took Lyn shopping for a dress, her mind had changed. What girl couldn't be swayed with a pretty dress and Rachel's over the top enthusiasm?
"Like I'm gonna have to have a talk with Jack 'bout keepin' a fuckin' eye on ya tonight," Bobby muttered, looking his girlfriend up and down.
"Thanks." She smiled, kissing him as he stood up and walked past her to the kitchen.
"Wow," Isabelle said. She raised her eyebrows at Lyn who spun around. "Doesn't your mommy look gorgeous?"
"Yeah," Abigail agreed, stretching her arms out to her mom.
"You sure you don't mind?" Lyn asked, as she hoisted her kid against her side. "It's Jack's big night, I thought you'd want to be there."
"Bed rest, doctor's orders. Anyway, of course I don't mind, you deserve a little outing every once and a while since you have to deal with Bobby day in and out."
"I noticed he's still not talking to you. I thought he would have broken down by now."
"He grumbled at me to 'sit the fuck' down this morning. I guess that's a step in the right direction."
"Anything more than a grunt is proof you're slowly getting back on his good side. Don't worry, he'll understand one day."
"And even if he doesn't he'll eventually stop pouting." She nodded towards the hallway that lead to the master bedroom. "I'm going to see if Jack's okay. Odds are he's trying to figure out how to put on his tie without choking himself."
Through the crack in the bedroom door, Isabelle saw Jack standing in front of the mirror cursing as he fought with the tie placed around his neck. He tugged on the fabric, sliding it in the wrong direction and began another rant against the accessory. She tried to control her laughter, watching him begin the assault on it once more before but found herself giggling out loud catching his attention.
"Knew it," Isabelle said, walking into the room.
"Shouldn't you be sitting down?"
"I'm allowed to walk from the couch to the bedroom." She made her way towards him, smirking at his appearance. "You look too formal. You're not going to your senior prom." She removed the tie from his neck, tossing it onto the bed, and reached to undo the top few buttons on Jack's shirt. "Leave the suit jacket and tie at home. Put your man-jewelry back on and mess up your hair a little. None of this is you. You're finally there, who do you need to impress now?"
Jack nodded, reaching for the large silver ring that he always wore. He looked at himself in the mirror, running his hands through his hair to displace the locks that had been combed into a style that screamed business man more than rocker and turned to Isabelle for approval. She gave him a thumbs up, taking a seat on the bed as he returned to fix his appearance once more, and felt a small surge of pain wash through his stomach. Jack could see her reflection in the mirror, taking only a second to examine her face that was contorted oddly before walking over to the bedside.
"Belle, you okay?"
"Lightheaded. Maybe the walk from the living room to here wasn't such a good idea," she answered with a laugh, rubbing at the arch of her eyebrow like she was dizzy. "I'm fine though. I have no intentions of leaving this room for the rest of the night."
"I could skip-"
"Because I got a little dizzy? Don't be ridiculous. I'm fine. Bobby will be here if I need anything, he even started yelling at me again today. It's progress." She forced a smile, resting her back against the pillows at the head of the bed. "Go enjoy tonight."
"Call me if anything happens," Jack insisted. He placed his hand on her stomach, rubbing it affectionately. "I don't want this one giving you any trouble."
"Oh, it he's anything like his daddy he's just destined to give me trouble."
"I know. I'm fine, promise." She waved a hand towards the door, motioning for him to leave. "Now, go, don't be late. When you get home I want tons of details about how it all went."
Jack leaned down to kiss the top of her head before heading out of the room. She sighed, as soon as he shut behind him, pressing her hand to her stomach. Without her guard up, she groaned softly, the pressure building up.
"Come on, kiddo, you have to behave for mommy tonight," she whispered. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath in to distract herself from the pain once more when she heard a small knock on the door. "Come in."
Lyn pushed the door open a bit, a fluffy jacket covering her outfit. Her makeup and hair looked out of place now, a stark contrast to the dowdy outwear. It was clear that no matter how much glitz or glamour you gave her, Lyn was always going to be the Detroit nurse back home. It was one of the reasons why Isabelle liked her so much, you couldn't change her.
"Jack's worried about you so he sent me in to check on you," Lyn explained, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "To be honest, so am I."
"I was just lightheaded. It's not a good idea to sit in one place all day and then suddenly get up and walk around."
"He said you looked like you were in pain."
"You've been through it before, you know how it can feel when a kid kicks you in the gut endlessly for hours." She laughed, looking at Lyn with a small shake of her head. "Jack is nervous about tonight, he's nervous about being a dad, it's all just manifesting in this gigantic ball of fear and worry. I'm fine. The baby is fine. And as long as he doesn't seriously piss me off tonight, Bobby will be fine. So don't let Jack's irrational fears get to you. Go out and have a good time and make sure he does, too."
"Don't Isabelle me, I can take care of myself," she muttered, instantly feeling bad for getting angry at Lyn. "Just go. My phone is right next to me, you and Jack's numbers are both in there and Bobby is just outside. The man may not talk to me, but I know if something was ever really wrong, which it won't be, I could trust him with my life…I have before."
"You promise you'll call?" Lyn asked, her eyes still showing that she wasn't sure.
"Yes, but nothing is going to happen."
"Fine, but I'll have my phone on vibrate just in case." She smiled at Isabelle and nodded towards the hallway. "And the big moron out there suggested I leave the door open in case you need him."
"Tell him to stop worrying. You're all making me worry." She watched Lyn turn towards the door, ready to cross it before she called out to her. "Do me a favor, make sure Jack won't forget tonight."
"I'll do everything in my power."
Isabelle nodded, smiling for a moment before looking away. She listened from the bed as she heard Lyn say her goodbyes to Bobby and Abigail and Jack paced through the house once more, humming a song under his breath still sure he was going to forget it. She could imagine the way his face was serious, the crinkles around his eyes as he concentrated on the ground like it held the words his mind was forgetting. She tried her best to ignore the next wave of pain as it stretched across her stomach. She wasn't going to ruin Jack's night.
Jack tried to hide all the fear he had on the way to the venue. He should have been excited; he was in a limo with his best friends going to a party being thrown for them. It was his first official CD and it was everything he had ever dreamed of. All he could think about, however, was what could go wrong. He was sure he'd forget a lyric or a chord, find himself on stage with his mind completely blank and then lose all the credibility he had spent years trying to gain.
Looking around the limo, Jack saw that it was just him with this fear. Scott was smiling, his arm wrapped tightly around Rachel whose own excitement for him was palpable. Ray and Vaughn were sitting there, swatting at each other and calling each other vulgar things as usual. Nothing seemed to be able to get the others down. He didn't know their backstories even though they had been friends for years, didn't know if music was something they had just fallen into or something they strived for like Jack, but he knew he felt more pressure about than they did. He had always felt like it was the one thing he was good at and if failed now, what was left?
Lyn, sensing his fear, wrapped her hand around his, squeezing it comfortingly. He turned to face her, his face still more grim than excited and nodded a small thanks. He returned his gaze to window as they approached the venue, a local club that had laughed at the boys when they had tried to even step inside their building, and took a deep breath. Scott, reached over, swatting Jack on the shoulder to get his attention.
"Looks like we're worth they're time now, eh?" he asked, remembering the embarrassing night as well. "Smile, Jack, it's going to be great. I just know it."
Isabelle was getting restless, the pain in her stomach and back growing stronger. She was unable to get comfortable in any position in the bed, her grunts as she tried to had gained the attention of Bobby throughout the last few hours and led him to come into the room multiple times just to make sure she was okay without saying a word to her. At one point, frustrated from both her discomfort and his silence she had yelled at him, chucking the book the rested on the table beside her at his head but had missed by a great distance, instead knocking over a picture that rested on the dresser.
Tired of her endless battle with the mattress being alternatively too hard and too soft, she slipped out of bed and walked over to the door. She was sure Bobby had fallen asleep on the couch, she hadn't heard any cursing at the game she knew was playing and took that as a sign that she could slip past him and into the kitchen and return. She had convinced herself that a small walk there and back would alleviate some pain or at least make her tired enough that she could relax.
Walking as quietly as she could down the hallway, one hand pressed to the small of her back, rubbing her spine gently, smiling as she got closer to living room and saw that Bobby had been fast asleep. Isabelle had made it past the couch and was about to turn into the kitchen when she felt a sharp pain shoot through from her back into her stomach. She groaned, loudly, grasping her stomach and leaned against the wall for a moment, waking Bobby up from his sleep. He was on his feet instantly, walking over to her with a loud huff.
"What the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"You were sleeping and I wanted fucking a drink is that okay?" she replied, anger seething from her that she wasn't expecting. She straightened her posture, the pain gone again, and turned to face Bobby. "Glad to know you can still talk to me, though."
"Sit the fuck down on the couch now," he muttered, pointing to the couch she had occupied earlier. "I'll get you your fuckin' drink."
Isabelle walked to the couch afraid that if she tried to ignore him and go back to the bedroom she'd be subjected to yet another painful reaction. She sat down slowly, resting for a moment with hands placed on her stomach before sliding her feet up onto the couch and stretching across it. She just had to make it through the night, she reminded herself. Whatever was happening could wait until tomorrow when the doctor was in the office and she and Jack could get a quick appointment. Nothing was going to happen tonight. She had just about assured herself of this when she heard a loud slam beside her, a water bottle placed on the coffee table by Bobby.
"You're welcome," he said, throwing himself back against the empty couch and turning his attention away from Isabelle and back to the television.
The two of them sat there without speaking for a bit, Bobby slamming his hand down on the couch when something went wrong in the game and Isabelle trying her best to keep silent when another surge of pain nearly as strong as the one before came. She thought she had been doing well at hiding it, she was certain that no moans had slipped from her lips, but when the she opened her eyes after the pain had ceased she saw a figure sitting on the coffee table next to her.
"What's wrong?" Bobby asked.
"Nothin' my ass. You keep huffin' over here like something's goin' on."
"I'm just having a comfort issue, okay?" she asked, her voice tinged with anger.
"What kind of-"
"It's nothing damnit," she snapped.
"Yeah, sure sounds like nothing. I ain't never seen you lose your temper like this."
Isabelle looked away, focusing her gaze on the television so that she had something to distract her from Bobby's sudden worry. She was sure she'd get away with it, that Bobby would lose interest and go back to watching the game. It wasn't until she heard him stand up, muttering angrily under his breath that she realized that he wasn't going to let it go. Glancing up at him, Isabelle caught him reaching one hand up against his slicked back hair as he shook his head disapprovingly. It was, of course, at this moment that her own body betrayed her. She groaned slightly, the force driving her to sit up a bit as her breathing got ragged.
"No, not fuck anything," she said through clenched teeth. "It's nothing."
"I'm calling Jack."
"Don't," Isabelle said, she pressed her hand to her stomach again, trying to ease away the uneasiness. "It's his big night, Bobby, please just let him have it. I'm fine, the doctor said I could get some pain, that it would probably be nothing."
"Probably means shit to me."
"I am fine." She took a deep breath, trying to prove to herself more than Bobby that was everything was okay. "I'm fine. I'm just-"
Isabelle stopped suddenly and gasped, both of her hands clutching her stomach. This time the pain didn't just surge, it ripped through her and she found herself unable to breathe, unable to think or come up with anymore lies. It didn't feel like something that could wait. It didn't feel like everything was going to be okay.
"I'm not okay," Isabelle admitted, tears forming in her eyes. She panted for breath, looking up at Bobby. "It hurts a lot." She bit her lip, hoping to cause pain somewhere else to distract her from the one that was now forming more rapidly in here stomach. "Something's not right."
"You're just probably goin' into labor," Bobby said, reaching for the phone. "I'll call Jack."
"Don't. I'll go to the hospital, I'll do anything else you want, just don't call Jack."
Jack was standing behind hidden off to the side of the stage and shook his head. He had tried to explain to Belle the difference between fans and business people earlier, but even he had failed in his ability to understand what a contrast it would be. Dive bars, girls in revealing clothing and a few guys dressed like him, he was used to that and could deal with that. This crowd was full of the guys who owned the radio stations that might play his music if they thought he was good enough and their wives, thirty years their husbands' junior, who married into money and expected nothing but the finest in the world. There were very few people there that he could recognize as actual fans of their music. It was alienating he was going to be the one on stage but he was in the minority. Scott, Ray and Vaughn jumped around to the side of him, still feeding off the energy of this being their big night, no fear creeping into them. He looked at them, envious of their ability to just expect the best.
"Okay, hand them over," their manager said, holding out his hands. "Every gadget, cellphone, iPod...whatever electronic device you have in your pockets."
"Billy, I need my phone," Jack said, watching as the guys handed their phones to him. "Belle's pregnant, what if something happens?"
"Then I will tell you. I'll keep your phone on me, if it rings I'll tell you, but if you keep it on stage and the mic picks it up it'll be awkward for not only you but for me. So hand it over."
Jack looked down at the device, pressing the button to light up the screen and see there were no new messages. He could see Billy's hand still there, reaching out with his chubby fingers to grab Jack's phone the minute he relinquished it. With a groan, he slammed it down in the man's palm and walked away. Logically, he knew it would be okay, Lyn and Rachel where both in the audience and Bobby was with Isabelle, but he felt untethered from her without his phone within his reach at a moment's notice.
"Come on, Jack, lighten up," Scott said, throwing an arm around his shoulder affectionately. "We're here finally."
"Yeah, you're right." He looked back at his friend, mustering all the excitement he could. "Let's get out there."
Isabelle had expected that the night would go smoothly. She had expected that she would just spend the night relaxing in bed watching some movie and fall asleep not long after Jack had left. She had expected to find herself woken up at the crack of dawn by Jack who would be too excited to sleep after the high of the band's CD release. She had expected to find herself watching him grinning from ear to ear with the childlike excitement that he got whenever he talked about something he was passionate about. Finding herself in a hospital bed in the maternity was certainly not anywhere the list.
Looking around the room, she took in the sight of the hideous gender neutral yellow walls with the equally hideous blue and pink teddy bear border. She could hear Bobby in the hallway, as he yelled loudly at someone on the floor and she felt happy to have him around. It didn't matter if they were mad at each other, Bobby was always going to be her family and he wouldn't let her be alone. Unlikely as it was, he had even kept his promise to not call Jack. In the cab on the way to the hospital she had assured Bobby that it took a while to give birth, reminding him of Lyn's own lengthy delivery, and how she wasn't even sure she really was in labor since no doctor had yet to say so. She promised that she'd let him call Jack if it got closer and he had agreed, though she was aware it could have been partially due to her hand gripping so tightly onto his and the slew of names she had angrily called him, scaring poor Abigail into silence.
Turning onto her side, Isabelle's legs curled up around her stomach as if the pressure would help with the pain and she caught sight of the phone beside the bed. She glanced over her shoulder towards the door, making sure Bobby was still nowhere near, before grabbing it and dialing the one number she knew by heart. With each ring Isabelle grasped tighter onto the phone hoping that nothing had changed over the past few months. When the answering machine finally picked up and she heard Evelyn's familiar voice on the recording telling her to leave a message for the Mercers she thanked God that Bobby was his own kind sentimental and lazy.
"It's me, ma," she started, trying her best to control her emotions. She didn't care at that moment that Bobby or Lyn would eventually find the message, she just needed to get it all out. "I'm at the hospital; your grandson doesn't want to wait anymore to meet everyone. Can't blame him, who wouldn't want to be a member of this family?" She sniffled slightly, closing her eyes and just focusing on her words as she spoke. "Jack's not here, but that's my fault…Don't be mad at him. You'd be so proud of him actually, his CD came out tonight so I'm not telling him yet, I want him to have tonight. I just…I imagined him here with me. It never mattered to me if we were together or apart, I just always thought he'd be here. I know what I'm doing is right, he needs this, you know how important as this was to him. But I'm five weeks early and I'm alone and I'm scared…I don't know how I am going to do this by myself."
Isabelle stopped herself from saying anything else. She pulled the phone away from her ear and placed it in the receiver. She hated how pathetic she sounded, but hearing Evelyn's voice on the machine even for just a moment comforted her, made her feel like she was talking to the woman with the soft, kind smile again. She slowly rolled over onto her back, listening to Bobby as he continued to demand a doctor be brought into her room that instant. With a small smile at his familiar behavior, she laid there, repeating in her head that it all was going to be okay.
Chicaespanola17 (Haha, is it wrong I am kind of glad your nervous? The truth of the matter is that it depends on the day if they will or they won't…even I'm not 100% sure.)
dangerouslywrong (You are seriously so sweet! You're review was so genuinely nice!)
EvilBunny101 (Yes, friends…But friends is better than enemies! :) I love Lyn too, Bobby needs a woman to whip him into shape!)
XxCrashAndBurnXx (Shut your face! Though I am listening to the "universally wrong" song as I wrote a lot of this.)
As well as all of you who read silently and favorite/follow this story. You guys are all so amazing.