Jeremiah didn't know why but he had felt the need to leave Bobby until last. He couldn't decide whether it was because he knew that Bobby would be the hardest of them all to track down or because he was the one who would take the news the hardest. It didn't matter why he had left him until last really. The call still had to be made. He had already spoken with Angel and Jack, explaining what had happened to their mother and letting them know the funeral arrangements. The phone calls had been the hardest calls he had ever had to make and he knew that speaking to Bobby would be just as tough but he couldn't put off the call to his oldest brother any longer. He picked up the phone but couldn't decide which number to try first. Jeremiah had bought his mother a new address book for Christmas and, less than a year later, it already contained 6 possible telephone numbers for Bobby.
It had been years since Bobby had left home and although they would always be brothers their lives had taken completely separate directions. While Jeremiah had settled down, raising a family of his own, Bobby moved from city to city in a seemingly random pattern. It had been at least two years since he was in Detroit and although Jeremiah knew that he called every now and then to check in with their mother, Jeremiah hadn't expected him to ever come home again. Jeremiah was sure that if Evelyn hadn't taken him in, his life would be just as directionless and turbulent as Bobby's was now. If Evelyn hadn't taken Bobby in, who knew what would have happened to him. Best case scenario would be jail, not that Bobby was a stranger to doing time but, so far, he had managed to avoid getting caught for anything that would put him away for more than a few months at a time. If Bobby hadn't become a Mercer, Jeremiah was sure that he would either be in jail, sentenced to a long stretch, or dead already. Evelyn had calmed him down a lot compared to the teenager that first came to live with her but he still had a hot-headed, self destructive steak. Jeremiah didn't know what had happened to Bobby when he was a kid to make him the way he was but he had never been able to change completely. If Evelyn hadn't been able to cure Bobby of his internal demons, no one ever would.
Despite his failings, Jeremiah couldn't imagine his teenage years without Bobby. He first met Bobby in the kitchen of their mother's house. Jeremiah had been there for about an hour and was still feeling uncomfortable, unsure why would someone who seemed as genuine and nice as Evelyn want him living in their house and waiting for someone to tell him what the catch was. The catch seemed to come in the form of a scowling teenager who, although only a year older than Jerry, was about twice his size. The first words Jeremiah heard from Bobby was the question 'who the fuck is this?'. Evelyn had quickly scolded him for being rude and told him to mind his language but the question had been enough to put Jeremiah on edge. Bobby's scowl didn't improve as Evelyn reminded him that they had discussed the fact that Jeremiah would be living with them and, at first, Jeremiah didn't think they would ever get along.
The next day proved that first impressions were not always correct. On Jeremiah's first day of school, it seemed as if all of the bullies had it in for him. During the morning he had been holding his own but when a group of five seniors surrounded him by his locker during lunch, he knew that he was out numbered. When Bobby pushed himself through to stand next to him, Jeremiah wasn't completely certain that Bobby would be on his side, half expecting him to throw the first punch. As it turned out, Bobby did throw the first punch but it was levelled against the ringleader of the school bullies, and was hard enough to break bones. Jeremiah ended up in his first of many detentions, teachers not caring that he was the intended victim, but he didn't really mind. When he had tried to thank Bobby for defending him, Bobby had said ' Don't worry about it. You're a Mercer now. I ain't goin' to let any one mess with my kid brother'. Moving around as much as he did, Jeremiah had never hoped to have a proper friend, let alone a brother. It didn't take him long to see through Bobby's gruff exterior and soon, not only did he have a brother, he also had a best friend as well.
The first three phone numbers Jeremiah tried were for mobile phones but all were disconnected. The rest of the numbers were all land lines. He didn't expect anyone to answer when he called the next number and was pleasantly surprised when he heard a voice but soon became disheartened when the voice that greeted him informed him that there was no Bobby Mercer known at the address. The fifth number didn't help him much further. The woman who answered admitted that Bobby had lived there but she hadn't seem him for months. Jeremiah started to feel sorry that he had asked if she knew where Bobby had moved to about twenty minutes later. The woman, who's name was Lilly, took great lengths in explaining to Jeremiah the ups and downs of her relationship with Bobby which ended in an argument where Bobby stormed out, leaving her without paying his share of the rent and she had not seen him since. After he finally managed to hang up, Jeremiah was grateful that he had not wasted his time completely as the woman had given him another number to try. Unfortunately, he realised about ten second later that it matched the last number on his list.
As the he dialled the number, he wondered whether he would get any further this time. If he didn't reach Bobby, he at least hoped to reach someone who would know where he was. As the answer machine kicked in with a generic message, his hopes were dashed. He had no idea whether this was Bobby's phone number or not but he had run out of options.
"Hi Bobby, Its Jerry. I didn't want to say this by leaving a message but I can't seem to track you down…You've got to come home Bobby. It's Ma…there was a robbery and she got shot…..she didn't make it, Bobby. Listen, the service is on Thursday and, well, I hope you can come. Call me when you get this message." Jeremiah hung up, not knowing what else to do, unconsciously wiping away the tears that he didn't realise had started to fall.
"Is he coming?" Camille asked, as she sat next to him and took his hand.
"I don't know, baby." He replied, "You know our Bobby, it's always hard to track him down."