Final Chapter! Yay!!! It's finally completed :) Thanks to everyone who has been reading, and please, let me know what you think, it means a lot to know your thoughts.
Legal stuff still counts.
Chapter 81: Live It The Best You Can
Winter in Detroit was unpredictable. The weather in the rest of the country could be mild while Detroit was miserable. It was no surprise that the ice was beating down on them, starting to change back into snow, but still having already caused the damage that ice could cause. Bobby cursed under his breath as Johnson's car skidded out of control between the grave markers, taking a few of the stones down in its path, which led in the direction of Craig, who seemed to be in a fucking daze, standing over the form of the man who had turned their lives upside down.
Bobby yelled as he ran. He had let his fucking guard down and he knew better. Jack had shot Macks, but in the confusion, their concern for the brother holding the smoking gun, and the relief that had fallen over them all, they had neglected to check the target to make sure that he was dead.
His mind flashed a picture of Macks on the edge of the dock, after putting a bullet into the fucker. They had all assumed he was no longer a problem after that, but here he was. This time should have been different. They should have known better than think that he would fall over dead. There was something about it that felt wrong. "Craig!" Bobby yelled louder.
He heard someone calling his name as he dodged the out of control sedan and grabbed hold of the teen. He pulled Craig out of the way just as the car slid over top of Macks' body. The clue Cadillac rammed the police car in the side, pushing it a little further before it finally came to a stop.
Bobby pulled Craig as far as the spot where Johnny was standing, his shot gun raised and pointed to the driver in the Caddy. He pulled the boy around to stand face him. "You keep your ass right here, or I swear I'll make you regret it." He felt relief that the kid was okay, but at the same time the fear that had ripped through him just seconds before compiled with the worry he'd been dealing with since he'd woke that morning. The pressure of the plans he and his brothers had spent so much time putting together, having a fucking gun held in his face, knowing Jack had shot a man down for him; everything combined to wear his nerves thin and flare his temper hot.
He didn't give the boy a chance to reply or show any kind of reaction to his words before he turned and looked at the Cadillac. It shouldn't have been a surprise to him to see Bradley Jordan sitting in the driver's seat, slumped over the steering wheel, out cold. The Cadillac didn't appear too damaged from the impact, but had stalled and steam was rising from under the hood.
Despite the cold and the ice around him Bobby felt heat rising from inside. He wasn't going to let Jordan get away with the shit. He wasn't going to let him off with fucking jail time. He'd been helping Macks, and now he was going to pay the price for screwing with his family.
"Bobby, don't do it." Johnson's voice called out as Bobby stormed across the snow pack towards the driver's door of the luxury car.
Bobby noticed Angel and Jeremiah moving in his direction with Jack trailing them. He turned to take in the fact that Johnson was climbing out of his car and he picked up his stride slightly. "He ain't getting out of here." He warned the cop. Hell, if Green had been there he was sure he'd have the same argument to go through before he put a bullet in Jordan's head. He tightened his grip on the gun he'd taken from Jack. "I've done jail, I ain't got no problem with doin' it again if it keeps my family safe from a sick fucker like him."
"You aren't going to do anyone any good from behind bars Bobby. You had a reason to kill Macks; he was out to kill you. That's all documented, and we know it to be fact. That's self defense. If you kill an unconscious man, that's plain murder. You really want to rot in a jail cell the rest of your life when you've got people who need you?" Johnson moved towards him. "I already called it in. There are other units on the way, along with EMT's. Just let them take care of Jordan."
Bobby felt frustration filling him. "You got any idea what this fucker did to that boy?" He spoke louder than he needed to as he turned and pointed to Craig. "Have you got any idea what my family has been through the past fucking month? I ain't got a problem rotting in a fucking prison if it means that kid don't have to look over his shoulder the rest of his life, you got that Johnson?"
"Yes, I do. And I also know that you are going to get the sweetest kind of revenge if you let him go to prison for what he's done." Johnson stopped in front of Bobby, blocking his path to the Cadillac and the man in it. "They will take care of his sick ass on the inside Bobby and you will still be out here, watching that kid grow up." It was Johnson's turn to point towards Craig.
Bobby tried to push forward, but hands grabbed him from behind. "He's right Bobby. Jordan ain't worth it." Jeremiah spoke directly behind him. "Let it be."
Bobby had lost track of Jeremiah and Angel for that brief moment of attempted defiance with Johnson. He didn't try to pull away from Jeremiah, but he made a mental note to be pissed at him later. Jack came up next to him, his face still carrying the mental battle he'd just gone through with picking up a gun and firing it. He looked for Angel but didn't see him, until his head poked up from the other side of the Cadillac's front end. "One thing is for sure." Angel flashed him a smile. "If Macks wasn't dead before, he damn sure is now."
Bobby didn't understand at first, and the confusion creased his forehead, until he looked at the position of the two cars. He leaned over and checked the ground. The remains of Adam Macks were now spread across the snow, in what looked several large chunks. He stood straight up and looked at Johnson. "Okay, I'll give you Jordan." He muttered. He hadn't expected the sight of Macks' remains to be so disturbing, he had a fucking hard core, but his stomach quivered at the sight and sucked the fight right out of him.
Johnson looked confused by the sudden change in Bobby's attitude. He turned and leaned over to check the undercarriage of the Caddy. "Shit." He muttered while Bobby turned and looked at Jeremiah.
"You know this means we gotta talk to more cops now, you up for that?" He asked as they started walking back towards where Johnny was standing with Craig.
Angel joined them on Bobby's other side and Jack slid up next to Jeremiah.
"Hell, Bobby, you told me once the cops love the Mercers." Jerry smiled. "They gave us such a warm reception the last time."
"Hell yeah, so that would explain why I always seem to walk away from the cops feeling like I've been fucked up the ass." Bobby grumbled. "But hell, should be used to that by now, right?"
"So that explains your homophobia, and the way you walk." Jack spoke with a straight face, his tone mocking.
Bobby leaned forward slightly as they reached Craig and Johnny. "Shut the fuck up Jack. You're on my good side right now, so don't go fucking it up."
"No, Bobby, you need to be showing me a little more respect. You owe me, remember?" Jack held his hand up and pointed a finger towards his oldest brother. "No more calling me 'Fairy', no more fucking gay jokes. I'm not gay." He drew in a deep breath. "No more talking to me like I'm a fucking idiot, and no more treating me like I'm five years old."
Bobby held his breath for a long moment before looking away from the younger man. "You finally did something right Jack, don't screw it up now by running your mouth. I know you're used to keeping it busy, but don't try replacing one fucked up habit with another."
"Jackie, you are always gonna be a little brother, nothing you can do about that shit. Just learn to live with it." Jeremiah laughed.
The four of them pulled to a stop in front of Johnny and Craig and fell silent. Bobby looked at Johnny. "Not exactly how you expected today to turn out, is it Johnny?" He asked.
"Hell, I ain't had this much fun since my ex wife tried to shoot me." Johnny laughed.
Bobby grinned and looked down at Craig, who was staring at the ground at his feet. "You okay?" He reached out and rested a hand on the boy's shoulder. "You're cold?" He knew the answer, hell, it was a stupid question, but the kid didn't look too good and instinct told him not to point out specifics.
Craig didn't look up. "I'm sorry." He muttered.
"We can talk about how you fucked up later, when I have the time to be pissed." Bobby grabbed hold of him and pulled him close. "Come on; let's get you in a car where you can warm up." He looked over at Johnny and didn't have to ask about the car.
"I think the engine is still running." Johnny gave a nod in the direction of the Taurus.
"Thanks Johnny G." Bobby eased his arm around the kid and walked him towards the warmth.
Bobby put Craig in the back seat and then got in the front, behind the wheel. He made sure the heat was turned up. "Get your coat off, it's soaked." He instructed.
Craig followed the directions his brother gave him. Bobby turned in the seat and looked at the boy. He wished he could take him home right then. He wanted to get him away from what was going on. "You know, the cops might want to ask you some questions." He commented. "You don't have to talk to them. Anything they need to know we can tell them." He spoke calmly. "Only thing is, I have no idea how to explain you bein' out here in a fucking ice storm, alone." He felt his voice tense up. "You wanna tell me about that? This ain't where I left you. This ain't where I wanted you. So you tell me what the fuck you were doing out here."
Craig fidgeted in the back seat, but didn't look at Bobby. He kept his head lowered and held his hands close to his stomach. "I'm sorry." He muttered.
"You done said that. I ain't gonna get pissed. Not yet, I ain't got the time for that. But right now I need to know why you were here." Bobby struggled to keep his voice calm as he remembered the fear that had gripped him when his little brother came up missing.
Craig shook his head. "I don't know."
Bobby sighed and did a mental count down from ten to one. His mother had often told him to use that method before he went off half cocked and did something stupid. It never seemed to work for him, but still he tried it from time to time, hoping it would have the desired effect that she had said it would. He closed his eyes for a moment and then opened them and looked out the side window. Police cruisers came into view, moving at a slow creep down the drive. "When I found out you had left Johnny's I was scared Craig. I didn't want you in the middle of shit. Now look at where you are. I'm supposed to be able to keep you safe and protect you. You know you gotta do what I tell you or I can't do my fucking job. You know that. I took you to Johnny's for a reason. So I figure there had to be something you thought you had to do. You're gonna tell me all about it, after we take care of business here. You got that?" he turned and looked at the boy.
Craig didn't look up at him. He didn't say a word.
Bobby pulled in a deep breath and started to get out of the car.
"Bobby." Craig spoke quietly.
Bobby turned back to look at the boy. His head was still lowered, and he wished he would look up at him so he could try to read what was going through his head.
"I got scared, and I wanted to talk to Mom." Craig admitted in a quiet voice.
It was what Bobby had figured, but it still caught him by surprise. "I hope she helped you feel better, I really do. But you got more shit to explain later. Okay?" He asked.
Craig nodded his head, but still didn't raise his eyes to meet his brother's gaze.
"Okay. You just sit tight here. I'm gonna get the medics to check you over real good in just a little bit, but I don't want you around the cops or any of the other shit." He wasn't about to point out that Jordan was there, and he damn sure didn't want Craig where he could see the remains of Adam Macks when they were pulled out from under the car one piece at a time.
"He's dead, isn't he?" Craig asked quietly.
Bobby nodded his head, though he knew the boy couldn't see the action. "Yeah, Craig, he's dead." He waited for anything else from the kid, but nothing came.
The drive was filling with the emergency vehicles, uniforms and suits. He got out of the car and closed the door. There was no reason to put it off, though he wasn't looking forward to it. He walked back to where his brothers were standing with Johnny. Johnson was meeting with some officers barking out orders as if he knew exactly what the hell to do in a cemetery to wrap up a car chase, shooting and run over corpse. It would have been a funny thought if things weren't so fucking tense.
It was going to turn into a long day, but in the end, they would be able to put Adam Macks and all his bullshit behind them. There would be no more reason for Craig to be afraid. His family would be safe and finally have the chance to get on with their lives. There was a lot of shit to take care of.
Jeremiah had to get his business straight and pretty damn quick, the Mercers needed jobs. If Bobby Mercer had to find work, it probably wasn't going to be the most honorable type of employment, not in Detroit. He knew a lot of fucking contacts and not one of them could offer legitimate jobs. He was real fucking good at collecting money for a decent cut, and he knew a thing or two about running clubs with not so principled standards of operations, but a real job? It had never been something he was good at, real jobs. He always needed funds too fucking bad and real jobs just didn't pay enough money fast enough.
Angel was gonna need work, and real soon. Hell, he was bringing in another mouth to feed and body to clothe. It wasn't like La Vida Loca was gonna come cheap.
As for Jackie, hell, the kid hadn't said a fucking word about returning his punk ass to New York. He might just take off once shit had settled, and return to the glamorous life he'd started in the big city. Bobby had to laugh at that thought. Hell, Jack's life in New York wasn't the best, he knew that. He'd dropped by a few times to check on the kid, and it had been the same every time. Yeah, his band was playing a few clubs, and there was a little money flowing, but it wasn't enough to pay the rent. The kid had been working odd jobs where ever he could find them, trying to squeeze the band in and wearing his ass out. He would be better off back home, working a real job and making something more of his life. He was smart enough to do that. He could still hold onto the music, he would have to, just like Bobby held onto Hockey. But reality was reality. He might try to talk to Jack about that if the opportunity came up.
Childhood dreams were good. Bobby had lived for hockey since he could remember. It sucks when you get a good hold on those dreams and the fuck it up. He hadn't really fucked it up; he had just realized it wasn't what he'd thought it would be. On the road too much, not being able to feel settled no matter where he was. The only good thing about his time on the ice was being able to draw blood, and that got his ass suspended too many fucking times to count.
Thoughts like that clouded his mind while he and his brothers talked to several different cops, one of them identified himself as a federal agent. The Mercers and Johnny repeated their story over and over again. Johnson stuck with them and backed up their stories. Every time Bobby managed to clear his head enough to concentrate on what was going on around him, more of the thoughts would filter in and he'd get lost in wondering about what kind of plans should be made once they all got back to their lives.
After what seemed forever Johnson mentioned the medics and that Bobby needed to be looked at. Bobby insisted they check out Craig as well and went to the car to get him. The two of them sat in the back of one of the ambulances while the medics examined them and their brothers and Johnny stood at the door, watching. Bobby kept his eye on the kid, he half expected him to freak out, but to his surprise he didn't.
It seemed hours had passed since the cemetery had filled with half the Detroit police force when Johnson walked up to the ambulance and looked in at Bobby. He had cleared them all to leave. He told him he'd be contacting them soon for written statements, but for the time being they were free to go.
Johnny looked at Bobby as Johnson walked away. "Well, boys, we gotta problem." He spoke quietly.
"What's that Johnny G.?" Bobby asked while he pulled his coat around him and took a hold of Craig's arm to help him out of the emergency squad.
Angel grabbed for Craig to catch him on the ground. "Yeah, how the hell can we have any more problems?"
"Have any of you taken a good look at my car lately? It wasn't really built to hold six people." Johnny remarked as he cocked a thumb towards the Taurus.
Bobby grinned. "Don't worry Johnny, we'll manage." He jumped to the ground. "I'll just sit in Jackie's lap. He'll love that."
"Shut the fuck up Bobby." Jack spoke quickly.
"You make it too fucking easy Jack." Bobby's mind was trying to fall back into the thinking about what they needed to do next, again, and he struggled against it. He let Angel walk ahead of him with Craig. Johnny followed them, laughing at what he thought was joking banter between the brothers, but Bobby took quite seriously. Jeremiah and Jack followed Johnny.
Bobby turned and looked at the scene behind him. The red and blue lights from the cruisers seemed to reflect off of the layer of ice that had coated the world. Men in uniforms and suits walked back and forth. He looked at his mother's grave, at the snow disturbed around it for a good distance. The wrecked cars and the blood stains splattered in different areas. "I'm sorry Ma." He muttered, feeling some sort of remorse for her resting place being such a scene.
A warm feeling filled him. He remembered a conversation he'd had with her when he was still quite young. He'd been angry at the world even after living in Evelyn Mercer's home for several years. He'd been pissed about the life he'd had when he was younger and all the bullshit he'd lived through before finding his real home and family under Evelyn Mercer's roof.
Evelyn had looked at him and smiled. He could still see that spark in her eyes and hear the words that she had given him then. "You boys have a real future now Bobby. Live it the best you can. Don't fuck it up."
"You know me too well Ma." Bobby smiled and turned to follow his family. They were going home.