Be warned, I know very little about the game of golf! :) Let me know what you think and thanks for reading!
I do not own Four Brother, nor do I profit in any way from this fiction.
Driving Lesson 2: A Whole Different Game
"I told you I got shit to do today." Jeremiah stood in the dining room, checking his clothes in the mirror. His white and navy blue stripped polo and beige trousers felt a bit out of place in the Mercer home, but he didn't care. The only real problem was getting out of the house before Bobby picked up on his afternoon plans.
"Come on Jerry, I get home once every two or three months for a few days, and you can't take one afternoon to shoot some shit with your older brother?" Bobby cried out from his seat at the table, where he was nursing a beer and poking a fork at some leftover meatloaf his mother had warmed over for him.
"Now Bobby, don't expect me to flush my plans down the toilet just because you decided to grace us with your presence after two months. I've got a life and I aim to live it." Jerry turned slightly while still checking his reflection.
"What kind of fucking plans you got Jerr'? I mean look at you. Where the hell did you get those clothes? What's with the primpin' in the mirror shit? You need Jack to give you some help there? Maybe a few makeup tips to bring that look together for you?" Bobby snorted out a laugh at his own joke.
"Bobby just shut your trap." Jeremiah muttered and threw his brother a scowl.
"Both of you boys better shut your trap. There is no reason for either of you to be at each other like this. You aren't teenagers anymore." Evelyn spoke as he stepped into the dining room with her plate of warmed over food. "Jeremiah, are you sure you don't want something to eat?" She sat down across the table from Bobby.
"I'm sure Ma." Jeremiah looked at his mother and smiled. "I told you, I'm going to be eating with Camille's father."
"Oh, so this is one of those deals where you're trying to impress the girlfriend's Dad." Bobby laughed. "Hell, Jerr', if you gotta dress like a fucking fairy to do that, then maybe there's a problem."
Evelyn looked at Bobby, a scold behind her eyes. "Bobby, he looks just fine for his plans today. There is no reason for you to make jokes. This is important to him." Her tone was firm, but quiet. The same tone she used when she was about to go into 'mother' mode.
"Ma, you ever seen anyone from our neighborhood dress like that? No you haven't, and there's a reason for it." Bobby was about to get started on a long line of insults, Jeremiah could feel it.
"Yes and the reason is no one from this neighborhood has any real class." Jeremiah spoke quickly. "I gotta go." He turned to walk out of the dining room.
"Where is your new pair of golf shoes Jeremiah? Aren't you wearing them?" Evelyn asked the question before Jerry was able to break free from the room.
Jerry could feel the cringe run through his entire body and it stopped him in his place in the wide doorway leading to the living room. He had packed the shoes in the bag he'd readied, along with a towel and basic essentials he might need after walking in the warm sun all day. Shit. Shit. Shit. He'd told his mother not to tell Bobby what he was planning, hadn't he? His mind quickly clicked out the conversation he'd had with his mother the night before, just after Bobby's unannounced arrival. He'd told her Camille's father had invited him and his father to play golf; he'd explained to the man he didn't have a father and it would be only him, but he would love to go though he'd never played before. Evelyn had suggested he invite one of his brothers, but Jack would be in school, and Angel was away at boot camp. Bobby arriving home seemed to be perfect, for her, because he was the oldest and he would love to be included in Jeremiah's plans as a father figure kind of thing. He had told his mother he didn't think golf was Bobby's kind of sport, hadn't he? He'd told her he didn't think Bobby on a golf course would leave a positive lasting impression on Camille's father, the man he was planning to ask permission to marry his daughter that day, right? He'd told her those things, he was sure, or maybe he'd only thought them.
"Golf shoes," Bobby spoke over a mouthful of meatloaf. "You're going to play golf?" His question was quiet, not loud or boisterous as Jeremiah would have expected, and if he didn't know better he could have sworn there was a hint of disappointment in his tone.
"Well of course. Camille's father asked Jeremiah to join him at the golf course." Evelyn sounded as if she was completely unaware that Jeremiah hadn't shared that bit of information with his older brother. "He had asked Jeremiah to bring his father as well, but…"
Jeremiah turned and looked at Evelyn. "I really have to go, or I'm going to be late." He spoke quickly.
The sound of Bobby's chair scraping the wood floor as it eased back from the table grated on Jeremiah's ears. "Golf, well, I ain't ever played the game, but since you asked I'd be glad to give it a try." He smiled at Jerry as he stood, the sarcasm dripping from his voice.
"That's quite alright, ya' all ain't gotta go golfin' with me. I can do this on my own." Jeremiah spoke quickly. "I know you're tired and you need to rest up for the drinking you're gonna be doin' later." He tried to match Bobby's tone.
Bobby allowed a smile to play across his lips just slightly. "Jerr', I don't mind sacrificing my time to play the father role for my little brother, really. I'm sure I can master the golf game, hell, it can't be all that hard; I mean I know how to handle a fucking club. I do play hockey after all and a golf club does look a little like a hockey stick, just a hell of a lot smaller, can't do too much physical harm with it, but I'm sure I could cause a little damage." Again he laughed.
"Bobby, this is golf, you don't know a damn thing about golf. I'm gonna be playing with Camille's father, and I need to talk to him about some important shit now. The last thing I need is your sorry, white ass following me around today." Jeremiah knew he'd screwed up the second he finished his argument.
Bobby's eyebrows rose slightly. "Important shit huh? What kind of important shit Jerr'?"
"He's going to ask Camille's father for her hand in marriage." Evelyn smiled wide. "I think that is so sweet, I really…"
"Ma, please?" Jeremiah could feel the hammer falling hard. "I don't need Bobby going with me; I'm trying to make a good impression here." Ouch. He felt the sting of his own words and knew he should have stated his case in a more respectful manner. He made the attempt at turning to leave once more.
"Now wait just one minute young man." Evelyn stood quickly, halting the younger man in his tracks and turning his attention back to her. "I know you aren't ashamed of where you come from or your family, because you are my son and I taught you a damn sight better than that." Her words were quiet, and calm, but the tone held a threat that only a mother could manage. "Bobby has been a good older brother to you; he's watched your back and dragged your ass out of a lot of tight scrapes. I think he's earned the right to step into the position that a father would take in a situation such as this."
Jeremiah wanted to point out to his mother that most of the tight scrapes Bobby had dragged his ass out of had been scrapes he'd put him in to start with. Hell, Bobby Mercer seemed to be a magnet to trouble, "A situation as this? What situation Ma?" He opted to trying to reason with his mother, though he was sure it wasn't going to work.
"You're going to talk to Camille's father, aren't you?" Evelyn pushed.
"Ma, please don't push this? I ain't sure I'm going to ask him anything, I just need to feel him out, and even if I do ask him the big question, this is something I need to do on my own. I'm my own man, and I need to take care of my own business." Jeremiah tried to keep his voice from sounding like that of a five year old trying to get his own way but he could hear the whiney feel to it none the less.
Evelyn sighed and stepped over to her second oldest. "You listen to me Jeremiah Mercer." Her hands reached up and adjusted his collar. "When a young man asks a young lady for her hand in marriage, he is not only asking for her to join his family, but to join her family as well. He is, with that one gesture, asking two families to join together as one. Don't you think Camille's father will want to know her new in-laws? Of course he will, even Bobby." She turned and smiled at the eldest son. "He will be on his best behavior, and he will make you proud. Won't you son?" She asked.
"Of course I will. I ain't so fucking stupid that I'd screw this up for you Jerr'." Bobby grinned wide, but his eyes held a spark to them.
"Ma, this ain't an ice rink, it's a golf course, and Camille's father, James, is gonna have his hands full trying to teach me the game, it ain't fair to just show up with another person when I've already told him I'd be coming alone." Jeremiah shook his head. "He'll feel obligated to teach us both, and that just ain't right."
"I won't play the fucking game, I'll just watch you swing the stick and make a damn fool out of yourself." Bobby spoke quickly with a laugh to his voice.
"Son, do this for me?" Evelyn turned back to Jeremiah. "Camille's father is going to have to meet Bobby some time. It's better if he meets him now while you can explain him, rather than waiting for the wedding when he's going to be drinking and really looking like an ass." She spoke with a quiet voice, as if she didn't want Bobby to hear her words.
Jeremiah sighed. He still didn't think it was a good idea, but it was obvious his mother wasn't going to say no to this, and Bobby was pulling on his leather jacket. "Well you can't go dressed like that." He pointed to Bobby's stained blue jeans, black t-shirt with the hole around the collar and leather jacket.
"What's wrong with my clothes?" Bobby looked down to examine the clothing that seemed so offensive to Jeremiah.
"It's a golf course, at a country club. You got to dress a certain way. You damn sure can't wear those boots." Jeremiah stepped past Evelyn while looking at the oil stains and whatever the hell else was spotting up the brown leather covering Bobby's feet. "You can get some shoes at the club, but it's gonna cost you some money." He shook his head. "I think there might be some trousers in Angel's closet you can wear, and I might even have a shirt for you. Come on." He turned and headed towards the stairs but didn't hear the familiar foot falls of his older brother behind him. "Bobby, either you dress the way I tell you to or your ass can stay home." He stopped at the bottom of the steps while he called out his threat.
"What the fuck, I gotta dress like a fairy to go watch you beat the shit out of a helpless little ball?" Bobby cried out, but he followed Jeremiah.
Jeremiah stopped his car at the gate of the country club. The young man leaned out of the booth and took the guest card Camille's father had given him, as well as his driver's license. James had told him he would need to show both in order to get through the gate. He could feel Bobby fidgeting in the seat next to him but managed to hold in the smile that pulled at his mouth.
"Thank you Mr. Mercer. I will phone ahead so that Mr. Addison knows you have arrived." The young man handed Jeremiah his license and the guest card.
"Thank you." Jeremiah gave the younger man a nod and glanced over at Bobby as he drove on through the gate and followed the black top to the club house. Hell, he could see why his brother was fidgeting. He'd managed to find a lime-green and yellow checked polo shirt in his closet and matched it with a pair of green and white stripped trousers from Angel's closet. He was going to have to ask Angel where in the hell he'd found pants like that and why. There had to be story behind them. Angel was usually very particular about his clothes and to be honest, the pants looked so bad Jeremiah couldn't imagine anyone actually choosing to wear them. He picked them purposely in an attempt to force his older brother to back out of intruding on his day, but it hadn't worked. When he'd handed Bobby the pair of argyle socks, checked in light blue, green, and white he'd expected an all out war. Bobby had accepted the socks with a grin. He even took the brown loafers Jeremiah had pulled from the back of the closet and slid them on over the socks, despite the fact they were a size too big and looked to be a style from ten years earlier.
James Addison stepped out the main entrance of the club house as Jeremiah parked the car. Bobby was looking around at the landscaped grounds and the high priced cars surrounding them. "Damn Jerr', you sure you want to be a part of this kind of shit?"
Jeremiah gave James a quick wave and looked at Bobby. "You promised Ma you would behave Bobby. Now this is important to me." He warned him as he looked back towards James.
Bobby gave the bottom seam of his shirt a slight tug to get it to cover his stomach completely. "I already let you dress me up like the president of the fucking chess club Jerr'. If I embarrass you a little bit it's gonna be your own fucking fault." Bobby followed Jeremiah's gaze to James Addison, who was walking towards them. "That's the future father-in-law Jerr'?" He smiled wide.
Jeremiah felt a tug at his gut. He was sure he could hear a threat in Bobby's voice. "Well he will be if you don't fuck me over today, Bobby."
Bobby looked at Jeremiah, their gaze meeting full on. He smiled and nodded his head. "Yeah, you're right. I could really screw up your life here, couldn't I little brother? I could embarrass the shit out of you." He looked down at the shirt Jeremiah had forced him to wear. It had ridden up over his stomach again. Bobby's hand tugged on the shirt for a second time. "Good thing I wouldn't do that kind of thing to my brother, ain't it?" His voice held sarcasm.
Jeremiah felt a small pang of guilt for the clothes Bobby wore at that moment. But it was only a small pang, and when he looked back to see James closing in on the car he forgot about it completely. This was his day, and Bobby had no right intruding on it, so as far as he was concerned his brother deserved to look like a member of a chess club, as he had stated himself just a minute before.
"Mr. Addison." Jeremiah spoke as he slammed the car door closed. "I hope you don't mind, but my brother arrived back in town and…" He started to explain Bobby's presence in the car, but his words were cut short by the sound of Bobby's car door slamming hard.
"Yeah Mr. Addison, I'm sorry for the intrusion. I hope you don't mind if I join the two of you. If it is a problem I understand." Bobby walked around the car quickly, tugging at the front of his shirt once more.
Jeremiah could see the expression on James Addison's face. He looked almost amused, maybe a little surprised, but nothing more. "We had to put some clothes together last minute." Jeremiah made a futile attempt at explaining the reason Bobby was dressed in the unsightly combination.
"It's quite alright." James Addison smiled and reached his hand out towards Bobby in a friendly gesture. "I'm glad you could make it. I have been hoping to meet some of Jeremiah's family." Jerry felt a little more at ease. He had explained to Camille's father about his family and the colorful mix it consisted of, but he had not gone into detail as to just how colorful Bobby Mercer's personality could be. He didn't have to try to explain the difference in their skin, only the asinine behavior he was sure Bobby would exhibit before the end of the day.
Bobby smiled and shook hands with the older gentleman. He flashed a smile at Jeremiah. "You see; no problem. I told you it would be okay." His voice held a pleasant tone that most people might feel comfortable with, but Jeremiah Mercer knew the man all too well. Bobby was up to something, he could feel it.
"Why don't we go in and find you something a little more suitable to wear Mr. Mercer?" James spoke to Bobby.
Bobby looked down at his clothes in a gesture that mirrored his same moves earlier, in the dining room at the house. "Oh, I'm fine Mr. Addison. Jerry here spent a lot of time picking these clothes out just for me and I really don't want to disappoint him." He leaned in a little closer to the man. "You know how little brothers can be sometimes, right?"
Mr. Addison glanced at Jeremiah, obviously confused about what might be going on between the brothers. He offered a smile none the less, before he nodded his head. "Okay. Well, we can at least find you some golf shoes." He looked down at bobby's feet. "You can't wear those out on the green; you need something that will give you some traction."
"Oh, I'm not going to play. I just came along to watch." Bobby allowed the man to place a hand on his shoulder and guide him towards the walkway that led to the club house. He turned and looked at Jeremiah. "Are you comin' Jerry?" He called out.
Jeremiah opened the rear door of his car and snatched the gym bag he'd packed up. He made sure the car was locked up tight before trotting to catch up with James and Bobby. He slowed up his pace on James' left side in time to hear Bobby telling the man he was a professional hockey player, "Yeah, there ain't nothin' better than getting out on that ice." Bobby grinned and looked over at Jeremiah.
"I do hope you'll reconsider and try at least a few rounds with us." James remarked as they walked through the door. Jeremiah drew in a deep breath and prepared himself for a challenging day. "You should have proper shoes though, whether you are playing or not."
Bobby allowed James Addison to lead him to the store just inside the door. He had to admit, the old man was pretty damn nice. He stood by patiently while Bobby tried on twelve different pair of shoes. Jeremiah on the other hand stood by and allowed his irritation to show. That was fine. Bobby knew just the right things to do to drive his little brother crazy, and being as he was dressed like an ass; he figured there was no reason to stop him from acting like one.
He smiled at Jerry as he stood on the carpeted floor and tested out the last pair of shoes. "What do you think Jerry? You think they go with my shirt?" He flashed his brother a smile and tugged at the bottom seam of his shirt to force it down over his stomach.
"They are fine. The last eleven pairs you tried were fine. Let's just get going, we don't got all day, and I'm sure Mr. Addison is getting a little tired of waiting." Jeremiah glanced at James Addison who was sitting on the bench a foot from Bobby.
"I don't mind. You have to have comfortable shoes on your feet to play golf Jeremiah. That is something you need to learn." James grinned wide. "And I'm still hoping your brother will play a few rounds with us."
Bobby decided he'd played the shoe thing as far as it could go, agreed that the pair he was now wearing would work for him and James graciously paid the bill for them.
"We gotta walk a long way?" He walked by James' side, letting Jeremiah follow. "I mean, are we gonna have one of the carts to drive around like I see on television all the time? I could be your driver; I'm one hell of a driver."
"Oh, we'll have a cart. You have to have a cart if you are going to play all 18 holes." James went on to ask Bobby about hockey while they led Jeremiah through the clubhouse to the locker room. Bobby glanced back and chuckled softly at the fierce look his brother was wearing. Hell, it had to be rough on him. His future father-in-law was having a grand old time talking to Bobby, and leaving Jeremiah in the dust.
By the time they made it out to where they would tee off Mr. Addison was well into a story about one of his old friends trying out for hockey when he was younger. He made a few jokes and laughed heartily at them. Bobby laughed along with him, though he thought they were a little lame. He sat stood back and politely kept his mouth shut while James took his first shot. He wasn't about to be rude with the man. He knew there were some basic rules, some common sense kind of shit that had to be followed on a golf course, and he wanted to be nice to the older man. Addison seemed okay, a little stiff under the collar, but not too snobbish.
It was Jeremiah Mercer that he wanted to get at. His little brother was paranoid about the kind of impression his brother was going to leave and that pissed Bobby off more than anything. Hell, didn't his brother trust him at all? He had been around enough to know how to act around other people. He'd been living on the road with the team for a year now, and he had managed to make it that whole time without tarnishing the Mercer name, much.
Bobby waited until Jeremiah's turn came. James handed Jerry a club and started instructing him on how to stand and swing. Bobby tried to hold it in, he really did. "Come on Jerry; show that fuckin' ball whose boss." He called out and laughed. Jeremiah turned and looked at him the scowl embedded deep in his forehead. "Beat the shit out of that ball Jerr', put some force into that swing."
James turned as well; the expression on his face was unreadable, at first. Bobby was sure he could see a smirk behind the man's eyes. He waved at James and allowed him to turn back to Jerry and speak quietly. James stepped back and crossed his arms in front of him. The air seemed to go quiet as a group of men gathered behind them, apparently waiting for their turn.
Jerry looked nervous. Bobby glanced back at the men and then stepped quickly to James. Jeremiah pulled back on his swing as if he was about to take his hit. "Come on Jerr', there's other people waiting here. How fuckin' hard can it be to hit a little ball? This ain't hockey, nothin's gonna hit back ya know." He called out as Jerry took his swing.
Dirt flew and Jeremiah stomped his foot. Bobby looked down at the tee and couldn't keep the laugh in when he noticed the small white ball still rested on the tee. "Fuck Jerr', you missed the little shit. How did you manage to miss it?" He waited until Jeremiah turned to face him before grabbing hold of his shirt and giving it a practiced tug downward. He flashed his brother a smile. Yeah, payback was a bitch when you were on the receiving end, but when you were the one shelling it out, it was sweet.
James snickered next to Bobby and turned and looked at Jeremiah. "Relax, son. Just make sure you replace that divot." He pointed to the chunk of green lying at Jeremiah's feet.
"Yeah, Jerry, make sure to fix that ditch you just dug into the ground." Bobby nodded his head and followed James' lead with the pointing out the chunk of dirt and grass. "That's pretty rude, Jerry, digging holes in someone else's grass. Man I bet they pay a pretty penny to mow this shit."
James rested a hand on Bobby's arm and turned him away from Jeremiah. "Bobby. You may not realize this, but there certain rules of etiquette that should be followed when you are on a golf course. One of those rules is to remain quiet when another player is taking his shot."
"Oh, I know that sir. I really do." Bobby nodded his head in agreement. "That was the reason I kept my mouth shut when you took your shot." He smiled. "But you have to understand. Jerry here, well, he's used to hockey, like me, and there's a lot of cheering that goes on in the game. A lot of yelling and well, to be honest, the game can get a little rough. Jerry's used to the rough part. I figure that since that ball ain't gonna jump up and knock the shit out of him I need to try to improvise a little."
"Yes, but, the language isn't quite acceptable on a private course such as this." James tried to explain.
"I'm sorry sir, I didn't mean any disrespect. It's just that..." Bobby hesitated as he wondered just how open James would be to the truth. Hell, he seemed like a pretty level headed guy, and he had hinted that he did have a little sense of humor. "That ass hole made me wear these clothes. I mean, I may not be a fashion expert, but even you wanted me find other clothes. You don't think I should make him suffer just a little?" He kept his voice quiet and glanced back in time to see Jeremiah placing that clump of dirt back into the grown and tap it down with the toe of his shoe.
James shook his head before he gave a slight nod towards the group of men behind them. "I get what you're saying. Just watch the language around other people?" He asked. "You could very well embarrass me, and I didn't make you wear that green shit." Bobby recognized the sound of the streets coming through in James' voice.
The surprise must have been apparent on the younger man's face because James grinned wide. "Look, I have a younger brother, and he pisses me off sometimes. You do what you gotta do, but don't embarrass me in the process? I have come a long ways since my youth. I've worked hard to make a life for me and mine and I'm proud of that. I'm from the same poor neighborhood as you are and it took a lot to rise above that. I may be an old man, but I have my pride. Don't make me look like a dumb ass here."
Bobby laughed. "Yes sir." He liked this man.
"Now, do me a favor and allow your brother to tee off in peace. We have people waiting." James turned and made his way back to Jeremiah.
Bobby looked back at the group of men staring him down. He smiled, waved, and tugged at the undersized shirt before turning back to watch Jeremiah attempt his swing a second time. This time the ball soared.
"Way to go Jerr'." Bobby clapped his hands and walked up to stand next to James and his brother. "Do we get to drive the cart now? Give me the keys to one of those bitches and turn me loose."
"Bobby, shut up." Jeremiah spoke in a hushed tone.
James grabbed hold of his golf bag full of clubs and started pulling it in the direction of a line of golf carts. "This way boys, let's get moving." He sounded cheerful, and there seemed to be an extra bounce to his step. Hell, Bobby could tell, James Addison was enjoying this almost as much as he was.
"James, please, you don't need to be lugging that shit around." Bobby remembered to keep his voice at a level that prevented it from drifting far as he caught up to James Addison. "Here, please, let me." He took hold of the golf bag and eased it out of the man's grip.
"Well thank you Bobby, that's very thoughtful." James smiled at him and relinquished the burden.
Bobby turned and thrust the bag into Jerry's arms. "What's the matter with you Jerr'? You can't let that old man lug this shit around. You're trying to impress him, ain't ya?" He pulled a frown at his little brother before he turned and followed James, leaving Jerry to drag the heavy bag behind him.
Bobby accepted the keys from James and jumped into the golf cart, making sure to let out a happy yelp as he started the motor. "Damn, this sounds pretty sweet." He laughed while James climbed into the front of the cart next to Bobby.
Jeremiah struggled for a moment to get the bag of clubs stowed in the back and then slid into the rear seat. "Mind your manners Bobby." He muttered. "I'm sure there's a speed limit."
"Speed limit, my ass," Bobby put the cart in gear. "Where are we going?" He asked quickly.
"We're going to where the balls are." Jeremiah spoke quickly, sounding like a pissed off teenager.
Bobby couldn't keep in the wicked laugh that pushed hard on him. "Then we should have brought Jack. Hell, he can lead us right to any balls." He glanced at James. "Ain't that right Jerry?" He laughed.
"Don't start that kind of crap here Bobby. Damn, can't you act like a civilized human being for five minutes?" Jeremiah cried out.
"I already did that. I was very civil the first five minutes after we got here." Bobby laughed and glanced back at Jeremiah while he gave the cart a little more power, picking up speed. "I like this thing." He looked ahead of him. "So, where are the balls?" He looked at James.
James directed Bobby were to go and where to park the cart, while holding on tight to keep himself inside the cart. "The speed limit is 20 miles an hour Bobby." He commented as they started down a hill, towards the fairway.
"You know what's wrong with the game of golf James?" Bobby grinned. "There's no excitement. There's no thrill. How can you walk around and stay so fucking quiet for a whole day? Don't you ever want to make it a little more fun? You know we could get our hands on another cart pretty damn easy and have a race." He looked at James, hoping the man knew he wasn't serious.
James grinned. "Bobby, there are times when I do imagine something like that. But the rules here don't allow it."
"Bobby, just leave it alone and drive like you got some common sense, would you?" Jeremiah called out from the back seat as the cart hit a rut and jolted hard, rocking him towards the open side.
"Screw common sense Jerry, let's have some fun." Bobby turned to look at his brother, who was holding on tight during their rocky ride. The younger man's eyes were narrow and focused on Bobby. "Lighten up Jerry. James here knows exactly what I'm talking about. Damn, you need a good stiff drink." He leaned to one side and let loose of the steering wheel with one hand while he dug into his pocket. He pulled out the three small bottles of Jack Daniels he'd smuggled off the air plane on his flight in and held them up. "Here you go Jerr'."
"Bobby you can't have those out here." Jerry cried out. "Damn, what are you tryin' to do to me?"
Bobby laughed and looked at James. "What about you James? You got a thirst goin' yet?" He asked.
James smiled. "Actually, I think it's a grand idea." He reached out and took one of the bottles from Bobby, removed the cap and downed it in seconds. "Your driving is scaring the shit out of me."
Bobby let out a laugh and looked back at Jerry again. "You sure you don't want one Jerr'?"
Jeremiah didn't bother speaking; he simply held his glare on his brother.
Bobby repeated the same routine each time he watched James and Jerry play their shots. He was quiet as could be for James, but as soon as Jeremiah had the club in his hand and was ready to take his shot, Bobby made sure to call out to him, or drive the cart up next to him and ask him if he was tired yet. He purposely saddled Jeremiah with James' bag of clubs. His taunts became more colorful as the afternoon sun beat down on them, and he pulled and tugged at his shirt constantly to get it down over his stomach. He did all he could to try to get Jeremiah to lose control, but none of it seemed to work. James actually seemed amused by it all, and Jerry was so wrapped up in being pissed that he didn't notice his future father-in-law was being entertained. Bobby was definitely making this day a memorable experience for his younger brother. He stayed true to his promise to James and didn't let his antics hold them up too much when the other group of players following them arrived. He also kept his voice quiet and refrained from being too vulgar in front of the audience. Once Jeremiah had finished with his shot and they were in the golf cart again he'd hit the gas and make for whatever stretch of the fair way they needed to get to, making twists and turns when he should have aiming the vehicle straight forward. He was determined to get a true Mercer reaction from Jeremiah before they left that golf course. If it meant driving the cart into one of the ponds that James called a water trap, then he was willing to do that.
Jeremiah Mercer's temper was about to boil over. He knew the worst thing he could do would be to lose his patience with his brother in front of Camille's father. He realized early on that he was better off not to pose his request to James Addison while Bobby was around. He barely had a chance to speak two words to the man as it was. Bobby was at his side the whole time, talking about how he'd busted a few guys up in one of his games and the suspension from the team that it had earned him. He was complaining about the disciplinary action, claiming that was what hockey was all about, a little blood, some cheap shots and a winning score.
He tried to pull Bobby off to the side during one of James' shots and quietly beg him to stop his shit, but Bobby looked at him, pulled his shirt down with an over exaggerated gesture, and then smiled. "Little brother, you ain't got shit to worry about. James likes me." He had turned away and watched Mr. Addison take his shot.
After the fourth hole Jeremiah decided to put an end to the torture Bobby was inflicting on him. It had become clear that Mr. Addison was getting pissed, and was too much of a gentleman to speak up about it. After Bobby had jumped in front of him in the middle of his swing Jeremiah lost his patience. "Bobby, I've had enough of your shit." He cried out. "You are making fools out of both of us. What the hell is your problem? I told you before this was important, and if I recall, you promised Ma you'd be on your best behavior." He didn't want to go overboard with the Mercer style of communication, at least not in front of Camille's father. The man was never going to accept him as a husband for his daughter now, thanks to Bobby. The only way he could salvage a little bit of the man's respect was to show he was a better man than his brother.
"Yeah, but I made that promise to Ma before you dressed me up like a fuckin' Popsicle." Bobby pointed out, not caring if Mr. Addison heard him. "You want some respect Jeremiah; you gotta earn it, even from me." Bobby flashed him a wide grin and turned to look at Mr. Addison, "So, where to next?" He asked the man.
"I think Jeremiah's had enough of the game for one day." James Addison sighed. "Why don't we head back to the club house and cool off?" He offered.
"Jerry, grab the man's bag." Bobby joined up with James and headed towards the golf cart.
"Oh, hell no," Jeremiah cried out. He'd had enough. He was supposed to be forming a bond with Camille's father, not Bobby. He had planned on asking the man permission to marry his daughter; something that he was certain would never happen now, thanks to his older brother. His plans were down the toilet, so there was no reason to hold back now. "What do I look like, your house boy? You weren't invited to join me here, you pushed your way into my personal business and now you got the nerve to talk to me like that? You knew this was a big deal to me, and you still had to weasel your way into it, ruining my life, and Mr. Addison's day. You have done nothing but make a fool out of yourself, and embarrass me to hell." He let loose and flung the club that had been in his hands across the green.
Mr. Addison turned and looked at him. "Jeremiah Mercer, I'm appalled at that kind of behavior. Are you trying to get me kicked out of my own club?" His voice held ridicule and disappointment. "I thought you were a better man than that." He shook his head. "Now you go pick up club, put it in my bag and carry those clubs to the cart. You and I will talk later." He turned and put his arm across the back of Bobby's shoulders and led him to their waiting ride.
Jeremiah couldn't believe it. He was sure that if Bobby asked to marry Camille at that very moment James Addison would be overjoyed. The man was obviously not impressed with him, but he seemed to have taken a liking to the ass of a brother who had butted into his life. In just a few short hours Bobby had ruined any chance Jeremiah would ever have at impressing the man. There was no way that he could see to recover his dignity. He had let Bobby get to him, and he knew that he shouldn't have.
Bobby turned back to look at him and flashed that shit-eaten grin that told Jerry he had won. "Come on Jerry, don't just stand there looking like a fucking idiot, move your ass. We ain't got all day. I got a cold beer waiting for me."
Jeremiah resolved himself to defeat and retrieved the club he'd thrown across the grass. He put it in the bag and forced himself to trudge along in the direction of the golf cart where Bobby was waiting behind the wheel, talking quietly to Camille's father. Both men laughed and then silenced their conversation when he reached them. He clambered into the back seat with a sulk across his face, he could feel it, but he didn't give a shit, he had a reason to sulk.
The ride back to the club house held true to Bobby's history on the green thus far. He decided to see how fast the cart could actually move and nearly ran several other vehicles off the path. He took one hill too fast and Jeremiah was sure the wheels left the ground. He cringed inwardly, embarrassed and letting his anger build again. He was gonna kill the son of a bitch as soon as they left. Maybe not kill him, but he was going to do something to get him back for ruining his life. He was going to take him out into the middle of nowhere, kick his ass out of the car and take off. He'd tell his mother he'd left him at a bar somewhere, she'd believe that.
When they reached the clubhouse Jeremiah opted for a quick shower before joining James and Bobby at the bar for a cool drink. He thought it might give him a chance to calm his nerves and cool the hot anger inside. When he walked into the bar he found the men had chosen a table close to a window and was thankful that he'd have something to look at while Bobby and James continued their conversation. It wasn't as if he'd had a chance to talk to Camille's father the entire afternoon.; hell he was starting to feel like a third wheel. He pulled himself into a chair before he focused on the words spilling out of Bobby's mouth.
"So there was Jerry, his ass hanging out of the car window and those girls were whistlin' and clappin' the whole time." Bobby laughed hard. "So you see he usually ain't such a bitch." He looked pointedly at Jeremiah, who could feel his face growing hot at the realization that Bobby was telling how he'd mooned the cheer leading squad back in high school.
"Bobby, shut your trap." Jeremiah hissed the words and closed his eyes to avoid looking at James Addison.
The table fell silent when a young man arrived carrying a bottle of beer, a whiskey sour and what looked like white wine.
Bobby grabbed the beer while James took the whiskey sour.
Jeremiah sighed and reached for the glass of wine. "Bobby, what did you order for me?" He asked with a moan. He needed something stronger than wine at the moment.
"Well, actually I ordered it. It seemed appropriate." James spoke up. "I didn't think you needed anything too strong, what with the problem you seem to have controling your anger."
"Sir, I do apologize for my behavior out there. That was uncalled for, and honestly, I normally do not have a temper. I'm not the hothead in the family." Jeremiah tried to defend himself.
"It's okay son, I can understand how your nerves could have gotten the better of you." James smiled at him and Jeremiah was sure he was out of the dog house, until the older man sighed and looked at Bobby. "You know, as I recall, my Camille was a cheerleader in high school."
Jeremiah felt his stomach turn on him. Shit. If he had a chance of gaining Addison's favor it had all gone to hell once Bobby had told the man about him mooning his little girl in high school.
Bobby let out a snort and took a long drink of his beer. He looked at Jeremiah. "You drink your wine there sweetheart, and when you've calmed down, maybe you can ask James that question you wanted to ask him."
"Bobby, shut up." Jeremiah couldn't think of anything more to say to the man who was systematically ruining his life.
"You have a question to ask?" James turned his full attention to Jeremiah. "What question?"
"Nothing, sir, I really don't have anything to ask you." Jeremiah could see his future with Camille vanishing before his very eyes.
"Young man, if you are going to marry my daughter you gotta learn a few things. Our family does have a sense of humor, and we damn sure ain't as snobbish as you seem to take us to be." James sighed. "Just relax and enjoy the afternoon, that's all I wanted you to do from the start. I must say I have had a grand time." He finally grinned and gave Jeremiah a pat on the arm.
"What?" Jeremiah was confused.
"Hell Jerr', he knew all along what you had planned to ask him. He's a pretty cool guy too; he let me put you through hell, and even helped me out a little." Bobby sat back in his chair and grinned.
Jeremiah looked from Bobby to James. "What?" He asked.
"Son, I like you enough to enjoy watching you suffer, but damn, you just made it too easy." James laughed and took a sip of his drink. "Do me a favor; try to have a good, stiff drink just before you take your wedding vows. You are far too uptight to be a member of my family."
Jeremiah looked at James, meeting his gaze, "Wedding vows?" He asked.
"You have my blessing; I know that you will make my baby happy." James spoke seriously. "Just don't dress your groomsmen the way you dressed your brother today. Damn, you deserved everything you got, you know that?"
Jeremiah felt his nerves ease up. "You let him do that to me?" He asked James. "Here I was, freaking out about making a good impression with you and you let my brother make a fool out of me?"
James laughed. "Well, I'm sorry, but it was a good day."
Jeremiah looked at Bobby, who was laughing and shaking his head. "I will get you back Bobby."
"Payback's a bitch, right Jerr'?" Bobby held his beer bottle out and let it clink against the side of Jerry's wine glass. "Relax little brother, you don't want to start any shit with me before your wedding, God only knows what I'll do to you on that day if you give me a reason."
Jeremiah sighed and relaxed for the first time that day. He was going to marry Camille Addison and make her his wife, and he had her father's blessing. It was a good day, in fact, it was the best day of his life.