"Call us as soon as you get there alright?" Bobby requested as he hugged Jack tightly while Joe and Billy placed Jack's bags in the trunk of the mustang.
"I will." Jack vowed hugging the older man with equal strength.
"Alright. Be careful and don't get into trouble." Bobby said slowly breaking the hug.
"Hey, I don't take after you like Jerry and Angel." Jack lightly joked.
"Fairy." Bobby muttered with a grin. "Alright then. I'll see you in the fall Cracker Jack."
"Take care of him guys." Bobby said as Joe shut the trunk.
"Don't worry Bobby. You don't have anything to worry about." Billy vowed.
"If you can get some muscle on him, that would be greatly appreciated." Bobby declared with a grin as Jack moved toward the mustang.
"You're just jealous cause I'll never get fat." Jack replied.
"Could you at least come back fifty pounds heavier?" Bobby asked.
"I'll try my best." Jack said with a smirk. "I'll miss ya man."
"Miss you too fairy." Bobby said and watched as Jack climbed into the back of the car with Joe and Billy climbing in after.
He got into his own car and waved to the three as they started to pull out and head in the opposite direction.
"Take care Jackie. See you soon." Bobby said softly before pulling out onto the road.
"Wake up Jackie. We're home."
At the sound of Joe's voice, Jack lightly stirred and opened his eyes as the car was pulled into a driveway and came to a stop in a dark garage. Joe climbed out of the car and pulled the seat forward to allow him to crawl out.
After a quick stretch, the youngest walked out of the garage and looked up at the house where he'd lived the first four years of his life. It hadn't changed very much.
A new coat of paint had been applied not too long ago, the small yard had obviously been mowed maybe only a day or two ago, anything he had remembered that was broken was now fixed and the garage now only had Billy's mustang inside.
"Blast from the past Jackie?" Joe asked putting an arm around Jack's shoulders.
"You have no idea." Jack answered with a small smirk. "It all looks the same but I can tell that you guys fixed things up a bit."
"Hey, we didn't want you to come back with this place looking the same as you last saw it." Billy declared opening the trunk. "Besides, it was about time we fixed it up. Going straight means that we gotta change our appearance a little."
"Well it looks awesome either way." Jack stated grabbing his guitar case and slinging his duffle bag over one shoulder and his brother's each taking a bag. "A lot better than the last time I was here."
"Good. Hope you can say the same about your room." Billy said with a small smile.
"The same one?" Jack asked with a bit of hope in his voice.
"Same one." Joe answered. "Let's get inside. It's late and you still need to call Bobby and let him know that you got here in one piece."
"S**t, I'm surprised he didn't follow us here to make sure of that." Jack declared as Billy led the way to the front door.
"Actually, I am too." Billy said placing the key into the lock and opening the door.
Jack followed the two inside and once he stepped through the door he felt a strong presence hit him dead on.
Almost everything was exactly the same. The furniture was different but was in the same place as the last set. The wallpaper was different, it was a lot cleaner but it seemed almost the exact same to Jack.
Part of him was expecting to see their father come around the corner but he had to keep reminding himself that he wasn't around anymore. That threat was gone and they could finally be in the house together in peace.
"Come on Jackie. Let's see what you think of your room." Billy said leading the way to the stairs.
Jack nodded and followed with Joe right behind him. Coming to the second floor Jack instantly remembered the rooms. He remembered his father's room, the room that Billy and Joe shared and then there was his that was at the end of the hall.
Even though Billy and Joe shared a room and he had his own, they had all stayed in his at night. They had felt safer being together and they always looked out for one another. Billy would usually be the one who stayed up the longest to make sure that their father was asleep and so that they could sleep themselves. It would cause him to sleep in almost until noon the next day but at the same time their father would just barely be waking up at that time so they were still safe until then.
As they walked down the hall, Jack right away noticed that it looked like Billy had taken their dad's room and made it his own and the room he had shared with Joe looked to now belong to Joe.
They came to the last door and Billy stepped aside for Jack to open the door.
The youngest stepped foward and opened the door.
Jack walked into the room and right away felt a familiar feeling wash over him. This room...This room had been his. Before he had been torn apart from his two blood brother's and put in foster care.
He remembered the small bed, the small collection of coloring books, the few pieces of clothing put away in the dresser, the few toys placed in the toy chest...
All those things were gone and new things replaced them. The room was basic but Jack noticed that his brother's tried to fix it to his punk rock style. Black and grey were the basic color patterns. A twin bed was set in the middle of the room with a dresser against the opposite wall and a tv on a small side table in the corner facing the bed.
"We're not decoraters but we thought this would be alright." Billy said.
"It's perfect Billy." Jack declared.
"Good. I'm glad you like it." the older brother said with a smile. "Why don't you go ahead and unpack, call your mom and I'll call for some pizza's."
"Alright." Jack agreed.
Billy and Joe left the room, closing the door behind them to give Jack some privacy.
The younger man smiled greatly as he looked at his room once more. It was the very same one where he'd slept in as a child and now he returned to as an adult.
Flopping onto the soft mattress, Jack lightly sighed as he felt the comforting thought of finally being safe cross his mind.
He was back in his home with his brother's. He felt like a Darley again.
After a few minutes, Jack pushed himself up and grabbed his phone from his pocket. He dialed Bobby's phone number, pressed call and held the phone in place with his shoulder as he began to unpack. After the first ring the other line answered.
"Hey Bobby." Jack greeted. "Just calling to let you know that we got here a few minutes ago."
"About time! Me and Ma were going nuts waiting for you to call. We've been sitting and waiting since I got back." Bobby declared.
"It's only been five hours." Jack stated with a grin.
"Hey, you forget that you are the youngest. Ma's gonna be thinking about you constantly cause you're her baby and I'm gonna be wondering if you're hooking up with any fruitcakes."
Bobby chuckled on the other end and Jack couldn't help but smile a little.
"So how is everything? Do you remember any of it?"
"A lot actually." Jack answered. "I mean, it's kinda like how mom keeps everything the same whenever one of us would be gone for a while. Billy and Joe changed a few things of course but everything is almost exactly like I remember."
"Nothing bad though right?"
"No. Nothing bad. Thank goodness." Jack answered. "Billy and Joe really made this place a home for us."
"Sounds like it."
"They did." Jack continued as he finished putting away the last of his clothes. "I don't remember anything bad for some reason. I feel...at peace."
"Alright Jack. I'll let you get back to enjoying your summer. Just promise that you'll call at least nine times a week so we don't have all these weird scenarios in our heads. Alright?"
"Alright Bobby." Jack agreed.
"Good. Call us the next chance you get. Alright baby brother?"
"Alright. Talk to you later."
Jack closed his cell phone and laid back on the bed. It had only been a few hours since he'd last seen the oldest Mercer brother but Jack was already starting to miss him greatly. But he just had to remember that he would see him again in a few weeks.
A creak in the floor caught his attention and he sat up just as Billy walked into the room.
"They alright?" he asked.
"Yeah. I think Bobby was about to call the swat team to come check on us." Jack replied.
Billy lightly chuckled as he sat next to Jack.
"It wouldn't surprise me if he did Jackie." he said. "So, tomorrow is the first day that you'll be back home. Want to do anything?"
"Not right away." Jack answered. "I mean, the drive is obviously gonna make me sleep in."
"Same here." Billy agreed with a nod. "Then how about the day after we take you sight seeing? Show you what's changed, the shop and whatever else you want. We can spend all day tomorrow being lazy a**es then we'll do whatever you come up with. How's that sound?"
"Sounds perfect." Jack answered.
"Great. Pizza's gonna be here in a few minutes."
"Good. I'm starving." Jack declared.
"Alright. Go ahead and get some sleep Jackie." Billy said and gave the youngest a quick hug.
Jack hugged his brother happily before he left.
After changing into comfortable clothes, Jack turned the light off and laid down in his new bed. As he laid there, he couldn't help but feel like he was four again. The only differences was that he was older and his dad wasn't around to sneak in on him to beat him.
Also, Billy and Joe weren't in the room. They'd spent almost every night together when he'd still been with them. Being back in his old room without them there felt odd.
Despite that the two older men had done what they could to keep things similar, almost everything had changed. Things had changed almost as much as each of them.
About twenty minutes had gone by and Jack was still wide awake when someone knocked on his door.
"Come in." he called sitting up.
The door opened and his saw his brother's walk in.
"Can't sleep either kid?" Billy asked.
"Not really." Jack answered. "I guess I'm still a little overwhelmed with how much things have changed. I kinda still feel like dad is about to show up out of nowhere."
"We feel like that every day Jackie." Joe said. "But at the same time we couldn't help but feel like things were almost like before. Only we're older of course. We thought you might feel the same."
"I do." Jack said.
"Hey. How about we bunk together again? For old times sake." Billy suggested.
"Yeah." the two younger men answered.
Within seven minutes, the three had brought an airmattress into the room, filled it with air and gathered pillows and blankets.
They laid together on the mattress with Jack in the middle and they all felt like they were kids again.
They were brother's once again.