Fair warning before we begin: This chapter contains drug references, references to criminal activity, sexual content and some minor swearing, because that’s what Emily and the people she hangs around with are like. I’m telling you now so if you’re uncomfortable with any of that, I would advise you not to read this. There’s very little in here pertaining to the main story so you won’t miss out on anything as far as the Gen 3 storyline is concerned. And on a side note, I haven’t forgotten what I promised two and a half months ago, and rest assured the character Q&A is also on the way (and still open if you want to ask me or my characters any questions!) 🙂
So, with that out of the way, enjoy!
I sat on my bed, adrenaline pumping through my veins, waiting.
Mum and Dad had gone to bed hours ago, and Flynn not too long after. Diana, unfortunately, seemed to be taking advantage of the quiet house to finish her homework at the dining table downstairs. I glanced anxiously at the clock by my bed – ten o’clock already. This had better not take too much longer, I thought, silently thanking God that my sister had brains. With all her flaws, at least she was fast with her schoolwork.
Tick, tock. Tick, tock. I wondered what would happen if I took the risk and just left a little early. Maybe Diana wouldn’t see me? Maybe she’d be too immersed in her studying to notice anything else? I snorted, because that was definitely a possibility. But it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take. One wrong move, and I’d be locked up for a month. Mum and Dad would kill me if they knew I was sneaking out at night, especially if they found out where or with whom. And goody two-shoes down there would no doubt rat me out if she caught me. Damn those wall-length windows!
Clip, clip, clip. Finally – finally! – I heard the sound of my sister’s high heeled boots coming up the stairs.
I waited until I heard the click! of a closed door and the rustling sounds of her changing clothes in the next room before scooting across the bed towards the open window. I grabbed a few of my pillows and stuffed them under the blankets in a shape that, at a glance, could easily be mistaken for a sleeping human, then slid through the window as quietly as I could and landed lightly on the balcony just outside.
From here, I could scale the balcony fence and then, using the slats on the downstairs windows as footholds, climb down a safe distance and drop into the bushes, unseen and (hopefully) unheard. I had done it a hundred times before, and each time went off without a hitch.
The quickest way to my destination from here was through the back of our neighbour’s garden and behind their garage. Obviously, the street-side route would look a lot less suspicious than the back of someone’s property at this time of night, except for the fact that it was overlooked by Diana’s window. All things considered, I figured I’d rather go with the trespassing.
As soon as I was out of earshot of the house, I ran, relishing the cool night wind whipping against my face and the sense of freedom it provoked. This life, this rush – this was what I lived for.
I arrived at the edge of a dense patch of trees at the end of the street barely out of breath a few minutes later. Borus had been training me well. With a furtive glance over my shoulder at the deserted street, I hurried forward into the cover of the densely-growing bushes and trunks of trees.
Hidden about twenty metres back from the edge of the undergrowth was a dilapidated old shack, by all appearances long abandoned. Most people wouldn’t even know it was there unless they went looking for it – and still fewer knew that it was, in fact, far from abandoned.
I slid through the front door, trying to disturb the heavily rotting wood as little as possible. The second door was much better maintained, and locked. I knocked; a few moments later, there was an answering knock on the other side, but the door remained firmly shut. I sighed, and repeated the words I knew so well now I could recite them in my sleep. “Live in secrets, die in fame.”
There was a click, and the door swung open. By the time I had stepped through and shut it behind me, whoever had been standing on the other side had vanished. Grinning slightly, I followed them down the rusty iron ladder in the middle of the room. After jumping down the last few rungs, I straightened up and looked around the cluttered basement room at the people I had come to consider more my family than those I shared a house with daily.
Zoe was sitting cross-legged on the floor near the foot of the ladder with her sketchpad in her lap, but put it aside and got to her feet when she saw me, a welcoming smile on her face. “Em! About time! We were starting to think you weren’t gonna be here tonight.”
I grinned. “Like I’d miss a chance to see you!”
She pouted. “If that’s really how you feel, I don’t know why you don’t just come live with us.” She leaned in, beckoning me closer to mutter in my ear, “I need another woman around here! Being surrounded by guys all day is exhausting. All the macho is driving me crazy!”
I giggled and glanced over her shoulder at Borus, who was grunting with exertion, muscles tense and glistening with sweat, as he performed endless pull-ups on the metal bar attached to the wall behind the ladder. “Can’t be so bad,” I teased, winking as I inclined my head in his direction.
“Don’t be so sure,” she said seriously. “Eye-candy isn’t enough to make up for the smell!”
I laughed again. “Well, besides, you know it’s a good idea to have at least one member of the group who’s still innocent and law-abiding.”
Zoe snorted. “Yeah, sure. You keep telling yourself that, chica. God, I could do with a smoke right about now,” she added, turning and making a beeline towards the desk at the back of the room where a half-empty pack of cigarettes lay. Beside them sat Leo, our resident computer mastermind, clicking away furiously on his laptop.
“Can I borrow one?” Zoe asked him, holding up the packet and shaking it in front of his face.
“Actually, I’d rather you didn’t give it back when you’re done,” Leo said with a shadow of a grin. Zoe smiled, shrugged, and slid a cigarette from the packet.
“Ah, that’s better,” she groaned as she took the first puff. “Want a drag, Em?”
“Thanks, but I’m okay today,” I told her. She nodded, and glanced at the far corner, where a chestnut-headed boy was slumped on the couch, eyes glued to the old television.
“Oi, Vince!” Zoe called across the room. “You gonna greet our new arrival, or what?”
Vince spun around, eyebrows raised. His searching eyes came to rest on me, and a grin spread across his face that caused heat to flood throughout my entire body. He stood up and strode across the room to pull me into his arms, his eyes boring into mine with that familiar fire burning in their depths. God, I could get lost in those eyes for hours. “I missed you, babe,” he murmured, before crashing his lips to mine.
Vince was, no contest, the best kisser I had ever been with. A single touch had me melting in seconds. A few stumbling steps, and there was a wall at my back, and his hips were pressed against mine, pinning me to it. I could already feel a familiar bulge growing against my thigh, and I groaned as one of his hands squeezed my ass and lifted so that I could wrap my legs around his waist. I didn’t care that we weren’t alone, all that mattered was being closer, closer to him. I couldn’t stop the things Vince did to my body, and I didn’t want to.
The hand that was pinning my arms to the wall above my head suddenly released them in favour of roaming down my body to cup my rear, and I took advantage of the new freedom to run my hands over his chest, his back, his shoulders, anywhere and everywhere that I could reach. Panting, Vince lifted me off the wall and carried me across the room to lay on the desk, his mouth never leaving mine. I pulled him closer to grind my hips against him, and he grunted, his free hand moving to the zip at the back of my top.
“Hey! No screwing on my desk!” came Leo’s angry voice, but Vince just laughed and bent low to bite and suck at the side of my neck. I gasped, my nails digging into his back, but another voice, deep and booming, interrupted our session before it had really begun.
“Keep your clothes on, kids!” Borus sounded highly amused. “We’ve got more important matters on our hands right now than your insatiable lust, Vince. Now that everyone’s here, there are a few things I’d like to discuss with you all.” I sighed, feeling slightly embarrassed, and tried to straighten my hair and clothes so that they didn’t look like I’d just been doing some heavy foreplay. Vince just grinned as he pulled me to my feet and the two of us walked over to join Borus. He was standing at the other end of the room, near the ladder, in front of our ‘goods corner’, where we stashed all the valuable loot that we hadn’t been able to sell yet. Lately, it had been looking significantly depleted. I couldn’t tell if that meant we were selling a lot, or that we just weren’t stealing enough. I looked at Borus, half expectant, half apprehensive, as we approached, and he gave me an encouraging half-smile in return.
“So, as you guys may have noticed, we’ve been getting less in the way of goods recently,” he began, by way of introduction. I felt my insides shrivel with embarrassment; Vince and I were the sneak-thieves of the gang. In burglary, a youthful physique was an asset, rather than a liability. “But,” Borus continued quickly, “it’s not Vince and Emily’s fault.”
“It’s not?” I burst out, surprised.
Borus laughed. “No, it’s not, Em. Actually, it’s mine. I’ve been planning out a new heist lately which involves lulling the expensive establishments around here into a false sense of security. Leo’s been helping me out. By the way, how’s the hack going?” he added to Leo.
“Pretty well,” he shrugged. “I’ve got some friends who are helping me out.”
“Great. Zoe, what about you? How are the druggies?”
“Desperate as always,” she replied with a smile. “Don’t worry, Borus. We’re raking in the cash.”
Borus snorted. “Doesn’t look much like it, though, does it?” He gazed around at the cramped room, the threadbare couch and dusty floors. “You guys are great and all, but I’m getting a bit sick of this place. I’m thinking hopefully we can upgrade if this deal goes through.” He looked seriously at me and Vince. “That’s on you two.”
“But no pressure or anything,” Zoe added with a wink, making us all laugh, even Borus, who nonetheless stopped pretty quickly.
“Next item on the agenda,” he said. “Recruitment.”
We all groaned. “Not this again!” Zoe exclaimed.
“Don’t we have enough people already?” I pleaded. We had had this discussion many times before. More members meant more chances at getting arrested. If someone found us, sought us out on their own like I had, that was one thing, but extending invites, even only to a ‘trustworthy’ few, was a risk only Borus seemed willing to take.
“Not the way we are now,” he said gravely. “Not with one part-time member and two who never get off their asses.”
Leo scowled. “You know as well as I do that ‘on my ass’ is where I’m most useful to this group!”
“And I can’t do much more than pickpocket without backup,” Vince added.
“Exactly,” said Borus. “So we can either recruit more members now, or postpone it for-”
“I vote postpone,” Vince interrupted. Borus raised one eyebrow.
“That would require five full-time members, not four and a half,” he said. “So it’s up to Emily, not you.”
The others all turned to look at me. It seemed as if they expected this to be a difficult decision for me, but it wasn’t. I had been intending to do this for a long time.
“Can it wait a few months?” I asked Borus. He frowned.
“Why a few months?”
“Because that’s when I graduate high school,” I explained. “After that, I can leave my parents’ house without it looking suspicious to anyone. It wouldn’t surprise me if they were glad to be rid of me, to be honest. And then I’ll come here, and be a real family, with you guys.”
The others all smiled at me. “Well, we’ll be glad to take you off their hands,” Zoe told me, and I grinned at her.
“It’s okay with me if it’s okay with you, Em,” said Borus. “Thank you.”
I shrugged. “It really wasn’t a difficult decision,” I assured him. “This isn’t the first time I’ve considered it, and now I have something to look forward to for sure. But speaking of my family,” I added, suddenly fearful, “what time is it?”
“Six,” Leo informed me, glancing at his watch.
“Already? Shit!” I hugged Zoe and gave Vince a quick kiss before turning to scramble back up the ladder, wishing for the umpteenth time that we were meeting somewhere more penetrable by daylight. “I’ll see you guys tonight!” I called as I reached the top, and dashed out the door of the shack without waiting for a reply.
I could see the sun rising higher over the ocean on my left as I sprinted back home, heart pumping madly, hoping desperately that none of the rest of the family was awake yet, though I knew how unlikely that possibility was. Luckily, the great room downstairs was deserted as I scrambled up the outside of the window to reach my balcony, jumped the railing and rolled through my open bedroom window into the safety of my bed, panting heavily. Only then did I realise that I was not alone.
Diana was standing in the doorway with a pile of my clothes in her arms. Her shock only lasted a moment before she gave a resigned sigh and dropped the clothes onto the nearest chair, but not before shooting me a look of deep disapproval. “I thought you might want these clean clothes for school today,” she said, looking me over with pursed lips, “but I see you’re already dressed.”
I snorted, trying to disguise the sinking feeling in my stomach and the tears prickling behind my eyes as I thought of what would happen to my nightly escapades now that the rest of my family was about to find out. “What’s it to you?” I challenged, sounding much more brazen than I felt. “Going to go off and tell Mummy and Daddy, I suppose?”
“Do I ever?” she responded wearily. I opened my mouth to retort, but it suddenly occurred to me that she had never, in fact, said a word to Mum and Dad any time she caught me doing something they wouldn’t approve of. Not since we were kids, anyway.
Diana had turned to leave, but paused at the door. “You’d better get ready to go if you don’t want them to get suspicious, though,” she said over her shoulder. “And, Em? Don’t… don’t do anything stupid, okay?”
She was gone before I could reply, but the tears and the sinking in my stomach had both disappeared. I hadn’t realised that it was physically possible for my sister to avoid lecturing anyone she saw doing the wrong thing.
I smiled to myself. Maybe that bad-boy boyfriend of hers had been a good influence after all.
Told you it was coming! Hope you all enjoyed 🙂 As you may have noticed I made four new characters just for this chapter, and they’re among the best sims I’ve ever made, so if anyone’s interested I’d be happy to put them up for download! Let me know 🙂 I’m not sure when the next chapter for Gen 3 will be up, but the character Q&A should be here soon, so look forward to that!