Author’s Note: Warning! This chapter contains adult content, including references to prostitution, sexual assault and abuse, drug use, and violence. If these are triggers for you or you feel uncomfortable with the subject, exercise discretion when reading. The pictures are completely tasteful. These subjects are only referenced.
Russell Racket wasn’t a forgiving man. If he felt someone didn’t do their job, he could easily have them beaten up in an alley or pumped full of lead. If he felt someone betrayed him, he wouldn’t hesitate. He’d go after their entire family.
He didn’t think of himself as heartless. He didn’t think of himself as a monster. He had a nice house that he worked for the hard way on Money Market Lane in Big Apple City. He had a modest house. He drove an average car. He paid his taxes. He waved to his neighbors when he left for work. He had a dog, for the love of llamas. He had a wife, a lovely woman, nineteen and a half years his junior. Bo was expecting. And she was glowing when he kissed her goodbye this morning. He seemed all and all the typical Sim National…
…except he was a mobster. He preferred “criminal financeer.” It had a better ring to it. He was all about the rhetoric. It did wonders. He had been competing with his uncle for years, ever since the man had assassinated his own dad right in front of his eyes. Russ had been eight years old. That’s when his mom told him to get tough. She made him promise with her dying breath that he would make dear old uncle Max pay for his horrid crime against their family. Max had a habit of eliminating anyone who got in his way, family or not. It was just business. A smile tweaked at the corner of his mouth. The family way. He learned from the best.
Russ didn’t bother looking up when the door to his office flew open and slammed closed. He didn’t bother looking up at his bleary-eyed, doped-up cousin’s kid. The guy was a mess. He swore long ago he would never touch the stuff they made. No drugs. No whores. No guns. It was too easy to go down a dark and dangerous path and get himself killed that way. He could hire people to do his dirty work. Like Shark.
“Russ…” the young, not-even-twenty-year-old young man, bit out. “We’re running late on the latest Xtal shipment.”
“No we’re not,” Russ corrected him. “We are merely delivering more than promised to our clients, and for that, we need an extra day.”
“Word on the street is the natives are getting restless,” Shark muttered.
“Well, that’s why they’re natives and we’re kings in here. They don’t need to bother themselves with trivial matters,” Russ replied. “They’ll get their fix soon enough and they’ll be even happier with the extra crystals.”
“If you say so,” Shark said, shoving his hands deep into his pockets. “What can I do in the meantime?”
Russ slipped out from behind his desk, patting Shark on the shoulder. “Look man, your mom just was killed, and I feel terrible making you work after that kind of tragedy.
“God, I hated the woman,” Shark said coldly. “I don’t feel a thing.”
That’s the crystallite talking, Russ thought in irritation. His cousin couldn’t see he was walking down the same path as his mother – the path of a pathetic drug-addled fool.
“Still, she was your mom and maybe you weren’t close, but I’d be taking advantage of you, son,” Russ replied.
Shark just shrugged.
“Why don’t you go see that girl of yours that you like? What’s her name? Carla? Candy?”
“Candice?” Shark made a face. “She’s trailer trash.”
“Well, how about one of our more sophisticated patrons?” Russ turned his attention to the security cameras in his office. “I see Sofia Carlton of the Carlton-Posh Hotels is here. Her family has endlessly deep pockets, and I hear she just broke up with her boyfriend. She might make an interesting dinner companion.”
He knew full well the young socialite probably wouldn’t give Shark the time of day, even if he was from a wealthy family, but she might provide him enough distraction to keep the boy occupied, if he tried hard enough.
“Dude, I don’t have eyes for Sophia,” Shark protested. “You know I’m into Lu.”
Lucy Ferne? Ah yes! Russ thought, almost pleased. His cousin was playing right into his hands, but he didn’t want to appear too overly eager.
“Lucy is an intriguing gal, but she’s also into women,” he said.
“So?” Shark shrugged. “I think it’s hot.”
“Really? You didn’t strike me as the type.”
“So you’re judging me now?”
Pushing it, pushing it, Russ warned himself.
“Naw, if you’re into that kinda stuff, it’s cool,” he said. “We’ve got some girls here who swing both ways if you’re interested.”
Shark snorted. “I think I’ll try my luck with Lu first.”
Russ resisted the urge to shake his head. The boy was like a lovesick puppy. Lucy Ferne had been paid off by Max Racket to essentially sexually assault the kid on his eighteenth, and still he had the hots for her. Probably because he can’t remember a thing. He remembered Max’s “present” for himself. Twenty-four years later, he still bore the scars from where Max burnt his cigar on his arm after Russ came out of the back room sobbing and puking his guts out. After his first forced taste, Russ never wanted to feel out of control again. He didn’t sleep with another woman until his wife.
Bo was the Bonnie to his Clyde. She would follow him to the ends of the earth and support his decisions no matter what. The woman was a crack shot and could drink nearly any man under the table, including himself, and she enjoyed submitting to whatever he desired no matter how kinky. She had no issue playing his gun for hire, and she had more kills than most of the men in his organization combined. She was his ideal woman. Now that they were having a kid, their bedroom theatrics would probably be put on hold for the time being. Russ almost felt bad that Shark wouldn’t get to experience many things in life, like the love of a good woman, but certain things just had to be done.
“You know, it’s Lucy’s birthday tomorrow,” Russ began.
He was committed to the path now.
“I know,” Shark said, sniffing as he wiped his nose with the back of his hand.
“Did you get her a gift to tell her how you feel?”
“Naw… I don’t know what she likes.”
“Dude, that’s the first step in loving a woman. You have to get her a gift.”
“But she’s not my girl or nothing…”
“Here, I hope you don’t mind but I took the liberty of getting her a present on your behalf,” Russ reached behind his desk and handed the young man a white box wrapped in a red bow.
“Really?” Shark’s eyes lit up. “What is it?”
“Something sexy. I know Lu likes black silk,” Russ said cheekily.
“How do you know that?” Shark frowned.
Russ laughed, and put his arm around his cousin. “Ah! Shark. You have much to learn about women. All woman like black silk…even women like Lucy. They like pretty lingerie… it feels good against their skin. Makes them feel sexy. And it’ll make you feel like a boss.”
“Okay,” Shark said brightly. “But how’da’I get her to take it?”
“Tell her…” Russ pondered briefly, rubbing his chin. “Tell her first you wanted to show her how much you appreciate her, and even if she’s not into you, you wanted to get her something to make her feel good. Tell her she doesn’t have to wear it with you, but ask her to at least think of you when she puts it on. And since it’s her birthday, she can’t refuse a gift. I’m sure she’ll find a use for it.”
“I guess…” Shark sounded almost disappointed that he might not see Lucy in the little number his cousin was describing.
“But she’ll want to show you, trust me,” Russ grinned. “…especially after she sees it.”
“If you say so.”
“Yeah, if you drive over to the warehouse, you can catch her too, before she goes on her run to the capitol. She leaves at midnight. You better be on your way. If you want, ride along with her. She could use the company since it’s almost her birthday and I wouldn’t mind have extra muscle on the trip up. This is a heavy shipment for us.”
“Okay, thanks Russ.”
A half hour later, Shark was standing in the parking lot of the warehouse with Lucy, the love of his life. He hoped this would work. This gift. All women like it…even women like Lucy… his cousin’s words echoed in his head. Lately, Lucy had been softening up toward him, and even taking to teasing him some instead of rolling her eyes or slapping him in the back of the head. Maybe this gift could be the start of something.
“So is the shipment ready?” he asked.
“Yeah, no one should suspect a thing,” Lucy replied. “Especially since we rented a moving truck. I told the guy I was taking my little bro back to college.”
“So I’m your little bro, huh?” he quirked a brow.
“Yeah,” she slugged him in the arm. “And man, you’ve got a lot of shit.”
Shark laughed. “I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d rather have me move back to college.”
“Shark, don’t say shit like that. You know I don’t like men.”
“But I’m different from other men.”
“Oh, I don’t know about that.”
“Yeah, I care. Can’t you see I care, Lu? I’ve been rejected by you more times than I can count, but I’m still around, and I still care.”
“You’re sweet, Shark, but really, I just don’t swing that way.”
“But you could be both, couldn’t you?” he said, knowing full well he was pushing his luck.
Lucy sighed. “I… look you’re nice…but…”
“But wait… I got you a gift,” Shark cut her off. “Give me a second.”
He ran back to his car, pulling the wrapped present from his seat. Returning to Lucy’s side, he handed her the box. She stood there looking dumbly at him.
“Please, take it,” he begged. “It’s your birthday like in a few minutes.”
“I don’t know,” she shrugged.
“Come on. I spent a long time picking it out,” he lied. “And I wanted something special for you… to show you I care and all… and to make you feel pretty.”
“Pretty?” she arched a brow.
“Yeah. Open it?”
She took the gift, fingering the ribbon. “No one has gotten me a present in a long time,” she said, almost wistfully. “But Shark, I can’t accept this.”
“It just wouldn’t be right.”
“Why? Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Yeah. There’s someone in my life.”
Shark thought for a moment, and pushed the box back into Lucy’s hand. “Wear it for her.”
“Wear it?” Lucy frowned.
“Yeah, she’ll like it,” he could’ve kicked himself for caving so easily, but he wanted Lucy to be happy. “I know she will. Whoever she is.”
“I don’t know, Shark,” Lucy hesitated.
“She doesn’t even have to know it was a gift from a guy,” Shark added. “Take it and think about it and if you still don’t feel comfortable by the time we get to campus, then you can give it back to me, no questions asked.”
“Well, I guess,” Lucy shrugged. “I…” she glanced at her watch. “Wow…we better get going if we’re going to make our two-thirty delivery.”
“Yeah,” Shark agreed. “Just give me a sec. I’m going to go grab my jacket and get some tunes for us.”
“Tunes?” she made a face. “Last time you wanted to listen to Anvil Lavinge.”
“Avril,” he chuckled. “And I thought you liked angry girl music.”
Lucy scrunched her nose. “One song.”
“Yeah?” he grinned happily. “I’ll be right back. Meet you in the cab.”
No sooner than he walked a few steps away did he hear the engine roar to life and then he felt a searing heat on his back as the truck went up in flames. Lucy Ferne was dead, and Shark had barely escaped with his life. And now he knew. Now he knew. His cousin had tried to kill them both, and almost succeeded. All that talk meant nothing.
He should be dead.
Author Note: I wanted to have a chapter with the appearance of Russ, the supposedly evil cousin, given he’s been mentioned a few times. Dun…dun…dunnnn… I think this chapter aptly fits my section title – Matters of Life and Death. Money Market Lane is my Simworld version of Wall Street. Crystallite is a drug in my Simworld, also known as Xtal or crystals, and is similar to methamphetamine. Read more here. Sofia Carlton is the heiress socialite of the Carlton-Posh hotel chain, a play on the Ritz-Carlton hotels, and you can draw parallels of her person to Paris Hilton. Also Avril Lavinge has a Sim of herself in The Sims: Superstar. Given my Sims stories are set in the far future, this is a copy of the original musician from Earth, possibly a clone or a great-great-great-great-something-grandchild. Hope you enjoyed the dramatic twist.