Writer Notes: Story comes out of hiatus for its anniversary. For those that remember, I first posted this story 6 years ago as a Sims 3 story. It’s come a long way, although it’s been put to the side while I work on other projects. Not to worry though. The Gang is my forever story, meaning that it never ends.
Warnings: multiple scenes, some run-off scenes, tears, big questions, awkwardness, complaining, arguing, and some language. References to past chapters, if you want to reread or see what they’re talking about. I linked.
Jack left work early. It didn’t matter that his desk was piled with construction plans, invoices needing to be checked and recorded, or note-after-note of things he needed to remember.
Sally had called and left him a voice message. She said they needed to talk. It made him nervous. And he didn’t like that.
“Hey, I’m home…”
Jack felt horrible. He should have picked up the phone. He should have called back. It wasn’t fair that their schedules conflicted so much. Sally must have pulled an all-nighter staying up for him.
Poor kid. He didn’t want to wake her. She looked terribly comfortable, but he wondered what she wanted to talk about. Then he noticed the letter in her hand.
“Robotics Health Institute congratulates you.” he read. “Through determination and excellence you have made it thus far in your career. Now is the time to take the next step. With our help and development programs, you will advance your career into nursing robotics and android care…”
“Hey,” Sally yawned. “Did you just get in…”
“I stayed up, but I guess I must have drifted off.”
“Sally, what is this?” he asked.
He read it. She felt panicked. “Before you start, I just want to…”
“Baby, I didn’t know you were taking these classes.” he intervened. “When did you enroll into this program?”
“I’ve been off and on since high school.” she answered. “It wasn’t supposed to be a big thing since I didn’t know if I really wanted to pursue it, but then they sent that thing.”
“Baby, this is amazing. Do you know they only pick like one out of five to attend their program?”
“You don’t understand.” she began. “I’ll have to stay at their facility for a year.”
Sally sighed. “It’s like one hundred miles away, Jack. I don’t know if I can do that.”
“What are you talking about? This is a fantastic opportunity. You can’t just say no. This is your future, Sally. I know you’ll do great.”
“Jack, how can I move so far away?” She didn’t mean to get angry. It just happened. Of course he was going to be the best boyfriend in the world. He was Jack, the cheerleader.
“Is that what you’re worried about?” he chuckled. “We’ll make it work.”
“How?” Sally asked. “We live practically together now and we hardly see each other. If I’m one hundred miles away, how in the world are we going to be together?”
“Babe, I know that I’ve been busy, but…”
“No, no, no…” She knew what he was going to say. “You’re not going to jeopardize your career for me. You’ve worked too hard, Jack.”
He was quiet for a moment. Then he wrapped his arms around her.
“And you shouldn’t jeopardize your career and your future to settle for me.” he said barely a whisper.
“What are we going to do?” she asked.
“I don’t know.” he replied.
“I’m the biggest jerk the world has ever known and will ever know.” Drake said. “I messed up. I was mad and upset and I took it out on you.”
“And it is none of my business what you do, even if Toulouse is involved. You’re a grown woman who can make her own decisions. I shouldn’t feel like I need to protect you because you can protect yourself.”
“And, from the bottom to the top of my heart and soul, I am truly sorry, Pmint.”
“It’s not good enough, Drake!” Peppermint snapped. “You had no idea what was going on so you jumped to conclusions. Do you know how hard it is for everyone to be watching your every move and criticize you every step of the way?!”
“No!” she growled. “I’m done putting up with your jealousy of Toulouse. We’re over. Done. We’re not getting back together. EVER. Stop worrying. Stop everything. I had a whole day planned out for just the two of us and you ruined it. On top of everything you managed to make me embarrass myself in front of your cute friend. I cried ALL day because I thought I was a horrible person. How could I make you feel so bad? Why wasn’t I a better friend?”
“You’re right.” he agreed. “There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s me. I am admitting that. And I do feel absolutely terrible about it. I was being a child. And I’m learning, Pmint. I really am. It’s hard for me not to worry about you, especially when Toulouse is involved. I’ll work on it harder than ever. I promise.”
“But…just so you know I didn’t miss it…” he smiled. “My cute friend?”
“Don’t you start!”
“He needs a secretary!”
“So I see you are settling in quite nicely.” Venus Detango said.
“Thank you for the space.” Casey Ask replied. “I know you hate having me so close.”
“I wonder how long until my corrupted ways spoil you.” she laughed.
“You never know,” he smirked. “Maybe my moral compass might steer even you in the right way.”
“I wouldn’t hold your breath. But, I’ll loosen that moral compass of yours sooner or later. We both know that. It was the danger of you settling in this area.”
“And if I don’t go your way?” he had to ask.
“I don’t keep people who can’t play in my game.” Venus replied.
“How does my brother fair in that game?” Casey wondered. “I’ve said before, Venus, you forget I taught you the trade. Clay doesn’t fit your corruption, but you’ve kept him around. I think I’ll find a way to change your mind about this whole operation.”
“As I said, don’t hold your breath. Politicians don’t change. If we do, only in greed.”
“You look like shit.” Shane always was so blunt. Dewy learned a long time ago not to take it so hard.
“I know.” he replied. “I don’t think I’ve felt this low since…well…”
“Tim died.” Twister finished for him.
“Yeah, that’s…next week.” Dewy sighed. “It’s just bad timing I guess.”
“Dewy, you gotta stop.” Shane said. “Sasha’s right. You two were just dragging each other down. She made an adult decision to break up.”
“It doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt, Shane.”
“I’m not disagreeing with that.” he replied. “But you can’t skip out on work. Jack needs you. He’s piled up as it is.”
“Shane is right.” Twister said to try and help, but he could see the tension in Dewy’s stride as he brushed past them.
“Where the hell do you come off telling me how I should feel?” Dewy snapped. “Everyone keeps saying that Sasha and me were so bad for each other and, yet, while we were together, no one said a damn thing. Now it’s like, you should have been smarter. You two were so wrong for each other. I love her, damn it!”
“We stay out of friends relationships. It’s the code. You see what’s happening between Peppermint and Drake? It’s tearing them apart. We…”
“It doesn’t fucking matter what any of you think or thought or whatever.” Dewy interrupted.
“Yeah, you’re right. It mattered what Sasha thought. She ended the relationship, Dewy. Get over it.”
“Well, that sounds familiar.” Dewy growled. “It’s what you told me after you got my brother killed!”
“The fuck I did!”
“Don’t do this man!” Twister intervened. “We don’t need to tear each other apart!”
“You hear me, kid, I told your brother to stay out of everything, like I told you. He made a stupid decision. He messed up. He got caught. He got killed…Don’t you fucking tell me it’s my fault!”
“And you didn’t fill our heads with duty to the gang? The gang is family. Protect your family. Do everything you can for each other.” Dewy said. “Did you not tell us this?”
“I did everything to keep everyone safe. And Tim wanted to be a damn hero and got shot. I tried to save him and I almost fucking died too, if you don’t remember! ”
“Almost.” The color drained from Dewy’s face. “Is not the same thing as dead.”
“Dude,” Twister shook his head. “Did you want Shane to die too? You lose two brothers? What makes sense in that?”
“No, I didn’t…I don’t want Shane to die.” Dewy sighed. “I’m sorry. I’m just…”
“I understand.” Twister said. “I lost my brother too. I know what that feels like. I know how isolated it is. Unlike me, you had someone though. You had Shane. You had the gang. I had no one until I met Drake.”
“I’m sorry, Twist.”
“Why this arguing?” Twister asked. “Sasha’s moving on. Tim is in peace. Why torment yourself, Dewy? You should live life to the fullest.”
“I…I know.” he answered. “It’s just…hard sometimes, Twist.”
“Yes, but we are here for you, my friend.” Twister replied.
“And we’re not going anywhere.” Shane added. “Because family sticks together.”
“I can’t believe they won’t hire me because I’m a woman.” Sasha shook her head. “I’m a trained specialist. I can handle any opponent.”
“I asked him, ‘how many fire elementals do you have on staff?'” Sasha said. “He just blinked at me.”
“He wasn’t impressed.” Her older sister Jade said. “Move on. There’s plenty of work out there. Maybe you’ll have to do something other than security. Unless…you know, he would take you back in a heart beat.”
“Now Jade,” Their younger sister Ashley chipped in. “She already said she’s not going to work for that jerk. Let it go.”
“Maybe I’ll do something else.” Sasha thought about it, but she couldn’t see herself doing anything other than security. It’s what she was born to do, what she trained for her entire life.
“Why don’t you sign up for the military?” Jade questioned.
“They don’t allow people like us.” Sasha’s shoulders slumped. “We’re too dangerous.”
“Sorry to interrupted.” A lady said. “But I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation. Are you looking for work in security detail?”
“I work for the rock band, The Shadow. We’re looking for a new personal bodyguard for the band.” she looked Sasha up and down. “You look the fit.”
“I’m heading over to the studio now.” the lady said. “If you want the job, join me and we can get started on paper work and you can meet the team and band members.”
“How can I ever thank you?”
“Sorry, Whitney, but I’m out of film.” Kat shrugged. “But I think we have enough. Twister’s really going to like his birthday gift.”
“I can’t believe he doesn’t celebrate it!” Whitney shrieked. “I’m going to throw him the biggest party my whirlwind has ever seen.”
“He’s sure going to be surprised.” Kat nodded. She didn’t want to tell Whitney, but her plan was probably going to backfire. Twister didn’t like celebrating his birthday. Drake had tried to throw him a surprise party before and it hadn’t gone so well. Kat wished Twister would tell everyone why he didn’t like celebrating his birthday. Maybe they would understand.
“Hey…isn’t that Dr. Cassie Ask?”
“Yeah,” Kat squinted. “Who is she picking up from the train station?”
“I don’t know, but from here…” she giggled. “He looks cute.”
Kat thought about it. Cassie Ask had two brothers. One, Casey, she had briefly met at Venus Detango’s charity event. The other one had been away for six months on an exposition.
“Come on, Clay.” Cassie squealed. “We could go visit the lab. I’ve got a lot of cool stuff you haven’t seen!”
“Sister, I’m tired. I’m hungry. I have a headache. I need to take a shower and shave. The last thing I want to do is go look at some robots.”
“You LOVE robots!”
“No, sister, you love robots. I love to paint, do yoga, and eat pizza.”
“OK, we’ll get pizza.” she said. “I can have it delivered to Casey’s office.”
Clay was quiet for a moment. “What do you mean Casey‘s office?”
“Did I not mention our brother is here? As in, he moved here.”
Clay sighed. “No. You. Did. Not.”
“It’s going to be great!”
“You’re right.” Clay sounded more enthusiastic. “We should go look at those robots.”
“Don’t be a baby.” Cassie frowned. “He’s your brother too. I know you don’t always see eye-to-eye, but you two need to move past that and learn how to be in a room together.”
“Besides, he’s only here to help clean up the area.” she added. “He’s helping Venus, your best friend. You could help too. Someone’s got to save him from her. You know how she is around him.”
“And he doesn’t like the attention!”
“That’s not the point.” Cassie groaned.
“Whatever you two are in argument over, talk through it and get over it.”
“Hey, hi…ummm…uh…Whitney! Right?”
Clay was glad for the distraction. He’d just arrived, but he already needed a break.
“Well, hi,” he smirked. “How are you holding up?”
“Good, good,” Kat fought to sound adult. She had a habit of sounding like an eight year old. It didn’t help that she had a high pitch voice. “How was your trip?”
“The tour went great.” Clay replied. “We broke our record and raised enough money to open three new schools.”
“That sounds awesome.”
“And how is your photography going?” he asked.
She felt flushed. “It’s…going…”
“You’ll get there.” he smirked. “Word just has to get around about how talented you are first. I know. I’ve been there. Art, of any kind, takes time to grow on people.”
“I have a few clients.” Kat claimed. “Actually Whitney and I have been working on a birthday present for Twister. We haven’t really decided what to do with all the pictures yet.”
“If you need help, I’m always available.”
Kat suddenly felt overwhelmed. If she didn’t want his help, why did she say anything?
“Drop by the art gallery sometime.” he shrugged. “If you need any help.”
Cassie shook her head. She could see where this all was headed. And they were completely clueless.