What If one of the fakes had a high school reunion or something like that and just took the crew and it somehow ended in a shoot out with the cops.
Let’s just be clear, it’s not a pride thing. Geoff has never cared what people said about him, not outside a professional sense anyway; he knew exactly who he was, what he was capable of, even before he’d taken an entire city to its knees. So it’s not that he felt the need to prove himself, it’s just that there’s something particular about high school trauma, isn’t there? Something that lingers, even when it shouldn’t, something that emerges from even the most upstanding adults when thrown back together for a reunion, the bullies and the bullied, all desperate to show what they’ve become.
Geoff’s last high school was nothing like he’d ever been to before, a snobby upper-crust hellhole he was only in because his Ma’s third husband pulled some strings, and the other students were quick to point out just how much he didn’t belong. Between the tattoos and the smoking, the lazy looks and slow sneering drawl, it was always all too easy to label Geoff a loser, a drop out, trailer park trash everyone knew would be washing their cars one day. Never mind that he scored higher than most of his cohort even when skipping more or less every class, never mind that he is possibly the most well-read crime-lord in the country, back then he had an image and teenagers are relentless. Not that Geoff was all that phased even at the time, only a year or so away from the day he picked up his first gun and never looked back, but it’s the principal of the thing.
So when an invite forwards through from an email so old he’d forgotten he’d even made it Geoff has to laugh. Then pause, consider, hatch an utterly ridiculous idea, and laugh some more. Because he might not care, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t enjoy ruining the night for all the pathetic stuck-up nobodies he went to school with; rubbing your success in everyone’s faces is what reunions are for, after all. The fact that it has a theme, that it is masquerade of all things, really just cements Geoff’s resolve to drag his crew halfway across the country into one of the strangest nights of their lives.
Everyone knows the option to bring a guest to these events is, in reality, the offer to bring a romantic partner, singular, but it isn’t technically stated. There are no rules barring Geoff from RSVP-ing for 7, so that’s exactly what he does. Sure he receives a few increasingly less polite emails suggesting he’d been mistaken but he doesn’t even bother opening them, doesn’t try to clarify that he is bringing his friends, his family, not his entire harem. Let them talk; they’d do it anyway. Plus, it’s not like the Fake’s aren’t all entirely too pleased with the suggestion, cackling hyenas who spend the next few weeks laying it on thick, batting their eyes and blowing Geoff kisses, picking out increasingly absurd meet-cute stories to tell his scandalised classmates. Between creating new identities and playing dress up in masks and suits they couldn’t be happier.
Masks or not they catch every eye in the room when they make their entrance and why wouldn’t they; Geoff and his unusual request must have been the talk of the rumour mill and identity hidden or not clearly this must be Geoff, it’s not like anyone else brought along 6 dates. As stage whispers hit a dull roar it’s obvious no one was prepared for what they were seeing, perhaps imagined instead stained tank tops and a string of strung-out baby mama’s, not expensively tailored suits and an attractively refined entourage. Paying the noise no heed Geoff swans into the room with Jack looking elegant on one arm, Gavin at his most Ken-doll glamorous tucked under the other, flanked on either side by Ryan, Michael, Jeremy and Ray, all dressed to impress.
Shock and jealousy aren’t good looks on anyone, let alone rich brats turned elitist yuppies, so Geoff’s classmates behave just as poorly as he’d anticipated, years and newfound maturity doing nothing to stop the tittering laughter, the sneers and judgmental looks, fake pleasantry and condescending questions. But then, his crew didn’t exactly play nice with them either.
Ray and Jeremy immediately beeline to the food table and bar, respectively, and each set themselves up and settle in for the night; loud, obnoxious and tactlessly talking about everyone around them. When asked about themselves or their relationship to Geoff they’re both frustratingly vague, Jeremy chattering away without saying much at all and Ray simply staring people down until they can’t bear the tension.
Michael and Ryan set off together to explore the room but quickly separate to accommodate their vastly different methods of surveillance. Ryan skulks into the background, ducking numerous attempts to catch his interest in favour of fading into unlit corners and empty nooks, frightening the life out of anyone trying to slip away for some private time. Michael, on the other hand, seems determined to be the life of the party, cheerfully making conversation only to laugh in the face of every so-called achievement, ruffling feathers and causing major offence wherever he goes.
Gavin slinks off like a man on a mission and doesn’t come back for over an hour, offering no explanation for the absence beyond a dangerously self-satisfied smirk. His work becomes obvious soon enough anyway, once the yelling starts; Geoff’s two main high-school tormentors, mentioned only in passing stories over the years, simultaneously having huge, public, relationship-ending blow ups with each of their significant others. What are the odds? Across the hall Gavin laughs, all tinkling glass and sparkling charm, smoothly working the room like Michael’s mirror opposite.
Jack stays at Geoff’s side all night, hackles raised into something abnormally cold and unimpressed any time someone comes up to speak to them, protective instincts in full force no matter how often Geoff claims to be unaffected. He fills her in on all the worst gossip about those who approach, and as the night progresses and general unease begins to spread Jack mellows, sinking back into something sweet and mocking, somehow even more unsettling playing docile arm-candy than she was rabid guard dog.
Throughout the night the Fake AH Crew remain a key topic of every casual conversation; they might have been regardless, even this far from Los Santos no one can get enough of their scandals, but with the huge heist pulled just last week there was no way to avoid it, everyone has their two cents, their praise and condemnation. It’s too funny, the whole crew killing themselves trying not to break character, to laugh or correct or manipulate the conversation but all their self-control is well rewarded in the end.
Half the room removed their masks less than an hour into the night; too difficult to eat and talk and drink in, too vain to keep their hard earned looks covered, so it’s not at all strange when the Fake’s start to follow suit. Jeremy and Ray start it, the newest member and the one caught on camera the least often, casually dropping their masks mid-conversation. They each get a confused squint or two, a double glance, a few individuals trying to place them, remember how they’d met before, why they were so familiar.
Next came Gavin and Michael, having goaded each other out onto the dance-floor they were playing as much as they were moving to the music, laughing and grappling and generally making a bit of a scene. They snatch off each other’s masks as they play and the looks double, because alone they’re each distinctive but together, together, people have seen those faces together, somewhere they’ve seen them and so often together..
Last is Jack and Geoff, more graceful than their counterparts and moving with far more purpose they reveal their faces in the centre of the room and, like a party trick, they instantly catch the whole room’s attention. Out of context, in ones and twos where they don’t belong, the members of the FAHC could be mistaken but no one in the country would fail to recognise Ramsey and Patillo, the kingpin and his right hand, rulers of the most well-known gang in the US. And here they stand, casually mingling at a high school reunion.
In the calm before the storm the crew gravitates back towards one another, can almost see the cogs turning around them, the lightbulbs flickering on in a slow ripple spreading out across the room, disbelief and the first hint of horror swirling together as people start unconsciously reaching for their phones. As Ryan slips back out and wanders over, the last still masked, always masked, the chatter seems to crescendo then crash into something still and almost silent as a room full of entitled trust-fund babies recognise their own terror.
Finally uncovered and flanked by his family Geoff’s grin creeps across his face, slow and violent and more confirmation than anyone needed as he lets the oppressive tension sit for a long moment, arms spreading out to his sides like a magician revealing a clever trick before he breaks the silence; Surprise motherfuckers.
Guns are pulled from jackets and from there it’s all running and screaming, no honour or courage, just a stampede for the exits to the sound of cackling laughter and the occasional aimless pot-shot. The Fake’s aren’t looking for lives, not worth the hassle really, and this job certainly has no monetary reward beyond the wallets Geoff’s filthy little thieves have no doubt absconded with, but the fear in the air is delightful and even the sound of incoming sirens can’t ruin the mood. If anything it only hypes them up further, all savage grins and ramping excitement as they make for doors, reloading their weapons and pumping themselves up for a whole new police force to terrorise, Geoff’s magnificent little miscreants.
On the way out they pass a wall of yearbook photos, blown up large and captioned with names and all the old superlative awards. Ryan stumbles to a halt and snorts, snatching one off the wall and tucking it into his jacket to take back to the penthouse, though not before flashing the Lads a glance at that all too recognisable face, sending them into peals of screeching laughter as they pour out into the night. Geoffrey Fink; Least likely to succeed.