Chapter 1: The Storm is Coming

Andare in basso

Chapter 1: The Storm is Coming

Messaggio  spuffy il Gio 30 Ago 2012, 21:59

Edward

The music was loud as hell, blaring out of the speakers and giving me a fucking headache. I
pinched the bridge of my nose and shook my head, focusing on the paper in front of me, trying to get
the design to flow from my convoluted mind through my pencil for the girl who wanted the
ridiculously banal tattoo.
The typical butterfly on the hip, rose on the tit, generic symbol in the signature ‘tramp stamp’ spot
right above the ass as Emmett lovingly referred to it, all artless designs that pissed me off. Tattoos in
these spots could be sexy as hell on a woman, just as long as they were something unique rather than
something utterly predictable.
This is my craft for god sake; give me something to work with here.
I finished with the Hello Kitty bullshit and rolled my eyes at the inexorableness of the freshmen in
this city. Eclipse was a well known tattoo shop in Chicago and we had a lot of high profile clients from
the burgeoning music scene, as well as all the new blood at the University of Chicago. All of the girls
and boys who had just found their freedom and wanted to piss of mommy and daddy, or show their
originality and rebellion by picking a tattoo off the wall of generic designs available.
How mutinous was a Hello Kitty tattoo?
The frizzy haired, puffy girl giggling away in the corner with her processed blonde friend was no
different from the rest of the sheep and I was irritated as hell that Emmett had passed her off to me.
Yes, it was my turn to deal with one of the annoying ones, but still.
Screw you Emmett.
“Jessica, would you like to take a look at the sketch?” I called across the room, smiling all friendly
like and trying not to roll my eyes at the way she practically eye fucked me into oblivion as she
bounced her way over, tits bobbing in opposite directions.
I half expected her to be carrying a lunch box and suck on a lollipop.
She tucked her hair behind her ear which was just ridiculous because she had the biggest frizzy fro I
had ever seen on a white chick and it pushed her ear out like she was Dumbo’s human counterpart. Her
generic friend followed behind her and I turned the sketch of Hello Kitty toward her so she could tell
me how awesome it was.
Because it was, even if it was Hello fucking Kitty.
“Oh, it’s perfect,” she whined at me although I’m pretty sure she intended it to sound sexy as she
touched my forearm.
It didn’t and it wasn’t.
I had to stop myself from cringing away from her.
“You want it on your hip?” I bit down on the pen, trying to stop myself from biting down on my
tongue ring and potentially damaging my teeth I’m so irritable at this point. The pen is much safer to
chew on; I have a cracked molar to prove that.
“Definitely,” she nodded.
“‘Kay, give me twenty minutes and I’ll have it ready, you can go for a short walk or something,
have a drink at the bar down the street,” I suggested.
It was better if she was a little relaxed since the hip was a sensitive place, although it looked like
she had more than enough padding to provide a buffer. Besides, I didn’t think I could handle another
half hour of her making fuck-me eyes at me while I tried to prepare the stencil.
As soon as they were out the door I shot Emmett a death glare and he laughed.
“Where the fuck is Jazz anyway?” I asked bitterly, running my fingers through my hair and tugging
roughly on the ends.
The asshat kept landing all these sweet tats on the hottie freshmen. It was all the same boring shit,
but at least the bodies they were going on weren’t hard to look at.
“Someone from back home contacted him, things aren’t really good right now for him,” Emmett
was suddenly serious.
I didn’t ask any more questions. I didn’t know much about Jasper’s history even though I’d known
him for six years, all I knew was that underneath all of those tattoos that covered the majority of his
torso were a shit load of scars that he never talked about. I had a feeling his dear old dad may have had
something to do with it but Jazz didn’t talk about it and we weren’t ones to pry into each other’s pasts.
We all had skeletons in our closets; we just chose to keep them there, buried under all the
superfluous garbage.
We had a three-way partnership in this business, all equal owners of Eclipse. We lived in the same
up-scale vintage apartment building in East Lincoln Park and spent most of our time together but I
drew the line at living with those two, I needed my own space. I saw them five out of seven days a
week if not more; I didn’t need to wake up to them too.
Besides roommates made extracurriculars a little more challenging.
“I’m going to run across the street and get a coffee, you want anything?” I stretched my arms over
my head and Emmett threw a stress ball at me, catching me off guard and hitting me in the nuts.
“Fuck you cocksucker,” I folded over at the waist and cupped my balls because that shit smarts.
“Such an articulate man,” Emmett laughed as I flipped him the bird, then straightened up as four
generically attractive girls walked in all giggly and stupid, flashing them my prettiest smile.
They stared at me for a second, not sure whether to smile back or be afraid before Emmett’s
ridiculously loud voice drew their attention away from me.
“Hi ladies,” Emmett boomed over the music and the girls turned in his direction and scurried over
to the counter where all the piercing paraphernalia was located.
His dimpled smile a visual contradiction to the thick and menacing tribal bands of ink and horrific
images tattooed across his arms and back. As soon as Emmett flashed a grin, every girl was putty in his
massive and capable hands.
I walked to the back of the store and raised my hand to knock on the office door where Alice, our
bookkeeper, piercer and Jasper’s girlfriend of fucking forever was sitting hunched over a pile of papers,
typing numbers onto the laptop spreadsheet at lightning speed.
“I’d like large a decaf latte with soy, two sugars, thanks Edward,” she said without looking at me.
I started to tell her that there were some girls out front that were interested in piercing but before I
could even get a word out of my mouth Alice’s head snapped up, “God damn it, not another clit ring.
For Christ sake,” she slammed her little tiny hand on the desk and then bolted over it like an angry
panther, baring her teeth and growling. I pressed myself against the door frame because a pissed Alice
was not someone I wanted to mess with.
I don’t know how she knew but Alice could predict the type of piercing a customer would request
with uncanny precision. She could predict a lot of things and that fact alone made me a little wary
around her. She stopped in front of me and her eyes glazed over for a second, clearing just as quickly
and if I hadn’t been staring at her in fear of her wrath I would have thought it a figment of my
imagination. Her fingers grazed the anatomically correct bleeding heart amidst the vines that tangled
across my forearm, a fragment of the sleeve of ink that covered my right arm.
“The storm is coming,” she whispered to herself and smiled before walking away.
She was a strange little girl.
What the name of Doc Marten did the weather have to do with my tattoos?
I followed her back out to the studio and avoided looking at the girls to prevent the unwelcome
visual provided by Alice’s prediction and headed to the door.
“Get me a cookie, Edward,” Emmett yelled after me, to which I responded by politely flipping him
the bird.
I ran across the street and sauntered into the little used bookstore that I sometimes browsed when I
wanted to get out for lunch, or if my shift ended early at the shop, which was admittedly rare. There
was a coffee house attached to it and I usually walked right through the store since my aunt owned it.
“Hey Esme,” I smiled at the lovely woman who was sitting behind the cash; she was reading a
tattered book that I couldn’t quite see the title of.
“Hello Edward,” she rewarded me with a maternal smile, “We just got in a shipment of new books,
did you want to look at them before we stock them?”
She looked at me hopefully. She always saw through the facade I built up, making me feel like the
little boy who she used to make cookies for.
The tattoos served as my armour, a shield if you will, so that people would see the art rather than
the person standing in front of them. Esme saw past them. She looked at me like I was her long lost son
and she just wanted to share her newest treasures with me like I was her child, which was ridiculous
because she was only ten years older than I was.
“Sorry sweetie,” I leaned and kissed her cheek, “I’m on a coffee run and then I have a client but
maybe next time.”
“Of course,” she blushed a little, patted me on the cheek and went back to her book, smiling
absently.
I ordered the coffees and picked up a half-dozen cookies, eyeing the cupcakes with contempt
because I would look like such a pansy if I walked into the shop eating one. I walked back through the
bookshop intending to tell Esme I would come over later in the week but she was talking to a girl who
was leaning over the counter with a pile of books in front of her. I nosily surveyed at the spines,
Wuthering Heights, The Descent into Hell, Ink Exchange, The Poisonwood Bible, A Midsummer’s
Night Dream. That was quite an eclectic array of literature. Teen fiction to Dante?
Her hair spilled out over the counter in a wave of mahogany and shielded her face. I raked over her
tiny form; she was hardly bigger than Alice, maybe a few inches taller. Alice was straight, waifish, this
girl was curvy and wearing these skinny black jeans red Chucks hightops. The black shirt she was
wearing was mostly hidden by the waist length hair that cascaded down her back. I wondered what her
face looked like. I inhaled as I walked by and the overwhelming scent of something floral, and sweet
and just fucking delicious assaulted me.
I stole a furtive peek at her ass and it was luscious, in part because it was attached to a lovely pair
of slender legs. I had the urge to maybe smack it or bite it, or both. Then I felt bad for ogling her in
front of Esme because that was just rude. It was like making out with someone in front of your mother.
“Can I take these ones home tonight Esme?” the softest, sweetest voice in the history of all sounds
came from under the veil of mahogany, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and my body
break out in goose bumps.
Not to mention that my dick was immediately harder than titanium.
From the sound of her voice? Really Masen?
“Of course, I’ll put them aside,” Esme took the pile of books from the girl and smiled at me as I left
the store with coffees and treats in hand, trying to keep myself from looking back to get a glimpse of
the face that couldn’t possibly be as beautiful as the voice and body attached to it.
Alice was still chatting with the group of girls who apparently were all going to get some sort of
piercing. I avoided them, not really interested to find out which one, or how many, were planning to get
clit rings. The thought made me shudder.
Emmett grabbed for the bag of cookies but I was faster than he was, “They’re not all for you
asshole,” I growled and then passed him three.
“Hobbit?” I set Alice’s coffee on the glass counter, far enough away from her that she couldn’t
launch it at me for the insult.
“God you are such an ass Edward, I want the oatmeal raisin one for that comment,” she didn’t even
look at me as she said it, just continued to showcase the various bars and rings available to the overly
made up girls.
I didn’t bother to ask her how she knew there was an oatmeal raisin one in there, or tell her it was
supposed to be mine.
Fucking omniscient Alice.
I sat back down at my station and made up the stencil, which took all of three minutes. Jessica
walked back in with her friend a few minutes later, looking like she was half in the bag. She sort of
tripped into blondie as they walked toward me.
“All set?” I smirked at her as she giggled like an idiot.
“Yup,” she nodded and I motioned for her to take a seat in the chair.
“You’ll need to fold the top of your jeans down,” I said as pulled on a pair of latex gloves and
opened the cellophane package with the razor and began setting up my station, grabbing a new needle,
antiseptic, several cloths and various colours of ink.
I swivelled in my seat to find the horrific vision of Jessica sprawled out in the chair, muffin topping
over her jeans.
For the love of Christ, Emmett really owed me for this one.
I realized that not everyone can be beautiful, or that beauty can be on the inside or fucking
whatever but something about this girl told me that nothing inside her was attractive enough to make
her exterior even bearable.
I was lucky that I was nice to look at because the tattoos that covered much of my skin were a
reflection of what I was inside, none of which was very pretty.
Her friend stood there looking sort of lost and I motioned for her to take the stool from the other
side of my desk. She smiled a little dopily and I had to wonder how much the two of them drank in the
past twenty minutes.
I looked down at the pale, squishy exposed flesh before me and tried to maintain a neutral
expression and not gag. This was not going to be a fun tattoo session.
“So you want it right here?” I asked and touched the spot right beside where her hip bone should
be. It was then that I noticed she was wearing Hello Kitty underwear. Jesus.
“Um, yeah,” she nodded, looking down at my finger, blushing.
I smirked at her, knowing exactly what she was thinking, trying to shake the disturbing mental
image of what was probably underneath those Hello Kitty panties.
“Okay,” I replied and wiped the spot with antiseptic and then used the razor to remove the fine
downy hair, telling her what I was doing at every step, both to make her comfortable and to fill the
silence that was making me uncomfortable. Wiping away any residual hairs with more antiseptic I
sprayed the area and laid the stencil on her hip. Once the outline appeared on her skin I handed her a
mirror seeking her approval that the stencil was appropriately placed. She giggled excitedly and I
carefully prepared the ink, trying not to roll my eyes. Even if this was a stupid ass tattoo on an equally
stupid ass girl I would still make it look good. It was my craft, my livelihood and my name that would
unfortunately be associated with it.
I noticed that Emmett had lowered the volume of the music and changed it to something a bit
mellower. I appreciated that, it made it easier to work.
I asked Jessica and her friend, who told me her name was Lauren, what they were majoring in, how
they liked the city, what their favourite bars were, and how they were enjoying their first semester of
university. Standard questions that kept them occupied and comfortable while I did my job.
Could I tell you the answers to any of those questions? Definitely not because I sure as hell wasn’t
listening.
Once the tattoo was complete I showed Jessica the finished design, if you could even call it that, as
she stood in front of a mirror. Her soft body looked pallid and unattractive in the lights, but the tat
looked as good as it could for what it was and who it was on.
Once Jessica and her friend Lauren left I shot Emmett a dirty look and he laughed at me.
“Fuck man, that was painful,” I groaned and ran my fingers through my hair.
“At least you’re not Alice, ringing up four clits right now,” Em nodded in the direction of the back
room.
“All of them?” I shook my head in disbelief.
Em nodded seriously and I cringed in disgust.
Alice, the gyno of piercing.
What a shitty ass job, it made the last hour of my life seem like a goddamn cake walk.
The rest the of day passed quickly after several regulars came in to schedule appointments to finish
various pieces and start new ones.
Ink addicts.
They were the ones that made this job worth doing.
“I don’t know Tyler, that particular design might look a little odd next to the pin up girl, what if you
leave it with me and I can try to modify it a bit so it looks somewhat more natural, like an intentional
paradox of sorts,” I suggested.
Most of Tyler’s upper body was covered in my artwork and a bit of Emmett’s. His entire back was a
mass of symbols and designs we collaborated on together. His chest was a fusion of graffiti and
renaissance and I was working on completing his sleeves at the moment. He had his girl transformed
into a pin up and wanted some weird dragon thing that he had created wrapped around her but I needed
to modify the hell out of it for it to look natural surrounding his woman.
“Yeah man, do whatever you want, it’s just the idea, I expect you to make it work with what’s
already there by putting your own spin on it,” he patted my back reassuringly.
I held in the sigh of relief and gave him a smirk. I had been working on his body art for the past
four years and it had taken a long time to build the relationship to the point where he would just trust
me with whatever I thought was best. He was a stubborn fucker.
“Great, let me work on this over the next couple of days, come in on Friday and we can go over it.
If you like it we can start the session then, if not I’ll make whatever changes you want and we can start
it the following week,” I ran my fingers through my hair, already visualizing where I wanted to go with
this piece.
I checked my schedule and penciled him in for Friday at seven. He punched my shoulder and gave
Emmett props before he left.
It was already six o’clock when Jasper finally rolled in. He’s missed half the day, but we weren’t
going to ride him. Alice had filled us in a bit on what the deal was without going into too much detail.
Well, she actually provided almost no detail at all. One of his relatives had passed away and apparently
some things were left to him in the will.
He had spent the day trying to arrange to have whatever the hell it was sent to him. Other than that,
we were all in the dark.
Including Alice which was rare.
He was sombre when he walked in, nodding to us and heading to his station, getting set up for the
appointment he had scheduled for this evening. It was an intricate piece and this was the girls last
sitting. It would take well over three hours to complete, even with only very short breaks.
“You cool man?” I asked him since he wasn’t offering up conversation.
“Yeah, I need to take a few days off this week though, apparently the shit I’m getting can’t be sent
via postal service,” his voice was calm, void of all emotion.
I just nodded because there was no need to push Jazz when it came to his family. We had never met
or talked about a living relative which spoke volumes.
Alice came out and headed directly to him, stepping between his legs and wrapping her little arms
around his neck. They just looked at each other, not saying a word but telling each other the most
private things through the simplest touch. I looked away, not sure if I was jealous or just irritated by all
the fucking love that radiated from those two.
My seven o’clock arrived early and we got down to business. It was a simple tattoo for all intents
and purposes. Strictly black and white, a massive cross covered in thorns that would sit between his
bony shoulder blades. This man had found god in an eight by eight cell.
“I was thinking Eric, what about a little red, some bleeding around the thorns that spike out from
the cross, like they’re piercing your skin?” I asked as we looked over the drawings and the stencil.
He looked pensive for a moment before nodding.
I smiled and patted his back. He was a man of few words, his face a mass of pock marks and his
long wiry body a network of scars from various knife fights and a few dodged bullets. His tattoo was
his penance, a reminder of where he had been and how far he had come.
This piece took just over three hours for the outline of the cross and the shading of the vines of
thorns, so it was just after ten by the time I had cleaned it up. He would need to come back in a week to
finish it. He held a mirror in his hand and stood looking at the reflection of his newest piece of body
art.
“Fucking awesome Masen. You are a master of your craft,” he nodded his head soberly, pulling his
shirt over his bony torso once I had gauzed the tat and reminded him about proper aftercare.
There were still a couple of hours left before closing so I sat down and started working on Tyler’s
piece.
I watched as Esme closed up the little bookstore just after eleven and the same girl that had been at
the cash exited with her, a red messenger bag slung over her shoulder. Much to my irritation her hair
was still hanging like a veil over her face.
They walked down the street together and I watched them until they were out of sight, returning my
attention to piece in front of me.
Was she a new employee?
How often would she be there?
Why did I even care?
Because she has a fantastic ass and a voice you’d like to hear calling your name when she cums,
even if you haven’t seen her face yet. Doggy style is always an option.
I pulled Tyler’s file so I could use the sketch of the pin up girl as a reference for incorporating the
dragon monstrosity. He was a weird guy. After another hour I had two different sketches completed that
I thought he would be happy with. I would make stencils of both tomorrow, fairly certain he would
choose one of them and we would start the piece on Friday.
I was chewing on the lips rings piercing the right corner of my mouth, mulling over the designs
when Emmett slapped me on the back.
“Those look fucking bomb dude,” he nodded appreciatively.
Emmett’s strong point was anything with text; he could tat text like a motherfucker and had done
the graffiti piece on Tyler. Jazz was better with faces and pictures, making it look like the ink was a
photograph on skin. Emmett liked to refer to me as the Dali of tattooing, he told me more often than
necessary that my tats looked like living, breathing pieces of art. I just tried to make the art a reflection
of the person who wore it, sometimes it was ugly and dark, sometimes light and beautiful, and then
there were the unoriginal pieces that I had to try to make into something special on skin that held no
depth.
“Thanks man,” I stood up and stretched, “Time for a drink?” I smirked at him.
“You know it,” he laughed and we packed up.
I was just pouring us shots of tequila when Alice and Jazz came out from the piercing room looking
dishevelled as hell.
“Are you guys coming out or did you need another round of stress relief before you can hit the
bar?” Emmett, always the master of couth asked as he shot back the tequila and banged the glass on the
table looking to me for a refill.
I poured another shot as Jazz grinned lazily and Alice jumped up and slapped Emmett on the back
of the head, grabbing his shot off the table and downing it before he even had a chance.
After a couple more rounds of tequila we were all feeling relaxed and headed down the street to
Breaking Dawn, the local alternative bar. They were playing some retro nineties alternative music, the
shit I listened to when I was barely a teenager, making me feel a little nostalgic for the days when
everything was simple. I ordered a couple of beers and slammed back the first one, taking my time with
the second.
Alice ran out to the dance floor and found some of her friends while we stood guard at the bar,
watching from a distance. That girl could go anywhere and know someone. I watched the bodies
moving to the music; a throbbing, angry beat. I turned to the bartender, a plastic looking blonde with a
tattoo on her neck that looked like it was done by an amateur. She appraised my arms, her eyes moving
up to my neck and then my face. I flashed her a grin and she batted her fake eyelashes at me apparently
approving of my badass persona. I held up my beer and three fingers and she bent over, her fake tits
bouncing and nearly popping out of her top as she retrieved three more for me. I handed her a bill and
waved her off, tipping her well but not interested in her plasticity.
I surveyed the bar as I turned around, handing two of the beers to Jazz, who passed one to Emmett.
That was when I saw her. The long thick hair cascading over her shoulders and down her back, swaying
as she grabbed the first of three shots lined up on the bar. She toasted the blond baby-faced bartender
with tanned skin and slicked back hair and then threw her head back, downing the clear shot. Vodka?
Her skin was pale, almost translucent in the glowing lights of the bar. Her features were soft and
innocent.
Holy mother of fuck, she was beautiful.
She looked young, and yet somehow older than her youthful appearance would allow. She downed
the next two shots quickly and as the song changed her eyes closed and her head tilted back as though
she was basking in the rays of an imaginary sun. Her smile was stunning, lighting up the space around
her even though it looked a little wistful. She licked her lips and turned to the dance floor. Was she here
alone?
She moved languidly through the crowd, sliding between people until she found a place in the
center of the floor, right in my line of sight, and then she started moving. She wasn’t wearing the black
long sleeve shirt anymore, instead she had on a black tank top, but I could see a hint of red peeking out
on her shoulder.
Red bra, fuck I wonder if her panties match.
I realized what song was pounding out of the speakers, Calm Like a Bomb. Her hips moved
aggressively, head bobbing in time with the beat and eyes closed with a tiny smile playing at her lips.
She ran her fingers through her hair and pulled it up off of her neck, exposing the luxurious expanse of
perfect unmarred flesh, pulling a black band from her wrist she secured her hair in a ponytail.
I noticed the line of steel rings travelled the shell of her ear.
She was glorious.
She’d be so fucking hot inked.
I could picture her in my chair, jeans rolled down, hip exposed. She was so much more appealing
than the fleshy girl who had defaced my chair earlier today.
I had to wonder what she was hiding under those clothes, maybe something pretty and delicate on
her back or her shoulder.
Some douche came up behind her and tried to grind on her and she spun around, her eyes
narrowing and then she grinned shyly, was she encouraging him? She shook her head at him and when
he came back again, not taking the hint I had the urge to just fucking punch him in the face. Half of me
wanted to run across the bar and protect her but the other half of me, the one that was apparently the
winner of this battle, was frozen in awe of this magnificent creature. Not to mention the fact that I was
sporting a seriously epic hard-on which would make it hard to walk let alone run right now.
I watched her soft jaw clench, the bands of muscle contracting and her eyes flashing with anger so
intense it transformed her features instantly into something feral as she turned around and punched him
in the throat.
I choked on my beer.
Holy shit, she just levelled the dickhead.
So fucking hot.
I turned to Jasper to see if he had witnessed this awesome display of kittenish fury but he was
engrossed in conversation with his beer while he eyed Alice across the room. Emmett was chatting up
the plastic bartender.
I turned back to survey the dance floor, expecting to see a bouncer hauling the douche off but no
one came to this girl’s rescue, not that she seemed to need it. Several guys in the general vicinity
noticed the attack though and gave her a wide berth. She continued to dance, her movements aggressive
and fluid, the fire in her eyes flickering until it was just an ember. She was a walking contradiction.
“Edward, are you listening?” Jazz punched my shoulder.
“Huh?” I turned to look at him.
“Are you ready to go man, Alice has had enough, we gotta get up early for my flight and all so she
can drop me at the airport,” Jazz explained, looking at me like I might be a little slow.
“Yeah bro, of course,” I nodded and slammed down the rest of my beer, looking back out at the
dance floor for the girl but she was gone.
Disappeared completely.
For a moment I wondered if I hadn’t imagined the entire fucking thing.
I looked down at my forearm and Alice’s words from earlier in the day came back to me ‘The storm
is coming.’
What the hell did she mean and why was I suddenly sure she was right?

spuffy
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