Jobs. We all have them. Some of us would like different ones, some of us would like a day off from the ones we have, some of us covet other jobs, some of us even probably wish we didn’t have to have a job.
There are some of us who have jobs we love and adore and wouldn’t trade for anything, not really. It might not pay as great but all the sacrifice at some point becomes worth it. Hell, just working in pajamas is worth a hell of a lot, know what I mean?
But jobs, no matter what they are, are a necessary evil. We have bills to pay and well, for a lot of us, money doesn’t grow on trees and we would rather work hard for that money than not…
My characters all have jobs. They may not have started out having a job but they all end up with some sort of job in the end. Nor do they have the most glamorous of jobs… There are a lot of working man jobs, blue collar, doing jobs…
In Ink Spots, one of the things Jaz, the hero does, is tattoos…
Mandi sat backward in the chair, straddling the seat, and reclined so she was in a near prone position on her belly. She hadn’t planned on a tattoo for her birthday, but then she hadn’t planned on Jaz for her birthday either.
They’d agreed on her shoulder for the placement and he’d asked her to trust him as to what the design would be since she couldn’t seem to decide on anything herself. She hadn’t said she wanted to think about it, but he knew if he gave her a chance to do so, she’d likely never do it. He was so in love with ink and what it looked like on a body, on the beautiful canvas of skin, that he had a hard time understanding others who didn’t see the same beauty in it. His words.
He’d delivered on every other promise he’d given her that night, and she’d found she couldn’t deny him this. To give her something she’d have forever, something she’d always remember him by, remember this birthday and how very special and sexually awakening it was. And, man oh man, was it awakening her. She was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, she was so fully awakened. She—
Behind her, Jaz chuckled. She didn’t know how long he’d been working on her, how long she’d been tense through the stinging pins and needles, how long she’d been trying to relax and breathe every time he told her to, how long she’d been riding the wet vinyl of the seat.
“You need to stay still.”
“I know. I love that you’re aroused by this.”
He slid a gloved finger under her ass to tease and stroke her. “Liar,” he whispered.
She groaned her humiliation at being caught. At the same time, there was no way she could hide it. “Maybe it’s not this that has me so aroused.”
“No doubt it’s not the only thing.”
“You think you might have something to do with it?”
“Only a few inches worth.”
It was her turn now. She giggled into the headrest her arms were wrapped around. “More than.”
Silence ensued for some minutes while Jaz worked. There was something profoundly intimate about getting a tattoo. She’d never given it much thought before obviously or she’d probably have gotten one. Though, at the same time, she’d have probably chickened out as she’d tried to do tonight.
It was permanent. It would always be there. And though she’d made the final decision, fully understanding, fully comprehending what she was doing, she wasn’t usually impulsive.
She smiled. But then, the last few hours had been anything but usual and every bit of it entirely impulsive.
Glancing around the small tattoo parlor, Mandi took in everything she could from the small bit of light coming from the lamp shining on her back.
It was a quaint shop with three mirrored stations, like one would find in a hair salon.
“How many people work with you?”
“One other full-time employee and three part-time. There’s always three people here at a time. Some tattoos take hours and I want someone to be available at all times to help other clients.”
There was a large picture window at the front of the store with the name of the business emblazoned from one end to the other. On the wall beside the front door hung a corkboard with instant pictures pinned to it. She assumed they were images Jaz or his employees had taken of freshly inked tattoos.
While she’d never been in a tattoo shop, she hadn’t expected one to feel so open and comfortable. She always thought to the uninitiated that the atmosphere would be intimidating and maybe during regular business hours it was, but right then, no.
“Why were you in jail?” Jaz tensed behind her and she turned her head to look over her shoulder. His normally open gaze was now slightly shuttered. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have asked.”
“No. It’s fine.”
“You don’t have to answer. I know it’s personal.”
“Yes, but then everything about the last hours we’ve spent together has been personal. Do you really want to know?”
“Yes,” she answered without hesitation.
“I snuck out of the house one night. I’d gotten into it with my foster dad and he pretty much grounded me. I was just barely eighteen and way too big for my britches. I went over to my buddy’s house with the intention just to hang out for a while. We were broke as shit and he wanted beer. There was only one option left. Stealing that beer and the packs of smokes all those years ago was about the dumbest thing I’d ever done or ever have done since. What really cinched it for the cops was that my buddy was packin’. I didn’t know but they didn’t care.”
“Did your friend go to jail too?”
“Yep. He got a couple years more than me and we’ve not spoken since.”
“I’m sorry.” She didn’t know what else to say. She definitely hadn’t done anything like stealing, never even so much as thought about shoplifting. She couldn’t imagine what it must have been like for him.
“I am too. I lost a few years that way, but from the second I got in to the second I got out and every second since I’ve tried hard to walk the straight and narrow. As far as illegal activities go. I don’t want to screw things up because they’re really good for me. I’m part owner in a couple of businesses, I’ve got good friends and a job I just lucked into being damn good at.”
And you’ve got me. She didn’t actually say those last words but they fairly shouted inside her head. She’d like to see him again, after her birthday. Jaz had admitted to having a crush on her, wanting her for as long as she’d wanted him, so maybe…
“You ready to see your ink?”
“I am. It’s just a little thing. I told you I wasn’t going to do anything fancy or big. Just a little reminder.”
He got up from the stool he was sitting on and offered a hand to help her up. “Let’s get you up out of that chair and over to the mirror.”
“I think I’m stuck.”
“Not all of you is stuck. Just use your legs and slide off.”
“Yes, and you’ve got a fine one.”
She smiled in spite of herself and slowly slid backward off the chair. Her inner thigh muscles were sore from being stretched and used in ways that weren’t normal for her, and she had a hard time walking without Jaz’s steady weight next to her.
He turned her around and thrust a handheld mirror out to her. Over her shoulder, in the reflection, she saw the fresh tattoo. A small white and light purple swirled birthday candle with a tiny yellow flame. Under the candle was the date and beside that was the name Jaz.
She couldn’t have been more in love with it. “Th-thank you. It’s… I don’t know what I expected, but it’s perfect.” She raised her gaze to meet his and found him smiling from ear to ear.
“I’m glad you like it.”
“I love it.”
“Good. Birthday girls should always love their birthday presents and get immense joy from them.”
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