Doodles and Tattoos

“Dude!This looks hella rad!”

Chloe looked up lazily from her bed, suffering from last night’s drinking.She squinted at the blonde sitting at her desk before burying her face back into her pillow

“Shhh.”,she hissed warningly, arms bracing the pillow tighter to further emphasize her annoyance,”My head hurts.”

Rachel swirled around on Chloe’s desk chair, holding the drawing up.She stood slowly and positioned the paper in several directions, poses, and angles along the Chloe’s body.

She started at her bare, right calf, working her way up both legs.She pressed the paper to the back of her thighs, lifted one leg to test the design on her ankle.She dropped the limb and lifted Chloe’s shirt.

“‘M not wearing a bra, beware.”Chloe stretched the ‘r’, feeling goosebumps rise under Rachel’s small, nimble fingers.

“That’s okay, good thing you’re not wearing one, actually.”

Chloe snorted into the pillow,”I’m gonna hella kinkshame you for that.”

“‘I’m gonna hella kinkshame you for that.’.”,Rachel mocked, her voice pitched an octave higher,”Whatever hater.”

She continued comparing the sketch to different parts of Chloe’s body, pressing the crumpled paper to the left side of her torso.Chloe squirmed away, feeling ticklish, but Rachel continued insistently, trying to imagine the right size and angle for the potential tattoo.

“Oooh, I bet it’ll look good with your hair.”,Rachel elaborated,”The final piece for your transition from innocent civilian to hardcore punk!”

“You pastel, ass, hippie, son of a-!”Chloe spat out insults as she inched further and further away before landing on the floor with a hard thud.

Rachel was splayed on the bed now, arms reaching out and smoothing the paper onto Chloe’s exposed stomach.The blue-haired punk laid on the floor looking up at the ceiling, questioning her life choices.When the blonde brought the paper closer and closer up towards her breasts, Chloe swatted her hand away, irritated.

“What are you even looking at?”Chloe mumbled and reached for the paper, grabbing it and squinting at the drawing.

“I saw it on your desk-”

“Thanks Carherine Obvious.”

“-And I want you to get it inked.”

Chloe look incredulously at the eccentric blonde behind the paper and hesitantly brought her eyes back to the sketch that was drawn lengthways.Done entirely in pencil with a few smudges here and there, but surprisingly well kept despite the years it was kept in an old album.A small, illegible signature was printed on the bottom right corner.

“So what d’ya think?I know a guy I can hook you up with to get it done-”

“This was my dad’s sketch.”she said suddenly.Rachel looked at her surprised, her lips slightly parted.

“I found it in the attic in some box David threw up there.”

Chloe stopped to smooth the corner of the paper where the signature was.

“Mom said dad drew the whole thing and wanted it done on his right arm.But she told me he ended up scrapping the idea after he learned she was preggo with me.”

Rachel laid in the bed, her head on a pillow and listened to Chloe’s story.She sniffled slightly midway.A heavy silence laid between them.

“Are you fucking crying?”Chloe sat up slowly, hangover not completely over but the worst had passed.

“No.”she grunted,wiping away tears budding at the corner of her eyes.

“You’re a shit liar, dude.”

“Whatever.”

Chloe climbed onto the bed and laid next to her, paper clenched tightly in one hand.

“I understand if you don’t wanna get it.”Rachel said softly.She knew very well the topic Chloe’s father is a very sensitive kne.

Chloe raised the paper again, and positioned it so it was visible to them both.

“Actually, I think I wanna get it done.”

Rachel flicked her head towards her, eyeing her up and down.

“You’re not high, are you?”she asked slowly, leaning on her elbows to look into Chloe’s eyes.She snorted and pressed her palm into Rachel’s face.

“Fuck off, I am not.”Chloe scowled.

“Why do you wanna get it then?Like, aren’t you gonna feel like shit everytime you see it or something like that?”

Chloe looked from the sketch to her friend, peering into Rachel’s eyes.

“Are you high?You know you get all sappy and mushy and sentimental when you smoke.”

Rachel giggled softly beside her,”Maybe just a little baked.”

Another moment of content peace passed.

“What do you think?”

“I’m hungry.”

“No, I mean the tattoo, Munchies.”

Rachel looked from the blank ceiling to the drawing and shrugged.

“Why the hell not.I’m sure your dad would’ve been hella overjoyed that his idea actually made it from paper to skin.”

Chloe looked at the signature in sad wonder.

“Yeah, maybe he would’ve.”

“Oh my god I cannot be seen with you.”Rachel covered her eyes with her hand, and looked around, hoping no one she knew would recognize her.

They stood outside a small, dingy tattoo parlor that sat between an ancient retail store and a worn, forgotten lounge.The sun had just set and the moon and stars were slowly making their appearance from the East.Darkness engulfed the city with the moon softly glowing behind small clouds.Chloe was jumping from one foot to another, jogging up and down the street, doing whatever physical activity she could do to calm her jittery nerves.

“You can’t blame me!”,Chloe pointed out under a lit street lamp,”I’ve seen those YouTube videos, man.Scary stuff.”

Rachel rolled her eyes and punched her shoulder softly.

“You’ll be fine, it’s not that bad, promise.”

“Like you can talk, all you’ve ever gotten were little feathers and arrows and aesthetic-shit on your hands and neck.”

“And lived to show them off, c’mon, it’s not as bad as you think it is.”

Rachel reached for her hand and looked up into Chloe’s blue, worried eyes.

“You trust me don’t you?”

Chloe bit her lip and finally said,”I…I trust you.”

She let Rachel pull her inside.It was darker inside than it was outside.The parlor was a single room with some booths lined up against the walls, adjacent to eachother.Entire room was black; walls were colored charcoal, chipped here and there, with frames of glass hanging above the seats, each held different black and white designs, mostly of skulls or roses, sometimes skulls and roses.A circular, red booth was set in the center of the room, with a small, white table offering several outdated magazines.The only thing that kept thing from tripping and dying was the single, bright light that hung directly above the couches and table.

There was a desk immediately to their right, with a tall and burly man behind the desk.Had he have been a foot shorter and without tattoos, Chloe would’ve easily mistaken him for Ryan Caulfield.

“Brahms, the man, the legend.”Rachel greeted with a smile.

Brahms, the man behind the counter, beamed with a grin easily twice as large behind his thick, curly beard.

“Rachel, the woman of yesterday, today, tomorrow.Here to get another?Just drew up a li’le blue bird ‘ere.”

Chloe shivered at his deep, gruff voice as Rachel waved her hand to dismiss him.

“Not this time, just here for moral support.”,Rachel patted Chloe’s back before leaning in with a stage-whisper,”A tattoo virgin.”

Chloe scoffed and opened her mouth to retort but Brahms interupted her.

“Alright then, got a design in mind?’Less you want one from the walls.”

He gestured to the framed drawings with a strong arm and Chloe couldn’t help but look.

“Got one right here.”Rachel slapped the paper on the desk for the artist to see.He hummed thoughtfully, stroking his thick beard.

“It’s gonna cost ye’ a few ‘undred, and I’m gonna need lotsa’ time to get it all done.”,he said thoughtfully,”And I would recommend gettin’ something smaller if it’s ye’ first time.”

Chloe pulled her attention back to Brahms and immediately shook her head and pushed the paper closer, urging him.

“It took me enough time to get the courage I need to get this whole thing done and I’m not bailing on this.”she barked back.

Brahms leaned back, glancing between the punk and paper before sighing.

“Alright, but I’m warning ye’ it’ll ‘urt like a motherfucker and it’ll ‘urt for a long time.”

“I want it.”Chloe reassured.

Brahms only nodded,”It’s gonna cost ye’ ’round $240 ish, with color.I can do just the black and white for about a ‘undred less.”

Chloe bit her lip and glanced at Rachel, looking for an answer from her.

“C’mon, you’re the artist, with or without color?”

Rachel smirked and looked at the paper again.

“You’re pale as hell, so color would totally work-”

“Gotta look like a punk ghost, y’know, boo-yah, and all.”Chloe interjected, amused.

“-I could see some brown and a little yellow work for the skull, and pink and magenta for the flowers.Maybe go for a dark, dark green for the vines and leaves.”

“Can you make the butterflies this color?”Chloe pulled her beanie off revealing her dyed locks of light blue hair.Brahms nodded and reached behind the desk for needles and ink.

“Go on and take a seat wherever.”

Chloe sat down on the closest booth and swallowed nervously as she leaned back.Rachel rolled her eyes when she felt the grip around her hand tighten.

“Your getting a tattoo, not giving birth, Price.You’ve faced definitely faced worse.”she encouraged.

Brahms sat opposite of Rachel and readied his tools.Chloe eyes the needle anxiously as he turned it on and it began to buzz noisily.Before the needle touched her she spoke suddenly.

“Wait-!Can I smoke in here?”

“Canabis or a smoke?”he asked gruffly.

“Cigarette.”

“Sure, kiddo’.”

Rachel sighed and offered her pack,”Your like a kid about to get a shot.Woman up, dude.”

Chloe placed the stick between her lips as Rachel lit it.She breathed in and let the smoke settle in her lungs.Brahms pressed the needle to her skin and she exhaled, her nerves slightly calmer.

“Whatever, hater.”

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