Written for the 30 Days of Emmett Challenge that begs us, why can't Emmett get more love,
adventure, and story time!
As always, my muse and beta is mopstyle. I am eternally grateful for all that you give to me.
Thanks and spanks to my pre-reader bellasexecutioner.
I do believe this will be a multichapter story,
but as for now its rated T.
It was turning out to be one of those days. You know, the kind of day that you think is going to be great. The sun was shining and life's little dramas seemed to be in a lull, but I tripped over the rug in the middle of my room that has never given me a problem in the few years that I've had it. I opened the door to the cabinet above the toilet and the deodorant and razor fell in the pot, with the seat still up, of course. My contacts felt like tiny rocks were embedded in my eyes, so I opted out and settled for the frame-less glasses that are completely inconvenient when it comes to my job, constantly having to adjust them throughout the day. I used the last coffee filter yesterday and bought the wrong size to replace them. When I used one anyway, watered down coffee pooled all around the cheap old machine and then there's barely enough for one full cup. Of course, I burnt my tongue on that first sip.
At that point I had only been awake for an hour and fifteen minutes. What I really wanted to do was accept defeat and go back to bed, but I was not willing to let my whole day go to shit.
I gripped the edge of the counter and pressed my forehead into the cool Formica. Stealing myself a fleeting moment to collect enough patience to continue on with my day, I remembered that my favorite client, and best friend since I was eight, had scheduled an appointment that should take up the entire evening. I thought it was odd that he hadn't called me to set the appointment himself, but I was happy when I saw the name Hale in my appointment book blocking out the second half of my shift.
The tattoo shop that I worked in and managed had been consistently busy for the past few months. I couldn't wait to get back to work on Jasper's back piece because all this flash art bullshit that every Tom, Dick and Mary wanted permanently etched into their skin was really starting to grate on my nerves. Don't get me wrong, flash is the bread and butter for any tattoo artist, but I was jonesing to create an original composition and individuals with insight and a creatively open mind had been few and far between.
Jasper was the man. Seriously. He and I were thicker than thieves until he went off to college. We spent every day together from elementary school through high school and now, whenever he gets the chance to visit, we just fall back into sync like no time has passed at all. We had some sort of symbiosis. I could literally feel something shift in the room whenever he was near. It has always been comforting to me. My entire life, I had never felt such an inert connection to anyone. We were meant to find one another, compliment each other, and befriend each other. I have never had any doubts that Jasper would be there whenever I need him and I would do the same in a heartbeat.
Jasper, now set up in his life, was married to his college sweetheart, Alice. He's a professor at Port Angeles Community College. History had always been his vice. His extreme nerdy side was the catalyst that fused our connection early on.
In school we were both athletic and involved in sports, but we each had a passion for something beyond popularity. He had a strong interest in history and the details of war, the strategies of battle in particular, and I had painting and sculpture. We stuck together and nobody bothered us. Together we were quite intimidating-strong, intelligent, and inventive. No one was ignorant enough to mess with us.
That intimidation trickled down a few grades to protect Jasper's little sister Rosalie as well. She was a good kid-smart, but awkward and shy most times. I only remember her as a vibrant and easy going individual when she was around Jasper and I. I treated her like she was my own sister. We would talk about our interests and we even took a pottery class together my senior year. By the time Jasper and I graduated, I was sure that she would make it fine on her own. Last thing I heard about Rosalie was that she was applying to graduate schools on the West coast, making her way closer to home.
I pushed myself away from the kitchen counter and cleaned up the lake of coffee that had seeped out before it spilled onto the floor. I nudged my glasses back onto the bridge of my nose, yeah that was going to annoy me all fucking day, and grabbed my keys before running out to my truck. The December air was frigid, making me bristle into my worn pea coat. My F-150 roared to life as I turned the key and prayed that the cab would heat up quickly. Pulling my jacket closed and buttoning it up, I caught a thread from the coat and tugged on the toughened material. The thread pulled out from the seam quickly, tearing the hem apart and I swore to myself, damning the jacket to the Salvation Army drop box by the end of the day. Things just had to get better.
On any normal day, my life was simple, humble. I was a single man with no pets and a stable job. Everything usually ran smoothly and my path held little in the way of obstacles. I had a career that I enjoyed, most days. I had been planning on venturing out when I could set aside enough capital to procure a small shop of my own. Any spare time I had was usually spent in my studio, painting. I hadn't earned much off of my artistic eye in the art world, yet. Someday, I hoped to get my creations circulating all over the world.
The shop's desk manager, Janine, sat in her little compact 'save the Earth' Prius as she waited for me to open the door. She eyed me wearily as she approached.
"You're late. You're never late. Everything copacetic?" She pushed her shoulder into my side, waiting for me to get the door unlocked. As soon as the warm air hit me my glasses fogged up. Janine pushed me out of her way, entering the warm building first.
"Yeah. Nothing wanted to go my way. I'm hoping that I left all that bad juju at home. Lord knows that I can deal with a lot of bullshit, but I'm not sure if I can handle having it all dumped on me at the same time. Ya know?"
"Well, let me get some coffee going and I'll holler upstairs when it's ready." She opened the appointment book and started cleaning up the tiny lobby.
"Janine, you are a ray of fucking sunshine on my rainy day." I grinned at her, making my dimples relay their charm.
"Don't get all poetic on me, big guy. You still have to take the first walk-in no matter how weird it is. No whining either."
"Moi, whine?" I gasped, "Get to that coffee, sugar! Chop, chop!"
She laughed and flipped me off. Oh, how she brightened my days.
I ascended the narrow staircase, my shoulders grazing the walls lightly with each step I took, and unlocked the door to my office. My studio at home was chaotic and freeing; it was a space that allowed me to digest thoughts and interpret them in my artwork. This room was all business-clean, organized, and inviting.
I began setting up for my day. I placed the new needles in the autoclave and started sterilization. Checking the closet for paper towel and Vaseline, I heard Janine yell that the coffee was ready. Let me tell you, Janine was my barista of choice. Damn that girl could make one hell of a cup of coffee. With that liquid perfection in front of me, I told her to 'do it up' and she unlocked the doors for business to begin. As the sign flipped to 'open' I wondered what else the day had in store for me.
A few walk-ins later, I think the whole shop could hear my stomach rumble. I stomped down the stairs and caught Janine by surprise. She was cleaning the flash displays and bopping to the beat that pulsed through her iPod as I followed not a foot behind her. She twirled around, jumped back toward the wall and a tiny squeal escaped her. I smirked at how easy it was to startle her and placed my hands on either side of her shoulders. Trapped, she yanked out her ear buds and lifted her chin calling me closer. I enjoyed how she could illicit her desires with non-verbal communications. I leaned in close, as she had requested by the gesture, and pressed my solid body into her soft, petite one. Peering into her explosive hazel eyes I took a slow, deep breath.
"I think," I paused for dramatic effect, "it's about time that...you take...my...lunch order."
Janine's face went from shocked to anxious and then exasperated. The next thing I knew, she had me in the most painful titty twister. I was hunched over and panting from the pain. Any outsider would've laughed at this little vixen conquering such a big guy. She definitely had taken control over the situation.
"You are a complete ass! I will take your order last and fuck it up anyway." Janine growled.
Releasing her hold on me, I quickly backed away and covered my nipples before she planned another assault on them. I was laughing as tears of pain gathered. I removed my glasses as I wiped the moisture from my eyes.
"That's what you get for sending that last tool into my office." I whined. "Did you know that I had to stare at, and touch, his ass cheek for at least a half hour?"
She laughed so loud that she disturbed any and all other activity in the shop. Edward, one of my full time artists, popped his head out of his room with a knowing grin on his face. I caught his gleeful look and pointed at him. "How did I manage to get that dandy client?"
"Sorry, man. I had three appointments already here." He snickered at me. "It couldn't have been that bad."
"Really, dude? How about we talk about me shaving his hairy ass cheek." Janine cackled again, folding her body over the reception desk. "Then tattooing a bumpy, wart ridden heart with a banner across that says 'Your Name Here'."
I shuddered in disgust as I recalled the horror of that last client. Edward laughed heartily as I heard Janine snort and fall onto the floor, gasping for air. I held off my own chuckles and tried not to enjoy their reactions to my torment. I pushed my bottom lip out with the intent of pouting, but was unable to hold it before I cracked.
"All right. That's enough." I reached down to help Janine to her feet as she attempted to get her laughter under control. She wiped at the tears that spilled from her eyes with the back of her hand and stood by her desk.
"Sorry Em. But that was the best. Um, what do you want for lunch?" Her voice quivered as she held her amusement back.
Her charcoal mascara had run down her face and I gently placed my fingers on her cheekbones and swept the inky watermarks from under her eyes with my thumbs. I had never seen such an expression on her face before. Her eyes were taking in my sincerity. They were hooded in desire and her full, pink lips were parted in an appearance of what could only be anticipation. The moment was intimate and, for me, rather inviting.
Janine was like family, a sister in most respects. We got along well and could talk about anything and everything. She was a smart-ass and funny, always looking for a way to make me smile. She's very attractive and about a foot shorter than me with wavy, chestnut hair long enough to grab onto and soft curves that were a pleasure to trace with my eyes. I had often appreciated her beauty and the appeal of her sexy bod, but never really thought about pursuing something more.
What would happen if I tried to see Janine in a different way? Could I feel something other than brotherly love for her? Would a relationship with her ruin our friendship? Would our friendship make us better lovers? That was definitely something to ponder.
"Okay, big guy," she bowed her head down from my hands and blushed. "What are you going to order that I can royally mess up?" She smiled at me as she wrote it down. When she gathered all the lunch orders she walked out the door with a backward glance and a wink.
After eating and cleaning up my mess, I put my glasses back on before I started to look through Jasper's file. The last time I worked on his back piece, we discussed a few ideas for the next installment. Jasper began to work with me a few years back on creating a metaphorical, historical map of his favorite battles through history. The last section I finished represented The Civil War. It became very detailed and time consuming, but I was exhilarated when it was complete and Jasper was beyond proud to wear it. I couldn't wait to see what we would be outlining today. The Anglo Spanish war that lasted for over a decade in the late sixteen hundreds was a piece that I was definitely looking forward to incorporating into his presentation. I was anxious to see if Jasper wanted to go with a Baroque style portrait of the commission of the London Treaty or with a shipyard type battle scape.
Lost in my thoughts, I was caught off guard when I heard someone traipsing up the steps to my office. I felt that same internal awareness that told me Jasper was here. Knowing that he was standing in the doorway, I placed the file on my drafting table and spread out our last drafts. Still lost in the excitement of creating such an original tattoo, I waved him in without looking his way.
"So, Goldilocks. Alice make you cut that girly mop of yours yet?" I asked.
I lifted my head and turned to see what his problem was.
My mouth was agape. Jasper Hale was not my next appointment. Instead there stood this beautiful, leggy blond in his place making me feel that same internal buzz synonymous with my best friend's presence. Her smile lit up the room.
I closed my mouth and swallowed, trying to find the words to apologize-or swear-or say something, anything. I pushed my glasses up the bridge of my nose to see her more clearly.
"Well, Alice hasn't mentioned anything like that lately. Do you really think I need a trim?" She smirked at my befuddled expression knowing that I definitely didn't expect to see her standing there.
Well, I'll be a damned fool.