Title: Skin Deep

Summary:An intimate moment in Cat and Frankie's past, and an explanation for Cat's tattoo.

Disclaimer:Don't own Lip Service or any of the characters etc. etc.

Rating:PG

A/N: Mentions Cat/Frankie and Cat/Sam. Random one shot I couldn't shake out of my head.

"Don't worry Cat; it won't hurt that bad." Frankie purred in the other girl's ear as her hands slowly worked at the buttons of her shirt. Cat chewed nervously on her lower lip, her eyes glued to Frankie and her nimble fingers. She managed a slight nod of her head, her throat too dry to speak. The girl standing in front of her was her best friend and she trusted her completely. "Turn around." The blonde's voice was low and commanding, ushering Cat to do as she was told. The older woman turned her back to her and allowed her to remove her shirt completely. "Lie down."

Again Cat did as she was told. Leaving Frankie holding her shirt. She walked towards the reclining chair in the centre of the room, lying down on her stomach she tried not to gasp at how cold the leather was against her bare flesh. She rested her head on her arms and turned to face the other girl. Frankie's gaze was dark and smouldering as it took in the sight of Cat's exposed upper body. The black lace bra and dark denim jeans she wore were a stark contrast to her lily white skin. Unable to help herself Frankie took a step forward, her hands itching to touch the other girl.

"Ready then?" Cat almost jumped out of her skin as the tattooist came back in to the room. He had left the girls to give Cat some privacy while she removed her shirt.
"Yeah." Frankie answered for her, stepping forward and taking a seat on the floor beside the tattooist's chair. Sitting crossed legged she took Cat's hand and held it in her own, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Cat nodded again, her eyes never leaving Frankie's face as the tattooist took a seat on the stool beside her and snapped on a pair of purple latex gloves.

A reassuring smile graced Frankie's lips as Cat flinched at the sound of the tattoo gun starting up. The tattoo artist tested his equipment and poured out the ink he needed in to small pots stuck down to the metal table in front of him with Vaseline. The air smelt like disinfectant and the floor Cat was staring at was reassuringly clean, offering a strange comfort to the neat freak.

The tattoo artist took the stencil he had drawn up for her and pressed it down on her back, spraying it with water from a bottle and pressing down on it so the temporary ink would transfer on to her skin. Leaving an impression of what he would later permanently sear in to her skin. He held a mirror up so that she could see the positioning of the tattoo. "What do you think?"

"It's beautiful." Cat beamed, she had loved the design from the moment she had first seen it drawn on paper. Even in a rough purple transfer on her back it looked pretty, the intricate lines running down her shoulder blade and framing the two roses that would eventually be blood red.
"Perfect." Frankie grinned, happy with Cat's reaction. She had a reason to be pleased considering she had designed the tattoo for her best friend. Straight laced, level headed Cat was not the tattoo type, but after seeing the large intricate design on Frankie's back she had decided she wanted one for herself. Frankie had taken up the challenge of designing something suitable and a few days later she had dragged her best friend to the same guy who had done her own tattoo. She couldn't wait to see what the piece would look like once it was finished in colour on Cat's smooth porcelain skin; the perfect canvas in Frankie's eyes.

"Here we go Cat. Try not to move and keep your breathing steady, there's a girl." Frankie had warned the man that Cat was nervous and he was doing his best to reassure her. He was a nice enough bloke, an aging hippie with long grey hair and a scraggly beard. He started the outline, taking his time and immersing himself in the task at hand. Cat's grip on Frankie's fingers tightened in response to the foreign sensation of the tattoo gun dragging across her skin. It was painful at first, with the tattoo being on her shoulder blade, but eventually the pain faded in to a tolerable ache; just as Frankie had promised her.

Once the outline was done he moved on to the roses, colouring them a vibrant blood red. After they were done he wiped away the excess ink and smothered the tattoo in cream to protect it. As Cat marvelled at her new ink he ran through the usual after care advice and then strapped it in Clingfilm so she could put her shirt on without getting blood on it. "Need help applying the cream?" Frankie teased as Cat gingerly shrugged her jacket back on. The other girl smiled as she shook her head, shooting the blonde down.
"I think I'll manage thanks."

Regardless of what Cat said she was not a contortionist and she needed help to apply the ointment to her back to help it heal. Frankie had been all too happy to help until the tattoo had scabbed over and eventually healed. The summer after having the ink done Cat had taken to wearing vest and tops that hung low on her shoulder to show off the design.

The pair sat on Cat's sofa, sharing a bottle of wine and watching a ridiculous horror film. Despite the film being rubbish Cat was still jumping and burying her face in a cushion at the supposedly scary bits. Frankie was too pre-occupied with her best friend to pay much attention to the television screen. Cat was wearing a form fitting vest top that hugged her curves in all of the right places and left her tattoo on show. Frankie had developed something of a fascination with it and the longer she sat curled up beside the other girl, her gaze drifting to the intricate flower design that she had created, the stronger the urge to reach out and touch it became.

Cat jumped, though had nothing to do with the horror film. Frankie's fingers traced over the tattoo, drawing lazy circles over the roses and tickling the sensitive skin beneath her fingertips. "Frankie." Cat sighed as though she were admonishing a child. Her protests were only half hearted though and she did nothing to stop her. She gasped as Frankie's lips replaced her fingers. The blonde place soft kisses along her shoulder blade, following the path of the tattoo. It was the first time Frankie had given in to her desire and kissed the coloured flesh of Cat's back. It was far from the last.

Cat's eyes fluttered shut as she felt Frankie's lips press against her shoulder blade, kissing the tattoo she had designed for her in an age old ritual. For just a moment Cat could keep her eyes shut and indulge in the sensation of Frankie's soft kisses; but once the moment passed she had to force herself to face the reality of what she had done.

Later, as she sat in a Glasgow pub with Sam, meeting her friends and playing the part of the doting girlfriend, someone asked about the pattern peeking out above the hemline of her top. They quizzed her on the design and the significance, something Sam herself had tried to talk to her about. One of them asked how she had come up with the design and Cat felt Sam's eyes burning in to her as she answered with a dismissive shrug. "A friend of mine designed it for me."

The tattoo on her back suddenly felt more like a brand, marking her as Frankie's for all the world to see.