AN - I'm super sorry i've not paid any attention to this for rather a long time. My only excuse is life got rather mad. I'm sorry. I should be able to update more regularly now, as long as i can keep writing ahead of uploading!
There is a touch of artistic/authors license in this story, a little to do with tattoos and a little to do with the layout of Selfridges (I've just moved things around inside the shop - no biggie!).
Re tattoos and timing - athletes were arriving in London pre-Olympics by about 2 weeks, and the womens gymnastsics started on day 2. I'm giving the girls 2 weeks tattoo healing time before they start competing, which is the same amount of time a friend of mine was told before starting to train again. This might not be quite right, but this is only a story, please suspend belief if you need to! As I'm not tattooed myself, I have taken any instructions etc from the website of a tattoo shop in my city.
Happy reading - hope you like it!
"Look, it's just like, a block down there," Kaylie pointed towards a building that showed yellow signs glinting in the sun.
The four gymnasts were stood at a crossroads in the middle of London, looking down each offshoot road for Selfridges, the shop Louis Smith had directed Payson to.
Payson checked the directions on her phone and the name of the road Kaylie was pointing down and nodded, "Yeah, that's right. Let's go".
Close together, as they had been at breakfast, and often were anyway, the girls strode purposefully towards the shop.
"Apparently it's on the ground floor," Payson said as they arrived outside the department store, "But I don't know if that's the one you walk in on, or the one below that".
Lauren, self-proclaimed queen of shopping, marched forwards and through the doors, "Come on! There'll be a store guide somewhere. Now we're here I'm not hesitating".
Payson, Kelly and Kaylie trailed after their blond team mate and crowded around the store guide at the bottom of the escalators.
"Ahha!" Lauren pointed, "There, it's lower ground floor, it must be in the basement. The map makes it look like it's right at the back. Let's go!"
Once again she took the lead and marched into the fray that was the shop floor. The four girls weaved their way through the make-up department, Payson sneezing from all the perfume scents in the air, and took the escalators down just next to a very glass and silver furnished hair salon.
"Straight to the back from here?" Kaylie asked, looking around at the different directions they could take.
Lauren nodded, "Yeah, past electronics I think".
The basement floor was sparsely populated with shoppers, but all the televisions on display were showing news channels and programmes about the run-up to the Games.
"I wonder if we'll see ourselves," Kelly mused, pausing in front of a 42 inch TV screen that was too big for anything other than the Cruz mansion which was showing athletes arriving at London airports or milling around the Olympic Village.
"If you stay there for half an hour, maybe," Payson said, "I thought you said you'd recorded every moment of the Games back home anyway".
The brunette shrugged, "Yeah, so? But it would be cool if we were stood here, looking at ourselves going for a walk yesterday".
Payson laughed, "We can keep the TV in our room on whenever we're in there later".
They moved on and Kaylie spotted a sign, "Look, I think it's round that corner. It looks pretty dark though".
The gymnasts stopped in front of a counter where various pieces of metal you could have pierced into a host of body parts were displayed and exchanged glances.
Kaylie was the first to speak, "Uh, guys….this looks a little bit, heavy?"
Even Lauren looked slightly intimidated, and was about to speak when a man with colourfully tattooed arms appeared from a room behind the counter.
"Hey girls! You alright there?"
Another glance was shot between the four girls and then Kelly spoke, "We're in the right place for a tattoo, yeah?"
The man nodded, "You've come to the right place. I'm Jon, and you are…" he waited for her name.
"Kelly," she supplied, before pointing to the others, "Kaylie, Lauren and Payson".
Having talked their ideas through with the tattoo artist, Jon, the girls had perfected their design, the same one for each girl, just with different placement, and were ready to go.
"So," Jon indicated the hospital-like bed in the tattoo room, "Who's up first?"
It dawned on the gymnast's that this was something they hadn't decided upon.
Lauren emphatically shook her head, "Not me. I'm still trying to work out if I want it on the left or right".
"I'd rather not," Kaylie sounded slightly nervous, her voice small and hands knotted together.
Lauren pressed their shoulders together, "You don't have to Kay. Just keep thinking how amazing it will be when it's done".
It was Kelly who made the choice, "I nominate Payson. It was her idea".
The blonde groaned, "I knew this would come back to me," she looked at her friends who unflinchingly stared back, "Fine! I'll go!"
She stood up and wriggled out of her t-shirt before climbing onto the bed, "But you'd better have some good talk to distract me".
Jon picked up the transfer he had made of the tattoo and positioned it on her back, "I'll draw it first, so you can check the placement and then, if you think it's right, we'll get going. That ok?"
Payson nodded, "Sure".