Annie had a secret.

Actually, it wasn't so much a secret, but more of a fascination that most people just didn't know about. Annie was fascinated by tattoos. Not so much common ones like names or simple designs, but vibrant colorful ones. The kind that could make even tattoo haters appreciate them as artistic works of art on a canvas of skin instead of fabric or paper.

When people found out about her love of tattoos, most of them couldn't believe it. Considering how conservative and prudish she often came across (even though she was trying to rectify that), most would assume she would hate tattoos. But she loved them. She often went on various web sites to see different designs and styles. And if she saw someone with a really beautiful design she'd tell them how much she liked it and ask about the meaning behind it.

So it wasn't that surprising when Annie finally decided that she would get a tattoo of her own. It didn't matter if her mother once said she'd disown her if she got one (since the woman ended up doing that anyway). Annie was growing up and becoming a woman instead of a little girl. And although she knew it seemed a bit cliché, she wanted to assert her moving into adulthood with a tattoo.

But although she finally decided to get one, she didn't just immediately run out to the nearest tattoo parlor. Like most things she did Annie first did extensive research involving various lists. After all, this would be something that would be on her body for the rest of her life. First she thought extensively about what she wanted to get. She wanted to get something that had deep meaning to her, and not just pick out something random on a wall. After thinking about it a great deal she finally came up with a unique design she personally sketched out. Then came thinking about where on her body she wanted to get it. She knew she wanted to get it somewhere that wouldn't be seen when she was in a professional atmosphere. That left a great many body area options for her to choose from, although she immediately vetoed getting it on her lower back (she refused to get her tattoo in a place people would label it a 'tramp stamp'.) Finally she came up with the perfect place on her body to put it.

Next came finding the place to get it. She started by covertly asking people with tattoos where they got there's from. Then she would go to the parlor and get to know the artists. Most were happy to talk about their work. She particularly got to know an artist named Kym, did a lot of very beautiful vibrant designs.

Finally, the big day came. Annie had done as much research on the subject as she could, and had saved up enough money for her tattoo. All that was left was actually getting it. She went to Kym's parlor and told her she was finally getting one, showing her the design she had made. The two of them worked on it together until it was perfected beyond even how Annie had envisioned it would be.

"Ok girl," Kym said. "You've been coming in here for the past three weeks. You finally ready?"

"Yup." Annie said as she got in the chair. "Let's do this."

An hour later, a few shed tears, and a lot of swearing, Kym was finished and Annie had her tattoo.

"It looks good Annie. The area around it is red, but that should go away in a day or so. I recommend getting some aloe and rubbing it over the tattoo for a couple weeks. That will help with the healing. They'll be some scabbing, but that's normal."

"Thank you." Annie gave the artist a hug her before leaving, happy she had finally done it and gotten one.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

While Annie wanted to show off her brand new tattoo right away, she decided to wait until it was fully healed. The area was red and sore at first, but that went away after a few days. She got some aloe and diligently applied it over her tattoo a couple times a day. Like Kym said the area did scab over, but by the middle of the second week that subsided and it looked amazing. Annie smiled each time she showered and saw her tattoo. She had always wanted to get a tattoo, and now she finally had one.

Two weeks after she got it she was finally ready to show it off to people. The first people she ended up showing it off to were Britta and Shirley. The three of them were at Britta's on Saturday getting ready for a girl's night out. Annie was trying to figure out how to broach the subject as Britta complained about the latest movie she had seen.

"It's just anti-feminist malarkey. Just because she's fired from her job she immediately has to shave her head and become a prostitute. What, she couldn't get a job somewhere else? I'm sure there were dozens of factories to choose from. And people want to reward this ass backwards portrayal by giving her an Oscar?"

"I liked it," Shirley said. "Plus you can't go wrong with Hugh Jackman, especially when he's singing. He's on my list of five men I can sleep with without it being cheating. He's right after Denzel and Taye Diggs."

"Oh, don't even get me started on that whole part. Going to jail for stealing a loaf of bread. What kind of backwards society will give a man more jail time for not starving to death then for-."

"I got as tattoo!" Annie blurted out, not able to wait any longer for a natural opening to reveal her news.

"Oh pumpkin," Shirley said with the tone of a disappointed mother. "Why would you do that? You're such a good girl."

"All kinds of people have tattoos Shirley. It doesn't reflect what kind of person you are," Annie said.

"Damn right girl," Britta said. "Good for you. I got one on my back when I was living in New York. It's the Chinese symbol for strength. Or maybe it's courage? Or possibly independence? I don't know, that was a really hazy night."

"Okay," Shirley said loudly. "Let's get off Britta's debauchery, shell we. Can we see it Annie?"

"Sure," Annie said, happy to show it off finally. She waited apprehensively as she revealed her tattoo to the two women. "Well? What do you think?"

"It's great," Britta said.

"I don't even like tattoos. But that's really something. Did you pick it out?" Shirley asked.

"I did. I designed it myself, and then my tattoo artist perfected it until it became what it is now."

"Well it's really good."

"Thanks," Annie said warmly.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

It was after midnight when Annie made her way back into her apartment. It had been a good night. At one point the women challenged a group of guys to a round of darts and ended up willing a round of drinks and a plate of mozzarella sticks. She closed the door and turned around, seeing Troy and Abed looking at her in their recliners. "Hey guys. How was your night?"

"Why didn't you tell us you got a tattoo?" Troy asked.

"How did you know I got a tattoo?" Annie asked, wondering if they had accidently seen it when she was around them at some point.

"Shirley sent out a group text," Abed said as he pulled out his phone and showed Annie the text message Shirley had sent to himself, Troy, Jeff and Pierce.

Can't hold it in any longer. Annie has a tattoo.

"I thought we didn't keep secrets," Troy said. "I told you guys about the time I found twenty dollars and was going to buy pizza for all of us, but instead bought a monkey trap to try and catch Annie's Boobs."

"I wasn't keeping it a secret. I just wanted to wait until it fully healed until I showed it to people."

"Oh." Troy shuffled his feet on the carpet before asking, "So can we see it?"

"Of course," Annie said as she showed them the tattoo."

"Nice! That's awesome," Troy said excitedly.

"Cool. Cool cool cool," Abed said. "It makes sense that you'd get a tattoo. You're changing from who you were, and most girls signify change by getting a tattoo. So it fits your character."

"Um…thanks."

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The next day she had to go to Pierce's to drop off some project notes she had taken when he missed class. Once she got there he gave her a disapproving look.

"I know you used to live above Dildopolis and everything. But you don't need to advertise yourself like a street walker. You're young and have nice boobs. You can get plenty of action without advertising it like a walking ad."

Annie sighed in anger, greatly annoyed that Pierce was implying that she did this to hook up with guys. "Pierce, I didn't do this for sex or anything like that. I did it because I wanted a tattoo and wanted to express myself. That's all."

"Sure," Pierce said in a tone that suggested he didn't quite believe her. "Can I at least see this walking billboard?"

Annie sighed deeply before showing him her new tat. "Hu. That's actually nice. And it's not on your lower back. Because I'm not sure if you know this, but they say women with tattoos there are-."

"Yes Pierce, I know!"

XXXXXXXXXXXX

Annie didn't see Jeff until Monday morning when she strolled into the study room, seeing that he was the first one there. Knowing he already knew about her tattoo she waited apprehensively for him to say something. After several moments he looked up from his phone. "How was your weekend?"

"Good. I went out with Britta and Shirley on Saturday."

"I heard. Shirley said you three beat some idiots in darts. She also said you got a new addition to yourself."

"You could say that." She set her bag down as she took her usual seat. "So, are you going to be all judgmental about it like some people were?"

"Why would I be judgmental? It's your body; you can do what you want to it. Though I can't imagine you getting nipple rings or anything like-."

"Ew," Annie said, shuttering at the idea of any sharp object getting anywhere near her nipples. "That will never happen. But this; it's something I've wanted for a really long time. So I finally decided to get one."

"Well good for you."

She gave Jeff a sideways glance. "What do you think of them anyway?"

"Tattoos? They're all right. I've never found them particularly attractive or had a tattoo fetish of that's what you're asking." He grinned at her cringing at the word 'fetish'. "But I don't hate them or find them disgusting." He waited a moment before putting her phone down. "Can I see it?"

"Sure," she said brightly. Annie got up and walked over to Jeff before lifting the helm of her skirt until her right hip was exposed.

Jeff's jaw dropped when he finally saw what she had gotten. It was a purple phoenix rising up from pieces of broken glass. The bird was extremely detailed, with large blue eyes that seemed to look right through you and majestic wings fanned out around it. It looked like a painting, that just happened to be on someone's body.

"I spent a while thinking about what I wanted," Annie said. "I wanted something that showed I wasn't the same person I used to be. That I had grown and overcome the obstacles that have prevented me from being a whole person. And Phoenixes are symbolic with rebirth and rising from the ashes. So I took the glass window I had ran through, which was the lowest point in my life, and had a phoenix rise from the ashes of my former self."

As Annie dropped her skirt back over her legs Jeff's hand twitched, as if he wanted to run his hand over her tattoo and the smooth creamy looking skin it was occupying. If Annie noticed this she made no mention of it. Instead she bit her lower lip as she waited apprehensively for Jeff's reaction. "So? What do you think?"

"I think it's beautiful," Jeff said, not even bothering to censor himself as the first thought in his head flew out of his mouth. Annie smiled happily just as Shirley and Abed came into the room. Annie took her seat as everyone else came in within the next minute or so.

As the study session commenced Jeff hardly paid any attention. That wasn't a surprise in and of itself. What wasn't an ordinary occurrence was Jeff spending the whole session covertly staring at Annie's legs. Or more specifically, her hips. Anytime she shifted her legs he strained to see if he could catch a peak of her tattoo. And he kept having very inappropriate thoughts going through his head. Like wondering if her tattoo would move if her legs were wrapped around his waist, flexing as he-.

Stop it, he thought. It's Annie here. Young, neurotic, even more unintentionally sexy then ever Annie. He groaned as he knew thoughts like that weren't helpful.

Once the study session was over and they left for History class Jeff ended up walking a few feet behind Annie. Though his eyes didn't wonder to her butt or the exposed parts of her legs, as they would when he normally walked behind a woman. This time he kept looking at her cloth covered hip. Even though he couldn't see it he couldn't help staring at it, as if he might be able to develop x-ray vision and see her tattoo.

This fascination continued on in class. Whatever was talked about during that class Jeff didn't absorb at all. He spent the entire time looking at Annie's legs. Every twitch, every foot tap, every time she shifted her hips, it was all caught by him.

He was almost glad when class was over and he could go somewhere Annie wasn't. He needed a break from her or else he'd drive himself insane. But before he was able to get more than a couple feet down the hall he heard her call his name. "Yes?"

"Can you help me get something from the storage closet?"

Jeff looked around, hoping Troy or Abed or anyone else was there to help her instead of him. But everyone else had already made their way to their respective classes. And he figured she'd get suspicious if he tried to get out of it. So reluctantly he agreed and followed her to the storage closet.

"Ok, what are we here to get."

He turned around as she closed the door and walked towards him purposely. "Why were you staring at me?"

"I'm sorry, what?"

"You were staring at me during our study session, and then all during class just now. I want to know why."

Jeff cursed himself inwardly, since he thought he was being rather covert about the whole thing. As he looked at her face he went to his old standby of just denying it. "I wasn't staring at you."

"Yes you were."

"How do you know?"

"It was so obvious Jeff. I could feel your eyes on me the entire time." She glanced down at her leg before looking up in realization. "Were you looking at my tattoo?"

"No."

"Do you have a thing for tattoos," she said with a smirk.

"I don't have a tattoo fetish Annie, if that's what you're asking."

"Then what is it Jeff? Because if this is going to become a constant thing…"

"It's just…" He paused before deciding to take the most unlikely course available; tell the truth. "I'm not into tattoos per say. I'm into a particular tattoo."

"A HA!" she shouted in triumph. "I knew it! You have a thing for women with tattoos."

"Annie, I mean it. Most times I either don't care that a woman has one, or hate the one she has. But yours...it's amazing. Not just the tattoo itself, which is a great one by the way. But just everything you said it means. I've always known you've overcome a lot in your life. But somehow, it just makes it more real to realize. It's like you took all that strength and courage in you and found a way to wear it like a badge. It's mesmerizing." As he saw her get really emotional he decided to add one more thing to undercut everything he had just said. "And it is really hot."

She laughed at that one before looking at Jeff, feeling both affection and arousal from what he had just said. She went to the door and turned the lock before walking towards him, a seductive slink in each movement she made. Without another word she kissed him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders as he kissed her back. He backed her up against the wall as his hand snaked up her leg, stopping to rub his fingers over her phoenix badge before moving upward.

XXXXXXXXXXXX

A lazily smile came across Annie's face as she leaned back against Jeff's body. Their clothes were scattered around them, both acting as coverings from the floor and as impromptu sheets. She had his shirt draped over her body at an attempt at modesty, which still left her limbs completely uncovered. But while she was technically covered, it was Jeff's body heat that was mainly warming her.

She giggled as Jeff's fingers lightly stroked her arms and legs, periodically stopping to pay special attention to her tattoo. If this continued (which she had a feeling it was going to), she had a hunch that that thigh was going to be getting significant attention.

Annie glanced up as she felt Jeff's body move with laughter. "What's so funny?"

"I was just thinking about how your tattoo's wings move when your legs-."

"Jeff!"