Title: Urban Ink.
Rated: M for language and future sex scenes
Summary: AU. In the past three years Santana Lopez has achieved what society would deem the perfect life; a beautiful house, a good position at her future husband's company and exclusive memberships to all the 'right' clubs. There is only one thing left for her to do to complete her transformation and that is erasing her past permanently by removing her old cross tattoo. But what happens when she goes to the tattoo studio and meets the infamous Brittany S. Pierce?
A/N: First i really want to thank ruby-may89 for helping me editing the story. You're already doing an amazing job! Then, of course, natxtk for mostly everything:)
If you want follow me on tumblr as orphanfangirl.
Reviews, Pms and twitters are welcome!
"Santana Lopez you're certainly the most reckless bitch I've ever met!" Quinn Fabray stated falling on her knees right next to her friend.
"Are you sure they won't notice?" She added turning her head to check if anyone was coming.
Santana snorted, slightly lifting her gaze to look directly at the wanted prize. The booth where the valets held all the car keys was standing tall a mere ten meters away from them.
Santana produced her trademark smirk as she realized that she and Quinn were the only ones there in that moment.
"Shh. Or you'll get us caught." She replied her eyes slightly glazed over still fixed on the prize.
"Oh your father is going to be so mad." Quinn said trying to hold back the laughter but the amount of vodka present in her body had other ideas as it still escaped her unwillingly.
"Relax, he won't even notice."
Santana quickly stood up and started walking fearlessly towards the cage. Each step became less fearless and more hopeless as the alcohol in her system continued to affect her physical state. The annual charity event at the Yatch Club had been so damn boring as usual; it wasn't her fault if the only thing she could do to get through those never-ending hours was drink, a lot.
So there she was, two hours, six Gin & tonics and an unknown amount of shots later, walking in the middle of the underground parking of the club, looking for the car keys to her dad's new Audi.
She had to get the hell out of that place she actually didn't have to go anywhere; it was just this overwhelming feeling combined with the need to get away from all those fake, fancy and politically correct people.
"Rock on." She commented with a smirk as she found the key ring in sterling silver engraved with the famous four wheels. She turned around gloating whilst swinging the keys on her pinkie.
"See?" She said looking directly at Quinn. "This is our way out."
Quinn laughed clapping her hands excited to escape from that mind-numbing place.
"We need a driver."
"I am the driver."
"But you're drunk." Quinn tried to argue but she was way to tipsy to really face Santana Lopez
"Coward!" She mocked her with a provoking sneer. "You can come with me and we can go wherever we want or you can go back inside and listen to your dad telling his friend the countless boring stories about sailing. It's up to you." She finished with a shrug of her shoulder and a slightly raised right eyebrow.
Quinn lowered her gaze and for a second Santana really thought that her best friend was about to leave her there.
"Ok, you win."
"Don't go too fast!" Quinn suggested while stumbling inside the 180 hp car.
"Don't worry; you won't even notice the trip."
But unfortunately she couldn't have been more wrong. That was about to become the trip that would have changed her life irreversibly.
Three years later – 09:00 am
There is always a moment right before you wake during which all of your senses are slowly brought back to life and all you can experience is pure unadulterated feelings, injecting themselves into your system. That was indeed Santana's favorite moment of the day, the only moment in which she wasn't worried or concerned about something. The only moment in which, for just a couple of seconds was able to convince herself to be a different person. But then, as the concept of waking up implies, all the memories and the thoughts that have made you the person you inevitably are, reign over your mind and you are simply left with whoever that may be.
Santana squinted slightly opening her eyes, as she slowly remembered who she was sighing exactly as she had done every single morning for the past three years. The filtered sunlight was suggesting that it was time to get up, get ready and do the same exact things she had done the day before.
Stretching her arm on the left looking for the person who had been sleeping with her for the past few months but when the only thing she felt was cold sheets, she wasn't surprised at all.
Slowly and hesitantly, as she was in no hurry to start the upcoming day, Santana Lopez approached the bathroom door of her, or well her fiancé's two-storey mansion with an outdoor swimming pool.
The big mirror embedded in the wall of Italian marble was reflecting the image of a pretty and healthy 26-year old woman, who seemingly should have her whole life ahead of her, but the mirror thankfully didn't reflect on how Santana was feeling inside. Buried within the deepest walls of her heart, there she was a young girl completely unsatisfied by her life and the way she was leading it.
Everyone would have thought that Santana had finally managed to realize the classic dream of all the girls her age, a sales manager position at her fiancé's company, a great house, a respectable subscription to all the fanciest clubs in the county and probably the most amazing man ready to become her future husband, or at least those were the rumors. Ray hadn't asked for her hand yet, but all her closest friends and especially her mum were confident that he would soon make his move.
That isn't me.
Before she even had a chance to process the thought it was gone.
And she was aware of that. She had changed so much in the past three years, since that day, the day of the accident. People had tried to convince her that she was doing it for herself, that changing was what she needed, but deep down she knew she was becoming this new perfect girl just to please her parents and friends. According to her Mother it was also to give her life a sense of purpose, as she so kindly informed her whilst she was still in the hospital.
And that was exactly what she had done; she had got out in a couple of months, quit all the good things she barely remembered; smoking, drinking and simply having fun with her closest friends. She had started really attending college lessons and going to the charity events to meet guys good enough for her family.
She had become what the society would have deemed a girl with a bright future, but the sad truth was that she would have gladly traded all that just for one simple thing, freedom.
She could easily stand boring events held in her back garden or Sunday mornings at church, she could get through an evening with Ray's colleagues that were practically the board of the company where she was working or a tea with her mum's friends but there was something she was desperately missing like she needed oxygen. The emptiness inside her was simply due to the fact she wasn't free to be who she wanted anymore, and it was slowly killing her from the inside out.
A day without showing the word what's inside you is like a living hell. 912 days of living a life which just made her feel fake, stupid and trapped. But people were so thrilled and proud of who she had become that she even liked herself sometimes, even if the truth was she barely recognized the girl who was standing in front of her.
"Santana?" Her thoughts were distracted by the far sound of Ray's voice calling her.
She rolled her eyes up to the sky, not because she couldn't stand him, but because she just wanted to be on her own for two freaking seconds and that was apparently an impossible wish.
Ray wasn't that bad, rich, eight years older than her, awesome (as her friends were constantly defining him), gentle and educated. On paper he was certainly the husband that all women would like to have and she couldn't complain at all, but was it real love? The passionate, all consuming feelings the books and movies talked about? Sure he was making her feel okay. But was okay enough?
Santana shook her head realizing she had been distracted again by her stupid brain, she snorted knowing that asking herself all of those questions was just useless and time-consuming since her future was already written.
"Coming!" She screamed.
"Here you are, babe." Ray said once she stepped into the big kitchen that he had personally designed. She was probably supposed to be happy or at least grateful to him for preparing her breakfast, but she didn't even notice the good morning smile he gave her when their eyes met.
"A breakfast fit for a queen." Ray exclaimed placing two hot pancakes on the plate in front of her and leaving Santana no choice but to hint a smile in order to make him understand that she appreciated the gesture.
"Thank you, Ray." She added to seem even more convincing.
"So, are you nervous about your meeting today?"
"My meeting?" Santana questioned.
"Yes, you know your monthly meeting."
"Ah, right." She said trying to hide from her boss the fact that she had absolutely no clue that she was supposed to attend a meeting today.
"Do you realize that it's almost June!?" He replied not really looking for an answer. "Life is passing by so fast."
Santana couldn't agree more to that last statement. Life was indeed passing too damn fast. One day she was a carefree, life-loving and individual person then the next day she had become what she had always hated. Her life was literally passing her by and it was like watching a movie, but there was only one tiny problem, it wasn't her movie.
"It is indeed." She agreed in an empty tone.
"And do you know what that means?"
Ray's words drew away Santana's attention from her breakfast and she looked to him with a questioning expression. She was clueless as to where he was going with this conversation.
If he pronounces the word wedding, I'm going to faint.
"That summer is coming." He said probably thrilled to start surfing again. Santana snorted silently since she really wasn't getting the point of his excitement. They were living in California and that meant only one thing; summer was practically all year round. But he was probably referring to the fact that it was their first summer together as a couple and maybe that could be the cause of his excitement.
"Yeah, you're right, I Can't wait."
"I don't know if I'm ready to show you to my friends in your bikini though." Ray told her smiling and for just a second Santana's mood changed. The corner of her lips lifted trying to smile at those words. Was Ray really paying her a compliment about her body? Was he really jealous of her being half naked among his friends and colleagues?
She had no idea but she didn't want to waste the opportunity at a bit of light, flirting.
"Why not Ray, huh?" She replied quickly with a teasing tone.
He took a sip of orange juice and then he shook his head and gave her an insolent eye roll.
"'Cos darling, your tattoo." He paused for a second. "I mean." He stuttered.
Santana frowned already all too aware of the meaning of those expressions.
"It's not classy at all." She completed his sentence lowering her gaze to focus on the remaining part of the pancake since her first instinct had been to punch him.
"Don't get me wrong…but you have a big cross on your back. It's pretty noticeable." He tried to explain without seeming too rude and Santana could tell he was trying to not offend her but she actually didn't care.
A golf player, fond of art and opera couldn't be a tattoo lover after all.
"I know, but I can't do much about it." She replied shrugging already bored with the repetitive conversation.
"Have you ever thought of having it removed?"
"Ray, it is called tattoo for a reason. It's permanent." She said annoyed by the fact that her old tattoo was apparently such a big issue for her boyfriend. Eighty percent of the male population would find a cross tattooed on a girl's back sexy and not something to be removed.
Ray smiled and get closer to stare directly at her unreadable chocolate eyes along with her expressionless face.
"What if I tell you it is possible."
"I know with a very painful laser therapy. I know that, I'm not blonde."
"Hey, hey don't get mad and just listen. I've done some research and I've found a less invasive therapy. The cost is really high, but the results are excellent!"
"But I…" Santana was just about to argue once again since she had never really thought of having her old tattoo removed. She knew she had done it when she was young and naive, but it was the last remaining proof of who she used to be, something she could still hang on to. Every time she was starring at herself in the mirror, the sight of that faded symbol on her skin was something reassuring, it was the only thing left she had that reminded her of who she was or more importantly who she used to be.
"So I've looked up on the internet and guess what I've found?" She gave him a bored uninterested look. "There's a place in the valley that performs this kind of treatment. It's about twenty minutes away from here."
"What kind of place?"
"It's a tattoo shop." He confirmed. "And from what I saw on their website it seemed like a professional and established business. Well for a tattoo shop that is."
"I don't know Ray. I'd prefer talking to a plastic surgeon." She said sighing and trying one last weak attempt to dissuade him. "People who work in those studios are usually really weird, plus they hate people like us."
"Oh come on darling. I've looked everywhere and I've read so many positive reviews Urban Ink is our best shot here."
"Come on, just give it a try." He said kissing her on the shoulder. "For me."
Yes and then I'll become the perfect girl to marry.
"Ok fine." Santana replied. "I will hear out the owner see what he has to say but I can't promise anything." Ray beamed at those words knowing he had won, he loved nothing more than to win and he was also one step closer to having the perfect trophy wife. "That's awesome babe. I'll call the shop today to arrange an appointment!"
"I can do it myself!"
"No, you have your meeting today. I don't want to bother you when you're busy. I'll take care of everything." He affirmed before kissing her and leaving the kitchen humming some silly tune.
Noah Puckerman almost fell off his bike as he was approaching the sidewalk; he was in a fucking hurry.
"Hey man, watch out." A guy screamed as he passed right next to him without slowing down at all.
In a few seconds he finally arrived in front of the place where he was supposed to be 2 and half hours earlier. He readily jumped off his bike and tied it to the nearby bench.
He cleared his voice before making the first step towards the shop's entrance but he froze right in front of the door, noticing his feet were still covered in sand. Mentally cursing his stupid decision to go surfing for just an hour, he hastily wiped his feet and eventually made his way into the shop.
"I know I'm late." He announced as soon as he set foot through the door.
In that moment Brittany S. Pierce's attention was caught by the silhouette of her assistant arriving at her studio, almost running, dressed like he was about to go to the beach. She drew her gaze away from the drawing on her worktable and focused it on the guy and his dramatic entrance.
"Puck, I don't think they have invented a word that describes how late you are." She replied snorting with a teasing tone. She wasn't mad and Puck knew it, this was just their way of saying good morning.
"I know but the waves were amazing this morning."
"I bet." She said continuing to trace the outline of the carp she was drawing. "Are you aware that I'm supposed to punish you?"
"Oh, come on." Puck replied rolling his eyes at her.
"My grandma has a problem with her printer and she asked me to help her."
"Oh no please. That woman scares me to death."
"She just likes you, don't be an ass!"
"Last time you asked me to clean her pool she stared at my butt the whole time Brittany."
"Well, you always say you have this power over women." She replied mocking him once again.
"Ok, I'll do it. But this is the last time I'm doing your grandma a favor. "
"Well, stop being two hours late!"
Puck was clever enough not to even start a fake fight with her, since he knew how she was and he had absolutely no chance of winning.
"You should come with me sometime." He said trying to redirect the topic of their conversation.
"Where?" Brittany asked already glaring him
"Surfing, its fun and I can teach you."
"Hmm. As long as the only reason is so you get to see me in a swimsuit I'll have to decline." She said pretending to be polite. "I hate the beach."
"You chose to live in LA." He stated with a teasing tone.
"Have I told you that the toilets need cleaning?" she replied dismissively.
"That is an abuse of power." He said making her nod with a mischievous glint in her eye. "I can't believe you really hate the beach. It's all a person needs! You have sun, sea and hot girls."
"How poetic, but I may have to agree with you on the girls part."
"See. You're missing a lot of tiny bikinis."
"Do I have to remind you that I own a tattoo shop? Girls came here and pay me to mark even the most hidden parts of their bodies. I don't need to go to the beach."
"Yeah and it's better 'cos you'll probably try to steal my girl for sure."
At those words Brittany turned herself to look at him directly with an annoyed expression.
"Oh come on, it happened just once and that girl was clearly a lesbian!" She argued.
"No she wasn't!"
"Then can you explain to me the reason why she spent the following four days at my place?" Brittany replied with a smirk.
"Maybe she was a bitch."
The light moment was interrupted by the sound of a cell phone. Brittany lowered her gaze towards the table and noticed she had just received a text message. She opened it without too much thinking.
Call me. ASAP!
Her eyes immediately rolled up to the ceiling. If that girl was telling her to contact her as soon as possible that could mean only one thing; she or her shop, were in some kind of legal trouble, again.
Sugar, that was simply what everyone called her, was a lawyer, a good one at that and she occasionally helped her or her studio get out of trouble.
Brittany wasn't the type of person who liked to bond with people but sugar and Puck were her adopted family after all. That spoilt, sophisticated girl represented all that Brittany usually hated but somehow they had managed to become friends.
The two of them had met two years before at court. Brittany was there for some kind of law violation she didn't even remember where as Sugar was there to follow her first case as a newbie lawyer and they just happened to be sat on the same bench.
Sugar was a sweet girl and unbelievably rich, but despite this, Brittany respected her since the girl was a hard worker and had turned out to be really helpful on a couple of occasions.
But they were just friends, for countless reasons, firstly because Sugar was straight, but according to Brittany that wasn't a sufficient reason to prevent her from hitting on the girl, secondly they were real friends and even though Sugar could be sweet Brittany only saw her as a little sister.
She quickly dialed her number and called her.
"Do I have to run to Mexico?" Brittany asked as soon as she heard her friend answer.
"Tell me you love me."
"I do love you. You work for free."
"That's only because I don't want you to end up in jail. I'd miss you too much!" She paused and Brittany let escape a sweet giggle from her mouth.
"I've convinced Ryan Bradley to drop the charges against you."
"Bradley?" She asked convinced that name meant nothing to her.
"He was your customer last year. He was the one who asked for a certain drawing and you ended up doing a completely different one."
Ah right, the tiger man.
"The tiger he wanted me to draw was probably one of the ugliest things I've ever seen. He should be thanking me, not suing me!" Brittany replied snorting while Puck was switching on their computer.
"He is the customer B, how many times do I have to explain that to you? He pays you for what he wants so the only thing you have to do is to smile and do exactly what he wants!"
"So, practically, you're asking me to be a prostitute." She said teasing her friend. "I have an artistic integrity!"
"Whatever! But just to remind you that this is the fifth time I have saved your skinny ass from an unsatisfied customer."
"And I don't know how to thank you!"
"You can arrange me a date with Puck" Sugar suggested for the umpteenth time this year.
"Well, you're certainly not his type." She said out loud rolling her eyes at her assistant to check if she had drawn his attention. "He tends to prefer girls that don't think or speak at all." She added with a knowing smirk.
Puck glared her and then carried on with what he was doing.
"I can stop being smart for those abs!"
"Well, if you want I can offer you your first lady sex experience!" Brittany suggested. She wasn't worried with that comment she knew Sugar wouldn't take offence. This was how they usually acted most of the time and plus flirting was just part of who she was.
"I'm flattered, but I have to decline."
"That's too bad for you." Brittany replied laughing. "Listen I've got to finish sketching a fish before the next customer arrives!"
"Ok, I'll stop by later but think about what I've told you. Urban ink is probably one of the most popular tattoo shops in the entire valley, you have to bite the bullet and start treating every customer kindly and with respect."
"Sugar, you're a lovely girl but people like you can be impossible to deal with. I can't stand their bullying attitudes and thinking they're better than everyone because they're rich and own a fucking Ferrari. That definitely does not give them the right to treat me like shit."
"I know, but it's your job. You've worked too hard to get where you are and earn the reputation you have, don't ruin it cos you're stubborn."
"Ok, I'll try to be nicer with them."
"Starting from today?"
Brittany sighed nodding. "Yes, I will." She agreed if only to placate her friend, before hanging up the phone. Maybe Sugar was right and she needed to stop being such a bitch to everyone, or at least to those spoilt people who entered her place thinking they were the kings of the earth.
Maybe she really needed to start thinking as a business woman and not as a person with a hostile attitude toward rich people. She was selling her ability to tattoo people after all and not her personality.
Brittany would have mulled over the moral issue about what was the correct way to treat her costumer and lead her business but she had a damn drawing to finish and she had only ten minutes before her nice Chinese customer arrived.
She was just about to start focusing again on the shading of fish scales when Puck's voice distracted her once again.
Brittany raised her head but didn't say anything.
"There's a man asking for the owner on the phone."
"What does he want?"
"He wants to arrange an appointment."
Brittany frowned confused. "Can't you just set it?"
But Puck shook his head giving her an I've-already-tried-it glance.
"He's begging to see you today."
"I'm busy until next month."
"I know, but he seems like the kind of guy who doesn't take no for an answer." He paused. "Can I just tell him to go and fuck himself?"
Brittany thought that a yes would have been the easier choice, but Sugar was right. She wouldn't have gotten anywhere if she had kept behaving like a sixteen year old girl.
"No, no, I'll handle it." Making Puck transfer the call to the phone on her desk.
"Oh hello, I'm Ray Miller I've just spoken to your colleague. I would like to speak to the owner if it's possible." Making Brittany's eyes widen as she immediately recognized his name.
The Miller Spa, run by the young engineer Ray Miller, was probably the most important Energy Company in the state, but the real question was; what did an entrepreneur in the energy sector want with a tattoo studio?
"I'm the owner."
Brittany noticed a second of silence probably due to the fact that the man wasn't expecting her to be the boss.
Good, a sexist.
"What can I do for you?" Brittany asked before she could change her mind and hang up the phone.
"I want to arrange a meeting to discuss the removal of a tattoo with the new laser technique you have recently added to your web site."
"Sure, I think I'll have a free spot in two weeks."
"Well, miss. I know you're probably busy and overworked but it took me so long to convince my girlfriend to even think about having her tattoo removed would it be possible for her to stop by later to discuss it?"
"I don't know. I've a pretty full schedule." Brittany argued but he continued unwavering.
"I can pay you, whatever you want." He added to try to be more convincing but all he got in return was an annoyed snort. She really couldn't stand those kinds of people whose solution to life's problems was to buy them.
Plus this man sounded so arrogant and she could already imagine how his trophy girlfriend would behave. Was she so dumb that she was unable to call herself and make an appointment?
"Sir, I'm not trying to be rude, but..." She said as politely as she could.
"I know and I don't want to push too much but it's really important to both of us."
"Oh I bet." Those words weren't supposed to escape from her mouth.
"What's that supposed to mean?" The man immediately replied.
"Nothing but if your girlfriend survived years with her tattoo I bet she can manage for another fortnight."
"Listen, I don't even care about your personal opinion but I am aware you're a business woman who cares a lot about the reputation of your studio and I happen to be a very influential man so let's treat this call as a deal. You agree to meet my sweet better half without arguing anymore and I can advertise your place among the people I know."
"It seems more like a well-hidden threat to me."
"Oh no, trust me. You would notice the difference." Ray stated before bursting into a loud laugh that made her shiver for a second.
Brittany had to mentally scald herself for even considering it as a deal and even worse for taking it. But having a wealthy bastard sponsoring her studio wasn't that bad after all. Maybe being nice to just one big shark was a fair way to get access to that ugly world she had tried so hard to avoid.
"Before I can agree on anything I have to see the tattoo myself so that I can estimate how many sessions I'll need to remove it."
"I understand. That's why I'm asking for the meeting today."
"Are you going to let your girlfriend come here?" She said with a veiled sarcastic tone but the man chose to ignore her provocation.
"Yes, she can pass by right after work."
"Ok, I'll wait for her."
"I don't know how to thank you for this favor."
"You can start with not calling ever again." Brittany replied coldly.
"You're funny. I like that." Ray stated with a friendly tone now that he had achieved what he wanted.
"Thanks." Brittany replied unenthused before ending the conversation. As soon as she put down her phone she noticed Puck staring at her with a questioning disappointed look.
"Joining the dark side, huh?"
"Oh shut up!" She said even if she couldn't erase the feeling of having just sold a piece of her dignity.
Santana parked her Audi R8 half a block away from the address that Ray had sent her earlier that day. She didn't want to be seen in that fancy car. Ray had texted her that it had been tough to obtain that meeting but eventually he was able to get her seen to. She was already terrified about what those people would have thought about her. Would the guy that owned the shop hate her? Would he judge her as soon as he laid eyes on her?
She had a bad feeling about the whole thing, first because she wasn't sure about it at all and secondly because she felt like she had definitely quit fighting against everything that was happening to her.
But Santana had also recently given up thinking or mulling over things too much and that was why she opened the car door and stepped outside. Taking a deep breath she was ready to walk into a world far away from the safe one she was currently living in.
Hope you liked this first chapter.
Give me some feedbacks so that i can understand if it's something that can be interesting for you!