Five Seconds of Tattoos

Jade goes and gets a tattoo, one that has a lot of meaning to her. Lyrics from a song. A band that lyrically means a lot to her. She connects with them both on a strong level, but she never thought she'd meet the guys in real life. Not in a tattoo parlor of all places. I wrote this, because I'm going through tattoo withdraws. I do not have the tattoo design described, but it is one that I have envisioned. I have others, but not these ones. I will someday!


2. Chapter One: Idiot


        It's dry and warm as I step inside the parlor. Music blares through the speakers, drowning out the drizzling downpour just outside the door. Damp and dry air clash, causing my body to shiver. I slip out of my jacket to minimize some of the effects.

        "Can I help you," a voice asks, sounding faint and bored. I look up to see a young looking woman of an indistinct age. She could be around my age, which is twenty-two. Or, she could be older. I wouldn't say that she's twice as old, because she doesn't appear to be forty. She sits on a stool behind the counter. I walk up to her, smiling sheepishly through my soggy hair that's frizzed up beyond the beanie that's bunched up on my skull. "Yes, I have an appointment with Johnny."

        "Name?" She shuffles through a stack of papers on a clipboard as she asks this. She's a small, scrawny woman who can barely be heard over the music. I'm already learned over the counter. I hope it doesn't look like I'm trying to kiss her. "Jade Harvey," I tell her, relaying my name and various information the guy I'm seeing today already knows. I'm sure it's in front of her, and she's just too lazy or blind to see it. She asks to see my I.D., which is positively already on file, and she scans a copy of it. Handing it back to me, she sits down on the stool again, this time with her cellphone in hand. "He's finishing up with a client right now. You can go wait in the changing room until he's ready for you." She shuffles through her phone, one earbud already placed in her ear as she says this last part. I smile awkwardly, not bothering to mutter a thank you. She doesn't care anyways.

         I walk down the narrow hallway. Like most tattoo parlors, there isn't a lot of space. There are two doors on each side of the hall, and one at the end. As I go towards that back room, the music dissolves, being replaced with the light, delicate and precise buzzing of the tattoo gun. My body vibrates in anticipation. It's almost as if I can already feel the needle biting into my flesh, leaving the mark I've ached months for. It's almost time. I shake my arms at my sides, trying to release some of the nerves before reaching for the doorknob. It tweaks open before I even touch it. Someone walks out. "Oh, sorry. I didn't know some-"

         My words die on my tongue as my eyes eat up the face that stares back at me. I feel my eyes widen and my face pale. A beautiful, shaggy haired blonde boy smirks back at me. A vertical barbell piercing glints above his right eye in the dim lighting, which illuminates the grayish color in his eyes. I stand there, wide mouthed and in full shock. Standing in front of me is actually Michael Clifford! The singer and guitar player in world-famous band Five Seconds of Summer. I've had dozens of tattoos done, but this is the thing that could potentially cause me to faint. I don't know if I'd wake up. 

        He smiles down at me and points. "You're Jade, right?" I feel like I'm going to die as my name passes through his lips, fully accented. How does he even know that? I find myself nodding, dumbstruck. "I saw your designs. They're incredible!" I should be thanking him, but I can only seem to stare. I can't even open my mouth, let alone form silent words. "So, what made you want our work on your body forever?"

        The only thing my mind comes up with in reply to that question, is "Michael Clifford is talking to me." Idiot!

        He laughs, appearing amused. The sides of his eyes crinkle in the corners and his sharp canines poke out at me in a brilliant smile. Only then, do I realize that I'd said "idiot" aloud. "That, I am," he agrees. I rush to explain that it isn't how it seems to be, but I suppose laughter is a good sign. "We're all losers, aren't we? And we're alright with that."

        I break into a huge smile as I realize that he's just referenced one of his own songs. The one that I was about to have tattooed permanently onto my body, forever becoming a part of it. Why would I want that? Because their lyrics mean so much to me. I'm about to say as much, but a different voice cuts me off. "Oh, good. You've met!" It's Johnny, come out of his room and joining us in the changing room. I'm still standing out in the hall, like an idiot. He and Michael shake hands. "Hey, thanks again, man," Michael tells him, before turning to go. He presses past me with ease. "It was nice meeting you- sort of." He laughs, then turns away and walks out of my life forever, me never having said a single word to the man. Idiot, idiot, idiot! Maybe I can change it, so Johnny can tattoo the word straight onto my forehead. 

         A clap echoes throughout the room, pulling me from my self-pitying thoughts. "Alright," Johnny says, eyes and smile matching in an equal footing of excitement, "ready to get started?" I nod, embarrassment and lost opportunity all but forgotten. I feel like I've been waiting my entire life for this. Sure, today I'm only getting the outline done, but it's a step farther than what I woke up today with -although, I didn't get much sleep. I was way too energized. "Then, what are we waiting for?" He throws his arm in his own direction. "Come on, get those clothes off!" He turns and walks back into his office, leaving me to shut myself up in the changing room and shed the appropriate clothing. I take my coat, which I still had folded over and tucked over my arm, and hang it up in an unoccupied locker. Then, I reach up and pull my T-shirt off, leaving my body exposed with only a bra for coverage. It's black, slim and only covers the necessary skin. I don't normally wear undergarments so inappropriately useless, but, this way, I can be covered up, without covering up. I've never been the most confident of people, either, but it's something I've been working on. Once I'd started body modification, I found that I could look at myself in the mirror again, and really look at myself. I was nervous for my first tattoo, but once it was over, I found myself ready for more.

        It's true what they say. Once you start, you can't stop. They're addicting, but I'm not going to get just anything. It has to have some sort of value to me. I started out with my favorite animal. Some flowers. My favorite quotes. Soon, I'll have my favorite song lyrics.

         My newest piece is a mix between "Safety Pin" and "She's Kinda Hot." I wanted it to have a crown, for when they say "we're the kings and the queens of the new broken scene." Simple enough, and I had no doubt that it could be done. It probably has. But, under that, that's where my design comes in. In graffiti calligraphy going diagonally from right to left, I want it to actually say "New Broken Scene." Then, finally, under that, their signature broken heart pieced together with a safety pin.

        I may not be a queen, but I am so a part of the scene. The broken scene. It's new, and highly contagious. Symptoms may include head bobbing and breaking into song and dance. Just, not while I'm getting my tattoo. For that part, I'll be laid back in a chair, sat completely still. The chairs swivel around three-sixty and locks into position, so you're not spinning. Or, flipping upside down, which would give even me a heart attack. I may look tough, with my tattoos and one, two, piercings, but I have terrible anxiety and a fear of the stomach lurching variety. In other words, I'm kind of a scaredy cat. I might look badass, but I'm not. At all. I may be punk rock, but I don't "do what I want." I do what I can.

        I didn't draw the design, exactly. I found pictures on the internet and put them together to make one big design, sort of like a collage, telling him what I did and didn't want added. Johnny's an amazing artist. He's done all the tattoos that I hadn't done myself -and then, he fixed those, too. I'm no artist. I can't draw, or paint. I suck at just plain tracing on paper over paper. It's sad, really, how untalented I am. Yet, I suppose that is a talent, in itself. The world's least talented person. Maybe I could pay people to watch me fail...

        I look at myself in the mirror after putting everything away in the locker and closing it up. I trace the visible tattoos with my eyes and twist my lower left lip stud with my teeth and tongue, a bad habit of mine. I have canine bites, which means that I have a stud in the left and right corner of my lip, on both the top and bottom lip. I also have my septum pierced, gauges in both ears, and my eyebrow pierced. Just like Michael, except that I've had that done since I was sixteen and didn't even know -sadly- that he existed. What a sad, empty, little life that was. I had no idea what I was missing, and what my life would become, all because of four boys born on the other side of the world. 

        "Okay," I tell myself, turning away from the mirror and trying hard to not be self-conscious about my half-naked body. The chilly air nipped at my skin, not enough to raise goosebumps but enough to cause me to uncontrollably shiver and rub one arm up and down with the other one from shoulder to wrist, trying to cause enough friction to spark some sort of comfortable warmth.

        "Okay," Johnny singsongs as he hears the door swing open and shut, which is funny coming from a muscular guy with sleeves inking up his arms. I walk over to the chair and sit in it, being faced with the tray covered in paints, needles, and other tools. It's funny; all of the needles that I've been stabbed with, and I still hate going to the doctor's. There's a difference between these needles, and those ones. Trust me. He turns to me, a wide smile on his face. A file folder lay closed in the small space between us. "Are you ready to see what I have for you?" We've talked the design over for what felt like a hundred times, but even I haven't seen it yet. I nod enthusiastically, nervously bouncing my leg up and down. Ready, yet antsy.  He looks up at me, and with one finger, flips the folder open with ease. My breath catches in my throat. I'm literally choked up by the sight splayed out before me. "My God," I breath, coughing and trying to catch the breath I'd lost. "It's beautiful!" It looks even better in person than in my head. I can't wait to have it on my skin.

        "What made you want our work on your body forever?"

        Everything, Michael. These lyrics mean everything to me. They're what have kept me alive and what have kept me going. They fill me with understanding and hope, two things I'd been missing. Things that are hard to find these days. Things that a lot of kids grow up without, and learn to hate themselves because of it, feeling alone and useless. A place I've been to, and have no intention of ever returning to.

        The great thing about tattoos- they're a permanent reminder to me. For me to always be myself, and to believe in myself. No one will, if you don't. If no one else does, then at least you have yourself. That's really all you need. 

        "You like it?" Although he holds back the amused smile, he knows that I do. "Come here," he tells me, and waves me over to the counter. After slipping on a clean pair of plastic gloves, he wipes my skin with disinfectant. Next, is the lotion that allows the picture to be transferred from paper to skin, and finally, the actual transferring. It tickles as he carefully smooths up, down, and across my ribs, making sure it's getting applied good. After he peels it away, he'll look at it and then have me look at it. Manically, I walk over to the mirror, already ahead of him. It looks perfect, like a dream. I give him the okay and he moves to the back of the chair, twisting off the lock so that he can get the chair into position. "Sit," he commands, and I do, nerves beginning to buzz like a thousand flies. I've done this dozens of times, but that doesn't stop the anticipation, the excitement, or the anxiety. Nothing beats anxiety. "Ready," he asks after locking the chair into position. I'm laid on my right side, exposing my left to him. I nod. He settles his arm on my hip and hovers the gun over my rib cage. Flicking it on, the familiar buzzing starts, a melody to calm my nerves and put all of my fears to rest. Sure, he could mess up -but he won't. 

        "So, how was it meeting Michael?"

         Don't. Even. Get me started. 

          I'm afraid that if I do, I'll fangirl and mess him up. So, I just shrug and let him get started. I sing in my head as he does. 

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