"So you're like, dating Clark or something?" Kylie asked, messing with one of her snake bite piercings with her teeth. We sat together in World History fifth hour, and today was an exceptionally slow day, since it was a make up day. However we were both caught up, so we were just doodling back and forth on scrap paper instead.

"Not... well... we're something. I'm not sure, she proposed to me yesterday, but that was also the first thing she's ever said to me. I imagine as of right now we're just friends still, but I tell you Kylie, I am mad about her," I explained, grinning and doodling a dinosaur.

"Mad about her, huh? She definitely seems like a cool enough person, I'll admit. Just make sure to get to know her well enough before you're too committed, you know?" Kylie shrugged, and then took the doodle paper from me. I decided to take a couple minutes to observe her. Kylie used to look very plain, with not quite straight blonde hair and blue eyes. But these days her hair was pink, falling to her shoulders, though she also had bangs. She has her left eyebrow pierced, her nose pierced, snake bites, several holes in each ear, and a naval piercing. She also has a lot of tattoos, my favorite the puzzle piece on the back of her neck. She continued to chew on the hoop in her lip, adding flames to my dinosaur doodle.

"Do you believe in love Kyle?" I asked, and she laughed.

"Of course I do! I don't think anyone completely and utterly doesn't believe in love. It's just that some people are a lot more jaded and bitter about it, you know?" Kylie grinned up at me, pushing the doodle paper back in my direction. "I like these new friends of yours though. Isaac mentioned that Edward is just my type."

I chuckled, starting to doodle on the paper again. There was something about Edward, but I couldn't quite figure out in my head what it was. I decided not to worry about it though. Which could be considered avoidance, but I decided I was also not going to worry about that.

"So what are you doing after school?" I queried, mostly just for the sake of conversing. Kylie grinned and I knew I had asked a good question.

"Isaac is going with me to get my latest tattoo. It took three months to decide what it would be, and I finally settled last week. Want to come? Isaac could use the company. You could look through their books too—see if there's any ink you want," Kylie offered. I considered this, it could be interesting. I had no intention of getting any 'ink' myself, but Isaac would probably enjoy the company.

"Alright, sounds like a good plan," I agree to this adventure.

"Feel free to invite Clark too. She'd look great with a shoulder tat," Kylie was beaming with a grin, but I wasn't entirely sure I liked the idea of Clark getting a tattoo.

"Well, we can see if she's interested at least," I said with a nod. "I have my scooter today; do you have your car?"

"Yeah, Tinsel can hold four with me, three since Isaac's coming. Plus you on your scooter gives us one more slot for someone, if we want to make a party out of this," Kylie loved things like that—big parties of people parading around town. I wasn't as much into it, and Isaac was actually really awkward in large groups, but I decided since this was her getting the tattoo, I'd let her decide.

"Who all did you have in mind? Clark can ride with me no problem. I guess we could invite Edward and Joshua along. Boges works today, so does Line, or I'd say we could see if they'd come along, and that would give us another car—Bogie's," I racked my brain for people Kylie was familiar with.

"So Isaac, Joshua and Edward in my car, you and Clark on your scooter. Sounds good to me, and we have an empty seat just in case!" Kylie chuckled, and the bell rang. We both got up, leaving the doodled on paper behind us for whoever sat there next to find and ponder.

We both had band, as did Bogie. Kylie is a percussionist, I of course play violin and Bogie is a flutist. Technically I also play piano, tenor, alto and baritone saxophone and tuba. However I have found my favorite instrument is in fact violin. For band the director tends to encourage my saxophone playing though.

After band I headed off to my last class, Biology 201. Mr. Dint tended to let us out early, so I headed over to wait in front of what I was informed by Kylie to be Clark's seventh hour—Art Intensive II. In the hierarchy of art classes this was the second highest level of art, and it was nearly impossible to get to the highest level—Advanced Art Intensive. Once the bell rang I realized this class was rare in the sense of Clark did not share it with Edward.

"Hello there," I greeted her as she walked from the classroom a couple minutes after the bell. She smiled up at me, and I put a hand on her cheek. "Would you like to join myself and a few friends on an adventure? I planned to ask Edward and Joshua to join us as well."

"That sounds lovely enough," she said, and I recognized the tension under her skin. I didn't like the feeling something was bothering her.

"What's wrong?" I queried, furrowing my brow to show my frustration. She shook her head slightly, but I could feel under my skin, something was going on. I tilted her head up to meet her fierce blue eyes to my gaze. "Clark, tell me."

"I'm just concerned about my project in a-i-two, that's all," she managed a smile, and yet again I found myself desperate to kiss her. However I composed myself, lowering my hand to find hers. "I don't know how I'm going to pull it off without a miracle."

"Then I will give you a miracle," I grinned, crouching down and then putting my arms around her, lifting her up onto my shoulders. I carried her from the school, ducking the doorways so as to make sure she didn't hit her head. We met Kylie, Isaac, Joshua and Edward out in front of the school.

"I see we're all already here," I said, feeling Clark's hands clench my hair. She had managed not to scream at all, so I figured she was getting used to me carrying her. "Are we all going, as planned?"

"Going where exactly?" Edward asked, raising an eyebrow. She had very perfect eyebrows and wore lots of black eye shadow.

"To get Kylie's new tattoo. I thought she'd have filled you in," I looked to Kylie suspiciously, and she responded with a shrug.

"Well I got Joshua here since I have Home Economics with him, and Isaac brought Eddie from Piano, but we all got to talking so didn't actually mention our plans," Kylie explained. I shrugged, shaking Clark, her grip on my hair tightening. "She does know how to walk right?"

"Of course she does! I just prefer to carry her," I grinned. "So are you guys up to this adventure?"

"I'm not doing anything better," Joshua agreed, and Edward simply nodded.

"Also if anyone else wants a tattoo, I'm up to buying," Kylie clapped her hands, and grinned sinisterly. "With parental consent of course."

With that there was much piling into Kylie's powder blue Jeep, aptly named Tinsel. Clark seemed confused when we veered away from the group and headed to my scooter. However she was quick to catch on when I let her down in front of the scooter, and seemed grateful to be on the ground once more. Kylie drove over to us, her window rolled down.

"You know the place right?" she queried and I nodded—I'd been there with her for a few other tattoos. "Alright we'll meet you over there. Don't dilly or dally, you hear?"

"Ha, we'll probably get there before you do Kyle," I replied, making sure to sound as sinister as possible. She rolled her eyes, waving and driving off. I mounted my scooter, handing the helmet to Clark, who strapped it on. She sat on the scooter behind me, seeming a bit uncomfortable. "You okay with riding this?"

"Yeah, it's just... I'm wearing a skirt, you know?" she said quietly, and I suddenly recognized this as an issue. "It's okay though, let's get going, so we can beat them there."

This was not a hard task to accomplish; I weaved through traffic with ease, arriving to the tattoo parlor a good five minutes before Kylie. She was disgruntled by this, poking her snake bites out of her face with distaste.

"Darn your scooter and its ways of cutting through traffic," she mumbled. I grinned, already dismounted, the helmet placed delicately on the handle of the scooter. Clark stood beside me, clinging to my hand, and she hadn't said a word since we stopped.

"What is wrong Clark?" Edward said, immediately before us, putting her hands on Clark's shoulders. Edward was a couple inches taller than Clark, but probably weighed a significant amount less than the other girl.

"Nothing Edward," Clark sighed, feigning that smile. It irritated me more than anything that she was hiding something. "I think I might get a tattoo too..."

"Really?" Kylie grinned, opening the door to the parlor. "Do you need my phone to get parental permission?"

"I have my phone, thanks though," she said, pulling a black flip phone from her skirt pocket. She flipped it open, dialing a number before putting it to her ear. We all headed inside as she carried on with her call, sitting next to me in the waiting room. Edward sat on her other side, Isaac sitting on my other side and Joshua remained standing. "Papa? I'm thinking about getting a tattoo. Could you come down and give permission? The one next door to you, yeah."

She hung up without saying good bye, putting the phone back in her pocket.

"Your parents don't mind you getting a tattoo?" I asked, since personally my folks were against such things.

"I had cancer as a kid. Thyroid cancer, it's not like, a big deal, but since then my parents have been very lenient about what I want to do. Although they're also very paranoid that I'll get cancer somewhere else," Clark explained. I felt a wave of panic rush through me—cancer. Cancer was big and scary and impossible to imagine. I didn't like the idea of Clark, my Clark, having cancer.

It was a matter of minutes before her father arrived. Mr. Robert (as I guessed I should address him) was a man of six feet who was definitely out of shape but not by any means fat. He had dark curly hair on top of his head and wore thick rimmed glasses. He was dressed in a suit, but wore knee-high rain boots.

"Hey Clark," he addressed her, and then nodded to Edward, who returned the gesture. "Joshua too, huh?"

"It's a party for Kylie's latest ink," Joshua explained, his first words since we got here. Mr. Robert nodded, noting Kylie and Isaac.

"So what kind of tattoo you planning on?" he asked Clark gruffly, putting a hand on top of her head. She smiled, and I realized suddenly that this man had almost no expression since he entered. He was a very monotone man as well, it was impossible to tell what he was thinking or feeling.

"A target, on my right leg," Clark responded simply. Mr. Robert seemed to think this over, and then nodded in acceptance. Then he looked to me, to how my hand was in Clark's, and a wave of fear swept over me.

"Who is your new friend here?" he asked, and it was quite apparent to me suddenly that he had seen everyone else we were here with before—except me. Clark smiled up at him unwavering though.

"This is Grayson. Grayson this is my dad—Hunter Robert," Clark introduced us.

"Nice to meet you sir," I said, extending my hand, which he shook. "I'm Grayson Fischer."

"Pleasure's all mine," he half-grunted, then broke his first, very pleasant, nearly euphoric smile, and I felt all my pain rush from my body. Something about this man was just that peaceful.

"Kylie Iris, are you ready for your appointment?" A lady in scrubs with face tattoos asked, holding a clipboard.

"Oh sure, but my friend here wants a tattoo as well, she has her parent here and everything. Would it be any trouble if she got one as well?" Kylie asked, standing and talking to the scrub-clad woman. Kylie's parents knew the tattooist, so she just had them call on days when she planned to get new tattoos.

"You're the parent then?" the lady looked to Hunter, who nodded. "Please fill out this paperwork; we'll have your bed prepped in a few minutes. Come on back now Kylie."

Kylie grinned, heading back with the tattoo lady. Isaac went with her, holding her hand all the way. I took a minute to think about the match of Kylie and Isaac. Kylie was definitely punk, while Isaac was fairly white bread. I wasn't sure when Isaac had started his crush on her, but it was only after he'd kissed Clark that he decided to ask Kylie out. She said yes. They'd been dating since.

"So here you go," Hunter handed Clark the paperwork after filling out his section of it with his pleasant signature. "Enjoy."

"Thanks Papa. I'll see you when I get home," Clark smiled at him, and he smiled that amazing smile back at her, and it made sense that she was so beautiful considering where she came from. Every muscle in my body felt tight and frozen. Hunter Robert left the tattoo parlor, leaving silence behind him. Clark guided a pen across the paper, making notes, allergies, details of her requested tattoo, means of payment.

I knew Edward was watching me but I couldn't bring my eyes off Clark's hand. Looking into Edward's eyes made me hear that scream. I didn't want to know what would happen if we got into a staring content. Joshua stood with his arms folded. I guess it was awkward silence. Yet there was Clark, her lips pursed in thought, her piercing blue eyes focused on the paper before her, her fingers delicately guiding the pen they held. Completely unaffected by the thick air she was surrounded by. I squeezed her other hand lightly, catching her attention so she looked sideways at me, breaking an honest smile. I could feel myself melt but I didn't want to show it.

How could someone be so absolutely perfect?

She looked back to her paperwork and I forced myself to look at Edward. The dark girl was still looking at me, and I let myself get lost in the deep dark hole of her onyx eyes, the screaming I found there taking over every thought in my head. Would I ever be able to look at her with sanity?

"So how did you meet Kylie?" her deep but fragile voice broke the screaming and I realized whatever it was, it wasn't her voice. I tried to process the question.

"Isaac and I used to be pretty close. When they became friends I became friends with her too," I explained, a summary of our lives together. Edward nodded, looking to Joshua. I was secretly glad to be rid of the eye contact. I looked back to Clark just in time for another woman in scrubs to emerge.

"Ready?" she asked, taking Clark's paperwork. "Let's head you on back. We got you a chair next to Kylie's, okay?"

"Sounds great," Clark smiled, heading back with the lady. I went as well, still holding the small hand, remember how much smaller she was than me.

Within a few hours Clark would have a dot with a two centimeter diameter surrounded by two rings on her leg, and Kylie would have a black circle with a puzzle piece cut into it.

After dropping Clark off at home I would go home myself and lay in bed until I fell asleep.

That night would be the first night I dreamt of Clark as opposed to dreaming about my parents in Africa or my sister in college.