Hi guys. So, second chapter. I'm not really satisfied with it but I may rewrite it if I get a chance.
The name's Holly, as I'm sure you're wondering. If you're waiting for me to describe how horrible and shitty my life is, don't; you'll find out soon enough. It's not one of those stories that talk all about the male main character either. Personally, I at least get the housework done and the bills paid before I even begin to think about how I'm going to invade the guy's every waking thought. I mean, come on.
At this particular moment, I'm thoroughly cleaning my apartment. Root beer cans (God, I wish I could say beer cans but the neighbors would be alerted), books I've started and not finished, and parts of half-written novels and poems line the floor of every room in the house. I'd live in worse conditions, and had before, if I had a choice, but I intend to keep my reputation, even if it makes the apartment look barely lived in. As soon as I finish cleaning the living room, the doorbell rings. This isn't surprising, as I'm friendly enough with my neighbors, so I wipe the sweat off my face and stride over to the door.
"Holly? My parents kicked me out and Mariana said I should come to you." A girl, barely sixteen and barely pregnant, stands at my doorstep, scared and sobbing.
I nod and let her in. I don't offer her a shoulder to cry on or a place to sit; I'm not that sort of person. But I will offer her a warm bed and a safe place to stay until the baby is born or she figures out what else to do. I open my door not only to pregnant teens but to anyone who finds themselves homeless, as long as they don't drink or do drugs. Considering how it mainly is teen girls, those are mainly who come, but I've had everyone from gay guys to girls hiding from their abusive boyfriends. I fix her bed and clean the spare bedroom quickly. She walks in and lays down carefully on the bed.
"Thank you, Holly. I know you do this for everyone and you have no idea how many people you've saved. You know Tommy Sawyer's in prision, ten years max, thanks to you?"
Inwardly, I smile; he beat his girlfriend until she came to me and I encouraged her to tell the police. I helped her testify against him in court a few months later but never heard the verdict. Outwardly, I say nothing.
The girl sighs.
"Sometimes, my friends and I try to figure out why you help so many people; you're so reserved and rarely talk to anyone. We figure it could be because you understand—I mean, you're emanicipated, so something must have happened with your parents."
I don't answer and don't look her in the eye. After a minute, she gives up.
"Alright. What're the rules?"
I look at her now, ticking them off with my finger as I list each one.
"No drinking, no partying, no drugs, no entering my room, call if you have a friend over, write everything you want or need on the white-board in the kitchen, don't answer the phone unless you are expecting someone to call and tell me immediately if it's a voice you don't recognize, and don't answer the door unless you've invited someone over. If you need help, don't hesitate to call me."
She nods and I go to print off a contract for her to sign.
Fast forward two weeks. The girl, Hannah, and I have already established a system and I was just finishing the third part of a dragon sleeve when he came strolling in.
"Hey, Ed, fit me in?" He asked over the hum of the tattoo machines.
Ed, the only other employee in the store, had just started a complicated snake design and shook his head.
"It'll be a good hour or so until I finish and the shop'll be closed by then. Holly's almost done with John's sleeve so you can wait for her."
I looked up and saw him shake his head.
"I'm good, man. I'll just come in tomorrow."
"My baby was just born and I'm leaving Holly in charge of the shop during the school break. Get over your issues, Goddammitt, and let her give you a tattoo!" Ed yelled.
Knowing better than to make Ed lose his temper even more, he nodded and waited on a couch.
I finished the rest of the tattoo and cleaned and replaced my materials before I nodded to the guy to come back.
"Here's my portfolio, tough guy. I apprenticed under Davies Thom for a year before coming here; there's a letter of recommendation in there from him." I handed over my portfolio book to him and watched as he skimmed through it, only pausing to read the letter from the legendary tattoo artist.
"Alright. Here's what I want you to put on my arm." He pulled out a folded piece of paper from his pocket, unfolding it to reveal a popular local alternative band, which I figured he was a part of.
"Draw it so I can see if it's the way I want it."
I take out a pen and paper to sketch it exactly how he wrote it on his paper, silently rolling my eyes at the same time.
I hold it up and he nods in approval, pointing to the upper part of his arm and closing his eyes.
I work on his tattoo quickly and with skill but have trouble ignoring the shoots of electricity that I get from his every time I touch his arm to keep it steady, not that it needed much steadying, due to his large muscles.
He nods again in approval once I'm done and goes to pay the cashier.
I offer to lock up for Ed, so that he can hurry home and see his wife and kid, but instead just use the time to glance at the guestbook that every person who gets a tattoo here has to sign, looking for the second-to-last name. I grin when I find it. Sam D. Paul, you're about to regret stepping foot in this tattoo parlor.