What if you lived in a world where your body painted a picture of every person you've ever cared for? Everyone you've every truly loved as a brother, a sister, a parent, a friend and of course, a romantic lover, permanently etched on your skin.
Summer Aurelia Evans hated that she lived in a world like this because now all her faults and her greatest weaknesses were out in the open for everyone to see, to stare at. And people tended to stare quite a bit longer when it came to Summer because she loved too many people. And everyday, her own skin reminded her of her past mistakes and their betrayals.
Enter Hunter Mason, who didn't have a single visible tattoo except for his own and brought a whole world of trouble to Summer through his hobby of underground fighting. When two hearts collide, will they both fall...in that terrible, horrible, dangerous word -love?
Just in case you didn't understand, this is basically a fantasy world where everyone is born with a unique tattoo and that tattoo will appear on anybody who they love. Be it familial or romantic love. Basically, you acquire the tattoos of your loved ones. So it offers virtually zero privacy towards your true feelings.
STARTED: May 7th, 2018 (This is just for my benefit because I know I'll forget ;)
I knew that I was the new girl but did everybody have to stare quite so much?
I had never moved before; thus, at my old school, I didn't experience such a multitude of eyes on my arms, the only skin I showed, as everyone was already used to the freak with too many tattoos to count.
I could count. I had twenty-six, besides the one I was born with. Most had only a few, which usually consisted of their family members. People rarely crossed double digits until they were middle aged and had produced their own family.
But this was a smaller town than I was used to, so I would have to deal with the stares and the inevitable rumors. I wouldn't deem high schoolers above declaring me a whore who carried the trophies of her past conquests on her body.
I ran my right index finger along my schedule as I looked through the classes I had today. As I did so, the blazing red-orange feather on said finger mimicked my actions. This feather belonged to my phoenix. This was my bird, the one that had appeared across my forearm and hand the moment I was born, on my mother and father the very moment they laid eyes on me, and on my brother a few days later.
I sighed at my situation.
Of course, typical new girl dilemma.
I didn't know how to get to any of my classes. Honestly, what was the point in numbering rooms if room no.108 was adjacent to 163 and directly across from 245?
But atypically, I didn't have a preppy girl skip up to me to help me out, and to my utter astonishment, become my best friend all in one day.
That was absolutely fine with me, I really don't need another tattoo and I don't plan on getting one.
Unfortunately, My cousin, Dale, who dropped me off, just left me at the front office when his friends came looking for him. So I was left to wander aimlessly around the halls long after the bell rang until I stumbled upon 192, my homeroom, ten minutes late.
I opened the door and internally cringed at the obnoxiously loud creaking sound it made. The bald headed skinny male in his forties paused from taking attendance and looked up at me.
And so did everyone else in the class. Ignoring their eyes and whispers, I squinted at my schedule. Damn it, why didn't I wear my contacts?
"Uh, sorry I'm late, Mr. -erm, Mr. Pussman?" What kind of last name was that?
He too seemed rattled by my appearance as he took in the sheer number of tattoos on my arms before he was snapped out of it by my voice, rolling his eyes, "It's PUSSman, like BUS. I'll let it slide because you're new. You must be-"
I cut him off, "I'm Lia Evans, . That's what I prefer to be called."
He nodded, turning to the class, "Alright, well you heard her. This is Lia Evans. She's obviously new, so I hope you will all help her feel welcome."
This time I rolled my eyes. High school students making the new girl feel welcome? In what world did that ever work out the way it was supposed to?
Before I could take a seat, the bell rang and everyone began filing out for next period.
I was waiting until everybody was gone so that I could, to my embarrassment, ask Mr. Pussman how to get to my next class, AP English Lit.
However, Mr. Pussman himself stopped the last girl on her way out. She was a raven haired girl with bold violet lipstick, black jeans and a navy colored top. I approved of her casual attire; it kind of matched my own blue skinny jeans and black t-shirt.
"Aviana, will you please accompany Lia to her next class; I'm sure she could use the help in navigation."
Aviana agreed and walked off, but not before giving me a hard look as if to follow her without any questions. I hastily followed her down the hall before she screeched to a halt. I ran into her back and while I was apologizing, she violently snatched my schedule out of my hand before continuing on her path, aggressively shoving the paper back at my chest.
I had had enough. Scoffing, I snapped, "Honestly, would it kill you to be a little more vocal and perhaps a tad warmer? Gosh, what's your problem?"
At that, she stopped again and as she dangerously turned around, I defiantly glared back at her. It was a full blown stare off. Then one of her perfectly shaped eyebrows arched in... approval? She gestured to the room we were standing beside and said, "302, AP English Lit. with Mrs. Parkinson. I'll see you at lunch. You'll be sitting with me."
And without another word, she turned on her heel and walked off, leaving me shocked and with nothing left to do but walk into class.
My other classes progressed fairly uneventful; I continued to declare my name to be Lia Evans, rather than Summer Aurelia Evans before the teacher could announce it.
Once lunch came around, I had a decision to make. I had found out from a desk neighbor that students were allowed to have lunch anywhere as long as we were on campus so I decided that maybe I could avoid the cafeteria. Then again, the girl, Aviana, did practically demand that I sit with her. And she didn't seem like someone I wanted to piss off.
In the end, my skittish ass went with the former choice. It was Aviana's fault for not telling me where to find her during lunch anyway, I told myself to ease my conscience.
I wandered around the halls, looking for the swimming pool. When I finally came across it, I made sure no one was using it before pulling my shirt and jeans off. I had worn my one piece under this just in case.
I didn't want to risk anyone seeing just how many tattoos I truly had, but, as always, I seemed to take all sorts of risks when it came to getting into water.
I dived directly into the sixteen feet lane, swimming down and touching the bottom before heading back up, trailing my hand along the wall of the pool. As I emerged with a breath, all I saw in front of me were a pair of black combat boots tapping impatiently.
My eyes trailed up to see an irritated Aviana with her arms crossed as she glared at me inquiringly.
"I thought I told you that you'd be sitting with me."
"Maybe I didn't want to."
She ignored my response and trailed her eyes across my shoulders, where she could see newly exposed tattoos.
"Get dressed. We've still got fifteen minutes left and I'm trying to do you a favor by introducing you to some friends so you're no longer the freak."
And suddenly it dawned on me as I noticed the acorn tattoo on her collarbone, "You're Dale's girl. Did-did my cousin put you up to this?"
She rolled her eyes, "Dale doesn't make my decisions for me. But I suppose he was the one to suggest that I be friendly to his cousin. Why do you act like that's a bad thing?"
"It's not a bad thing, I suppose. I guess it's just a little degrading that he thinks I can't get people to be nice to me with my stellar personality."
It was silent after that as I waited for her to go. She realized that I wasn't going to get dressed until she left.
She sighed, "I'll wait in the hall."
Once she left, I tried to dry myself as much as possible with an extra sweater I had in my bag and for the most part, I was dried off, but my cotton Beatles t-shirt clung to my frame a little. Realizing I couldn't do anything about it, I walked out and was permanently scarred for life by the sight before me.
Dale had Aviana pushed up against the wall beside the door and seemed to be devouring her neck. I immediately covered my eyes with my hands and shrieked, "Dear God, cousin, why must you ruin me?"
I heard rustling and movement before I heard Dale say, "Stop being a baby and open your eyes, Sum- I mean, Lia."
His slip up with my name didn't go unnoticed by Aviana. I gave him a pointed look to be more careful.
She surprisingly didn't comment on it and hooked an arm around mine, "Let's go, Lia. I've got some people I want you to meet."
Aviana and Dale took me outside, instead of the cafeteria, where I noticed there were large picnic tables set up around a willow tree. Only one was occupied and by a lot of people.
A blonde guy with a lean frame was the first to notice us walking towards them as he jumped up and jogged over to us.
He reached Dale first, patting him on the shoulder before whispering in his ear.
Whatever he said, Dale smacked him upside on the head for it and he smiled sheepishly at him.
He looked over at me and gave a grin, "I'm Carson Tate, you must be Dale's cousin from Chicago?"
I nodded, giving him a small smile. He seemed to think I was oblivious to his blatant stares at my currently damp chest area. But to his credit, he didn't glance for long and seemed guilty that he did so when Aviana pointedly glared at him.
When we reached the table, Aviana sat down, pulling me down to her left side, right in the middle of everybody. Beside me was a redheaded petite girl, and she smiled widely at me and said, "Hi, I'm Rae. I hope Ana didn't completely slaughter your opinion of this school."
I chuckled a little, "No, Aviana pissed me off at first, but she's alright."
Aviana elbowed me, "You. I'm Ana. I hate that other disgustingly floral word on my birth certificate."
I nodded, "Noted," before taking in the other people at the table, all looking at me expectantly.
Carson began gesturing with his hands at people, introducing them to me, "You will notice on your left we have, Brandon Collins, our resident nerd and Ryker Preston, the captain of our school's swim team. They are one hundred percent the gayest couple in this school and they'll fight you if you suggest otherwise. " They were both good looking guys, I had to admit. Brandon had curly blonde hair and hazel eyes and was just a little shorter than his boyfriend, Ryker, whose hair was a dyed maroon color and his eyes an eccentric green.
Then Carson gestured to two girls in front of me, "And observe, directly across from you, are Zarah Artemis and Tessa James, the latter far nicer than the other." Zarah, a tall, curvy brunette with a matching set of feline shaped eyes, glared at him for this comment. While Tessa, a blonde with freckles splattered across her nose and cheekbones smiled kindly at me.
"Lastly, on your far right, you will spot our fan favorite, Hunter Mason, the basketball star of our school and also, he's full of shit with that poker face he's got going on so don't mind him."
I turned to the right to see a guy with black hair and startling blue eyes, who stared me down, as if daring me to speak to him.
"Yup, definitely full of shit," I commented.
He didn't reply but everyone else laughed. He raised an eyebrow at me though, as if asking if I really wanted to start something.
I didn't. Want to start something that is, so I made no more comments, but continued listening to everyone's conversation. I wasn't planning on making friends, but it wouldn't hurt to not be labelled a freak. As long as I didn't make anymore tattoos for myself I would be okay.
At least that's what I told myself as I remained there, not engaging much in conversation as I got lost in my thoughts. An action that only one blue-eyed boy seemed to perceive.