Invisible Lines (Part 7)

Note – If you’ve read Part 6 prior to March 31, I’ve gone back and made what I think are some necessary revisions to  6 that you might want to have a look at. It gives you a little more on Paul and what he thinks and wants. – M

Invisible Lines

(7)                  {start with Part 1}

“Chrysalis Tattoos” glowed in blue neon above her as the cab departed. Unlike her week, the sign was clear and clean, with easily interpretable meaning. Why are you here? bubbled in Sima’s head, but she refused to actually ask it of herself. She’d done that many times already over the last couple days, as the need grew in her.

The outline of the Tiger was still clear on her skin. She traced it regularly, ritualistically, as part of her own pleasure foreplay, just like she had with the others. It wouldn’t disappear for a while yet, and as it had gone in the past she should be fine for months, tracing the ghosts of lines, before she felt it again. But she wasn’t fine, and didn’t know why.

Actually, that wasn’t true. She knew the proximate cause: Paul at the art store. “Scary hot” Paul. Lavani’s description made her shake her head, again, in part because she was right. Sima had dodged her sister’s questions about him and diverted her to other topics, but the whole encounter had left her feeling odd. Exposed. All that night out she felt as if Paul’s tattoo showed through her shirt to whoever was looking her way, and especially to Van. Her sister, much less family didn’t know. Neither did her roommates, who thought Sima’s occasional periods of super-modesty were some Hindu religious thing.

This whole thing was supposed to be simple, contained, intimate, personal. Well, mostly personal. And that was the problem. Paul’s tattoo had been the best/worst yet. Something about his quiet intensity had been different. Like he wasn’t just tolerating her obscene reaction, and something else she couldn’t place, but wanted to figure out, and experience again. And so here she was, feeling the ache too soon, because of him.

Stepping into the shop, Sima was brought up short by the woman behind the counter. This woman, not too much older than herself, was festooned. Chains and garlands of vari-colored and -shaped flowers wound around the pale skin her her arms and neck and disappeared under her halter-top. An assortment of piercings, adorned her ears and eyebrows, and Sima thought the woman would jingle as she nodded a greeting.

“Evenin’.” She had a southern drawl, seemingly way out of place.

“Hi. Is, um, is Paul here?”

“Sure thing, did you have an appointment?” she asked, stepping over to the computer/register.

“Oh, no. I just… came by.”

The woman stopped and looked back to Sima, eyebrow raised.

“Well, he’s with a client at the moment. I’ll guess another half an hour to forty-five.” Her eyes surveyed Sima, “You lookin’ for something new?”

Sima nodded.

“Something in particular?” the woman turned her head to indicate the samples and designs decorating the walls.

“Yes, I know what I want.” Was that true? Sima asked herself.

“Well, I can do it if y’all like. I’m Eejay, and that’s my work over on that wall.”

Sima looked for what she hoped was a polite amount of time. The designs and photos of finished work showed skill, no question.

“If it’s ok, I’d like to wait for Paul?” Sima wasn’t sure if she could stay, though. Not if there were going to be other people around. She realized, too late, that she’d made the silly assumption that Paul would be alone. It hadn’t mattered much before, when she could conceal her reactions better. But after last time…

Eejay seemed to take her hesitation for concern about offense

“Hey, Sure thing, Sugar. Don’t worry, if you’ve found the right hand, it makes perfect sense to go back to it. Hell,” she leaned in conspiratorially, “I take part of my salary in ink from Paul.”

She traced a woven wisteria pattern up her left arm with the fingers of her right. Sima was tempted to lean in for a sniff.  Eejay smiled and looked back at the screen.

“He doesn’t have anything scheduled next. Have a seat. I’ll ask.”

A trio of distressed, comfortable chairs lined one wall, behind a coffee table with a small pile of magazines. Sima sat, and fidgeted, and leafed through a three month old issue of Skin Art.

Eejay re-emerged from the back.

“Lucky night. They’re finishing up early.” Eejay’s look had changed; more distracted, glancing back behind her.

“Everything ok?

“Oh, yes. Sometimes on the big pieces you can only get so far in one session.”

Eejay didn’t elaborate, and Sima contented herself with the answer until a tall, lanky man emerged from the back. His left arm bore bold curving black tribal patterns that still managed to stand out on his dark brown skin. He walked gingerly, stiff-backed, and Eejay smiled when she saw him.

“You okay, Darlin?”

“I’ll live. Managed to hit a spot I just couldn’t take much of tonight.”

“Well, you show me when I get home and I’ll make it all better.”

He smiled broadly.

“You know I will.”

“You can take off Eej. Go take care of your man.” Paul had come in while they were talking. Sima had been tracking the man’s ink pattern with her eyes and hadn’t noticed. Paul’s white button-down, collarless this time, had sleeves rolled up almost to his biceps, showing the wicked menagerie on both his arms. Scary hot indeed.

“You sure?” Eejay looked surprised and hopeful.

“Yeah. I’ll close up. Give it two weeks unless you’re really feeling up for it, alright Xav?”

Paul busied himself at the computer/register as Eejay carefully ushered her beau out of the shop, Sima tried to read an article on feathering techniques.

“Sima, I was going to tell you at Amsterdam’s the other day I don’t think I can do another inkless tattoo-”

“What?” She stood up too quickly, spilling the magazine to the floor. “Why?!” It was happening again, like all the other times. Sima felt stricken. She’d thought…”I thought it worked out ok, after…”

“That wasn’t part of the transaction, Sima. That was… something else. I don’t want to do work that isn’t really wanted or won’t be enjoyed in the long term. That won’t be seen.”

At least he didn’t call her names. Out loud. But she’d heard this excuse before, or ones like it. Usually the voice speaking them wasn’t as kind, but the meaning was the same. Before, she’d hang her head and leave, holding tears until she was clear of the place that no longer welcomed her.

“No! I… I do want it. And I see them. I see them all! I feel them all. It doesn’t matter that they’re gone from the skin. They’re… they’re all still here.”

And before she knew it she was showing Paul every location she’d had done, telling him each design, tracing it with her finger, reliving a shadow of each needle as she traced, ending with the Tiger, its fading lines still red on her skin. She didn’t repress the shiver that came with it.

“This is permanence for me. I remember them. I use them. I… need them. And I want more.”

{Continued in Part 8}

Latest Comments

  1. paul1510 says:

    poor old Sima, with a secret she can’t share!
    You do like to keep your readers on tenterhooks, don’t you?

  2. April says:

    This is ever intriguing. Tattoos can be absolutely stunning. If the artist is good the tattoo can be a true work of art.
    An ink less tatto though, I can understand the attraction, the need, even the desire. To have your body marked in a way only you can really see, with marks that will eventually fade, much like the mark of a Master on his Slave, I would think.
    This story is very thought provoking for me.

  3. Remittance Girl says:

    Very nice. Very hot. “I want more”

    Yeah, me too!

  4. dark gracie ® says:

    “Scary hot”. I like that. Curious where you are going with this one.

  5. Wordwytch says:

    This is a very interesting story. I want to see where it twists.

  6. Molly says:

    “Scary hot” I can so picture what these means… well in my dirty mind anyway


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