Some people didn’t respond to breakups the way Vanya had, but then, some people didn't break up with complete assholes.
So, she went to the tattoo parlor by her house. She’d never gotten a tattoo before, not having the courage to do so, always afraid of the pain it would cause. Now, though, she felt invincible, and she wanted to plan it and pay for it before she chickened out again. This time around, she would be brave. Vanya was tired of not doing things she’d always wanted because she wasn’t. (And, in the likely chance that she was incapable of keeping this new philosophy on life, she wanted to have it paid for today. If she had already paid for it, she reasoned, then there was no way in Hell that she would chicken out, having dropped rent money on it.)
“Hello, I need to talk to a tattoo artist,” Vanya told the receptionist, and he raised his dark brows. His arms, corded with muscles, were covered in sleeves with intricate patterns and shapes that she imagined he’d collected for a while, not thinking anybody would willingly get those all done around the same time. If she looked closely, she could make out a few specific things in there, imagining some of them held significance to him. Though his arms were certainly one of the first things she’d noticed, his pale eyes, strong jaw, and dark hair did him favors as well.
Attractive. He was the first person she’d found attractive since she’d been with Leonard. (Though, for the life of her, she couldn’t say whether or not she’d found him attractive, or if he’d just given her attention.)
Feeling her cheeks heat, she added, “Hi.”
Now his eyes sparkled with amusement, and he told her, “I’m one of the artists. Let me guess. You want an anchor that says, ‘Never sink.’ ”
Well, now she certainly didn’t. “I want something huge.”
“Huge?” He grabbed her arm and dragged her to a bench. “What were you thinking? And where?”
“I don’t care. Dealer’s choice.”
“Are you intoxicated?”
“No. I’m going through an awful breakup, and I need to do this.”
“Why don’t you just cut your hair?” He tugged at a strand, clearly not minding being in her personal space. She figured if she was going to have him tattooing all over her torso and thighs, he probably didn’t think it mattered.
“I’ve always wanted a tattoo, and… he never wanted me to get one. Plus, I’d always been too afraid before him. I need to do this. You have to do this for me. Please.”
“You dump that guy?” he asked, grabbing a sketchpad.
He started drawing shapes, and she realized he was trying to draw what he’d suggested before.
“I don’t want that.”
The man snorted. “What’s your name?”
“Five. I’m drawing out the most common designs I do first, just so you can get a feel for what you like. If you really want a tattoo, I’ll do it, but I’m waiting for you to think about it too.”
She scooted closer, looking at his sketch pad. He didn’t seem to mind, apparently not a hypocrite about his personal space. They both breathed the same air, comfortably silent while she tried to subtly inhale the minty smell to his mouth. In her defense, she hadn’t had sex in a while, and he didn’t seem to mind her fantasizing about him right beside him, which, sure, he probably didn’t know she was doing but her thoughts were pretty loud.
They both jumped when they heard a woman’s voice snap, “Oh, goddammit, Five. You can’t keep taking all of the anchor tattoo girls from me. Especially the cute ones.”
Five glanced up, teeth flashing white as he grinned at the woman. “You’re just jealous that I get better tips than you, Allison.”
“It’s not my fault that a bunch of men are in love with you.”
“A bunch of men are in love with you too!”
Vanya was still gaping at the woman. They both were the most beautiful people she’d ever seen. Either that, or she really needed to have sex. Allison was a tall, curvy woman, lovely in a way that felt like she’d missed a calling as a moviestar. Her hair was dyed a bright purple, the curls tied back on top of her head with a black, silky looking ribbon. Her arms were covered in tattoos like Five’s, shown off with the low-cut tank top she was wearing that revealed her perky breasts. Though Five was wearing trousers, Allison had a pair of low-cut shorts that Vanya was pretty sure she only wore to show off all the pretty art on her muscular thighs and calves. It certainly made Vanya want to get more tattoos, if only to be underneath her.
“This one looks like she could go either way,” Allison noted, and Vanya closed her open mouth.
At the same time, they both said, “Dibs.”
Not sure what sort of alpha display she was witnessing, Vanya forced down the urge to ask Five if anchor tattoos were really that bad. Allison had made it sound like the women who got them were a good thing, even, and Vanya was pretty sure that woman had the answers to everything in the world, with the confidence that she held herself with, glancing over at her with an arched brow.
When she looked at Five, he held himself with that same confidence, and he was studying Vanya. Finally, he spoke, poking her nose (either to get her attention or to see if he could make her spontaneously combust on the spot), “Okay, here’s the deal. Because you said you wanted something big, what are your thoughts on us sharing you?”
Vanya gulped, feeling like she was salivating. “Yes, I’d like that.”
“We’re a bit different, as far as our styles go,” Five warned.
“Yes, show me both of your styles. At the same time.”
He looked like he was resisting the urge to laugh. “Alright. Allison, grab your sketch pad. We’ll let Vanya figure out who she wants.”