I think I’m being hazed.
I mean, not really. But kind of. I am currently at my place of employment scrubbing a toilet that was cleaned by our weekly cleaning crew two days ago. Which seems like a ridiculous request.
I’ve only been working at Vanished for a month so obviously, I’m the natural choice for these shit jobs. And despite the fact I think it’s completely unnecessary, I’ll suck it up and get it done. It’s not like this is a normal occurrence. Some girl named Lori that Jax knows from way back is in town and coming to the shop soon. For some reason he’s a bundle of nerves, wanting the place to shine even more than usual. I’m not sure why he cares so much about impressing this Lori, considering he’s already got a girl and seems to be solely and entirely focused on her. Happily so.
The truth is I can come up with a list of three dozen guys who would fight me for this job, just off the top of my head. A month ago I was one of them. But Lucas Abbott, winner of Top Ink, offered a chair to me. On a probationary period of course. It’s off season right now, which means the reality show based on Lucas and this shop isn’t shooting currently. My role on the show is still up in the air which is fine by me. I’m not here to be on TV.
Macy told me soon after I started part of the reason I got the job was because I didn’t care if I was on the show or not. I haven’t been tattooing long and I’m here to learn. From the best. Everything else will take care of itself.
I feel my cell phone vibrate in my pocket. I flush the toilet one last time, wipe down the counter and wash my hands. Then I dig out my phone, eager. Hopeful.
But ultimately disappointed. A text from my brother asking about birthday plans for my mom next week.
It’s not her. Not the girl I spent last night with, a fucking amazing night, before she snuck out at dawn. I managed to bluff my way through getting her number from the hotel and texted her a couple hours ago. No response.
I’m keeping the faith.
Sweet Raine. I’ll see her again. The universe would not be so cruel to show me a glimpse of perfection and then take it away.
I’m no angel and I’d be lying if I said last night was the first time I’ve gone home with a stranger but I’m not really a one-night kind of guy. And she was fucking incredible. Cute, fun, up for anything, quick with the comebacks. Sexy as hell. When she grabbed me as we were leaving the bar, kissing me so sweetly and inviting me back to her hotel room I didn’t hesitate. I’m no idiot.
I’m still frowning at my phone as I wander to the break room, ready for my next ‘Prepare for Lori’ assignment.
“No response from the love of your life yet?” Macy needles.
I flip him off. Distracted as I was last night, I didn’t think to set my alarm. When I finally woke up this morning, sweet talked the desk clerk into getting Raine’s phone number, there was no time to go home and change before work. Macy didn’t miss the fact I was wearing the same clothes from yesterday and he wrung some of the more innocent details out of me.
I should have known better than to give Mace that kind of ammunition. He’ll never let me live it down.
“You wouldn’t be so quick to mock my pain if you’d seen her,” I tell him, grabbing a chair and turning it backwards before straddling it, resting my arms along the back.
“So who is this Lori chick anyway? What’s all the fuss about?”
“Lori’s like a little sister to Jax. They spent a few months in the same foster home as kids and Jax kind of took her under his wing. Eventually her mom cleaned up her act and got custody back, remarried and moved to Philly. They’ve kept in touch but I don’t think she’s been back to Chicago since.”
“So you’ve never met her either?”
“No, talked to her a couple times. I was the one who called her when Jax was shot. She wanted to come but she was out of the country.”
My phone buzzes again and Macy smirks at me, raising one eyebrow expectantly. I try to play it cool, not wanting to give him the satisfaction and even more ammunition.
Three seconds in I can’t stand it any longer and check my texts. I ignore Macy’s chuckle.
My brother again.
What happened with Raine? More here.