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Connor

“You’re back.”

I grin agreeing to the obvious. “I’m back. I brought a friend with me.” I turn and pull my little sister forward for introductions. “Logan, this is Skylar. Skye, meet Logan.”

Skylar is predictably star struck. I swear, the fact that I’m a professional baseball player – and a damn good one – means absolutely nothing to her. People buy jerseys with my name on the back. My team went to the World Series last season. I was just re-signed to a massive contract here in Chicago. None of that impresses this fourteen year old. But when she found out I was coming to Vanished for a tattoo, that I’d already been here twice and met the Vanished staff, well, she hasn’t left me alone since. Hounding me with a million different questions, most of which I couldn’t answer to her teenage frustration. So I invited her to come along.

And I’ll admit, I’m more than a little relieved she seems more excited to meet Logan than any of the guys in the shop.

“Wait. You met them? Like, all of them? Lucas, Jax, Macy, LOGAN? You met Logan?!”

I nod, laughing at her enthusiasm. “Yes, I met them. Lucas did this tattoo.” I twist my wrist so she can see the design on the inside of my forearm. She looks at it with new respect.

“Oh my god. I love that show! Are they cool in person? They seem cool, not assholes. They’re not assholes are they?”

I assure her they are not assholes, are in fact a very cool, chilled out crew.

“What about Logan? Did you talk to Logan? She is such a freaking bad ass. I love Logan. One time these guys came in totally drunk trying to get tattoos and she shut them down so hard it was hilarious!”

That seems very on brand for Logan. I nod along as Skye continues to gush.

“And I love her hair. I tried to convince Mom to let me get streaks like hers but she said not until I was sixteen. And only if I keep my grades up.”

Skye rolls her eyes at what she undoubtedly sees as our mother’s ridiculous and unfair limitations.

“So?”

I realize I must have missed something because Skye has taken a breath and is looking at me expectantly. “So?” I ask, confused.

She sighs dramatically. “What are they like?”

Instead of answering that question, I invited her to tag along to my next appointment.

And here we are.

“Hi, Skylar. Welcome to Vanished.”

It’s the first time I’ve seen Logan genuinely smile in person and I’m stuck momentarily stupid. My sister isn’t the only one more excited to see Logan than any of the others in the shop. Unfortunately, Logan wasn’t as excited to meet me as she seems to be meeting my sister. I was more like the drunks she ‘shut down so hard’.

“I love your show,” my sister confides and Logan thanks her graciously. I stand back as my sister peppers her with questions and watch Logan answer them with patience and humor. At one point her amused gaze lifts to mine and something shifts between us. She stiffens slightly, her smile faltering before she tears her attention away from me and back to my sister.

I’ve never been jealous of my fourteen year old sibling before.

“Hey, Con. Sorry, have you been waiting long?”

Lucas wanders out front from the back room and greets me with a casual handshake.

“Hey, man. Good to see you. Came a little early for….” I nod at my sister a few feet away.

“Ah.” Luke chuckles knowingly. “Sister, right? I think you mentioned her last time.”

“She’s far more impressed with you all than she’s ever been with me,” I admit.

He laughs loud enough to catch Skye’s attention. She stares at him with wide eyes, her mouth forming a literal O.

Maybe she’s equally excited to meet Logan as she is the guys here. Damn.

I’d be more worried if I didn’t know Lucas and his crew are all decent guys. Despite their overnight stardom they’ve had very few ‘scandals’ attached to them and most of those have been bullshit and minor. I’d be more concerned with her hanging out with certain members of my team than I am with this crew.

Lucas smooths over the potentially awkward interaction, introducing himself to Skylar and ushering us back to his station. He explains what he’s doing as he’s doing it, giving my sister an easy way to ask him questions until she soon relaxes and is talking and joking around more naturally. Forty-five minutes into my appointment Logan pokes her head in and invites Skylar to check out some of the designs she’s working on. My sister jumps up eagerly and follows her.

“She’s sweet,” Lucas says, grinning as he focuses on his work and my newest tattoo.

“She’s a pain in the ass,” I counter, “but I kinda like her.”

He laughs and then it’s just the hum of the tattoo machine as he works.

“What’s Logan’s story?” I can’t resist asking.

He glances up at me quickly before returning his focus to my bicep. “Her story is her story to tell.”

That’s not very helpful.

I don’t see my sister again until we’re done. Luke covers my new ink with some clear cellophane and slaps me on the back before sending me upfront to settle up.

Skye and Logan are sitting close together, heads bent over a sketch book. When she spots me, Logan crosses over to the front desk and the register.

“All set?”

“Yep. For now.”

I pull out a couple twenty dollar bills and hold them out to Skye. “Why don’t you go next door and grab us a couple slices to go?” She starts to protest but I raise my eyebrows pointedly and with a grumble she grabs the money, heading for the door.

“Thanks, Logan! It was great to meet you!” she calls over her shoulder.

“Come back anytime!” Logan yells back.

The door jingles as it closes behind her. “She will, you know. You may regret that offer.”

Logan shakes her head, pressing buttons on the computer. “Nah. She’s a good kid.”

I hand over my credit card and she rings me up. After all the formalities are taken care of I summon my courage.

“Would you… want to grab a drink some time? Get together away from here?” I smile crookedly. I’ve been told I’ve got a great smile, although I’m not at all confident it will work on Logan.

She meets my gaze briefly before pretending to be absorbed straightening the papers on the counter. Nope. Smile didn’t work. “Sorry. Can’t date the customers.”

Wait. Seriously?

“Seriously?” I voice my thought aloud.

“Seriously.” She confirms.

“What if I don’t get any more tattoos here?”

She rolls her eyes before looking at me. “Because I want to be the one to tell Lucas the reason one of the most recognizable men in the city is no longer a customer is because I wanted a free beer? No, thank you.”

I study her intently, problem solving. There’s something about this woman I find fascinating. I’m not willing to give up so easily.

“Then I guess I’ll schedule another appointment.”

She relaxes imperceptibly. But I catch it.

“Luke’s booked a couple months out, but I’ll see if he can fit you in. He tries to accommodate regulars.”

“Oh that’s okay. I want to book with you.”

And she stiffens right back up.

But I get my appointment.

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