“Where do you want it?”
I have to keep my eyes on his face or else they threaten to drift over his shoulders, chest, and that obvious bulge in his jeans.
Where do I want it? I repeat in my mind, and I know I have to answer quickly or else the obvious innuendo of that phrase will fill the already-awkward space between us.
At this point, being in the presence of a man, for the first time in so long—a whispering reminder of the life I used to live, has my body shouting at me to remember what it was like. To feel a man’s touch, his hands on my skin, around my body. Goosebumps erupt along the flesh of my exposed thighs.
“Here,” I choke, my voice breaking. I point to the inside of my upper thigh, just above my knee. It’s a strange place for a tattoo, for sure, but there’s meaning there.
I notice his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows. With one eyebrow cocked, his gaze drifts down from my face to the puckered skin just below the hem of my purple cotton sundress. A raised scar roughly the size of a dollar and shaped like a fish hook catches his attention. I can see the questions on his face as the room grows silent.
Operation scars look different from violent scars. Violent scars are not methodical or neat. They are erratic, loud, and almost weep with memory. This scar, from the broken window of a four-door sedan eight feet under water tells a story that I don’t want in my book anymore. I want it covered.
I break the silence, luring his eyes back to my face and not my open legs. “I know it’s difficult to tattoo scars—I’ve done my research, but I want this covered. Is that…possible?” My voice shakes, giving away my nerves.
He clears his throat. “I can do that.”
Then, he leans forward. With just the expression on his face, he asks to touch it. I nod in return. The fingers of his right hand reach forward, and methodically, as if he’s inspecting the spot, he grazes the raised bump between my knees.
Having gone so long without another person’s touch anywhere below my belly button, I jump from the contact. His eyes meet mine. Then, he goes back to rubbing his thumb over the scar, and I feel my pulse quicken, my breath coming out in short spurts as if someone has crushed my lungs and won’t let me breathe.
I know he’s touching it for the purpose of the tattoo, but I watch the way he bites his lip, and I can tell it’s just as unnerving for him as it is for me. He swallows again. The room is deliciously silent, and this chemistry between us has changed. It’s dangerously close to something more than just a tattoo artist and his client.