"O M G!"
Wincing at the sounding out of the letters, Rob forced a smile onto his face as his client studied the tattoo he had just completed for her. When she'd handed him the design she wanted on her shoulder blade, he'd had to resist the urge to groan. The headstone with the Grim Reaper standing behind it, complete with scythe and glowing eyes, wasn't exactly the first paranormal tattoo he'd undertaken. But then what did he expect? After all, he'd opened a tattoo shop in the centre of York--purported to be the most haunted town in England. Not that Rob had ever seen a ghost himself, but if it kept sending tourists and locals alike into the shop to get their spook on, he wasn't complaining.
"Rob, it's perfect... just perfect," Chloe--he had to search for her name for a moment--squealed. "I'm going to recommend you to all my friends. They'll be fighting to get under your needle."
Rob tried not to flinch as she ran her scarlet red nails through his purple tipped, heavily gelled hair. It had been a long day and he knew it was far from over. He wanted to slip into a nice warm coma, but he had a client scheduled for eight-thirty in the morning that he had to come up with a design for, not to mention the four other tats he had promised to have drawn up for various others. If he got out of here by midnight, he'd be very surprised.
Extricating himself from her talons with as polite a smile as he could manage, he helped her on with her shirt and pointed her in the direction of the reception desk. He held back the chuckle at the annoyance on her face at his dismissal... but she really wasn't his type. True, he could tell her he was gay and had been in a relationship since college; but he knew with one look she was part of the ninety per cent of women who were sure he just hadn't met the right girl yet. And she was, of course, totally convinced she was that girl.
Slumping down into the chair at his workstation, Rob swallowed his sigh and inclined his head with a stiff smile as she blew a suggestive kiss across the shop before leaving. He was knackered. The deep kind of tired that seeped into his bones and made his body feel fifty pounds heavier than in reality. He opened his mouth wide in a heartfelt yawn, longing to go home and crawl onto the couch beside the warm body that would be waiting for him and close his eyes. To let gentle fingers soothe away his working week and strong arms hold him tightly until Monday rolled around again. But that was not going to happen. He had two Buddhas, a calendar girl, and an eagle to draw up before he could even think about anything else.
Rob pulled his mobile out of the pocket of his skinny jeans. Skinny jeans, his inner voice scoffed, more like a denim torture device! He ignored the intrusion but winced as his not unimpressive length and girth added its two penneth. You're telling me! If you ever wear these again I'm going on strike. I can't fucking breathe in here! Finally having wrestled the thin sliver of metal from the confines of the stupid trousers he'd forced himself into, Rob stabbed at the speed dial and waited for the line to connect.
Rob smiled and ran a hand through his hair, wincing as his fingers were stilled by the amount of product covering the strands. "Hey," he said softly, knowing the warmth in that voice would rapidly cool when he finished his sentence.
"How--? I only said hey," Rob grumbled, hating how predictable he was obviously becoming. The only response was a heavy sigh and the sound of a door slamming. "What was that?"
"Shit, babe, I'm so--"
"Don't worry about it. You can reheat it when you get home... whenever that's likely to be."
Rob stared at the phone, listening to nothing after the call had been disconnected at the other end. Fuck. He'd been making far too many phone calls like this one lately. Sighing again, he tossed his phone onto the counter and picked up his pen. It wouldn't surprise him if he got home and his dinner was in the dog. Metaphorically speaking, of course, because they didn't have one. He grabbed a fresh sheet of tracing paper, smoothed it over the photograph of the Buddha his client had given him, and began to work.