Disclaimer: Not mine, don’t sue. The employees of High Voltage Tattoo are real people, I don’t own them.
Greg approached High Voltage Tattoo aka LA Ink with mixed feelings of nervousness and anticipation. He wanted to do this but he wasn’t sure how his lovers would react to him coming home with a tattoo since they’d always said that they loved him the way he was. Taking a deep breath, he pushed open the door, “Hi,”
Pixie looked up from the appointment book and gave the cute newcomer her trademark big smile, “Hi!”
Greg looked at the girl and briefly wondered how the lab would react if he came home with piercings like hers, “Hi, I have an appointment with Kim.”
Pixie nodded and turned to the station furthest from the door, “Kim, your appointment’s here.”
Kim got up and walked over with a smile, “Hi, are you Greg?” At Greg’s nod, she extended her hand, “I’m Kim. What’re are we doing on you today?”
Greg pulled out the, admittedly, poor drawing he’d made and showed it to the two women, “It’s a poor drawing but basically, what I want is a butterfly, a pair of cowboy boots with a cowboy hat resting on them and a knight chess piece on my bicep.”
If either woman found the idea odd, they didn’t say anything. Kim took out a piece of paper and began drawing, after a few minutes, she showed it to him, “Something like this?”
Greg looked at it; it was beautiful, each of the images looked perfectly in sync with each other, “It’s perfect.”
Kim smiled, “Great. Just let me clean this up a little. It’ll take probably thirty minutes if you wanna wait.” Greg nodded and stood patiently as Kim traced his arm, then he sat down on the gold couch to wait, hoping he wouldn’t chicken out. After awhile, Kim looked up, “Greg. I’m ready for ya.”
Greg walked over to Kim’s station and sat down in the chair she’d pulled out for him. “Okay, I need you to take your shirt off,” Kim said as she set up her equipment, “Do you want this in color?”
Greg nodded, “Yeah. I was thinking blue and gold for the butterfly dark brown for the boots, black for the hat and I also want the chess piece to be black.”
Kim nodded with a smile as she set out her inks, “All right.” She turned back to him, “Okay, I’m going to trace the drawing onto your arm so we can make sure you’re happy with the placement since I know from your message that your job really doesn’t let you have visible tattoos.”
Greg nodded and willed himself to hold very still as Kim put the stencil on his arm and the tracing began. After a few minutes, Kim pulled away, “Okay, check that out.” She grabbed a mirror and turned it so Greg could see his arm, “What do you think?”
Greg smiled when he saw the rough tracing that would soon be his tattoo. It fit his bicep perfectly and was large enough for anyone to tell what the images were but was small enough that a t-shirt would cover it. “Perfect. I love it.”
Kim smiled again as she picked up the tattoo machine, “Then let’s get started. Since you said that this is your first tattoo, I’ll warn you that it’s going to burn a little so try not to move too much. And keep breathing.” Greg nodded and took a deep breath as Kim began working on the outline of the chess piece.
After a few minutes, Kim began to talk, “So, what’s up with this tattoo? I mean, this seems pretty random but I’m assuming that there’s meaning behind each of these.” Greg laughed, grateful for a distraction from the pain of getting tattooed, “Yeah there is. They represent the three people I love most. My grandfather and my two lovers Gil and Nick”
Kim was surprised, “You’re dating two guys?”
Greg nodded, “Yeah, it’s called a triad. We live together and do all the relationship things, but there’s three of us instead of two.”
“Isn’t that kinda hard? I mean relationships are hard enough when there’s just you and someone else, but three of you? That’s gotta be tough,” Kim asked as she began outlining the cowboy hat.
Greg nodded, “It can be at times. We’re very different people and we have very different personalities but I think that what makes us so different is the key to the relationship. We compliment each other and it works.”
Kim laughed before asking, “So how did you guys end up together? I’m assuming that you didn’t just decide to be a triad.”
Greg laughed, “No. It sounds clichéd but it just sort of happened. We all work together as criminalists and Nick and I became best friends pretty quickly when I started at the lab. He and Gil started dating about four years ago. Then they invited me over after work one night and said that they’d been discussing adding a third person to their relationship and they wanted to ask me before they asked anyone else.”
Kim’s eyes widened, “You’re kidding! Just like that?” Greg laughed, “Yeah, just like that. And that was…almost two years ago.”
Kim was amazed, “Wow. So, you said that you guys all work as criminalists; do your co-workers know about the three of you?”
Greg nodded, “Yeah. Most of them already knew about Gil and Nick, so telling them about me wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.”
Kim was mildly surprised, “So, they just accepted it? No problems?” Now
Greg’s expression turned serious, “Well, not totally. There’s this girl we work with. She’s obsessed with Gil, like borderline ‘Fatal Attraction’ obsessed. When Nick and Gil came with their relationship, she was pissed but then she seemed to get over it until we told them about me being added. She blew up, started screaming and just saying horrible things about us, then Gil took her to his office and they had it out. Finally he told her that she could either accept what he’d been telling her for seven years or she could find another job. Since then, she’s mostly kept her comments to herself but occasionally, she’ll make a remark, usually if Gil lets Nick or I go home early or he takes us with him on a case. Mostly it’s okay though.”
Kim nodded and began working on filling in the chess piece, “So, why did you pick these things to represent these people?”
Greg smiled again, “Well, my grandfather taught me how to play chess when I was young and he was the one who always encouraged me to be myself. Papa Olaf was always willing to play with me and when I got onto the chess team, he attended every match.” He smiled, sadly, “When I finally came out that I was bisexual, Papa was the first person in my family to accept me. My mother freaked out and didn’t speak to me for almost two years. Papa always said that his only concern was my happiness.” He smiled again, “I couldn’t play chess for almost two months after he died. It brought up too many memories of when I was growing up.
“The butterfly is for Gil since he’s an entomologist and butterflies are his favorite insects. He’s got ‘em all over his office both at work and at home. Nick even got him boxers with butterflies on it for his birthday one year.”
Kim laughed, “Wow. So who’s the cowboy stuff for?”
Greg’s smile widened, “Those are for Nick. He’s from Texas and has this whole cowboy thing, accent and all. His family even has a ranch outside of Dallas with horses and such.”
“Does his family know,” Kim asked as she filled in the spurs on the cowboy boots. “Yeah, they know. They were a little worried at first since law-enforcement isn’t exactly known for being open-minded about gays but they’re pretty cool about it now.”
Kim laughed as she finished, “Okay. You are all finished. Let’s go check it out.”
Greg got up carefully and walked over to the full length mirror. His eyes widened as he took in the art on his arm, “Wow! It’s beautiful! You even put spurs on the boots!”
Kim laughed, “Well, any self-respecting cowboy wouldn’t go out without his spurs on.”
Greg was amazed by how realistic each of the items in the tattoo were, the butterfly looked almost ready to fly away. “I can’t believe it. It’s even better than I imagined!” He hugged Kim carefully, “Thank you!”
Kim returned the hug, “You’re welcome. Let me wrap it up for you and then you’ll be on your way.” She wrapped his arm in plastic wrap and gave him some instructions on how to care for his tat.
As Greg walked out the door, Kim smiled; she always liked it when her clients taught her something and Greg had just taught her that love can happen anywhere and with the most unlikely people, so maybe there was still hope for her.