Line Work

Kensington Quarter 
#1
@Kiew


 Hendrix walked down the streets of Kensington Quarter with a thick book of drawings tucked under one arm. A breeze buffeted his shirt, making the thin material cling to the skin of his back. He hadn’t left the house thinking he’d need a jacket but now he was wishing for one. Summer seemed to be giving up early.

 He wasn’t gunning for another massive life change. He enjoyed working where he did, often leaning on the comfort of being within the borders of Red Rock so close to the band. But he was trying to broaden his interests, to network out from the seemingly finite group of dogs he called family.

 That didn’t mean he actually had the guts to present his work to anyone.

 He looked a little stupid standing there in front of just one of the many local tattoo parlors in the city, but he couldn’t convince himself to go in. Shivering when the wind kicked up again, he cursed when the breeze tugged a wayward drawing free from the confines of his portfolio. It fluttered through the air, landing a few feet away from him in the middle of the sidewalk.
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#2


 Lora lived on a tight budget - paycheck to paycheck, as it was, between utilities and rent and gas and groceries. So, of course, she had no room to get another tattoo - and yet, here she was, shuffling along the sidewalk towards a shop she'd found online. She could justify something small, right? Just a little thirty minute banger to fill an open space between a couple others on her arm. Maybe a conch shell between the mermaid and the shark.

 The sharp, fluttery whisper of paper caught on a chilly breeze snapped her away from the idea of hey what the fuck Lora you've been to the beach like two times in your life. She stopped short, brain lagging a little as she watched the page land before her feet - eyes up, man with lots of papers in hand. Probably his!

 Lora stooped down, wiping a tangle of wind-maddened hair away from her face with one hand as the other sought to carefully pluck the drawing up from the pavement. It would be rude to look at it directly, but it was hard not to notice that it was art. Nice art! Tattoo art?

 She smiled, closed-lipped as she moved to deliver it to the man she presumed had lost it to begin with. "You drew that?"
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#3
 "Uh--" For a moment he thought about fibbing. The issue with having a cultivated skill was that people expected something meaningful or lucrative to be done with it. The deflation after they found out he had no intention of making any real career or future with his art typically outweighed any initial compliment. But he wasn't quick enough to construct a convincing lie. "Yeah, it's mine. They're just off-handed doodles. Nothing special."
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#4
 The man was quick to snuff his own work - nothing special. "Oh." Lora's smile remained small as she handed the paper over to him, lifting both hands to fight her hair away from her face again. It was a fruitless effort, stray tendrils whipping back at her cheeks on the disobedient breeze. "Well, I thought it looked pretty good." She paused, then added quickly, "I mean, sorry, I wasn't trying to snoop or anything. I just. Can't draw a stick figure, myself, so." The sentence ended with a sheepish sort of laugh.
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#5
 "Oh, no worries." He insisted, hoping he hadn't made her feel bad for the passing glance she'd taken at his work. "M'just shy about it. But thank you, I appreciate that." Perhaps his drawings weren't good enough to garner any sort of professional accreditation, but the support of a passing stranger was worth something.

 She could be a more honest and objective opinion than friends or family. Strangers weren't obligated to spare feelings. "Were you looking to get a tattoo?" Wondering if she was meandering around or if she'd come to the shop's doorstep with a purpose.
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#6
 Just shy about it! That was kind of endearing. How many men would admit to being shy about something. She smiled, nodded, shrugged her shoulders, all in response to his thanks.

 "I was thinking about it," she confessed, looking away to glance at the big window into the tattoo shop. "I probably shouldn't. But sometimes you just get that itch, you know?" Judging by the ink on his arms, she figured he understood. "Are you here to uh, apply?"
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#7
 He flashed her a conspiratorial smile, though the evidence was outwardly worn. "Yeah, I'm familiar with the feeling." Taking another look at the door, he tried not to catch anyone's gaze inside the shop. Art was nothing more than forced vulnerability for the sake of ego, and he shifted, his beast unwittingly accosted with the sensation of being exposed.

 "Maybe eventually, but not quite yet. Feel like I have more dues to pay." To whom, or what, he wasn't sure. Canting his head, he looked at the empty space of her arms, her canvas. "What are you trying to get?"
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#8
 Yep, she figured he was. She smiled a little, following his gaze towards the shop window. When he spoke next, he seemed to... not think himself worthy of this job, or something? She wondered what he meant, but before she could even consider how rude it would be to pry, he had a question of his own for her. Her eyes blinked down to her arm, then bounced back up to the man.

 "Uh. A seashell, I think." Her opposite hand lifted to wipe a thumb against the blank space just above her elbow. "I dunno. The more I think about it the more I think I should wait." Some hesitation between the both of them! "I actually don't remember getting any of these, so. I don't know if I should make it a theme or like, cover them up." Not that they were bad quality tattoos, they just didn't really mean much to her. Maybe they never had!
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#9
 "You don't remember getting any of them?" Hendrix couldn't keep the incredulity out of his voice. It wasn't a judgement, he had a few bender tattoos of his own, but such a lapse seemed problematic. Still, be it an alcohol issue or some passing form of narcolepsy, prying would be an overstep.
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