Ink Master

 

Ink Master Banner

Summary: Eric is competing for the title of Ink Master and gets more than he bargained for in his final human canvas Sookie.

 

 

I knew I’d make it to the finale, but it was still surreal to hear my name called. I was a good artist; I didn’t need a competition to tell me that. I played the game with as much integrity as I could. Some of the assholes that went home didn’t even deserve to be on the show. I’d been tattooing for over twenty years, since I was fifteen and made my own gun out of a needle and a Bic pen. I wasn’t cocky, as I’d been called since day one, I was sure. I could do any style thrown at me. What excited me was getting forty hours to work on my final piece.

 

What excited me even more was when the canvases walked in. I didn’t know which one was mine but I was going to be a lucky son of a bitch either way. Three gorgeous women walked through the door.

 

I stood there trying to listen to what the host, Patrick, was saying, but I was too busy checking out the three women standing in front of me. It had been close to four months since I had sex last and it was really all that was on my mind the second I saw nice cleavage.

 

I had to pull myself from the tits when Patrick told me I’d be working on the blonde, Sookie. She had a nice, friendly smile as she walked up to me with her hand held out.

 

“Hi, Eric,” I smiled back as I took her hand. She had a firm grip. I liked it.

 

“Sookie. Nice meet you, Eric,” she said cheerfully.

 

Patrick told us to talk to our canvases to get to know them. We were given free rein on what kind of tattoo we wanted to do. I was going to see what Sookie was interested in and see if I could talk her into something different if it sounded shitty.

 

She followed me over to my station and took a seat in the chair when I motioned for her to sit down. I wasn’t going to get started, obviously, but it was the only option other than my stool.

 

“So do you know what kind of tattoo you want?” I asked. I pulled out my portfolio so she could get an idea of what my work was like.

 

“Actually, I do. I’d really like to get Miss Piggy riding a chopper,” she said with a straight face.

 

I stared at her for a good thirty seconds with a look of horror on my face.

 

“I mean, I can do Miss Piggy and chopper–”

 

“Eric, I’m kidding,” she laughed. “Your face is priceless right now.”

 

“I didn’t know what the hell to do with that,” I laughed. “Holy shit, you about gave me a heart attack. This is a hundred thousand dollar tattoo and I wasn’t sure Miss Piggy would do it for me.”

 

“On the bright side America will get to see you shit your pants on live TV, so there’s that,” she giggled. “I’m pretty open-minded. I don’t really care for new school style tattoos. Most of my ink is neo-traditional and American traditional.”

 

“A girl after my own heart,” I winked. “What ink do you have now?” She had a bare midriff but I couldn’t see much in the way of tattoos.

 

Without further prompting she unbuttoned her jeans and pulled them down so I could see the tattoos on the back of her thighs. She had neo-traditional flowers, one in deep purple and the other in royal blue, both very well done.

 

“I also have several sugar skulls,” she said. Sookie turned around again so I could see a pair of them by her hip bone on the left with a comedy and drama thing happening. On the right she had a neo-traditional wolf with the name Alcide below it.

 

I assumed that was her man. I wasn’t going to ask just yet.

 

“Looks like you had a good artist.” I didn’t stop myself from reaching out to brush my thumb over the skulls. “You want to bring something like this into your back?” I asked as ideas started to form.

 

“Well what style suits you best? Yes, it’s my back, but I’d like to see you do something that gives you the best chance of winning.”

 

“I appreciate that,” I smiled. “Neo-traditional is my strong suit. I can do anything though.” I pointed to my portfolio again and said, “That has some of my favorite pieces if you want to look at what I do.”

 

“Sure, I’d love that.” Sookie hiked up her jeans but left them unbuttoned. She grabbed my portfolio and took a seat on the chair with her legs crossed.

 

I sat there and watched her as she flipped through the pages. Her face was very expressive. That coupled with the sugar skulls on her hip started to give me ideas. I’d have to stencil out her back to see if the ideas firing off would fit.

 

“Do you mind if I take a look at your back while you check that out?” I asked.

 

“No, not at all.” Sookie set down the book. “Shirt off?”

 

“Please,” I nodded.

 

She didn’t hesitate to pull her little shirt off. She didn’t have a bra on.

 

Yep, I had to tamp down the wood that was trying really hard to pop up.

 

I reached up to turn her so I could get a good look at her back. She had smooth, tight skin that was going to be a perfect canvas. I ran my fingertips over her soft skin, taking note of the goosebumps that rose as my hands traveled along her back. I started to draw designs with my fingers to get a better idea. I was envisioning a day of the dead girl. Once I got it onto paper it would make better sense.

 

“What made you sign up for this craziness?” I asked her.

 

“I love the show, for starters. Mostly I have always wanted to get a back piece and I figured who better to do it than someone who is on the verge of being at the top of his or her field? I never thought I’d get picked, but here I am. I’m glad they gave me you and not that little blonde shit who doesn’t even come up to my tits.”

 

“Andre is a fucking weasel. I’m surprised that little shit made it this far,” I said. “I feel confident we’re going to kick his ass, though.”

 

“I’ll give the judges a lap dance if I have to.” She seemed serious about that.

 

I leaned around, my chest about a centimeter away from her back and I asked, “Do I get a lap dance for giving you a kick ass tattoo?” I was just as serious.

 

“If it comes out kick ass I’ll definitely consider it.”

 

“I have something other than a hundred grand to work for,” I chuckled. I turned to grab some of the stencil paper and asked her to lie on the table.

 

Sookie shifted accordingly. “If you’re that good I might see you about a cover-up.”

 

“When we get back to my shop I can show you my cover-up portfolio,” I told her. “What are you thinking about covering?”

 

“The name under the wolf. I dismissed him.”

 

Good to know…

 

“Would the wolf go with it?” I placed the paper on her back and grabbed a pencil.

 

“The wolf I like. It’s just the name that has to go. I knew getting his name was a dumb idea but I was in love,” she sighed.

 

“I actually won’t do names without a compelling reason,” I admitted. It pissed people off that I did it like that but I did too many cover-ups. I knew what happened when people got names tattooed on them. “I’ve lost some business because of it, but to me it’s worth it.”

 

“I’d be happy with a top hat covering his name with a rose on one side and a pocket watch on the other,” she told me. “But, one thing at a time. This Great Gatsby tattoo is incredible.”

 

“Thanks,” I smiled as I started to lightly sketch the outline of her back. “That lady was one of my favorite people to work on. She had some stories,” I chuckled.

 

“You did a great job.”

 

“Thank you,” I said again.

 

I worked on a rough stencil of her back as well as a very rough draft of the tattoo, basically setting the idea for it to see if Sookie agreed. She did, which I was very appreciative of. The judges called time which meant I had to pack up my things and head home where I would complete the tattoo over the course of the next two months.

 

SPOV

 

The ink on my body had all been done courtesy of my ex, Alcide. I was never that into tattoos before I met him. He was a brilliant artist and he had convinced me to do the pair of skulls on my hip. I was a drama teacher at my local high school and he knew I was fascinated with Day of the Dead symbols. Alcide found a way to win me over quickly with those skulls. He did a fantastic job and all of the tattoos he had done for me had gone into his portfolio.

 

We were together for almost three years and had even gotten engaged, but the closer we got to the wedding the more withdrawn he got. I had a dress, the hall was rented, flowers were picked out and we were actually in the midst of interviewing a deejay – trying to pick out our first dance song – when he finally told me he was hooking up with our photographer’s assistant.

 

By hooking up, I mean they had been in a relationship for the last six months. He met her three weeks after he proposed to me. He loved her.

 

I dumped him.

 

It was a painful breakup but I wasn’t sorry about it. I was past the point of being bitter about it. From my point of view, at least I discovered the affair before we were married. Going through a divorce would have been much worse than the breakup, which was bad enough. Gifts had to be canceled and deposits were lost it was a really expensive way to get on with our lives. I moved out of our apartment and away from our nosy bitch neighbor Amelia. She was like a young Mrs. Roper on steroids.

 

I found a place in the French Quarter and I loved living there. Every morning I was woken by the smell of fresh beignets and coffee. Plus, at least for me, Mardi Gras never got old. I loved the energy of the city. It was so warm and welcoming. My pit mix rescue adoption and I were very happy together in my little house. Marcellus was a big lover who had been found under an abandoned house in the lower 9th Ward with his seven brothers and sisters when he was still a puppy. I’d adopted him when he was estimated to be about four months old. He was a friendly dog with both people and other dogs, but he was also a good guardian.

 

We walked around the city a lot, so it was good that he was friendly. He attracted a lot of attention with his mostly white coat that had flecks of this golden/copperish color to it. Like someone had splattered him with butterscotch. His ears were all copper. He was a looker.

 

Marcellus was unhappy when I had to leave him at home for my first session with Eric. My artist owned a shop called The Painted Death not far from my house. I’d passed the place many times but I had never gone inside. New Orleans had lots of tattoo shops, so I didn’t know them all. With our shared interest in the Day of the Dead, it was no surprise his was called The Painted death.

 

When I applied to be a canvas I figured I’d get a free tattoo and I’d either love it or hate and it would be a fun experience. I never thought I’d get picked to be a final canvas for a back piece. I couldn’t wait to see what Eric had come up with. The fact that he was willing to let me have some input on the design was really cool. I had seen some control freak artists who didn’t care if their canvas liked what they had come up with. My gut told me I was going to love Eric’s design.

 

I wore a sundress with a bikini under it so I’d be as close to naked as publicly acceptable while he worked on the tattoo. I assumed he would at least get the outline done. We were allotted five eight hour sessions to work on the piece. It was a long day.

 

When I reached the shop Eric was sitting at the front counter with a big ass mug in his giant paw.

 

“A man after my own heart,” I said when the smell of delicious French roast hit me. I held up a box with a selection of the best croissants in the city inside. They melted in your mouth. “For you… If you’re hungry.” There was homemade butter and little pots of different jams for dipping or spreading. So yummy.

 

“I’m always hungry,” he smiled as he stood up to greet me. “And I could say the same when a beauty like you walks in offering me food. It’s good to see you again, Sookie.” When he reached me he leaned down to kiss my cheek.

 

“It’s good to see you again too. You’re less than a mile away from my house. I’ve walked by here dozens of times with my dog.” I handed off the box of croissants to him. They were my favorite in the city.

 

“Wow. It’s a shame you didn’t stop in before.” He opened the box and let out a deep, growly groan. “Damn…”

 

“I’m sure I’ll be back after this,” I told him. “The croissants are addictive. Have you had these before?”

 

“I have. The reason I avoid them is because I can eat a whole dozen in one sitting,” he chuckled. “That’s not so good for this.” He patted what I assumed were abs under his tank top.

 

“Want me to dispose of them? They’re great for this.” I patted my ass.

 

He leaned over to take a peek at my ass as if he hadn’t already seen it.

 

“I’ll take a few. But I agree, they are wonderful for your ass.”

 

I smiled and reached into the box for a croissant. I liked them plain, personally.

 

“So, how many artists do you have here?” I saw six stations set up but that didn’t mean anything.

 

“Four currently. I have an apprentice coming to study under me after the show is done,” he told me.

 

“Oh that’s pretty cool. This is a nice shop. My ex worked at one across town and it’s a shithole by comparison,” I said.

 

“No offense but most shops around here are. I’ve been on this location for the last seventeen years. I took it over six years ago when the previous owner passed away and he left it to me.”

 

“I’m pretty sure Al’s shop still has drywall in it that was damaged by Katrina,” I said with a cringe.

 

“It’s been rough getting things back to how they used to be. I thank the reputation and our clientele for allowing us to get back in action.”

 

“Your work speaks for itself. You have a stunning portfolio.”

 

“Thanks,” he said with a handsome smile. “You want to head back and get started?”

 

“Sounds like a plan,” I replied. I followed Eric back to his station and got out my headphones just in case he didn’t want to get chatty with me. I wasn’t expecting us to be besties.

 

“Have you prepared yourself for the pain?” Eric took a bite of a croissant before he put on some gloves and began to set up the black ink and tattoo gun.

 

“I took some Aleve before I left the house and my puppy is ready for cuddles when I get home.” There was nothing else I could do.

 

“That’s about all you can do,” he chuckled. “Is it just you and the dog at home?” The needle buzzed, making me jump.

 

“Yep. Marcellus is a very protective lover,” I giggled.

 

I left my flip flops on but I took off my dress while his back was turned.

 

I heard an audible gulp when Eric turned around.

 

“I am not upset that I get to spend forty hours hanging out with you in this getup,” he said as his eyes scanned my body.

 

That made me genuinely laugh.

 

“Your girlfriend or wife might disagree.”

 

“If I had one,” he shrugged. “The last girlfriend was a bit… let’s just say she didn’t agree with my hands being on other women in any fashion. She tried to get me to quit tattooing. I quit her instead.”

 

“Smart move. My ex couldn’t keep his hands off our wedding photographer’s assistant.”

 

“Your ex is a fucking moron. If I had a woman as gorgeous as you it would be impossible to keep my hands off of you.”

 

“You’re sweet,” I smiled.

 

“I’m honest,” he smiled back. “Before we get started…” He took off his gloves and pulled a sheet of paper out of a giant folder. “This is the finished product; do you think you can live with this on your body?”

 

I looked down at the masterpiece he sketched out and my jaw dropped.

 

“Oh wow… Eric, this is…” It was a little Day of the Dead meets neo-traditional. The face looked a little like mine and blonde hair swirled around the face. A rose was tucked into the hair… “I love this. This is amazing.”

 

“Thanks,” he grinned. “Do you think it’s going to be worth a hundred grand? That’s your copy if you want it, by the way.”

 

“I sure hope so because it’s perfect.”

 

“I’m happy you like it,” he replied. “Get comfy for a minute so I can apply the stencil.” Eric grabbed another thin sheet of see through paper with the art drawn out in a purple ink.

 

I got myself situated on the padded table/gurney thing.

 

“Feel free to untie whatever needs untying. I’m not very shy,” I told him.

 

“I figured that out when you dropped your pants on set,” he chuckled. I felt a gentle tug on my bikini string to untie it. His hands were light on my back as he moved around and adjusted the stencil. I felt the coolness of the spray he used to wet the paper before pressing a little firmer. He peeled the paper off and stood there for a moment. “Go ahead and check it in the mirror.” There was a floor to ceiling mirror opposite of the bed.

 

I got up carefully and crossed the room to look at the stencil.

 

“It’s no Miss Piggy but I like it,” I winked.

 

“Maybe a little Miss Piggy here later,” he smiled as he brushed his fingertips over the front of my thigh.

 

“Maybe. This looks great. I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.” I knew it was going to hurt. There was no avoiding that. I’d get over it.

 

“Alright,” he grinned, clapping his massive hands together. “Get comfy and let’s get this shit started.” His eyes flicked to my tits twice while he talked.

 

“They’re pretty great, huh?” I moved the bikini out of the way.

 

“They’re fucking amazing.” He didn’t hide his ogling. I could tell he wanted to touch me.

 

“My dad was relieved when I went into teaching instead of stripping. He figured my aversion to clothes would have me workin’ the pole,” I said as I got up on the table. I was probably poking a sleeping bear but I figured I might as well make things interesting. We had a lot of time to spend together so we might as well get to know each other.

 

EPOV

 

I looked up at the clock and sighed. “We need to call it a night,” I told Sookie. It was our third session and I’d gotten the entire bottom of the tattoo colored. I liked the time we spent together. She was fun and sassy.

 

“Oh thank God,” she said. “This really hurts a lot more than I expected.”

 

“I know,” I nodded. “I’ve been where you are.” I spritzed some of the green soap on her back, making her groan in pleasure. It was nice and cool before I gently wiped it off.

 

“Are you covered in ink?”

“Pretty much. I’m not ballsy enough to tattoo my dick, no pun intended,” I chuckled. “I have what you can see as well as my back, chest, most of my legs… When I first started out I practiced on myself so I have a lot of old, shitty work on the front of my thighs.”

 

“No cover-ups?” Sookie sat up and right away her tits were on display.

 

Of course my eyes were glued to them as I explained, “Nah, I wanted to see where I started, you know?” My eyes flicked up to hers reluctantly. If she was willing to show me, I was going to look.

 

“That’s fair.” Sookie turned so I could wrap her back.

 

“This is coming out very well,” I told her as I wrapped her. Because I couldn’t help myself I asked, “Do you have someone to help you clean this later?”

 

“Nope, just me. I don’t have anyone to help me eat the pork roast cooking at home either,” she told me.

 

“Oh yeah? You looking for some help?”

 

“Marcellus would say no,” she laughed. “But I’m going to say yes.”

 

“You’re lucky,” I smiled. “I’m starving and I enjoy your company.”

 

“You’re lucky I’m a great cook.” Sookie grabbed her dress and put it on.

 

“You mind hanging out here with me for a few more minutes while I clean up and then I can walk home with you?” I didn’t think it was against the rules to hang out with a canvas, at least I didn’t read that anywhere.

 

“I don’t mind at all. Actually, I’ll go across the street to the liquor store for wine. Are you a wine drinker?”

 

“I’ve been known to have a glass or two,” I nodded.

 

“White okay?”

 

“Perfect. I know it pairs better with pork,” I winked.

 

“Great. Then I’ll go get the wine and I’ll meet you out front,” she said. Sookie put her headphones in her bag and picked it up.

 

I watched her walk out, keeping my eyes on her ass as her hips swayed. She got prettier and prettier every time I was with her.

 

 

“That was amazing,” I said, patting my stomach after dinner. She made one of the best pork roasts I’d ever had. Marcellus seemed to like me just fine, even though he was a little jealous I got the pork and he didn’t.

 

“Thanks. I’m glad you liked it.” Sookie got up from the small dining table to take our plates to the sink.

“How you feeling?” I stood up, grabbing our glasses. We’d polished off an entire bottle of wine over dinner. I realized how cute her giggle was right around the end of her second glass.

 

“Sore,” she admitted. “I’ll be okay. Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches will help.”

 

“Snickerdoodles help just about everything,” I chuckled. “After that do you want me to help you get your back cleaned up?” I really just wanted to see her naked again, or mostly naked. I was positive she knew that.

 

“That would be great, thanks. I should have taken my nurse friend Jesus up on his offer of lidocaine cream. Do you want some of these leftovers? I only need a meal’s worth.” Sookie cut up a fattier piece of pork and put it in Marcellus’s bowl.

 

“Sure. It’ll make great sandwiches.” I finished off my glass of wine before turning to rise out my glass.

 

“These roasted potatoes make a great light potato salad. If you want to try it I can whip it up real quick,”

she offered. “I add a little bit of crumbled bacon and chives. It’s almost like a loaded baked potato.”

 

“You keep offering me food and you’re not getting rid of me,” I laughed. “You don’t have to do that if you don’t want to, Sookie. You’ve already done enough.”

 

“I really don’t mind. It takes no time and it’s my favorite way to eat the leftover potatoes. I even made extra bacon yesterday so I’d have it tonight.”

 

“You’re more than welcome to do it,” I smiled. When Sookie started to work I stepped up behind her and pulled her dress out some so I could look at the tattoo. Since I’d only worked on the bottom half the top was still exposed. “I really do like the way this is coming out.”

 

“I haven’t looked at it yet, but I’m sure it looks great.” She reached into a cabinet for a bottle of olive oil. She drizzled a little on the leftover potatoes before going to the fridge.

 

“Once we get the covering off you can see it. Or, I can take a picture of it for you,” I offered.

 

“I should be able to see it in the bathroom mirror.”

 

I nodded and took a step back to lean against the counter out of her way. I watched Sookie move around the kitchen, taking note of when the tattoo would hurt her. I felt bad for causing her pain, but I was pretty confident she was going to think it was worth it in the end. It was a fucking hundred thousand dollar tattoo. I hoped like hell she was going to love it. So far she seemed to be happy with it.

I had my mind on the prize money and what I was going to do with it when I won it when Sookie finished up making the potato salad and cleaning up the kitchen.

 

“Do you have a moveable shower head?” I asked her when she told me she was ready to get the tattoo cleaned up.

 

“Unfortunately, no. I have a rain showerhead. You might even fit under it, actually.”

 

“Are you suggesting I strip down and get all the way into the shower with you?” I smirked.

 

“I could think of worse things,” she replied.

 

“Mmm, you’ll get to see all of my ink then,” I winked. “Lead the way.”

 

“You’re serious?” Sookie turned to look at me. She looked surprised.

 

“Why wouldn’t I be?” I hadn’t been at all discreet about my attraction to her.

 

Sookie picked up Marcellus’s bowl and took it over to his crate. She barely set it down before he was in there going after the pork. Without a word she turned toward the bedroom in her small house and pulled her dress over her head. I saw it hit the floor before she turned to the left in her room and disappeared from sight.

 

I wasn’t going to stand back and wait for another invitation. I pulled my shirt over my head as I followed her down the short hallway. I heard the water running before I made it to the bathroom. By the time I walked in I had my jeans unbuttoned and Sookie was standing there with her back to me. She was completely naked…

 

I reached out to gently unstick the tape holding the wrapping over the tattoo without a word. As the bathroom steamed up I noticed her nipples tightening in the mirror. I reached into the shower to feel the water. If it was too hot it would hurt her worse.

 

“Are you sure you want me to join you?” I asked in a quiet purr. I wanted to be sure before I dropped my jeans.

 

“Why not? I could use a little fun.”

 

I dropped my jeans, kicking them away as soon as the hit the floor. I’d taken my shoes off when I walked into the house. I tugged her shoulder to get her to turn around to face me.

 

“Something tells me it’s going to be a lot of fun with you,” I said, looking into her pretty blue eyes.

 

“A shower? I am a hoot in the shower.” Sassy.

 

“As am I,” I winked. “After you.”

 

Sookie pulled the glass door open and stepped inside the stall. She went right under the water and drenched herself.

 

Damn she looked good wet. I stepped in behind her and reached out to grab her soap. I didn’t want to apply too much pressure on the fresh ink so I lathered up my hands and slowed rubbed over her lower back. She let out a little hiss so I moved my hands up, massaging her spine on the parts of the tattoo that were healed. When my hands made it up to her neck I pushed the blonde locks out of the way and dipped down to kiss the side of her neck. I couldn’t help myself and she wasn’t stopping me.

 

“How long have you been waiting to do that?” she asked.

 

“Since the moment I laid eyes on you,” I answered honestly. “Is it okay?”

 

Sookie turned to face me and looked into my eyes.

 

“It won’t get you disqualified from the competition?”

 

I shook my head no. “I re-read the rules as soon as I got home and it doesn’t mention anything about getting involved with a canvas.”

 

Apparently that was all Sookie needed to hear because her lips crashed into mine immediately. I knew I had to be careful where my hands went. I kept them in her hair as I parted my lips to grant her entrance. Sookie’s soft tongue met mine tentatively at first before she became a little more confident. I liked her confidence. It was a major turn on for me.

 

As the kiss deepened I got a little bolder too. I dropped one of my hands from her hair and cupped her right tit, brushing my thumb over her nipple. I could feel the blood rushing down between my legs, bumping her in the stomach with the tip of my cock when it started to thicken.

 

Sookie pulled away from the kiss and looked down.

 

“Yahtzee,” she smiled.

 

I chuckled at that.

 

“I wouldn’t get too excited,” I teased. “I haven’t had sex in like five months.”

 

“Same here.”

 

“So you’ll be happy to know I like to make sure my lover gets off…” I reached down between her thighs to rub her mound.

 

“Tattoos and orgasms? Lucky me. Wait, you’re not a clinger, are you? I feel like you should disclose that upfront.”

 

I laughed and said, “No, I am not a clinger. Are you?”

 

“Not since the eleventh grade.” Her hand wrapped around my base and she started to stroke my length.

 

“So you do have the potential,” I joked. I slipped my finger between her folds so I could rub her clit. I leaned down and started to lightly suck and kiss the side of her neck. Her hand felt amazing on my dick.

 

“I have more than potential but right now you should be more concerned with what I don’t have.” Her thumb rubbed over my sensitive tip.

 

“Are you clean?” I asked between light sucks and nips.

 

“As a whistle, but that’s not what I was referring to either.”

 

“What are you referring to?” I slid my hand back some and pushed my finger into her tight core.

 

“My lack of gag reflex.” Sookie moaned and her shoulder blades made contact with the tile wall when she leaned back a little. “Fuck, that feels good.”

 

I gave her a lingering peck on the lips before I dropped down to my knees. I grabbed Sookie’s leg to pull it over my shoulder so I could gain better access. I pushed my finger into her pussy again as I parted her lower lips with my other hand. I tilted my head to the side, flicking my tongue out to taste her clit. It wasn’t enough so I flicked again, and then again, and again until my tongue was full on rubbing her sweet little nub as I curled my finger inside of her.

 

“Oh holy fuck me sideways,” she cursed. Fingers ran through my hair and her hips started to move in time with my finger. “Fuck, right there…”

 

I continued to rub the same spot over and over. The rubbing over her clit turned into suckling, making her moan louder. I really, really liked that sound. I could feel her walls pulsing and fluttering around my finger. Once she was wet enough I paused to slip another finger into her, stretching her some, preparing her to take my cock.

 

“Oh wow…” Sookie’s eyes closed. Her grip on my hair tightened. Rubbing over the same spot inside her worked its magic. Her body tensed and her orgasm began.

 

Mmm…

 

I rubbed right through her release, watching her pretty face contort in ecstasy. When I pulled back I asked, “Should we leave the shower?” What I wanted to do wasn’t going to end before the water got cold.

 

“Probably a good idea,” she panted.

 

I stood up and pressed my lips to hers one more time. When I pulled back I turned off the water, reaching out to grab a towel hanging over the towel rack so I could hand it to her.

 

“Want me to help you with your back?”

 

“Please.”

 

When she turned around I took the towel back so I could pat the tattoo dry, making sure not to press too hard. I spotted some lotion on the way into the shower that I could put on her once we were dry.

 

“When this is all healed you owe me a back massage,” she told me.

 

“I can do that.” I dated a masseuse once. She taught me a lot about bodies and massages. Sookie would be fun to massage. Something told me it would end with my cock down her throat.

 

“I’ll even make you dinner first.”

 

“I’m starting to see a trend.” We stepped out of the shower and I reached back for the lotion so I could squeeze some into my hand and rub it all over her back.

 

“I like to eat?”

 

“Me too, darling,” I chuckled. “I also like touching you, so it’s a win/win.”

 

“I’d say so. I get a massage and you get a decent meal. Do you cook or are you a sad, takeout dependent bachelor?”

 

“I can cook. Not as well as you, but I do pretty damn good.”

 

“That’s good. I always wonder how people get through life without learning how to cook.” Sookie took her sexy ass back into the bedroom.

 

I followed her like a moth to a flame. When I caught up with her I grabbed onto her hips and dipped down to kiss her neck again. I rubbed my cock back and forth across her ass.

 

“I’ve never wondered that myself, but I am wondering how fucking good it’s going to feel once I’m inside of you.”

 

“Like heaven, fool.”

 

I laughed quietly at that.

 

“Do you have condoms around this joint?” I started to massage her tits.

 

“Of course I do.” She put her hands on top of mine so I would follow her to the armoire. Sookie opened the cabinet and pulled a drawer open to grab a box of condoms. “You look like a double whammy.”

 

“Mmm, with you, definitely.” I tugged her nipples a little as I sucked on the spot just behind her ear.

 

Sookie moaned and her back arched.

 

“Let’s go, mister.” She pulled me to her bed and dropped the box of condoms on the nightstand. I didn’t hear her take one out of the box, but she ripped a package open and turned around to put the condom on me.

 

“Get comfortable, unless you want to ride me.”

 

“Giddy-up, cowboy.”

 

I chuckled before I moved to get onto the bed. I stretched out on my back, stroking myself over the condom. Even stiff from the pain she moved so gracefully.

 

“Hop on.”

 

Sookie climbed up on the bed and straddled my thighs. She teased me at first, taking just my head in her tight sheath, but then she slid down all the way.

 

Her eyes crossed.

 

It took everything to keep my eyes from crossing. My hands slid up her body, heading straight to her tits. I rolled her nipples between my fingers as I rocked with her so she could feel every solid inch. One of my hands dropped to her hip and I rubbed my thumb over her ex’s name.

 

“I’ll cover that whenever you’re ready,” I told her. If I was going to fuck her again I didn’t want to see another man’s name on her body.

 

“Deal,” she smiled and her sexy body began to rise and fall so her thighs slapped against mine.

 

My hand moved down from her hip so I could rub her clit with my thumb. I had a feeling I wasn’t going to last too long and I wanted her to cum with me, or at least really close to my release. I at least wanted to be inside of her when she came. I knew it was going to feel better than heaven from the way her walls pulsed and fluttered when she came on my fingers. I still wanted to make it last a while longer… then again; I didn’t have to work then next day. I had all night.

 

SPOV

 

Eric was a great fuck. We weren’t even done yet and I was sure of it. One night stands weren’t really my style anymore – I outgrew them before I met Alcide – but I definitely wasn’t a prude. I’d had my share of mediocre and poor experiences. Eric wasn’t going to end up on either of those lists. I’d already cum so I was up by one.

 

A second orgasm was building fast. His cock was amazing. He was big and just thick enough for me. The friction I was getting thanks to his thumb had me right on the edge in no time. I reached back to brace my hands on his thighs and Eric thrust his hips up. Judging by the grunts and the erratic way he was moving, I was guessing he was close to cumming.

 

“Fuckfuckfuck…” he chanted. I felt him swelling inside of me. Eric started to grit his teeth as his thumb sped up. “I need to feel you cum for me, Sookie,” he growled.

 

Oh I was going to.

 

“Yesyesyesyesyes!” I cried out right after he thrust up hard. Eric jerked as he came. My walls gripped and milked him again and again. It was so, so good.

 

He reached up to grab the back of my head, pulling me down to his chest. His lips crashed onto mine as his hips continued to rock up into me. Eric was a great kisser. Not too much tongue or slobber. His kisses were passionate and purposeful. I really liked kissing him.

 

“Fucking you tonight wasn’t my plan,” I told him.

 

“It wasn’t mine either,” he replied. “I’m not going to regret it for a fucking second though.”

 

“Me either.” I kissed him again and rocked my hips. As much as I didn’t want to, I got off of him so he could get rid of the condom.

 

Eric got up from the bed so he could go to the bathroom to toss the condom. I heard the water run for a few seconds before he came out, sauntering to the bed. I was lying on my stomach when he climbed onto the bed, hovering over me. A shiver ran through my body when I felt his lips skim over my ass.

 

“You have an amazing body, Sookie,” he told me.

 

“Thanks. So do you.” I rolled onto my side.

 

He settled on the bed in front of me, resting his hand on my hip.

 

“You know how people have ridiculous expectations about things and then end up being highly disappointed when those expectations aren’t met? Well, you met every single one of mine,” he chuckled.

 

“That’s pretty high praise.” I reached out to trace the Pacman tattoo on his thigh. “I’m guessing this was a practice tattoo?”

 

“It was,” he smiled. “I was sixteen and broke up my time between playing Pacman at the pizza joint I worked at and learning to tattoo. I did what I knew.”

 

“I think it’s cute. Of course now you can’t judge me for Miss Piggy.”

 

He smiled and said, “I’m serious, if you want it, I’ll do it.”

 

“If I was going to get a Muppet tattoo I’d pick one less psychotic. She’s such a twat,” I laughed.

 

“Oooh, Denise, Kermit’s new chick,” he snorted. “She seems hot and nice… like you.”

 

“Actually my favorite is the two old guys who heckle everything. Swedish Chef is a very close runner up.”

 

“I used to get teased when I was kid, because of that fucker,” Eric chuckled. “I moved to the US when I was nine and I had a strong accent. As soon as kids figured out it was a Swedish accent I was done for.”

 

“You’re originally from Sweden? I never would have known.” He had definitely lost the accent since then. “I’m from a little town about twenty-five miles east of Shreveport. I have never left the country. If I had gotten married I would have gone to Tahiti for the honeymoon.”

 

“It was very difficult for me when I moved here. I knew very little English so I got frustrated a lot because I had trouble communicating with people. I spent a lot of time in my room drawing and listening to American music and audio books,” he told me.

 

“I speak French.” I rolled onto my back but I was careful about how much pressure I put on my lower back. It was a good thing I slept on my stomach.

 

“From growing up in Cajun country?” He settled his hand on my stomach, rubbing slowly.

 

“That and I took classes in school. I minored in it in college. I really wanted to go to France with the study abroad program but I couldn’t afford it.” I grew up poor like a lot of people I knew. I’d gotten good enough grades to earn a Dean’s scholarship but it only covered so much and I had to support myself through college. Stripping had seriously appealed to me. I worked for a Hooters type place instead.

 

“If I win I can always buy you a ticket to France for being such a kick ass canvas,” he told me. “I haven’t been, but I do speak French too. I figured out it was easier to understand some people around here.”

 

“How many languages do you speak?”

 

“Just the three, Swedish, English, and French. I’m not fluent in French but I can understand most of it.”

 

Even if I said I really want to suck your cock right now?” I asked in French just to test him.

 

Eric rolled onto his back and responded, a little more broken, “I’ve been waiting for the offer, gorgeous.

 

“Yeah, I bet you were.” I rolled onto my stomach and moved over to give it a shot.

 

 

Ow. Ow. Ow.

 

“I fucking hate tattoos!” I wasn’t really a whiner but Eric was working right by my spine. It hurt like a motherfucker.

 

“I know, I’m sorry,” he apologized. “I’ll get through this as fast as possible.”

 

“I signed up for it, right?” I was an idiot. At least I wouldn’t have to go through it again. “Good preparation for eventual childbirth,” I joked.

 

He chuckled and pulled the needle back, giving me a little reprieve.

 

“From what I heard childbirth is still worse.” He spritzed a little green soap on my back to clean away the pooling ink. “Three more minutes and I’ll be done with this spot.”

 

“I’ll be excited when it’s three minutes until you’re completely done.”

 

“I’ll make it up to you later,” he promised. I heard the tattoo machine start up again. “Brace yourself, gorgeous.”

 

I didn’t have any other choice.

 

We had two hours left for the session and all I wanted to do was quit. Of course I wasn’t going to do it, but I wanted to.

 

Eric and I had seen each other a few times since the last session. We had fun together. I was a fan of his work and I didn’t get jealous when some silly sorority chick wanted some dipshit boyfriend’s name tattooed on her crotch. It was just part of the job and even if he did get turned on by it, how could I really get mad? As long as he wasn’t fucking around with his clients I just let it go. Dude had eyes just like I did. I saw hot guys all the time. Besides, we hadn’t made any commitments to each other yet.

 

The two hours seemed to drag on for eternity. When the timer finally went off it couldn’t have been any more of a relief.

 

“Is this one worse than the last session?” He sprayed my back down with the cooling green soap again.

 

“Yes,” I said without hesitation.

 

“Next session is going to be some finishing touches. It won’t be near as bad,” he promised.

 

“I hope so. This one sucked.”

 

I felt his lips on the back of my neck.

 

“I wouldn’t lie to you, especially not about a tattoo. This is going to look amazing when I’m completely done.”

 

“I have faith it will,” I smiled. Eric was a great artist and the tattoo did look really great so far.

 

“You want to take a look before I covering it up?”

 

“Sure.” I went over to the full body mirror to check it out. “Wow…” It was almost done.

 

Thank fuck.

 

“I’m glad you like,” he smiled. “It’s coming out exactly how I imagined it would.”

 

“It’s fantastic, Eric. I’m not a tattoo expert but I love this. Hopefully the judges will too. I hate it when people try to cram too much into a back piece and then it doesn’t flow, you know?”

 

“Believe me, I know,” he chuckled. “Even if I don’t win, the fact that you are pleased with it is enough.” He leaned over to give me a peck on the lips before he turned to started getting the bandage ready.

 

That was sweet of him but I knew he would be disappointed if he lost. Not just because of the money but because of the bragging rights. It would be great for his business to be able to boast that he had been selected by reputable artists, and the bulk of America, as a quality artist.

 

“I have to call my dad and tell him my bare ass is going to be on TV.” The outfit for the last canvas was pasties and a thong, which reminded me I needed to get my butt to the gym and do some squats.

 

“From what you’ve said, I don’t think he’ll be too surprised,” Eric chuckled.

 

“Probably not. I figure he deserves a warning so he’s not shocked by gossip around town.” I could already imagine my brother getting pissed at his buddies for talking about it.

 

“Good call. I’d want a warning if I saw my kid mostly naked on television. I’d try to make sure all of my buddies TV’s were on the fritz,” he snorted. “Come on, gorgeous, get back into position so I can cover it up.”

 

I stretched out on the table again so Eric could cover his work. When I got home was going to walk around mostly topless to let the tattoo breathe. I was glad it was summertime because there was no way I could see doing this in the winter during the school year when I had to have clothes on. When Eric was done I got up off the table and grabbed the tank top I’d worn. It was loose so I wasn’t worried about it putting too much pressure on my back. I’d left my denim cutoffs on while Eric worked since my lower back was done.

 

“Got plans for tonight?” I wasn’t sure if he had paying clients to work on.

 

“Nope. I leave my Sookie nights free,” he winked. “I was going to go home and veg on the couch… what about you?”

 

“I’m going home and making tacos.” I’d been craving them for days.

 

“Are you inviting me over for tacos?” He rubbed my ass as he asked.

 

“That didn’t sound like an invitation to me,” I teased.

 

“I hear tacos and it’s always an invitation,” he chuckled. “They’re actually my favorite food.”

 

“Oh yeah? Well I suppose you could come by if you like. It’s nothing fancy, just a little steak, some rice and fresh guacamole…”

 

“Since when are tacos fancy? Plus, I can help you clean your back again.”

 

“I’ve cracked your code, buddy. If you want to fuck me, just say so,” I told him.

 

Eric laughed at that. “I want to fuck you a lot, Sookie.”

 

“Then come for dinner so you’ll be properly fueled up.”

 

“Yes, ma’am. Give me fifteen minutes to clean up?”

 

“Of course.”

 

I sat on his stool while he cleaned up his station. The shop was busy but it was a Saturday, so that was to be expected. Then again, the shop was pretty much always busy.

 

“So tacos are your favorite,” I said as we walked out of the shop.

 

“Yep. It was the first thing I ate in America once I decided to venture out from pancakes. All the flavor blew my little mind,” he chuckled. “Pancakes are a very close second.”

 

“You should know I randomly make pancakes in the middle of the night.”

 

“So you’re saying I should give you my address so you can pop in and give me midnight pancakes?”

 

I laughed.

 

“Random pancake ambush is like your secret dream, right? Hot burglar breaks in and feeds you buttery, fluffy discs of deliciousness…”

 

“Fuck, that’s a pretty sexy thought,” he said with a little groan.

 

“I feel the same way about a guy dropping in for a foot rub.”

 

“Good to know,” he winked. “I’m pretty good with these suckers.” He held up his hands.

 

“Yes you are.” He took my hand as we walked down the street. It was easy to hear music coming from the various bars and clubs in the French Quarter. “We should go dancing sometime.”

 

“I’m not the best at it, but I’d be down to go dancing with you. I need to get out more anyway, and who better to go out with than a beautiful woman?” He lifted my hand to kiss the back.

 

“I’ve got short skirts and backless tops that’ll make it worth your while,” I told him.

 

We walked along the busy street. I stopped at one of the vintage shops when I saw an old black hat in a window that was just begging to come home with me. Eric patiently followed me inside and nodded his approval when I tried on the old hat. It was a black velvet cowgirl hat with sparkly rhinestone embellishments at the front and it was five dollars.

 

I wore it home proudly, even if Eric thought I was a little crazy.

 

We had much better chemistry than I ever would have guessed. I liked him a lot. We hadn’t talked about the future yet or where we saw things going but I was happy with the way things were. When it was time we’d figure out the rest.

 

EPOV

 

“Want to go to my place?” I offered when a sweaty Sookie and I walked out of the club we went to. I wasn’t sure why I agreed to go dancing so easily. I was a shit dancer.

 

“Sure. It’d be nice to see where you live.”

 

“I’m interested in those late night pancakes, it’s my secret way of showing you where to deliver them,” I joked, tugging her over so I could wrap my arm around her. I wasn’t sure what was going on between us, I was just going with it. I liked her a lot more than I’d liked anyone in a long time.

 

“I hate to break it to you, but you suck at secrets,” she chuckled.

 

“I know, I’ve never been any good,” I sighed. I tilted my head to kiss her temple. “You’ll see when you watch the show I stayed quiet when everyone is together. I had to hold my tongue a lot because I don’t know how to hold stuff back. That is until you get to the confessionals,” I laughed. I fucking hated most of the guys competing. The one woman that was on was a major bitch.

 

“I know how to do it I just don’t,” she snorted. “Life’s too short to suffer fools.”

 

“Agreed.” I waved down a cab. “Is Marcellus going to be okay if you leave him much longer?” I asked.

 

“Shit, I have to let him out at least. I don’t want to be mopping up puddles tomorrow. I can meet you at your place,” Sookie offered.

 

“Or we can cab it back to your place and we can drive home, bringing Marcellus with us,” I suggested. I liked the little guy.

 

“Are you sure you want him at your place?”

 

“I wouldn’t have offered if I didn’t mean it. I don’t want him hanging out alone any more than you do.”

 

“Okay. Then let’s go get him. He’ll be excited about going for a car ride.”

 

When the cab came to a stop in front of us I opened the door to let her in first before I slid in behind her. Sookie gave the driver her address. Without thinking twice I threaded my fingers through hers. I wasn’t sure what it was with her. The connection we had was insane, in a good way.

 

As we rode back to Sookie’s we talked and laughed. She was easy to be around. When we got back to her place I paid the driver before I got out, helping Sookie get out behind me. I followed up to the house, waiting for her to unlock the door. I actually didn’t live too far from her. Too far to walk so late at night, though.

 

“Will he be okay sleeping over at my place?” I asked. I didn’t expect her to go home after we fooled around.

 

“He should be. He’s not too picky.”

 

“Good. I have plenty of space for him to check out,” I told her.

 

“He’ll inspect every inch of it, don’t worry.” Sookie got the door open and right away Marcellus was coming to greet us. “Hi baby. I missed your handsome face. That’s my boy.” Sookie knelt down to give him pets and hugs.

 

“It’ll keep him busy while I have playtime with you,” I chuckled. I waited until Sookie let him out to potty before I followed her to her room so she could pack an overnight bag.

 

“If you’re lucky.” Marcellus hadn’t bothered us yet. Sookie got an overnight bag from her armoire. She plucked one of her little sundresses off its hanger and a fresh pair of panties from a drawer. Sookie moved into the bathroom to get what she needed there.

 

While she was getting her things together I went back out to the backdoor so I could let Marcellus in. His tail was going crazy. I took my turn to give him pets. He was a really good dog. By the time Marcellus and I got back to her room Sookie was finishing up.

 

“Ready?”

 

“Yep. Let me get Marcellus on his leash and we’re all set.”

 

I smiled and took her bag while she got the dog ready. Sookie was going to be the first woman at my house in almost a year. I was picky about who I let into my life, which was why opening up to her the way I had was strange. I was going to run with it.

 

 

I unlocked the front door and stepped in. I reached over to flip on the light as Sookie walked in with Marcellus.

 

“This is it,” I smiled when Sookie came inside.

 

“Wow.” She looked around with wide, sparkly eyes. “This is a really cool little house. I like it. It feels like you.”

 

“Thanks. That was how I felt when I walked in,” I told her. “I’ve had it about eight years now.” It didn’t look like much from the street. Once you were in it looked like you’d gone through the wardrobe into a new world.

 

“These windows are incredible. I never would have expected them from the street,” she said. “And the staircase? It’s art, Eric. This whole house is amazing.”

 

I smiled at that. It was nice to hear as an artist.

 

“Want to check out upstairs?” I rubbed my hand over her butt. Marcellus was still on his leash so I leaned over to unhook him so he could run around.

 

“Yes, I’d love to.” She was too absorbed by all there was to see to pay much attention to my hand on her ass.

 

“Right this way.” I took her hand so I could lead her to the stairs. She stopped to admire the small kitchen before I sent her up. The door to my room was open at the top of the stairs so I walked in to set her bag on my bed. I also turned on a few lights so she could see everything.

 

“Okay your bedroom might be bigger than my whole house.”

 

“It used to be two rooms,” I told her. “I knocked out a wall since I live alone and this isn’t exactly a family home.”

 

“Ah, that explains a lot,” she smiled. “Your bed is bigger than my kitchen, that’s for sure.”

 

“I’m a big man,” I reminded her.

 

“Oh I know. You fuck me and I feel it two days later,” she winked.

 

I laughed at that. I hadn’t gotten any complaints from her or any other woman I’d been with.

 

“The bathroom is through there.” I pointed to the bathroom door.

 

Sookie turned that way and peeked inside.

 

“Eric Northman you have a swimming pool in here!” It was just a big soaker tub.

 

“Once your back heals you’re more than welcome to come over for a swim whenever you like,” I offered.

 

“I may take you up on it.” Sookie turned toward me again. “Of course I might have to wait until you get rid of the name…”

 

“That’s going as soon as the show’s over,” I told her. I reached out to tug her closer. “Not that I don’t adore every inch of your sexy little body, but I can do without looking at that.”

 

“Makes two of us.” She pushed up onto her toes to kiss me.

 

I held onto her hips so she couldn’t back away just yet. I kissed her again because I liked doing it so much.

 

“There’s not much to the backyard,” I said, tucking some of her hair behind her ear. “I’m glad you like it here. It’s me within four walls.” It meant she really liked me.

 

“It’s great. Too many houses nowadays feel staged to sell. This place has personality.”

 

“It had that staged look when I bought it. Over the years I’ve done a few things to make it my own.”

 

“You did a great job.”

 

“Thanks. Are you ready to go to bed now, or do you want to go back downstairs?”

 

“I’m not really ready for bed yet,” she admitted. “We can go back downstairs.”

 

I took her hand so I could lead her out of the room. Instead of taking her down into the kitchen we went the other way where the stairs split. The wall there was covered in paintings and drawings that my friends and I had done. The art was all over the house but some of my favorite pieces were on the wall in front of us.

 

“This is quite a collection. I tried to take up watercolor painting but I’m not very good at it,” she admitted.

 

“Art isn’t for everyone. I’ve already learned a few things you’re fantastic at,” I said suggestively, patting her butt.

 

“I do have my talents,” she smiled. “Painting isn’t one of them. I’m a pretty good sewer though.”

 

“Oh yeah? I’ve never tried it. Well, I’ve sewn on a button or two, but that doesn’t take much talent,” I chuckled.

 

“My Gran taught me how to quilt. That blanket on the couch at home was sewn by my own two hands while I was in college.”

 

“That’s a good napping blanket,” I smiled. “At least it looks like one.”

 

“It might be a little small for your beanstalks but it is comfy.”

 

“Then I’ll have to sweet talk you into making me one that’s long enough for me.”

 

“I could do that. What colors do you like?”

 

“I like black,” I chuckled. “Reds… sometimes grays. If you look at my wardrobe it’s mostly black and gray.”

 

“So pink it is.”

 

“I’d still sleep under it. As long as it’s comfy, it doesn’t matter to me,” I shrugged. I pointed to a painting of a woman with a skull on top of her head along with some roses and a cigarette hanging out of her mouth. “That’s one of my all time favorites. Godric, my old mentor did it. He gave it to me when I moved in here and then committed suicide the next year. It was the first thing up on the wall.”

 

“It’s beautiful. I’m sorry you lost him. He was a talented man.”

 

“Extremely talented,” I agreed. “It took everyone by surprise when it happened.” I held my arm out to show her an angel on my forearm. “He did that one. It’s only tattoo he ever did on me when I first met him.”

 

“Interesting choice,” she smiled.

 

“Tell me about it,” I chuckled.

 

“I need to find more art for my place. It’s been a work in progress since I moved in six months ago,” she said.

 

“Was that when you and Alcide split?” I motioned for her to follow me to the living room so we could sit on the couch.

 

“Yep. Three days ago I should have been getting married.”

 

“Instead you were eating beignets with me. Sorry if I didn’t do the day justice.” I took a seat on the corner of the couch, not at all surprised when Sookie curled up under my arm.

 

“You stifle it, it was a great way to spend the day,” she said. “I didn’t bring it up because I didn’t want you thinking it was your job to cheer me up. Turned out you did a perfectly fine job of it anyway.”

 

“I’m glad it wasn’t a downer for you.” I kissed the top of her head. “As it turns out I like making you happy. Not to sound clingy, but I like spending time with you.”

 

“What if I’m okay with you sounding clingy?” Her arm draped over my stomach.

 

“I’d be happy to hear it. I was thinking about getting a little clingier,” I warned.

 

“How much clingier? Are we talkin’ promotion to girlfriend or you’re thinking of taking up residency in my bushes?”

 

I smiled. She was cute. “I’m talking promotion to girlfriend if you’re interested.” I wasn’t interested in any other women. She was cool with my job. Very understanding so far. We had a lot of potential.

 

“I could be interested. What’s the pay like?”

 

“Kisses whenever you want them. All the orgasms and tattoos you can handle. The comfy bed upstairs when you stay over.” Marcellus climbed up onto the couch so he could curl up on Sookie’s feet. “Marcellus is welcome to come with you. Possibly a trip to Sweden if I win…”

 

“Those are some pretty sweet perks. I’d be crazy to turn it down,” she said.

 

I tilted her head up so I could press a soft kiss on her lips. I was excited. There was something about Sookie that I felt from the moment we met. I didn’t expect to ask her to be my girl. It was never really a thought until the words came out. It felt good and right to be with her.

 

“If you want me to hide out in the bushes I could give it a shot,” I teased when the kiss broke.

 

“There’s only one bush you need to hang out in but I’ll have to grow it back first,” she giggled.

 

“I like hanging out there even without the bush,” I chuckled. “Maybe when we go up to bed I can spend a while down there.” I rubbed my hand over her thigh.

 

“I’m never going to turn that down.”

 

“Just like I’d never turn down one of your blowjobs,” I smiled. She truly gave the best blowjobs. Alcide was a dumbass.

 

“I’ve heard that before,” she said.

 

“That’s because you’re amazing at it.”

 

“Thanks, but I know from experience it’s not enough to keep someone interested. He didn’t like tacos. I should have known then.”

 

“That is a major red flag,” I nodded. “It’s a good thing I like you for more than your good BJ skills.”

 

“You haven’t even had my pancakes yet. The cinnamon roll pancakes means it’s real.”

 

“Watch out, good pancakes may earn a marriage proposal,” I warned. “Octavia down at the waffle house keeps turning me down.”

 

“Her loss is my gain.” Sookie kissed my neck.

 

I could’ve said the same about Alcide, but I kept that comment to myself. I tilted her head up again for another deeper kiss. Her lips were amazing. Everything I knew about Sookie was amazing. I was sure I’d find something I didn’t like about her. I didn’t really care, though. The pros of being with her were too good to even worry about any cons.

 

SPOV

 

I was nervous about going out on stage in front of a rowdy live audience that definitely had its favorite to win. The tattoo looked incredible and I hoped the judges scored it well. I stood backstage in my black mini robe and not much else waiting for my cue to follow the other canvases out. We had all seen each other’s tattoos.

 

Mine was the best.

 

One had not so great saturation and the other was really hard to read if you were more than three feet away. Eric’s design might be considered safe by some but it was well done. To me that was more important than swinging for the fences and missing.

 

Finally, my cue.

 

I walked out onto the stage in a pair of black pumps that I knew Eric would definitely fuck me in later if he won. The tattoo with splotchy color was of a koi fish that was more new school style than Japanese. It was a bizarre hybrid that failed all the way around. I saw Eric’s face on a monitor and had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from laughing. The second tattoo was some kind of fucked up carousel with zombies riding it. That had to be the product of a bad trip. I couldn’t imagine going through life with that on my back. Violet, the owner of that mess, seemed to think it was ‘wicked sick’ and deserved top honors.

 

It was the first tattoo to ever give me motion sickness.

 

Then it was my turn.

 

I stepped up to my mark, untied my robe and turned around before I let it slip down my back. The audience applauded the effort. At least I knew it wasn’t a train wreck of a tattoo.

 

“Eric, please tell us about your final tattoo,” the host requested.

 

“I went with a neo-traditional style,” he started. “I wanted to give her full coverage, much to her dismay. I wanted to give her something she’d be willing to live with for the rest of her life. I learned she was into sugar skulls, and went with it.”

 

There was more applause. I knew the cameras were getting close up shots so the people in the cheap seats could see the finer details of the tattoo. There was a lot of line work around the eye that was visible and it was obvious it was consistent. The shading was perfect, as was the color fade where the red met yellow at the bottom. The rose up near my left shoulder blade had such a realistic look to it. Eric captured the life in it. Even the face on my back, as deconstructed as it looked, seemed to have life to it. That wasn’t easy; it was the work of a master.

 

The show went to commercial and I was able to put my robe back on.

 

“I think they loved it,” I said when I went to hug him. We had decided not to say anything about our relationship until the results were in. The producers had found out but since Eric hadn’t broken any contract rules there was nothing they could do about it, at least not in terms of penalizing him on the show. We hadn’t worked on the tattoo over the allotted time so there was no conflict of interest. Our relationship was pretty separate from the tattoo.

 

“I think so too. You didn’t see the smile on Patrick’s face when it was revealed.” He kissed my cheek before he let me go.

 

I didn’t but I would when we got home.

 

I walked off the stage and went back to the dressing room to get my clothes back on. There were a few more segments before the winner was revealed. Of course the other contestants were asked about drama that had happened in their house over the course of the season. There was the one crybaby who insisted he was kicked off the show because he was gay. It was a pathetic argument that nobody bought. His tattoo the day he was eliminated sucked. It was a no brainer why he was sent home but he maintained it was because the judges were homophobes.

 

Where I came from there were still lots of people who didn’t accept homosexuality. To them it was an abomination and nothing but a slap in the face to God. I was a drama teacher who happened to chair the Gay/Straight Student Alliance at my school, so obviously homophobes weren’t my people. I had several students who were gay or questioning if they were and they never used their sexuality as an excuse for their shortcomings. So hearing this bag of dicks complain about losing his spot over some trumped up accusation instead of owning his sloppiness really got under my skin.

 

It also probably wasn’t doing his business any good.

 

Mr. Weight-Of-the-Gay-World-On-His-Shoulders had done a spectacular job of martyring himself for the gay community. I stood there slack jawed, wondering who voted to make that Weeping Wilmer their spokesman.

 

Finally Patrick said, “Yeah, I’d love to do an hour on this but we need to move on.”

 

The eruption of applause was thundering.

 

Maybe I should have him come speak to my class this year on melodrama… No, don’t feed the troll, Sookie.

 

I zipped up my jeans and got my top on. It was black sequined with a low cut neckline and it was backless. Tape held it in place up front. My tits looked great and I had gone to the gym to do those squats so my ass was in better shape than it had been in in years.

 

I stayed in my little dressing room, watching everything unfold on the TV in there. Eric looked so goddamn yummy. His button down shirt sleeves were rolled up to his elbows and the pants he was wearing hugged his amazing ass just right. We both looked good. Whether he won or not, there was definitely going to be some fucking after the taping was over. It was one of the consolation prizes that came with a new relationship if he lost.

 

It seemed to take for-fucking-ever, but finally the moment of truth came. The first one eliminated was the hot mess carousel from hell. That thing was a goddamned disaster no matter how I looked at it. The tension was palpable and I noticed my hands were sweating as I waited for the winner to be revealed.

 

Eric or Mr. Koi? Eric or Mr. Koi?

 

The suspense was killing me so I could only imagine what it was doing to Eric. He had practiced his gracious loser face at my insistence. He said it didn’t matter if he won but that was obviously bullshit or he never would have done the show in the first place. I got it, though. If he minimized how much he wanted it, it wouldn’t hurt so much if he didn’t get it.

 

The P in V wasn’t the only thing that fit with us.

 

“The judges have decided…” Patrick paused, driving everyone in attendance to the brink of insanity before he finally added, “Eric, you are the new ink master.”

 

Ahhhhh!

 

“Yes! Yesyesyesyesyes!” I jumped up and down in excitement. Oh man, I was so happy for Eric. He was clearly thrilled about it. I swear I saw a tear in his eye. I know I saw him touch the angel on his arm, silently thanking his mentor.

 

I ran out of the green room and up to the wing of the stage. As soon as it was clear I ran out onto the stage and jumped on Eric.

 

“Congratulations!” I laid a big kiss on his handsome face.

 

“Mmm, thank you, gorgeous,” he replied quietly, holding me crazy tight. “I don’t know what the fuck to do with myself now.” He had a big goofy grin on his face. He grabbed the back of my head and planted one of those coming home from war kisses on me.

 

It didn’t go unnoticed by anyone who was in attendance. I heard some whistles and gasps, along with a few people who shouted that Eric had cheated somehow. It was quite the spectacle.

 

“Me,” I answered when he pulled back. “Do me.”

 

“Oh, I plan on it,” he laughed. “A lot.”

 

“Good. I’m going to hold you to it. It’s a good thing you got a corner room and I’m next door,” I smirked.

 

“The rest of the guests will appreciate that.” He squeezed my ass, not even caring about the hundreds of people in the room with us.

 

“I’m guessing you have to sign a bunch of papers and shit before you can get out of here, am I right?”

 

“Yep. Want to meet me back in my room?” He gave me another lingering peck.

 

“Absolutely.” I boldly squeezed his cock.

 

“You better be naked when I get back,” he growled.

 

“If I’m not?”

 

“Mmm, I don’t know. I may have to bend you over my knee and spank you for being naughty,” he said in a low sex voice.

 

“Sounds like a reward to me,” I smirked.

 

“It’s your pretty ass,” he winked.

 

“Yes it is. Okay, go sign your papers. I’m going to go back to the hotel and prepare myself.”

 

“I’ll see you soon, gorgeous.” He gave me one last peck before he finally let me go.

 

I left the stage and headed for the nearest exit. Our hotel wasn’t too far away but since Manhattan wasn’t anywhere near my hometown, I hailed a cab to take me back to where I was staying. I was so excited for Eric. He deserved the win and I hoped that it brought him the recognition he deserved. He ran a great shop and had a magnificent talent for what he did, and I was happy that his win reflected that.

 

When I got back to the hotel I went up to my room on the tenth floor. I’d brought some lingerie for the occasion that would make my tits and ass look extra appetizing. I wasn’t sure how long it would take for Eric to finish up the business he had to take care of but I started getting ready anyway. I was sure we were in for a long, wonderful night.

 

Three Months Later…

 

You know how they say to be careful what you wish for? Well, after the show was over and aired, Eric’s shop blew up. It was busy before the show aired but it went from busy to insane after the show started airing. Rather than blowing all the money on a bunch of silly stuff, Eric decided to put a lot of it into a second location that was twice as big as the one he already had. He was having a hard time deciding whether or not to keep the first spot open too. There was no way for him to be at both at the same time so it was hard to decide what he wanted to do. He had a pretty strong emotional connection to the building because of his mentor. I wasn’t sure he’d be willing to let it go.

 

School had started again and when the board found out my bare ass was going to be broadcast on TV they were less than thrilled with it. They claimed I had violated some bullshit, made up morality clause in my contract and decided to let me go because of it. I walked out of the school board office enraged and ready to hurt somebody. I was a damn good teacher! My kids loved me and I made a difference in their lives on a personal level. I made the effort to get to know them as people and not just bodies that were stuck in my presence five days a week.

 

I went home all pissed off and had a long, angry cry about it. Marcellus did his part to try and cheer me up, but I was in big trouble. I needed a new job and fast. Teaching gigs weren’t easy to come by and in a conservative place like Louisiana I wasn’t sure my bare ass would fly any better at any other school. Goddamnit.

 

I was allowed a little time for a pity party, right?

 

I gave myself exactly two hours and then I decided I was going to suck it up and get on with my life. I would figure something out. If I had to, I would start quilting for a living. I made nice quilts and it was something I could parlay into a business. My eyes landed on a picture of Eric and me that had been taken while we were in France. He had surprised me with the trip a week after he won the competition. It was the most amazing ten days and while we were staring at Paris down below us from the observation area of the Eiffel Tower I realized I loved him.

 

It had happened fast but it felt right. The honeymoon phase was coming to its end and the blinders were coming off. I started to notice the dirty socks I found in random places around his house. He probably noticed that I didn’t always clean the kitchen right away after cooking. Sometimes I let the dishes go for a day or two. Not with nasty food on them or anything, but still, they sat in the sink waiting for my attention. We weren’t perfect but none of our flaws were fatal.

 

We had our first fight in France. We were both crabby and jet lagged at the time. I found out he was the kind that needed immediate resolution whereas I didn’t want to be pushed into conceding a point or apologizing immediately. I needed time to think, reflect and find a compromise. It was frustrating to him but I gathered it was largely in part because he wanted to get his way every time and that just wasn’t going to be possible. We both had to give a little if we were going to get anywhere.

 

It was easy to blame the ex for everything that went wrong in a relationship. He did this or she never did that and somehow one’s own faults and shortcomings got lost in the shuffle of how it all went wrong. Who tells a prospective mate that their last three relationships failed because they were behaving like a possessive, spoiled toddler? That never happens. Not that Eric acted that way. I didn’t either, for that matter.

 

But the make-up sex was phenomenal. It made the fights worth it.

 

Eric had been working crazy long hours and since I had the free time I decided to surprise him. Into the kitchen I went to make him tacos because to him, nothing said love better than yummy Mexican food. At least one of us should have been having a good day.

 

I got the food ready and walked my happy ass over to the shop. It was less than a mile away so it was a nice walk by day. Eric was sitting at his drawing table when I walked in. Immediately he looked up and sniffed the air like some sixth sense told him what was in the insulated reusable bag I was carrying.

 

What he wasn’t expecting was to see me on a school day at lunchtime.

 

“Hello, gorgeous,” he smiled. He seemed a little surprised but not put off by seeing me.

 

“I brought lunch.” Like he didn’t know.

 

“It smells like heaven. Get over here so I can kiss your pretty face.”

 

I crossed the room and leaned down to kiss him.

 

“How’s your day going so far?” it had to be better than mine.

 

“Not bad, but your pout tells me yours isn’t going so well.” He reached up to rub his thumb over my cheek.

 

“I got fired. I hope you’re hungry. I made tacos.” I set the bag on the table.

 

“You got fired? What the fuck?” Eric stood up from his seat so he could pull me into a tight hug. I could feel his anger boiling up inside.

 

“School board said I violated some bullshit morality code by going on TV almost nude,” I told him.

 

“That’s a bunch of bullshit,” he frowned. “Come on, I can take a break from this.” Eric let me go so he could lead me back to his office.

 

“Yes it is. I’ll be okay, though. I’ll find a new job and get on with my– hey, I can finally get my stripper job,” I joked.

 

“Sookie, not that I’d ever worry about someone looking at your body, but you don’t need to do that… I’m sure there’s something you can find,” he said.

 

“I haven’t started looking yet.” I unpacked the food I’d brought. Tortillas, lime wedges, pico de gallo, carne asada, shredded cheese…

 

“Are you able to take a little time off before looking?” he asked.

 

“Not really. My bills won’t stop coming. I have a little money saved up but I don’t want to blow it. I used up pretty much all of my savings to buy my house.” I took the lids off the containers and Eric groaned at the steak.

 

“Until you find something you can help me out here,” he suggested without a second thought.

 

I arched an eyebrow.

 

“Let me guess, lunch bringer, coffee fetcher and stereo guardian to keep your apprentice from playing Justin Bieber,” I said.

 

“How about helping me with the books and all of the clerical shit that makes my job harder?” He took a seat in his giant leather chair.

 

“Oh you mean the nerd part that you would almost rather stomp on your dick than do?” Eric really did hate the paperwork part of the job. He got it done but I could tell when he had been doing the bills. He was always in a foul mood.

 

“Yes,” he nodded. “You know how grouchy it makes me, especially now that I have two locations. It would take a huge burden off of me and give you and me more time together.”

 

“Until I find a job and then you’re stuck with it again.”

 

He thought for a moment before saying, “It comes with benefits and pretty damn good pay. So you’re close to home and Marcellus I trust you to run this location… kinda like a partnership.”

 

“Marcellus has a vote?” I handed him the tortillas.

 

“I’m using him as incentive,” he winked as he took the tortillas from me. “As long as he stays well behaved you’d even be able to bring him with you.”

 

“I don’t think I’d bring him. He gets too curious, but being so close I could run home to let him out… Are you really offering an inexperienced person a job managing your shop?”

 

“We can work together for the next two weeks until you learn the ropes. I’m not going to toss you into it without training and expect you to run everything. If you’re interested we could make it work. I trust that you’d reach out to me if I’m at the other location if there’s something you’re not comfortable with.”

 

It wasn’t a bad offer. I was confident I could handle customers and I knew I could get things organized around the shop.

 

“You know, you could just make sure all the bills come here and I can do the accounting for both locations in addition to overseeing this one,” I said.

 

“Which would leave me to manage the second location and do what I do best, put ink into people’s skin.” He added some meat to a tortilla.

 

“That’s the dream, right?” I smiled.

 

“Nah, I think you’re the dream,” he flirted.

 

“Oh smooth,” I laughed. “In that case, I accept your offer.”

 

“We can get the paperwork started after lunch and I’m finished with that drawing I was working on. You can start tomorrow.”

 

“I can do that,” I nodded. “I won’t have to be a morning person anymore.”

 

“Unless you want to get up to work out with me,” he chuckled. “I have to with all this kick ass food you feed me.”

 

“And lose all these curves you love grabbing on?”

 

“You’re right,” he chuckled. His eyes flicked down to my hips. I swear I heard him groan.

 

“You know, it’ll be the best of both world; we’ll work together but not be together constantly and get on each other’s nerves.”

 

“This is sounding better and better. I’m pretty sure I pay better than the school board too.”

 

“You might,” I chuckled. “Plus you have your award canvas on the premises…”

 

“Not only my award winning canvas, but the woman I’m crazy in love with,” he smiled.

 

“Well I’m not sure the second part will attract customers.”

 

“It makes me happy, that’s all that matters.”

 

“Not from a fiscal standpoint,” I laughed.

 

“Not really,” he snickered. “I’m glad I’ll have you around. I think it’s going to be good for us.”

 

“Hopefully it’ll make your life easier. Plus I can imagine what our close door meetings will look like…” I teasingly bent over the desk.

 

“I feel like we should close the door now,” he said suggestively.

 

“Oh no, we’re having Mexican tacos, not Sookie taco,” I giggled.

 

“Damn,” he pouted. “I mean, I love these tacos.” He lifted the one he was eating. “I love a Sookie taco more.”

 

“Dessert,” I winked.

 

“Mmm… Now I need to power through these,” he chuckled before shoving the rest of his taco into his mouth.

 

“Don’t worry, my taco will stay nice and warm while you finish your lunch,” I snorted. I took a seat on the folding chair and started to build my own taco.

 

Life was funny. It never occurred to me that my fiancé was doing me a favor by cheating, but that was exactly what he’d done. Eric was a much better fit for me and I would be forever grateful that I had signed up on a whim to be a canvas. It opened doors I never thought I’d walk through, but I was excited about the next chapter in the story of my life.

 

I was even more excited to walk through it with Eric as my partner.

 

Next…

Sookie’s outfits…

15 thoughts on “Ink Master

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