(2019-01-12) Ink and Lasagna
These two things don't go together, unless your name is August.
Players:
anthony..august..katherine..teija..

The interior of The Mad Tatter is pretty busy tonight, at least two of the stations filled, along with one of the curtained booths in the back, presumably with a few fill in or part time artists, maybe even a piercer, if the yelp from the private room in the back is any indication. Seems perhaps Jasper won the pool today, because playing through those speakers nested into the eaves is a little AC/DC, rolling right into Highway to Hell just now.

August Lexington is seated at the counter, wearing an exceptionally low-cut fuzzy black sweater with 3/4 length sleeves. Those are shoved up a little higher, to her elbows, and her long hair is pulled back into a high tail to keep it out of her eyes. A pair of black-framed glasses rest on her nose. Whatever else she may be wearing is hidden from view entirely, the tall counter obscuring most of her body. She's clicking along through some things on the computer, probably sales or scheduling. The usually-tall stack of EAT ME at the Mad Tatter tshirt pile seems to have shrunk, indicating it's been a busy merch day. The Swear Jar, set nearby on the counter, is also full of loose bills, looking quite healthy. It's been a sweary weekend with all the snowfall.

*

Kate peeks in before she opens the door, her head tilted upward as she takes in the music. She walks further in, waving vaguely at Jasper before she starts to pull off her winter gear. Coat, scarf, beanie and mittens come off and are shoved into her deep pockets, revealing a baby pink and blue flannel over a long-sleeved white tee-shirt and a pair of distressed denim jeans. She makes her way to the counter and leans against it. "I think I have an appointment. I should have an appointment. I called someone." She waves cheerily at August, before she peeks at the book to see if her name is written down somewhere.

*

After a long, black car parks outside, shuts off, and all the usual proper behavior, it's driver, a tall study of dark and light climbs out and triggers it's factory-merry chirp-chirp. She's either out on a lark, or a mission, as she approaches, and enters the door to the shop, quickly enough that her ivory skin doesn't take the 'Gah-DAMN it's COLD' pink tinge. It seems everyone's out tonight, as she newly arrived Goth takes a gander at the joint with a mostly suppressed eyeroll. Four years out of the tank and…
She…
can't….
escape… that song.

*

August glances over from whatever she's doing to the computer, and there's a cartoony explosion noise, which indicates what she was doing was not work related. She flicks her silver-eyed glance back to the computer, and a clever eye might catch the reflection of a fucking enormous Minesweeper field in the lenses of her glasses. Ahem. She clears her throat. "Hey, Kate. It wasn't me you talked to, but lemme check the book."

The Book. August peers down at the huge leatherbound tome open on the counter next to her. She points to an entry in seriously awful spidery script. "Oh, this might be you. Jasper has super shitty handwriting, and … oh yep. You do. That's vaguely a KS and maybe that's—" She hmms. "Jasper!" August turns her head and calls to the large, dark haired wall of muscle in the very last booth.

"Yo!" Jasper's responses are always short.

"This your shitty handwriting about KS at 6? And is it for me or you?" Aug rolls her eyes a little.

"Yeah," is Jaspers entire reply. Which is super fucking helpful.

"Well, my friend, looks like you got me." August grins, but makes a mental note to tell Jasper to stop writing in the book if he can't print legibly. In fact, she picks up a post-it note and writes him a neat note to that affect, then slaps it down on the book itself. It reads: Hey, fuckstick, don't write shit down if you can't do it neat.

She picks up her sketchbook and flips a few pages, and turns it to Kate. "This is the idea, yeah?" There's a little ready-to-go fine-line stencil already drawn, and behind it is a color version done in waxy pencils. The base is a whimsically drawn feather with a swirl of itty bitty birds pinwheeling in a spiral.

August is sat behind the counter, Kate in front of it, and Teija's just come in from the oh-my-Colorado cold. There are flurries, but only just.

*

Kate (aka KS) smirks at August, nodding as she points to the picture in the book. "That's exactly it." She sets a tupperwear container on the counter and opens it. "I made cookies this morning, they're oatmeal chocolate chip." She glances at her flannel and shirt and frowns slightly. "What do I need to do to get ready for this?" She is already gathering her hair into a bun, before she wrinkles her nose. "Also, do you have any tequila? A shot helps a lot when you start working, so I don't squeak. I really don't want to squeak." She points to the speaker. "Love this song."

*

Teija closes her eyes a moment and silently exhales through her nose. All those hours… trapped in sixty plus tons of hevy metal… all those miles… Trauma! She steps in further and off to the side of the door, just in case anyone else walks in behind her, not wanting to be in the way, but not in a huge hurry to interrupt August's business. She contents herself to wait and survey the art samples again while things at the counter get sorted out.

*

The faintly flurries of Calaveras swirled with illusions of being a hindrance against the thick black cashmere fabric of Anthony's overcoat. The soft crunching clack of the oak bark tanned soles of his oxford shoes marred with the hefty, weighted jingle of the entryway bells as a calloused hand tugged open the entryway and stepped inside, kicking the toe of his shoes against the floor gently to purge them of any excess snow.

"Evenin' Ladies" he remarked, the thick New York twinge to his rugged baritone that sounded like someone had taken a second generation Italian mechanic off the mean streets of Brooklyn. The slate grey of his suit peaked beneath his overcoat and one hand held within it a red-capped tupowear container, steamy with its contents, "I brought you'se some food" Tony remarked, peridot green orbs darting over Teija briefly in passing as he approached the counter, plopping the container down beside the other one that Kate has just produced, "I'm vyin' for your affection wit' Kate, but she probably cooks better 'an I do, so not hard feelin's if you makeout wit' her later an' not me" he grinned, flashing a handsome display of white teeth.

*

August digs around in the drawers behind the desk for a moment, crinkles a few things, and them comes up with a little package that appears to be a hard candy sucker with bubblegum inside. It's blue, whatever flavor that is. "My boss gets pissy about liquor, but I have candy. You'd be amazed how many people pass out in the chair because they forgot to eat." The tupperware opens she reaches over to take a cookie, breaks it in half, and pops it into her mouth. She doesn't even ask if it is has raisins in it first. Which could be a fatal mistake.

"Just gotta pull your top up, tape it in place, then I shave off any fine body hairs and we get to work. Because it's pretty small, shouldn't be too bad. I had my belly done and it was one of the least painful, but it does feel a little weird." Aug nods to the closest station. "That one's mine, so you can snuggle on down in that chair. You got any music you prefer, or is this okay?" The song promptly rolls right into another tune: Back in Black. Fucking Jasper and his AC/DC fetish. At least it's not that loud.

Aug glances over at Teija, smiling a bit, but since the other woman's busy browsing, she doesn't interrupt. Though she does nod if the goth looks over.

Her gaze flicks to the door when it opens and in walks a tall, dark-haired man in cashmere. Aug smiles slowly. Food and cookies. She props her elbow on the counter and asks, "How did I get so damn lucky?" She taps her lips with a fingertip, eating a cookie and leaning into see what is in this other bag. "Now, now. I can make time for you both." Her black-painted lips curve. Yup, August is one happy tattooer today. Even if the white death is trying to bring her down. She reaches across the counter to touch Tony's hand. "Thanks, Malone."

*

"Candy!" Kate thinks that will do, and if she passes out, it's fine. She takes the lollipop from August and sits on a chair, taking the wrapper off of the pop. "The music is fine, my dad used to listen to this stuff all the time and I'm pretty used to it." She tucks her feet up on the chair while she waits, popping the sucker in her mouth. "She doesn't make out with me, we only snuggle." She raises her chin, eyebrows lifting slightly as she eyes the bags on the counter. "What did you bring? I didn't really eat before I came down here, well..I had a little cookie dough." She pulls the sucker from her mouth and shifts her gaze at Teija. "Hey, Kate Stone. Haven't seen you around town thus far, are you new here?"

*

Teija glances back over her shoulder as the fellow comes in behind her bearing food. Eyes roam from crown to toe and back again. She catches Augie's nod and returns it with a quiet, "Hey." but otherwise goes back to being a browser as all the folks make the familiar. She looks over at the other woman as she opens hailing frequencies, looking a might taken aback by something briefly, then, "Teija Harkonnen. I don't go out, much." she returns politely, "You part Finn?"

*

"It's Lasagna" Anthony chimed simply to the query and glanced toward Kate with a grin, "There's enough for you to have some too, assuming momma' bear over here don't try'ta rip ya' face off or anythin' over her food" he grinned and took a few steps over past the counter to shrug off his overcoat and drape it lazily over one of the waiting room chairs, revealing the full slate grey ensemble of jacket, slacks, and a simple merino wool crewneck.

His hands slipped lazily into the silk-lined pockets of his slacks and he turned to flitter a single coal-black eyebrow upward toward Kate and Teija, canting his head aside a bit, "Finn…ish?" he mulled quietly beneath an arched brow, glancing toward Kate with a bit of a squint.

*

August slides out from behind the counter, peeling the stencil free of a bit of tape. She trims it down briefly, standing behind the counter with a pair of scissors. When Kate addresses Teija, the tattooer looks up and over, glancing at the goth to see if she's ready. Auggie glances over to see Kate making use of the candy she offered. Nothing if not a creative problem solver, Ms. Lexington. "Sorry, my fault. Teija, Kate. Kate, Teija. Teija, Anthony Malone, Malone, Teija." She's a little late on that since everyone else basically did their own intros already, but—.

Wait, what was that, Malone? She doesn't say this aloud, you anyone looking at her face can see the moment when it occurs to her that Tony's talking about her like she's some food hoarding beastie (ok, sometimes). She watches him make that retreat to dump his coat, casual like he wasn't moving out of reaching range. "Did you make this?" She pops open the container before she does anything else, takes a deep breath. She produces a spoon from somewhere behind the counter and takes a huge bite, then scuttles over to Kate, on a very high pair of stiletto heels, spoon still in her mouth. Jesus, she's so classy. She has a belly to prepare. She can do both!

*

Kate shakes her head at Teija's question. "Hungarian and Dutch." She responds, watching August take a bite of the lasagna with a soft laugh. "I won't take her lasagna, especially if you made it, she should stuff herself until she's contented." She stretches her arms over her head and sighs. "I can catch a burger on my way back up the hill after she's done, if I still feel like eating. She watches August approach with her tools and winces. "Okay, I'm really ticklish, so fair warning..when you shave it, I'm going to attempt to not laugh or squirm. I make no promises though." She crosses her legs at the ankle and tries to relax. "Oh, and it's a pleasure to meet you Teija." Her eyes are closed, but she turns her head toward the other woman for just a moment before she sighs and waits for the shaving to begin.

*

Teija hmm's softly, "Not too far away…" she murmurs with a shrug, "Nice to meet you, both." comes at a more normal volume. She nods to Anthony, "She looks like my grandmother's bridal picture. When she was very young." Best to clarify that. She figures talking to August might have to wait a bit, and so she opts to make her way toward a chair, visibly second guessing herself only briefly when it comes to removing her coat, because it's gonna get damn hot with it on. It slips down from inked shoulders and gets folded over an arm before she settles into the chair with her right leg crossing over the left, so it's adornment doesn't get caught up on the arm of the chair.

*

"Ahh…" Anthony droned in reply to Teija's mention of Kate looking like her grandmother, to which he helplessly darted his eyes toward her with a grin, it was an unspoken jest that, despite Teija clarifying 'when she was very young' was an obvious one.

"Yeah, I did" he nodded toward Kate simply, the whiskery shadow of beard growth along his jaw shifting as he jutted his jaw out in a mock sense of pride, waggling his brows, "I know, scary, right?" he mused, trailing Teija with his eyes as she stepped over and sat down, which he then mimicked a few moments after in the seat directly next to his jacket, draping his left leg over right he withdrew a soft pack of parliament cigarettes from his suit jacket pocket and snuck one out betwixt his lips. "Enjoy the stabbin' Kate"

*

August slides the spoon out of her mouth and then shoves it into the back pocket of her jeans. She chews before she responds, so at least there's that. "You'll be okay, Kate. I'll be fast and gentle, but not so gentle you're tickled. Probably." She shoves her sleeves up again, fuzzy black sweater so low cut it may as well be one of her tanks. It definitely doesn't cover as much as a normal sweater should, thus defeating the purpose of the knit. It does, however, display her chest tattoo to excellent effect. "Teija is a gunsmith." She shares this piece of information with the room at large. "Shirt up or shirt off? We can use some clips to hold it." She digs in a drawer and pulls out two large ones that'll do the job, sliding them onto the edge of a rolling tray right next to Kate.

Aug rises, then, "She's lovely, right?" This to Teija of Kate. Aug takes a moment to stride over to Anthony, long limbs eating up the space between them in just a few steps. She leans over the chair to say, "That is really fucking good." Regarding the pasta dish. A man should know when he's done something right, no? She nods to the counter. "No swear jar penalty for you today." August is known for her heavily fining Anthony heavily for his f-bombs, which, coming from her, is pretty rich. "Teija, Jasper should be done in a few if you wanted another ink check. He looks like a brick wall, but he's pretty good at what he does. Welcome to chat and hang, though, no pressure." She leans in a bit to say something quietly to Tony before she touches his shoulder, and straightens to check on Kate's progress with her shirt.

*

Kate just gazes at Anthony when he makes a face at Teija's words, sticking her tongue out at the man before she smiles toward the dark haired woman. "Bridal picture, hmm? That sounds lovely." She takes the clips from August, thinks about it for a moment and then just pulls the shirt off, she's wearing a white bra, lace and satin, so it's not like anyone can really see anything that they shouldn't. "Gunsmith." She looks thoughtful at that, settling back on the chair as the gears in her mind turns. "So you make guns, or..you modify them?" She doesn't have a gun or look like the sort to get one, but she obviously is interested in the subject. "Swear jar penalty?" She slants a look toward August and Anthony and guesses what that's about, pulling her phone from her pocket to take a quick picture of herself, before she fires off a text. "Okay, I think I'm ready now."

*

A shrug is offered as Anthony gives Kate the meaningful, if jesterly look. Yeah, there was no avoiding that one. To the woman, herself, Teija returns, "Young bride, very beautiful." perhaps to both reinforce her previous (failed) attempted at heading off The Look(tm), and answer August's assertion, which makes a little sense as she gives the silvery one a nod as she finishes saying it. She looks to make sure she isn't sitting on his coat, then looks back up to Augie, "Great, thanks." before she turns to Kate's question, "Build, mod, engrave.. what's yer poison?"

*

There was a moment where Anthony was content to smirk from his position, though as August made her way toward him he pointedly did not light his cigarette and instead pulled his cellphone from his pocket and as she withdrew he coughed once into his fist, shaking his head and replacing his cigarette between his lips, glancing toward Kate as she peeled her shirt off, though he seemed to squint those vibrant green eyes for a moment, "Katherine…" he said pointedly, "Did you really just take a fuckin' bra selfie in Aug's chair?" he called out blatantly.

The attention, at least from Tony, was short lived and he turned his attention toward Teija, flicking a silvery zippo open with a 'clink!' and lighting his cigarette before arching a brow, "Yeah? The hell brings you to Calaveras then? Plenty'a good work for a Gunsmith elsewhere"

*

"Swear jars are in effect mostly when we're running charity drives." There's a jar literally labeled SWEAR JAR on the counter yonder, but it's only been here since August, and rarely enforced unless she's feeling salty. Probably wasn't here last time Kate was in! "You're welcome, Teija." The tattooer makes her way back over to her station, clear of the waiting area where Tony's smoking. She hms a bit and pulls on a pair of black non-latex gloves, then picks up disposable pink razor from her tray of delights, dabs her finger in goo, and sets about slicking up Kate's belly with it. "You before and aftering?" This to Kate. And then she leans over and she very carefully shaves the woman's abdomen, careful not to nick the canvas she's about to assault with a high speed needle. It only takes a few swipes of the blades before she's wiping with with a towel. "Ok, stand up for me, Kate?" The stencil will be carefully placed after swiping some other goo that look suspiciously like unscented deodorant. Because it is.

*

Kate raises her eyebrows, gazing at the swear jar for a few beats before she nods. "How much per swear word?" She shifts a look over to Teija, her head tilting as she frowns. "I don't have a poison, nor a gun, I've never used one before." She gets to her feet her head bobbing briefly at August before she grins over in Anthony's direction. "Yeah, I took a selfie, sent it off, and I'll take an after selfie too." The shaving goes really quick, and it doesn't make her squirm or giggle. She shifts the stick of the lollipop to the other side of her mouth as she gets to her feet. She stands there, arms resting idly at the side. "Let me know if I need to do anything while I'm standing here." She says quietly to August, not looking down at what the tattoo artist is doing because she knows it will make her laugh. Focus on the lollipop, Kate.

*

"I was born here." Teija answers with a shrug, "Was gone for a few years, but I came back to help my grandparents out." She folds her hands in her lap and continues, "I do custom work for the local shops, some online orders, engrave a cyllinder, re-rifle a barrel, that sorta thing. Besides, my grandfather taught me, and made damn good money right here in town." She glaces at August at her reply, but doesn't chime in, nor contribute to what's going on with de belleh as no one wins amidst distraction around sharp things.

*

"It varies depending on how much she's down for the charity…" Anthony replied toward Kate simply and with a smirk around his smouldering cigarette at the mention of the swear jear fee, "It's been dollars, it's been thousands of dollars. SHe inflates in proportion to who it is." he added and took a long draw from his cigarette, igniting the tip in a vibrant orange glow for a moment before exhaling a lazy stream.

His eyes glanced over Kate with a low laugh, slowly uncrossing his legs and gathering himself to his feet and picking up his jacket, "I'm gonna' finish this outside. I'll be back in a few minutes" he commented, pulling his jacket on before plucking the cigarette from his lips, "Make sure and stab her real deep, babe" he noted and glanced toward Teija, "We should talk sometime" he smiled and made his way for the door.

*

"Cost per swears depends on who you are." The tattooer confirms. "And what you've done." She mms. "I guess you could say it's kind of a penance type of thing. Most people, five bucks. Anthony," There's a smile in her voice when she says, "Sliding scale. But he can take it." August presses the stencil for a moment, when presses her hands against it to press it thoroughly. "Just be still until I peel it." She smooths it, then carefully, and once it's stuck well, peels the paper, leaving a purple image behind on Kate's fair skin. "Takes a couple minutes to dry." She tosses the used stencil and sits back to wait, perched on a small rolling chair. "Babe. Did you eat some snickerdoodles?" This is to Kate.

August turns sideways so she talk talk both to Kate and the pair in the seating area. She watches Teija as the other goth woman speaks, something about what she says prompts a soft smile. She watches Tony go, gaze tracking him, but doesn't say anything. Her smile ticks up a notch when he says he and Teija should talk.

*

"I'm cut off of snickerdoodles. I was thinking of burying them in the back yard, but then I remembered that I could toss them in the garbage. So I took them over to Sevin's and left them in his cookie jar." Kate sounds oddly proud of herself for a moment, but then she adds. "I told him what they were, so he probably threw them away. It seems like a long trail to get something thrown away, but it was worth it." She stands very still and waits for August to say that she's allowed to sit down, taking hold of the stick of her lollipop. "You gave me sugar." She reminds the woman in a quiet voice before she gazes toward Teija. "Do you have a card? I'd like to ask you a few questions, maybe."

*

Teija arches an eyebrow as Anthony gets up with the 'we should talk', then gives a, "Sure thing." with a veiled look toward August. When she catches the smile upnotching, she glances sidelong the way he want and gives a small, indicative toss of her head. Numbers drop into place in the equation and she nods, just in time for Kate's query, "Oh yeah." She uncrosses her legs and saunters over thattaway, now that, for the moment, distractions are safe. She plucks a small cardholder from behind the zip of her vest and fishes out a card for her.
It's midnight blue, bordered at the upper left by viking style knotwork of stark white ink that flows into more the ribbonlike waves of Old West scrollwork before meeting again at the lower right around the emblem of a modern revolver. Saffron script reads:

Teija Harkonnen

Engraver,
Gunsmith

Followed by a phone number and moc.latemyvaehlaer|noriruoyebircs#moc.latemyvaehlaer|noriruoyebircs.

*

August snort-laugh is abrupt as Kate mentions depositing her snickerdoodles in the professor's cookie jar. "No, why would you tell him." She laughs, but is obviously a little disappointed. That was so close to mercurially dangerous behavior from Kate! So, so close. "Oh, before I forget, Teija! I have something for you."

The tattooer rises from her stool and moves over to the counter where she was seated earlier, a couple steps all it takes, bends low, disappearing for a moment behind the counter. She rustles about, pulling out a black hoodie, wraps something with it, then slides it into a heavy paper bag with sturdy handles. The bag reads, of course: EAT ME in big black letters. She slides that across the counter.

*

"Can you imagine what would have happened if I hadn't told him?" Kate smirks at August, shaking her head back and forth a few times before she eases down on the chair, stretching herself out. She watches the two women exchange something, but it's none of her business so she only gives a brief look. She tucks the card into her jeans pocket and rests her forearms under her head, crossing her legs at the ankle again. "If this hurts, we're gonna have to tell each other jokes so I don't cry. Fair warning."

*

Teija blinks and oh's silently before she nods to Aug, tucking her cardholder back in it's place and accepts the package. She'll check it out later, but, first, "Yeah, I had some sketches for ya to look at, too." And she steps back over to her root around in her coat for some folded sheets of paper to pass back the tattooist's way. She gives Kate a little smile and nods, "You'll be fine. Focus on yer breathing."

*

Aug takes the offered sheets, taking a moment to look them over before she squirrels them away somewhere in that counter drawer system. nods to Teija, smiling. "Thanks, T. I'll call you, let you know my thoughts." She watches the woman go, flicks a glance over to Anthony, who's out there sucking his way through that cigarette. She lets her gaze wander a little, then gets back to the task at hand: making her sweet friend just a little more colorful.

August mms, returning from the counter. "I can imagine exactly what would happen if you didn't tell him." She pulls her chair over again, folds a clean paper towel and pats the stencil now that a few minutes have gone by. She scoops her finger into a tiny cup, then rubs a small amount of Vaseline with gentle, circular movements. "It'll hurt, but not that bad. And you can cry if you need to babe, but let me see if I can think up some good jokes for you."

Oh, good. August's sense of humor. She pulls a little line of cups closer, but only has the black ready to go. She squirts some ink in, then picks up her machine to adjust it, taking a few moments to place a fresh needle, check the tension and action of the mechanism. She kicks off her right shoe last, foot finding the pedal on the floor. "Are you ready, babe? I'll start slow, you let me know how it feels?" She looks up, pale gaze finding Kate's. "Here we go." And then her attention's on the stencil, and she dips the needle and begins, pulling a line in the feather, medium length, maybe an inch.

*

Kate seems calm when August starts, and she simply quirks a brow at August when she speaks. "Okay. Jokes at the ready, and I'm prepared." She's taken some deep breaths, and let them out, her eyes focused on something near the ceiling. If she doesn't look, it won't hurt as much. "Have you had Teija do work for you in the past? I'm thinking maybe she can make a gift for me." She is talking so that she doesn't think, or feel. "How long have you been doing this August? I never asked that, have I?"

*

Jesus, here we go. August asks, "Ok, Kate." She hmms. "What's worse than waking up a party with a penis drawn on your face?" This is going to be awful.

August mms. "No, I haven't worked with her before, but I looked at her website, and I'm taking a chance." She glances up briefly, then gets to work lining the tattoo. Her moves are sure and smooth, no difficulty putting in a long, thin line right with the first time. Both hands stay on Katherine, one lightly stretching the skin, the other resting just against her while she lines in the black parts of the tattoo.

So the end of the joke. What is worse than waking up with a penis drawn on your face? "… What's worse is waking up to find a penis drawn on your face and learning it's been traced." She pauses for a beat before she says, "That one belongs to Jasper." Aug lifts her hand in case Kat's gonna laugh at that, because you never really know.

*

Kate does laugh, staring hard at August as she does. She gives Jasper a look then, and she laughs harder. She can't help herself. "Holy crap." She mutters, and then she makes an attempt to go still. "We probably shouldn't do jokes, because we'll never get done if you do. I can power through if you can." She takes a deep breath and settles herself on the chair, letting her eyes close. "I'll make a point to check out her website, but I don't really know the first thing about guns, so I might be slightly lost. How hard can it be, right?"

*

August's smirk is powerful. Even Jasper over there cracks a grin. That joke never gets a fuckin' laugh, so you can get he's flying high right now. Finally, August laughs, but only because Kate's laughing. "Yeah, no more jokes." She clears her throat and says, "Guns are guns. Some are better made than others. Some are super shit." She only resume lining when Kate seems ready. "Teija specializes in metalwork, but I have seen some of her engraving on revolvers and pistols, too. If she can rock spiral on a curved surface, I figure she's good to go." August doesn't specify on what, though. "There are some classics you can stick to for your first foray into gun ownership. And if you wanna go hands on, there's a shop not far from Maude's. Gun shop dudes always have advice for you." August dips the needle not and again, pulling those long, curved lines first She starts working the interior embellishments and flourishes last, working top to shaft on the feather itself, wiping now and again with her towel and a little goo.

*

"I was there once, never got any help, so I just never went back." Kate takes a peek at what August is doing, her eyebrows rising slowly as she watches for a few strokes. She glances back at the ceiling and she wills herself to calm. "I don't know, I think if I had a gun, I'd be the person who would accidentally shoot someone who didn't need shot. Get in trouble and go to jail. I probably should leave it to the people who obviously know what they're doing. I have a baseball bat at home, it was given to me after a whole ordeal with a pink computer. It does what I need it to do. " She lets herself relax, trying not to wince or flinch each time August starts to work again. "Going okay?"

*

Anthony had seemed to have gotten caught up in a phonecall at some point outside the shop as displayed by the lengthy streams of breath that were exhaling as he paced, that and the fact his phone was to his ear. Either or. After a few minutes passed, and a casual wave to Teija as she left was delivered, Anthony finally came back inside with a ching-a-ling of the bells at his entry.

"How we doin'?!" he called aloud as he dropped his phone into one of the deep pockets of his overcoat and raised his hands to blow into them, warming them to the best of his ability as he made his way toward the counter, leaning his elbows into the glass casually as he peered back toward the first chair, having left the curtain open. "Stabbin' you up good?"

*

"Just about done with the lining, sweetheart." August's reply comes without her raising her head. She finishes off a few more flourishes, then gives the tattoo a little goo and a wipe, sits back to look at it. "Sometimes male shop owners need a little reminding that ladies carry cash." She mms and sits back a little to change needles, cleaning, generally doing fiddly little adjustments before she sets about squirting color into those little ink caps. "Here's the thing with guns. They're terrifying until you get your hands on them, learn to use them, and treat them like a tool. It's just a tool, and you know how to use it, you control it, and you never take it out unless you mean to use it." That's said in her usual soft-voiced, conversational tone. Jasper doesn't even look up from what he's doing over yonder.

"You never have to touch one if you're not comfortable, but if you're gonna be around one, you should know at least the basics." And that's all August says on that before Anthony's returning from his smoke and his phone call. "Going well. About to start the fun part." The fun part being the color.

"How was your smoke break, babe?" There's only a little longing in her voice. August gave up, almost started again, then gave up smoking all pretty recently.

*

Kate nods at August, watching her as she speaks, it's a lot better than looking at her stomach. She doesn't shake her head again, but she gets a thoughtful look on her face. "I'll consider it." She glances down briefly to see what the lining looks like before the color starts. She waves vaguely at Anthony, afraid to move too much as it might mess up August's work. She goes still again, lost in a bit of a daydream. Her phone buzzes, and she ignores it, pulling it out of her side pocket to put it on a table nearby so it won't make her jump.

*

There was a casual sort of shrug from Anthony's shoulders that caused the material of his overcoat to shift lazily, "It was alright, some info about the house. Should be done soon, thankfully. Feel like I've been sayin' that shit for fuckin' months" he muttered, shaking his head a bit in order to clear his head of that thought with a sigh, leaning his weight into the countertop, he raises one hand and scratches at the scruff of his jaw, taking a deep breath before letting own a low yawn.

*

"They have been saying that for months," August murmurs. "I remember the week you came in here, you wanted me to go up there and check it out with you." She chooses a deep purple-blue first, glancing over at her open sketchbook briefly to see where the color is placed in her drawing. "Here we go, Kate. Color time." And then she goes in with the color, packing it into Kate's flesh with that constant buzzzz bzzzzzzzz. The rhythm of the machine takes over conversation for a moment, and Aug works in small circles, alternately wiping with one hand and re-dipping the needles every once in a while.

"Still haven't seen it." The house. August swaps to a lighter blue, a medium. She hits a few spots of color, occasionally swapping and wiping, touching here or there, occasionally moving from feather to a tiny bird. This part progresses quickly, and by the time she's working with spring green, the tattoo could almost already be finished. But there's still that pink and one last pass of glacial blue.

*

Katherine gazes down at August as she starts to add colors, content to watch that part, it's fascinating to watch how each burst of color blooms from the needles. It's a good thing she's wearing snow boots, her toes curl with each touch of needles to skin, but she manages not to twitch or jump. "If it's a new build, this time of year makes for a lot of hiccups. If it's being sold, well..people move slowly around here sometimes, which is why some investors get a bit twitchy." Her brow furrows for a moment and then she settles back in the chair, letting her eyes close again.

*

"Fair point…" Anthony muttered and pursed his lips together with a deep, slow inhale through his nostrils that emitted a low bit of a whispering hiss as he did so, "How many pieces is that anyway, Kate? I know you had a couple before this, you goin' for the whole bad biker bitch thing but with painted color? I think if you get a body set you become the Hero to August's villainous black and grey" he grinned broadly and canted his head aside a bit, straightening and working his way back around the counter with reckless abandon to the fact he was supposed to be back there or not, and assumed Augusts traditional stool behind the register.

*

August progresses with the color, talking about everything but that to keep Kate from thinking too hard on it. She's dipping into the magenta before long, hitting the warm notes. Aug's a machine when it comes to ink, hands pretty gentle, insofar as you can be when you're rapid-fire etching foreign substance through and into the dermis.

"Did you just call me villainous?" Yeah, he did. She heard him say it. Aug mmms. "It will be interesting the day you decide you want a whole sleeve, and you let me design you something all in color." She seems fairly certain that day is on the horizon for Kate, most likely because, when Aug is your friend, you just trend toward more ink. It's a thing. Though a few have stopped at, say three, hidden by their clothing.

Her side is to Tony, but Aug can feel him over there, sitting on her tattoo throne. It's the highest vantage point in the shop, which becomes immediately clear when he steps on up, and hits the tall chair. There's a shitload of drawers, a huge tattoo booking tome, bound in leather, open on the counter, a huge basket of candy underneath, a shotgun bolted to the under-desk, a box of Totally Baked cupcakes, an ipad with Netflix paused on it, and on the big monitor of that flat screen computer on the desk is a huge lost game of Minesweeper with fully 90 percent of the screen cleared. And a baby names website up on the letter A. And, in the corner, an email program open to moc.liamg|xeleiggua#moc.liamg|xeleiggua, open message from moc.liamg|32xeldab#moc.liamg|32xeldab asking: Hey, bitch. Got your cash. You moving in or what?

*

Kate looks thoughtful for a few moments, glancing from Anthony to August, her bottom lip nibbled on. "I honestly didn't plan on getting the three I have, I was gonna stop at one, but things just happened. If I get a sleeve though, I need to break it to Heather gently first, so she can have a panic attack. I wouldn't be against it though. I don't think they look bad on television, despite anything the blonde bot says." She quirks a brow at August. "How long does a sleeve take? I'll need to take time off of work, but with Nolan there, that's a lot easier. We couldn't leave the morning show in Mitch's hands, but we can leave it in his. I plan on taking some days off next month to do some more light travelling, while he gets into some rodeo stuff."

*

Anthony turned about in the chair and surveyed all that that fell under his purview from the perch atop his seat, and idly turned his attention to the monitor, surveying over the minesweeper screen with an arch to his brow, "How the fuck doe you…really? August? you're a grown woman…" he muttered - clearly about how one loses minesweeper with a shake of his head.

The email however did of course catch his attention, as it traditionally did due to the nature of his curiosity and he clicked into it to survey what it had to offer, reading through a few of the emails at hand with idle clicks of his finger, "I'm gonna' show you how minesweeper works, babe" he commented over his shoulder.

*

The last color going in is the brightest, some very fine touches of white. There's a little stripe there, a dot, dot here, some accent on the leading edge of blue, another dot. August wipes the tattoo down to clean it, using a squirt bottle this time, liberal in her application of liquid. She gets a new paper towel and goes once more, wiping it clean of all free ink, gently slathering it with another single coat of goo. "There you go, girl. Have a look in the standin' mirror if you want." She nods, "Over there."

Aug grins at Kate's mention of things just happening. She rolls back, hands already about the business of cleaning and taking apart her machine to remove the disposable sand the bits that need to go into the sink. She lines it all up on a paper towel. Her hands barely stop working, unwrapping plastic bits, wiping down, gathering up everything to clean the tray. She's a little obsessive about cleaning, and it takes her a moment to refocus her attention.

"Uh, sleeve takes a while. I mean, some people try to power it out in a couple days, but I like to heal between line work and color. Ideally a few sessions of a few hours each. It's not fast. It's a slog, and it's hard on your body, 'cause it's a big open wound."

August turns in her seat to face Anthony. "Are you talkin' shit back there with my Minesweeper game? I was almost gonna beat that automated machine's ass, but a cute brunette walked up to my counter. I mis-clicked. I know how Minesweeper works." Mutter. "Let's see you clear the big board in under 10. I dare you." She rises to tidy up.

*

The cute brunette gets to her feet and walks over to the mirror, turning this way and that as she looks over the tattoo. Kate gets a big, happy smile on her face, moving to collect her phone and move back to the mirror, taking another picture. She taps on her phone as she speaks. "I'm going to mention the idea to Heather when I get back from Paris. I'd mention it on the phone, but the look she's gonna give me is not something to be missed." She pivots slightly watching August clean up. "All right, what's the damage?" She heads toward her purse, not in a hurry to put her tee-shirt back on. She pulls out a card and some cash. "I could never get into minesweeper, no patience." She smiles at her phone when it vibrates, sending off a reply to whatever is there before she stuffs it back into her pocket.

*<FS3> Anthony rolls Mind+Accountant: Good Success. (8 6 6 7 6 3)

There was a few lazy scrolls of his fingertip against the track wheel of the mouse as Anthony perused the private emails, though at the mention of a challenge offered to him in the fashion of Minesweeper, he returned to the original location of the email inbox and pulled minesweeper up fullscreen on the device at which he then set to work engaging in the seemingly random game of math and probability. There was a series of low hums, a furrowed coal-black brow and a generally lazy whistle, though when Kate mentioned 'how much' he chimed aloud "On the house" pointedly over his shoulder as he clicked about the grey gridsquares with focus. Unbeknownst to the lovely Ms. August, he was well on his way to finishing in under 10 minutes.

*

August dumps a bunch of stuff into bin, and turns to watch Kate (yep, the cute brunette) look at her tattoo. She mms? And glances up from cleaning her station. She smiles. "Babe. You don't pay." At the same time, of course, Tony says on the house. Aug takes out a spray bottle and liberally squirts down the chair and station, using a paper towel to wipe it all down. "This one's on me. It's a gift." She takes a towel and wipes down her station, hitting the high points and the crannies before she does the chair, too, and snaps off her gloves, binning those too. "Looks good?" She knows it looks good, but you always ask the client if they like it before you wrap it. She pulls off a sheet of plastic and brings over some tape to wrap Kate's new ink. "This stays on a couple hours. And you remember the drill from your other work? I have a little bag of stuff for your after-care. You can tip your artist in trifle and tiramisu." She straightens up and leans in to plant a little kiss on the ball of Kate's bare shoulder.

She glances over to Anthony, who's fucking around on the computer. If she's concerned about what may or may not be open on the desktop, there's not a twitch of anxiety visible. Not that he'd know, since he's playing Minesweeper. "You're lucky you make the bed and cook like you cook." August's attention on Anthony lingers, and she's clearly having some thoughts she's not going to say out loud. There's a hint of maybe a smile starting, but she rubs her lips together, like she's checking her lipstick's dryness, then turns to face Kate. "Loose clothes for the first few days." She smiles then.

*

"You're taking a tip, gift or not. If you value something, you should give something to get it." Kate turns to look at August, nodding at her question before she holds her arms up to get wrapped. "I remember the drill, and you'll get trifle, tiramisu and a cash tip, don't you dare argue with me woman." She leans in to give the pale woman a kiss on the cheek, a sly smile making its way on her lips. "Don't worry, I wasn't planning on going femme fatale in Paris. Two of those days are going to me cooking, or learning new things." She hunts down her shirt, pulling it over her head gingerly, making a face at how the plastic feels against her skin. She moves to lean against the counter, leaning against it as she counts out some money, her head tilted as she counts to herself.

*

Focused on the task at hand, Anthony clicked every few moments, a low mutter under his breath as he worked, mumbling with a furrow to his brow as he did so, "Hmmm" he grumbled, right clicking and setting flags on suspected bombs until he finally clicked one last time and the simple yellow smiley face concluded the game by donning a pair of sunglassess and a smile, signalling he'd successfully beat the minesweeper board.

He turned about just in time to catch the kiss of August's cheek to which he grinned and when she fished out the money, determined to give August a tip, he smirked, "Kate, every bill you put on that counter is something I replace with a brand new appliance in your kitchen while you're gone. You're going to come back to the entire kitchenaid catalogue at this rate…"

*

"Yes ma'am," August says, as Kate insists upon a tip. To refuse it at this point would be rude. "I will accept your cash and your sweets." She makes her way over to the counter, finally, sliding a hand over Anthony's shoulder, to stand beside him as he sits in her chair, her head coming to rest against his shoulder. She doesn't look at the screen, instead propping herself up agains the investor, watching Kate count, her silvery eyes heavy-lidded, long lashes lazy. She seems content, for the moment.

She doesn't even chide Tony for his commentary about Kate's money or the Kitchenaid appliances. Eventually, she glances over, noting the game's finished. And he did, indeed, beat the time. Her gaze sweeps the rest of the screen briefly, and then she rubs her hand down Tony's back and back up, lazily rubbing his back while she stands there leaning against him. "Kate, did the contractor say anything about the fireplace?"

*

"Yeah, when I get back, we'll be doing a walk through. I have a room for you in the main house until it's taken care of. Should be a few days, no more." Katherine sets the money on the counter, tapping it with a slender finger. "You're more than welcome to donate this to a charity of your choice, if you don't want to keep it. Or we could use it for clothing shopping, that's still a thing that will be happening soon. Can't be on television looking less than amazing." She rolls her eyes and pushes away from the counter. "I need most of the help there, honestly." She tilts her head to the side, making eye contact with Anthony. "That's four bills, fifties. I really need a mixer, make it a nice one." She moves to find her coat, pulling it on and pulling things from the pockets. Mittens are first, beanie second, scarf third and soon she looks like she's ready to do battle with the abominable snowman. "Don't wait up, I won't be back at the B&B tonight." She picks up her purse, and makes her way to the door, pausing only to wave before she pushes her way out to the snow.

*

"You got it" Anthony remarked with a slowly growing smirk toward Kate as she prepared herself to leave after mentioning her quantity of bills and it then grew further into a grin, tilting his head into August's shoulder as she rubbed his lower back with a deep inhale, taking in the scent of her near him. As Kate prepared to exit the shop and do battle with the abominable snowman of old, he raised a hand toward her, "Be safe, make good choices" was the advice and words of parting he had for her and turned his head toward August, "Ready to go home?"

*

"Oh, good." August mms, a little quirk of her lips. "I am really looking forward to that." The fireplace, not moving into the main house for a bit. That garage suite is addictive. The first few times she visited, it was okay, but living there is different. It's no wonder Tony has yet to move out to his enormous house on the hill. She mmhms and nods at the money Kate puts down, and the caveats on spending it or not. She grins when Kate asserts her mixerless status, too. There's a little wink from Aug, a silent attagirl. She watches the brunette bundle up. "Text me if anything changes," she calls after. "Stay warm!"

"Good choices are way over rated, baby. Don't bring her down." August nudges him, her nails dragging up his back as she leans over, picks up the bills on the counter, and folds them down into her bra. Where all the healthy stacks of bills go. "Yeah, let's go home." She doesn't say anything to Jasper. Jasper can figure it out when he sees them leave. She reaches for her coat.

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