GENRE: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance
LENGTH: 8,403 words
This story is included in the anthology, Tattooed Love
BLURB: Wray is a tattoo artist at Tattoo 804, where he rents a booth beside his best friend Mojo. Though he knows Mojo is straight, Wray can't help falling for the man’s flirtatious banter. To make matters worse, Mojo's girlfriend is pregnant, and doesn't want him bothering her with his sexual needs. She warns Wray to keep Mojo from fooling around with other women, but only laughs when he suggests Mojo fool around with him, instead.
One weekend, Mojo asks Wray to attend a local convention with him, where they'll run tattoo booths in the dealer room. Wray agrees, but on the way to the con, Mojo tells him the real reason he's coming along -- Mojo wants a new tattoo ... in a very private part of his body. And he wants Wray to give it to him.
Will Wray be able to put aside his growing lust and perform professionally during the procedure? Or does Mojo have an ulterior motive for dropping his pants?
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He wants to leave Thursday night to avoid rush-hour traffic on the interstate the next morning, since the convention starts early on Friday. So I shove a handful of clothes into a backpack -- we’re only going to be there a few days -- and fill two rolling crates with my tattoo supplies. I take flash art for those customers who’ll want a generic design, a pad of carbon paper for those who’ll want something I draw up, every bottle of ink I can find, a whole stack of autoclaved needles, an unopened box of latex gloves, surgical soap, A & D ointment, plastic wrap, masking tape, paper towels, witch hazel ... everything I think I might possibly need to create art away from my booth.
Mojo has just as much as me, maybe more. He brings along a laptop and printer/scanner combo for anyone who might want to print images off the internet for their tattoos. Somehow he even manages to sneak one of the poseable tattooist chairs out of the 804 on his lunch break, stowing it under a tarp in the back of his pickup. I reschedule the two clients I have down for appointments on Friday and I’m ready to go. The last thing I pack up before I leave work Thursday night is my tattoo machine.
With all our stuff tied down alongside the chair under the tarp, I climb into the pickup’s cab and we’re off. Mojo swings by a McDonald’s to grab a bite to eat before we hit the interstate, and as he’s digging out his wallet to pay, he mutters, “Shit.”
“What?” I ask, reaching for the wad of twenties crammed into the front pocket of my jeans. “I can get it if you want.”
Mojo waves away the offer. “Nah, man, my treat. But I packed my cell into my bag. If Darcy tries to call me, she’s going to be pissed when I don’t pick up.”
I laugh as I take the bag of hamburgers and fries from him. “What’s she going to think? That you’re fooling around on her?”
“She knows I’m with you.” Mojo reaches into the bag for a handful of fries and I’m all too aware of how close his fingers are to my crotch. Only my jeans and few burgers separate us. “The worst she’ll think is we ran off the road and lie bleeding to death in the middle of nowhere.”
“That’s a happy thought.” I shift in my seat, uncomfortable. His hand’s still digging in the bag, and the movements are doing wicked things to my budding erection. “What are you looking for in there? Dig any deeper and you’re going to be in my pants.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Mojo finally extracts his hand, one of the hamburgers in his grip.
“Damn right,” I admit. I take another one of the burgers and unwrap it. The scent of greasy, grilled meat is tantalizing. “Darcy told me I had to keep the girls off you. She never said anything about me staying away.”
Silence fills the cab as Mojo navigates the Richmond streets, heading for the interstate. For a moment I wonder if I went too far -- that was a pretty direct comment, even for me. But the longer I keep quiet, the harder it is to think up a way to apologize. If I said I was sorry and Mojo asked what for, I’d have to explain it ... and if he didn’t get it in the first place, I don’t really want to spell it out. I finish one burger and start on another, wondering if we’re going to drive the whole way without saying a word. Then I realize this is Mojo, and I don’t think the guy’s ever been quiet for more than five minutes at a time, let alone two whole hours. He’d die.
Sure enough, as soon as we merge with traffic on the northbound lanes of I-95, Mojo exhales and settles back to finish his burger. “You know the real reason why I asked you to come along this weekend?”
Relief crashes through me like a tidal wave. “I’m thinking it has something to do with my dashing good looks,” I joke, glad he brushed off my previous comment the same way he always has.
Mojo answers, “I’ve been thinking about getting a new tattoo.”
To anyone else, this might sound like the start of a whole different conversation. But I hear what Mojo is saying between his words -- he likes my work, and wants me along not just to help out at the convention but to give him a tattoo at some point over the weekend. “Sounds good,” I say, munching on some fries. “What are you thinking about?”
“Just something witty,” Mojo says. “I like the letters you did for Darcy’s carpe diem tat. Back in May, remember?”
I remember. I hate to break it to him, but I have to. “You know that was a font, right? I didn’t freehand them.”
“I’m not saying I want them specifically,” Mojo clarifies. “I’m saying I like them, that’s all. You do good letter work. I want something short and sweet and I think you can do it.”
“I’m sure I can do it, whatever you have in mind.” I give him a leer he misses because he’s busy watching the road. “Why can’t you do it yourself? Everyone knows your letters rock.”
Mojo glances in his sideview mirror, studiously avoiding my gaze. He rubs the back of his hand across his mouth, fidgets a little in his seat ... is he embarrassed? By what? There’s nothing to be embarrassed about if he wants a tattoo in a place he can’t reach or see himself. “Moe?” I ask. “I’m not saying I can’t do it, man. I will, you know it, anything you’d like. It’s cool. Are you thinking maybe across your back or something?”
He gives me a quick look, just a shift of the eyes without moving his head, then grins boyishly. God, he has a sexy smile, slightly crooked, like he’s been caught doing something bad but he knows he’s going to be able to talk his way out of it easily enough. “I want something to surprise Darcy the next time we do it. If we ever do it again. She’s a royal bitch now that she’s pregnant.”
I almost choke on my drink. “Wait, you want me to ink your dick? Ouch!”
“Just above it,” he explains. His hand drifts to his lap, where he draws an imaginary curve across his lower belly. “Right here. Open wide, maybe, or say ahh. I haven’t decided yet.”
“There are less letters in say ahh,” I point out. “It’ll be quicker. I’m not saying less painful, because you know it’s going to hurt like a mother.”
Mojo nods. “I know. I’ve been thinking about it for a while now. I want to do it. I want you to do it.”
A sly grin spreads across my face. “I get to see your dick,” I sing in a childish voice.
With a laugh, Mojo says, “See? There’s something in it for you, too.”