Tattoo of Love Ch. 04byvirgofemme©
Patters of rain fell down on the glass of the skylight above her, filling Julia's room with the sound of it. As rivers of water streamed down the slants, Julia's eyes followed their journey. Leaves from the branches of an oak tree blew back and forth, swaying along to the rhythm of the wind. As Julia stared up into the night sky she willed herself to call Nolan. It didn't make sense just laying here thinking about him, and it certainly wasn't healthy to expect the worst.
Rolling over onto her side, Julia grabbed the phone from her night table and placed it onto her bed. The business card with Nolan's phone number was already on her mattress so she picked up the phone and dialed in his number. As the line rung she found that a part of herself wanted him to answer. Yet wasn't she also hoping that he wouldn't? She became certain that his voicemail was going to pick up but then she suddenly heard his voice speak to her.
"Hey there, Julia. I'm glad you called."
She loved the way his voice had visibly lifted as he realized it was her.
"How are you?" She asked.
"Oh, not too bad. Doing a lot better now that you called. How are things on your end?"
"I'm doing okay. Just thought I'd give you a ring to let you know you were on my mind. I feel kind of bad about leaving you at the restaurant earlier today. It was sweet of you to treat me to lunch and I just want you to know that I did appreciate it."
"Well thanks for calling and telling me that. It makes me feel better to know that you still want to talk to me."
"Of course I do. I'm not upset with you, Nolan. I have no reason to be."
"Yeah I know, but I still couldn't help thinking that my associating with Digby would automatically default me to asshole status."
"You're nowhere near an asshole."
As a small chuckle escaped his lips Julia curiously asked, "What's funny?"
"You sound sort of cute when you curse."
Smiling she replied, "Oh, well thanks...I guess." She gave a little laugh.
A short moment of silence passed between them and then Nolan asked her the dreaded question.
"So if it's not too much to ask, can you tell me what Digby did to you?"
Julia's throat clicked as she gave a dry swallow. "Digby and I used to date and he didn't treat me very well."
"Did he abuse you?"
"No, it was nothing like that." Releasing a hesitant sigh Julia continued. "He tried to force me into doing some sexual acts that I wasn't really comfortable with. There was one instance in particular that led to us breaking up."
An awkward pause passed between them for a few moments and then he finally spoke.
"Oh, I see. Well you didn't have to be afraid to tell me that."
"I wasn't afraid, it's just something I don't like discussing."
"I understand, and i'm sorry if it seemed like I was prying. I just wanted to know so that it wouldn't be like this uncomfortable issue hanging between us.
"Yeah, I know. I thought about that after we parted, and I realized it was important for me to let you know. Now that I've gotten it off my chest I do feel better."
"Well i'm glad that you did let me know. If you don't mind me asking, how long did the two of you go out?"
"How long ago was this?"
"About eight months ago. Why?"
"Just wondering." Quietly muttering beneath his breath Nolan said, "Asshole."
Hearing the words but not quite understanding them Julia questioned, "What?"
"Nothing. I was just thinking about something. This is probably going to sound strange, but I think I remember when he was dating you."
"Really? Did you see us together?"
"No, but I remember him talking about you."
"Well what did he say?" She wasn't so sure she actually wanted to know, but curiosity coaxed her to ask anyhow.
"He bragged about how he was dating this sweet girl that was totally in love with him, and how he was going to seduce you into doing anything that he wanted. Just a lot of boastful talk, you know?"
"Yeah, I can imagine. Digby is definitely a guy who loves to run his mouth." Training her eyes upon the pattern of her bed quilt she asked, "When he talked to you back then, did he give you any details about us?"
"He told me some stuff."
"Was any of it sexual?"
He gave a short pause and then answered, "Yeah, some of it was."
Rubbing the bridge of her nose, Julia released a heavy sigh as embarrassment washed over her. "Great, that's just great."
"I know he's a jerk and he totally did you wrong, but let's not allow what happened in the past to affect the way we feel about each other, okay?"
"I think that might be easier said than done," said Julia.
"Things don't have to be difficult unless we allow them to. Look, i'm not saying we'll just pretend that it didn't happen because obviously it did, but we shouldn't let Digby ruin this for us. We have a special connection and I really want it to continue. What about you?"
Comforted by his words she replied, "I feel the same."
"Good, I'm glad to hear you say that."
"So I have to ask, are you and Digby good friends?"
"I wouldn't say we're best friends, but more like acquaintances. He hired me a few years ago to be his band photographer, and we've remained in contact ever since."
"Oh, so I guess you two hang out pretty regularly, huh?"
"No, not really. We usually just get together when he wants me to work on photography projects for the band."
"Okay, well I wasn't trying to say that you couldn't hang out with him. I was just curious as to how tight the two of you are. Yes, I think he's a total slimeball but I'm not trying to come between the two of you. So I completely understand if you'll still be hanging around him."
"You wouldn't be coming between us, because we were never that close to begin with. Now that I'm aware of the crummy way he treated you, I won't be able to look at him in the same way. In fact, I really don't want anything to do with the guy."
Releasing a small sigh Julia toyed with a curl of her hair, slowly wrapping it around her index finger. "I'm glad you feel that way, because if you were to remain friends with him, things would be unbelievably awkward."
"Of course they would and I know it'd make you feel bad, so I definitely don't want that."
Turning her attention back upon the skylight, Julia watched as rain slid across the slick surface of the glass, blurring her view from beyond the window.
Speaking once again Nolan said, "I hope you don't take this the wrong way because I am sorry that he hurt you, but I'm glad things didn't work out between you and Digby. You're far too good for him."
"Well thank you. That's nice of you to say."
"I'm not trying to be nice, just truthful. Digby could never appreciate a woman of your caliber."
Basking in his compliment she replied, "That's sweet."
"*You're* sweet. You're also beautiful."
Julia's lips curled into a smile. "Thank you, i'm glad you think so."
"So let's not allow this Digby thing to ruin what could be, okay?"
"Oh, hey. While I have you on the phone I thought you might like to know that you left your shopping bag behind at the restaurant."
Having forgotten all about the vibrator, Julia felt a nervous twinge in her stomach at the mention of it. "Oh yeah, I left in such a hurry that I didn't even think to bring it with me."
"Yeah, I know. So if you like, I can drop it off at the bakery tomorrow. Or you could come by my photography studio on your lunch break and scoop it up. Either option works for me."
" I'll drop by after work and pick it up."
"Okay, sounds good. What time do you think you'll swing by?"
"I should be there around six pm. Is that okay?"
"Yeah, sure. The address is on that business card I gave you, so that's where you can find me."
"Cool." Running her fingers through her hair Julia apprehensively asked, "You didn't see what was in the bag, did you?"
"No, I didn't. Why?"
Noting the change in her tone of voice he asked, "Is there something in there I shouldn't see?"
"No. I mean, not really."
"Well which one is it? No or not really?"
Julia could hear the smile in his voice. "It's not that you shouldn't see it. It's just a little private, is all."
"Okay, well don't worry because I haven't peeked inside. At least not yet."
"What do you mean not yet?"
"Well now that you've mentioned it, maybe I will have a look. As the saying goes, curiosity killed the cat."
She didn't have to see him to know that he was now grinning. "You're just trying to make me nervous. You're not really going to look inside, are you?"
"I'm just having a little fun with you. Don't worry, I'm not a snoop. Whatever you bought from The Love Chest is your business, so it'll remain a secret. I can't lie though, my interest is definitely piqued."
With a smile upon her lips she said, "Not piqued enough to look into the bag though, right?"
His light chuckle floated from the receiver. "I won't look inside, Julia. You have my word."
Feeling more settled she said, "I know, I believe you." Glancing at the clock she saw it was nearing ten pm and she said, "Well I guess I should get to bed now. I'll see you tomorrow, okay?"
"Sure thing. You have a good night and sleep well."
"You too. Later, Nolan." After hanging up the phone she rested her head upon the pillow and focused on the sound of the rain, watching as raindrops beat patterns against the window.
* * * *
As he opened the door, Nolan's infectious smile greeted Julia, causing her to feel a fluttering in her chest.
"Hey there, Julia. It's good to see you."
"It's good to see you, too. I know I'm a little late, so I hope that's okay."
"It's fine." Opening the door to welcome her he said, "Come on in."
As Julia crossed the threshold and entered, she was surrounded by bright white walls. The room was filled with all sorts of photography equipment, including a pair of studio umbrellas which stood in front of a muslin backdrop. A tripod with a camera attached to it was placed in front of a red velvet loveseat, and a table with a computer was located next to the door.
Walking over to a stool which stood in the corner, Nolan grabbed her shopping bag and handed it over.
"Sight unseen, here it is."
Curling her lips into a smile Julia accepted it and said, "Thanks."
Roving her gaze around the interior, Julia curiously eyed the various photography accessories. "I don't know what any of this stuff is, but it all looks so cool. Being a photographer seems like a fun job."
"It can be, depending upon the client. Some are easy to work with but others can be more of a challenge. Either way though, it's quite an enjoyable profession."
As Julia's eyes fell upon the screen of his computer she stated, "Yes, I'm sure it is." Then she gave a little smirk.
Following her gaze, Nolan saw what she was looking at and a wry grin tugged at his lips.
"Oh, that's Stacia. She's a tattoo model."
Walking cover to the computer so that she could have a better look Julia said, "I don't see any tattoos on her. Where are they?"
Placing his palm over the mouse, Nolan gave it a few clicks and a new photo came onto the screen.
Now looking at a view of Stacia's back, Julia could see that the entire length of it was covered in a dragon tattoo. The scales of the animal had been outlined in silver, giving it a three-dimensional effect.
"Wow, that's pretty cool tattoo. You did a great job photographing her. I can see all of the details so clearly."
"Thanks. This was sort of a challenge to photograph, because I really wanted to make sure that the colors popped, so it took a lot of shots to get it just right."
"Well it came out fantastic, so it looks like all of your effort was worth it. Do you take photos of a lot of tattoos?"
"Oh yeah, I do quite a bit of tattoo photographing." Giving the mouse a few more clicks Nolan began to scroll through various photos, "I've done a bunch of shoots for people who have all sorts of tattoos, but the style I love to shoot the most are Polynesian. They're amazingly complex and so intricate. I want to show you a photo of my cousin who got a tattoo done. But before I show you it, you aren't offended by partial nudity, are you?"
"No. I won't be able to see his junk though, will I?
Offering a crooked smile Nolan replied, "No junk. Just a shot of his backside."
"Okay, cool. Open the photo."
Placing the cursor over a folder marked 'Polynesian Tattoos,' Nolan clicked the button on the mouse twice. Once the folder was open he double clicked on a photo to expand it. As it came into view Julia saw the image of a man who was covered in a tattoo from his waist to his knees. The ink covering his skin was black, and the design was symmetrical, consisting of large blocks of color and straight lines.
Studying the detail of the design, Julia couldn't help but admire the beauty of the tattoo. In awe of the intricate patterns, Julia could only imagine the level of pure talent which had gone into creating it.
"This is a pe'a tattoo," said Nolan. "My cousin Troy got it done on his last trip to Samoa."
"Wow, that looks amazing. I've seen these tattoos in pictures before, but I never really had the chance to check them out in detail. How long did it take him to get it done?"
"Well it's a really painful process and is done in stages, so it took a couple of weeks to complete.
"What's the history behind them?"
"Back in the old days, in order for a man to receive a chief's title, he had to get a pe'a. Now in modern times, it's a way for us Samoan men to honor our heritage and show respect for the culture."
"Can women get them too?"
"Samoan woman have traditional tattoos as well, but they're called malu. They're less extensive than the pe'a, and only cover the thighs." Exiting out of the photo of his cousin, Nolan searched for an image which would give Julia an example. As he found the picture he was looking for he clicked upon it, allowing her to see what a malu tattoo looked like.
Admiring the delicate geometric pattern of the design Julia stated, "Nice. That's beautiful work. So how are they applied?"
"They use this instrument that looks like a comb, except the teeth are really sharp. Then they strike the comb with a stick, and the needle goes beneath the skin."
"Sounds even more painful than a machine tattoo."
"Well it definitely hurts, but the pain is well worth it." Closing the photo viewer Nolan turned to her and asked, "So, can I offer you anything to drink?"
"Do you have any juice? I feel like having something sweet."
"Yeah, i've got some juice. Actually I've got a particular drink that I think you'll really like. Why don't you follow me into the other room?"
Leading the way toward glass French doors, Nolan turned the handle and opened them, allowing Julia to go through them first and then he followed behind her.
Unaware that Nolan's photography studio was attached to his home, Julia entered a living room and saw that it was outfitted in casual, cozy looking furniture. A navy blue sofa with black pillows was located next to a window with venetian blinds, and a small TV sat upon a glass stand which was held up by silver pillars.
Eyeing the space around her Julia said, "Nice place. I didn't know you shared your living space with your photography studio."
As Nolan entered the kitchen he called out to her, "Well since the garage is attached, I decided to convert it into a workspace. I figured it would be a good idea, that way I wouldn't have to worry about paying rent for a separate studio somewhere else."
"Well that was smart of you." Julia headed further into the living room to have a closer look at a tapestry which hung on the wall.
"As Nolan opened the fridge he asked, "Do you like pineapple?"
"Yeah, I love it."
"Cool, then you'll enjoy this drink."
Julia heard him set a few glasses on the counter, and then there was the sound of him pouring liquid into them. She was still looking at the photographs when he walked up behind her and handed her a tall glass.
"Thanks." As she lifted it to her lips, the strong scent of pineapple filled her nostrils. She took a small sip to test it out first, and then followed it up with a more generous one.
"So, what do you think?" Asked Nolan.
"It's delicious. Did you make this?"
"Nope, my mom did. It's called Vaifala."
Taking another sip, Julia savored the sweet creaminess of the drink. "Mmm, this is good stuff. I think I have a new addiction."
Nolan's lips widened into a grin. "Well you're more than welcome to come here and get your fix anytime you like."
"I just might have to do that," said Julia in a flirtatious tone. Casting her eyes back upon the cloth on the wall, she studied the design, noting how it consisted of earth toned geometric shapes and patterns.
"This is nice, is this something your mother created?"
"No, it was made by my aunt in Samoa. It's called a tapa cloth. She gave it to my mom on the day that I was born. "
"Well it's very lovely. Your aunt has a lot of talent."
"She does, doesn't she?" Nolan remarked with a smile.
Roving her eyes toward the couch Julia asked, "Mind if I sit down? I've been on my feet all day and i'm kinda tired."
"Oh i'm sorry, I should have offered you a seat. Go ahead and take a load off."
As she settled onto the couch Nolan took a seat next to her. For a few moments they both sat in silence, sipping their drinks as their eyes focused on various objects in the room. Both felt an urge to move a little closer to the other, and yet neither made any moves to do it.
The clock ticked loudly in the silence of the room, and as the tension between them grew they each took turns stealing glances from out of the corner of their eyes. Julia willed Nolan to make a move, but as he continued just taking sips from his drink, she found that her frustration was growing. She was certain that he liked her, so what was he waiting for?
Setting his drink down on the coffee table before him, Nolan reached out and grabbed her hand, clasping it firmly within his own. As the flesh of their palms met, Julia felt his thumb gently stroke her skin. Scooting closer towards her, Nolan placed his fingertips beneath the underside of her chin, coaxing it upward so that her mouth was tilted toward his. Then he planted his lips against hers and they shared a searing kiss. As their tongues bumped together she felt a wave of excitement rush through her, and she realized that this was what true passion was all about.
She'd been waiting impatiently for this moment to happen between them, and now that it'd finally come she found that it was even more perfect than she could have ever have imagined. Their lips worked passionately against each other, their tongues tasting and exploring the warmth of each others mouths. As their kiss deepened, each of their hands sought out the feel of the others body. Evan's slid across her hips and waist, while Julia's slid up the length of his back, travelling further up until they found his wide shoulders.
Their lips sealed so tightly that it seemed as if they were suctioned together, and as his hands tightened around her waist she became even more turned on. She felt so small and delicate in his arms, and could tell just from the way that he held her that he was a man who possessed a lot of strength.
As their lips parted they found they were both short of breath, and strong waves of lust passed between them. Placing her hand against his shirt, Julia ran her palm across the expanse of his chest. She moved it slowly up and down his well-toned biceps, giving them a few squeezes as she admired the feel of his muscles. With an expression of longing in her eyes, she silently communicated her intense feelings toward him.
Tracing his finger over the pouty flesh of her lips, he studied her with his dark orbs.