Ink Therapy


lydia_icon.gif peyton2_icon.gif

Scene Title Ink Therapy
Synopsis Peyton gets a tattoo to cross an item off her bucket list, and gets some unexpected therapy from Lydia in the meantime.
Date July 24, 2010

Greenwich Village Just Ink Tattoo Parlor

Midday on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and it's quite literally dead at Just Ink tattoo parlor. In fact, with so few appointments most of the more practiced artists have gone home. Lydia Taylor, however, works the front and is sketching. Nothing fancy, really. Just designs for her portfolio, and potential tattoos for future clients. She'd started in pencil and then graduated herself to pen, which really she should've been using all along. Redoes aren't exactly an option when it comes to people's skin.

Her tight-lipped smile and dark eyed gaze remain low as she admires her own work. Of course, her body is also a canvas of many colours, featured for clients to see in her red spaghetti strap knee-length dress. Her long sandy-coloured hair is pulled back into a ponytail, but a few unruly strays bother her as she goes about her work, fighting them from time to time with a brush of her hand.

The parlor itself is clean, white, and the lights bounce off the white tile only making it seem cleaner and whiter. The only splash of colour exists on the triads at the front featuring each of the artists' work and originals designs. Lydia has one of her own, but it's substantially smaller than many of the others; her career here hasn't been lengthy.

Further into the parlor chaises are used for client comfort and stillness— they're essentially girnies. It's not quite a hospital, but the hygenic practices certainly reflect it. Several chairs line the front along with copies of tattoo magazines for clients to look through while waiting.

While it might be something that some people do on drunken whim, the trek to Greenwich today has been planned. Perhaps it is not the long wait period some people make themselves wait, thinking on their designs and redesigns, their visions and revisions of the tattoo of their dreams. Peyton Whitney toyed with the idea of a tatt in the past; in her party days, she thought of getting one of the trendy "tramp stamps" or an inked anklet, as the once alternative skin art became more and more mainstream for her generation. But somehow it never happened, and now she finds it on the bottom of her bucket list, created after her vision on June 10th.

The list itself might be cliche, but she found herself jotting things down and now she's starting to work on getting it completed. The most important, #1, was to get her will done, and that's been completed. She's now dropped down to #50, which is the tattoo, and that's why she's stopping by.

Dressed in a white halter top and cuffed denim capris, her long dark hair in a long ponytail, Peyton isn't the typical tattoo customer, pristine as her skin is, but there's a first time for all tattooed bodies. She steps a little uncertainly into the parlor, dark eyes darting up to take in the decor and cleanliness, before alighting on Lydia, and smiling tentatively.

The familiar chime of the door snaps Lydia to attention, she looks up from her work almost immediately to see Peyton's face, issuing a tentative smile of her own. She opens her mouth to speak, but closes it seconds later, holding up a single finger while she finishes a line on her art. Losing her spot now really would be pointless. Finishing that final inked line, she places the pen down and smiles a little more warmly at Peyton.

"Welcome. Sorry about that," her tone is even, not excitable and certainly not overly emphatic, but it has a kind of warmth and seriousness of its own in its weight. "How can I help you?" her eyes have an oddness about them, dark and secretive.

Peyton moves closer, fingers curling around the strap of her purse where it sits on her shoulder, more for something for her hands to do than any practical reason. "I'm a first-timer, so you know, sort of not sure what I want," she says, glancing at the sketch Lydia had been working on and tilting her head slightly.

"Nice," she comments, sincerely, though the bland word of course doesn't offer any sort of knowledgeable praise. "I was thinking of getting a peacock feather… maybe on the back of my neck? Something that I could hide with my hair and clothing if I needed, but you know, not timid, either. I mean, if you're gonna get a tattoo, might as well get something that people can see, right?" She smiles and tilts her head at the woman, taking in the colorful designs on Lydia's skin. "I don't think I can pull it off like you can, but your work is beautiful," she adds.

"We take all kinds," the smile remains a kind of constant as Lydia runs a finger over one of the face tattoos imprinted on her arms, inked there on her last day. There's a little more warmth to the smile as her long fingers brush over another face watching her fingers as they move, but as she lowers her hand and gazes at Peyton the warmth seems to stay. "A peacock feather," she repeats as she slides off her chair.

She virtually floats to her client as she steps behind the other woman, asking, "May I?" A simple request to peek at the other woman's neck and brush just the slightest touch that will likely seem like nothing.

Dark eyes scan the faces, curious as to who they are, wondering if her power would ever let Peyton see from their perspective just based on tattoos; Peyton's guess is no, since she can't yet see people she knows from video or photographs as of yet. "Sure," she says, reaching up to pull her ponytail out of the way. The halter top ties in the back, so she reaches up with her other hand to pull the tie loose, hand moving to the front to make sure she doesn't actually flash anyone glancing in the windows or walking through the front door.

At the acceptance of the request, Lydia places a single finger on the other woman's neck and, simultaneously, in doing so, something activates within her. Her eyes soften, her jaw relaxes and her demeanour changes, but she's still all-business all of the time. Her finger gently presses on the top, "I think it should extend from here," she runs it down to the base, "to here." Slowly she steps back around Peyton and to her sketchpad. "I'm just going to try drawing something short-hand here so I can… show you…" sitting back at the desk she begins to draw an outline of feather with a very distinct eye shape on top.

One shoulder rises a little in response to the feather-light touch of Lydia's finger, tickling Peyton a little but the tall brunette nods at the words. Once Lydia steps away, Peyton turns, one hand holding the top of her halter in place as she moves to watch the artist sketch.

"That's perfect!" the clairvoyant exclaims, with an enthusiastic nod to punctuate her nod. She lets go of her ponytail as she studies the sketch more closely. "And all … well, obviously peacocky colors. Blue and green and all… vibrant." She leans on the corner of the desk. "It's quiet in here… are you the only one who works here?"

"I'm… " Sketch. "… glad…" Sketch. "…you…" Sketch. "…like it." Putting the pen down, Lydia pushes the sketch a little closer for Peyton to examine. Biting her bottom lip, she almost looks hopeful as she glances at the other woman. "And yes, when we actually do the art I'll make sure it's colourful, vibrant, and will really stand out."

The smile turns a little more sheepish and perhaps gracious at the question as Lydia removes her ponytail to try collecting the few strays that hang about her face, forcing them up and away. "No. I have many other more experience colleagues, but it's been a quiet day." She shrugs a little through her tight-lipped smile. Opening her mouth to speak, she hesitates and nothing comes comes out until she forces it, "And what made you decide to take the plunge today?"

"Well, I like your sketch, and I can't imagine liking theirs any better… as long as you're not a really heavy hand on the needle that sends everyone screaming out the door, I think you'll be fine," Peyton says with a grin. The question earns a slight frown, and Peyton is quiet a moment as if considering her words, before finally shrugging one bare tan shoulder.

"I guess it's just one of those life experiences I haven't had, so I figured why not today?" It's close to the truth. Peyton just leaves out the fact that she thinks she only has a few months left of life to have those kinds of experiences. "Also, someone told me to wait til I was 21 once, or I'd regret anything I'd have gotten in my younger, stupider years. I'm 21 now, though it's been a few months. Not a lot of tattoo artists open during the big storm, of course."

Peyton earns herself a more genuine smile, that same warmth reflected as before. "Well thank you. I try to be thorough and match my customers' desires." Lydia's turn of phrase is punctuated with a smaller smile, something a little more sheepish as she slides off the chair again. "We could run with it today or I can refine the sketch some more and we could make another appointment. The choice is yours."

"And whoever told you that was a wise person. Age and experience help us understand ourselves better and there are some things in life sometimes we're too young for," the smile turns strained before Lydia turns on her heel towards a work station.

Those words make Peyton's eyes drop, her cheeks coloring a touch, guessing it's a rebuke of sorts for the former socialite's activities in the past, her storied past that has landed her in tabloid magazines and It's ironic that she's had less to drink since she's turned 21 than in any six month time period between ages 16 and 20. "Yeah. I guess hangovers and such are less permanent than tattoos, so maybe it was my last frontier to explore," she manages.

"I'm good to go now, unless you don't feel ready… I love the sketch, and I like your own tattoos, so I trust your taste," Peyton says, glancing back up. "I have the cash now," she adds.

"There are more permanent things than tattoos," the words aren't chiding, but they certainly have weight. Pressing a finger to her lips, Lydia grasps the sketch, arching a single eyebrow. She examines each of the lines and balance of texture in it while she pads to the workstation, fully expecting Peyton to follow. "I'm ready." She motions towards one particular bed, fully expecting Peyton to lie face down. The bed itself is dressed in paper— to be disposed after every use.

She paces towards a sink to scrub her hands before pulling on a pair of blue disposable gloves. Slowly she turns, prepping each of the inks in turn and each of her pens with them. "Lots of greens and blues," she repeats again more for her sake than for Peyton. Sliding on a black wheeled stool she approaches the bed again, poised and ready for her art.

Suddenly the actual thought of lying down so someone can poke her neck with needles seems less of a good idea than Peyton thought, but she's not a coward these days. There are worse pains in the world than a tiny needle, and she's already endured many of them, and knows that she will endure worse. Still, a little quiver of butterflies in her belly runs through her as she moves to the bed, lying down on her stomach so that her neck is exposed.

She takes the long tail of hair and tucks it into a bun so that neither she nor Lydia will have to hold it out of the way. "How long have you been doing this?" she asks, though more for conversation than because of her nerves.

"Don't worry. It'll be fine," the reassurance is warm. The needle punctures Peyton's skin quickly. The pain itself is akin to a cat scratch, more than a flesh wound, but not unbearable. "Not too long," the reply is quiet and spoken as Lydia changes colours, switching out the ink for a different hue. Right now, she is playing a painter and this is her canvas. And then with a small smirk that Peyton can't see, the artist hmmmms, admiring her work thus far, even if it only consists of a few lines.

Her face flushes a little, very little as she presses the new colour to Peyton's skin. "Actually… I'm a fortune teller for hire." Her lips fade into a weak smile, "This is just my day job."

"A fortune teller?" Peyton says, finding it hard to have a conversation where she can't turn her head. For a moment, she decides to see through Lydia's eyes, to watch the tattoo as it comes to life. Her eyes, though Lydia cannot see them, grow black as each pupil widens until a small sliver of brown iris encircles it. She can see the tattoo being etched in her skin — she can also see that needle and the tiny amount of blood that seeps up. Better not to watch, she decides, and returns her vision to her own surroundings.

"Do people really go to those still, now that there are precogs who really can see the future? Oh, unless… unless you are one. I'm sorry. I didn't think…" Peyton stammers a bit. She's never quite figured out how to ask people if they're Evolved without it sounding rude.

"I'm not a precog," Lydia answers rather honestly. "I read tarot cards long before anyone knew of their existence." Her lips twitch into a sad smile as she leans away from her work. With a quiet sniffle she pretends to change out the colour, but she doesn't, she just needed a moment. "But yes, there's less demand these days." She runs her tongue over her dry lips, "I'm not sure I'd want to be a precog though. Knowing what's coming…"

With a slow deep breath she leans forward and goes back to her work, steady-handed, pushing the more melancholy thoughts from her mind and forcing another strained smile if for only for her benefit. "Perhaps it's just better to live everyday as the last."

There's a slight shiver that runs through Peyton's body, luckily when the needle isn't pressed against her skin as Lydia changes the color of the ink on the needle. The last words also resonate — after all, that's what she's doing right now. She doesn't think she'll live to be 22… might as well get all of the things out of the way now. Some of those items on her bucket list she can manage on her own, like getting a tattoo. Some, she can't do on her own or in the short time span ahead, and will likely go unchecked. Things like being in love with someone who loves her back. A wedding. A child.

A life.

Her eyes grow wet and she closes her eyes, glad that Lydia's behind her. "I guess tarot cards will always be popular. There's something about the images and the mysticism — it's more magical than when it's someone telling you the future because they have a gene that makes them precognitive, maybe. For me, I've had enough of seeing the future, and the past wasn't all that great either, so it's all about the present for me," she says lightly.

Sucking in another breath, Lydia bites her bottom lip. Her concentration is now on her craft and her craft alone. Steadily she finishes another line, yet something changes about her, even though Lydia can't see the moisture or the tears, her free hand moves to her client's shoulder. It's a supportive motion, really, especially as she gives it a very slight squeeze. Moments later the hand is removed, used to support the needle once again, but it doesn't stay there for long.

Lydia sits up to stretch her back, leaning over isn't the most comfortable posture. Straightening, she observes, "The future changes just by looking at it. Precognition is a paradox, really. A person can be trapped obsessively trying to make their future go one way or another, and in the obsession carry it out. And perhaps there are pieces that are all drawn together in some kind of destiny, but each still has a measure of freewill."

"The cards, however, they're telling in a different way. They speak of what is, what could come, and the secrets we hide from ourselves. That's why the cards will always have their place." She leans forward again and resteadies her hand, needle to skin.

"Free will… I'm not trying to make a vision come true or not come true," Peyton murmurs, a tear slipping down off her cheek and onto the paper covering the bed. "It seems like fighting it's pointless, so I'll just do what I like until then and not worry about it, because like you said, trying to fight it might make it worse." That's not why she doesn't fight it, but it sounds better than saying the words she hasn't said to anyone else: she's given up. Danko owns her life, she's sure of it, and if it's not on November 8, it will be some other day. Their paths keep colliding in the strangest of places — if there is no such thing as Fate or predestination, there is something that draws the two of them together and she believes that it's an immutable force of some sort.

"I read that once, about Tarot cards. That it's really not anything magical but just that they will make sense to each person in a way that is personal to them, and so it helps you figure stuff out that might be in your subconscious or just stuff that you needed someone else to say aloud. I guess that makes sense. It's sort of like therapy, like counseling sessions, for some people. They help them because it's just a matter of saying things aloud to themselves that they needed to hear," Peyton murmurs. Her own counseling sessions have always been a joke, something she's done just in order to get out of rehab or to get her trust fund check.

"Knowing the future is a burden," Lydia agrees quietly as she lifts the needle again, changing out the colour one last time. Her hands make light of their work as she trades blue for turquoise; vibrant in its own right. Her lips press together, pondering whether to utter her next thought or not, instead she focuses on discussing the cards.

"It can be therapeutic. A good reader knows how to make it relevant to the client. The best readers understand the cards for total strangers." Her lips twitch into a more genuine smile, telling in its own right, this is something she knows about and a livelihood for her, at least it was. "And I think it can be more useful than therapy at times. There are things in our lives we all hide, even from ourselves. Our own desires, fears, failures… we let them sit to rot somewhere inside our minds."

Leaning forward one last time, she fills in the feather, colouring within the outline she's created.

Peyton winces slightly as the needle finds a more sensitive spot, though she doesn't jerk away. "I know I used to," she says quietly. "I pretended to be someone I wasn't, because I liked the attention. And I pretended to myself that I was happy, you know? It's kind of of funny that it took really awful, frightening things to happen to me for me to realize I wasn't happy. Or at least to admit it. I guess I always knew it."

She takes a deep breath, a shaky thing thanks to the mix of the steady pain of the needle and the sensitive discussion. "I guess at least no matter what happens now, I'm a better person in a lot of ways," the clairvoyant adds, voice soft. "Man, this is kind of like therapy, too… you could be a bartender for your third job, and really hit the trifecta."

"It can be easy to live in lies, especially when life is full of crises," And Lydia should know, she's been living a lie for awhile. Ironically before everyone know about Evolveds she essentially lived in the open and now… she keeps her secrets closer than ever before. Her lips press together again.

The bartender comment is met with a warm smile, even if Peyton can't see it. "Some of us just have gift of reading and understanding people. I'm glad I could bring you some relief while practicing my art." A gift. Finally it's done. She hands Peyton a small mirror and holds a second to allow the other girl to see it before she bandages it up. "Any changes you want?"

The clairvoyant smiles as she is handed the mirror — she could look at it through Lydia's eyes easier, but she's not about to say it. "You're lucky. I can't read people for shit," she says with a laugh. She can read what they're reading, but that's altogether different! She studies the tattoo in the hand mirror and beams. "It's perfect. Now I have an eye on the back of my head," she can't help but quip, the joke amusing to herself for its unique meaning to her.

"It's beautiful. You're really talented. Did I get your name? I'm Peyton," the brunette tells the blonde, sitting up and reaching for her purse.

"Thank you." She's pleased with how this particular tattoo turned out. "It's taken time, but I'm happy that I've moved forward as an artist. On the plus side, my clients tend to leave happy." the empath issues another genuine smile as she places the needle down and rolls her gloves together for disposal. Carefully she stands from her black stool and stretches her back again. She'll clean the rest once Peyton is gone. "Lydia. My name is Lydia. Nice to meet you, Peyton."

"Well, you definitely have a knack. I'll send anyone who asks for a referral to you, and I'm sure I'll get asked, because it's gorgeous." Pulling out her wallet, Peyton's dark eyes come back up to study Lydia's. "How much do I owe you? And if you have some cards, I'll take them to give out for referrals. I really do bet I get asked for some. People always ask me for like, my hair stylist and stuff, I bet its the same sort of thing. Of course, it's my first one, so I'm just guessing."

"Two hundred, even. A break for your first," Lydia winks with a tilt of her head as she takes the money. Her dark eyes don't look away from Peyton's there's no awkwardness in her movement as she takes a small step back. "And here. My card." She hands her several copies of it. It's simple really. Just Ink with the address and phone number along with her name: Lydia Taylor. Taking a small step back, Lydia issues Peyton a wave as she disappears through the door again.

Once alone and there's no one to hear her, the empath whispers her last parting words, even though Peyton can't hear them. "Good luck.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License