Marked With No Ink


brynn_icon.gif pearl_icon.gif

Scene Title Marked with No Ink
Synopsis Brynn finally follows up on the business card Lance gave her. Gainful employment!
Date March 15, 2018


The interior of the shop is all dark-stained wood floors and brick walls, building old and full of original materials refurbished. There's the warmth and well-lived feel that'd be well-suited to a public house (a small one). Huge antique mirrors along three stations in the back help bounce light, and a small sitting area features simple furniture made of reclaimed palettes and old steamer trunks topped with grey fabric cushions, accented with gunmetal upholstery tacks. The floor is refinished, vintage random-pegged wood stained a deep mahogany. A couple of refurbished tablets rest on the seats, presumably for customers to browse digitized portfolios. A small set of shelves is tucked against the side wall, with hand-embroidered patches, stickers, and screen printed tees featuring the shop's logo. A huge metal sign is bolted to the exposed brick of the left wall, brushed aluminum cut in the shape of a winged skull with MARKED in an arc under it in 10 inch letters.

At night, it's backlit with tiny purple LEDs, an eerie glow that spills into the seating area. A 50s cigarette machine under the sign dispenses homemade candies wrapped in sachets of paper the size of cigarette boxes. An old wooden dragon, perhaps seven feet long, is suspended from the ceiling, likely reclaimed from the previous shop's basement treasures—it's been restored with a dark stain to match the floors. A seven foot mirror leans against the back wall beside a heavy wooden door marked OFFICE. Classic rock pipes in via powerful speakers bolted into the eaves.

Though the day was comfortable and downright spring-perfect, the sun has set and the temperature's dropped with it, now hovering somewhere around 50 degrees. The interior of the shop is comfortable, though certainly more chilly near the entrance. A powerful little space heater sits near the front seating area, keeping it toasty enough to linger. A dark haired, heavily tattooed woman sits there, clearly between clients, a huge sketchbook balanced on her lap. The sharp nib of a dip pen scratches lightly over thick watercolor paper, leaving bold black lined in its wake. All of the stations in back are currently empty, but the faint scent of spray disinfectant hints that perhaps someone recently cleaned one or more of the stations in back. A peppermint candle burns on a low table near the reception benches, lending the faint scent of candy to the place.

When the door opens, the girl who enters looks young. She's a petite, willowy type, though — so it's possible she looks older than the shop's lights make her appear. Which is probably at most 15. She looks nervous as she enters the shop but instantly intrigued by the art on the walls. She's carrying a battered backpack over her shoulders that looks like it's seen a lot of wear. She quickly rips her eyes from the wall of art, though, and walks hesitantly toward the counter. She pulls one of those small flip-style notebooks from her pocket and scribbles something down. When she shows the woman at the desk, it says simply, I can lip read. I was hoping you might be the owner?

Pearl doesn't look up from her sketchbook immediately. She finishes off a series of short pen-strokes, the top knuckle of her first two fingers stained lightly with india ink. It's only once the door's swung closed that her amber eyes come up, and she gives the new arrival a once over, top to toe and slowly back up. When the notepad is produced, she glances down at it, eyes tracking the words there. Her gaze flicks up, and she looks at Brynn for a moment, studying the young woman's face.

Pearl leans forward to pick up a small, damp square of cotton from a tiny tray on the table, and uses it to wipe the ink from her pen's nib, placing it carefully down once cleaned, and she sets the sketchbook aside too. "I am. Are you lost?"

Brynn shakes her head in the negative, a hesitant look on her face. She writes on the notepad, My brother Lance said that I should come and talk to you. Maybe show you some of my art? He … also seems to think that I might be able to help make you the most popular tattoo artist around. She looks a little amused at that, the grin a touch on the shy side.

Pearl takes a long moment to consider Brynn more closely, or perhaps it's simply her version of thinking—staring someone down like that. She sits forward a bit, resting laced fingers on her knee, legs crossed. "Lance. Right, pretty thing at the market playing monkey bars to young Walter."

"You're the sister interested in tattoo." Obvious. She nods to the padded bench seat next to her. "Have a seat." Nothing in her demeanor changes with either of the revelations that 1) Brynn is deaf or 2) Lance is her brother and sent her here. "What's your favorite thing to draw?" The question may seem a bit abrupt, at odds, even, with her tone, which can come off a bit… demanding.

Brynn laughs silently at the description of Lance and nods immediately. That's her brother all. She follows Pearl to the bench and takes a seat, turning to face the older woman so that she can read her lips. She starts to write.

I love to draw faces. Every face tells such a story, you know? A lot of hard lives but people still find happiness. And I like to draw that. I've done a lot of drawing of realistic nature stuff, but I also just did the mural on the wall at the Cat's Cradle.

She bites her lip and then instead of writing a huge ton more, she opts instead to shrug out of her backpack. She proffers a sketchbook to the artist, letting her look for herself at the sampling of work Brynn has in it for her.

Though Pearl accepts the sketchbook, she doesn't open it juuust yet. Instead, she asks, "What's your experience with skin?" She slips a finger under the cover of the sketchbook, but seems to be waiting for the answer to that before she has a look. "Are you looking for an apprenticeship or a job or both?" Lance really didn't go into much detail, it seems. While Brynn is responding, she opens up and begins paging, pausing at the full color splash of one particular drawing.

Brynn uses the time while Pearl is browsing to answer the question. I'm looking for both, if you want the truth. … I don't have any experience at all with inking someone's skin. She underlines the word "inking" and then waits politely until Pearl looks up at her. Then she reaches out, hesitating only long enough to make clear that she's going to touch part of the uncolored section of the half-completed sleeve. With her fingertip, she traces the dragon's wings, her touch leaving a brilliant purpley-blue that spreads to fill the outlined section within moments, then a swift brush of fingertip across the leading edge of the wing glosses a metallic silver limning to the wing's flight edge, as if lined by starlight. It takes no more than ten seconds.

It's clear from the pages she pauses on that Pearl is more fond of Brynn's color work. She surveys these pages for a moment, closing the sketchbook when the notepad is once again presented with a message. She reads, nods slightly, then sets sketchbook aside.

There's a long pause from Pearl before she glances down to see what it is Brynn's doing to her arm. She watches the color spread without moving, without much visible reaction, really. Pearl's rock solid with it comes to some things, and this is apparently one of them. "… This is just like the first time I dropped acid."

Good thing or bad thing? Kinda hard to tell from her voice.

Finally, Pearl glances over, regarding Brynn again. "Can you revise your colors, or is it one and done?"

Brynn starts to sign and then makes a small sound that might have been a chuckle at the words, though she can't hear the tone of them. She takes the notepad back and just brushes her fingertip across the sheet, focusing REALLY hard on it. I can revise as much as I want, and it's a permanent change of color, so… no-injection-required tats. You asked me about skin experience… I grew up in the Ferry. Part of what I learned was how to camouflage people during training exercise. Wow, what an upbringing *this* girl must have had! She's very nonchalant about the fact that it sounds like she grew up in an army. And I can erase it just as easily. Complete tattoo removal. My ability literally changes the color of it. No touch-ups required.

Sometimes it takes a moment for someone her age to stop and think that a lot of people came of age in the time of unrest. Brynn, of course, is one of them. Someone who's known conflict for a huge portion of her life. Someone who didn't chose it, but had to live with it anyway. "Okay." She turns her arm a little, taking more time to study the new color she's acquired courtesy of this young woman so new to her life. "The pay is shitty, but you can start part time and work your way up. In this shop, the new guy cleans everybody's tubes and stations." She finally smiles. When she does, the corners of her eyes crinkle. "And you can stop writing and just sign when you're here. You'll need your hands for drawing and cleaning and keeping me from strangling our customers."

The teenager blinks and then a bright grin crosses her face. OMG, you can sign? It gets tough sometimes, writing out what I need to say, she admits. There is one thing, though… I don't … I'm Registered, because I had to be to come live here and go to school. But I don't have whatever those license things are that people need to use their abilities for work. Do I need to do that?

The older woman can see the unease in Brynn's expression as she speaks of Registration. After all, the time and place where she grew up, they were fighting to NOT have to Register at all, and yet here they are.

Oh! Let me take the color out of that for you, since I didn't even know what colors you were heading for. I just picked my favorite shade to show you. She grins.

There's a nod from Pearl at the question about signing. She frowns a bit at the mention of registration, but the expression is subtle. Since Brynn is attuned to both hands and facial expression, she might catch it. It's not a thing I advertise. As for registration status and permits, it's up to you. I never did like lists.

A beat later, Pearl adds, When I choose a color, I'll let you add it. The artist who started this sleeve for me is dead. I don't know that I'll ever finish it. A high compliment indeed. She holds still to let Brynn reverse her touch-color-magic-finger business. I haven't signed in a few years. If I accidentally proposition you for something lewd, it's an accident. Probably. Maybe.

It's high praise if the sleeve remains as a dead artist left it. I'm sorry about your friend, she signs. She seems satisfied to merely do as she needs to with her own ability and then she snickers at the last. You haven't met my brother Joe yet, have you? Because honestly the boy runs off at the mouth so much there is very little she hasn't at least learned about. Even though it was the kind of learning KIDS do. She might be remarkably innocent, considering. She has that air just a little bit.

She does have a blush on her cheeks as she reaches over to concentrate on the tattoo, focusing on making sure to leave the original ink alone. But when she looks up, it's with a quick smile. It's actually pretty amazing how many people know ASL here. Of course, she's used to almost everyone around her having some. It's made adjusting to being so crowded in the city a lot easier, honestly.

Pearl's amber eyes close for a moment as she signs a brief, Thank you. but she's back to her usual self in no time, smirking a little as Brynn asks about Joe. How many siblings should I expect to meet? The dark-haired woman shakes her head, clearly amused. It's New York. Everybody has at least a few hand gestures for something.

Pearl nods to the sketchbook Brynn brought. I'll get you one for work. You should be doing at least a page a day. I have some style books. I always start American Traditional. I hope you like roses, ships, and rope. So the new job comes with homework. If you bring your own clients, we can book you in more nights. To start, three half-days a week including one Friday or Saturday. You can hang out more, but if you're here, you're drawing or working. Ok?

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