First ink, p.11
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       First Ink, p.11

         Part #1 of Wicked Ink Chronicles series by Laura Wright
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Chapter 11



  "You sure about this?"

  Lisa's sitting in the passenger side of my car with the door open, grilling me for the millionth time. She's super wary now. Of Rush, of anyone who works in that Den of Sin, as she calls it. She refuses to give me exact details of what went down when she went there last night, but I get the feeling it's not what I thought it was. Not Vincent hitting on her hard. She did say he was a giant asshole, and had insulted her. But the thing that concerned me most was the look on her face when she said it. Like she was questioning herself, unsure of herself. And that so isn't Lisa.

  "I'm positive," I tell her. "See you in a few days?"

  She nods and gets out of the car, tosses her bag over her shoulder. I bought her a plane ticket home, back to L. A. because I'm going to need my car.

  She shuts the door, but sticks her head through the open window. "Call me tonight. "

  "I will. Promise. "

  "Even if you're happily being held against your will. "

  "Swears. " I grin.

  "You're not missing graduation. "

  "Oh, come on," I say, all serious now. "Never. I'll be there. You and me, side by side in our ugly gold gowns. "

  She snorts. "Seriously, why did they have to choose that color?"

  "Right?" I say, laughing.

  She looks at me and shrugs reluctantly. "Tell Rush I said hi, okay? Then tell Vincent I said he's an asshole, and doesn't know anything about anything. "

  I drop my chin and say pointedly, "You're going to tell me what was said there at some point, right?"

  She smiles softly and readjusts her bag. "Love you, Addy. "

  "Bye, Beeyotch," I say affectionately.

  "Bye, Whore," she returns, then blows me a kiss before she heads into the terminal.

  The second she's gone, my heart starts pounding away, bass drum-style. I pull away from the curb, and set my course for the coming sunset and the Red Rocks. I don't know what I'm walking into. I don't know what he'll say or do, but I just don't care at this point. I love the guy. Like to the moon and beyond kind of love, and I'm going to tell him so. I'm going to tell him that we belong together. Good, bad, amazing, scary, shit to work out-we're destined.

  It takes me a good thirty minutes to get to Wicked Ink, but when I pull into the parking lot and slip between a few motorcycles and a Mercedes, my heart feels close to exploding. I know what I'm doing is the right thing, the only thing, but I'm scared. I know Rush still has feelings for me. I saw it in his eyes from the second he looked up at me in the convention center. But that doesn't mean he wants me back, wants anything more than what we had in the past twenty-four hours.

  But I have to find out.

  My entire body trembles as I walk through the front doors. Unlike last night, the place is littered with customers. The owners of the vehicles outside are seated and standing in the waiting area, and some of them glance my way as I head for the recep desk.

  "Back again, beautiful?"

  Standing behind the desk, checking out an appointment book, is Mr. Asshole himself, Vincent. He's wearing black jeans and a distressed gray t-shirt with a picture of a snake coming out of a skull's mouth, the sleeves rolled up to his shoulders. He's tall and lean, both ears and one eyebrow pierced, and he's nearly completely tatted up. I'll admit it. The guy's intimidating, and gorgeous. Nothing compared to Rush, of course. But, then again, no one and nothing compares to Rush.

  I shrug lightly. "I think I might be addicted. "

  He grins, wide and wicked. "That's how it is with ink. You can't have just one. "

  I lean on the counter. "Kind of like women?"

  His black as night eyes widen. "Who you been talkin' to, little girl?"

  I shrug casually, some of my nerves dissipating in the back and forth we have going here. "Heard you met my friend last night. "

  He nods. "Cute. A little uptight, but cute. "

  I bristle at the assumption that my best friend is anything but 100% awesome. "She was worried about me. I think you were a jerkoff to her. "

  "Nope. Just asked her out. "

  That couldn't be the whole story. "Well, she's not your type. "

  "Sweetness, if a girl's got tits and a warm pussy, she's my type. "

  My mouth drops open.

  He laughs. "You looking for Rush?"

  "Yes. " Good god, this guy. Now I've got to know what went down. Tonight, I'm going to force it out of Lisa.

  He points behind me with one of his tattooed fingers. e"Right behind you, dollface. "

  I whirl on the spot, and just like that I forget anyone else exists. I saw him only a few hours ago, but it's like I haven't seen him in years. Again. My gaze rakes over his face, swooning over it, memorizing it, in case this doesn't go well. He's wearing dark blue denim and a white tank top that shows off his tongue-tracing ink to perfection. I swallow the saliva that has quickly pooled in my mouth and force a smile. "Hey. "

  "Hey. " He looks on edge, maybe confused as to why I'm there. Maybe disappointed that I'm there at all.

  I chew my lip. My heart is slamming against my ribs so hard I think I'm bruised. I feel eyes on me, feel their judgment, too.

  "You don't have an appointment, Ads," he says, his tone calm. Not cool. But calm. "And I'm pretty booked up. "

  Oh my god, what am I doing? He doesn't want this. Doesn't want me. And yet, I forge ahead because I refuse-REFUSE-to fucking have another regret where he's concerned. "This will just take a sec. "

  He nods, knocks his chin in the direction of his room. "Come on in-"

  I never let him finish. I'm too keyed up, and this is it. My moment. To be accepted or to go down in flames.

  "I love you," I burst out.

  The entire room goes silent. Rush's face darkens. His eyes, too.

  "Ads. . . "

  "No," I continue, sounding nuts even to my own ears. God knows what I must look like. "No, that's not right. I'm fucking crazy about you!"

  "Damn, brother," Vincent mutters behind us.

  Rush turns and snarls at him, "Shut up. " Then reaches for me. "Come on. Let's do this in private, Ads. "

  I draw back. "No. " I shake my head at him. "Five years ago, I insulted you in front of a room full of people. Today, everyone's going to hear how fucking amazing you are. "

  He looks a little stunned, but I press on, my stomach churning. "I've always been crazy about you. You're it for me. Everything. My heart, my guts. My family, my best friend. You're the hottest lover in existence. And you make me feel special, like I matter, like I'm the only one in the world for you. " I look at Vincent and flip him off. "That was for you, asshat. "

  Everyone hoots, and Vincent grabs his chest and groans, "Oh hot damn, I think I love her. "

  "No you don't," Rush snarls again. "And shut up. "

  I stare at him. Eyes locked. I don't care about anything else. "I want to do this, Rush. Me and you. Do you want to do this?"

  "What about school, L. A. , your paper?" His body, his sexy, inked-up body is so tense, so on edge. "Isn't that thing due tomorrow?"

  I grin. I grin so wide it hurts. "I don't give a shit about my stupid paper. I'll get a fucking extension. " I take a step toward him and stop. "I love you. Like crazy kind of love, understand me?"

  He nods, real slow, his eyes so dark green they're nearly all iris. "Yeah, baby, I understand. I fucking love you, too. Crazy. "

  Tears scratch at my throat. I can't believe what I'm hearing. Can't believe we're doing this. Again. Starting over. Starting clean.

  His lip curls and he growls at me. "Get your sweet ass over here. "

  I squeal and dive into his arms. He lifts me and grabs my backside, tucking me into him. Smiling like I just won the lottery-and let's face it, I fucking did! I wrap my legs around his waist and cross my ankles behind his back, locking him in tight.

  "What now, Rush?" I whisper against his mouth a
s everyone hoots and catcalls around us. "What do we do now?"

  He grins, wicked and sexy. "Let's start with an epic kiss, baby and see where we go from there. "

  The End
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