Jump to content
    Celian
  • Author
  • 2,278 Words
  • 621 Views
  • 9 Comments
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Ink and Flowers - 1. Emmett

First-person POV

"How was it with your family?" Judy leaned against the counter and raised her brows questioningly.

In response, I shrugged. "Has its reasons for why I left. The meetings are accordingly." I didn't manage to return her wry smile, especially since it was the same answer she'd been getting for years.

"Well..." She sighed a little affectedly and her artificial fingernails clicked in an unpleasant rhythm on the black wood of the counter. "Have you seen Patricia's new aide yet?"

Considering Judy's gossipy tone and the fact that Patricia had new helping hands all the time in her flower shop across the street from us, I struggled to keep a neutral expression. "No. Why?"

"He's fat, he smokes, and he's probably gay." If I hadn't known Judy for six years, I probably would have resented her extremely critical expression.

"So?", I asked instead, not necessarily interested.

"Come on, that doesn't sound like Patricia. What would she want with someone like that?" Judy's brows twitched way up and I had to smile involuntarily.

"You're the only one here who thinks Patricia would sleep with her aides. Besides, not everyone is a health nut like you. And as for sexuality-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, Ems, to each their own. Still. Look at this guy." That critical look again, then she followed up with: "Not that I'm trying to sell him to you, for God's sake, no, I think he's kind of weird."

To this I could only shrug. "We'll run into each other eventually. Now scurry off and do some homework."

She stuck her tongue out at me before turning to leave, but paused at the door. "Seriously, this guy is weird. Just don't get any ideas about getting into bed with him out of sheer desperation."

"I'm not desperate!", I called after her, but she slipped out the door. Judy was nineteen and a classic college it-girl, but the lack of amusement on her part gave me pause, because she usually liked to tease me, for that matter. Her parents had probably told me for a reason that I represented the big brother she wanted to have.

The hum of the tattoo machine died away just as I turned my focus to the flower shop across the street.

"Sorry, Travis, but that's all it's going to be today," Tony said sternly, and Travis sighed deeply.

"At this rate, we won't be done for Christmas."

"Your skin is too sensitive."

While Travis sighed deeply again, I detached myself from the counter and walked behind to the curtain separating the anteroom from the actual studio.

"Are we really going to have this discussion again?" Tony was still dabbing at Travis' back when I peeked into the studio. The sorcerer had ordered a massive magical tattoo to cover his entire back, but since his skin didn't seem to be a big fan of tattoos, Tony was merely making progress in small steps. Either way, Travis had to be making good money, because what he was asking for was expensive.

"No." Travis grumbled, rolling his shoulders as Tony lowered the cloth.

"Will there be colored ink next week?", I wanted to know, trying not for the first time to decipher the symbolism of the tattoo. Not that it showed much on Travis' skin after eight sessions, but Tony had taped the template to a cabinet for illustration, as he did every time.

"The pale purple." Tony replied, rising to point a gloved pinky finger at the appropriate spot. "What was that? Temperature control?"

Travis hummed in agreement.

"Okay." After a nod to Tony, I withdrew and typed into the system and my notebook a reminder to make the appropriate ink. Hopefully we still had enough snowdrop blossoms, otherwise there would be a problem, because honestly, where do you get snowdrops in September? I mean, they're not exactly an earth-shatteringly important ingredient for magical stuff. I would discuss the matter with Tony later, just as I was going to ask him about Patricia's new aide.


 

Fifteen minutes later, Travis left the parlor with a small portion of after-care ointment and two supportive potions to help anchor the ink in his skin, but poorer of $150. As the door closed behind him, Tony leaned against the counter and looked at me scrutinizingly.

"No comment yet on how working is so much better than family?"

"What do you want to hear?", I asked back, lifting my eyes from my notebook.

He shrugged. "Something."

With a sigh, I shook my head and lowered my gaze again. "Marc became father for the second time, and Jessica is having a third child after all. You know that. They have WhatsApp out there."

"If nothing else, they have internet." Tony sighed, but equally wistful and amused. "Is your mom still getting on your nerves about finally finding a wife?"

Grimacing, I shook my head. "Mom didn't say anything about it for once, just everyone else. Seriously, you're in contact with her, what are you asking me out like this for?"

"My little sister told me to keep an eye on you, Emmett, but that doesn't mean she's keeping me in the loop. The only thing she shares with me without being asked is news from the coven." Now Tony was grimacing, and I could relate. That I, as the only gay guy- or the only non-straight person at all- had left our little home village had been a good decision for both sides. That my uncle Tony had accompanied me, the conservative community had only accepted under the aspect of having to look after me, but that he with his special and rare magical affinity was clearly better off in a big city like St. Beatrice, than in a tiny coven, no one there wanted to admit.

We exchanged a glance and I hoped that would end the subject.

"Will you get the flowers from Patricia in the morning and hold down the fort here? I have a doctor's appointment," he said then and I raised a brow.

"Doctor's appointment?" With me in the house, it was unlikely he'd ever need a doctor.

"Preventive checkup. I'm sixty by now, boy." he returned, giving me a stern look. "Humans are into that sort of thing."

"You are human, Tony, remember that," I retorted, and he rolled his eyes.

"I'm a witch."

"A human."

He sighed.

"Yeah, I'll get the flowers and take charge temporarily." I saluted with two fingers and he rolled his eyes. "Speaking of flowers. Judy said Patricia switched her aide again?"

Tony grumbled. "Finley. What was Judy's assessment?"

"Not very positive. Fat, smokes, gay, weird."

To that he gave an amused grunt and shook his head. "Girls that age are difficult. Although I have to admit, he is a little weird."

"In what way?", I wanted to know. Not that I really cared. As quickly as Patricia's helping hands came and went, one rarely had time to get to know the person at all beyond the name.

"There's magic attached to him, more than can come from tattoos. But for the life of me, I can't tell you what he is." There was a hint of wariness, perhaps concern, in Tony's face and voice, but before I could call him on it, he nodded toward the window. "There."

A tall broad-shouldered guy in an ugly poop-brown T-shirt and dark green cargo pants tucked into heavy boots exited the flower shop. He fished a pack of cigarettes out of a pants pocket, the motion accentuating his love handles and small man boobs, before leaning against the wall of the building and lighting a cigarette.

"Judy's definition of fat leaves something to be desired," was my first comment- I'd call that chubby at most- causing Tony to snort in amusement.

"The girl lives off Instagram and TikTok, what do you expect?"

To this, in turn, I said nothing. "What kind of magic surrounds him?", I wanted to know instead and Tony sighed.

"A shifter he's not, they don't put on fat. But honestly, I don't know. Half Fey maybe, with bad genes."

That made me snort in amusement now. "You may be a hillbilly witch, but even you should be able to recognize Fey magic." And then I grinned as he gave me the middle finger.

"You tell me. Your nose is better than mine." At his playfully offended tone, my grin grew even wider.

"Since you're going to the doctor tomorrow like a good old man-" I didn't get any further than that, since Tony reached over the counter and swatted at me, but laughing I dodged. "Hundred bucks if he's a mana user like you."

"I'll counter with hundred and say he's a half-breed. If we're both wrong, we'll invite the Millers over for dinner," Tony countered, and I grinned. I almost hoped we were both wrong, just to see Judy pining over Tony- a man older than her own father- and Tony squirming uncomfortably under that attention.

 

~

 

The warm, humid air of Patricia's shop was like a wall as I entered, and the smell of flowers and damp earth tickled my nose.

"Good morning, how can I help?"

I winced and looked to my left, where Finley was kneeling among the cut flowers. His hair gleamed reddish in the light here, and his face looked a little bloated up close, but I didn't perceive any signs of illness, only a deep sadness seemed to waft around him like mist. "I'm Emmett, from the tattoo parlor across the street. We ordered flowers from you."

He eyed me and then stood, three pale pink roses in his hand. I'm not exactly short myself, but he was still taller than me, and after a nod, he trudged past me; somehow there was something ponderous about him. "Patricia? Bonnell's here!" he called out.

As I stepped past the front counter, which got me a critical glance, Patricia sounded off from behind: "You son of a bitch! Next time you order Biting Sunshine-"

"I'm Emmett!" I shouted in between, trying hard to suppress a grin.

"Slap Tony for me, I still see colored dots!" Patricia was angry, it could be heard and seen as she entered the main room, but she liked Tony too much to stay mad at him for long. "Seriously, when is this man going to learn to specify his order?"

I chuckled. "Maybe he just likes getting snapped at by you." Eventually the two of them would end up in bed together, I was sure of it, even if Tony always claimed she was too young for him.

Patricia merely snorted, but there was a hint of pink on her cheeks. "Anyway. This is Fin, my new assistant. Fin, this is Emmett Porter, Tony Bonnell's nephew."

We nodded to each other.

"Help him with the flower baskets, will you?"

"Hey, I make micro batches of magic ink, how clumsy do you think I am?", I protested, because in all honesty, the flower baskets were neither bulky nor heavy.

"It's not the size that matters, Emmett," Patricia returned with a wink, and I raised a brow.

"But rather the quantity? Patricia, Patricia, what a naughty girl.", I chided and she laughed.

"At least I'm not said to be desperate."

"I value quality, not quantity," I returned miffed, and she winked at me mockingly. My nature didn't do well with petty one-night stands, and I didn't need it that badly.

Finley, meanwhile, was standing somewhere between us, looking a little embarrassed at our joking. "Shall I...?"

Half nodding, half shrugging I passed him and accepted the first basket of flowers. I could feel the magic surrounding Finley, and it felt human, but as we stepped outside, away from the smothering fragrance of the flowers, a breeze wafted in Finley's very own scent.

Flight.

Only years in the midst of a large city full of predators of every kind and my magical tattoo for just that purpose made me suppress my instincts. Intense goosebumps covered my body and I shuddered. I couldn't even tell what I was smelling, what he smelled like, except of danger. Everything in me just wanted to run screaming.

We crossed the street and my brain worked feverishly to come up with an explanation. He had to be wearing a strong scent mask, but that he still elicited such a reaction only highlighted how dangerous he had to be. Vampire I could rule out, even those who could walk in daylight smelled permanently of decay and blood, there helped no masking, and even shifters actually always had a subtle animal note around them. A mana user with a strong affinity for blood magic or necromancy, perhaps. Maybe a magical half-breed masquerading as a human. I shuddered again.

The entrance to the house, which led to the apartments above the parlor, was in the side alley that had access to the garden at the end. I balanced the flower basket on one shoulder and fumbled with my key, acutely aware that Finley was standing close behind me.

"Do you want me to take the basket for a minute?"

I nearly dropped said basket as I winced. "No, I'm fine." Out of the corner of my eye I saw him nod, then I slid the key into the lock. "Thanks.", I said a little tonelessly as he entered after me and set the baskets down in the dim hallway.

"You're welcome." It sounded so much like the empty phrase that it was, and after a nod, he was gone. All that remained was the smell of danger and a whiff of cigarettes.

Copyright © 2024 Celian; All Rights Reserved.
  • Like 7
  • Love 5
  • Wow 1
  • Fingers Crossed 1
Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
You are not currently following this story. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new chapters.

Recommended Comments

Chapter Comments

@Celian What am awesome start to the story. I love the depth of your characters, they are full of life, and your descriptive powers are very impressive.

I hope you continue to enjoy traveling with your characters along their journey. You will receive just as much, or more enrichment as they do. 

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
14 hours ago, akascrubber said:

Great, interesting start. Danger , but masked. Who is he?

We will find out soon :)

Thank you!

  • Love 2
Link to comment
14 hours ago, Ticklishboy30 said:

@Celian What am awesome start to the story. I love the depth of your characters, they are full of life, and your descriptive powers are very impressive.

I hope you continue to enjoy traveling with your characters along their journey. You will receive just as much, or more enrichment as they do. 

Thank you so much! I hope you will enjoy this journey with me!

  • Love 2
Link to comment

Well, well, well; so, we aren't sure what he is yet?  Is he trying to mask his scent or is it just so rare that none of them realize what it is?  Interesting enough for me to keep going.  

  • Like 1
  • Love 1
Link to comment
5 hours ago, centexhairysub said:

Well, well, well; so, we aren't sure what he is yet?  Is he trying to mask his scent or is it just so rare that none of them realize what it is?  Interesting enough for me to keep going.  

We could settle for "he's a rare type" :)

Thank you!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
1 hour ago, innerkid13 said:

Demon?  Dragon (but that’s a shifter)?

Dragons are sort of shifters, but not animal-shifters like a wolf-shifter for example. They are more magic than animal.

Thank you!

  • Like 1
Link to comment
View Guidelines

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Newsletter

    Sign Up and get an occasional Newsletter.  Fill out your profile with favorite genres and say yes to genre news to get the monthly update for your favorite genres.

    Sign Up
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here: Privacy Policy. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..