Stuck-Up Suit(8)

By: Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward



After work, I ventured over to see Tig and his wife, Delia, before heading back to my apartment. He and I had been best friends since we were little, growing up next door together. Tig and Del owned Tig’s Tattoo and Piercing on Eighth Avenue.

I could hear the sound of Tig’s needle buzzing in the corner; he was busy with a customer. Tig handled all things ink and Delia was in charge of piercings. Whenever I was in this kind of unstable mood, I tended to get very impulsive. I’d already decided that tonight at home I was going to dye the ends of my hair red, but that didn’t seem like enough to satisfy me.

“Del, I want you to pierce my tongue.”

“Get outta here.” She waved her hand dismissively. She was well aware of my mood swings.

“I’m serious.”

“You said you would never get a piercing. I don’t want you coming back and blaming me when your mood switches back.”

“Well, I changed my mind. I want one.”

Tig overheard us and turned his attention away from his customer for a second. “I know you. Some shit must have gone down today for you to want to pierce your tongue all of a sudden.”

Letting out a deep breath, I said, “Some shit, alright.”

I proceeded to tell them the full story, from finding Graham’s phone to his rudeness toward me over the intercom today.

Tig spoke through the sound of the needle. “So, blow it off. You don’t have to deal with that prick anymore. You’re letting it get to you. Just erase him from your memory.”

I knew Tig was right. I just couldn’t figure out why Graham’s rejection was having such an effect on me. I wasn’t going to overanalyze it tonight or relate it to my issues of rejection by my father. Maybe I was just expecting to be pleasantly surprised today instead of utterly disappointed. Something was keeping me from just letting it go. There was more I had hoped to discover about Graham that I would now never get to uncover. I didn’t understand why it mattered so much, and until I could figure it out, I would take it out on myself.

“I still want you to pierce my tongue.”

She rolled her eyes. “Soraya…”

“Come on, Del. Just do it!”

My tongue was stinging on the train ride home. Reading over the list of after-care instructions, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.

Don’t kiss or engage in other oral activities until you are completely healed.

Yeah…that wasn’t going to be a problem, seeing as though I had no one to partake in said activities with. All of the instructions seemed easy enough until I got to the last one.

Don’t drink acidic or alcoholic beverages while the wound is still healing.

Well, crap. I’d shot myself in the foot with that one, deciding to pierce my tongue on a night where I really needed to drown my sorrows in some booze.

Arriving back at my apartment, I took off my clothes and started the process of dying the tips of my hair red, which signified my worst possible state of mind. Just when I thought I knew exactly how this night was going to go, the last thing I ever expected happened.





CHAPTER 4



GRAHAM



MY DAY HAD BEEN TAKEN OVER by a faceless pair of tits and a feather tattoo. Worse, they could talk.

Out of all the fucking things that she could have texted to me along with those body shots, she had to choose those words. She had to send the one message that would undo me and completely fuck up the rest of my day. Perhaps my week.

Your mother should be ashamed of you.

Fuck you, Soraya Venedetta. Fuck you, because you’re right.

This strange woman had gotten under my skin.

She’d said her name once through the intercom, but it stuck with me. Normally, names went in one ear and out the other.

Soraya Venedetta.

Well, technically, her full name was Soraya You’re Welcome Asshole Venedetta.

How did she get my phone?

The text continued to haunt me as I read it over and over.

Your mother should be ashamed of you.

Each time, it made me angrier than the last, because deep down, I knew there were no truer words. My mother would have been ashamed of me, the way I treated people on a daily basis. Everyone deals with tragedy differently. After my mother died, I’d chosen to shut people out of my life, focusing all my energy on schooling and my career. I didn’t want to feel anything anymore, didn’t want to connect with anyone. The easiest way to go about achieving that was to scare people away. If being an asshole were an art form, then I’d mastered it. The more successful I became, the easier it was.

It was amazing what a man of my position and appearance could get away with. Almost no one called me out on my crap or questioned me. They just accepted it. In all these years, not one person had spoken to me in my place of business the way Soraya Venedetta had today. Not one.

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