NINETEEN

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| dedication: spraythesun - for Ori's inspiration |
NINETEEN


I should have said no.

But with his hand in mind and leading the way, it wiped out any words of protest dangling on my tongue.

Two of the men disappeared as soon as I had glanced over my shoulder. They didn't leave a trace behind them, making me wonder what kind of men they were in the first place. Did Link hire them? And for what reason? The questions were brewing in my mind for a while before I decided that the only way to retrieve those answers were to ask the guy right in front of me. I shook of the whole idea in an instant.

I finally managed to string a sentence together, after regaining some of my confidence. "Were we going?" I asked him, not expecting an answer.

Link crossed the road suddenly and took the sudden turn into a much darker side road, and much more isolated. Crazy thoughts attacked me from every side but I knew Link couldn't be that dangerous. Yet, being alone with him scared me enough to think the worst.

He still had a hold of my hand and I felt the soft brush of his thumb over my fingers. I inhaled sharply at the tender touch, reminding myself that this was Link and that the flutter of my heart was out of bounds.

He came to a halt at a door. Before he entered he turned his body so he was facing me, his back to the door. He held my eyes for a few seconds, and I stood there trying to decipher him as whole. Understanding Link seemed impossible since he hid behind his stoic face every time. He had given me a few teases of what was hiding behind the brick wall and I was curious, really was.

"Keep me company." He told me, his voice barely a whisper when it reached my ears.

I could only nod.

He turned and opened the door, and instantly, a cheery female voice rang through the air. "Link!"

He dropped my hand, and I had to ignore the pang of disappointment that shot through me. The cheery female voice belonged to a petite Afro-Caribbean woman. Her massive curly hair was held back with a colourful hairband. Her sleeves were fully tattooed, the designs looking as complicated as Link from where I stood. I watched him reach over the counter and plant a small kiss on the cheek of the short woman.

"Dearie, you're late!" She smacked him lightly on the arm.

Link just smiled at her, giving her no reason for the hold up. I had an inkling that I was partly the reason. He looked over at me and motioned me to come towards him. Ever so slowly, I took the steps to where he stood and gave the petite woman a small smile in greeting.

She eyed me curiously before asking Link a question, her eyes still on me. "Friend?" she asked.

Link again didn't answer even though curiosity burned me as to how he'd answer that. Was I his friend? Frenemy?

"Frazer?" Link asked the woman instead, as he looked around the room. I did too, finally realising where I was. With all the complex designs on the walls, the chairs, the continual sound of whizzing and the faint stench of beer and cigarettes, it should have been clear instantly.

Link brought me to a tattoo studio I realised just as a lean man with dishevelled dark hair appeared from behind the curtains and Link went to him, already taking off his jacket that Link. He stood in the middle of the room in a t-shirt with one whole sleeve tattooed and the left arm only partly done.

I swallowed my gasp in, surprised to see how tattooed he was and how it made him instantly attractive. Frazer, the lean guy, listened to whatever Link was saying and then told him to take a seat.

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