CHAPTER TWO

162 9 2
                                                  

In a moment of panic, Brooke hurriedly turned on her computer. With hands on the sides of her face, she paced around the room, waiting for it to start. When the computer finally came to life, she typed her password and waited impatiently. It automatically connected to the Wi-Fi in the building and opening Bing, Brooke typed TcA in the Search box.

None of the results on Wikipedia seemed to have any relation to the tattoo. She was sure the TcA on her arm didn't refer to Transaction Cost Analysis, Teen Choice Awards, Thyroid Cancer Alliance, Television Critics Association, Train Collectors Association and so many others with the same abbreviation. None of them had interest in branding their members. Maybe TcA meant nothing after all but there was something about it that seemed to creep her out. Even the font used itself screamed danger.

Maybe TcA was a secret organization so no one except it's members would know about it. That's probably why she had failed to get information about it on the Internet. What if the tattoo provided some powers she didn't know about? What if she was the reincarnation of some ancient person or mythical being? That idea terrified her the more but it was laughable. Whatever it was, Brooke knew she wouldn't be too happy upon finding out. She would let no one see her tattoo for the meantime. Questions would be asked and what would she say? Tell everyone that she'd been irresponsible enough to let some random guy talk her into getting a tattoo? And go ahead to inform them of the disappearance of that very person? She'd really screwed up this time.

She looked out of the window. A few specks of clouds covered the beautiful blue sky hence shielding off some parts of the town from the sun. She could do with long sleeved clothing without worrying about the heat.

Brooke looked for appropriate clothing in her closet. Her mother and sister were waiting for her back home. She'd promised to go help them with the parking for her family would be moving to their new house in three days time. She couldn't cancel it because Carey wouldn't take any excuse.

Unfortunately, all the long sleeved shirts were only office appropriate. There was no casual top that came up to the elbow except very old ones she'd last worn in college. She realized she needed to do some shopping soon. For the situation at hand, Brooke decided to go for a tank top and a light cardigan. It was inappropriate considering the weather but it'd have to do. There was no other option.

"It's a very hot day," Brooke's mother said two hours later. "Why don't you take off that cardigan?"

Brooke remained silent and continued to pile her mother's shoes in a box.

"I think she's hiding something," Her sister Carey told their mother. Brooke paid no attention to her sister for she was always a pain in the neck. Brooke and Carey were not the best of sisters. They'd never spend more than an hour together without bickering.

"Take it off," Their mother ordered.

"I want it on," Brooke said. "Why are you guys concerned anyway. It's not even that hot inside."

"You can't talk to mum like that," Carey reprimanded.

Brooke glared at her and continued her work. Someone had to act mature. She didn't think it was a fine idea to keep on arguing with her teenage sister.

"You must be hiding something," Carey taunted. "But,don't worry, we are family and you can tell us your darkest secrets without fear of being judged. Did that stupid looking boyfriend of yours beat you up? Are you hiding scars? Oh wait!, I forgot he dumped you. I don't remember wanting a loser for a sist-"

"Enough!," Their mother said, glaring at Carey. "Carey, will you please stop bothering your big sister?"

"I know you like her more but you don't have to throw it to my face because it hurts," Carey said. "I'm gonna prove to you that she is hiding something."

Without warning, Carey charged at Brooke who had bent down to carry the box and take it out of the room. She tried to take off Brooke's cardigan forcing Brooke to wrestle with her. It wasn't long before their mother came to separate the two sisters.

"Don't touch me!" Carey yelled at her mother who was pulling her off Brooke.

"You know what?" Brooke said when she was on her feet. "I'm leaving. I shouldn't have come here. Bye mom"

Brooke left the house immediately and hailed a cab to take her to Joe's Tattoo Parlour. She'd talk to Ray and find out something about the tattoo. She hoped he'd say it was just a mistake. The stupid tattoo had already brought her problems and she wasn't going to let her whole life get destroyed yet.

She entered but didn't see Ray anywhere. Her heart started thumping. What if he'd left town because of her tattoo? She approached one of the artists and asked about Ray.

"You mean the intern?" The Tattoo covered man asked her and she nodded. "He's currently out of town. Perhaps he'll be back tomorrow."

"Can you give me his number?" She asked, trying to let the information that an intern had worked on her sink in.

"No, you'll have to come back tomorrow."

"It's urgent," She insisted.

"Do I look like I care?" He retorted and walked away. She stared at his retreating back in disbelief. He didn't have to be so rude.

Whatever doubts she had about the tattoo were fading. Marlon's phone was off, he was not even on Twitter and hadn't replied her kik messages. Then Ray's disappearance. The two events weren't coincidental. The fact that Marlon had let an intern work on her could show that they knew each other. Besides, Marlon had been looking at the tattoo while it was done. He could differentiate TFC from TcA.

Brooke concluded that it was a set up. She was as good as branded and her life was over.

Hey, is there anything you'd like to say about the story? Please do so in the comments section.

Thanks,
G.

Branded Girl ✓EditingWhere stories live. Discover now