Sunday, January 8th ic
Michael enjoyed the walk with Stephanie. The tattoo parlor was right next door to Perkatory, so before they went in he stopped by for coffees. And at least he walked in. The place was well lit and professional looking. The artist, Lenny (full name Leonard O'Leannain), came highly recommenced by John, so Michael felt at his ease. His drawing had been emailed to Lenny on Saturday afternoon and his appointment was first thing Sunday morning ... a day the parlor was usually closed.
Stephanie walking in after John, deferring to he and Lenny to connect first since it was artist meeting canvas. She said a polite "Hi." and then walked around a bit, looking at some of the pictures of Lenny's work on the walls and staying out of the way until it was time to sit with Michael if he wanted her nearby. She also had brought her iPad in case he just needed to zone out. She and Anna had been with Tamela and Megan when they got tattoos together commemorating their mother. Tamela did not feel like making conversation at all and just needed to zone out and let the endorphins kick in bu Megan had wanted someone talking at her so she didn't freak out from the pain as her threshold seemed to be lower. So they ended up talking at Megan.
Lenny is at his computer. Nice setup, actually. He looks up when the door opens and smiles, moving to John and offering his hand. "Good to see you, man. So this is it, huh? The baby brother." he offers his hand to Michael. "Come and take a look at what I did with your concept, so you can approve it or whatever."
Michael shakes hands and heads for the computer, leaning over to look at it. "I love it ..." he calls over to Stephanie. "Babe? Want to look?"
John walks to Lenny and claps his hand in a shake "Yeah he's just a tyke eh?" he jokes. He pats Michael on the back and passes by him, letting him confer while he glances around casually. It's honestly nice to get a break from the house.
Stephanie comes over to the computer now and beams "Oh I like it.....hang onto it to. I'm trying to work up my nerve. I'll watch this one and see if I can handle it for another visit...."
Lenny laughs. "Well, yea. That's YOUR fault for calling him your baby or kid brother." he accuses.
Michael smiles. "I'll take it. What do you need me to do now?" then he looks at Stephanie. "Working up your nerve? Nerve for what?" but he thinks he knows what and he wonders if this is what having a marriage proposal accepted feels like.
Lenny nods to a chair while he prints the pic out and goes to the light table. "First of all take off your shirt. I already think I need to make it larger than I thought. You don't have a kid brother chest. More like a barrel."
John snickers and walks around while they talk to Lenny. He finds the big tree with the murder of crows on his back as one of the featured pictures and smiles at he. He and Colleen had their first kiss under a big tree just after a murder of crows flew off, like the energy of the universe was making room for the two of them and everything that would need to nest in their lives after. He sighs, thinking about Seamus. He wanted THAT for his kids, not some meaningless romp in the woods with people who didn't seem like they cared for them as whole people. As much as he knew it was unrealistic, he wanted them all to have the fairy tale. He saw it in Fiona and Vincent's eyes as they looked at each other so that was 1 out of 4. He couldn't really tell yet with Logan or Owen as those scenarios seemed newer, less tangible, that and they hadn't had to fight his pigheadedness yet about any of it. He felt guiltier than ever about doing that to Fiona, considering he didn't even see the worst heading for Seamus at all.
He thought of Fiona as he saw a tattoo on the wall that she would think was awesome. It was a squashed fairy on a woman's lower back, a woman with a similar build to his daughter. He chuckled and pulled out his camera and snapped a picture of it to show her later. It wasn't Lenny's work. He could tell by the edges, but it was also pretty good. There was a woman here part time named Candace who started last year. When she was ready and old enough for her first tattoo, he'd come with her. He'd happily go with any of them after around 16. Truth be told, he could probably be talked into signing the waiver earlier but the kids didn't need to know that.
Stephanie smiles shyly at Michael "I was thinking of getting the same one if he has time for both of us. But not right across my jugs if you don't mind....maybe smaller like a wrist or ankle." She puts her hand on his bare chest once he's shirtless "Because it's OUR picture...."
Michael takes off his CPPD jacket and the sweater underneath it and is bare chested. He smiles at Steph. "It is. You'll have to tell my brother the story someday, because no WAY am I gonna set myself up for his teasing for the rest of my life." he glances at his brother. "It'd be MURDER!" he knows the story and it was beyond sweet.
Lenny holds the picture up to Michael's cheat and nods, then he goes back to the printer to make it a couple inches smaller all around and then back to the light board. "I'd LOVE to hear it." he lifts the pen long enough to point in the general direction of Johns. "That's the one John has. And it was MURDER, believe me." he is looking at the art he's making and thinking this one might well wind up on his wall as well....
Stephanie grins "It was very sweet and a little gross at parts..." she laughs "But it's why we're here..."
John wanders back over catching the tail end "What was gross?" He looks at the design "Oh...nice...Mikey..."
Lenny laughs. "Now I HAVE to hear it." he taps Michael on the chest and points to a nicely padded chair that would almost look at home in a beauty parlor ... or a dentists office. "Lets do this?"
Michael laughs and moves, making himself comfortable laying on his back. As Lenny transfers the outline from the paper to the skin, he glances over at his brother. "Why I am getting this tattoo.' he explains. "Well, Stephanie can probably tell it better. You know me. We kissed and I got a tattoo. Simple." he pauses. "You sort of inspired me, tho John. SO tell Steph how you got yours."
John rolls his eyes at Michael "Yeah Steph don't ask him to write you any poetry...it'll all be there once was a man from Nantucket....." He snorts and pulls up a plastic chair, turns it around and sits on it backwards with a gesture at his tree "You can see it there in the picture so I'll spare you the stripping. Two many half naked Reinhardt's in a room and they start calling the fire department." He blushes a bit as he starts to tell it "Colleen used to come out from these door at the far end of out old school....right by the bike racks and this big old tree...it was kind of off on it's own. She'd walk by it and the wind would blow her hair all around...and her skirts when she wore them short...." He clears his throat a bit. "We'd gone out a few times....but I didn't think she was too into me. Twice was with a group and the first time was kind of a set up....which I secretly arranged through a friend of hers...." He laughs. "So I used to lean against this tree, just to watch her walk by, creepy I know. After we'd sorta half dated she cornered me, called me on it. I thought she was gonna tell me to go to hell. The tree was full of crows and they all flew off in a murder like they do...I figured it was a bad omen...like they didn't even want to see how bad I was about to get it. But then she just kissed me....and that was it. The tree, the crows, and 4 kids later...." He cracks up. "I was one of the first customers in here eh Lenny?"
Stephanie looks almost ready to cry with her hand on her heart "Oh my god John...that was amazing. Ours is kinds like that but more about the three little words and just figuring that out. We were at a family wedding and we escaped to this little garden...and he told me he loved me. It was magic. Then my uncle puked on his shoes...." She says starting to giggle.
Lenny laughs as he looks at the template. He puts the tattoo gun to working and begins to reply. "Yup. My first BIG job." he admits.
Michael doesn't even flinch as the tattoo work begins. "You will notice there is no uncle in this artwork." he quips. "But yea. At first ... I didn't know what was happening to me. But ... I knew what was happening to me, you know what I mean?"
John leans both his arms on the back of the chair and presses into them with a grin "Yep. I know. It's terrifying and fantastic. Glad you kids figured it out." He jokes "god Lenny you must get a lot of stories like this...and then the other side too." He laughs.
Stephanie shudders "So John, is that your way of saying don't screw up because it's all across his chest?" She retorts back "I don't intend to....hmm maybe I could get mine on my back on the other side of the heart, the backside.....no butt jokes......"
Michael chuckles and bites his lip, as if trying NOT to make bad jokes.
Lenny nods as he works, the gun humming like a dental instrument. "A few, yes. Had one or two ... the ones wanted words ... I say 'This is how you want it, right?' and they say yes and I ask them another couple of times and they STILL want me to put misspelled words on them. he shakes his head. But I know a good guy for tattoo REMOVAL too, but that's ... iffy. But you kids seem sure." he continues the outlining work.
John can't resist "Lenny, do you have time to ink Steph on her heart butt?" He says laughing "Oh god the spelling. Fucking kids today and texting and snap chat. No one writes properly...."
Stephanie gives John a smack in the arm, probably doubly hard because she can see Micheal biting his lip but she can't smack him while Lenny's tattooing him "We're sure.....cross my heart butt..."
Michael looks over at them, smiling. "Hello. Getting tattooed on the chest here. Not a good time for me to be R O F L M A O." he spells out the acronym. He is in no pain.
Lenny grins, still paying more attention to his work than anything. "I would love to ink Steph's butt." he agrees. "But I think her heard is a little further north. Maybe put it above the bra connecting line?" he offers. "You can still wear pretty dresses and all too. But him?" he nods down at his canvas man. "No plunging necklines for him." he chuckles.
Stephanie jokes back "L O L let's put in on Instagram...Pinterest....." She muses at Lenny "That might work. I'll try to keep Mike out of my lingerie. You can't wear it anymore...just take it off me..."
John rolls his eyes at the text speak and then pretends to be scandalized by Stephanie "Whoah...get a room you two...oh wait you're in my house tonight.....ah....better you than the rotten teenagers though....." John blows out a breath tiredly. He's good friends with Lenny so he feels comfortable talking here.
Lenny laughs. "I don't think you two are the same size." he is a good fast worker and is almost done with the outlines he wants to do. "You sound like YOU are ten years older than ME instead of the other way around." he teases John.
Michael snorts and rolls his eyes. "I've never been that drunk." he protests. Then he looks at John, rolling his eyes. "Oh come ON, John I thought you were over Fiona and Vincent. He's a good kid. Lay off him."
John groans "They're making me age Len... god how do you keep good kids from making bad choices. And I don't mean Fi. She and Vincent are fine. I caught Shay with a girl and his pants down. I didn't even think he liked girls yet. Colleen 's beside herself." Lenny was one of his good buddies and John often confided in him over a beer in the shop or Statutes at the end of a tough day.
Stephanie shudders "Oh no... that's like Tris in 3 years. I can't even imagine."
Michael arches a brow. "Like pants down she was playing with it or pants down balls deep?" he winces, but not in the pain of the tattoo. "Not that I can say shit. I was 12 so ..."
Lenny whistles. "They grow up fast." he proclaims, putting away one gun for one with color and blotting ink and blood as he goes. "I only have the two. Sixteen and nineteen. I can see light at the end of the tunnel." he begins to work on the bridge in browns.
John's eyes go wide at Michael's words "That's my boy we're talking about....and I thankfully couldn't see the bits on either of them but they were definitely doing it. Who the hell did you do when you were 12? Jesus Mikey?"
Stephanie just shrinks into herself like this was all too much to think about with Tristan only years away from the scary stages "Makes me miss having him as a baby...but they have to grow." She mutters.
Lenny works quickly, but efficiently and very well. He's an artist in the best senses of the word.
Michael sighs. "Remember that trip to California?" he shrugs. "I .. wasn't as sick as I pretended. I was in the construction site next door ...." he looks only with his eyes. "How old were YOU? I mean Colleen couldn't have been your one and only." he almost accuses before he looks at Stephanie. "Tristan is smarter than Seamus and smarter than I could even dream of being." he tries to assure her.
John exhales into a whistle "Colleen and I were 15 when we lost our virginity to each other. On the California trip I was 24, already married to Colleen but she was too pregnant to fly. I didn't want to go but Dad was...being Dad and I knew Mom needed the trip, something to break up the tension and you...well I had no idea because I was on the phone with Colleen all night afraid she'd have Logan without me every minute I was away from her." He qualifies this to Lenny "He was the first...so I had no idea how long labour would be.....I booked a flight back a day ahead of you guys even thinking I could ditch on one day. Course Logan was late anyways and she was fine. And in that sense she was my one and only...call be old fashioned...or terrible at it before she came along..." He laughs and then shakes his head before looking with new awareness at his little brother.
Stephanie looks mildly comforted by Micheal's assessment of Tristan and then sighs "Well with your dad Mike, I get how sex could be an escape form a shitty situation.....but Seamus? I mean it's not like you and Colleen are terrible parents he needs to run away from and do something reckless...." She frowns.
John looks pained "I've been asking myself all those questions. I mean we don't censor a lot in our house, language, ideas, TV and movies, maybe we should have been stricter....I can't even guess right now but I keep blaming myself."
Lenny does not appear to be listening and there is no money in the world to make him divulge the family secrets. But he says nothing, just continues to work on his latest human canvas.
Michael nods. "Yea well ... Mom had a blast, which is all that matters." he sighs. "Don't get me wrong, John. I was hardly a whore. After all Stephanie is the only woman I've ever been with or ever PLAN to be with." he blows out a breath. "I don't know what Shay's problem is. I only know it's not your fault and I am not just saying that because I STILL admire the fuck outta ya."
John looks emotionally exhausted by it all "I really hope not. And thanks Mikey."
Stephanie looks sweetly and Michael "Likewise...ok I want the flip side of yours, same spot on my back, between my shoulder blades. We could even try to get a fun picture showing them off when they're not scabby anymore. And no Lenny...you don't get to work on my butt...but you get me topless for a bit...with this big lug watching you though." She says with a grin.
John wiggles his eyebrows at Michael "I'll really try not to enjoy that too." He jokes.
Lenny chuckles. "But I am half Irish and half German just like these guys." he protests, although he does not do more than glance up from his work. "But I've ALSO heard of their childhood fights. I have no desire to board up my windows."
Michael smiles while still not moving, even through the harder pressure of a color tattooing. "So which of us faces the camera again?" he makes himself sound a little stupid. He cuts his eyes at his brother. "Did you tell him about that time we got drunk and you threw me out that window?" he grins and his eyes twinkle.
John cracks up "Shit no....are you saying you'll toss me through another one if I peek at Steph's jugs?"
Stephanie had winked at Micheal and then looked between the brothers with a not surprised look about the window, after Micheal's demonstration and conversation at Christmas. At John's words Stephanie smacks him again and giggles "I might. Do you have to technically be a Reinhardt or just screw one for awhile?"
John guffaws "Mike I like this one...and she hasn't even taken off her top yet. You might need to make her one of us with your matching tattoos there." He teases "I don't think I told Lenny about the Surf Club night, just a few other ones, that was the first. That place was for sale for ages before it got boarded up. I almost considered buying it and running it when I still lived on the mainland just for sentimental reasons."
Lenny chuckles and moves to a grey scale ink, making a mental note that he has plenty to 'do' Stephanie as well.
Michael chuckles. "I'd throw you out one window and back in the other." he promises. He glances at Stephanie and then back at John. "I DID day it was more permanent than a wedding ring." he replies, softly. "It's the first step." he chuckles. "That would have been VERY cool." he agrees. "Where are we going to take Logan?" he laments and smiles at Steph ... not mentioning Tristan but remembering he is not supposed to plan this for THEIR son.
Stephanie smiles lovingly at Micheal as she chuckles a bit "I like this step...course I'm saying it when you're under the needle not me. We're going to be an ouchy pair later."
John muses "Well we might have to hit your town because Colleen might skin me if she thinks we're doing that here.....it's kind of a male tradition but you can come too Steph."
Stephanie makes a face "You think I want to be seen with you lot as you get shitfaced and smash up Cedar Point? My boozing is way classier than yours...just don't ask my friends for stories. Does Colleen drink? I brought a couple bottles of wine. I wasn't sure last night was the night to offer."
John nods "Yep, she drinks. Haven't seen her drink a lot in a long time but she's a fuckin adorable drunk when it happens. Also way too classy for window tumbling."
Lenny grins to himself. "You feeling 'ouchy', Mike?" he asks, the humor in his voice. "But you're going to have to help her, you know. Washing, moisturizing. Poor bastard."
Michael chuckles. "I'm uncomfortable, but not in pain." he announces. "I can take a lot. And i will help you through the pain.' he tells Stephanie. He arches a brow. "We're classy!" he protests, then he mutters. "Broke some of the best windows in British Columbia AND some damn fine ones in Ireland as well." he sniffs. "Wine. Who gets drunk on wine?"
Stephanie giggles at Lenny and then grins "I do. You'll like it. I promise." She teases "And I'm among other women who could probably use a drink right now so bonus. I only have one other female friend who drinks at all now since Tams reformed and Anna has to be in the right frame of mind to go there. Plus she works EARLY mornings almost every damn day."
John snorts "We're so fuckin classy. I thought they were going to take our passports and put us on a leaky boat when we were in Ireland."
Lenny chuckles a bit. "Well as long as you came IN here sober, I won't object if you need some liquid pain killer. Long as these guys know what you want." he begins on the leaves, using the reds. "And to add insult to injury you should not get too sweaty for the next several days."
Michael grins. "I'd kind of like to see Anna drunk." he admits. "Stephanie gets an overwhelming urge to put make-up on me when she gets tipsy." he smirks.
Lenny snorts. "That would have been worth seeing." he grins and glances up. "Siobhan used to put beads in my beard when I was asleep. Drunk or sober. Eventually she outgrew it." he glances at John. "Unless that's why I see Logan walking around with a high top. Siobhan put too many beads in his hair while he was sleeping?"
Stephanie pokes at Micheal "No sweating...so no workouts or wild sex. We just get to tease and rub lotion on each other for days. Are you going to survive Mike?" she giggles "Anna drunk is very amusing. And I never did get to finish your lipstick that night..." She looks at Lenny "That's hilarious. You must be a heavier sleeper than Mike here."
John snorts "I dunno Len but they seem happy. Hopefully Logan didn't break your girl's heart over it." He looks a little sheepish, knowing there had been a history.
Lenny presses hard to get the red going. "Like a stone. I fell asleep during my two biggest tattoos myself." then he shakes his head a bit. "Nooo." he sounds casual. "She told me she was fine and he's fine. Had me put a phoenix on her chest before classes started. Told me it symbolizes her heart rising from the ashes and reborn, which I guess means she's a one person woman. She's apparently into men and woman, I guess. But someday I told her I want a grandchild ... and not from Ciaran. I'd never see it or I'd wind up raising it." he grumbles.
Michael grins. "Well, I'll find something else to do. If we're really going to move in together, Tristan will probably handle keeping us from having sex all by himself." he looks up at the man inking him. "Son a problem?"
Lenny snorts. "I got one of each. A great daughter and the fuck-up son from Hell. Sex, drugs, fighting. He's in prison at the moment. Possession, resisting arrest and assaulting an officer. Guess he wanted to make the first time count." he rolls his eyes. "But Siobhan ... in school studying art, always got good grades. She'll probably wind up with her own shop .. well a Dad can hope."
John sighs at Lenny "Well I'm glad they'll still be friends. She's a good one for Logan. And you almost make me feel...normal. I can't even imagine one of my kids getting arrested....Hopefully Ciaran turns it around one day....shit man....."
Stephanie had nodded at Micheal and smirked and then listened to Lenny with a pained look. Every parent's worst nightmare.
Micheal moves his hand a bit, to take Stephanie's, guessing at her thoughts. It was both surprising and not that he had the same fears for Tristan. But Tristan was an incredible kid. Then again ... so was Seamus, so never knew.
Lenny keeps working. "Kids will surprise you, good and bad." he philosophizes. "This was his first major conviction since he's 21 now. Mild juvenile shit but ... he's in the big leagues and paying for it." he blows out a breath. "Anyway .... happier things. Stephanie, why don't you start getting ready. I'll be done with this rock in a minute .... maybe John can get you a beer."
Steph squeezes Micheal's hand and then lets go at Lenny's words. "A beer might help. I'll try not to kick you if it hurts Lenny." She jokes.
John goes to the fridge and grabs three, offering one to his brother and one to Steph while he takes his first sip of the last one. He's digesting Lenny's words and feeling total compassion for him. He could wallow in his own fears easily but Stephanie chugs half her beer and then whips off her shirt, standing next to him in a very nice black lace bra. He feels his cheeks go hot and averts his eyes "Oh.....k then."
Stephanie giggles "As long as the benefit of this goes to Colleen, I don't care."
John cleared his throat and stepped away, looking pointedly at the art work on the wall. He'd seen it a million times but he needed somewhere to rest his eyes without his brother throwing him through the window. Micheal was a very lucky man, but he knew on every level that he was too. If only they could survive the damned kids.