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The Rules by snowfright

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Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.


Rule 1:
Don’t Talk to Strangers



“Oooooh baby!”

The wolf whistle wasn’t loud but it stood out clearly against the background din. The small bar was crowded with Santa Carla’s finest; finest bikers, punks, runaways and miscreants that is. But the sound of cheering, swearing, conversation and bottles clinking wasn’t enough to drown out the wolf whistle. Paige wished it had. She’d had had enough of male bullshit for one day, however she shrugged it off with narrowed eyes and continued filling the pint glass with Stella from the tap. She turned; beer in hand, when the phantom wolf-whistler struck again.
“I’m ordering a plate of you, babe!”

She spun around angrily, throwing the beer towards the overweight (and slightly startled) biker who had ordered it.
“Has that EVER worked for you?” Her voice was a blizzard, her eyes pinning the offender back like a butterfly in a frame. The man was struck dumb, a slightly stunned look on his face – his friends meanwhile where whooping and laughing at there friends mistake.

“She got you there man!” One jibed, elbowing him in the ribs.

Paige sighed at the group, wiping her hands on her apron she appraised the clock, 10.30pm, time for her cut off work and run too her next job. It was a Thursday so she had to open for the bar and then go and close at the stall, unlike most of the rest of the week when it was the other way round. Giving the quartet one last glare she ducked through to the back of the bar leaving her co-worker to take they’re order.

She wouldn’t have been so venomous with the flirt back there but she had had one of the shittest days in the history of ever. She was late paying her rent again, for the last time her landlord insisted, one more strike and she was out. Her closet/apartment may be cramped, dingy and with enough damp to kill a small horse but it was her home, and damn it she needed that place! The bar wasn’t doing as well as it seemed, repairs and a bad crowd were taking there toll on the profits and Mr Edmonds was hinting about laying staff off. And above it all her skeazy, man-whore of an ex-boyfriend, Callum, had showed up that very afternoon drunk out of his tiny mind and begging her for a second chance. When she had refused him again he’d started crawling on the floor and crying. And to add insult to injury on the way to the bar she’d been hassled by a variety of scumbags. She shuddered at the memories.

She weaved through the crowds on the boardwalk with a practiced ease, approaching her destination, a medium sized stall under a tarp on the main thoroughfare, she called a greeting to Karl; her co-worker and friend. He glanced up from his work and grinned. She smiled back and threw her small bag in the space underneath the brightly coloured displays. Straightening up she snapped her change bag around her waist and tied her long hair back. She peered into the mirror they supplied for there customers and gave into the cliché. With her wavy pale-blonde hair, the ends dipped in pink, heavy eye make-up and multiple earrings she fitted the bill for ‘female stall tattooist’ perfectly.

“You okay Pai-day?” Karl pulled his plastic gloves off and threw them in the bin underneath the implement trolley.

“Rough day” She sighed, adjusting the flash cards, hundreds of brightly coloured designs shining underneath fairground lights.

He nodded sympathetically, knowing when she’d rather not talk about it. Paige smiled brightly, shrugging off her dark cloud and inquired after the health of his heavily pregnant wife. After a few minutes of idle chatter Karl went off to grab some coffees for the pair and she turned back to sterilizing the equipment and checking ink levels.

“Hey, how much for one?” A voice asked from behind her, not looking up from the tray she replied.

“Depends on the size”

“Massive, babe!”

She groaned and turned to look at the guy from earlier, devoid of his friends this time.

“What do you want?”

“Isn’t it obvious?”

She was about to tear into him when he gestured to the large neon-orange card that said ‘WORLD’S GREATEST TATTOOS’. She coloured slightly and pointed to the chair.

“Be honest you were hoping to see me again weren’t you?” The cocky blonde said casually sprawling in the chair with an effortless elegance. She took a second to evaluate him; he was tall, 6”1 at least, with a lion’s mane of golden hair and far-too-tight grey trousers. He looked like a cross between a biker and new romantic, with something wickedly dangerous in his eyes.

“Of course” she replied simply, sliding her hands into a pair of disposable gloves

“Really?” He asked shocked at the response, his deep grey-blue eyes widening

“Mmhmm” She smiled sweetly at him “I was just hoping you’d show up so you could pay me to stab you with needles”

“Funny.”

She grinned at him and sat down in the chair next to him, grabbing the handheld tattoo machine and adjusting it.

“So what do you want then?”

“I was thinking of ‘AC/DC RULES’ in epic letters across my
chest”

Paige pulled a face; too many drunken chumps had come through here getting various band names branded onto them forever. For some reason she thought Goldilocks here, had better taste in ink.

“Seriously?”

“Nah! I’m messing with you! I was thinking of some kinda small symbol on the back of my wrist. Something… cool, y’know?”

She grabbed a folder from underneath his seat and handed it to him, it was filled with tattoo designs of varying shape and size.

“Why are these ones scribbled out?” He asked pointing to a few designs that had been blacked out with magic marker.

“Once someone gets one of these inked we cross ‘em out so they can’t be tattooed again”

“Awesome! A one of a kind piece! Who draws all these?”

She shrugged, staring fixedly at the designs with a studied nonchalance.

“I do”

“Axel Rose on a bicycle, you’re good!” He said earnestly, she felt her face flush at his honest compliment but shrugged it off.

“Thanks. Anyway! Which one d’ya want?”

“What do you think I should get?”

She looked at him, was this guy joking? He was going to let her pick his tattoo? She took the book from him and started flicking through the designs. Pausing over a few choices she finally settled on one.

“I think this one suits you, Goldilocks.”

She lifted the book for him to see. Displayed was a small image of a sun with sharpened rays coming off it, the sun it self was gold but the rays faded into crimson points, the lowest one dripping a single drop of red. He started laughing his head off at the image. She was starting to feel vaguely offended by the time he’d stopped, dashing the tears of laughter out of his eyes.

“What was that all about?” she huffed

“Nothing! It’s just so perfect, is all! Go on babe, stick it right there” He held out his arm, palm down.

“That’s $30, okay?”

“Sure, sure!”

Everything set she cleaned the area of skin and started work on the design.

“So is this your first ink then?”

“Nahhhh, I got some stuff before”

“Oh yeah? What?”

“I got a band of barbed wire around my forearm and a…” He grinned down at her wickedly “You know what? If you’re curious about the rest you’re just going to have to find them for yourself”

“Your full of it Goldi’” She smirked, despite his constant need for flirtation he came across like an alright guy, seemingly genuinely impressed by her work.

“Paul”

“Huh?”

“My name, it’s Paul. Though Goldilocks is cute! I think it’s sweet that you have a pet name for me already babe!”

“Call me babe one more time and you’re getting something else tattooed on your arm”

She smiled despite the threat, wiped the area with a damp cloth and changed colours

“Ouch, point taken. Don’t piss off the tattooist!”

They spoke for a while; it was only as she was finishing up that they were disturbed. With hollers and cheers the guys he was with earlier had turned up.

“Looking good mate”

The shortest member of the group wolf-whistled Paul this time, Paige smiled to herself as she did the final colour patch and wiped it clean. Putting the machine away she started to rummage for sterilized dressings

“A bleeding sun, Paul. Interesting choice” The blondest member of the group spoke, his arms folded. His voice was cool and made her think of pitch black nights and the north wind.

Paul just nodded with a smirk and let the tattoo artist put a bandage over the sun. She handed him a leaflet

“Care instructions”

“Don’t worry babe, I’ll take good care of it!”

“Again with the babe!”

“Well then tell me your name” his voice was suddenly different, it was like silk on her skin and she opened her mouth to answer him without thinking. The boys were smirking. She quickly shut her mouth and turned away, shaking her self mentally - under the pretence of putting the bandages away.

“That’ll be thirty dollars please”

Paul handed her the money with a decidedly immoral smile. Putting it into her change pouch she watched him turn to leave with his friends. They were all dressed in the same biker chic but each had a slightly different look. The tall stoic brunette she hadn’t heard speak was shirtless in a faded brocade jacket and heavy junk-style necklace, the constantly laughing short one with the curly blonde hair had more patches on his jacket then anyone rightly deserved and the platinum blonde with the wintery voice was wearing a more tailored long black jacket and leather gloves. Apart from the clothes the only similar thing about them all was the eyes, the various shades all held the same rebellious look that promised danger.

“Buh-Bye Babe”

Paul teased as they backed away

“Hey Goldilocks! The name’s Paige!”

He bowed to her as the others broke into howls of laughter, as they retreated towards a row of motorbikes she turned to wait for her next customer. She was sure this wasn’t the last she’d seen of the boys – and for some reason the thought of seeing Paul again didn’t bother her as much as it should have done.



“So” Patches turned to Platinum with a toothy grin “Do we get to dine on the delicious Paige tonight then? David?”

Platinum, sorry David, looked thoughtfully at Paul before he spoke “Now Now Marko, The girl seems interesting. Remember she didn’t fall for Paul’s thrall or…” he smirked “His pick up lines. Let’s refrain from lunching on Paul’s new squeeze just yet.”

“You guys. She’s not my anything”

“Yet I doubt you’d like it if we made her lunch, right?”

Paul rubbed his neck sheepishly “She just seemed fun is all. And let’s not forget smokin’!”

“Whatever you say Paul, Looks like we’ll be getting beach take-out tonight Marko.”

Marko grumbled half-heartedly as he kicked his bike into gear. They zoomed out of the parking lot.
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