Jamison grumbled as he rammed his shoulder into the door. Damn thing was stuck again; he’d told the landlord just yesterday it needed to be fixed, and got an ‘I’ll get to it” in response. Asshole. He grit his teeth and rammed it again, bouncing harmlessly off of it with a wince. There was going to be a bruise on his shoulder by the time he got it open.
“Do you need help?” A girl with wavy, dark brown hair was eyeing him uncertainly, trying to carry a huge paper bag.
“Dunno. You got a chainsaw?” He looked at her after a long silence. That was supposed to get a laugh, but instead she was still just staring at him. “That was a joke - uh. I think I can -” He rammed the door one more time and it swung open, and he dug his fingers into the door frame to keep from falling in while the girl made a little sound of surprise. “Got it.”
“Wow. Does it, uh... usually stick like that?”
“Been gettin’ worse. Anyway.” He brushed his hands on his pants and turned to her. “I’m good. Want help with that bag?”
She looked down and shook her head. “Nah, I’m good. Thanks.” She nodded at him with a hesitant smile before going up the stairs.
He closed the door carefully, making sure it wouldn’t take him fifteen minutes just to get into a hallway again, before stripping. Jacket went flying to the coat rack, shoes got kicked by the couch, shirt got thrown onto a kitchen table, and pants got chucked into his room. He couldn’t get out of his clothes fast enough after a long day of work.
He immediately went to the kitchen for a soda and then flopped on the couch, turning to the news. He didn’t really pay attention to it, just kind of background noise while his brain shut off for a second, just kind of processing the day’s events.
Eventually, he started thinking again. He stood up, tossed on a pair of shorts, and grabbed the screwdriver from his toolkit.
He was knelt in front of the open door, tightening the screws when he heard voices. “He was like, ‘bam!’, just throwing himself into it, I thought he was gonna hurt himself.” He recognized one as the girl from earlier after a moment of thought.
“Old building, y’know,” said another voice. It was deeper, but relaxed, and it gave Jamison pause. “Really gotta bug the landlord about stuff like that.”
Jamison turned his gaze back to the door as the two voices drew near, idle chatter getting louder as they came down the stairs. “Speaking of which,” the girl said as they stopped outside his door. “Doesn’t that void your lease?”
Jamison didn’t even glance at them. “Only if he finds out. Besides, I’m doin’ myself a favor here. Don’t need to bust my shoulder just tryin’ to get in.”
“Hey, I can respect that. He gets a little lazy sometimes, doesn’t he?”
“Too right,” Jamison agreed, glancing up. His mouth went a little dry at the sight of the man standing there, just barely taller than the girl with dark skin, light hair tied back in large dreads, and a pleasant smile. He had a real ‘boy next door’ look to him. “I’m not payin’ rent for a place I can’t even get into.”
“So what’re you doin’, just tightening the hinges?”
“Yeah. Gonna WD-40 it afterwards, just to make sure.”
“Well, we know who to call if our door ever starts actin’ up.”
Jamison sighed, standing up and swinging the door to test the hinges. It seemed alright for now, so he turned to speak to the two properly. “You folks just move in?”
The girl blinked. “No? We’ve been here for a while. I think we just haven’t crossed paths before? I’m Hana, this is Lucio.”
Jamison reached out to shake their hands, pausing. “Think I know that name.”
“Probably,” Lucio laughed, sticking his hands in his pockets. “I’m a DJ.”
“That’s putting it mildly. Lucio’s a multi-album star!”
“Hana, don’t brag for me.” Lucio rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
“Real hot-shot, huh?” Jamison snorted a little. “Why’re ya livin’ in a dump like this?”
“It’s close to downtown and a lot of my salary goes to charity. Plus I kinda blend in here.” Lucio shrugged.
“Blendin’ is good. ‘Specially in this town.” Jamison sniffled, nodding to the two of them. “Well. Nice to meet ya proper.”
“You too - uh, wait. You didn’t tell us your name.”
“I didn’t?” He was hoping they wouldn’t notice that. “Jamison.”
“Nice to meet you, Jamison!” Hana chirped, waving before pulling on Lucio’s arm. “C’mon, we’re gonna be late.”
“Okay, okay - see you around, Jamison.” Lucio flashed him a wide smile before being pulled to the stairs going down. It was so bright and innocent that Jamison stopped, watching him go. He finally shook his head and closed the door to apply the WD-40.
The door didn’t stick when he left for work the next morning, and he smirked to himself. Take that, Mr. Garcia.
“What’s on the docket today, Sombra?” he asked as he leaned against the front desk.
Sombra didn’t even look at him, fingers clacking on the keyboard. “Mostly touch-ups, Jamie,” she drawled, idly picking her nails. “One at 10:30 and one at 4. Gabe wants you out there getting walk-ins.”
“Sure thing.” He sighed as he went to grab his portfolio. Being the new member of the team was hard, especially when Amelie and Gabriel were so many years ahead of him in terms of practice. So far, he only had one guy who was a regular of his own, a massive biker with a cute little pig on his stomach that only trusted Jamison’s industrial style for touch-ups.
He managed to convince a girl to come in right away to get some kind of tribute to her cat before his first touch-up appointment, someone who usually went to Amelie but had missed out on their usual appointment time.
Another guy walked in just as he was finishing up his lunch break. He only had time to draw up a stencil before his next touch-up, but he managed to convince him to come back another day to do the actual tattoo.
He was setting up his station when he heard a familiar voice. “Hi, I had an appointment for 4?”
“Yeah - Lucio?”
Jamison stopped, lifting his head.
“One sec.” Sombra stood up from her desk to peer back at him. “Jamie, your four is here.”
“Ta.” Jamison took a deep breath and headed out to the front, standing by the counter. Sure enough, it was the guy from the stairwell yesterday, who blinked in surprise at the sight of him. “We meet again.” He could see Sombra raise her eyebrows in intrigue.
“Fancy that.” Lucio laughed again, and it was an irritatingly nice sound. “Anyway, just need a touch-up on the lines.” He flexed his arm, and Jamison noticed the tattoo on his left shoulder, a tribal-esque symbol.
“Alright. Easy enough. Come on back.” Jamison sat next to him, making sure all the ink was ready to go. “What is it, anyway?”
“It’s a frog.’ Lucio smiled a little sheepishly as Jamison moved in with the gun. “They’re kinda my calling card.”
“Oh,” Jamison said absently. He always tunnel-visioned whenever he started to work, and these lines needed to be precise. Lucio seemed to catch on, falling silent as Jamison worked. It was a pretty quick job, actually, so Jamison took some extra time to fill in spots that had started to fade.
Lucio smelled good, like some kind of Old Spice body wash that he couldn’t identify without the bottle in front of him. He only really noticed it as he cleaned up the tattoo and examined it to make sure it looked alright. “Okay. Take a look.”
Lucio stood and examined it in the mirror with a nice lopsided smile. “Nice! Is it darker?”
“Yeah, you had a bit of fadin’. Figured I’d touch it up while I was in there.”
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“S’my job. Literally.” Jamison gestured to his station, and Lucio laughed.
“Alright. Well, cool. Now I know you can fix doors and wonky lines.”
“He was cute,” Sombra said smugly to Jamison once Lucio had paid. He’d left a 20% tip, too, the bastard.
Jamison snorted. “Is Gabe gonna fire me if I head home for the day?”
“Not if everything’s clean.”
Jamison did another once-over of his station, making sure it was completely clean before grabbing his stuff and heading out. The bus home wasn’t the most pleasant part of the day, but it was easy enough to tune out the noise with his earbuds.
It was a porn kind of night, he decided after settling on the couch when he got home. He went for his go-to flick and got maybe halfway before he stuck his hand down his pants. But he kept thinking of that smell, the unidentifiable Old Spice, just before he came with a groan.
He shook his head once he got control of himself and shuffled off to the bathroom.