I think I’m permanently fixated in front of my mirror.
It’s weird I just want to keep touching it.
I’ll try to keep it from raining in my bedroom.
I just took it off. Come see?
Sounds like it might sting, but I’ll try it.
Yeah, it’s a little sore, but not too bad. Do you still have the covering on?
"Oh, that’s perfect. They have to be really weird though. And it’ll totally be Blaine." Just as Santana finished speaking, the woman from before came reentered the front of the tattoo parlor.
"Alright, ladies," she said, clapping her hands together. "I assume you two are my twelve o’clocks? Who’s first, then?"
Santana turned to Rachel, grabbing her hand and squeezing. “Do you have a preference, or should we do rock paper scissors?”
"Alright good, that’s what we’ll do, then," Rachel said with another laugh.
Rachel squeezed Santana’s hand back, looking down at it. “I’ll go first, but don’t let go until I tell you to.”
Santana wrinkled her nose. “Oh god, please, no! Those things gross me out.” She bumped Rachel’s shoulder back. “Honestly, I think Rae might think it’s hot. So hey, another plus to getting some ink, right?”
Santana pretended not to be effected by Rachel’s speech, but in reality it warmed her often-icy heart. “It’s certainly been a trip. It took a while, but I realized I’m way happier when I’m not hiding such a big part of myself.” She leaned in close to Rachel, narrowing her eyes conspiratorially. “Plus, the sex is way better.”
After their laughter dies down, Santana turned to Rachel again. “So I know you must’ve considered this, but…how do you want to tell the gang about this?”
Rachel laughed. “It was a joke, anyway,” she said. “And you’re probably right. I bet Rae will like it.”
"I’m glad you’ve gotten to a place where you can be happy with yourself." At the comment about better sex, Rachel pushed her friend away playfully. "I’ll have to just take your word for it," she laughed.
Rachel hummed, contemplating Santana’s question. “We should send each other really vague asks on Tumblr that make it obvious that something’s up, and see which one of them cracks and asks first,” she suggested. “My money’s on Blaine.”
"If it makes you feel any better, I have no idea how my family is going to take this. My abuela will probably freak, maybe my dad too. And Rae doesn’t know anything about it."
Santana was once again, as she often was, how different the dynamic of she and Rachel was, compared to how it was in high school. Being roommates had made them so comfortable with each other…and it was nice.
Santana smiled as Rachel explained her idea for her tattoo. “I like it,” she replied. “Its very you.”
When Rachel asked about her idea, Santana pulled a piece of paper from her purse. “Yep, I sketched it out right here.” When she unfolded the piece of paper, she handed it to Rachel, showing her the design. “It’s the Venus symbol, which is supposed to represent girls, but instead of a circle, there’s a heart. I guess it’s a way of showing that I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud to like girls. So why not show it, right? It’s relatively simple, and I think I want it on the back of my neck.”
"Well, like you just said to me, even if your abuela or your dad get upset- it’s your body, and you can do what you want with it. And hey," Rachel said, bumping her shoulder into Santana’s. "If they get really mad, we’ll just go get belly button rings or something in retaliation,” she continued with a laugh. “What do you think Rae will think about it?”
After thanking her, Rachel leaned over to look at the paper that Santana took out of her bag.
"I think that’s really, really awesome, Santana. I’m so glad that you’ve come so far in accepting who you are and that you’re able to be proud of it. I know how much you struggled with it in high school. It’s really… inspiring to have witnessed that.
"People talk all the time about being whoever you want to be and being yourself, but I don’t hear it mentioned very often how those don’t always match up at first. And I think that’s a great place to put it," she said with a smile.
"Okay, first, if Finn gets mad because you got a tattoo without telling him, then he’s and idiot. It’s your body. He just has the honor of getting to appreciate it. Second, have you met your dads? They think you’re an angel sent from above, Rach. Even if they were mad, they wouldn’t be cruel about it. You’re a legal adult, and again, it’s your body, and you can do whatever the hell you want with it, so chill.”
Santana laid a hand on Rachel’s shoulder after her friend dropped her head into her hands. “You aren’t an idiot, Rachel. You’re being smart about this. You’re getting something small and easily coverable, so it won’t effect the kind of roles you can get. You’ve thought about this and considered it for a while. Everything is going to be fine. Breathe.”
Once Rachel had come down significantly from her panic, Santana nudged her with her shoulder. “So, tell me again what you’re getting. I don’t think you ever told me specifically. Wait, no, let me guess: Barbra Streissand’s face immortalized on your shoulder?”
"I know, I know," Rachel said. "I’m not too worried about Finn, I would just be kind of disappointed if he doesn’t like it, you know? And you’re right, I don’t think they would do anything too insane, I guess I just had a moment of panic," she sighed.
Rachel lifted her head, leaning back into the couch and staring at the ceiling for a moment, taking a deep breath, then she turned to Santana. “Thank you. I mean, I know I want this, but I think I needed to feel reassured by someone else that it was okay. I feel a lot better about it now.”
Rachel laughed at her friend’s comment. “Barbara Streisand doesn’t need to be tattooed on my body to be immortalized. But I want a small star- very simple- right here.” Rachel pulled the collar of her sweater to the side to point to a spot on her collar bone. “I’m thinking that later, if I want to, I can add more stars for other roles I get that are important to me. This one can represent when I was in Peter and the Starcatcher.
"I mean, eventually I’ll have to stop," she laughed, "or my body will end up completely covered in stars, but I like the idea."
"Anyway. What about you? Do you still what the thing you showed me?"
Santana hadn’t been sure how Rachel would react to the business card in her advent calendar. Sure they’d discussed getting tattoos, but actually going through with it was another matter. Rachel was excited though, which is why the two of them found themselves outside the best and most reasonably-priced tattoo parlor Santana could find. Rachel hesitated outside the door, and needed a little push to get inside.
They were greeted by a woman who darted out and back in to the back room. Rachel was practically vibrating beside Santana.
"I know, oh my god!" she responded to her roommate’s excited exclamation. It was clear they were going to have to wait for a bit, and it was clear that Santana was the one with the more level head at the moment. Santana knew that she needed to calm her roommate before she spontaneously combusted.
"We may as well sit down," said Santana, grabbing Rachel by the shoulders and guiding her to sit down on the leather couch that was tucked against the wall of the front room. "Breathe, Berry. You want to do this, right?"
Rachel took off her coat, folding it over her lap as she sat down, taking a moment to calm her heart rate and take in the room around her. The walls were covered in framed photos of beautiful tattoos. Some were large, and other’s were small- one covered the entirety of a man’s back. Rachel wondered if they were done by the artists in that shop.
"I do," she said, her voice a little shaky. "I do, I know I do. I’m not quite sure why, but I really want to." She pulled her ponytail over her shoulder and began twisting the hair between her fingers, pursing her lips in thought.
"I guess I’m just nervous?" she said. "I don’t know how much it’s going to hurt, but what I want is small, so I can’t imagine it being too excruciating. And I never really talked to Finn about it. I did mention it to him, but he doesn’t know that I’m actually getting it." Rachel suddenly sat up straighter, turning to Santana with wide eyes.
"You can not tell my dads. Oh my god, I didn’t even think about asking them how they felt about it. What if they freak out? What if they stop helping me with rent or take James away?” Her voice rose higher in pitch the more she spoke. She dropped her head into her hands and groaned. “I can’t believe I didn’t ask them. I’m such an idiot.”
Rachel pushed open the door to the parlor, the tinkle of the bell above it alerting those inside to their arrival. She hesitated for just a moment, turning to look at her roommate who just shooed her inside.
This morning had started off like any other. Rachel got up, let James out, showered, made tea, got dressed- just her usual ritual in the quiet calm of an early morning. Mug in hand, she had made her way over to the coffee table where the advent calendar Santana had set up for her was.
She was excited to see what today’s surprise was. The past week had been full of new recipes, decorating their apartment, and trips to their favorite places in the city. But when she pulled open the little door with the number nine on it, she definitely hadn’t been expecting a business card to a tattoo parlor with two confirmed appointments written on it.
So now here she was, standing in the best parlor they’d found for a reasonable price, shaking with excitement and nerves. She and Santana walked up to the counter, and a head popped out from around the doorway on the other side.
"I’ll be with you in just a moment!" the woman said, smiling brightly before disappearing again. Rachel turned to her roommate and gripped her arm.
"I can’t believe we’re doing this!" she squealed, tugging on Santana a little more forcefully than she probably should have. "Oh my god, this is insane!"