Rhea had always dreamed of opening up her own tattoo shop. The day was finally here and she could hardly believe it. Here she was, standing in front of the building that was soon to be her tattoo shop. Her hard work and years of apprenticeship had finally paid off. Now, she was the one in charge. She couldn’t be happier.
Shotzi came up behind her and put her arm around her shoulder also admiring the building where she too would work soon.
“You fucking shit, you did it Rhea. Can you believe it? We always talked about this when we’re in high school, but you actually went out and did it.”
“Honestly, I don’t think I could have done it without you guys and Edge, of course.” Rhea bumped shoulders with her.
“Of course, where is he by the way?”
“I think he’s moving stuff with Damian. The interior designers just finished last week but it was Damian’s job to move over the machines and of course he decided to do it at the last minute.”
“Typical.” Shotzi giggled and turned her head to the side looking at the neighboring building. “It’s kind of ironic don’t you think putting a tattoo shop up right next to a flower shop.”
“Ironic? Yes. We got it at a good price though, but I don’t know how all the people coming into the flower shop will feel about a bunch of goth kids tattooing people in their nice little neighborhood?”
Shotzi and Rhea laughed deviously. It wasn’t like they were trying to scare off the clientele of the flower shop next door, but it was obvious what kind of people would shop there and how they would feel about a tattoo shop opening up right next door. Rhea hadn’t met the owners of the shop next door but she knew they were anything like the shop suggested they wouldn’t be too happy about the new shop that was going to open in a few days.
Rhea just crossed her fingers that this wouldn’t turn into some big drama between the two shops. Hopefully they were chill and understanding. Rhea doubted it but there was no way in hell she was moving her shop anywhere else but here.
They hear the horn of a car behind them. They turned around to see Damian sticking his head out of the window of his black truck still beeping the horn at them.
“Hey there little sister! Is that you or did they let the goths escape out of hot topic again?”
“Haha very funny you prick.” Rhea punched Damian in the arm as he got out of his truck. “Wasn’t Edge supposed to be with you.”
“No, daddy dearest just helped me load the stuff into the truck he stayed at home, he had some business stuff to take care of. He said he’ll be here for opening day though.”
Running a multimillion dollar fitness company did take a lot of Edge’s time but he always seemed to be there when his kids had important things. Although Rhea didn’t get to see him often he was always supportive of her art and the things she wanted to do in life. Even putting in the money to help with the building. Though Edge wasn’t always around; he was always involved.
“Well, what are you waiting for?” Damian asked, “Open the door.”
Rhea felt anxious, and her brain started running wild with worries. What if it wasn’t anything like she imagined it? What if the designers hadn’t gone and the style that she wanted? Anything could have gone wrong at that point but there was no time to waste. Opening day was just a few days away anyways.
So she let out a deep breath, turned the key in the lock and opened the door. Tried to anyway because the key got stuck in the lock.
“Great, opening day is just a few days away and now I have to fix this.” She rested her head on the door.
“No you don’t,” replied Damian, “god, you worry too much just give it a good tug.”
Rhea did and the door opened
“I guess I don’t,” Rhea laughed. One less thing to worry about.
Rhea walked in first followed by Shotzi and Damian behind her they all simultaneously gasped. It was just like how they imagined it. They had sketched out beforehand how she wanted it to sort of look and it was perfect in every way. From the checkerboard floor down to the artwork on the wall. Everyone had their own space unique to themselves. And in each individual section for each artist their artwork was hung up. Rhea was so happy she could cry but held it in together. She turned around and hugged both of them tightly. She looked at her best friend and her brother. Shotzi didn’t hold it together and was letting the tears fall freely. Damian just grinned wide at her.
“Congrats little sister. The place is perfect.” They all held each other again.
She had everything she could ever want in that moment and she couldn’t have asked for more.
“So are you ready to get to work?”
“Ready lift on three. One, two, three!” Liv lifted with all her might and so did Sarah but neither could get the oversized box up.
“Not to be a bad feminist or anything but I think we might need Finn to help us.”
“Ugh, no you’re right we’ll probably need him.” Liv put her hands on our hips and called out to Finn who came running down the stairs with a bagel in his mouth.
“Are you raiding my kitchen?”
“I would be if there was anything to raid. When’s the last time you went grocery shopping?”
“Oh shut up and come help us.” Finn put his bagel down on the counter and came over to Sarah and Liv putting his arms underneath the other side of the box. They all counted down and raised the box together.
“God damn it, who knew plants could be so heavy.” Sarah exclaimed.
“There are no plants in here, these are all planters that I need to unpack.” Liv said, straining to keep her side of the box up.
They lifted the box up onto the workbench. Liv opened it up and started unpacking. Inside were beautiful planters that she had just ordered.
“Oh Liv, these are so beautiful,” Sarah exclaimed.
“Right? I got them from the guy that makes pottery a few towns over. They’re all handmade and hand painted, aren’t they just gorgeous.”
Liv opened her flower shop only 2 years ago and business was amazing. It was a medium sized shop with a store front and a workshop in the back. The upstairs portion of the building was a small apartment that was all Liv’s. She practically lived and breathed her business.
The clientele in the city was a lot of older people. As time progressed more and more younger people started moving into the city. Within that area she was one of the very few flower shops still around. Her clients were very loyal to her because of her knowledge and the love she had for her job.
Finn and Sarah had been her friend since high school. They always knew she had a love for flowers and plants and people so it was not a big jump for her to open up this flower shop. It did surprise them when she asked if they would work for her. They thought it would change their dynamic a lot.
Turns out working with your best friend is not as bad as it seems. Sarah was taken in as an apprentice learning everything that Liv had to teach her. Finn was more of the muscles of the operation but he still liked to learn even though he would never admit it. Plus it really did help him with the ladies when he brought them giant custom-made bouquets of flowers.
They both loved Liv and supported her in any way they could even if that meant staying up till ungodly hours fixing bouquets for someone’s wedding even though the wedding was still days away. Sometimes they did wish that she would take a break once in a while. It seemed like her whole life was taken over by this business. Even though Liv would never admit it and she exclaimed all the time how much she loved her job, sometimes she did feel overwhelmed and sometimes she did need a break. But not now, not when everything was just getting so exciting.
“So Livvy I saw that some people were moving in next door.”
“Yeah I saw a design crew there a few weeks ago but I am not so sure what the store could be. I mean what kind of shop has a name like Judgement Day?”
“Are you serious? It’s obviously a tattoo shop. I mean what else could it be” Finn said, shoving the rest of the forgotten bagel in his mouth.
“I feel like an idiot,” Liv laughed, “Of course it is what else were those massage tables in there for. And all the vintage tattoo artwork, I don’t know how I didn’t put two and two together.”
“It’s kind of ironic, don’t you think? Opening up a tattoo place right next to a flower shop.” Sarah piped up, grabbing some of the planters and starting to put them on the display shelves on the wall.
“Yeah funny how that works. But tattoo artists are just that, artists. As long as they’re cordial I dont think we’ll have any problems. I even think they’d like some inspiration from my flowers. Who knows how many white girls are going to walk up wanting roses tattooed on their asses.”
Sarah cracked up at that, it was very rare when Liv made such crude jokes.
“Have you met the owners yet?” she asked Sarah
“Not yet, but I saw some really buff guy moving equipment in there this afternoon when I walked by. I didn’t get to say hi, he seemed really busy.”
“Hey as long as they’re cool I
no problems with them. I’m not sure how our clients are gonna feel but it’s not really up to them is it?” Liv said, putting up the last of the planters up and dusting off her hands.
“Maybe you should bring them a bouquet just to break the ice.” Finn offered. Liv snorted at the thought.
“Yeah and get my face broken in by some punk rock kids. I’m almost sure orchids wouldn’t fit in with their aesthetics.”
“Maybe we could wait for the roses to die and give them those.” Sarah replied
Liv left out a cackle she would only let out with friends. She didn’t like making assumptions about people she didn’t know but this was just friendly banter between friends she was sure that the owners next door were completely harmless. Maybe later she would go over and say hello and welcome them into their little community but right now she really had a lot of work to do.
It was late in the night, Damian and Rhea were still unpacking all their stuff from the truck. They were down to their last machine just making sure nothing was broken from the ride over. They got everything inside and Shotzi was laying down on one of their tattoo tables on her phone.
“Really Shotzi? We could have used your help.”
“Come on guys, you both practically live at the gym, I’m sure you didn’t need little ole me to help you with all those heavy things. Plus I’m ordering a pizza right now.”
“Did you get those speakers installed by the way,” Damian asked.
“Yeah, the design crew charged an extra two hundred bucks but I didn’t have to lift a finger.”
“Not like you would have anyways,” Damian teased and went back to connect his phone and started blasting music.
“Damian, turn it down! We’re gonna get a noise complaint and we only just got here.”
“Come on little sister, live a little. I just want to see what kind of power these babies have. Who’s really working at this time anyways? I’m sure most of the shops around us are closed by now.”
Liv, however, did notice. She was doing some paperwork even though she had closed 4 hours ago. She liked to do this every day just to make sure she was still on track with all her stuff.
She heard the music first. Metal music of course, she rolled her eyes at the cliché. She was pretty impressed with the sound system. Even though the concrete between the two buildings was thick, the music came in pretty loud. But then came the bad part: the bass.
The sound system was incredible and so was the bass so much so that it shook the room around her, which wouldn’t have been a problem before she noticed that they kept turning the music up. It kept getting louder and the bass getting stronger.
Suddenly she heard a sudden crash. She looked over at her display shelves and the new planters that she had just bought were starting to shake and fall. She heard the loud crash again. That was two planters gone, two planters each costing sixty dollars. She went into a panic.
She quickly grabbed the other ones that were left on the shelf and put them down on the ground.
To say she was pissed was an understatement. Liv was furious. Didn’t they have any consideration for the people around them? Before she could assess the situation with a level-head she started to walk over to the tattoo shop. She stormed right into the store to see Damian, Rhea, and Shotzi sitting around a tattoo chair eating slices of pepperoni pizza messily.
She shouted once over the music but no one turned their head. She shouted again and this time Shotzi was the one to look up at her. She smacked Rhea’s arm and nodded her head towards Liv.
Rhea turned around and made eye contact with those baby blue eyes.
Blue eyes met green eyes and Liv felt like she was just struck by lightning and suddenly the music was turned down.
“Uh can we help you?” Rhea asked.
“I’m sorry to barge in like this,” Liv said, flustered and completely taken off guard by Rhea standing up to approach her. She really should have thought this through.
She was a lot taller than Liv so she had to look up at her. And she looked so strong, she looked more like a bodybuilder than a tattoo artist. She realized she trailed off and continued.
“I know we haven’t met but I’m Liv. I’m the owner of Liv & Grow, th-the shop next door.”
“Ah, our florist has arrived,” Damian said, chuckling “And she didn’t even bring us roses.”
Liv felt embarrassed she didn’t know if he was making fun of her or not, but for whatever reason that made her remember the one hundred and twenty dollars she just lost on those fucking planters. And that just lit a fire in her, she was done with niceties, she wanted to finish her paperwork and go to bed.
“Yeah haha I’m the florist. Like I said sorry to barge in here, but music is way too fucking loud. The bass literally knocked off two of my planters onto the floor.”
“Oops, sorry. Are they okay.?”
Liv gave Rhea a puzzled look. Was she making fun of her too? Or did she just not know how pottery worked?
“No, obviously they aren’t okay. They’re planters, they’re made of clay… they broke.”
Rhea face-palmed herself and laughed.
“Duh of course I’m really sorry about that. I guess we’re still getting used to the whole sound system.”
Shotzi and Damian started to whisper and point towards Liv, making her feel vulnerable and embarrassed even though none of this was her fault.
“Just be a little more considerate, there are still people that are working you know.” Liv said, crossing her arms over her chest.
“At twelve in the morning? Maybe you should take a break.”
This made Liv upset. Of course it was easy for them to say, they haven’t even had their opening day yet! Liv felt her cheeks heat up with anger.
“Yeah it’s kind of hard to take a break when you broke two of my planters! That’s a hundred and twenty dollars I can’t get back!”
Rhea giggled and pulled her wallet out of her back pocket and tried to hand her two hundred dollar bills.
“Here princess, and you can keep the change.”
Liv felt like her body was on fire.
‘Who the fuck does this chick think she is.’ Liv thought to herself. It wasn’t just about the money, it was also about how inconsiderate they were. She didn’t need their money.
“I don’t need your fucking charity, just keep it down!” Liv stomped towards the door angrily.