It was a slow day at Oceanview Ink, where AJ worked behind the counter. He ran the shop almost by himself, he enjoyed his work. He was surprised when Nick walked inside.
“Nick, what you doing here?” AJ asked. He knew fully well Nick was supposed to be at work.
“I came to visit you,” Nick said with a grin.
“Stop with the ass kissing, you’re gonna give me a complex.” AJ quipped. Nick shook his head as he laughed.
“Jay, I want a new tattoo.” he said after a while.
“What’s the occasion?” AJ asked, smiling.
“Its just a really good day, Jay. I haven’t felt this good in quite a while.” Nick replied as he was led into the back room.
“What was the big news you wanted to tell me?”
“Oh…I got an audition in New York on Wednesday!” Nick said excitedly. AJ got out his tools and put gloves on before getting out the needle.
“That’s awesome! So what did you want me to give you this time and where?” he grinned. AJ had already done a tattoo on Nick, a shark on his arm.
“A music note right here….on my shoulder.” Nick said, pointing to the back of his right shoulder.
“So you got an audition….how did you get off from work on such short notice?” AJ asked while he began tracing the outlines of the music note onto Nick’s bare skin.
“I quit.” Nick said simply.
“W-what? You quit?! Nick, you’re not supposed to quit a job when you don’t have anther lined up!” AJ scolded, sounding like a parent and making Nick laugh.
“I threw the keys at Mark, told him to fuck himself and walked the hell out.” he explained calmly, with the attitude that he did not care in the slightest that he was nearly broke. For a few moments, AJ worried they might be homeless now that Nick was out of a job.
“But why?” he asked again, not taking his eyes off of Nick’s back.
“AJ, I don’t need that job anymore! I’m gonna get that record deal.” Nick explained. He knew for a fact he was going to be famous someday, and he was confident that the record company people would like him once he auditioned. Nick had a good feeling about it, and his first instinct was always right.
“Amanda would kill you if she knew about this, you know that?” AJ laughed, and Nick laughed with him.
“She’s at school.” Nick said thoughtfully.
“So how are you gonna find your way around NYC all by yourself? You are only 18, you have never been to New York before. Are you sure its wise to go on your own?” AJ asked. He really did sound just like a parent even though he was 20 going on 21.
“I didn’t think about it.” Nick said, as AJ was finishing up. The tattoo was complete, etched into his skin for life.
“Why don’t you bring someone with you who knows the area? Do you know someone who has been to New York?” AJ asked while he put a bandage over Nick’s music note to protect it. There really was only one person who knew New York, and it was Amanda. She had told Nick lots of stories from when she lived in New Jersey, about going to the city on weekends with her parents.
“Amanda.” Nick said with a smile.
“You’re gonna ask Amanda? Good luck getting her to leave school to run away with you.” AJ laughed. Nick grinned, he knew he could charm her into coming on the trip.
“I will get her to go, all I have to do is go talk to her. Amanda will help me.” he said calmly. Nick decided to drive down to Amanda’s college the next day, and he couldn’t wait to see her again to tell her the good news, that he was about to have his dream become a reality. He just hoped she would say yes and that the audition would go well, because he couldn’t bear to think about what would happen if he failed.