Summary: Morgana needs to make a decision. Gwen helps.
Word Count: 1k
Prompt: #326: "I've been checking you out."
Author's Notes: Not beta'd.
“I’ve been checking you out.”
“You like what you see?”
“Yeah,” Morgana answers. “But I need some time to figure out what I want.”
The curly-haired woman nods. “Well, let me know if you make up your mind. I’m going to go help those people over there. Call if you need anything.”
Morgana smiles. The woman walks away, and Morgana goes back to flipping through the pages of the book containing various suggestions. She could get a biker tattoo, which would probably help her land some birds. However, she is not a biker. Another option is a flower, and for a moment she genuinely considers the dandelion, something she’s always thought is beautiful yet has been told is a weed. Then she rolls her eyes at herself. There are some Chinese characters, but she does not want to be that white person with a Chinese tattoo.
“How are we doing over here?” The woman’s back behind the counter, a smile still on her lips.
“That was quick,” Morgana remarks.
“Well, that couple already knew what they wanted.”
“Yeah, sorry,” she mutters, turning back to the book as her ears heat up.
“Hey, that’s all right,” the woman tells her. “Don’t worry; that’s why I’m here. You said you’d been checking us out?”
“Yeah,” Morgana confirms. “A few of my friends have gotten their tattoos from here, and the quality of theirs is solid, so. I thought this would be the best place to do it.”
“Well, I’m flattered.” The woman smiles, and Morgana’s heart stutters. “What’s your name?”
“Morgana,” she answers. “Yours?”
“Gwen,” says the woman. “Nice to meet you.”
“So,” Gwen says on a sigh, placing her elbows on the counter and her chin in her hands, watching the pages Morgana flips through aimlessly. “You really don’t have any idea what you want?”
“Hm, that’s interesting. Most people get tattoos because they want something specific,” Gwen explains. “They want to commemorate or immortalize something that’s important to them. They don’t just want a tattoo, they want a tattoo for something.”
“I’ve always been unique,” Morgana replies, and Gwen tuts.
“Don’t worry about it,” she waves Morgana’s worries away. “We’ll think of something. Now,” she says, taking the book away from Morgana gently so that she’s forced to meet Gwen’s gaze. “What are we going for? Something sentimental or punk-rock or silly?”
“Then what in life is important to you?”
Morgana thinks for a moment. “My brother.”
“Do you want to get something for him?”
“God no,” she rejects. “He’d never let me live it down.”
“Mine’s the same way,” Gwen says knowingly. “Love him to pieces, but I would never be able to tell him that without him rubbing it in my face.”
“Precisely.” Morgana sighs. “My music is also important to me.”
“What do you play?”
“Bass in a rock band.”
“Oh my.” Gwen grins, straightening up and placing a hand on her chest. “I had no idea I was in the presence of a rock-star.”
Morgana lets out a self-conscious chuckle. “I’m not a—rock-star. We just play a gig a week.”
“Sounds like a real commitment,” Gwen remarks. “Do you want to get a tat of your bass?”
“I have a lot of basses,” says Morgana, “and I wouldn’t want to choose one over the other. It’d be like choosing a favorite child, you know?”
Gwen laughs, a full-body laugh that has her curling in on herself. “No, I don’t, but I accept it.” She’s still laughing, and Morgana’s breath catches in her throat. “Okay, what about song lyrics? Does your band have any that are particularly important to you?”
“Um.” Morgana knows her answer immediately, but she doesn’t want to say it, doesn’t know how to. Cautiously, she states, “Well—there’s this one song, it’s about my mother. Um. There’s this part that goes, 'like the songbirds you loved, you were brilliant and gone in a flash.'”
“Oh. I’m—I’m so sorry, I had no idea—”
“It’s fine, how could you know?”
“No.” Morgana shakes her head. “She passed on when I was three.”
“God.” Gwen closes her eyes and swallows, as if feeling all the years Morgana has been without her mother, the way she still feels it sometimes. “I am so sorry.”
The true hurt Gwen’s eyes betrays makes the apology hit Morgana harder than it usually does, and she finds herself swallowing past a lump in her throat and saying, “Thank you.”
Gwen allows another moment to pass, the both of them just regarding each other with small, sad smiles. Then, she nods resolutely and declares, “Well. I think that would be a lovely tattoo, if you agree.”
“I do,” Morgana affirms. It feels right that it should be for mum.
“Brilliant. Maria’s free right now, let me just call her.”
An hour later, Morgana leaves with the lyrics written on her forearm, in a script similar to that of her mum’s. As she’s leaving, Gwen calls out to her, “Hey, Morgana, wait a sec!”
Morgana returns to the counter, eyebrows raised. “What’s up?”
“I was just wondering—where does your band perform?”
Morgana grins, knows how to play this game. Leaning forward on the counter, she asks, “Why do you want to know?”
Gwen apparently knows how to play, too; she also leans forward and replies, “So I can come and watch the hot bassist play.”
Morgana’s toes curl, but she maintains her calm poker face and bites her lip. Gwen’s eyes dart down to it and she smirks. “All right, then. McGinley’s on Fridays, 10 o’clock. Don’t be late.”
Gwen tilts her head a little, like she’s really considering it, shrugs, and replies, “I might do.”
Morgana grins. “Okay. See you there.”
Gwen smirks back, a twinkle in her eye. “You just might.”
Morgana’s still smiling when she leaves the parlor. She traces a finger over the words of her tattoo and sighs, thinking about endings, new beginnings, and everything in between.