Hi, Hey, Hello!
One of them isn’t even really in this one, and it’s not the one it usually is this time. Onwards
‘You know she’s not here right?’ Dylan asked when he saw Ryan standing on his doorstep as he opened the door slowly.
‘Yeah, she’s with your Mum, here to see you though. Slight problem.’ He rushed out, rocking back and forth on his feet.
‘Alright then, come in.’ Dylan moved out of the way and Ryan walked in quickly.
‘Okay, so what’s the problem?’ He asked as he clicked the door shut and turned around. Ryan sighed loudly and pulled the hem of his t-shirt to reveal the base of his ribcage.
‘It’s a tattoo.’ Dylan noted, slightly confused.
‘Yeah, I know that dude. But look at it properly.’
‘It’s a…holy shit, it’s a caterpillar.’ His mouth dropped open and a short laugh pushed its way out from the back of his throat.
‘As in the before state of a butterfly?’
‘Uh huh.’ Ryan groaned and dropped his shirt back down.
‘In the same place as a butterfly tattoo that I am sure you’re very well acquainted with?’
‘Yeah.’ He continued.
‘Dude, why?’ He said through poorly stifled laughter.
‘I don’t know! In the chair it seemed like a good idea. And then it got all covered up and I pulled my t-shirt on and it started to sound like a terrible idea. Then I freaked out and came here.’
‘I dunno. To reassure me that she won’t freak out.’ He said seriously.
‘She might freak out.’ He teased.
‘Because this is a fucking ridiculous idea.’ Ryan cried.
‘It might not be that big a deal.’ He tried to reassure.
‘Dylan there is a very detailed black inking of a fucking caterpillar on my side! I have accidentally made a huge grand gesture that is ridiculous to explain.’
‘It could just be a statement that you like caterpillars.’
‘Unless it is the hungry one, who the hell actually chooses caterpillars over butterflies?’ Ryan crossed his arms over his chest.
‘You do.’ Dylan replied easily with a point of his finger.
‘Not the time to joke.’ His arms dropped heavily to his sides.
‘Okay, sit down. Now let’s think this through rationally okay?’
‘Nothing about this is rational.’
‘Maybe not, but let’s try.’
‘Fine.’ Ryan’s mouth unconsciously turned into a pout as he dropped onto a sofa cushion.
‘Firstly, it’s actually quite a nice tattoo. I mean for a caterpillar it looks quite cool.’
‘Have you seen Lizzy’s butterfly recently?’
‘Ugh, it’s just some of the patterning on mine matches her butterfly wings.’ He admitted quietly.
‘Well shit.’ Dylan breathed out in response.
‘Yeah, shit.’ His head tilted back and he focused on a smudge in the paint on the ceiling.
‘Well you’re bonded for life then.’ He teased after a few moments silence.
‘Dylan!’ His head snapped down and he looked at Dylan with wide eyes.
‘Okay fine, sorry. I had a secondly, which was, you’ve been together for how long now?’
‘Like 18/19 months.’
‘So this is just a demonstration of your love. I mean it’s not really all that surprising if you think about it properly. Your tattoos mean something and I’m assuming Liz means something to you.’
‘But this is a big deal and permanent and 18 months is not that long really. Not for this.’
‘You know your songs will exist for as long as music does right?’
‘What’s your point?’ He shrugged and shook his head.
‘My point is, and correct me if I’m wrong but, Linger is written about her right?’
‘Uhhhh yeah. How did you know that?’
‘Lola is a big fan of your work, kind of has an obsession with that song. It took me a few listens, but you talk about a scar. That scar that’s so faint it almost looks like a trick of the light or something. I know where that scar is, I gave her that scar. That song is a pretty big deal and she coped fine with that.’
‘Yeah but I can bullshit that one if this goes tits up. I mean songs can be about or inspired by anyone and you can go anywhere with it. This tattoo won’t be so easy to explain away without a slightly sad undertone to the tale.’ He protested.
‘You’re a very careful man Ryan, you don’t see this going tits up anytime soon, thankfully. If you had any inclination that it might do that you wouldn’t have done this. The whole thing may seem impulsive but it’s not, if it was it would be a generic thing, there wouldn’t be pattern similarities, it wouldn’t be in the same place as hers. And you’re right you can bullshit your way out of the song thing, but you’d do that with sadness to if you ever had to.’
‘I guess you’re right.’ He slumped back into his seat.
‘I know I’m right.’ He joked.
‘So is she gonna freak out about this?’
‘I highly doubt it. Not the way you just have anyway. She saves freaking out for other things.’
‘Have you checked her Instagram today?’
‘It’s just you might not be the only one who makes black inky declarations of love that look inconspicuous to most but hold great importance where it matters.’ Ryan quirked an eyebrow and shifted to pull his phone out of his front pocket. He opened up his Instagram app as Dylan settled back into his seat and stared aimlessly at the flickering TV screen while Ryan scrolled. After a few moments Ryan’s thumb lifted off the screen and hovered nervously. Dylan smiled to himself as Ryan’s brow knitted together in brief confusion before it went slack with realisation.
On his phone screen was a picture of the back of Lizzy’s ear, a subtle tan kissing her skin, with the new addition of a boldly inked octave clef with six slightly more delicate quavers dotted around it. The skin around the marks was still scratched red raw and stray tendrils of hair were curling around the edges of the picture and narrowly avoiding tickling the sensitive skin. When Ryan stopped focusing so intently at the new tattoo standing in stark contrast to her skin his eyes trailed down to the caption:
If music be the food of love, play on.
Ryan looked up and over at Dylan slightly wide eyed. Dylan chuckled and clapped a hand on his thigh.
‘Told you, she probably won’t freak out.’
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