Kiss Here

Written by Irenosen Akharele

Four girls, drunk out of their minds, attempted to drag themselves up the stairs of the airbnb they had rented for the week, giggling despite their best efforts at a stealthy entrance as everything seemed to make them laugh. After ten minutes of vigorous shushing and a few failed attempts to get upstairs, they finally made it inside the house. Two of the four fell right asleep on the fluffy, white carpeting, leaving Jasmine and Akua alone to kneel in front of the fridge and drunkenly wolf down bread.

“I’m bored,” Jasmine mumbled with a full mouth prompting Akua’s raised eyebrow, wondering how her friend could still complain about being bored when there were bread crumbs sticking to her face and cleavage.

Jasmine was usually the life of the party and the wildest one in the group, closely followed by Akua who could pick up on any vibe and make it better. They were also very regularly the last ones standing after nights like these and loved to get into little side quests of their own. 

Unfortunately, this night, Akua was ready to tuck herself into bed, use her rose to wind down and sleep in until noon, but her friend’s alcohol-addled mind had too many ideas for any of that to happen. 

She tried to stand her ground and drag her friend to bed but minutes passed and Akua found herself going through instagram with Jasmine as they looked for tattoo parlors that were open at 2:30am. She gave up.

“What will we even get? I don’t want my first tattoo to be rubbish.” Akua flung her heels to the side and sat on the cold floor, letting her face deeper into the fridge and letting her eyes close. 

“Very few first tattoos are any good. At least we’ll get it together and that’s all that matters.” Jasmine assured her. 

The girls spent some more time scrolling on social media and were close to giving up until Jasmine found a guy who had regular hours during the weekdays and late hours on the weekends. She screamed in joy and found the strength to pull herself and her friend up from the floor, her bloodshot eyes wide as saucers.

“We just found our guy and we need to go now. He closes at 6 am so we have time.” 

“Wait, Jasmine.” Akua held her vibrating friend by her shoulders and held her in place, stabilizing herself as well. “How do we know he’s any good? For all we know he could be a scammer or a human trafficker,” she tried to rationalize but it was obvious Jasmine was not hearing any of it. 

“You can check if he’s legit and I’ll find your phone and get us a ride.” 

The roads were free and Jasmine stuck her face to the side of the window on the entire ride from Ikoyi to V.I., leaving her friend alone to think. 

Akua could not stop going through the tattoo artist’s page as she swore to herself that there was something familiar about him. Maybe it was just the alcohol making her think that this was someone she knew. 

By the time they arrived at the tattoo parlor, fate had caught up to Jasmine and she was out like a light. Akua helped her friend in and placed her on a chair, wondering if calling the uber and asking him to take them back home was a better idea than getting a tattoo alone.

The place was a little cleaner than what she expected a tattoo parlor to look like. The walls were a light shade of gray that she could only describe as dark white and the bright fluorescent lights were not helping its case. There was some art on the walls but Akua was distracted when her tattoo artist walked into the waiting corner with a big smile that made her heart stop for a quick second. 

“Hi, I’m Jade and I’ll be your artist for the night. Is your friend okay?” he asked in a single almost–mechanical breath, peering questioningly at Jasmine who was laid out on 3 chairs, fast asleep. 

“Yes, she’s fine. We were supposed to get tattoos together but I think the alcohol got to her much quicker than she’d hoped.” Akua responded, prompting the artist to laugh, a soft chuckle that made her face hot and her stomach twitch. 

“Have you been drinking too?” he asked, walking deeper into the studio with Akua following closely behind him.

“I’ve sobered up,” she responded, as her eyes scanned the cool and obscure looking art on the walls, which were a dark shade of gray. He led her to a station in the corner of the room and pulled up a chair to sit beside her.

“Do you know what you’re getting tonight?”

“Yes,” Akua replied and pulled a picture up on her phone. “It’s a little raunchy and the place I want it is even worse but I heard tattoo artists don’t judge.”

He looked up at her with another wide smile and Akua realized that maybe she lied to herself about sobering up. She wanted to sit on his face until he was drunk off her too but considering he was going to be putting a tattoo between her legs, she needed to behave. 

“It’s a sexy little piece. Let me put it down on a stencil and I’ll get back to you, cool?” 

She nodded and he winked before sliding his chair over to his table and getting to work. 

“Can I know the story behind the tattoo? If there’s one, of course,” he asked with his back turned to Akua who was too glad he wasn’t seeing her face or the fact that she was swinging her legs back and forth like a schoolgirl. 

“I guess it’s an instruction manual for whoever sees it? I don’t know,” she giggled, pressing the side of her face into her shoulder. 

“Whoever?” she could hear the smile in the question and she laughed again. “So no one’s reading the manual anytime soon?”

“Oh my God!” Akua exclaimed, she would have to deal with being physically unable to stop the heat in her face. Jade swirled his chair around to look at her, the completed stencil in his hand and a triumphant smile on his face. He knew what he was doing.

“Lay down and show me where you want this,” he instructed after she confirmed that she was ready to get it. 

At this point, shame was not a factor in Akua’s mind. She didn’t care that he would see that her pink underwear was probably already soaked, and know that he was half the reason why; the effect of the alcohol being the other, which he had clearly aggravated, turning her on further. He was going to be stuck there for the next few hours etching a “Kiss Here” tattoo encased between bright pink lips, so what good would it do her besides laying there and braving it?

Just before he started, Jade looked up at her with a knowing smirk. 

“When this is healed, I would like to do what the manual says. Just to see how good I am at following rules.”   

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