For "Open Mic Monday", I'm welcoming back Author Tammy Dennings Maggy. Today she's sharing a scene that didn't make the final cut for "For the Love of Quinn", but it's one she holds dear to her heart. Enjoy!
This was originally a scene that I just toyed around with but ultimately decided to cut it since it sort of slowed the pace of the story. It is a great scene between Derek and Steve. Here Steve gets to ask Derek a bit more about Quinn, Jake and his connection to her. In this scene, Derek is busy inking in the tattoo he designed for Steve, a portrait of his sister Quinn. Since it was a surprise for her, Steve asked Quinn to stay out in the lobby until Derek finished it.
Derek had another station all set up with the inks he would need to do Steve’s tattoo. He didn’t want to have anything out that would give a clue to Quinn what Steve had asked him to do. Since he already did tattoos for both of his sisters that day, Derek was more than a bit amped up on adrenaline. First his family and now the owner of the casino agreed to be his canvas for his art. Nothing jazzed him more except performing with his band Quarter to Three.
Steve removed his shirt to a chorus of appreciative giggles, and ah’s. He smiled at the groupies outside of the glass enclosed tattoo parlor. “So is it like this all the time?”
“Always. There are a few times I wanted to put in some screens to protect some of our more famous clients, but those are the very people who love to be on display anyway. Once in a great while we have a client who wants to be inked or pierced in private, so we set up another area for those individual appointments.” Derek winked. “We could move you to the back room if you wish.”
Steve smiled and shook his head. “Not a chance. I want to experience it all first hand. Ever since you opened your shop here, I’ve been meaning to stop in and get my first tattoo. Now here I am. Thanks to your sisters. And why is this the first time I’m hearing about your family?”
Derek applied the basic outlines of his portrait of Quinn to the left side of Steve’s chest, rubbing a bit so they ink transferred to his tanned skin. “It’s never come up before. You were always busy with your construction and casino projects. There really wasn’t a time when you crossed paths with Quinn until this year.” He loaded up his tattoo tube and needle with black ink to start the outlines. “Just for the record, I haven’t seen her smile that much in years.”
Steve winced with the first few strokes of the needle, but then relaxed completely in the chair. “Her smile does light up the room. And those eyes of hers, you have to make sure you capture that color.”
“I know, blue green like the ocean. Trust me, when I’m done, you’ll think you have a living portrait of Quinn on your chest. She is going to flip when she sees this.”
“Since we are going to be here a bit, mind if I ask you a few questions?” Steve’s eyes glanced out to the lobby where Quinn and Miranda were busy looking through the tattoo books and people watching.
“You can ask, but if you want to know anything about Quinn, I suggest you ask her directly. She may have a few secrets that she’s not ready to share just yet.” Derek wiped excess ink from Steve’s chest and continued with his work.
“I’m having way too much fun discovering her secrets between her and your sister Randi. Who I want to ask you about is Eric’s brother, Jake.”
Derek stopped working and held Steve’s intense gaze. “You felt it between them too didn’t you?” Goddamn it! Why couldn’t Jake have left town last week?
“It was hard not to notice. The room nearly crackled from the electricity between them. Hell, the way they looked at each other at my club last night had my jealousy meter in overdrive. I got her out of there as fast as I could. I wanted her for myself. Sorry.”
“No need to apologize to me. I’m glad she’s with you. Jake’s got a lot going on right now. It’s not the best time for him to be hooking up with anyone let alone my sister. I don’t care what flashed between them. He’s not right for her now.”
“So the stories about him around the casino are true? He’s a love them and leave them kind of guy?” Steve’s whole body tensed up causing Derek to ease up with the shading he was doing. “Sorry, it’s not the needle. I guess that jealous streak is still running through me. From what she’s told me about her marriage, I don’t think she needs to be with another man who will only hurt her in the end.”
Derek smiled and sat back on his stool while he changed ink tubes. “I’m sure Eric can fill you in on Jake’s history with women, but from what I’ve seen here in Vegas, he’s not one to hang around when things get serious. He’s concentrating on his career now which is a good thing, but once again he’s bolting from a chick.”
“That barfly? Caroline? I’ve had to have her escorted out of Saints and Sinners on a few occasions the last couple months. She’s definitely someone to bolt away from as fast as you can!”
The rest of the artists in the shop laughed along with Derek. “You got that right, brotha. She made Jake crazy with her search for a sugar daddy. She only came crawling back when she didn’t have anyone around to pay for her drinks at the clubs. She would bring her friends in here when I was working on the dragons on his back and try to start a fight with him. He needed to stay relaxed during all of that work and she was determined to screw it up. I was having none of that.”
“Understandable.” Steve narrowed his eyes and lowered his voice. “So when does Jake leave town?”
Derek chuckled softly. “Tomorrow morning. Just to give you a heads up, he will be at the concert tonight. You might want to keep a few people between Quinn and Jake. If those sparks continue to fly between them, I’m not sure even you can stop them from getting together.”
“Is that a challenge, Mr. Quartermarsh?” Steve looked in the mirror after Derek put the finishing touches on his tattoo. He seemed mesmerized.
“Do you like it?” Derek continued to watch his landlord and friend in the mirror. He knew he captured Quinn’s likeness perfectly. Depicting her as a fallen angel with her wild pixie hair and tiny horns peeking out was something he added at the last minute.
“I love it. You are one hell of an artist, my friend.”
“Thank you. To answer your question, no it’s not a challenge. All I ask is that you give Quinn the time and space to listen to her heart and do what makes her happy, no matter what path she chooses.”
“You ask a lot. I’m used to getting what I want, when I want it. With Quinn, I knew right from the start she would be the one to call the shots. I’m not saying I won’t do everything I can to keep me number one on her list, but I won’t push her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.”
Derek shook Steve’s hand. “That’s all I can ask. How about we call the girls back in to see your tat before I have to cover it with the plastic wrap?”
* * * *
Thanks for having me again this week, Amber! It’s been a lot of fun sharing the excerpts from my novel For the Love of Quinn, whether they made the final cut or not!
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