Only Skin Deep 2

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Here the next part to the story, I hope you like it.

Disclaimer: This story has Male to Male sex and love relationships. If you are under the age of eighteen years, you should not be here. You have been warned.

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Vince kept telling himself there's nothing strange or unusual about a customer going to a tattoo parlor with exactly what he wants, already drawn out. And only having a part of the tattoo done at one sitting is normal.

The hard part is convincing the artist to have seven days in a row open for the tattoos to be properly applied and in the right order.

The Book had warned that the fourth and sixth days alloted tattoos, were ones that harmonized the previous days work. If they weren't applied within 24 hours, the previous tattoos would go berserk.

Vox LEO Magi told Vince that his body would start to randomly absorb any major or minor energy source within range. And with no proper regulator or storage system in place, it would not take long before Vince would start resembling a Roman Candle, or Chinese Firecrackers, or simply Melt.

The way The Book had described some of the ways he could die, sounded as if The Book had witnessed the actual event. Vince didn't press him for more information along those lines and he sure didn't want to hear names to go along with the nasty images he now had in his head.

Vince just had to make sure the Tattoo artist could guarantee someone would be able to complete the tattoos if the first artist missed a day.

And Vince just had to go across the street and walk through the door.

Abe fiance Selah had gotten a small tattoo at this place, and said the atmosphere was very zen, once you got past the biker clothing and hair style. She said she couldn't put her finger on it, but it seemed like the three tattoo artists were in tune somehow.

Vince hoped she was right.

At first glance the two artists that had customers fit the biker/bodybuilder mold pretty good. Farthest to the left was a six foot two black haired Vigo Mortensen type young man maybe twenty-five at the most. He grinned at Vince as he paused to wipe and examine how his work was going. He seemed to be softly talking to his customer in a stream of barely heard words that apparently worked at taking the edge off the pain.

The Middle aged redhead lady he was working on was smiling and gazing off into the distance.


The second artist was a blond mountain of a man. Six foot five and well over two hundred and eighty pounds, all of it muscle . A Harley-Davidson belt buckle on dark blue jeans around a slim waist, with a white tank top that was just glued to all those muscles. His face said young but his expression said wise old friend. He was probably thirty-two, thirty-three. A golden goatee framed his lips. He was working on a very skinny very tall young man with a very traditional Japanese style shoulder/ arm piece, a Phoenix. The giant was coloring in the flames and feathers.


From behind the counter the owner has been watching Vince watch his workers. He sees the slim briefcase and gets a good feeling. Customers who know what they want are the easiest to please.

And If they bring artwork, even better.

Carl starts things off with, "Hello. Are you interested in getting a tattoo?"

Vince jerks a bit, he hadn't heard the owner move behind the counter. Vince replies, "Oh. Hello. I didn't see you there when I walked in."

Carl grins and says, "I'm quiet on my feet. It keeps my workers on there toes, though they hardly need my help with that. I have two of the best tattoo artists in the area, and they claim I'm the third. My names Carl Handy the owner of SKIN Gallery. What can we do for you?"

Vince puts out his hand to shake Carls. Just as they make contact Vince introduces himself, "My names Vince Anderson" His talking masked a tiny static shock that both felt and ignored.

Vince gets closer and asks, "Can we talk in private? I have an odd request and the subject is family related."

Carl says, "Family Huh?" He gestures towards a door that leads to his office and points to a thick chair as he closes the door and asks, "would you like anything to drink/ Water, soda?"

Vince says, "No, but thank you."

Carl sits in his chair behind his desk and tells Vince, "I have to warn you that family is important to me, and I think of the two men out there as family. Anything you tell me will be as if you told them. I don't keep secrets from my brothers."

Vince smiles now seeing more to trust in this man. He tells Carl, "I'm fine with that. It makes my request a little easier, in fact." Vince opens the briefcase and pulls out the large sheet showing himself with all the tattoos he wanted to get in the next seven days. The copy shows front, left side, rear, right side. The briefcase has copies of each separate tattoo at the actual size.

Carl sees the art work and the amount of work needed to complete the tattoos and thinks, 'I should be thinking this guy's nuts but somehow I know he is going to get every tattoo on that sheet.'

Carl smiles a sly grin and says, "The artist in me is jumping up and down like a little kid in a candy factory, but the businessman has to warn you that the amount of tattoos I see there represent a lot of time. Then there's the man in me that makes me proud to meet people like you. To suffer for arts sake is one of those definitions I have for what it is to be a man."

Vince is moved to many emotions . the one that wins out is true affection for this man he hardly knows. He tells Carl, "My Uncle Brian would have said something like that. Here's what I need to happen. In my family one member is chosen by the previous one to be the soul of the family. I guess thats the best way to describe it. And upon their death, the newly chosen is required to be tattooed within seven days. My uncle Brian died just a few days ago, and I found out yesterday he had chosen me. For some reason I knew he was much older than he looked but I thought he had more..." Vince is upset that he still hasn't got it together yet when it comes to Uncle Brians death. He continues with, "I thought I had my head around it but I guess I was wrong. I could use some water if that's Ok?"

Carl jumps up and pulls out a bottle from a mini-fridge and hands it to Vince as he tells him, "No problem."

Vince says" Thank you."

Carl continues, "My foster mother died three years ago, and I still catch my self thinking of her, missing her and sobbing. If they try to tell you that time will lessen the pain, I advise spitting in their eye and calling them a liar. For me and many others the pain is just as intense as the first moment of loss. The only thing time brought me, was the hope that the times I thought about my step-mom and smiled at the memory would increase. So far I still have hope ."

Vince tells him, "Listening to you Carl, now I really have hope this whole thing won't blow-up

in my face." Vince reaches in to his briefcase and pulls out the full body photo of Uncle Brian.

Vince tells Carl, "The family tradition is for the newly chosen to receive the tattoos within seven days from start to finish. This is what Uncle Brian looked like."

Carl is curious, "Whoa! Big guy. Where's the person that tattooed Uncle Brian?"

Vince frowns a bit and says, "Olaf died eight years ago. He was uncle Brian's Lover."

Carl gets a weird look on his face and then grins as he asks, "Olaf? A platinum blonde about this tall? sometimes gets a goofy grin when he's tattooing you?" Carl's hand had gone up above his head indicating someone six foot five. He gets up and comes around the desk and stands near Vince as he waits for his answers.

Vince looks puzzled and answers yes to each question. He asks Carl, "Did you know Olaf?"

Carl tells him, "Hell yes. " Carl pulls his shirt off to reveal an intricate tattoo that seems to roll around a carp in a ball of water and the black celtic runes are what's keeping the ball intact. The runes have multiplied and flowed off onto Carl's Right Pec and flowed over his shoulder and wrapped around his arm to the wrist. Carl proudly tells Vince, "Olaf tattooed the best tattoo I have on my body!"

Carl has puffed up his very thick chest and in so doing shown Olafs work to be very well placed. Vince can't help himself. His attraction to this man and Carl's apparent joy in Vinces presence has them both reaching for each other ; even if it's only with their minds. Vince though, goes further. With Carl's chest puffed out to show off Olaf's Tattooing artistry; Vince reaches out and touches the tattoo on the carps head between eyes.

There is a subsonic thrum that pulses through Carl and Vince when hand touches chest. Vince can't pull back yet. The images rushing through their heads are from the others memory. Abandonment. Adoption. Foster homes finding the best foster mother and father and them Fighting two years to adopt Carl; Vince getting into fist fights with close school friends over games they were playing after and during school, learning his so-called friends were all cheating in stupid little games, Uncle Brian appearing in the middle of dad grilling Vince for answers he didn't have, like why was he crying as he beat up his two friends for cheating on a game?, Uncle Brian convincing dad and mom to allow Vince to skip the last week of school before summer, and how Uncle Brian and Olaf taught by example; taught how to be a MAN. Vince had been so grateful for the escape from a long series of boring class time, what with finals having been given just two days earlier.

The images give way to shared emotions and each is deeply pleased by the others growing attraction towards the other. Carl's right hand flys up and traps Vinces left hand on Carl's chest. All of the emotion and shared memories of their youth has Vince just a little spooked, and has Carl apparently ready to fight to keep Vince near. their eyes lock as Vince half heartedly tries to pull his hand back; but it feels so good just palm flat over Carl's big pectoral muscle and Olaf's beautiful tattoo work. Carl holds Vinces hand tighter and out of the blue tells him, "Oh no! You don't get away so easy. I don't know how but I do know; You like touching me as much as I like touching you. We are both gay and without any lover in our lives. ..." Carl starts to lose steam just as Vince gets some extra courage from what Carl is saying and what Carl's eyes are saying to Vince.

Vince finishes the sentence that was already formed in Carl's mind with, "and we should give this love we feel, the best chance we can."

Whereupon they closed the gap between them and started to Kiss. The heat from that kiss vaporized any other thought in their minds. Under the power of such a Kiss, Time didn't exist.

Moments, hours, days . Getting to the bottom of the mystery of that Kiss was the important thing. After that day, neither one could ever say how long that Kiss lasted.

Alas, all things must end., even THE KISS. A medium Bass voice clears it's throat and sort of chuckles. Greg says from just inside the door, "Sorry Boss. This guys credit card worked last time he was here, but now the machine is acting weird. It doesn't reject or deny, it just flashes a question mark." Vince and Carl partially separate and both grin like their sort of proud being found like that. Before Carl turns to walk out to the front their eyes are still involved with that kiss. Carl has to look at Greg to let him know he's heard what he's talking about.

And when Greg finishes Carl tells him, "I've run into that before. I'll be out in just a second to fix it. " This brings a big grin to Greg's face but then he tips his head down while still looking at them both, as if he questions how fast Carl will come out. Carl understands the silent question and asks him, "Have I ever left a customer waiting?"

Greg searches his memory and gets a goofy grin on his face as he tells Carl, "No you haven't!" Greg leaves with the same goofy grin and a swelling in his leather pants.

Carl breaks the embrace but puts up his right index finger and wags it at Vince as he says, "I'll be right back! You don't go anywhere! OK?" He waits for a response with his finger still pointing at Vince. Vince grabs the finger in his right hand which surprises Carl for a second. Vince says, "OK, "and kisses the tip of Carl's finger then lets go. Carl is so taken in with what Vince just did he smiles and taps his finger onto Vinces nose as he says, "Good ". Vince only blinked when his nose got tapped but his smile alone tells Carl 'hurry back'.

As Carl leaves Vince is filled with an energy that just wants to lift him off the ground. It's coming from his innermost being. It's saying THANK YOU, THANK YOU. over and over and he wants to really tell GOD, Thank You. How do you really tell God thank you?

You start by thanking the messenger. Vince pulls out his cell phone and calls Selah.

Selah answers her phone and hears, "Selah, you are an angel! Thank You, thank you, thank you! This is the best Tattoo Parlor in the world! Thank you for sending me here." She smiles because she remembers how she thanked her friend after she introduced her to Abraham.

Selah tells him, "You're welcome Vince. The owner's cute isn't he? And so... Solid!" She had felt so safe when Carl had put her tattoo on.

Vince looks up to see Carl come back in as he's agreeing with Selah, "Yes he's very cute, and very solid." Carl reacts to the compliment with a smile at first. When he hears the word solid he frowns, looks at his belly, pushes it out and grabs it then points a questioning look at Vince.

Vince shakes his head no closes his right hand and knocks on his own chest above his heart, (meaning he has a solid heart). Carl understands but jokes around by sucking in his stomach and throwing out his chest then pounding on it like a gorilla. Vince shakes his head no as he gets a little smirk on his face and tells Selah, "And he's got a good sense of humor. I'll tell you more later. Thanks again for telling me about this place. Bye." He hangs up and puts the phone away.

Carl sits on the desk across from Vince and says with a grin, "So, where were we?"

Vince smiles back and says, "If we get back to that, we won't get anything done today."

Carl gets up and looks at the prints of what Vince wants done that are lying on the desk.

He tells Vince, "You're probably right." he looks into Vince's eyes as he asks, "But we will be getting back to that, right?"

Vince gets up and puts his right hand on Carl's left shoulder as he says, "Very right, very very right. And I think you are very right for me. " He hugs Carl as Carl returns the warm embrace.

Carl tells Vince as they part, "Ok then. " He turns back to the prints and chuckles as he says, "Seven days Huh? That's pushing it."

Vince misunderstands and asks, "Would it be easier if two artists did it at the same time?"

Carl sees the miscommunication and says, "Oh no, it's not that. Seven days gives more than enough time to do this. Eight hours a day, seven days, or fifty-six hours of work; no problem. It's your body that's the problem. Your skin can only take so much abrasion; which, in effect is what happens with the tattooing process. If you've seen anybody right aftter they've gotten a tattoo; you'd see the actual tattoo line is raised with swelling. I just don't know if your body could tolerate that much tattooing in that short amount of time."

Vince looks at Carl and reflects on his uncles last words. Yes he can trust Carl. He tells Carl, "My uncle told me the Light of Love would shine on me, but don't let it take my breath away."

Vince has Carl's full attention when he says, "This is an old photo of my uncle and some of his friends at a pond they used to swim at." The photo he hands to Carl shows three young men. From left to right the men are average, tall and very short.

Carl says, "your uncle is in the middle right?" He looks to Vince to say yes.

Vince shakes his head and says, "That's Olaf, Uncle Brian is to the right" Carl is confused and he flips it over. There in the upper left corner is old faded ink.

Carl read the legend, "Maerk Brown, Olaf Carpenter, Brian Anderson. nineteen-thiry-eight.

The old swimming hole, Stigler, Oklahoma."

Vince tells him, "Carl I trust you and I suppose through you I can trust your two men outside."

Vince pulls The Book from his briefcase and sets it on the desk,

places his right hand over his heart and left hand on The Book and says

"In the Name of the Light, I bid thee Open! Vox LEO Magi."

The lock on the book pops open and The Book opens as it says, "In the Name of the Light, I reveal myself. Only those whose name appears upon the Page of Guardians may share the wisdom of this Tome and view the Secrets of the Light!" Carl moves closer and sees Vinces full name right below Brian's and Olafs signature.

Carl says, "Vincent Brian Anderson. Nobody's ever trusted me this much before."

Vince says, "Nobody's ever loved you this much before." and kisses Carl

The kiss progresses as the first one had when a contented voice intones, "Beautiful."

They stop kissing but remain in an embrace and Vince asks, "What was that?"

The Book says, "You Two Shine your own light. It is beautiful to see."

Vince and Carl smile at each other and then look at the book.

Carl says, "I can't say I haven't thought about this, but this is a little sudden."

Vince looks into Carls eyes and says, "Me too. But ..I do."

Carl still smiling replies, "I do too" and reaches for a pen and writes Carl Handy next to Vinces signature.

The Book says, "Carl Handy, I bid you Welcome, In the Name of the Light." the book then closed itself as the door opens to Kern peeking in.

Kern says, "Lunch time boss. I locked the front door and changed the sign to back after lunch." He's close enough now to be able to say, "Hi my name's Kern. And Greg says it looks like you kiss pretty good." Vince and Kern shake hands

Vince says, "Vince Anderson. Thanks."

Carl throws his chest out and looks proud and a bit gooofy at the same time.

He tells Kern, "We just got married!" Vince snorts out a chuckle but looks proud and smiles too.

Kern says, "Yeah right! so who's the witness?" just then a gap appears on the books bottom pages and light streams out.

The Book mumbles out, "I Am" and the gap and light disappears.

Kern's eyes get large as he says, "Ok now I'm getting creeped out."

Vince says, "I didn't know he could talk with the cover still closed."

The gap reappeared as The Book says, "I don't usually" and then disappeared again.

Vince says, "I suppose introductions are in order." He places his left hand on The Book and his right hand over his heart and says

"In the Name of the Light, I bid thee Open Vox LEO Magi."

The Book opens itself and light pours forth as he says, "IN the Name of the Light, I reveal myself. Only those whose name appears upon the Page of Guardians may share the wisdom of this Tome and view the Secrets of the Light!"

Kern has gotten closer and closer as The Book spoke and can read the names on the Guardian Page.

He says, "So I just sign right here?"

The Book says, "That is the general idea."

Kern seems happy and excited with the reply and says, "Ok ! A lippy Magic Book!" As he write his name under Abrahams.

The Book Says, "Kern Anthony Preston, I bid you Welcome, In the Name of the Light." after a short pause he continues, "I am not lippy. I don't know what came over me, I usually wait for someone to talk to me before I speak."

Kern speaks first and says, "Ohh, It's ok. I'm sorry, I didn't mean anything by it." he's patting and stroking the pages and then jus lays his hand on the book. He continues with, "It's all Our fault. We're just very open people here and I guess it's contagious. I think you're a very good Magic Book."

The Book says, "How many magic Books have you known?"

Kern squirms a bit and says, "Um. Well you're the first, but I've imagined a few."

The Book accepts this and says, "I believe you. Thank you."

Kern says, "You're welcome. And thank you for speaking up when you did. I wouldn't miss this for the world."

The Book says, "You're welcome. Does anyone wish to look through my pages?"

Vince looks at Carl and Kern, who shake their heads no and tells The Book, "Not at this time but thank you."

The Book says, "You're welcome. Call when I am needed" and The Book closes and the lock snaps shut.

Kern looks at Vince and then Carl and says, "Married ?! Well congratulations! About time!" He hugs Carl and says, "Greg and I have been worried about you." they break the embrace and Kern turns to Vince. He tells Vince, "Carl hasn't seen anybody for over a year and a half."

Vince takes this in. Then Kern smiles and says, "Welcome to the family!" and hugs Vince so hard he knocks some wind out of him.

Vince gets his wind back in time to say, "Thanks."

Carl asks Kern, "Where'd Greg go?"

Kern turns and tells him, "Oh, we ordered two Pizzas a little while ago and he went to pick them up."

Carl just smiles and says, "My boys, I love em!"

Kern goes out and in back to the private kitchen area and rusrles up some plates and some glasses and then thinks of something more important and pulls down four champagne glasses instead and goes into the back of the fridge and pulls out a bottle of champagne and says, "I knew you were there."

He pulls off the foil and grabs a clean rag as he slowly pulls the cork off. there's a little pop but no gush and he smiles after a job well done. He pours the champagne in the four glasses just as Greg returns.

Greg doesn't see what's in the glasses and shouts out to the front of the shop, "Carl, Pizza's here, and we got enough for your friend too." He puts the two pizzas on the stove top and looks at Kern, then notices xhampagne and the type of glasses. He asks, "What's the champagne for?"

Kern gets a silly grin on his face and says, "Boss just got married!"

Greg frowns and says, "What?" Kern just nods yes real fast and Greg asks, "To the guy he was kissing in his office? ' Kern blinks and nods a little slower.

Greg smiles and looks down at the table before he looks back at Kern and says, "Cool. That Kiss looked serious. I hated to interupt them. What's his name?"

Just then Vince walks in followed by Carl and says, "Vincent but you can call me Vince, That's what friends and family call me." He holds out his hand to shake Gregs hand.

Greg just looks at him for a second and smiles and pulls him with that hand into a bear hug as he tells Vince, "Welcome to the family!"

Greg releases Vince to find the same goofy grin on his face too. Vince says, "Thanks, "after he gets his breath back.

Greg tells Carl, "This is the sort of thing that keeps us on our toes."

Carl walks up to the right of Vince and puts his left hand on Vinces left shoulder as Vince puts his right hand on Carls right hip. They pull in and touch hips as Carl says, "Oh, so you were listening. At times I wonder."

Kern cuts in and says, "Boss we always listen. WE just act like we don't sometimes to keep you on your toes."

By now Greg has put two pieces of pizza on each plate and put them on the table. Kern picks up a glass and says, "A Toast" and waits until they all have a glass. " To the happy couple. Protect love where ever you find it." they clink glasses and all four say, "LOVE, "at the same time before they drink half of what's in their glasses.

The glasses come down and Vince and Carl just gravitate to each other and start that Kiss again and Greg and Kern just smile and look at each other. Greg opens his arms silently and tips his head to the side. Kern moves into the embrace and start a kiss of their own. But after a few moments they break for air and look at Vince and Carl and Carl giggles and says, "Bigger lungs." this causes the new couple to come down to earth.

Carl speaks first, "Oh yeah lunch."

They all sit down and Vince says, "and then back to work. Well at least for you" Telling Carl at the end.

Carl corrects him with, "Oh No. This is your first tattoo. Getting a Tattoo is work too."

Vince says, "I'll take your word for it. " and starts to eat.

Greg is already on his second piece as he says, "First tattoo? What size is he getting Boss?"

Carl grins at Vince and says, "Seven days worth."

Greg swallows and says, "HuH!"

Kern cuts in and says, "Don't worry about it. You missed a few things while you were gone."

Greg gets up to get another few pieces and says, "I guess!" He looks at the table in general and asks, "More Pizza?" All three hold up one finger. Greg smiles and holds the box over for all three to get another piece. He tells Vince, "you're gonna fit in just fine around here."

Read next part

Next the actual tattoo. I hope you like the story so far. Let me know either way. And thanks for reading this story.