Here is a little story I wrote that I thought I’d share it with you. This will be your Friday Flash Fiction for the week!
“Where is she,” Stone Salinger growled at his friend. “Where the hell is my wife?” He paced the floor of the tattoo parlor. His anger was at the forefront of his messed up mind. It was all he could do not to fly off the handle and destroy his business, tearing it down with his bare, beefy hands. He was nothing without his beloved, his wife.
“Alright there, bug guy,” Riley said, pushing Stone into a chair. The force of his body impacting the seat caused it to roll and stop at the adjacent wall. “Nina’s angry as hell at you right now.”
“Where is she,” Stone repeated.
“I don’t know,” Riley admitted.
“You’re lying,” he sighed.
“Yeah, well, you’re a dumbass,” Riley said as he sprayed down his cubicle where he worked. “She’s cooling of, Stone.”
“I am a dumbass,” Stone admitted, repeating Riley’s statement.
The guy was a total alpha male. Nina was a tiny thing, and he worried about her safety. When her phone had died the day before, and he couldn’t get in touch with her, Stone went a little crazy. There was only a fifteen minute time difference from the when he tried to call her and when she arrived at their home. Those long minutes felt like a lifetime.
The argument should’ve been handled differently. Stone was out of line when he yelled at his wife for leaving the house alone and without a charger for her phone. The girl was forever on that thing and knew that it didn’t hold a charge like it did when she first purchased it three years prior.
“Yes you are,” Riley agreed.
The door chimed announcing someone coming into the shop. Stone looked up, hopeful that it was his wife, but was quickly disappointed when he saw it was a customer who’d made an appointment for a new tattoo.
Stone had a three hour session ahead of him. That was three hours he had to come up with some lame ass excuse to get the love of his life to forgive him for being an epic asshole.
Nina sat on the bed at her mother’s house hugging a pillow tight to her belly. Stone was being a possessive jerk again, and they’d both flown off the handle about her phone dying on her way home from the mall. She’d found her stubborn streak and voiced her opinion about his attitude.
It wasn’t anything new. The two of them had been having these arguments more and more often the last few months. She just couldn’t get him to understand that she was safe, that she was well aware of her surroundings when he wasn’t with her, but he just wouldn’t accept it.
Stone was…different. Nina laughed through her tears when she remembered her best friend calling him a ‘caveman’ when they’d first met. His mind was…simple. He believed in living and loving to the fullest. Never regretting any decision he made.
The man was a giant and covered in tattoos from his neck to his feet. He kept his tongue and lip pierced, exactly the way Nina liked it. His dark, brown eyes hid the horrible past that made him the way he was, and he kept his dark hair just long enough to cover the scars.
Years of abuse from his parents, caused Stone to be in and out of the hospital for years while living with foster parents. The scans on his head and the medicine kept him healthy enough to live a full life. He wasn’t dumb, nor was he incompetent. No, Stone Salinger was just…simple. He had no time for politics, or complicated conversations.
His love of tattooing started before he was legal enough to have one on his skin. He studied under one of the best artist in the country. Ten years later, he co-owns his business with his one and only friend, Riley. Nina had known Stone since they met in high school. They fell in love and never looked back.
Nina sighed and placed the pillow back on the bed. She felt like an idiot for running away from him. She loved him with every ounce of her being, and she knew that Stone felt the same about her. He’d never strayed in the eight years they’d been married, and eleven since they’d been together. The man never looked twice at another woman. Hell, he usually never noticed anyone else when she was in the room.
“Are you leaving,” her mom said from the stool at the kitchen counter.
“Yeah,” Nina sighed. “I just needed a quiet place. Thanks, mom.”
“It’s always here if you need it,” her mother stated. The two women held each other for a long moment. Nina squeezed her mom hard, before letting her go.
It was time to go back home, back to the man who held her heart.
“Alright,” Sloan said as he wiped down the guys fresh tattoo. “I’ll get you some instructions for care and meet you at the counter. I’ll be right up.”
“Thanks man,” the guy said wide eyed. “I love it!”
“You’re welcome,” he nodded.
Stone didn’t pay much attention to the man as he walked away. His mind was too focused on his wife and where she was. It’d been four hours and twenty-seven minutes since she stormed out of their home. They lived in the two bedroom apartment above the tattoo shop. So, he’d know if she came home. There were only two entrances; one in the front of the store, and one on the side by the parking lot. His cubicle was positioned so that he could see both doors. Stone didn’t like to have his back exposed. He’d learned that the hard way.
After he took care of the customer, Stone pulled out his phone and unlocked the screen. Nina’s beautiful face greeted him. She was smiling back at him, something he hadn’t seen in a few months. He’d been a little more agitated than normal, always feeling like something was going to happen. It was like he was having a premonition that something bad was coming. That’s why he’d been so worried about his wife. Her safety was everything to him.
The door chimed, and he didn’t have to look up to know who was standing in the door. He could scent her from a mile away. When he turned, she looked ashamed. Her long blonde hair was braided and hung over her shoulder, the tip curved around her left breast. Those big, blue eyes sparkled with unshed tears, and his heart almost crumbled from the despair in her eyes.
“I’m done for the day,” he said to Riley as he marched toward Nina.
“Got it,” Riley replied and went back to work on a design he’d come up with for a new customer.
“My lover,” Stone whispered as he approached. He didn’t wait for her to speak. Stone scooped her up in his arms, cradling Nina to his chest. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry,” she whispered as she placed her palm on his cheek. Her hand was so small that it couldn’t cup his entire jaw, but Stone still nuzzled into her soft skin anyway.
He took the steps to their apartment two at a time, not once setting her on her feet. Once inside, Stone kicked the door closed, flipping the two deadbolts and the slider for good measure. He didn’t want anyone, or anything, to interrupt their evening.
When he sat her on her feet, Stone looked at his wife. Nina was beautiful, just like the day they’d met. How did she fall in love with him? Why did she fall in love with him? He wasn’t normal. Stone couldn’t offer her luxury, but he could love her so much that they both felt like they were born from fairytales.
Their life together was like a storybook, or at least he thought so. Hell, Stone didn’t really know how to explain the depth of his feelings for Nina. He just knew that their bond was more than a piece of paper and some vows. What they had went deeper than that.
“You know that you are the light of my soul, right,” he asked, dropping to his knees. He wrapped his inked arms around her waist and rested his head just under her breasts.
“And you are the sun to my day,” she whispered. “I love you, Stone.”
“I love you, my beautiful bride,” he smiled up at her. “I am sorry for being such an ass.”
“And I’m sorry for losing my temper with you,” she admitted. “I know you worry about me, but you have to trust me, Stone. I can take care of myself.”
“How would you take care of yourself if a man my size tried to take you from me,” he growled. Those dark brown eyes almost turned to black whenever he was agitated.
“I wouldn’t let him get that close,” she stated.
“But what if he did get that close,” Stone pushed. “What would you do?”
“I’d do all of the things you taught me to do. Kick, punch, scream, claw, and kick the guy.” Nina leaned over and kissed him on the lips, just a hot press to his mouth. His lip ring made an indention on her bottom lip when she pulled away.
“That’s my girl. I’m glad you’ve paid attention,” he smiled. “How about dinner?”
“Pizza,” she asked with a grin.
“Do you want to go out,” he asked.
“No,” Nina shook her head. “I’d rather us just stay in tonight.”
“Okay,” he smiled. “I think I like that idea.”
While Nina ordered the pizza, Stone arranged the pillows on the bed so that they could sit up and watch the movie he’d rented on the cable box. A quick shower and a fresh pair of lounge pants later, Nina was climbing into the king sized bed with two boxes of piping hot pizza in her hands.
“Here’s your garbage pail pizza,” she laughed and handed him the box.
“I like everything on it,” he pouted, then tried to lift the corner of her box to see what was inside. He laughed when she jerked hers away with a snarl.
“No,” she demanded. “You got the extra-large. I got a small. You eat yours, and I’ll eat mine.”
She poked him in his side with her tiny finger. His muscles there were hard and unyielding. She scooped up a slice of pizza to keep her hands from roaming over his abs, because she knew if she touched him, they’d forgo the movie and end up tangled in the sheets for the rest of the night.
“Why have you been so irritable lately,” she finally asked once the movie was over. Nina was on her side, with her head pillowed on his shoulder. Stone was propped up on the mound of pillows, one arm rested above his head. He wasn’t wearing a shirt.
“Just worried about you,” he stated.
“Why are you worried about me,” she frowned, not sure what exactly he was talking about.
“Just a bad feeling,” he shrugged.
“About,” she asked.
“You,” he said as he pulled on her arms, telling Nina that he wanted her at eye level with him. “You haven’t been yourself lately, either.”
“You’ve been working late,” she admitted.
“The shop has been busy,” he frowned. “I always work late.”
Nina smiled at Stone. He was easily confused, and she didn’t want to start another fight, but they needed to get back on track. If they didn’t talk things out, the outcome could end up a lot worse, and Nina didn’t want that to happen.
“You’ve been working later. I just miss you,” she admitted with a blush. “I guess that’s what it is. You’re right, though. I haven’t been feeling myself for the past few weeks.”
“Are you sick,” he gasped. “Do you want me to take you to the doctor tomorrow?”
“No,” she shook her head. “I’m fine. No need to worry.”
“I always worry about you,” he whispered, before taking her face with his large hands. “You are my life…my everything, Nina.”
“I know, baby,” she whispered.
“I really wish you’d quit your job at that bank and work for me at the shop,” he admitted. It was an argument they’d had over the years. Stone wanted her to run the front of the shop and do the books, but Nina always declined. She worried that they’d be together too much, and it could cause problems within their relationship, but recently the idea started to appeal to her a little more.
“I’ve been considering it,” Nina smiled. Stone’s expression was priceless. It was part shock and a whole lot of happiness.
“Quit right now,” he growled. “Tell that asshole you work for to shove it.”
“Stone,” she laughed. “I have to give a two weeks’ notice. You can’t call your boss and tell him you’re done.”
“Sure you can,” he said, matter-of-factly.
Nina just shook her head and leaned over to kiss her husband. The man was every dream she had come true. He still held her face as she pressed her lips to his, but quickly his arms wrapped around her waist. Stone turned, and before she knew what was going on, he was above her.
“Let me love you, wife,” he grinned.
“Gladly, husband,” she moaned, as he pulled the shirt over her head.
Stone smiled as he prepped the shop to open the next afternoon. Nina had promised to give her notice when she went into work that morning. The idea of her working with him every day caused an even bigger smile to light up his face.
“I’m guessing you and Nina are back on talking terms again,” Riley said from the desk by the front door. He sat on the stool as he put changed into the register. The guy was only a year older than Stone, but where Stone was bulky, Riley was lean. The guy had enough tattoos to give Stone a run for his money. His hair was blonde, long, and touched the tops of his shoulders. Riley had a teardrop tattoo under his right eye that was in remembrance of his wife who was killed a few years ago.
“Yes,” Stone admitted, looking up at his friend. “She’s agreed to come work with us.”
“That’s good, Stone,” Riley replied with wide eyes.
“That is a good thing,” he nodded and went back to work at his station.
The side door opened, a gust of wind preceded Nina as she stormed into the building. Her blonde hair blew around her face for a moment, before settling back into its rightful place over her shoulders. In her fist, she held a check. Her expression was murderous.
“That asshole cut me loose when I gave my notice,” she growled. “I can’t believe he’d do that!”
“Whoa,” Stone said, taking her into his arms. “Calm down there, tiger.”
“I am calm,” she cursed. “I worked there for six years, and he just let me go!”
“You said the guy was a complete jackass, Nina,” Riley laughed from the front of the shop. “Does it surprise you?”
“No,” she pouted. “But still! The guy could’ve just let me work my two weeks. I feel…betrayed. I guess.” She screwed up her nose at the check and took a deep breath.
“It’s alright, baby,” Stone said, stroking her hair.
“I guess so,” she sighed. Pushing back from Stone, she brushed a stray hair from her cheek and started for the stairs to their apartment. “I’m going to change out of these clothes.”
“Alright,” Stone kissed the tip of her nose. “Hurry back to me.”
“Always,” she smiled. Knowing she’d be working with her husband made the day much better. Having him there to console her always made things better.
It was after lunchtime, and Nina was hungry. After a call down to the guys, she made herself a sandwich and sat at their kitchen table. Stone and Riley had already eaten before she arrived.
She thought back to what Stone had said about being worried that something was going to happen to her. Over the years, he’d have these ‘feelings’, most of the time it was nothing. Once…once, it was something.
He’d been overly agitated for about two weeks, because Nina wasn’t feeling well. He kept telling her that he thought something bad was going to happen. They’d gone to the doctor, and Nina was diagnosed with a common stomach bug, but the ‘stomach bug’ didn’t get any better.
Nina had awoken one night to her belly cramping, worse than the previous few days. She’d bled in the bed, and once Stone took her to the emergency room, they found out that she’d miscarried a child she didn’t even know she was carrying.
Stone was heartbroken, and Nina went through a stage of depression. The doctor’s had told her the pregnancy ended because of nature, not any fault of her doing. It didn’t matter, the fact that they’d lost a child caused a sadness inside them that would never go away.
A few years have passed, and they hadn’t talked about children again. She eventually wanted to start a family with him, but since the miscarriage, Nina wasn’t in a hurry to try again. Of course, she was approaching thirty years old, it may be time to start thinking about it.
A noise coming from the stairwell had her turning in the chair. A loud thud downstairs caused Nina to rush toward the door. Whatever that noise was, it wasn’t anything normal coming from the shop. She paused and listened again. Her heart sped up when she heard a strange male voice demanding money.
All of her protective instincts kicked in. Nina grabbed the baseball bat from behind the door and quietly moved down the stairs. Stone would be mad as hell, but she wouldn’t allow him to be hurt again.
The guy who came in with a knife was the same size as Stone, and he packed one hell of a punch. Blood dripped from the corner of Stone’s mouth. The guy had lost his weapon when Stone jumped him from behind. There was a hole in the wall where their massive bodies collided.
Stone said a silent prayer that Nina stayed in the apartment. Hopefully, she heard the ruckus and had already called the police. Stone couldn’t let this guy get to her. She was too small to be able to keep this thug from hurting her.
The idea that this man could overpower him and go after his wife caused a rage inside Stone that he’d never felt. Riley shoved the guy back into Stone’s chest. The guy twisted out of his hold so that the two men were face to face. The thug’s back was to the stairwell leading up to the apartment. Stone’s only hope was that the guy didn’t bolt upstairs as a last ditch effort to get away.
Stone threw his right fist out, connecting with the guys jaw. Blood splattered on the wall beside them when the punch split the guys lip. The robber growled only half of a second before he repeated the same action toward Stone, but this time he connected with Stone’s eye.
They exchanged blows a few more times before both men started to tire. Stone blinked rapidly to keep himself upright. The moment he saw Nina peek around the corner, he froze in fear. The man noticed his stare focused on something behind him. Stone and Riley shouted her name at the same time the guy turned, making a grab for Nina.
The sound of the baseball bat connecting with the guy’s head echoed through the shop. It was the only sound for a few heartbeats before the guy stumbled and collapsed on the floor.
“Nina,” Stone yelled as he lunged over the thug’s body. “What the hell were you thinking?”
“I was thinking that I would not let you get hurt. You or Riley,” she growled, still holding the bat in her tight fists. Her eyes were focused on the man, as if she was waiting for him to wake up.
“Nina, put down the bat,” Stone said. “Nina?”
Stone reached out and took the bat, having to pry it from her hands. When she finally looked up into her husband’s eyes, the tears fell as she gasped, “Oh, Stone!”
“I’m okay, baby,” he chanted as she climbed up his body. He dropped the bat so that he could hold her in his arms. “I’m okay, just a scratch.”
“The police are coming,” Riley said as he pushed a rolling office chair behind Stone. “Sit down and let me look at that eye.”
Stone sat, but didn’t release his hold on Nina, “I told you I had a bad feeling something was going to happen.”
“I know, baby,” she sighed. “I know.”
It had been two months since Nina quit her job at the bank and started working with Stone and Riley. After the guy tried to rob the shop, Stone added a lock to the doors. That ensured the customers would have to be let in by one of them. No more random people allowed in the shop. It was just too dangerous. He added extra security cameras to every angle of the business, inside and out. If Nina was going to be there with him, he’d feel safer with the added security.
“Hey big guy,” Nina said as she threw her leg over his lap to straddle him on his stool. The shop was quiet other than Riley working on a tattoo design in his cubicle.
“Hello, my love,” Stone smiled as he looked at his wife.
“We are going to have to wait on that tattoo I wanted,” she said with a blush.
“Why’s that,” he asked with a frown. “I thought you wanted to do it today. We have too many appointments scheduled this week, baby. Today would be better.”
“I don’t think so,” she smiled, wider now.
“Why not today,” Stone asked, his brow cast down in confusion.
“Can we schedule it for later,” she asked, still smiling.
“When,” he sighed in frustration.
“Oh, I don’t know,” she paused. “How about nine months from now.”
“Nine months,” he scowled. “Why that long?”
“Why do you think,” she teased, but waited for the information to sink in.
It didn’t take long for Stone to realize what she was saying. His eyes opened wider than she’d ever seen before. His hands shook as they slowly touched the flat of her belly.
“Really,” he asked in wonder. “Really?”
“Yes,” she whispered. “Really.”
Stone shot up on his feet, still holding Nina in his arms. He took her mouth with his, hot and demanding. Only when he was done kissing her did he shout, “I’m going to be a father!”
Finally, their life was falling into place. Nina allowed Stone to spin her around in circles, only stopping him when her stomach started to protest. He carried her through the shop and up to their apartment. He voiced his concerns about the baby, but Nina calmed his worries.
She’d had this feeling over the past few weeks that everything was going to be okay.
And it was.