Engaged to a wealthy, solicitous businessman, Ally is putting her old life in the gang behind her. But Luisa, the voluptuous laser technician who removes Ally's gang tattoos, makes Ally wonder whether she's making the right choice.
At first, she'd been Ms. Sanchez and I'd been Ms. Wells. Now, after four months, two days a week, she was practically a member of my family. Hell, I trusted her a lot more than family. Not that she'd told me much about her life or questioned me about mine, but I'm sure she recognized the Gothic letters inscribed at the back of my neck, the designs on my knuckles and in the crook of my elbow. She was an expert. She didn't need to ask.
Those tats were long gone. For the last four weeks, Luisa had been working patiently at the image that sprawled across my right shoulder and breast. My devil woman.
I called her Lilith. She had huge tits with red-grape nipples and a glorious fat ass. Her skin was black velvet. Her pomegranate lips parted to show pointed teeth that gleamed with my natural paleness. Lilith lounged naked on my chest, luxuriant jet curls tumbling across my shoulder, the globe of her butt coinciding with the meager swell of my own tit. Lilith grasped a steel-blue sword in one hand and a hank of chain in the other. Nobody fucked with Lilith.
I remembered her birth, long hours staring at the grimy ceiling, listening to the hum of the freeway traffic above, trying not to flinch as the needle bit into my flesh. No anesthetic in that joint; I was lucky if they sterilized the needles. Not that I cared, back then. The Westwood clinic where Luisa worked was a different world. It had private rooms with spotless white walls and peach upholstery that matched the towels. One session here cost more than my old mates would see in six months--unless they pulled a job.
Richard was paying, of course. I scrunched up my eyes, forcing back the returning tears.
"Too much?" Luisa's cool hand settled on my brow. Her low, liquid voice flowed over me, soothing the hurt away. "Want a break?"
"No, no, keep on. Thanks." Luisa was probably no more than a year or two older than I was, but she had the nurturing spirit of someone far more mature. I wondered sometimes if she had kids. She would be a great mother. If it hadn't been for Luisa, this whole thing would have been even more difficult.
I was the only white girl in the gang. They let me in anyway, when they realized how angry I was and how much I could take without breaking. They saw what we had in common: my dad who hanged himself when his deals went sour, my mom who tried to drink herself to death, my brother who raped me. So what if it was in the front seat of a BMW?
They gave me my first tat when I was sixteen. I'd chosen Lilith myself a year later. She was the woman I wanted to be. Voluptuous and tough and mean as hell. A predator. Not some pale, fashionably skinny blonde with tiny tits, hazel eyes and a perfect WASP nose.
Now Luisa was erasing her, dot by dot, using bullets of light to dissolve and scatter Lilith's bitchy beauty. Lilith didn't have a future. Neither did I, if I had insisted on keeping her.
"There. That should do it." Luisa switched off the chrome-circled exam light. I shivered in the suddenly cooler air. She swabbed my shoulder with a soft wipe soaked in antiseptic. My skin still numb from the anesthetic gel, I felt as though she was touching me through a layer of plastic wrap.
The damp cloth slipped down over my breast, an area Luisa had finished more than a week ago. The contrast pulled sensation into sharp focus. Tingling electricity danced across my flesh, raising goose bumps on the tan circle around my nipple. The nipple itself stood at attention, twice its normal size.
Luisa swished her wipe across that peak. Lightning arced from there to my pussy. Wetness bloomed there but did not quench the fire she had kindled. I searched her lovely dark eyes. What was going on?
Tension crackled between us. I saw raw desire flicker across her face, shattering her usual calm. My body tightened, nipples in aching knots and pussy clenched like a fist. My heart slammed against my ribs. Adrenaline coursed through me. I wanted to grab her. I wanted to run.
Then the moment passed. Her mask slipped back into position. Her ripe lips curved into a polite, professional smile. "It's finished, Ally. Come see." She snapped off her gloves, grasped my hand and pulled me to a sitting position.
No. I didn't want to look. For the last two months Richard and I had made love in the dark, at my insistence. I had dressed in the closet, away from the mirror. I didn't want to see the changes in my body, my past evaporating week by week, dot by dot.