Dimitri got out of bed and headed to the bathroom to relieve his full bladder. He and Greer had worked until three in the morning, and they had people scheduled to come in at eleven for tattoos. The other tattoo artist, Jose, wasn’t scheduled in until noon.
Soft jazz music filtered into his apartment as he fixed himself some coffee and toast a few minutes later. Hearing music in the morning was just one of the perks of living in the Quarter. Dimitri hummed along to the familiar song as he buttered his toast. Another song followed as he fixed his coffee. This one had a big band sound to it. Dimitri did a little dance and then he sat down at the table to eat. He’d grown up in the French Quarter and doubted if he’d enjoy living anywhere else. The place was in his blood, like beignets and chicory. And where in the world could he go to hear such a wide variety of music? Nowhere. When he died he wanted a jazz funeral complete with a Second Line procession. He wanted the mourners to celebrate and drink White Russians in remembrance of him.
The door to the tattoo parlor opened downstairs, which mean Greer had arrived. Greer lived in an apartment a couple of blocks away.
Dimitri finished up his breakfast, poured the remainder of his coffee into a travel mug, and went downstairs to greet his partner.
“I didn’t expect to see you so early,” Greer said as he prepared coffee in a maker in the tiny rest area of the shop. Greer had pulled his long brown hair back in a ponytail and wore a pair of blue jeans that rode low on his slim hips. He topped it off with a dark blue polo shirt.
“We have people coming in an hour,” Dimitri said. “Why wouldn’t I be up?”
Greer walked away from the coffeemaker and over to him in the work area. He hopped up into one of the chairs. “I thought you’d be entertaining.”
Dimitri sat down in a chair next to him. “Who? We worked until three.”
“That little hazel-eyed cutie you tattooed last night.”
“Him? No. His friends carted him out of here right after you left. He was still asleep. He never woke up while I worked on him.”
Greer shook his head. “You passed up a pretty good opportunity.”
“For what? To go to jail? He was so sleepy.”
“You think he’ll remember getting those tattoos?”
Dimitri doubted it. But he probably noticed them as soon as he undressed. The kid had a nice ass. He’d snuck a look at it while he slept. And he had baby-soft skin. Just the thought made Dimitri’s body harden with desire. “Anyway, the tattoos aren’t very large and no one will see them unless they get up close and personal with him.”
Greer laughed. “Those rich kids are crazy. His friend with the blond hair wanted this big-ass skull and crossbones on his arm, but I talked him into a smaller one. How did he think he’d be able to explain something like that to his future employer?”
Dimitri chuckled. “Even the girl wanted something radical above her butt. I gave her a small tiger paw. She’ll thank me later after if she gets fat or her body starts drooping from aging.”
The coffeemaker beeped. Greer got out of the chair and walked over to the pot and poured himself a cup. “Do you think you’ll ever see him again?”
“What’s with the questions?” Dimitri asked.
“I don’t know. I just have the feeling that you liked him.”
“I did and I doubt it,” Dimitri answered as he sipped his coffee. “From what I gathered from their conversation, they had just graduated from high school and they were celebrating. What other reason would he have to come to the French Quarter?”
Greer walked back over to him and sat down. “Maybe he might want another tattoo. Or maybe he’d come to see you.”
Dimitri shook his head, remembering the conversation between them in the restroom of the arcade. He didn’t have that kind of luck. A rich kid would never give him a second thought. “Don’t hold your breath. He’s probably going to be a doctor or a Supreme Court justice.”
“You should have asked him his name.”
“His name is Eli,” Dimitri said. “I heard one of the guys call him that.”
“Cute name,” Greer said. “Biblical. It fits him.”
Dimitri rose and began taking out his tools and organizing them in his area. Greer finally finished his coffee and did the same. The doorbell rang about an hour later, putting an end to their conversation. For now he would only think of Eli as the one who got away. Who knew? Maybe the two of them might see each other again in another life.