Tattoo: The Books of Glory

a webserial about people who are not like us

Tattoo Book 1.2

Posted by harmony0stars on May 10, 2008

Aaron wasn’t there when she closed up the store, and Glory resolved to wait only fifteen minutes before leaving for home. She stood in front of the store, feeling stupid and exposed. It wouldn’t have been the first time some guy had asked her out just to get a good laugh. In fact, if he did show up, it would be the first time she’d ever been on anything remotely resembling a ‘date.’ It wasn’t as if she knew him aside from his near daily visits over the past month, and she found his persistence just this side of creepy. What if he was some kind of serial killer? He could have been watching her for weeks before approaching her. That could be how he’d learned her name….

She had just talked herself into leaving, fifteen minutes or not, when a car pulled up to the curb. He rolled down the window and smiled. Her stomach lurched about nervously. Regardless of her speculations on his status as a homicidal maniac, she had really been hoping he wouldn’t show up for other reasons. After all the disappointments in her life, she would not have been at all distressed if he was playing her. It would just give her an excuse to continue as she always had, alone but for her books and safe in the knowledge that they would never hurt her or abandon her. Sighing, she walked around to the passenger side door and got in the car.

She still couldn’t tell if he was trying to be charming or a jerk. It was so hard to tell with people. Even when they seemed kind, they could so easily use that kindness as a trap. She tended to think the worst but hope for the best, which was why she’d held out so long against his requests for a date. Everyone wanted something from you… she just hadn’t figured out what he wanted yet. He’d known her name, but she had no recollection of him. So the stalker thing wasn’t entirely out of the question… as if she wasn’t already anxious enough.

If they had gone to school together, he must have known her sister. All the boys had been interested in her sister, and by comparison, Glory was virtually invisible. On the very few occasions that a boy had asked her out, it had either been one of Lori’s plots or someone trying to impress her sister with how creatively cruel they could be. After the first three times, Glory had stopped agreeing to any kind of fraternizing. No dates, no study partners, no tutoring. She refused to be anyone’s entertainment.

Glory had gotten used to her sister’s selfishness and cruelty over the years; she didn’t even blame her sister for being the way she was any more. She knew that Lori was jealous of both her intelligence and the fact that they shared the same face. Lori hated being a twin. She hated sharing, period. It didn’t matter that she could have been every bit as studious as Glory and gotten the same grades. It didn’t matter that Glory kept her hair long and chose clothes for comfort while Lori kept her hair cropped short and wore whatever was in style. No matter how much she tried to stay under the radar and out of Lori’s way, her sister despised her simply for existing, as if the mere fact that Glory drew breath somehow deprived her of peace of mind. Glory couldn’t make her sister love or accept her any more than she could make their mother proud.

Things might have been better between the two sisters if their mother had not constantly compared one to the other. She might hold Glory up to Lori as an example of being responsible and intelligent, but in the same breath, she would tell Glory that she wasn’t going to take care of her forever. Glory needed to be more like her sister, find a nice man, and move out. Moving out was always the part their mother stressed the most, though Glory wasn’t particularly interested in “finding a nice man” either, as if she could be defined by her sex or use it in some way to her advantage. After all the men her mother had brought into their lives over the years, the last thing Glory would ever expect was that some man would take care of her. In her experience, the only person she could trust to take care of her was herself.

Despite the fact that she cleaned around the house without complaint and gave her mother a portion of her paycheck, while her sister did not even have a job, their mother made her feel like she was a burden, that she was taking more than she was giving. She really couldn’t figure it out. Even ignoring all of her sister’s other bad habits, Lori wasn’t even remotely celibate. Her mother wanted her to be more like Lori? In what capacity? And despite her assertions that a “nice man” was what Glory needed, their mother had never had much luck in that department herself. She tried not to judge her family, but her sister’s habits and their mother’s badgering often repulsed her. The mere suggestion that she should be more like her sister was disgusting and frustrating and altogether confusing. She was saving her money, slowly but surely… then she would move out and her mother would not have cause to complain about her any more. Once she was out of the house for good, maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to relate to people. As it was, she often felt like she was imposing on everyone she interacted with, just by existing. No one ever seemed interested in spending much time with her, which was why this debacle of a date was so weird. It couldn’t end well, and she knew it.

“So where are we going?” she asked, already uncomfortable with the idea of going anywhere. She should have stuck to her guns and said no. All she knew about this guy was his name, and now apparently that he liked fast cars.

“Wellllll,” he drawled, “I figured since you sing so beautifully, there’s this place downtown that has a monthly karaoke contest.”

“Oh no! Absolutely not. Let me out right now.”

“Come on. It’ll be fun. You promised to at least give me a chance. Besides, that’s why I was a little late. I was paying the entry fee to make sure they’d let you sing.”

Glory slumped into the seat wordlessly. She still wasn’t sure if he was trying to be nice or a creep, but her stomach was in knots. In school, her sister had been in chorus and had made it quite clear than Glory was unwelcome and a copycat if she so much as hummed along to a song she liked. The only time she ever sang was when she was certain she was alone. Now she was going to have to sing in front of complete strangers.

to page 3

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3 Responses to “Tattoo Book 1.2”

  1. What will he make her sing? Are they all going to laugh at her? This is great!

  2. Walker said

    I think it’s a bad sign that I suddenly started being able to relate to Glory when she expounded on her family issues… oh well; just wanted you to know I’m enjoying the read so far!

    • harmony0stars said

      Thanks! You’re not the first to say that, which is either heart warming that people can identify or depressing that all our parents behave alike.

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