The chalkboard sign blocking half the sidewalk said free tattoos. I wasn’t the spontaneous or reckless type, but I’d been planning on getting my third tattoo for a while. I had the design all mapped out and even had a sketch of it on my phone.
So I walked through the door.
Most of the tattoo parlors I’d visited in the past had bright orange walls covered with sketches of dragons, skulls, and big breasted women. But this one was stark white. White rugs. White walls. White couches.
No artwork, though. No mirrors, either. There wasn’t even a proper tattoo chair. Sketchy as shit.
But before I could twist on my heels and get out the door, a heavyset woman walked up to me, bracelets piled all the way up her arm.
She asked me to please sit down (my polite ass listened) and explained that she wasn’t actually a tattoo artist. She was a psychic. The tarot card kind. The tea leaves kind. The crystal ball kind. She could do it all.
Except she was sick of reading fortunes to skeptics that visited her for kicks and wanted to delve into something new. She wanted to read my aura and mark my skin with what she saw.
I should’ve told her to fuck off.
But I was obsessed with Lost when I was younger and remembered Jack getting something similar done in one of the crappier episodes. And the woman promised, if all went to plan — if her trend caught on and more people got markings — then one day I’d come across someone with an identical one. That they’d be someone I needed to meet. Someone I needed in my life.
Yeah, yeah, sketchy as hell, but I was a sucker for tattoos and enticed by anything free and it was a story. I was the boring, rich, white girl at work, at school, at parties. At least this would give me something to talk about.
So I sat on the couch.
I lifted my arm, letting her tattoo the bit that would rest against my armpit, so I could easily cover it up if it ended up looking trashy. But it didn’t. It actually looked pretty badass. A geometric design with a shit-ton of dots that made up a hexagonal shape. The first time I saw it, I didn’t regret it.
The regret came later. Three years later.
I was in my office when a ponytailed man walked in, wearing the same yellow Rolex my father used to own, and dropped off a stack of packages on a dolly. When he lifted one of the boxes and rested it on my boss’ desk, I saw it beneath his arm. A tattoo, identical to mine in every fucking way.
I remembered the psychic’s promise, so I peeled off my blazer, showed him my tattoo, and told him to type his number into my phone. Didn’t even hesitate. Before that very first interaction, I was already convinced he was my soulmate.
And, even though he was a decade older than me, it really felt like he was. I told him all about my dad’s paralysis, how he was gunned down when I was a kid and left in a wheelchair without the ability to speak — and I even mentioned my resulting anorexia and short time spent dabbling with drugs — on the first date. That was something I usually saved for number nine or ten, if ever.
Talking to him felt easy. Kissing felt right. Sex felt fucking amazing.
The only thing that bothered me was that he never shelled out a single dime. I was stuck paying for everything. The meals. The condoms. Netflix. Gasoline. The rent when he decided to move into my penthouse apartment.
I’d told him about my dad’s money, that we were loaded and I technically didn’t have to work, because I was set for life. But that’s the thing. I still did work. I still tried to contribute. Tried to be independent.
It was my 27th birthday when I found out the full truth. I had a few friends over and we jumped into a game of Never Have I Ever. My soulmate was drunk enough to answer honestly. About how he’d had sex in a moving car before. About how he’d shoplifted before. And about how he’d shot someone before.
“You mean like a deer, right?” I asked and he actually laughed.
“I’m sure he was a dear.”
“Are you serious? Did he die?”
“Thought so. But apparently not.”
It wasn’t his tone. It wasn’t the words. It was the way his eyes shifted as he spoke. That look pushed everything into place. Why he never paid for anything, but had a goddamn Rolex. The same type that my father used to own. The one that had been snatched from him, along with all his cash, the day he got paralyzed. The day he got shot.
The psychic never said I’d meet my soulmate. She said I’d meet someone I needed to meet. Someone I needed in my life. That could’ve been my future husband. Or it could’ve been the criminal I wanted to see behind bars since I was a thirteen-year old kid.
I couldn’t believe I’d let him into my apartment, into my life, into my bed. I’d kissed the asshole. How could I have kissed him?
But that night, I did it again. I undressed him on the balcony of my penthouse apartment, removing every item as slowly and seductively as a professional (even his Rolex). My plan was to get him into the perfect position, shove him over the railing, and watch him drop. He was so drunk that he would’ve tumbled right over. If the fall didn’t kill him, it would’ve at least paralyzed him. It would’ve been poetic.
But getting the watch back was enough. It had to be enough. I wasn’t a murderer.
That’s what I told the police. My parents. The news outlets. And they believed me, because it was in their best interest. Because my family’s money bought my freedom.
According to the papers, there was an autopsy that determined he was intoxicated enough to be considered “reckless” and there were eye witnesses that claimed they watched him jump on his own.
That claimed that I was innocent.