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I pull my sleeves down before I open the front door, the weather chilling me to my boney fingers.

I greet Ren as I step into the tattoo parlor, multiple buzzes of the guns ring through the smaller shop. She grins and gives me a hug, "I'm assuming you're here for a payday?"

Nodding with a laugh, we pull apart. I hold an unconscious smile on my face, digging through my bag for my notebook, "I've been very inspired lately. I'm expecting this check to be big."

"Oh, Han. We would pay you thousands of dollars just for one of your drawings," she compliments with a knowing smile, walking behind the counter for cash.

I flip through the pages and rip out the few that I think would sell well here. Everyone who comes to this place has the same taste, so I can easily cater to the customers.

"How has your new tattoo been healing?" She asks as she counts out the bills.

I glance at my arm out of habit, "Perfectly. It's barely even itchy anymore." 


I finally sort out which sketches I want to sell, and hand them over the counter to her. She looks at my drawings with a satisfied look on her face and I know I've done my job correctly. It's a heart-warming feeling, validation.

"You never disappoint, Hana," she grins as she hands me around $300 in cash. It's around the same amount as a smaller canvas, so I call it a work well done. I pocket it discreetly enough so you know I'm not carrying wads of hundreds in my jean pockets.

I smile back, "It's always a pleasure, Ren. Thank you."

"No, no," she shakes her head, "Thank you." She blows me a kiss before I leave, dropping a wink for fun. I fan myself, mimicking being flustered. I get a good laugh out of her before I'm fully outside of the store. I look at the sky, and I can see the clouds filling up the sky fast. I better get home before the weather gets worse.

Driving home, I play old Bruno Mars songs, occasionally singing a verse or two. I park and go to head up to my apartment. Silently, I groan in pain when I see a sign on the elevator doors.

"Hustle, Hana. Hustle," I encourage myself up the six flights of stairs to my apartment building. The elevator had to be shut down today. Apparently, there's a storm coming, and the people of the building wanted to prepare for a power outage, so they shut down all the elevators.

And now I'm struggling to get to my apartment.

When I'm finally in front of my door, I struggle to get my key out because my arms are tired from pulling the railings. My whole body hurts from trudging up those stairs. I really need to work out more.

I get my key into the lock, and twist. I take two steps before freezing at the sight in front of me.

"Hello, sweetheart. Welcome home."

A voice I thought I'd never have to hear for the rest of my life rings in my ears. In my head. It echoes through one ear and out the other.

I can't move, breathe, or think.

A man with light hair, a blue suit that's perfectly ironed and tucked around his waist, stands in my kitchen. In my home. In my house. His hair is longer than I remember, the stress probably made him forget to cut it as often. I know because it happened to me.

I can't breathe. Nothing goes in my lungs.

"What, hon? Have I got you breathless?" Dean Ellis smiles at me from my kitchen, in my home. Dean Ellis who I thought would have been long gone by now.

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