February 2018 Featured RPG

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Have you read the Newspaper?
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Loves is in the air and Lovematch.com is back to spread it around. If you are curious what to do this Valentine's Day then look no further than the front page of The Lochland Times.

Craziness continues through the town. Some is funny, some is political and some is just plain weird.

Welcome to Lochland Grove
Open since January 2, 2014

We are a Real Life Roleplay site focused on enriching character driven stories through events, newspaper headlines, and even death. Set in modern day Connecticut, our background plot follows the on-goings of a small town with a murderous past. Whether your character explores it is up to you. Life is about choice - this is your story. Our goal is to provide a place where you will feel comfortable writing it. Come join the fun!

The Ice Festival

Beautiful buildings and sculptures made of ice glowing under a halo of fireworks? What a beautiful place for a Valentines Day Date.

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The ice skating rink from last year has returned. Ice Cream Dream will be selling hot drinks at the door. When you get cold why not stop for a treat?

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 Flaming Whisk, Cora Birchwood
Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Jan 29 2018, 11:21 PM
Quote
Stranger
Jen


Jackie went about her morning as usual in a routine similar to what it had been in Pittsburgh, except she was making breakfast and preparing lunch for only herself and Po. After filling his bowl and saying goodbye to the cat, who did not speak English, she grabbed her bike from where it rested against a bookshelf in her apartment to prevent it from getting stolen from the bike racks…It actually happened to her once or twice before. She then put her hoodie up and braced herself for the cold that would meet her as she stepped outside the building.

Despite the weather, Jackie had to stick to biking on the icy roads. She couldn’t exactly afford to pay for a cab every day to work, and she didn’t have many friends in town she felt close enough to ask for rides from considering she was still newish to town. Even then, her friends back in Pittsburgh shared similar values to her and mostly biked or took the bus despite being able to afford their own car, so she didn’t trust that she’d be making friends with cars this time either.

Still, she considered the few obstacles that came from biking to be a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things. Why own her own car and contribute to the earth’s pollution in a small town like Lochland where bike rides weren’t even that long? Well, not for her at least. If they really were she’d be fine with carpooling, but having just one person in a car felt selfish. Besides, as someone who otherwise hated working out, biking kept her body as healthy as the rest of her, and everyone knows that the key to a beautiful life was a balance of body, mind and soul.

Maybe the mind part was a bit fucked up but she was slowly working on that. She stuck to a lifestyle that made her happy even if meant near-death experiences during winter, an expensive diet and a severe lack of options for eating out. With that, despite the trauma of losing Mira, she felt…okay. Moving had done her some good. It hadn’t helped her forget, because there’s no way she could ever forget Mira, but it helped to have some time alone, to move on, and to start a new life somewhere away from her parents and Jodie.

Once she got to work with half an hour to spare, she locked her bike to the bike rack, clocked in and prepped her station so she would be ready for her first appointment, one Ms. Cora. They’d discussed the design beforehand, a flaming whisk that Jackie found amusing. While she preferred to work on bigger and more complicated designs, she took any job she could get and passed on no judgement to those who simply wanted something simple like a star or something basic like that.

She couldn’t really judge even if she’d wanted to though. Her own tattoo sleeve was simply composed of roses, arguably one of the most tired designs there was, but she got it simply because she liked how they looked, even if she was planning on fading a section to get something a bit different done on it. That was all there was to art sometimes in Jackie’s opinion, just something pretty.

At least Cora’s design was unique, and Jackie was looking forward to hearing about what inspired her to get it. It’s not like she often got clients asking for a permanent drawing of a baking utensil on their skin.

As the time came around, she went over to the waiting room as the receptionist called out Cora’s name and went out to meet her. “Hi, Cora, how’s it going?” She smiled, reaching out to shake the other’s hand before gesturing for her to follow her to the station. “I have the stencil ready over here,” she commented, taking a seat and grabbing the stencil to show Cora. “If it looks good to you and you have no questions, we can just jump right into it.” She then noticed from looking at the woman that she had no visible tattoos. “Is this your first time getting ink?” She asked out of curiosity, moving on if Cora had approved of the stencil.

((Outfit))
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Cora Birchwood
 Posted: Jan 30 2018, 12:46 AM
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Newcomer
Thoth


This was it! She was doing it! She couldn’t believe she was doing it, but here she was, doing it! Well, not it just yet, but soon enough! Soon enough she would be living one of her lifelong dreams of getting a tattoo! She always found them to be utterly beautiful and unique for so many people but never really had the courage to get one herself. But, now that she was in Lochland Grove, discovering more about her history and her family, she felt the time was right to mark the occasion. Besides, nothing made you feel more badass than having a tattoo.

Even if it was just a flaming whisk.

...

Shut up.

Cora didn’t know what really possessed her but when she discovered the tattoo parlor, she had actually walked in and had a nice discussion with one of the tattoo artists, Jacqueline, a beautiful young woman with a real eye for the art. Her own tats were absolutely gorgeous so of course Cora jumped at the chance when it seemed like Jacqueline would be her woman. An appointment was then made and assurances that she would be working on a stencil that she was sure Cora would love.

The baker left with a song in her heart and a bit of nervousness tingling through her core. There had been time to reconsider but Cora trusted Jacqueline, even from that brief meeting, and knew from then on that she was going to go through with it. It was all a matter of waiting for the big day to come.

And that was why she was sitting here, in the parlor, flipping through messages on her phone and idly playing a game about birds that seemed a little upset. It was still cold out but Cora come prepared to shed her layers once she was in the shop. Jeans covered her crossed legs as her furry boots bounced along with her feet. She had come in wearing a pretty black sweater but had since shed it for a lemon-yellow shirt that was covered with a short, peach overshirt with silver buttons. She had already shed unbuttoned the short shirt so she just sat, casually humming to herself, sweater folded over her lap as she waited.

This was going to be good. She knew that this was going to be good.

She perked up when her name was announced. Tilting her head up, she ran her hand over her massive puff of curled hair, causing it to smooth back but immediately spring back into place. She was all smiles when she spotted Jacqueline’s familiar face and stood up, keeping her sweater tucked under her arm. ”Hiya hun! It’s going good! I cleared my whole day for this.”

Following the artist to her station, the baker couldn’t help but let her eyes roam across the interior. Television had usually depicted parlors like this to be grungy, unsanitary establishments filled with bikers and ne’er-do-wells, but this was actually a beautiful shop with people who seemed very down to earth. They were just artists trying to make a living and Cora respected that completely.

Taking a seat where direction, her eyes were alight with amusement as she looked at the stencil that Jackie provided for her. It was absolutely perfect. It was almost as if the woman had reached into her mind and plucked out the image that had come across her. She had been dreaming of a tattoo like this for awhile, even if it was a silly image -- it was her silly image. So she nodded enthusiastically

”Oh my god, it’s perfect! Exactly what I wanted. Let’s do it!” She grinned. Now it was going to be time to get through the hard part. Undoing her peach top, she set it aside before she then removed her shirt, but careful to protect her modesty she held her shirt to chest, keeping her covered up.

She positioned herself so that Jacqueline could have free access to her upper, left arm, where she wanted the tattoo to be placed. She had considered the back of her shoulder but then she wouldn’t really get to admire it without significant effort. So her arm was the best place. And, even though this was something she had been waiting for, a small tremble still rolled over her inkless skin, something that Jacqueline had seemingly caught onto.

A confirming nod was given to the artist’s question. ”Y-Yeah,” she said with a nervous smile. ”Always wanted to, but never had the time before. But, I do now,” Taking a deep breath, she bit her lip as she waited for Jacqueline to begin. ”Thank you for squeezing me in,” she commented. ”I’m sure you’re probably so busy with how talented you are.”

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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Jan 30 2018, 10:44 AM
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Stranger
Jen


Jackie should have probably worn a sweater that morning considering the weather, and the fact that she would be biking in said weather, but she worked at a tattoo parlor so it just felt wrong to cover up her ink there. She didn’t even like wearing long sleeves outside of work. What was the point of getting tattoos if you were just going to hide them all the time? The only reason she wasn’t showing off the dragons on her legs was simply due to comfort. Tattooing in shorts was weirdly uncomfortable, but she certainly tried to show them off when she could outside of work.

Hopefully, Cora would be one to display her ink with pride. Jackie just didn’t like working with people who purposely hid it for no good reason and considered it to be an insult to her work in a way.

Cora then confirmed that this was her first time and Jackie couldn’t help but be thrilled for her. They say you never forget your first and that applied to a lot of things. “How exciting. I’m honored to get to be your artist,” she chuckled. First-timers were always a bit hesitant. Jackie couldn’t count the amount of times they would bail as soon as the needle touched their skin, but they’d soon come back and each session got easier on them (if their tat required multiple sessions).

However, it didn’t seem like Cora would be one to flake. She was understandably nervous, but she seemed excited too, like she’d been waiting her entire life to get a flaming whisk tattoo, a choice that Jackie still considered to be odd yet fitting for the girl.

Cora then thanked her for squeezing her in and complimented her talent, which made Jackie like her already if she hadn’t before (she did). “Not a problem. I wouldn’t pass up a flaming whisk tattoo, I don’t get that every day,” she teased. “I take it you love baking?” She asked after having washed her hands and put her gloves on.

While she wasn’t always one to start and hold a conversation, she found it necessary during her sessions. There didn’t need to be a long and ongoing conversation with few gaps of silence, but it was a bit awkward to work with someone who wouldn’t speak a word throughout the whole thing. Besides, it could help Cora’s nerves if they talked to each other, though Jackie was obviously willing to shut up if Cora found it only made her more nervous.

She went through the process of prepping Cora’s skin, covering the area with soap and shaving whatever hair or fuzz there was with a disposable razor. She then wiped the area with a paper towel and alcohol before carefully placing the stencil. “Now we’re just gonna let that dry for a bit,” she commented, holding of a hand mirror so Cora could see the placement of the tattoo and say whether it needed any adjustment.

If Cora approved, Jackie went on fill the ink caps and open the tube and needle packs, letting the other watch as she got the machine ready.
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Cora Birchwood
 Posted: Jan 30 2018, 12:46 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Thoth



Cora liked Jaqueline the second that she met her. There was a clear passion for her work that shown through in the art she presented and the way that she spoke. It was something that Cora was enthused by all the more as they made plans for this to happen and calmed her now that she was sitting in the chair, skin bare to the world as she waited for the coveted tattoo to grace her skin. She was nervous, that much was for sure, but she had a solid enough backbone to see this through to the end. In the meantime, she would have to talk; yes, talking would help her until the needle at least started to ink her skin.

She thanked the tattoo artist for her time. After all, she wasn’t sure how most experienced artist felt about newcomers. Were they annoyed? Did they dislike dealing with nervous people as opposed to those who make this a regular thing? Cora was usually sunny and liked to think he best of people but she couldn’t help feeling just a tad bit nervous as to how Jaqueline would react to Cora’s current state. Thankfully, it seemed that her fears were ungrounded as the woman gave her a sweet smile and expressed her honor at being her first.

Cora breathed a sigh of relief and grinned with her full cheeks. ”You’re too sweet,” she said with a light laugh.

Of course Cora thanked her for squeezing her into her schedule and the woman dismissed it as not being a problem. The design, as it appeared, was far too interesting for her to pass up. Most would probably think that Cora was crazy to want to get a tattoo of a kitchen utensil on fire, but she didn’t care. It was what she wanted and it fit her to a tee. Even Jaqueline had to ask if it was because she loved baking. Cora snorted and nodded.

”What was your first clue?” she laughed. Then, in all seriousness, she continued as the woman started to prep her arm. ”I’m actually a baker by trade. I went to culinary school in New York and I’m a baker over at the Plum Street bakery.” she explained. ”It is both a job and a passion of mine. I’m usually in my kitchen, experimenting, trying to come up with new recipes. That’s how the idea came to me,” she laughed. ”I was mixing some homemade caramel infused with sea salt when, I guess I mixed too fast and a few drops popped right out and stung the back of my hand.” She lifted her hand but the speck of a burn was so small it was noticeable unless you really looked for it. ”Thus, eureka.”

She shivered a little, more from nerves than cold, as Jaqueline prepped her arm. The alcohol smell was strong and definitely opened her sinuses but she was glad that the artist was taking such time to ensure that Cora was protected. Before long, she felt the stencil being pressed against her arm and a hand mirror being given over. Cora took it with a gracious smile, looked at the placement of the tattoo and grinned. It was perfect.

”I love it,” she confirmed. ”Exactly where it should go.” She handed the mirror back and watched as the woman started to get everything together. Cora hummed to herself, letting her eyes wander in silence before she needed to break the quiet again. ”So...how long have you been doing this? You love it?”

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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Jan 30 2018, 10:50 PM
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Stranger
Jen


Jackie could understand being nervous about being a first-timer in a tattoo shop. She’d seen firsthand how other artists and tattooists would often look down upon clients who had no ink or wanted something simple like a star on their finger. She herself liked to reserve judgement, but she couldn’t help occasionally thinking that clients were out of their mind for wanting something that “wouldn’t be noticeable” or their partners’ name on their bodies. Those were the kinds of clients she refused to work with.

She listened intently to Cora’s story. She was a baker trained in New York and was currently employed at the bakery on Plum Street. Her passion for baking seemed to match Jackie’s for art and the woman found herself thinking she could easily talk to this woman outside of their session. If there was one thing Jackie admired in people, it was having a passion for their craft.

She chuckled as Cora showed her a very faint scar that Jackie had to get close to really see. “I love that,” she said, shaking her head in amusement as Cora recounted the story of how the idea for a tattoo occurred to her. “It’s great to hear someone else talk about loving their job. It’s a shame how common it is for people to hate work. I might have to visit that bakery sometime. Are there any vegan options?”

As Jackie finished getting the machine ready, she was asked how long she’d been in the profession and if she loved it, but before answering… “Here we go,” she said, warning Cora as the needle was about to touch her skin. “How’s it feel?” She asked out of curiosity. Some clients considered it a nightmare of a process while others like her considered it therapeutic, so she wanted to know how it was for Cora, but she wasn’t really expecting her to find the experience relaxing.

Once she sensed Cora might be ready to talk again, she continued, perfectly fine if she ended up having to do all the talking to ease the other’s nerves. “Anyway, to answer your question, I guess I’ve technically been doing this since I was a teenager,” she chuckled. “I was selling ‘stick and pokes’ to my classmates, but my first ever one was on myself. I decided to draw the star of David on the inside of my wrist, but I was watching a movie while I did it and accidentally drew a pentagram instead. I decided to go with it and draw a ‘666’ under it because why not go all the way, right?”

She enjoyed telling this story, even if she often got weird looks for it. It didn’t occur to her to hope that Cora wouldn’t be one of those people since she seemed like such an open-minded person, but she would definitely be a bit disheartened if she was. “So, my mom obviously freaked out and made me remove it once it healed, but I couldn’t get the experience out of my head. The human body is the most unique canvas you can possibly have, it changes person by person so a drawing will never look the same on a different body. You have an opportunity to think about how your design will look on the contours of their body type or against their skin tone. There's all these interesting questions like, how can I make it so that it will still look decent once the colors have inevitably faded? What does the design say about this person?”

Her tracing on Cora’s skin were still precise even as her attention was split between that and talking, but she soon realized she’d been rambling for a while. “Ah, I’m sorry for talking your ear off, it’s just something I love to talk about,” she chuckled. ”But in short, I started the track to tattooing as soon as I graduated high school, and yes, I love it though it’s not exactly my dream job. I’m primarily a comic book artist,” she explained. “Work on that is a bit sporadic though so I figured I might as well stick to my day job.”

She was rather enjoying this session. Cora was so easy to talk to! Something about her sunny disposition encouraged Jackie to open up a bit. It was looking to be one of her favorite sessions so far.
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Cora Birchwood
 Posted: Jan 31 2018, 04:48 PM
Quote
Newcomer
Thoth


Of course Cora was curious to know a bit more about her tattoo artist. She was glad that the woman seemed so ecstatic to work with her, especially after hearing the story of how she got the idea for her tattoo, as well as a little bit of information concerning her past. Of course there was no need to go into full detail of what brought her to Lochland Grove, but she was happy to at least explain a little about her life, especially as talking seemed to distract her from the possibility of what possible pains she would have to endure.

She had asked Jaqueline about how long she had been in the business and if she loved it as much as she seemed. But, before the woman would answer her, there was a pause as she told Cora to wait a moment. The silence was deafening and, before she knew it, there was the sound of the tattoo gun be activated. She blinked, bite her lip and waited for the first poke to come.

Jaqueline started and Cora squeaked like a dormouse being picked up by the end of her tail. It actually wasn’t as bad as all that but the first few jabs of the needle were unfamiliar and caused her to hold her breath. But, she knew she needed to breathe so she slowly exhaled, still wincing, but trying to keep still for the artist. As she proceeded, Cora knew that she had to get accustomed to the pain and road it out, slowly, until finally she felt a bit more comfortable with it.

After checking in on her, Cora smiled to the artist, still feeling nervous but seemed comfortable to at least talk. ”I...I’m good. Just...wow...that first little bit, huh?” she said with a sigh.

She settled in and listened as her new friend began to talk, finally getting into the her question. She had to admit, it was soothing listening to the woman’s story. Finding her way into the world of tattoo art certainly seemed like a journey for Jaqueline and Cora was thankful to be given the opportunity to listen to it. Soon enough she calmed to the point that she didn’t feel the pricking of the tattoo gun as much as before, and just found herself smiling as the other woman really managed to paint a lovely snapshot of her life and display her passion for her craft.

Of course she seemed to flush a little, embarrassed that she had spoken too much to Cora, a sentiment which Cora just waved off with her free hand. ”Oh don’t worry about it, hunny,” she said. ”My ears are made of some pretty tough stuff.”

Cora was actually interested to know that Jaqueline also worked as a comic artist. She never got too deep into the medium but she recognized certain of the more popular characters here and there. Though it didn’t seem that the comic art took up too much of her time, it was something she found time for and Cora was thrilled to hear that.

”Wow, just all around artist, aren’t you?” she said with a beaming smile. ”That’s awesome. No wonder you’re so talented. I also wanted to get into art but it seemed that baking was my calling,” she said with a shrug. It was then she realized that she had forgotten to mention something about her job that Jaqueline had asked before she had gotten started. ”Oh! And yes! We do have vegan options if you are interested. We try to include something for everyone. And, if not,” she grinned. ”I can always just make a custom order for you. Least I can do for this.” She paused. ”I mean that on top of paying for the tattoo. I don’t barter with baked goods, I swear!”




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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Feb 4 2018, 12:46 AM
Quote
Stranger
Jen


Jackie resisted the urge to laugh as Cora squeaked from the needle. She was a professional and acted as such, giving only a reassuring smile. No reason to embarrass her client. The first time getting a tattoo can be quite intimidating without having the artist laugh at you, though Jackie’s first time hadn’t gotten the same reaction. She’d been a little bit nervous, but she’d already poked herself with a needle before and was sure she’d love the design, so she only winced a little at most.

Still, she nodded in agreement as the other mentioned “the first little bit.” Jackie wiped off the first bit of blood and continued drawing. “Mhm, first time always hurts the most, but eventually you might even find it therapeutic.” Jackie wasn’t sure whether it was the actual pain or the results that kept people coming back, but most people could agree there was something addicting about getting tattoos. Of course, well more than half the people Jackie knew had tattoos, so her sources might be biased.

Jackie had apologized, but Cora assured her that she didn’t mind listening to her story. She figured that would be the case as no one wanted to tell their tattoo artist to shut up, but it was still nice to hear. The woman seemed sincere at least.

”Wow, just all around artist, aren’t you?” “I do like to think of myself that way,” she chuckled. Jackie had figured early on that it was better to try and master what you were passionate about instead of trying to be decent at multiple things. Her parents had more or less agreed, thanks to Jackie’s persuasive skills, as long as she passed her classes. She didn’t care for math or gym, so she’d only bothered with that crap in school and got decent enough grades that her parents would allowing her to pursue her passion.

Because of that, Jackie considered herself quite good at almost any form of visual art, excluding animation, since she’d dedicated her time from a young age into studying all kinds of styles. She had her preferences of course, but she could do just as well with a paintbrush as she could with a handful of clay.

Cora then added that she would have liked to get into art had baking not been her calling, but Jackie did think of baking as an art, though not an art she was particularly skilled at. She wasn’t half-bad in the kitchen considering her diet didn’t give her the luxury at stopping in at any food establishment for food, and she wasn’t about to eat some plain salads for all three meals a day, but when it came to coming up with recipes on her own or anything like that, she was totally useless.

Jackie had almost forgotten she’d asked about the vegan options, but Cora had remembered and finally gave her an answer. “I’ll definitely drop in then,” she smiled, wiping another bit of blood off Cora’s skin before joking, “and I wouldn’t mind accepting some vegan cupcakes as a tip. It’s been a while since I’ve had some good ones.”

She wasn’t a fan of adopting non-vegan recipes into vegan ones simply because she knew it was more often than not just a subpar imitation, but maybe Cora would be one of the few bakers that could whip up a nice, non-depressing version of vegan cupcakes. But of course, she didn’t actually expecting Cora to tip her in cupcakes. Hell no, she would pay the baker whatever the cost was for it. Vegan recipes did tend to be more expensive.
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Cora Birchwood
 Posted: Feb 5 2018, 01:45 PM
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Newcomer
Thoth


Cora squeaked and she wasn’t afraid to admit that. It was a bit uncomfortable at first but Cora was too terrified to actually twitch and shy away from the need for fear of permanently scarring herself. But, thankfully, it didn’t take her too long to get used to the sensation of the needle poking into her skin. Besides, it wasn’t as if the baker was a stranger to this world. The septum ring she had in her nose was evidence enough of that. However, this was a slightly different sensation, hence the squeaking until, finally it just became a hum in the background.

She cast a glance at Jackie, finding her smiling and Cora smiled back. She turned her face forward again, encouraging the other to talk, further taking her mind off the fact that she was being tattooed. In all honesty Cora loved hearing Jaqueline speak about her artistic paths, especially that she was also a part-time comic artist. She truly did seem to be an artistic jack-of-all-trades, something that Cora certainly counted herself lucky in working with.

Crossing one leg over the other, she took a small, steadying breath. It was still a little irritating but she trusted Jaqueline and the woman was actually making it far less painful than the baker was anticipating. Whether she just had a skill with a tattoo gun or the conversation was just that engaging, she was finding herself entering a kind of zen mode. Like the artist said, it was quite therapeutic. Cora felt a similar sensation whenever she was baking, allowing herself to get lost in the sounds and scents of her kitchen. She could see how this could allow one to reach a moment of true zen.

Speaking of, she suddenly remembered that Jaqueline informed her she was a vegan and asked if there were said options in the bakery. Plum Street Bakery tried to cater to everyone, as far as she knew, and so she finally did confirm that there were options for the tattoo artist should she ever drop by.

Jaqueline agreed that she would, even laughing that she wouldn’t mind vegan cupcakes as a tip for the hard work that she was doing. Cora, of course, would pay her every cent and then some for what was clearly going to be an amazing tattoo, but she couldn’t see fault in dropping by one day with a small box of personalized cupcakes just for Jaqueline. As a matter of fact, Cora was already working what kind of recipes she should put together to make this happen.

”Ohhh, well I hope my baking can live up to your ‘good ones’ standards,” she said with a cheeky grin. Pulling her phone out with her free hand, the lock screen showing a picture of her with two fat guinea pigs sitting on her chest, and swiped her thumb across the service. Immediately she activated her notepad app and a blank writing screen shown, the digital keyboard ready for use. ”Tell me your top four flavors and I will make it happen. Honest to goodness,” she said with a firm nod.

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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Feb 5 2018, 11:05 PM
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Stranger
Jen


Cora wanted to see if she could make cupcakes up to Jackie’s standards and honestly? She didn’t doubt it. When someone had the level of passion for their jobs they both had, it tended to show through their work. Sure, Jackie made a less than stellar piece here and there, though that was subjective, but those tended to be the times where she was just too mentally exhausted to put it in the effort needed to make a real work or art, and at this point she knew better than to try to force inspiration out of herself when there was just nothing to work with.

”Tell me your top four flavors and I will make it happen. Honest to goodness,” Jaqueline had meant it as a joke, but of course she was inwardly thrilled that Cora actually wanted to do it, so she nodded and gave it some thought, a small smile still lingering on her face. God, what was it with this woman’s positive energy? Jackie would need to have her around more. “Hm, let’s see…coconut, lemon, mango, and…chocolate chip.” In that exact order…what? They can’t all be fruit.

Jackie had always been picky about her food, but only because of her strong support for animal rights. Otherwise, she would eat anything you put in front of her. Her parents were always vegetarians but let her eat anything she wanted as a child. However, she’d never really had much of an appetite for most animal products or meat in general, and once she learned how cruel the process was to make these products, she dropped all meat like flies.

After that, she’d slowly given up on other animal products like dairy. She couldn’t say she really missed it because whenever she’d been tempted to try something like that she’d just feel disgust as she thought of what the animal went through just so she could have a scoop of ice cream, but there were some foods, like cheese, that she had found particularly hard to give up.

Ultimately though, having a limited selection of groceries yet a much higher total on her receipts was worth it to do some good in the world. Animals couldn’t defend themselves, but she could defend them in her own way.

And speaking of animals…

“So, do you have any pets?” She’d glanced at the picture on Cora’s phone, but didn’t want to seem like some kind of snoop by pointing out the guinea pigs. It seemed like an easy enough topic that would keep their conversation afloat. Now that they had a nice little chat going, she would be disappointed to end the meeting in complete silence.
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Cora Birchwood
 Posted: Feb 6 2018, 07:12 PM
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Newcomer
Thoth


Cora wasn’t lying, she would definitely try to make the vegan cupcakes works. If there was anything that the young baker appreciated, it was a challenge. She loved to try new recipes, to improve old ones, to try old challenges that stumped the greats. She wasn’t always successful but she was still proud of whatever creations that she managed to coax out of her baking pans and oven. Still, she didn’t have to do this but the more she thought about it, the more that she wanted to. Hence the reason why she pulled out her phone and immediately inquired of her tattoo artist friend what flavors she enjoyed the most.

Jaqueline seemed momentarily stunned at the notion but clearly she wasn’t going to say no to a professional baker wanting to take the Vegan Challenge. She rattled off the list of flavors that she most adorned and Cora was quick to jot them down onto her phone so that she wouldn’t forget. She even set an alarm on the device, for long after she got home so that she could start planning.

”Consider it done,” Cora said with a bright smile. ”And don’t worry, I’ll call you, crying in defeat if I fail to make anything even halfway decent.”

She wasn’t kidding. She remembered back in New York, when she was in culinary school, that she would often call her friend, bawling because she couldn’t wrap her head around a certain recipe. Even though most everyone said that it tasted great, Cora was such a perfectionist when it came to baking that she never settled for anything less than amazing. Would the vegan cupcakes she would attempt be amazing? She hoped so? She truly did. And she was certainly going to pour her heart out into making them for Jaqueline.

That done, she was about to put her phone away when, wincing but only slightly, at the next line of the tattoo gun (she had to pick a goddamn whisk which has, what, a million lines?!). Her thoughts were pulled out of the moment when the artist asked if she had any pets. She blinked in surprise, wondering how on earth she knew that Cora had pets (despite the fact that it was a question), when she glanced at her phone. Duh.

Smirking, she unlocked the screen and immediately swiped to her gallery. Jaqueline didn’t ask to see pictures but when one asks such a question of a guinea pig owner, what did they expect to happen?

”I do!” Cora grinned.

She tapped a picture on her phone to enlarge, showing two guinea pigs, one a golden color with red eyes, and the other brown and tan with a white stripe down her nose. Both pigs were looking up at the camera in wonderment, an obviously adorable look.

This is Nut,” she said zooming in on the light-colored one, ”...and this is Meg.” Nutmeg...god she was a dork. ”My two guinea pigs,” she explained. ”I had a neighbor back in New York that found out about a bunch of guinea pigs that were rescued from a really bad, repeat breeder. Poor things were all sick. We went in when the local shelter was reaching out to see if homes could be found for them and I fell in love with these two beauties.”

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Jaqueline Zimman
 Posted: Feb 11 2018, 07:26 PM
Quote
Stranger
Jen


”And don’t worry, I’ll call you, crying in defeat if I fail to make anything even halfway decent.” Jackie laughed a bit at that. Of course, she really did think that when someone was passionate about what they did, it showed through their work, but she’d be lying if she said she never broke down after she couldn’t get one particular drawing just right, so she felt that comment.

In general, she was confident about her work and she had indie comic book awards to back her up, but sometimes it was hard to stay consistent, especially back when she was recovering from Mira’s incident. She’d locked herself in to focus on work yet still struggled to meet deadlines. It was just one of those points in your career that are hard to shake off, even if she knew she had more than enough reason for her quality of work to have diminished a bit.

As Cora told the story of how she adopted her guinea pigs, Jackie realized this was a woman after her own heart. A fellow animal activist deserved only the best, and if Jackie’s job had room for special treatment, Cora definitely would’ve received it, but she already did her best with every customer considering it would just look terrible on her if she made intentionally ugly permanent drawings on every customer she didn’t like.

“They’re just adorable,” she smiled at the picture. “Sad how you found them though. I’m glad they found a good home at least.” Breeding was totally despicable, but her own cat was a Sphynx. “I’m against breeding in general, but my own cat is a product of it. He was a gift from my ex and I’m sure she must’ve stolen it for some reason because she would never purchase an animal, especially not a Sphynx, but it’s rude to ask,” she chuckled.

She really needed to review her own language as she didn’t exactly believe that anyone should “own” animals or “gift” them, but for the sake of having a simple conversation that didn’t push away a potential friend, she let it go for the time being. She could always express her opinions when something unacceptable was said.

“I wish I could foster a million animals but my place is too small and I can’t really bring them to work if they have attachment issues.” It would definitely be a problem if she brought a large dog to the tattoo shop and it got nervous. Not that it would be the dog’s fault, but still.

“You’re doing great by the way,”
she added, thinking some encouragement would do Cora well. She really was taking it like a pro for it being her first time getting ink. Jackie had all sorts of clients, so she knew a good one when she saw them. Some would squirm, which made her job all the more difficult, and others would cry. Some would even try to change the design halfway through the design, which was especially a pain in the ass.

There had even been a few occasions where people just thought it was a brilliant idea to bring a bunch of friends along. No matter how well mannered they tried to be, it was hard to control a group, and while Jackie didn’t mind chatting, she couldn’t focus when the chatter was coming from five different people and she was digging a needle into their friend’s skin.

Besides, Jackie didn’t work at private stations unless the client requested it or had their tattoo placement in a private area, so the extra people would just crowd around awkwardly and get in people’s way.

Clearly, she had a lot to be grateful for with clients like Cora.
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Cora Birchwood
 Posted: Feb 12 2018, 12:19 AM
Quote
Newcomer
Thoth


Cora smiled energetically at Jaqueline’s praise of her sweet piggies. Cora did love Nut and Meg deeply. She had been heartbroken when she learned of the conditions that they had been kept in, but she was happy that she was able to provide them with a good and happy home. On their last vet visit, the doctor said that the pigs were doing wonderfully and were a far cry from the animals that they used to be. That made her heart soar, of course, and she was only too happy to give them such a home. Jackie’s agreement with that only continued to bolster the young baker’s ego. She was glad.

She listened as Jackie informed her that she was against breeding animals in general but that cat was essentially one of those types of breeds; a Sphynx. Cora vaguely could recall the breed. At first she thought it was one of those beige and brown cats with the piercing blue eyes, but remembered that those were Siamese cats. No, the Sphynx, as she began to recall, was one of those hairless ones -- which sounded adorable to her. Hairless animals were cute in their own way and Cora, of course, was one who could appreciate it.

Still, she listened attentively as Jackie went on with her story, explaining that the cat was a gift from an ex-girlfriend. Cora kept that information logged into her mind. Either Jackie was lesbian or bisexual or one of those other variations that the young baker had lost count of. Either way, she was ecstatic about it. Not because she was attracted to Jackie, she was beautiful, but for whatever reason she felt a small swell of pride at the knowledge of how open and accepting the world was becoming. Her mom always told her about how rough things had been, either from experience or stories from older generations, but things were changing and for the better.

”He sounds adorable,” Cora said brightly, wincing again at the needle but not as much as before. It was amazing what one could get used to.

Jackie explanation that she wished she could foster millions of animals and the young woman chuckled in response. She nodded her head in agreement. How many times had she heard that same exact thing from her mother or an ex-girlfriend? She snorted cutely and shook her head, sending her massive air bouncing.

”Yeah, my ex-girlfriend used to tell me that all the time,” she laughed. ”That we would become rich and famous pastry artists, move out to the country, and buy a farm where we would rescue every animal we could.” She sighed with a soft shuckle. ”Of course then I found out she used my credit card to put a downpayment on a mink coat.” Her eyes widened as she shook her head. ”My guess is she was probably full of shit.”

It was odd for someone like Cora to curse but she never really thought so. She did it often enough when she felt like it and, added to her bubbly personality, it just made people smile or look at her in surprise. She liked it though. Just because you were the embodiment of sunshine didn’t mean you couldn’t tell people to fuck off every now and again.

She wriggled a little bit, her butt slightly falling asleep from not moving. When Jackie commended her for how well she was doing, she had to smile in response. ”Thank you but I’m pretty sure that’s like 75% because of you, hon,” she said with a sigh. ”You really know what you’re doing.”

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