42.3601° N, 71.0589° W
It was nearing 4am when isla rolled over to face nate. the two very rarely slept with their limbs tangled together because only one of them usually slept. she was used to rolling over and seeing him awake, or listening to his shallow breaths as he tried desperately to cling to what sleep he was granted that evening. now, in the dimly lit glow of her bedroom, she saw just his back and heard those similar shallow breaths. after their ritualistic love making, she had fallen asleep quickly, on her stomach with her face buried into the crook of her arm that cradled her head on top of the pillow. they had exchanged a few quiet words, a lazy fist bump, and eventually isla dozed off mumbling something about putting up halloween decorations the following morning.
she wasn't sure why she had woken up, though it wasn't at all unusual for her to wake up between the hours of 3 and 4 for a little while before drifting back off after a few heavy tosses and turns. she could tell by the sound of his breathing that he was still asleep, so she tried not to move too much to wake him up. the glow of the light in the bathroom allowed her to see the dark outlines of the tattoo on his back and the scars she knew were there as well. she ever so gently traced a finger along the black mural, mapping out her favorite parts of it as she had done countless times in the past.
there was an empty spot above the large back piece that was supposed to be filled. it should have had matching glyphs to hers and ivy's, but the space was empty. isla's fingers ran over the skin there as she looked at the empty spot, frowning.
just under a month ago, three of them walked into the shop with ideas in mind and all the time in the world. first, the two girls played a trick on nathan that made his face red and scrunched up so much isla actually thought he was going to explode, but they were only teasing him and giving him a hard time. having the two girls together wasn't always the wisest idea, because while isla may have been dating ivy's father, she and ivy were still close enough in age to relate to one another and had a tendency of getting a little rowdy after a few shots. this was no different even though their plan had been laid out since the beginning of the trip. in the end, it was worth it just to see the horrified look of shock and outrage on nate's face and the girls couldn't stop giggling long enough to have the 'daddy's little girl' stencils cleaned off. eventually, they all settled down, and even the artist that helped them pull the prank had to admit it was worth it to see what would happen.
ivy had gone first, then isla, and then nate. '42.3601° N, 71.0589° W' was slowly etched into their skin, a heavy set of numbers and letters that tied them together as more than just three acquaintances. it was too soon to say family, but isla saw them as an extended version of her own and accepted them as such furthermore. boston was more than just home to her, and she knew it was more than just home to them, too. boston was what tied them together, where ivy met her father, and where isla met nathan. it was where their lives had changed, some for the better and others for the worst, and it was where she knew they would likely spend the rest of their days. whether they all moved away at some point, the siren call of boston would bring them back as it always had before. and that was it exactly; boston was a siren. a city that had woven an intricate web of past and future around them, tethering them to one another from now until eternity, on this plane or another.
now sitting up, isla looked back at that night wishing she had taken into consideration how enhancements would hinder the project. isla's own enhancement wasn't healing, but the durability of her skin made it hard for the artist to penetrate the surface. still, they persevered after some questionable side glances and before too long, isla was sporting a new piece of ink that tethered her to the souls of the people she called home. looking at that empty space, she recalled the palpable disappointment that radiated off of nathan. isla could recall the visible look of what she could only describe as sadness or hurt.
they hadn't talked much about it, and it was one of the subjects she had been careful not to broach during their trip. with him still dealing with the merging of two men, she chose to tread lightly in order to keep clear of triggering any hurtful thoughts or memories for him. he hadn't spoken about it that night on the couch but isla could see that it still resonated with him and looked for a solution to help alleviate the pain.
with a great deal of effort, she had climbed out of bed and tiptoed out of the bedroom. she had an idea, but his light sleeping habits were sure to make it impossible for her to follow through. she moved quietly to the end of the hall and dug through her bag, hopelessly looking for a marker or pen of any sort. when the only thing she could find was a liquid eyeliner pen, she rolled her eyes and muttered something about how she could've grabbed this out of the bathroom rather than walking her naked ass down the hallway. there was also a subsequent thought about someone trying to rob her and finding her like that, though that one made her laugh quietly.
when she crept back into the room, she paused at the doorway too make sure he was still asleep. whatever stars were aligning for this current project, isla thanked as she stepped back over to the shared bed. she could hear eugene lift his head and the jingle of tags on his collar and winced, praying that wouldn't be enough to wake nathan. when he failed to awaken at the sound, she breathed a steady sigh of relief and climbed back into bed with him, uncapping the pen and writing in careful strokes.
42.3601° N, 71.0589° W.