Welcome to the first ever SECRETS (Behind the) SCENES! Ever wonder what the author was thinking, or if there was more to a scene than what you saw? Now, you can find out! Today we will be taking a look at the much talked about “tattoo scene” in Love Exactly. It appears to be one of those scenes you either love or hate, hey, to each their own. So here it is!
I continued to sit staring at the cursor blinking behind the ‘e’, but was interrupted by the sound of feet coming down the stairs from above. I wasn’t surprised when Mom popped her head around my bedroom door.
“What you doing?” she asked with a smile.
“Nothing,” I turned in my computer chair to face her, nodding over my shoulder. “Just trying to write something.”
“Not really,” I replied, and turned my wrists over to look at them.
Mom walked in and flopped on my bed. “Any plans for today?”
I traced the vein popping out of my wrist and smiled as I thought of Evan. Then it occurred to me.
“I was thinking about going to get a tattoo,” I said, looking up at her. “You want to come?”
Her mouth dropped open a little and she stared at me, puzzled. “Huh?”
“Tattoo. You game?” I repeated as I turned to my computer and typed in the search box.
“Since when do you want a tattoo?” Mom asked, standing and hovering over my shoulder.
“I’ve been thinking I’d like one right here,” I answered, pointing to the wrist I had just been staring at. In truth I hadn’t really been thinking about it. I’d been thinking about Evan and his tattoos, and then suddenly I felt the need to mark myself as well. “It won’t be anything too big or gaudy.”
“It better not be. I kind of like the way your father and I created you.”
I looked away from the computer and up at her to gauge her seriousness, but she was smiling.
She rolled her eyes. “It’s your body.”
“Nothing big— I promise,” I replied.
“I know just the place,” she responded as she reached over and shut my laptop screen.
“You what?” I asked.
She shrugged. “I know somewhere. You know what you want?”
I nodded and she went towards the door.
“Let’s get going. I’ll call on my way there to make sure they can fit you in.”
I didn’t know how she knew the tattoo place, and I wasn’t really sure I wanted to find out. I followed her up the steps into the house where Dad sat with the laptop, glasses perched on his nose. He looked up and smiled.
“Where are my girls off to in such a hurry?”
Mom stopped for a moment like she hadn’t expected him to be there before she shrugged. “To see Tom.”
“Please get something better than a unicorn this time, mhmm?” he muttered as his eyes went back down to the laptop and he started typing.
“Uh? A unicorn?” I repeated.
Dad didn’t look up; instead he shook his head and continued typing with one finger.
“I always wanted a unicorn, so I got one,” Mom replied as she grabbed her hand-felted purse and went to the door.
I stood in the middle of the living room staring between the two of them in shock.
Dad looked up. “What’s wrong, dear?”
I opened my mouth and then closed it, unsure what to say.
“Are we going or not?” Mom asked from behind me.
“Don’t get something stupid like your mom, okay?” Dad added before continuing his haphazard stabbing of the keyboard.
“Sure, I’ll try not to,” I finally managed as I turned to follow Mom out to the car.
“So who’s this Tom guy we’re going to see?” I asked as Mom dialed a number on her ancient flip-phone. She shook her head at me as she said, “Hey, it’s Leigh Walker. Do you have an opening in say twenty?…Sounds great, see you then.”
She snapped the phone shut before putting the car in gear and explaining, “I always wanted a tattoo, when I hit fifty—I said to the hell with it and got one. Tom’s daughter is a patient at the office.”
“Is she a regular?”
“Well, she was having some distress in her abdominal region and it took a long time to figure out what it was. I helped them through it as any doctor would, but Tom thought I went above and beyond. He knew it was ridiculous to offer, but he said any time I needed a tattoo I could count on him. Now,” she paused and pointed at me. “I don’t get the tattoos all over the body thing—especially not those full sleeves. So, don’t get too into this, kay?”
I was still trying to get a handle on her having a tattoo, let alone the fact Dad didn’t seem to care at all.
First, some general background about this particular scene. In the first draft to my editor, it didn’t exist, only when she insisted on fleshing out the concept of Emma getting a tattoo did it evolve into what it is. We went back and forth until we ended up with this scene that was exactly what my editor was looking for. I ended up loving it to–the reason, well, it IS my mom and I. This is the sort of relationship my mom and I have–relaxed, laid back, loving, and my dad–that would be his reaction to my mom announcing the sudden want for a tattoo. My mom is an amazing free spirit, and I hope I showed that with this scene. Down to some specifics from the scene:
- Emma’s sudden urge for a tattoo. Emma is, essentially, me. She’s logical, analytical, and a tattoo would seem out of her nature. The thing about my personality is, I do LOVE tattoos. Emma obviously does too from her hotness choice of boyfriends. Unfortunately, tattoos don’t fall into the realm of highly logical for my person– they’re expensive, and they’re permanent. One would think the highly logical person would stress over the tattoo until they found the perfect one, but the truth is, if Emma sat there and thought about the tattoo long enough, she would never have gotten it. A person like myself, and Emma, cannot think about something like that for too long, because it will NEVER end up happening. This isn’t to say she regretted the tattoo–it’s to say that the sudden decision was required. That’s how I ended up with a tattoo on my own wrist. That’s the only way Emma would end up with one herself.
- When I got a tattoo I thought my @$$ was grass. I hid it with the ugliest band sweatband thing ever, and what was more suspicious was the twinsey thing that was going on with my husband’s (then boyfriend) wrist. I did not want to tell my parents, sure I was eighteen, but I was still living under their roof and I’d just gained their trust back after an unfortunate series of events that involved a abusive boyfriend. Emma’s worry that her mom would get upset and surprise that she didn’t care, came directly from my experience with my mom. Her response was simply “I was wondering why you two were wearing those ugly @$$ bands.”
- The UNICORN, ah, the unicorn. It is NOT random at all. When my mom was eighteen she went out to get a UNICORN tattoo, but the car broke down and she never ended up getting it. When I thought of what my dad would say, and what my mom would get, that was the first thing that came to mind. It had my mom laughing her butt off when she read the scene.
- Emma’s dad’s reaction–well, I know my dad…but he still surprises me everyday. I think he would react like Emma’s dad did, but it would still puzzle me, just like it puzzles Emma. It’s not so much that he knew and doesn’t care–it’s more that he never said anything to Emma about it.
- Emma’s mom and the tattoo guy. As the scene says, Tom’s daughter is a patient at Leigh’s medical practice. My mom is a pediatric nurse practitioner, and I’ve seen her relationship with her patients first hand. She’s not only a free spirit, she’s an amazing soul in general, one filled with love and knowledge–and everyone can see that, and everyone loves her more for it. When she treats a patient, she truly cares about not only the patient, but also the parents. In fact, for some time, she did hospice. I have no clue how she had the strength to do it, especially in the pediatric realm. The parent’s she helped were losing a child they may have only known for months–and those parents still send her Christmas cards twenty years later. That inspired the relationship where Tom would offer his services to Leigh, and where their relationship would be close.
- Tom’s daughter’s illness– is one I suffer from myself. His daughter has Celiac’s disease, which can remain hidden for many years and until recently, was not commonly diagnosed in adolescence. When the effects of the disease become evident it can not only be painful, but frustrating. It helps to have someone on your side 150% of the way–just like Emma’s mom–and my mom (who helped the doctor’s diagnose me)–would be.
So that’s it–the secrets of the tattoo scene have been revealed. What is your favorite scene from Love Exactly? Let me know, and maybe I’ll dissect that one for you next ! 😉
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