IMPORTANT PLEASE READ THIS AUTHOR'S NOTE: Hi guys! It's me, Kiki. A lot of you probably know me from my fanfic Comfort Crowd, and if you haven't read it yet it would mean a lot to me if you would. It's some of my best work.

So I honestly got the idea for this story because I constantly rewatch Gossip Girl and I've been watching a bit too excessively in quarantine. I also was rereading some divergent trilogy stuff and I realized how OOC my Comfort Crowd characters are. There's nothing wrong with that, per say, as Comfort Crowd is intended to just be a sweet fluffy fic about finding true love and whatnot, I just thought it was too happy? I wanted to make something more intriguing and fun for me to write, though, that's more accurate to the actual characters. Obviously they're still going to be a bit OOC!

This story is rated T right now but will probably switch to M in the future. It's not meant to be a fluff piece like Comfort Crowd, it is more risque and less "lovey dovey". Just a fair warning. The style is going to be a bit different.

FYI: Comfort Crowd readers! Tris's family does not follow the plot of that universe! Her family is similar to that of the actual book in this fic. Just don't get confused haha.

One more thing: I am not abandoning Comfort Crowd! In fact, to make things more organized I have a new update schedule posted to my profile so that you guys know when to expect them. I hope this helps. Sorry about the long A/N.

Disclaimer: I don't own Divergent.

Loneliness. It plagues Tris Prior every day. She is well aware that there is a difference between being alone and being lonely. Growing up, she preferred to be alone. Her mother would try and usher her into playdates with her high society friend's children. Tris preferred to have her nose stuck in a book. This preference followed her into adolescence as well. By the time she reached high school she was much too alienated from others to even try to form new connections.

Even her brother Caleb had several close friends and a long term girlfriend already, despite being the nerdiest person in their class. Her mother was always in Milan or Paris, working on whatever fashion line she had coming out. It seemed like she always had a new line to prepare. Her father walked out on them 2 years ago. He sends postcards sometimes. Belize, Aruba, Buenos Aires. They only come every 3 months or so, but to Tris it feels like he's moving so fast. Maybe because she's been stuck in one place her entire life.

They've lived in the same penthouse since she was born. Tris attended the same private school since she was 5. Girls have tried to befriend her, but just for namesake. I mean she was the Natalie Prior's daughter, right? Tris's introverted demeanor drove any potential comrades off early on. She didn't mind. Who wants friends who are just interested in you for titular reasons? But now, as she exits prep school day in and day out, and she sees girls giggling as they rush in groups to catch the newest sale, or grab dinner at whatever the hottest restaurant was, she just wishes for some semblance of belonging. Even if it was fake or superficial. Maybe it would make her feel better.

On the eve of her 18th birthday, Tris exits the familiar esteemed brick building that she knows as school, and spots Alex, her driver, waiting by the usual town car she takes home every day. Caleb is always with Susan, or studying with friends after school so he nearly never rides back with her. Tris listens to girls shriek over the new Louis Vitton purse that they have to grab before it sells out as she heads over to Alex, waving at him politely.

He holds open the door for her. "Good afternoon, Ms. Prior." He greets as she slides in. He continues talking as he climbs into the driver's seat. "How was school?"

Tris sighs, glancing at Chicago in the fall weather. The leaves on the trees have mostly shed, and the sky is grey. Everything feels bleak to Tris. "Same old, same old." She responds. "How about you? What happened with your day?"

"Same old, same old." He repeats back to her. Bleak, Tris thinks again. "So… I hear someone's birthday is tomorrow. Any plans?"

Tris tries her best to sound excited. "Yes, my mother flies in from Italy early tomorrow morning. My party is tomorrow night." The event planned for tomorrow doesn't feel like a party to Tris. Parties are supposed to be fun, right? It feels like the same high society events that her mother drags her and Caleb to, where she has to smile and make meaningless small talk with various filthy rich people, all while wearing a designer outfit that if she sold for value, she could feed about 10 homeless families for months. Except this time the event is being thrown in her honor, at her penthouse. What a joke.

"How exciting!" Tris realizes how spoiled she is, not being excited about probably a 250 grand value party being thrown in her honor, while Alex drives her and other rich snobs around all day just to be able to feed his family. She gives herself a mental slap on the wrist. Be more appreciative of your luxuries, she reminds herself for the millionth time in her life. "How old will you be turning again?" Alex asks her.


"A legal adult! Wow! Is there anything you're excited to finally try?"

Tris ponders it for a minute. The drinking age is 21, as it is for marijuana and e-cigarette products as well. Not that any of those things have particularly interested her. If they did they wouldn't be hard to access before legal age either, what with her connections and money and all. You can vote when you're 18… but the next presidential election isn't for another year. She'll be able to legally go to prison, but when you're as rich as the Prior family, you usually get out of legal problems unscathed. Just the thought of Tris committing a crime and her mom being able to bail her out or use money to her advantage irritates Tris to no end. It's not that she's an aspiring criminal, it's just that she wants one part of her life that isn't controlled by her family name and the numerical value that comes with it.

Tris tries to think more about Alex's question. Tattoos come to mind. They've always intrigued her, but her mom would kill her. 'It doesn't look professional, Beatrice.' She can hear her mom saying. But then Tris thinks back to her desperate desire to have one thing that's not controlled by her family. It would be a small thing… but it would be a start. And she could get it in a place that no one would notice. "No. Nothing in particular." Tris responds to Alex.

"Oh… well, it is a Friday night. Do you have plans with any friends?" This question sparks irritation in Tris. She doesn't expect Alex to know every detail of her personal life, but he's been driving her home for years. He surely remembers the point in time when Caleb stopped riding with them because he was gaining more popularity, and Tris stayed, because she simply wasn't.

"Umm… perhaps. I may call some people up last minute to get dinner or something. Nothing planned right now, though." Something about telling your driver that you have no plans on a Friday night, no less the eve of your birthday, seems a bit embarrassing to Tris.

"Well I hope you have a good time, no matter what you do." He pulls up right in front of her building, and hops out, opening the door for her. "Happy early birthday, Ms. Prior." She thanks him as warmly as she can, and then heads up to her penthouse, greeting the doorman on her way in.

The elevator finally dings and she walks into her home, spotting Maria dusting up some tables. "Oh! Hello Ms. Tris!" Maria greets, giving her her warm smile. Tris can't help but return a genuine one. If there's anyone in the world that Tris has a soft spot for, it's Maria, considering that she practically raised her.

"¡Hola, Maria! ¿Cómo estás?" Tris tries her best to integrate Spanish into her everyday conversations with Maria, even though she is a French student. The least she can do is try and speak in Maria's native tongue after all that she's done for her.

"¡Muy bien! Y, feliz cumpleaños adelantado."

"Gracias, gracias."

"Mrs. Natalie says she will be back by 7 tomorrow. She says order anything you want for dinner and do what you want tonight." Maria tells her, switching back to english.

Tris nods. She feels excited to see her mother. Their relationship is definitely strained, complicated, and difficult, but it is not atrocious. They both love each other immensely but are coincidentally both awful at showing it. Honestly, if it were up to Tris, she would want to spend her birthday quietly with her mother, Maria, and Caleb, but things never work out the way you want to, she's started to realize.

"I also have early birthday present for youuu!" Maria sings, shuffling into the kitchen. Gratitude surges through Tris. Maria's presents are historically her favorite ones.

She emerges with a homemade chocolate cake resting on top of her palms. It's presentation definitely isn't The Great British Baking Show quality, but Tris is familiar enough with Maria's baking to know that the taste will more than make up for it. "Gracias, Maria." She embraces her.

"I can't believe how grown up you are getting! It seems like just yesterday we had little Beatrice reading the Harry Potter all the time! Now you are grown woman!" She pinches Tris's cheek lightly and Tris laughs.

"Te quiero mucho, Maria. I'm going to shower and then dig into this cake."

The rest of the evening passes by in a blur. Tris showers, gets changed into some comfortable sleepwear, and then digs into Maria's cake. It was delicious, as expected. Her and Maria sat down and watched Riverdale, which Tris is aware is far from quality TV, but Maria's reactions to the program are far more entertaining than anything else she could watch. Maria had to get up to do more housework, so Tris ordered in pizza. By the time she was ¾ through the pie, Caleb waltzed in. He wished Tris a happy early birthday, stole a slice of pizza, and headed off to bed. Caleb was born 10 months before Tris but their parents wanted them in the same grade so they kept him a year back. People often mistake them for twins.

Tris has set the remainder of the pizza in the fridge for later consumption and just finished her millionth rewatch of her favorite movie, Lady Bird, when the clock reads 11:34. Maria has long since retired to bed, and Tris thinks she ought to do the same, but there is something keeping her awake. It is the eve of her 18th birthday, but the events of today have seemed very bland. It was honestly a typical Friday night for her, minus the cake. She paces back and forth through her living room, trying to think of what to do to remedy this newfound itch inside her. The one that calls for adventure, or for something interesting to happen. Her thoughts go back to the tattoo idea she was having earlier this afternoon. Honestly, she wasn't serious about that at the time. She often lets her mind go to places that she knows will never be a reality, just because it's comforting.

But this one just keeps gnawing and gnawing at her. Oh, what the fuck? She allows her impulse to carry her feet up to her bedroom and get her redressed. She puts on her 200 dollar jeans, her expensive cashmere sweater, and a thick coat, because Chicago in October at midnight is definitely going to be chilly. She slips on her designer sneakers and grabs her Chanel handbag. Then she realizes, what am I even going to get tattooed on me? She feels like a fool. She knows nothing of enough importance to her that she would want it permanently etched on her skin. She's about to throw her coat off, when she feels the itch again. And this time it's planted an idea right in her head. Her feet find their way to her mother's room.

After digging through some drawers and memorabilia in the master bedroom Tris finds the paper she was searching for. She unfolds it and grins. This all feels so right to her. This is meant to happen.

As she heads back downstairs another thought crosses her mind, which is, I don't do well with pain. Or needles. She's never let fear of something consume her and prevent her from doing it, but this thought is enough to make her falter. Her eyes glaze over the expensive liquor cabinet, and she gets another idea.

It's not as if she's a stranger to alcohol, having had a glass of chardonnay or white wine or a cocktail at this party or that gala. She's looking for something a bit stronger, though. As she shuffles through the cabinet, careful not to mess up any placement or be so loud that she wakes someone up, she spies something she thinks might do the trick.

10 seconds later she finds herself gulping down tequila, straight from the bottle. Tequila is in margaritas right? Tris enjoys margaritas. After the bottle is ¼ empty, she decides it's enough, since she feels a light spinning in her head already. She musters up every ounce of confidence she has and heads to the elevator.

And that is how Beatrice Prior finds herself drunkenly bouncing toward the nearest tattoo parlor, following directions as best as possible from the GPS app on her phone, 5 minutes before the clock strikes midnight and she turns 18, in the nearly freezing Chicago weather. She is clearly a walking target. A young girl wandering the streets at midnight, drunk and alone, wearing designer clothes and carrying a designer purse with a wad of 100s in it. The logical head in her voice is insistently warning her of this too, but her drunken thoughts and her persistent desire for this damned tattoo outweigh the logic. And for whatever reason, perhaps it is the birthday gods, or just sheer luck, Tris makes it to the tattoo parlor unscathed.

She shoves the door open with a bit too much force and stumbles in, the alcohol has taken most of its effect on her by now, and she hopes it doesn't wear off by the time she's actually getting tattooed. The place is completely devoid of customers, and a short middle aged man with buzzed hair enters the front of the parlor. He eyes Tris up and down, no doubt taking in her youth, her fancy clothes, and her obviously inebriated state. "May I help you?"

Tris tilts her head and grins a little bit. "Tattoo pleeeease!" She sings, and drags her feet up closer to the counter where the man stands. He wears a black tank top that shows off both of his full sleeves done. They're very colorful, and Tris spots several fire breathing dragons in the design. Epic. She thinks to herself.

He looks at her skeptically. "ID?"

Tris nods. "Yup. Don't worry, I am prepared." She reaches into her handbag, and even in her drunken state she is aware enough to conceal the load of cash as she pulls out her ID and hands it to him. He glances at it for a second.

"You're not old enough."

Tris's jaw drops. "In…" Her eyes find a clock. "One minute I am!"

The man crosses his arms. "Okay. In one minute we can start doing business."

They wait in silence, both watching the clock. It seems like an eternity before it finally strikes midnight. He has Tris fill out some paperwork, and she barely even knows what she's signing as she scribbles her signature on each form. He could be asking her for the rights of her firstborn child and she would be happily signing them over. "Alright," He says to her when she's done. "Tori here is gonna take care of you." He gestures to a tall, slender, Asian woman, standing behind him. She smirks at Tris and waves. Tris smiles in return.

As Tris heads to the back with Tori, she spots a tattoo of a red hawk on her neck. Hmm. She wonders if it has any special significance.

"Sit. And then you can tell me what you're thinking about." Tori says, gesturing to a black leather chair. Tris sits down, hunched forward, clasping her hands in her lap like a child. Faintly, she hears the door of the tattoo parlor open. She wonders who else has come at this hour.

She pulls out the sketch from her handbag and gives it to Tori, now feeling a bit self conscious. "Hmm…" Tori ponders.

"What?" Tris asks, a bit defensively.

"Oh, nothing. It's a lovely drawing. I'm just trying to decide if I would be able to freehand this or if I would have to create a stencil. Where did you want this done?"

"My lower back. Left side." It's concealed enough.

"And you want it the same size and everything?" Tris shrugs and nods. She doesn't have much of a preference.

"Okay…" Tori ponders for a second more and then nods. "I should be able to do it freehand. I've done slightly similar ones in the past. And do you want color?"

Tris shakes her head instantly. She's heard color hurts like a bitch and she wants to minimize her pain as much as possible.

"Okay. Sit face forward while I get everything set up." Tris does as told, and tries to push down the anxiety rising in her. Discomfort is a part of life, she tells herself. And it is worth it for this act of rebellion. She hears multiple male voices at the front of the shop, they sound happy and she hears some laughter as well. The question of who else is here at this hour rises in her again.

Suddenly, it dawns on her what she's doing. She left her cushy apartment to walk the city at midnight and head over to a tattoo parlor, simply based on impulsiveness and desire. No, no, no, this is all wrong. She needs to leave. Now.

"Okay." She hears Tori's voice pipe up behind her. "I made some modifications so it would be easier for me to work with. Is this good?" She waves a paper in front of Tris's face, and the sight of the sentimental drawing sends a feeling of relaxation through her. This is right. This is happening. She's going to do this. If not for her, then for her damned pride, because leaving now would be humiliating. "Yes. That looks perfect!"

"Great! I'm glad. Let me get situated." Tris hears the cluttering of supplies, and the flipping of paper. She can't find it in herself to be nervous anymore, though, but she still turns her face in the other direction so that the sight of Tori getting ready doesn't raise new anxiety. This is meant to happen.

Then, she hears some footsteps approach and then a friendly male voice. "Hey Tor."

"Oh, hello boys." Tori sounds tired, almost as if she expected whoever is here tonight. "Back again so soon?"

The same voice responds. "Yep. I want to add some more color to my parrot tattoo, and Tobias here is getting another one. Though he won't spill the details on what it is."

Tori sighs. "Well, get in line. As you can see, I've already got a customer."

"Damn. Nice shoes." The same voice says again. It takes Tris a few seconds too long to realize that whoever it is is speaking to her. She turns her head back to the direction of Tori and the unknown voice and takes in the scene. A few feet away stand 2 young men. One of them is relatively short and stocky with dark skin, he wears an easy smile on his face. Tris suspects this is the man who complimented her shoes. The other man is far taller, and more serious. He looks as if nothing in the world has ever amused him before. Tris takes note of his lean stature, his messy chocolate colored hair, his spare upper lip, his hooked nose, and finally his deep blue eyes. Tris is not complaining about what she sees, but she is fairly intimidated by just his presence and expression already. They're both decked out in all black leather clothing, and Tris can spot no visible tattoos on them.

"Thank you." Tris responds, and feels as if her voice was a bit too high pitched.

"That's Zeke and Tobias," Tori tells her, "And Zeke and Tobias this is… I'm sorry what did you say your name was?"

"Um, I didn't. It's Tris." She makes eye contact with the young man she now knows as Tobias and holds it for a few seconds. His eyes are piercing. To Tris's surprise, he looks away first.

"Well, we'll just be waiting." Zeke announces, plopping down on a seat. Tobias sits down next to him, far more gentle and calculated. "We have all night." Zeke tells Tori.

"Yeah, yeah. This one shouldn't be too long." Before she knows it, Tori has lifted Tris's shirt up and is wiping the area down with a disinfectant wipe and then the tattoo gun is buzzing. It dawns on Tris that Tobias and Zeke will be here to witness this whole thing and she doesn't know if she's okay with that because they're perfect strangers. As she hears Tori lift the gun up, her breath audibly hitches in anticipation and nervousness and she wants to curse herself.

Tori doesn't begin the tattoo but instead says to Tris. "Why don't you explain to me why you chose this tattoo? That's what I did for my first time and it helped me get through it a lot."

Tris nods. She feels a little bit insecure discussing this in front of 3 people now, but what the fuck? She'll probably never see them again.

"Damn, Tris. This is your first time? Exciting!" Zeke says. She still has yet to hear Tobias utter a word.

"Be quiet, Zeke." Tori snaps.

Tris inhales shakily. "So… uh, this tattoo is a drawing that I gave my mom when I was little." The needle touches her skin then and Tris cringes at the sharp stinging pain it inflicts, but she continues speaking. I'm doing it. She thinks to herself proudly. "I-it's one of my happiest memories actually. It was mother's day, and my mom is usually pretty busy. I don't think I had ever had a mother's day with her to myself before and I actually don't think that I've had one since." Tris wonders why she's oversharing with this group of people, but it is helping her get through the pain. And truth be told, she enjoys reliving this memory.

She continues speaking, trying to ignore the discomfort and pain. "I remember that I restarted this sketch multiple times for a couple of weeks leading up to mother's day. I just wanted everything to be so perfect for her. My mom had often compared me to a butterfly when I was younger, because to her I was introspective, intuitive, and thoughtful. Apparently those are traits she associated with butterflies as well. So… I guess I just wanted to give her a drawing that reminded her of me. Of us. Of our relationship. So ten year old me put so much effort into a butterfly sketch for my mother and she was so happy when I gave it to her." Tris smiles fondly at the reminiscence.

"Having that day with her was really special… After I gave it to her we went to the park and had a picnic with my whole family. It's… just a really happy memory and a really happy day and I wanted something to remember it by." When Tris finishes her speech she realizes that her eyes have started watering, and not from the tattoo pain. She blinks back her tears. Grow up, she scolds herself.

It's silent for a few seconds, until Zeke speaks. "Damn. And I was just getting tattoos of designs I thought looked cool."

"That's a very nice story, Tris." Tori says kindly. Tobias still has yet to utter a word.

"Can I share next please?" Zeke asks.

"Go ahead." Tori says drily. Tris has gotten used to the singe of the tattoo needle, and she suspects the tequila has also helped dull the pain too. She sits quietly and listens to Zeke discuss his various tattoos, apparently he has quite a few. He explains how he got the design ideas for them, what lookbooks and things have inspired him. Tris learns that most of them are on his back or rib cage, and he also has a tiny one on his finger that Tris couldn't see. By the time Zeke has finished speaking, Tori announces that she's nearly through with Tris's tattoo.

"Have you heard that saying, art for art's sake?" Tris asks Zeke. Because it is what Zeke's tattoos remind her of. And she thinks it's beautiful. Zeke shakes his head and Tris opens her mouth to explain the saying when Tobias interrupts.

"It was an old French saying. A philosopher named Victor Cousin coined the term. It's essentially the notion that art has its own value and should be judged and created separately from any themes. It emphasizes the value of aestheticism instead of meaning. Sort of like your reasoning behind your tattoos." Tris raises her eyebrows. He hadn't spoken a word so far and now he was giving them all an art history lesson. Tris, of course, knew all this already, but there was something gratifying and intriguing about hearing it come out of Tobias's mouth, in his low and gruff voice. She likes his voice.

"Damn. That actually makes a lot of sense." Zeke tilts his head, pondering this new idea. Then he turns to Tobias with an excited smile. "Why don't you explain your tattoos now?" Tris's interest piques at this.

"No." He responds simply. Tris can't ignore the disappointment that bites at her. The next few minutes go by in silence, then. Finally Tori says, "Alright, it's finished. Want to take a look?"

Tris nods and Tori guides her from her chair. As Tris stands she feels a little dizzy, partly from the alcohol and partly the effects of having lied down for so long. She follows Tori to a large mirror and turns around, lifting her shirt up to be able to see. She is well aware of Tobias and Zeke's eyes on her. Her breath catches in her throat and she feels tears well up in her eyes again at the sight of her new tattoo. A symbol of her happiest memory is permanently etched onto her skin. She feels elated, both at the prospect of having something dear to her on her skin forever, and because she went through with it! Yesterday she would've never guessed that she'd be here right now. She likes this new side of her that she's uncovering. More reckless. More unpredictable. "Thank you so much." She says to Tori sincerely.

Tori waves a hand. "It's what I do. Why don't you go wash your hands? The bathroom is in the back."

Tris nods and does as she says, still feeling giddy as ever. On her way out from the bathroom she's ruffling through her purse, looking for the appropriate amount of cash to pay in, since she doesn't want to have this charge show up on her card for her mom to see. She also wants to give Tori a generous tip for her services today. She is a bit too distracted with this task, however, because she collides face first into something hard and rock solid. She looks up and comes face to face with Tobias. Her cheeks grow hot and she can feel her heartbeat pick up. How embarrassing. "Uh- sorry." She says, trying to enunciate the words as clearly and confidently as possible.

To her surprise, the side of his mouth quirks up. He tilts his head, looking down at her. His penetrating gaze causes sweat to bead up on her palms. "Be careful." Is all he says, before walking away, leaving her standing there like an idiot with her heart pounding in her chest. She gathers her bearings after a few seconds and tips Tori who seems very grateful, before heading to the front of the shop and paying, the whole time her encounter with Tobias keeps replaying in her mind.

When she finally exits the tattoo parlor and steps into the chilly Chicago air, she mutters to herself. "Be careful?"

Ahhh! Let me know what you think? I'm really excited about this story. Comfort Crowd should be updated on Friday, if you check my new update schedule, and if you haven't read Comfort Crowd I would really love it if you checked it out.