Alex Martel 2-About to Get Married

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Alex Martel-About to Get Married
Ginger Herten

It’s been two and a half years since I started working undercover. Since then, many things have changed. The biggest change has been transferring to the downtown precinct to work with Detective Jones and the very handsome Detective Rodriguez, whom I frequently call Tom. The reason I call Detective Rodriguez Tom so often is because I see just as much if not more of him at home as I do on the job. That is one of the other big changes, we’re engaged. At home we’re Alex and Tom, at work we’re Detective Martel and Detective Rodriguez.

One thing that has been going back to the way it was before I started working undercover is my appearance. When I first started undercover, I had to get a very unwanted extremely short haircut, and I’ve been growing it out ever since. It has been taking forever!

Tom grumbles about my hair being in the way occasionally. He enjoys the unfettered access to my neck that comes with short hair along with the velvety feel of the short back and sides. He cares more about my happiness though than getting to pet my short hair, so he mostly keeps it to himself.

Was he happy though when I got the bob. I wasn’t so happy about it, since I saw it as a step backward in my growing out the boy short cut. The bob was Sam’s suggestion. Sam is one of the barbers at Joe’s barbershop, where Tom and several other guys from the force go. It was a bit of an impulsive decision when I agreed to it.

The bob took place on a day off for Tom and me a few months into the growing out process. Tom had headed out that morning from my place to get his usual monthly haircut, and I was doing stuff around the house. Well just a few minutes after he left his mom called his cell phone which he had “forgotten.” She had a very “urgent” question about dinner that night. I figured I might as well make his mom happy and go give him the message, it was a lovely spring day anyway so I figured I’d enjoy the walk. As it turned out, it was hotter than I thought it was going to be and I was soon uncomfortably hot. My hair was still in that horrible in-between stage of growing out where it’s hard to put it up because it’s too short, but long enough to be in the way. By the time I got to Joe’s barbershop it was uncomfortably pasted to my neck with sweat.

Joe’s Barbershop is not the kind of place women go to a lot, but I’d been there before. The first time for my unwanted hair cut, then a few times when I needed to talk to Tom, so I knew the barbers, Joe and Sam, pretty well. In front of the store was an old fashioned swirling red and white pole. Just above the door was one of those bells on a spring that jingles when anyone enters. It announced my presence as I walked in that day.

I smiled and said “Hey Joe, Hey Sam,” and nodded to the older man in Joe’s chair. “Tom you forgot your phone again, your mom called with a very urgent question.”

“So urgent you needed to run down here to ask me?” Tom asked with a chuckle from Sam’s chair.

“Nah, not really, I felt like stretching my legs and getting some fresh air.” I answered as I flopped into one of the chairs in the waiting area.

Sam was busy going over the back of Tom’s head with clippers. The clippers rattled against the comb that held the hair up from Tom’s head. Quarter inch clippings of Tom’s shiny jet black hair fell to the blue and white striped cape over him. Watching was slightly mesmerizing.

“I have to admit I didn’t actually much enjoy the walk, though” I said to break the spell before any of them noticed I was staring.

“Oh, why’s that” Tom asked slightly muffled since it’s hard to talk with your chin tilted so far down.

“It’s much hotter and more humid than I thought it was going to be. This hair is totally stuck to the back of my neck.” I was lifting it up and fanning my sticky neck. “I can’t wait till it’s grown out enough to put up.”

“It’s not going to make it for this summer.” Sam offered his professional opinion as he started using the scissors on the top of Tom’s head.

“Well, you’re the one who got me into this predicament, have any plans to get me out, perhaps a some magic hair growing potions.” I joked teasingly.

“Sorry no magic potions,” Sam chuckled, but then added more seriously “a classic bob would do the trick though.”

My heart fluttered slightly at the thought of it. “You seem to forget I’m trying to grow out the last haircut you gave me.”

“A bob won’t really set you back much, and growing out one length will be a lot easier than dealing with all the different lengths you’ve got now.”

I suppose he did have a point, but it seemed weird to cut my hair again when I really just wanted all of my long hair back. I seemed to have developed butterflies in my stomach. I was torn, I hated the idea of cutting my hair again, but it was also really awkward to deal with right now.

“Go for it Alex, you’ll be much happier.” Tom interjected his opinion.

Ha, yeah right, I’d be happier, I suspected it was him that was going to be happier.

“Well maybe not happier,” he admitted “but more comfortable. And it’ll save you time when you are trying to get it fixed up for work.”

He was trying to appeal to my practical side. He knew I liked to think of myself as a sensible woman.

Sam was shaving Tom’s neck smooth with the straight razor. Way too much of my mind was occupied by thinking of nuzzling my face against his smooth neck and into the velvet just above it. It was clouding my judgement. Maybe that was what was getting my guard down and actually making me consider doing it. I felt nervous and torn.

Sam had finished with Tom and was removing the cape. There was a dusting of jet black hair over the black and white tile floor. Sam was shaking more down off the cape. It was almost like flurries.

Instead of going to the register to pay, Tom came over and sat down in the waiting area next to me.

“Go on” he said as he nudged my shoulder “I’ll wait for you and we can walk home together.”

That was the first time Tom referred to my house as “home.” The distraction was not helping me to think clearly.

Oh well, at least I could show him I didn’t bawl like a baby every time I got a haircut like I had the last time. Not that getting haircuts was anything close to a regular experience for me. Before having to cut it for my work undercover, I had only ever gotten dragged in for occasional trims when the split ends got out of control.

I walked over to Sam’s big red leather and chrome chair and sat down.

“Can you hold up your hair Martel.”

It felt out of place being called Martel on my day off. Here I was in my frilly girl stuff. A sleeveless blouse, a flouncy skirt, some strappy sandals. My cool comfortable day off clothes to be Alex in instead of Officer Martel.

As I held up my hair, Sam tucked in the tissue around my neck and then shook out the cape again with a snap and let it fall over me, fastening it around my neck.

I was way beyond nervous now, my heart started pounding. I wanted to change my mind, but it felt too late.

Sam picked up his spray bottle and started wetting down my hair and combing it. As the sprayer made its rhythmic squeak-sish, squeak-sish sound I realized Sam hadn’t bothered to ask me what I wanted.

Sam started combing my hair straight down, parting it in the middle. He made a part down the side of my head on the left from the crown to my ear and combed the hair in front of it forward. He gave it a quick twirl with his fingers and repeated the process on the right side of my head. He then smoothed out the hair in the back against my neck tilting my head forward with his free hand.

I saw in the mirror that Sam was taking the scissors out of his pocket and took a deep breath. I wasn’t really sure I wanted to do this. I could feel the sharp point of the scissors slipping into the hair at the back of my head. My heart pounded faster. I could hear the shlich come from the scissors slicing through my hair.

The locks fell to my shoulder first then tumbled down to my lap since I was leaning forward slightly. I stared down at my lap. Wow, that was way more hair than I had expected. It was several inches long. My heart was really racing now. I was regretting having sat down in this chair, but it was too late now. I bounced the locks off the cape from underneath it so I wouldn’t have to look at them. They landed on my exposed toes. I was going to be stuck feeling them for the rest of my hair cut.  Why had I worn sandals?  Oh yeah that’s right I hadn’t planned this. Oh well, they were soft locks.

The cold steel blades had moved to the middle of my neck now, and I heard shlick once again as Sam made the next cut. This time I could feel the wet locks just resting on my neck. Sam soon combed them off though.

Sam shifted slightly, and was coming in from the other side. Once again the point pushed in through my hair, angled differently this time. Shlick. More wet locks hit my shoulder and tumbled into my lap. This time I let them be.

One last shlick, and another wet pile of hair was waiting on my neck for Sam to comb off. As soon as it was gone I felt the pointy tips of the scissors start to nibble at my hair line.  I could now tell that this bob was going to be very short in back. Definitely above the hair line.

Next Sam held the scissors against my neck and removed all the little wispy bits. I knew Tom would like that. I looked up at him through the mirror. He caught my glance and smiled. I made an effort to smile back even though I was regretting this.

Sam started picking my hair up off the back of my head with the comb and holding it out at an angle and cutting off another half inch or so.

I guess I looked confused because Sam volunteered “I’m just layering the back a bit to give it a current shape and give it some movement.”

Did Sam read style magazines?

My ears were filled with crunching as he continued to layer the back just slightly. And my shoulders were covered in hair.

He seemed done so I raised my head up. He combed it through some more in the back making a few more little snips. None of the hair reached my neck anymore.

He came to the side of me and untwisted the front hair. It suddenly made sense why he had simply chosen a length and not consulted me. The bulk of hair he was combing down over my ear was just ever so slightly longer than what he’d cut it to in the back. Sure there were a few slightly longer pieces, but not much. He had to cut it that short to get it into a bob.

After he had it all smoothly combed, he used the comb to connect the front to the back and cut straight across the bottom of the comb.    My hair just hit the bottom of my ears, the straggly long bits were gone. He moved to the other side and repeated the combing down and cutting against the comb.

I turned my head side to side, looking in the mirror to see how short it was and how it looked. It angled up very slightly towards the back. Not a true aline since I hadn’t had enough length in front for it, but enough of a hint at it to make it look reasonably stylish.

“Ok, let’s clean up the back, then I’ll give you the hand mirror.”

Clean up the back? I didn’t think there was any hair left back there.

Sam took his clippers from the hook and oiled them. He turned it on with a pop and came around behind me. Once again he gently tilted my head down to expose my neck. He ran the bare blades of the vibrating machine right up my neck and slightly into the hair line. I could feel the slightest rain of hairs that were almost a dust hitting my neck. He started in the middle and worked his way across to the left ear. Then he went back to the middle and across to the right ear.

He turned off the clippers and hung them back up.

He gave my neck a cursory dusting and wiped it with a warm towel. Then he got out the lather. I hadn’t been expecting him to actually shave it, but there Sam was stropping the razor.

This was a new sensation. I instinctively held my breath and was very still. Sam stroked the blade carefully down my neck.

As Sam finished up, he handed me the hand mirror and spun me around so I could inspect the back. As I reached up from under the cape, the pile of hair on my lap tumbled to my feet

Wow it was short. It was a huge setback. It did look good though.

Sam started dusting me off and took off the cape. “There you go, you’ll be nice and cool this summer and it’ll grow out all nice and even now. Problem solved.”

Men have a funny idea of how problems are solved. I raised my hand to my neck and it felt so smooth.

Tom was grinning from ear to ear as I looked at him. I walked over to him and he put his arm around my waist and bent down and kissed my neck lightly. I knew he was looking forward to being able to access to the back of my neck again.

Sam had been right. The walk home was much more comfortable, and the bob grew out much more gracefully than the boyish crop had been growing out. I was very torn between loving and hating that bob. Tom’s feelings about it were clearly not mixed though.

 

Finally though, my hair is pretty much back to my preferred length, which is as long as possible. Just in time for the wedding, 2 weeks from now.

Tom and I both have a ton of vacation time saved up, so we’re taking the week before the wedding off, as well as 2 weeks after for our honeymoon. This week we are focusing on catching up on paperwork, and making sure everything is squared away for anything we have going to trial when we get back.

As I’m busy typing away at my computer our Captain, Captain Morgan, comes out. Yes, his name is a huge running joke throughout the department but that really does just happen to be his name, sometimes he complains he should have stopped at sergeant.

“Jones, Miller, and Martel, I need you in my office.” the captain calls.

When we get to the office there are the sheriff and two of his deputies, already seated. There is nowhere left to sit so I leaned against a file cabinet.

“As you probably know this is Sheriff Wilson,” Captain goes through the introductions. “And this is Deputy Ryan, and Deputy Harris. Detectives Miller and Martel here both have done numerous undercover operation, and Detective Jones has worked with them frequently as their handler.”

“Martel, I’m sorry, but it’s necessary to cancel your vacation time next week.” The captain continues. “Sheriff Wilson will explain.”

“We have a problem in our jurisdiction, which isn’t within our normal scope. There is a girls Catholic boarding school that is adjacent to the county park and on county land. Something’s been going on there, but details are hard to pin down.” He started. “The headmistress of the school, Sister Rose, is happy to allow us to put a few undercover officers in this week and next. The problem is, our investigative branch is very small since most of our jurisdiction is parks, county roads, and the county jail. So, we have a limited number of deputies with experience with this sort of thing.”

“To complicate matters, the undercover officers need to be female and Catholic, since they will be posing as substitute teachers at the school. She is sending the math teacher and the science teach on a two week retreat.” Sheriff Wilson continued. “Deputy Ryan is our only available Catholic female deputy, and though she has expressed interest in getting as broad experience as possible, she has yet to have any experience undercover. So, the sheriff’s department put in a request to the city’s police commissioner to do this as a joint operation between the city and the county.”

Son of a bitch. Well this is just great. I’m supposed to be getting ready for my wedding and instead I’m being sent off for two weeks. Well Tom was the one that wanted a big wedding, he’s going to have to deal with it. I bet the way they figured out I was Catholic was because they were invited to the wedding mass.

We spend a while going over details in the captain’s office. Since Deputy Ryan and I will be staying at the school, I go to my locker and get the overnight bag of plain clothes I keep ready to go. Deputy Ryan has brought a bag too. I let Tom know he’s responsible for any last minute wedding planning and we all head off to the school.

We meet Sr. Rose at a church in the city, so we can arrive at the school with her, she was supposedly meeting us at the train station. Miller will be working as a painter, and arrive tomorrow in a van marked as a contractors van.

“Deputy Ryan, Detective Martel,” she greets us warmly.  “I have clothing that will be appropriate for you two to wear while you are staying with us.” Well that seems like a good thing because I only have 2 changes of clothing and a few extra sets of underwear. That will not last me two weeks.

“What are your given names? I think it will be simpler if you use those than if you go with religious names. In our order only about half have taken on religious names since Vatican II.” Our order?! We are going to be nuns? The female and Catholic requirement makes more sense now.

“Alex, short for Alexandra”

“Cate, Catherine.”

“That works fine” she says, taking us to an office in the back where there are piles of plain black, white, and gray garments. “We don’t wear veils and our habits are very modified, so you can mix and match whatever fits you. Start getting out of those.”

Sr. Rose is wearing a black turtleneck, a grey skirt and suit jacket, with a cross necklace. Ryan and I start stripping down, as