This is the continuation of “The Price of Shelter”, which you can read hear. Since this series actually has a little plot I would suggest doing so, if you haven’t already 🙂
Early Friday morning- First week of October
With a last powerful stroke Jane reached the flat water of the shore. Her feet found the sandy ground and she stood up, water dripping from her hair and skin. The cool morning air let her shiver, but her muscles were still warm from the strain of swimming. Since Jane had moved to Spain about a month ago, she had come to like spending time in the water – especially early in the morning, when the air was still cool and the beach still deserted. It was the perfect place to be alone with herself. For a moment she stood in the waist-deep water, slowing her breathing and driving her fingers through her short, light-blond hair. Man, she loved this feeling.
Then, just as she was about to wade back to the beach, someone called out her name.
Jane looked up in surprise and she spotted Alandra, standing at the handrail on top of the promenade wall, waving down at her. With a wide smile she raised her hand and waved back. Over the past four weeks she and Alandra had become good friends. Jane had returned to the small barbershop just a few days after Alandra had first given her that radical new haircut. Since then they had frequently met in their free time, spending their evenings together in cafés or at the beach. Alandra had proven to be an incredibly fun person to hang out with and her knowledge about the town had proven beyond valuable.
When Jane finally reached dry land, her friend was already waiting next to her pile of cloth.
Alandra embraced her in a hug despite the fact that she was still completely wet. For a second Jane tried to keep her distance to not complexly soak Alandra’s clothes. When her friend sill did not seem to care, she decided that she did not either and returned it fully.
“Hi, Ala! What on earth are you doing out here at this time of day? You’re not exactly famous for being an early bird.”
The young women smiled her cheeky smile and explained: “I promised Matías to take the first shift today since I want to leave early tonight.”
As Jane arched an eyebrow and gave her an uncomprehending look, Alandra continued in a slow, deliberate tone.
“The party. Your party.”
Jane grimaced as she remembered. It was not really her party. In the evening there would be a big end-of-summer party organised by her department where most of her fellow students would attend. The organizers had spent all week setting up the location at the beach near the university campus.
Jane had looked for an excuse not to go for weeks. These kinds of events just were not her thing. . Alandra on the other hand had been fond of the idea from the very beginning. Thus, she hadn’t had any good excuse for shirking the whole thing. Until a few days ago…
“Ooooh right. No, I really don’t think I can come to that. I told you, Samantha is coming to visit me. I’ll have to pick her up at the airport and then look after her afterwards. Make sure she settles in. Give her the tourist program. Catch up a little…”, she explained with an innocent smile.
“And I told you that’s no excuse.”, Alandra countered. “Just bring your sister along. I’m sure she will love it. Stuff like this is probably half the reason she’s flying all the way here.”
“No ‘but’. She is 18 already and just started college, right!? So, there really is no problem. I’ll pick up the two of you at 7PM and that’s it.”
Before Jane could think of any other arguments, Alandra gave her a light kiss on her cheek, turned around and swaggered away, while demonstratively whistling the melody of some pop-song. Jane sighed and stared after her, unsure whether to amused or annoyed. Most of the time Alandra got her way simply by getting in the last word.
After a few meters Alandra looked back again and shouted:
“And I think your hair could use some attention again. Just come by later, if you like.”
Jane could immediately feel a nervous sting in her stomach. She would have loved to do so but she could not. She just had not time.
“No, sorry Ala. Maybe tomorrow. I got classes all day and I’ll need to make my way to the airport right after.”
“Well, then not. Just make sure that when you come, you bring along your sister. See you later.”
While Alandra was strolling down the beach, evading the incoming waves by quickly skipping aside from time to time, Jane picked up her towel.
She sighed in resignation as she thought about the evening to come. The worst part was, that Alandra was right. Her sister had much more in common with her hairdresser than with herself and she would most definitely enjoy a beach party, no matter what. And the rest was true, too. In her head, Sam was still just the teenage girl she had left back home when she had first gone to college a few years ago. But her little sis had grown up in the meantime.
Slowly Jane began to dry off herself. Her short hair was mostly dry after just a few seconds and she tousled it with a few random strokes before casually arranging it to the left. The feel of the short strands between her fingers still gave her a mild feeling of excitement, every time she touched them. And every time she toughed herself, her short hair still fuelled things…
Jane frowned and forced herself to focus. The had a lot to do today. Quickly she changed into her normal cloth and began to walk towards her bike. This would be a long day.
Late the Next Morning
Samantha woke from bright daylight beaming at her face. She mourned in dismay, rolled over and tried to cover her eyes with a pillow. But it was already too late – she was awake. For a few more minutes she did not dare to move. Her whole body felt leached out and an intense headache was throbbing insider her head. What on earth had happened last night?
Finally, she slowly propped herself up. Samantha still felt dizzy but after a few moments of blinking and squinting she could look around the room. She was sitting on the old sofa in Jane’s shared flat. The living room around her had turned into a battlefield overnight, with empty plastic cups and various alcohol bottles lying around the floor. Some drink had been spilled over the coffee table and half the floor. Barely she could make out the silhouette of someone lying on the carpet at the far side of the room. Bright sunlight flooded in though a gab in the only partially closed curtains.
She did not quite remember, but it looked as if there had been a good party… Blurry faces and other incoherent images flashed through her mind. None of it really made sense though.
With a groan she rolled on her back and stared at the ceiling.
Never before had something like this happened to her.
Finally, and with still aching muscles, Samantha stood up. She had to tightly grip the backrest of the sofa to keep her balance. For a moment she did not remember which door led to which room, but then the world started spinning again and she just headed towards the one she thought was the bathroom. After she pushed open the door, Samantha needed a moment to find the light switch. When she did, the whitish neon bulb at the ceiling came to life with an angry hum.
Samantha gave off a muffled shriek. She was immediately wide awake, speechlessly staring at the distorted reflection that looked back at her from the mirror. This could not be. Her face was pale with an unhealthy shade of grey, where tears had washed down her eye-liner. Her formerly mid-back long mane of wavy brown hair had been hacked off in multiple places, leaving her with whole chunks missing all the way around her head. It looked as if madman had randomly sliced through it with hedge shears.
Samantha began to shake, and she had to grab the door frame to not sink to the ground.
What on earth had happened to her? “Oh… oh my god.”, she whispered to herself. This could not be real. Then her eyes met the small piece of metal at the below her nose and for the first time she truly became aware of the slight painful throbbing that radiated from the centre of her face. Was this really…?
Slowly she stepped closer to the mirror. Samantha’s mouth dropped open as she realized that there was a small black piercing stuck through the centre of her nose. In disbelief she toughed the small metal ring, but it was definitely real. For a moment she closed her eyes to suppress the rising panic. Then she spun around and left the bathroom with a groan of frustration and helplessness.
It was barley a day since she had left the US and now she could not remember half of that time and had the hangover of her life, quite apart from the fact that someone had apparently butchered her hair and face.
And she really couldn’t even remember a single bit.
Still unsure on her feet, Samantha made her way over to her sister’s room. The door was only ajar and she could push it open without making much noise. The sight of the room made her freeze in the door frame. A shelf and an indoor plant had fallen over and lay on the ground, in between a mess of cloth and other items. Under the blanket of the bed she could make out the silhouette of two bodies, one definitely being her sister and one a young, dark-skinned man she did not know. The two of them were mostly covered by the fabric of the sheets but it was not hard to guess that both of them were naked beneath. The guys’ hand was gently dug into Jane’s hair while her head rested on his chest.
Samantha grinned unwillingly, despite her own awful situation. That was a side of her older sister she hadn’t seen yet.
As quiet as she had come in she left the room and closed the door behind her. It would have been unfair to wake Jane in that situation. She probably had a hangover herself. She deserved not to be woken by the hue and cry of her younger sister.
Samantha stood in the hall again, alone and unsure what to do. One option was to just wait for the others to wake up but that did not feel right. She needed to do something or talk to someone or she would turn insane… But who? Besides her sister, Samantha barely new anyone around here. Or at least she could not remember anyone. And she did not particularly want to be around when the other stranger in the corner woke up.
Then the image of a young women suddenly flashed through her head. She had come to pick them up before they had gone to the party. Her name was … Alandra? Samantha was not quite sure – her Spanish had not been tested in practice very often and she had no guarantee she had gotten everything right. But now that she thought about it, the two of them had talked for quite a while at the past evening. Alandra had told her that she was working in a small barbershop right at the beach promenade…
Her brain still needed a moment to realize what that meant, but as she did, a wave of relief caught her, and Sam actually grinned. This Alandra was not only the only person she could go to right now, but it was the perfect one, too. Someone who could actually fix her hair.
Quickly she grabbed a fresh black top from her luggage and went back into the bathroom. Ignoring her awful appearance as much as possible, Samantha washed the destroyed make-up off her face and put on the new top. Just as she was on her way to leave the flat, a hat stand next to the door caught her eye. A thin cap of black wool was hanging there next to some mantles. For a moment she indecisively bit her lip, but then she grabbed the cap and left.
Surely no one would miss it in the next few hours.
On the way down the old, dirty stare case she put it on and carefully hid every strand of her misshapen hair under the fabric. Out on the street, Samantha took a deep breath. Until now she had not noticed how bad the air in the flat had been. With a quick glance in a nearby shop window Samantha checked her appearance: No one would have worn something like this voluntarily on such a warm day, but at least she no longer looked like a hobo. Then she turned and started walking, without exactly knowing where to go.
About an hour later, Samantha finally reached the beach promenade. She probably had taken a large detour but she did not care. The walking and the fresh air had helped her clear her mind and the headache was almost gone by now. However, she still had not much of a clue what had happened the past night. Most of it was still covered in haze.
Without knowing where exactly the barbershop was, her best chance at finding it was to walk along the whole promenade. She randomly decided on a direction and began to make her way through the growing stream of people. As Samantha reached the end of the street, where the promenade turned into a smaller path to a different part of the beach, she stopped and looked around.
Just as she was about to decide she probably had chosen in the wrong direction, she noticed the worn-down sign of a bus station, she had walked by a few meters back. A detail of her sister’s story popped into her mind and she had to smile. She really hoped this was the right place.
Samantha made her way back to the pole and there actually was a small barbershop right behind it. The unremarkable shop had neither a proper sign nor any other advertisement and the single small room felt closer to a large shop window than an actual store. Only a handful of seats were placed along the wall and just one of them was currently in use. Just right now a young woman with a short curly bob cut was about to remove the cape from an elderly customer. While both went to a small counter and the man pulled out his wallet, she seemed to make a joke at which her customer had to laugh loudly. Samantha leaned on the pole of the bus sign and continued to watch the scene from the street.
The pictures from last night were still blurry but she was almost a hundred percent certain that this was Alandra. As the man left and the young hairdresser began to clean up the floor, she took a deep breath, hemmed and stepped into the shop. A nervous feeling lingered in her stomach as her brain fumbled for the right words in her Spanish vocabulary.
“Alandra?”, she began in an unsure voice.
The young women turned around and stared at her for a moment, before her face turned into a mixture of amusement and disbelief.
“Sam? What in the world happened to you?”
Sam had to grin at the thought of what she probably looked like compared to yesterday – all in black, tired and with a nose piercing.
“Ugh well, it was a rough night, I guess. I can’t really remember…”
“Are you all right?”
Samantha thought she noticed serious concern in her eyes, which immediately caused her to feel more secure. After all this was a good friend of her sister’s and she would help her for sure.
“I only got a slight hangover, nothing to worry about. Really. I feel OK. The only problem is this…”, Samantha explained as she pulled off the woollen cap.
If Alandra was surprised or shocked she hid it well. For a moment she just stood there, mindfully studying Samantha’s head with a light smile on her lips. After a moment she asked in an almost laughably dry tone of voice:
“I assume there is an interesting story behind this.”
Samantha shook her head.
“So do I. But I really can’t remember it for the life of me…”
Then Alandra’s smile suddenly turned into a cheeky grin as she declared: “Well, there is nothing about this I can’t fix one way or the other. And if it is any comfort to you, I knew we would end up shaving off these locks the very moment I first saw you. Just take a seat, I will be there for you in a second.”
Samantha gave her a worried look bot Alandra had already turned away. While the hairdresser was pressing some buttons on the register, Samantha tossed her cap on a metal shelf near one of the seats and sat down in the barber’s chair next to it. She took out her phone, but the screen stayed black, no matter which button she pressed. The device probably had run of power hours ago. That meant she couldn’t even tell Jane where she went. Looking back, she probably should have left her a note before leaving.
With a heavy sigh she put the device aside and forced herself to face her mirror-image. She was looking better than earlier but really not very good overall. Somehow her skin was paler than usual and the part of her nose where the new piercing had been inserted was red and slightly swollen. But the worst of all was obviously the hair: Some parts at the side and half of her once long, sweeping bangs were almost cut down to the scalp. Most of the rest barely touched her shoulders any more with some lonely strands still falling to her back and some others being cut so short that they left visible gabs trough witch you could see the skin of her neck beneath.
Unwillingly she wondered how Alandra possibly planned to fix this. The comment about ‘shaving off her locks’ gave her a vague idea and she was not sure if she liked it…
Then Alandra’s voice brought her back to reality.
“Come over here, we’re going to wash your hair first.”
Sam did as she was asked and went over to a flat seat in front of a small basin. She sat down and with slight pressure Alandra forced her head back. The next moment warm water was flowing through her hair and over her scalp. Samantha closed her eyes and tried to enjoy the pleasant feeling of Alandra’s fingers massaging her head. Shampoo was added and she could feel how it was rubbed into her crippled hair.
“Now tell me again: What happened? I can barely belief that someone could forget getting her hair butchered like that. And this piercing is new too, right?”, Alandra began after a moment.
“I know it sound strange. But seriously. After I woke up I could barely even remember your face. Most of last night is just a haze… Including everything that happened to me. To be fair, I drank a lot. And yes, I fear the piercing is new…”
As Alandra just replied with a thoughtful rumbling, she continued to ask: “Can you tell me anything? You were there too after all, right?”
“Not much, I fear. I left pretty early after Jane disappeared with some guy. The party was not that great anyway and then Matías – my boss – sent me a message that I’d have to work today after all… Whatever. But speaking of your sister, what’s about Jane? She sure knows what happened.”
With a grin Samantha said: “Well I haven’t asked her, yet. And that probably has to do with the guy you’ve mentioned: She was not alone when I last looked in her room…”
Alandra’s finger stopped moving for a second and her tone was full of disbelief as she asked: “Did they…?“
“I guess so.”
“Well, who would have guessed that? My dear Jane finally got laid. It was past time anyway; she just looks so sweet with her new hair that I can scarcely believe it took so long… Not much longer and I’d probably had made a move myself.”
Samantha was not sure what to answer so both of them stayed silent for a moment. One last time Alandra’s fingers drove through her hair to wash out the last bit of shampoo, then she pulled a fresh towel from a pile and slung it around Samantha’s head.
“Anyway, I’ll hear that story from Jane herself. She planned to come by later anyway. Now let’s focus on you and this master peace of a haircut. ”
Sam held the towel tightly and went back to the first seat while Alandra was pulling along a small storage tower on wheels. All kinds of equipment was stored in boxes on the different levels. The hairdresser grabbed a role of thin white paper tape from one of them and tightly wrapped a stripe around Samantha’s neck. Then a large cape of slightly transparent nylon was tossed over her and closed with a clip in the back. With her arms caught under it, Samantha somehow felt trapped and exposed. Then she could feel how Alandra removed the towel and used it to dry her hair. After the major part of the wetness was soaked out, Alandra’s fingers began to collect the hair in her neck and drew out the last few strands that were still long enough to be caught under the cape.
Samantha nervously bit her lip as Alandra began to comb around different parts of her hair, taking a closer look at its state. She still hoped the hairdresser would come up with some sort of creative solution but she only needed to take a look at the mirror to know that all skill and fantasy of the world would not be able to turn this mess in a proper cut. She swallowed hard at the thought of what that probably meant. Unlike her two older siblings, she had never had anything even close to short hair and she loved the feeling and the options of her long curly mane. But half of it was gone anyway, so…
“So, what do you think?”
Alandra slowly shook her head.
“It’s just completely messed up, Sam. Even worse than I thought at first glance. Half of each side seems to be short, the other half long and then there are some especially deep holes at the back and the top-left where not even half an inch of hair is left… I’m really sorry but it’s nearly impossible to turn this into an even cut.”
Somehow Samantha doubted that she was actually sorry. Alandra looked like a child that got to open its presents on Christmas Eve. The hairdresser somehow seemed to have a real obsession with cutting off people’s hair. At least, Samantha told herself, that meant that one of them would have a fun time. She herself felt incredibly nervous.
“And that means…?”
“You’re going to see soon.”, Alandra murmured, while she began to search for something in her pile of equipment.
“Oh come oooone, that’s not fair. How short is it going to be?”
“Quite.”, came the short answer, while the hairdresser was still focused on her equipment. Samantha sighted in resignation. Actually, it did not really matter what Alandra was planning. Everything would be better than the current state. At least that was what she hoped. And the super short hair her sister was wearing did not look that bad after all.
“OK, go on then. It’s not like I have much of a choice anyway.”
Although she tried to stay relaxed on the outside, her heart was racing inside her chest. The nervous feeling in her stomach was now mixed with awkward excitement. Would Alandra chop off all her hair?
Then Alandra seemed to have found what she was looking for: She went over to the place where the elderly man had been sitting earlier and grabbed a slim, silver electric razor that was still lying on the shelf next to the seat.
Samantha’s stomach twisted. After all, this was the answer on how sort it would be….
Alandra exchanged the guard on the razor for a different one and plugged in the machine. She grinned when Sam twitched as it was turned on. To Samantha, the buzzing sound seemed dangerously aggressive and weirdly arousing at the same time. She could almost physically feel the vibration in the air. With her jaw tightly clenched, Sam shut her eyes. As Alandra noticed her rising panic, the hairdresser turned the clippers off again and gently put a hand on Samantha’s shoulder.
“OK, calm down. As I sad, it’s nearly impossible, but just nearly. The best thing I can do is to cut off everything to an even length. This will be really short for now but in two or three weeks it’ll be long enough to shape it into a proper haircut like your sister’s. Or maybe you’ll even like the buzzcut and want to keep it, who knows. For now, I’ll probably need at least a number 4 guard to even out all the holes. That is still a good bit longer than this…”, the hairdresser explained, while holding up the long upper section of her own bob cut. For the first time Samantha noticed that Alandra’s nape and parts of her sides were shaved quite short. When Alandra saw Samantha’s miserable expression, she added with a smirk: “This is the part your sister liked best, so try to enjoy it.”
Samantha nodded and the buzzing sound started again. The panic was still there but somehow the thought of her whole head being shaved that short was not as frightening as she had expected. Now that it was inevitably decided what was going to happen, she began to calm down, just leaving herself to the anticipation of the moment.
Her head was gently pulled back into her neck and the humming sound grew louder as the blades came closer. Then the guard touched her forehead and the intense vibration on her skin made her shiver.
She would just focus on the experience and deal with the result later, she decided.
Sam closed her eyes and waited for Alandra to begin. After a long moment the clippers finally began to move. The humming sound became a lower crackling noise as the twitching blades toughed the first line of hair. Then the device pulled back over the crown of her head in a single slow, smooth motion. Suddenly an unexpected wave of arousal cascaded through her body. The mild vibration on her skin was a more exciting sensation than she would have ever imagined. Samantha could feel how parts of her beloved main were separated from her head, raining down in a mixture of short stubbles and longer strands. Where the hair was shaved off, only a cool and light feeling remained. Sam had to grin as Alandra drove the clippers over her crown with slow and precise motions. Then Sam’s head was slightly pushed to the left and the right side of her head was shaved in the same manner. Samantha enjoyed each single stroke. After some time, the clipper moved over to left, continuing its work there. Finally, Samantha’s head was gently forced forward and Alandra began to shave her neck, pushing the clipper up the neckline. Samantha was almost shaking from subtle arousal while the last long strands were floating down onto the cape. When the clippers were turned off at last, she kept her eyes closed for another moment, while trying to understand what had just happened. She was breathing heavily, and her heart was beating faster than ever, while her fingers where tightly grabbing the armrests of the seat.
This simple haircut defiantly had been one of the more exhilarating things that had ever happened to her. Alandra’s voice finally called her back into reality.
“So, how did you like it?”, she asked with a knowing grin.
Samantha opened her mouth in search for words, but she needed yet another moment before she could speak properly.
“Wow, it felt really good. I mean really good. If I’d known…”, she stammered.
Then her eyes crossed the mirror in front of her and she stopped in the middle of the sentence. The mess of hair from a few minutes ago was all gone and only an even surface of short stubbles was left on her head. The narrow halo of short, dark hair framed her face nicely and for the first time she could clearly see the shape of her head and her elegantly curved neckline. Overall it made her look way more mature, with a slight touch of badassness added by the piercing.
“And I guess it looks good, too. I never thought I would, but honestly, I kind of like it…”
“Well, wait a moment before you judge. We are not done yet. Turns out, #4 was not short enough.”
Alandra picked up a hand mirror and held it at a slight angle behind Samantha’s head, so that she could see the back of her head through the double reflection. The view of her shaved neck sent another shiver of excitement down her spine, but she also knew what the hairdresser was talking about: Although her hair was already shaved quite short, there were still uneven places all over the back side of her head, where a scissor had cut in especially deep and left her almost bald in some spots.
“Well, we could ether leave it like that and you come back in a few days, when it has grown out a little. Or we take off even more until you really can’t see any of those deeper marks anymore.”
Sam bit her lip and thoughtfully stared at the unfamiliar sight of her mirror image. Although she took some time to speak it out loudly, she had made her decision within seconds. She had already lost her beautiful hair, now she would not stop somewhere half way in.
“I’ll go shorter.”
Alandra nodded and with a satisfied smile she picked up the clippers again.
“I honestly think #3 won’t be enough either, so I propose I’ll just use the #2 guard right away. In my opinion, that’s the best length for a full buzzcut anyway. Shorter can be great too, but you’ll look mostly bald at that point. Would not be such a big problem with thick hair like yours, but especially if you have hair as fair as your sister’s.”
Samantha nodded as Alandra exchanged the guard of the clipper for the shorter one.
So her new hairstyle would be “not quite bald”. That would be an interesting revelation to make to her friends. And her parents. Any anybody looking at her, ever. Even Jane would probably not know what to say. Though somehow the thought of people turning their heads after her was not as scary as she had thought it would be. It might in fact be exciting.
Sam grinned. Back home she would be the cool girl, who went to visit her sister in Europe and came back after fall break with a badass shaved head and a piercing. It would be awesome.
Snapping out of her thoughts, she met Alandra’s gaze, who eyed her with a bemused look, one eyebrow slightly arched.
“What? What is it?”
Alandra, still smiling, slowly shook her head as she answered: “Nothing. I just realized that you and your sister are alike in more ways than I first thought. You both have certain… fire. Make sure you don’t lose that.” Then she added with a wink and a slightly abashed smile: “Its sexy.”
For an endless moment Sam was unsure what to say as thoughts rushed through her head. She was sexy? Had Alandra just… flirted with her? It seemed strange to consider, but somehow the offhanded comment had not seemed like one of Alandra’s usual quips. It had been sincerer. The thought made her heart beat faster for some reason. As she met Alandra’s deep, dark eyes once again, Sam immediately blushed profusely.
“Well…. Thank you, Ala. That is nice of you to say. I will try.”
Both stayed silent for another long moment, not meeting each other’s gaze and unsure what to say. Then Alandra suddenly snapped back into her normal, smiling, teasing self as she lifted the clippers up with a dangerous grin and flipped the power switch. Immediately, the room was once more filled with the droning buzz of the tiny razor blades flicking back and forth.
“Very well then, let’s get to it. Are you ready? There will be no fixing this afterwards, since there won’t be much more to take off.”
Sam grimaced for a moment but nodded.
The guard touched her scalp without any further warning and Alandra began to move the machine over Samantha’s head from front to back in long, smooth arches. Without the long curly mane, the change felt considerably less momentous as short strands and stubble began to rain down onto the cape on all sides. Still, the image of the twitching blades slicing through her hair combined with the sound and the stimulating vibration on her skin were exhilarating enough. Sam closed her eyes as the shavings started to settle on her face.
She now concentrated completely on the sensation of the clippers on her head. This feeling truly was amazing. She started to get why Jane had begun to enjoy her haircuts so much since she had made the big chop. Doing this regularly muse be the highlight of her week. The whole experience felt sensual, almost sexual. The thought sent a pleasant shiver through her body and Sam had to smile involuntarily. Some day she absolutely needed to repeat this in private, where she could actually do something about this…. But she’d probably need someone else…? Her thoughts drifted off while Alandra was running the clippers over her head over and over again.
Some time had passed, and Ala had gone over the same spots multiple times when the sound finally stopped, and the vibrating sensation vanished. It was replaced by a more high-pitched humming and Sam could feel the light tough of a smaller razor as Ala evened out the hairline in the front, back and around the ears. Then the second sound stopped too. Sam pushed herself upright in the padded seat when Alandra started speaking again.
“Keep your eyes closed for one more second, sweetie.”
She could feel the subtle sensation of a brush dancing over her face. Sam suppressed the need to sneeze. Instead she pressed her lips together tightly and forced herself to hold out. Finally, she was released.
“Ok, done. Open your eyes and bathe in the glory that is your amazing new look. I call it Perforce Punk.”
Sam did as she was instructed and eagerly studied the mirror image staring back at her. The view was not all too different from what she had seen before, but at the same time, the changes made all the difference: With her hair shaved this short it followed the shape of her head perfectly and faded smoothly into the shape of her neck and the skin beneath. Despite the short length, her dense, dark hair still covered the skin well and her hair seemed to largely have retained its former colour. The buzzcut itself was done neatly and she could not make out any stray hairs standing out from the even surface of her short-cropped hair. With her final touches, Ala had angled the hairline above her ear in a sharp edge that formed a distinct point in front of each ear.
She did look badass. And she could see where Ala hat gotten the questionable title of Perforce Punk from. With the short hair and the nose ring her look had a certain edge that just barely fit with the rest of her usually quite clean-cut exterior.
Out of impulse, Sam stuck her tongue out at her mirror image. Badass. When she noticed Alandra looking at her with a bemused smirk, she blushed yet again but after a moment burst out in laughter nonetheless. Alandra immediately joined in.
“It looks great, Ala. I never would have expected it, but I actually really like this style. It brings out my eyes, I think.” She stared at the mirror for one more moment, exhaling sharply. Now that it was done she felt a tension, she had barely been aware had been there, lift.
“Are you alright?” Once again, the honest concern in Alandra’s voice made Sam’s heart jump and she shot the pretty hairdresser a quick smile.
“Yes, its fine, don’t worry about it. I just still feel last night in my bones. So far today I woke up with a hangover, aimlessly wandered through a foreign city thousands of miles from home and got my hair shaven down to bare stubbles. And don’t forget the nose ring. All that before breakfast, might I remind you. Its just… I need coffee. And sleep.”
Alandra once again burst in laughter at her little speech.
“You poor thing. Then let’s go get you that coffee.”
With that Alandra started to first remove the nylon cape and then the crepe paper band around Sam’s neck. Now, with the cape removed, the buzzcut let her neck seem even longer and slenderer. Not a bad thing at all, Sam decided. She looked good.
“Can you just do that? Leave for coffee, I mean?” Sam asked wonderingly as Alandra cleaned up her lower neck with the smaller clippers and removed the remaining stubbles the large, soft brush.
“Sure I can. Especially today. I told you, I actually shouldn’t have had to work today at all. My boss called me sometime last night – last night– to tell me he needed me to work after all because he was busy. He sounded drunk, if I’m honest. He’s a nice guy but sometimes he’s also just a douche. Anyway, he will be grumpy for a while, but he’ll understand. It’s basically half my shop anyway.”
“Then”, Sam started with a smile, “I should probably thank him too, in a way. I don’t know what I would have done if you had not been here today.”
“I get that a lot”, Alandra replied with a wink. Then she put the last tools aside and gestured to Sam that she could stand up. Slowly she got up, stretched her stiff arms and legs and ran her fingers through her hair. It was now so short that she could barely grasp the strands between two fingers. Then she turned to Alandra and shot her a shy smile. Standing up, she was about the same height as the Spanish girl.
“I bet you do.”, Sam said with a shy smile. Then she paused for a second before continuing nervously: “I just have to say, Ala, I feel really comfortable around you. I mean, you are a friend of Jane’s and I barely know you but still… I’m sorry if this sounds crazy. Anyway. Thank you so much for your help.”
Alandra just smiled at that.
“Its not crazy. And I really like you too, Sam. Must run in the family. As does, apparently, the thing for amazingly pulling off short hair.”
Sam blushed and again, both stayed silent for a moment. The diffuse noise of the busy promenade poured in from outside and they could hear the faint horn of a ship somewhere in the distance.
Sam eyed the hairdresser’s face out of the corner of her eye, trying to decide if she had understood correctly. Had she picked up the right vibe here…? She just needed to know.
“Ok then, can I ask another crazy question?”, Sam finally started, hesitantly. “Did you and Jane ever… You know?”
For a moment surprise flashed over Alandra’s face, before finally a sad smile flashed over her lips.
“Hook up? No, we did not. I don’t think she feels that way about me. Or about women in general, at that.”
Sam nodded slowly and was just about to say how sorry she was when Ala interrupted her:
Sam gave off a small gurgling sound as she almost swallowed her own tongue. Had Alandra really just asked if she felt attracted to women? And… Did she? For a few endless seconds she listened to the raging emotions inside herself before the answer, that she had somehow known for some time, for the first time really became clear to her.
“I suppose I do.”, she whispered. Even to her ears the phrase sounded more like a question then an answer. For a long moment she stared into Alandra’s intense, dark eyes before finally blushing and turning away.
“Then, dear Sam, we absolutely need to get that coffee you were just talking about.”
Without waiting for an answer, Alandra took Sam’s hand, intertwined her fingers with Sam’s and started to gently pull her out of the small shop onto the street. Still stunned, Sam glanced back to the seat where she had been sitting. A ring of long, dark curls lay spread around it on the ground. Well, that was over. She had to grin. Time for something new.
Outside the crashing of waves, the sound of distant cars and the mixing voices of people filled the air. Now and then the early autumn weather sent cool gusts down the promenade. Despite the still warm weather, the wind felt chill on her now nearly exposed scalp and ears. Sam shivered; this time in excitement.
In a sudden burst of anticipation, Sam leaned in and breathed a quick kiss on Alandra’s cheek. With a shy smile on her lips she whispered: “Thank you. And yes. Let’s go get that coffee, Ala. And this time, it’s my treat.”
Some notes about this:
- I wrote this story some time ago and as with The Price of Shelter revised it a few times over the years as my English skills got better. Still, im not a native speaker so please excuse the stuff I got wrong after all.
- This is part 2 of a series. Part 1 is linked on the top of the side. I have not written a part 3 yet, but I’ll make sure to post it should I decided to. After all there actially is a cliffhanger in this lol.
- Also, all the dialogue in this story is supposed to be in Spanish. I do not speak Spanish and I suppose neither do most of you, so its written out in English. Just use your imagination 🙂
- And finally:, as allways: copyright -name obscured- (me), 2018 (please be a decent human being and don’t steal what is not yours)