Vampber – The Start


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Perhaps it isn’t fair to just bring you right into the present, when there’s a hefty bit of history that could explain the events of the now. The origins of my fascination go way back. There wasn’t really a piece of concrete evidence in my early childhood -other than the frequent curious peeking into barbershops. I guess I finally came to realise it a little more wholeheartedly towards the end of Year 12, days before the summer holidays.

 

Certainly, being a vampire warrants me the gift immortality, but in all honesty I wasn’t Turned too long ago. Back in my pre-vampire youth, society wasn’t as open as it is today, but still not the most primitive. Let’s just say I was blessed to live a youth when the Gallaghers were still making music together and when Lennon and McCartney were heard a little more often on the radio.

 

So as I was saying, just before the summer holidays-

 

*

 

School was never too big of an event for me. Yeah, there were memories and friends, and yeah, I did alright for my academics and extracurriculars (I was a decent dramatic, mind you).

 

Few friends stood out prominently, and I guess it was what happened to one of them that truly gave way to my realisation.

 

Elijah had been a close friend since kindergarten, mainly due to the fact that we’ve been neighbours since we were born. He followed me up into school, though we never did have that much luck of getting into the same classes. Nonetheless, we tended to hang out quite a bit during recess and after school, occasionally with a few other friends from our classes.

 

However, it was that day during lunch when he sat right in front of me at the lunch table that things sort of, picked up.

 

“Holy cow you cut your hair” my first words couldn’t have been more obvious the moment my eyes set their gaze on his crown.

 

“Would’ve taken a rocket scientist to make that observation, innit’?” he snapped sarcastically with a look. “But, do you like it?” then he asked almost curiously.

 

His shaggy mop top had been replaced with a really short boy cut; the sides and back were cut short and tapered while the top was left a little longer with a gentle side part.

 

“I think the shorter hair’s kinda cute,” I admitted to being wholly mesmerised by his head of short hair. Back in school, it was a trend for the boys to keep long hair, so at that moment it felt like I was staring right at the only boy to ever have short hair, which was indeed stunning to look at. “The sides look really short as well…” I commented with regards to the clipper-shorn sides.

 

“Well, I just wanted something shorter for the summer. You would not believe how cooling it can be,” he commented with a pat on the back of his nape.

 

“Could I touch it?”

 

The request shot out of my mouth almost unexpectedly. Elijah gave a widened eye shock at first- honestly, that was exactly how I felt about myself after I said that-, but eventually relented with a “go ahead”.

 

My hands found their way to sides and back of his head, and gosh the prickly sensation was just too much to handle. “What did you tell your barber though? Just told him to cut it short?” I wanted to know more.

 

“Sorta. Just told him to cut it short on the sides back and have it longer on top. He did also suggest to…” and then my mind seemed to trail off. I seemed to have tunnel visioned on his hair, not hearing much of what he said next- only catching snippets of “short parting” or “brush cut” and some other stuff while my fingers explored his hair.

 

I was awoken from my trance when I heard him scoff, followed by an almost absurd suggestion. “You know if you love touching it so much why don’t you just cut your hair short like that.”

 

I felt my cheeks turn warm with colour, and then I laughed. “Yeah, right. Me? Cut my hair that short?” I retorted, and we both laughed it off.

 

*

 

It was only a few hours later that I found myself standing in front of a barbershop down on Jules Lane that I knew I didn’t exactly laugh it all off. That brief moment of me blushing only haunted me throughout the day at school with the thing that I truly wanted to do.

 

“Nah, come on Carms, you’re not actually gonna do this, are you?” my head kept telling me. Like the umpteenth time that day. But every time it said that, my heart was only getting more pumped about it.

 

I told Elijah I’d hang out with him later in the day when he asked me if I wanted to, giving the excuse that I had to run some “errands” first before dropping by his place. Well, a prospective haircut was an errand, I guess.

 

I made sure I came at a somewhat strategic time- when the sun was soon to go down. Closing time was the best to strike, innit? A little peek inside only proved that to be true for me, with a middle aged man in a white smock sweeping up in an empty shop. Oh dear sir, I am so sorry to have to litter all over that floor with some, or perhaps a lot, of my red.

 

“You can’t be serious,” my head was getting a touch desperate as my hand reached out to the handle. I heaved in that last deep breath of courage I needed, and pushed.

 

The bell hung on the door gave a cheerful ring as the barber was alerted to my presence in this generally masculine environment he worked in. The radio was on, blaring away on some news on the stocks, and lights were slightly dim which gave me not so much time to adjust to this very alien place.

 

“Hello there, young lady,” he greeted as brightly as his bells. “Could I help you?” He most definitely was not expecting me to be a customer.

 

“Hiya! Yeah… I was, uhm, looking to get a haircut,” I announced to him, my pulse racing to an unbelievable rate.

 

“A haircut?” I saw his eyes glance to the top of my head, where my slightly high ponytail started. “I wouldn’t say I’m the best for doing long hair, love. Would you rather a salon?”

 

“Perfect time to just agree with him and turn around right now,” my head was throbbing at my heart to stop this absurdity. “We can all just walk away and laugh that this ever happened.”

 

But my heart just couldnt. “No no, I’m actually looking to get it cut,” the next word was actually quite tough to get out “short.”

 

He raised his eyebrows. “I mean, even so, those ladies at the sal-”

 

“No no, I mean like”-if I thought that was tough, I couldn’t imagine this one-” really short. Something for a boy, if you may.”

 

Now I’ve really done it. One of his eyebrows went high into his forehead, then it sank back down in somewhat defeat. “Well, I guess you can have a seat and I’ll see what I can do for you,” he invited me meekly to his chair.

 

I couldn’t help but fix a smile before heading straight for the barber’s chair. It wasn’t too gargantuan given that I was a little tall for my gender and age. I hopped into the red vinyl cushions that welcomed me as I was greeted by my own reflection in a circular mirror hung hung in front of me. Below it was a little table filled with all kinds of barbering tools from scissors and combs to razors and hair clippers.

 

“This is not happening. You’re just daydreaming at school. You’re not gonna do this,” my head was spinning round, but I grounded my feet to the footrest in reality. And as Oasis’ Live Forever came on the stereo, I just knew that this was so going to happen.

 

“I’m Lester, by the way,” he introduced himself as he got out some tools from his dresser.

“I’m Carmen! It’s nice to meet you,” I replied.

 

Lester stood directly behind the chair with a few of his apparatus in hand; he first fixed up a strip of neck tissue right around my neck, then flicked up a striped barber cape above me, letting it settle over my body. He tied it nice and snugly around my neck, with its full area covering my body till the lower part of my shins.

 

Lester took out a comb, and with another hand reached out towards my ponytail.

 

“Wait,” I stopped him, his fingers centimetres from my hairband. Lester halted with a glance at me in the mirror, and must’ve been thinking- she’s probably realising what a mistake she’s making, probably gonna back out now. “No need to remove the band,” I continued, and he must’ve really been thinking I’d given up now with the look on his face. “You can just snip it right off,” I announced with so much courage whose origins still remain unknown.

 

“Oh,” as all that came out of him, his face slightly dumbfounded, but he quickly pulled back into composure by stashing his comb and pulling out his scissors. With a hand he held my tresses, and with another his tool. “You’re 100% sure about this, miss?” He sought to clarify one last time.

 

My entire body was at a rush now, and my stomach was grumbling and dead knotting itself ten times over, and my head spun with the thoughts of regret and the stabs of fear. And all I did was nod.

 

So in he went, out of my sight as it happened directly behind me. I heard the metal scissors open, and scrunch, and scrunch, and scrunch. The slight tension tugged at my scalp as the head was slowly being liberated of its weight. Scrunch, and scrunch, and scrunch, and before I knew it, it felt like the weight of the world was lost as wisps of my fiery red hair fell to my chin.

 

Up almost like a trophy, Lester presented to me the result of my sudden impulsiveness, juxtaposed with my rough red bob that was now left behind. “Do you wanna keep it?” he sounded concerned for my sentimentality over my hair.

 

I looked at the ponytail in the mirror for a moment. “Just the hairband,” I confidently declared. Again, I found Lester in a short dumbstruck moment before he acceded to my request. He carefully removed the band and placed it on the dresser in front before gently letting go of my tresses of hair below the chair.

 

“You still wanna keep going? I mean, I’ve already cut a lot of hair off. We could still make it look nice, sort of a neat bob or a shaggy boy cut,” he suggested.

 

“You’d think that I’d feel rather scared and antsy the moment I lopped off a huge amount of it,” I began saying as I sort of leaned forward towards the mirror, inspecting my head left to right at what’s left of. “But honestly,” I continued, though it sounded almost like I was convincing myself more than I was towards Lester, ”all I’ve got now is a drive to keep going.” I think Lester seemed to have ran out of dumbstruck moments to have the moment I finished saying that. I eagerly leaned back into the chair, the taut cape moving with me. “So a boy cut, please. Short on the sides, long on top,” cheerfully I had voiced what I assumed Elijah had said to his barber, in hopes of maybe ending up with about the same style he had- the style I couldn’t my hands off of.

 

“So really boy short with the clippers?” he sought to clarify yet again. And I nodded. With a half-sigh and half-mutter of an “okay”, he proceeded to the dresser in front that was filled with equipment. There were scissors of all kinds, weird combs that varied in length and thickness, and of course the big black clippers that hung on hooks. And of course, that was the apparatus he was going for, the one way to the cut I never knew I desired so much. “You want it real short or keep it close to about an inch?” he asked.

 

“Uhm,” I almost fumbled, caught off guard by his request for the specifics. I honestly just wanted him to take charge and decide, because I didn’t really know how to explain the exact cut I wanted. Hell, I didn’t even know what was the exact cut I wanted. “Just, uh, make it short and fuzzy, y’know?” I felt telling him what I wanted it to feel like would perhaps be the best thing to say.. While I never had clippers used on me, I only managed to glimpse at it being used here and there as I passed by barbershop. And right now, I was going to know what it was to feel like.

 

“Hmm, okay then.” So he reached out to one of those short combs on the dresser, and then fixed it right on the head of the clippers. A flick, pop, and then the loud hum of the clippers came to be. Years and years of seeing this wonder of a device, and today was my lucky day. Lester took his position behind the chair, the clippers clear as day in the reflection of the mirror.

 

“Head down for me, please,” he requested, and I almost immediately obeyed like a sheep. His hand gently held onto my crown to keep it steady as the clippers found their way onto the base of my neck. It’s hums vibrated through my skin, an unusual warmth that found its way to me. Without much ado, Lester brought it up into my nape of hair.

 

The clippers sounded a little higher in pitch, and I felt the blades slicing up hair on their way up. I felt some heavy locks land on the back of my neck as Lester went for another pass up my neck. He kept going at it again and again, and I couldn’t contain my excitement when feeling all that hair being sheared off and falling like flies onto my neck- it even came to the point where I could even see a glimpse of the hair gathering on my neck through the mirror! My nape was only getting cooler by the moment, and eventually Lester flicked off the hair on my neck. Some of it fell to the floor, while the others became the first bits of my red hair to appear on the cape. I couldn’t help but let out a slight gasp when I realised how long those locks were on the white cape.

 

“It’s only gonna get bigger, young lady,” Lester teased, probably realising my reaction to the hair.

 

“And the hair on top’s only gonna get shorter,” I cheekily retorted, though deep inside I knew this entire journey was just going to end with me being shocked to the core.


Lester eventually moved to the right, and now this was where everything was finally going to be seen. He started right at the cheekbones and slowly moved up. He made a pass, and another, and it was only after the third pass when my locks unceremoniously fell onto the cape, and I almost froze at the sight of what was left. The stubble left behind was brutally short- most definitely shorter than what Elijah’s hair was like- to the point where I could partially see my pale skin. But I straightened myself in the chair as Lester continued his work, making sure I didn’t crack my guise of confidence. I asked for this, and now I shall receive it.

 

It didn’t take long to shear the right side of my head to a little fuzz, the mound of hair growing ever bigger as foretold by Lester. He zipped over to my left side, starting on probably the last side for the clippers to shear down. It was a comical sight in the mirror- short stubble on my right and strong locks of red still intact on the left. It was going to be fixed in a jiffy, but I guess I couldn’t help but smile at just how ridiculous I looked. “This is legitimately your craziest, and probably your stupidest, idea,” my head was telling me as the clippers began their work. “But it may well be the best idea I had in a long time,” I firmly declared to myself as I witnessed my raining hair.

 

Not so far in the distance I heard a familiar ‘shoot’ and bass coming from the radio. “Ah, Beatles,” Lester cheerily commented as I registered that it was ‘Come Together’.

 

“Ooh, this one!” I beamed up. “This has definitely got to be one of their best.”

 

“No doubt. Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly, he got joo joo eyeballs

He one holy roller, he got-” he sang like an old man reminiscing his youth as he continued up my left side.

 

Hair, down, to his knees. Got to be a joker he just do what he please,” we both found ourselves singing along together, catching a brief glance at each other in the mirror while he did his work. “You’re quite the fun little one, aren’t you? Well, would you believe me if I told you I’ve met McCartney before?” he asked.

 

No way,” I wouldn’t believe it.

 

Yes way. Came across him at some pub in Liverpool a few years back.” Just as he said that, I felt a pang of dismay and relief when I heard the buzzing sound stop. I took a moment to get back to my senses to realise that my sides had been completely shorn down. Lester gave the sides and back of my head a nice rub, brushing off any stray hairs as I enjoyed the warmth of his hand so close to my scalp.   

 

“What was he like?” I tried to continue the conversation as he put back the clippers, half-stunned at the current image in the mirror; a teenage girl her down to short stubble on the sides with her fiery red hair still long on top. Well, probably not for much longer.

 

“Quite a friendly lad, actually,” he started. “Didn’t get to talk to him much, probably cos I was piss drunk, but it was pleasant while it lasted,” Lester narrated as he picked a few other items from the dresser before returning to my side.

 

“I wish I could get to meet him someday…” I drifted off as a killer part of the song came on the radio.

 

Come together!” I sang with him, my body grooving slightly under the cape to the guitar, “right now…” I rocked my head to the drums before catching his eye in the mirror. “Over me” we finished the chorus together.

 

He chuckled at my enthusiasm, and as the next “shoot” came around, he was back onto work. “You want to keep it long on top?” he asked as he combed out the remaining lengthy section of hair on my head. “Don’t really have to cut much off, could leave it almost like that really,” he suggested.

 

“Well, it is really long when you compare it to the sides,” I replied, my hands now out of the cape to physically examine my hair. I stroked my fingers through the hair on my crown, looking at what could’ve been a really sick undercut (but then again, we’re talking about a time long ago here. If he’d cut this style sometime in the 21st century he probably would’ve been deemed a genius). My fingers found the sides of my head, and I gasped. It was the feeling- the one I craved.

 

I slipped into a trance slowly, before Lester spoke up to break me out of it. “A little to Bohemian, eh?” he asked.

 

“Uh- y-yeah,” I almost fumbled as I quickly shot my hands back down under the cape. I knew if I tried to absorb and enjoy the sides now, I’d be too overwhelmed. I had to be patient. “Just cut the top nice and short,” I realised I wasn’t giving him a specific enough instruction. “Something like, uh,” I searched my brain to find a suitable way to tell him what I wanted. “A-uh, brush cut?” I shot out what I remembered Elijah said to me- or rather, what I heard him say during a time when I hadn’t been paying attention to him.

 

“Ah… with a short parting?” he seemed to be understanding now.

 

“Yes yes!” I sounded a bit too exciting at familiar words I heard Elijah said. “That’d be great”

 

“Anything for you, young lady,” he said as he picked up a spray bottle from his dresser.

 

He began spraying my hair and combing it through now. While it dampened my hair, I couldn’t help but enjoy the cooling sensation of the droplets of water caressing my scalp. God, I wonder how amazing it was going to feel taking a shower with this little hair?

 

Once Lester was done spraying, he replaced the spray bottle with his trusty pair of scissors. He combed through my wet fiery locks into rough sections. He started from the back of the crown, and I saw right through the mirror as he raised a section of my long red locks. With his forefingers he held up about roughly a couple inches from the scalp, and my pulse set into acceleration. The scissors aimed right above the fingers, and it felt like an eternity as the steel slowly came in for the kill-

 

I almost gasped too loudly when I heard the door’s bell ring. My eyes immediately shifted its focus to the reflection of the door to be greeted by the entrance of a girl. Before I could even register her entire self, I heard a loud SNIP. And almost immediately, yet again, my eyes glanced up to my crown, widening as I saw a short tuft standing up, and widened only further as my I glanced to see the long wet lock that fell onto my cape.

 

“Hiya Kim!” Lester turned slightly to greet the girl that just entered.

 

“Hey dad!” she returned the greeting as she closed the door and turned the sign. Without much ado, Lester had gone back to work on my hair, combing up my locks and preparing to continue cutting. Now that she was a little closer, I could finally get a better look at the barber’s daughter as Lester snipped away. She was an average-built girl, about 18 years old if I could make a quick guess. She had quite the busty figure under her blue blouse, but what was rather remarkable about her was her curly black hair that hung around her ears. “Wow” I couldn’t help but utter under my breath as Lester kept snipping away. She was gorgeous.

 

“Wait a minute, dad, that’s a-”

 

“Yep, a girl,” he announced my presence in his chair and under his cape almost proudly. “Why don’t you meet Carmen? I swear, the way she asked for me to cut her hair short reminded me too much of you,” Lester said to Kim.

 

“Uh, hiya. I-it’s nice to meet you,” I almost blushed, caught in such an awkward situation where I was being shorn in a barbershop only to meet such a beautiful girl. This was really not the place I’d expect to have such a meeting.

 

“You too,” Kim was all smiles at me in the mirror. “You’re getting quite the summer haircut today, aren’t you?” she playfully teased.

 

I chuckled, followed by a “yeah”. My cheeks flushed almost the same colour as my hair, which seemed to be rather swiftly being chopped off by Lester. I tried to lower my gaze in nervousness, definitely not by the cut, but by this stranger whose presence I seemed to enjoy so much.

 

“Oh, I know how terrifying it must feel in the chair, but don’t you worry,” Kim attempted to soothe me as she stepped towards the chair. “It’s going to feel amazing to have short hair. Trust me.”

 

“I trust you,” I so definitely wanted to say, but I held my tongue on that. Her words filled me with such a comfort as I glanced into her eyes. “Hopefully, heh,” I found some confidence in me to reply politely.

 

“You two have got to be the weirdest bunch ever,” Lester commented as he began snipping at sections closer to my forehead, the rain of hair almost never ending.

 

“Ooh, Carmen, dear!” I bolted up almost immediately at her call. “You don’t mind if I snap a few pictures of you?”

 

“Of… me?” I was startled at such an odd request.

 

“Yes, you! I’ve been working on a little photography project, and I think this scene is definitely something that could fit right in perfectly,” Kim seemed rather jumpy and excited.

 

“Uh, sure!” I didn’t really quite know what to say, but agreeing seemed like what I certainly wanted to do.

 

“Great!” she delightedly dug into her backpack for her camera.

 

“See what I mean?” Lester said to me. “A weird one, she,” he joked as he snipped away.

 

Kim returned to my side with her black film camera, her fingers excitedly fiddling away at the buttons on it. “Now, just pretend I’m not here, okay? It’s just my dad and you now, enjoying the haircut. The moment needs to seem genuine,” she instructed.

 

“Okay!” I agreed a little too loudly before shifting my focus back to the haircut. Gosh, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have trouble not focusing on her. But I had to appease her wishes.

 

So I watched as Kim’s dad finished up the cut, snipping at the last few long locks on the top of my head. I glanced down at the now massive mound of hair on my cape; so much hair I never knew I could keep and carry around on my head for so long. Lester then began combing what was left of my hair on top, which was now cut really short to about slightly less than a couple inches. Right in the corner of my eye I could see Kim aiming with her camera, before I heard the click of a shutter.  

 

Lester then began combing out the part towards my left, and I now saw the cut coming into nice shape. It was exactly what I asked for- a really short part with barely any hair that jutted out as a fringe. Heck, I wonder if even had enough hair on top to run through my fingers. Lester unhooked a small mirror from the back of the chair and held behind me. “You like it?” he asked as I took the queue and turned my head from side to side to inspect it. Now I could finally see the back, which I wasn’t surprised to see that was shorn really short like my sides.

 

“I… I love it!” I could barely contain myself when I saw how this all turned out. Short as it may be, I absolutely adored it. It was a weird, different girl staring back at me in the mirror, and I had no regrets as to how this all turned out.

 

“Like I said, weird bunch you two are,” he passingly commented before putting down the mirror. He then took out a neck brush and began sweeping away at the back of my neck. I giggled at how ticklish it felt, and I heard the click of the shutter yet again. Lester then unclipped the cape from the back and slowly slid the cape off. And then I watched in both horror and amusement as my great mound of red hair slid to the floor. “That’s all off you, now,” Lester quipped as he dusted the cape off.

 

I turned back up to face the mirror and to witness the new me. With a sort of caution, my hands slowly grabbed up onto my neck, feeling its slenderness now free of my red hair. And then gradually, the fingers crept up onto the sides- oh, those sides I yearned for to feel. And it was everything I remembered from Elijah’s hair, and even more. I couldn’t stop myself from caressing it all over, the peachy fuzz that prickled the skin of my fingers and palms all so delightfully. And right in the heat of the moment, I heard another click of the shutter.

 

I almost immediately turned towards Kim, unintentionally.

 

“Oh, sorry,” she lowered the camera to reveal a face of nervousness. “Was that a little, too much for a photo?” Kim seemed to have been intruding into my space with the photo she just took.

 

“N-no! Not at all, I- uh just,” I couldn’t find the words to excuse myself, then I tried to shift the subject. “Could you take a simple picture of me?” I asked eagerly.

 

“Sure thing!” Kim was happy to do so. “Err, I think… there,” she gestured at a wall by the back of the shop,” would be a good background.”

 

I willingly got up, my legs almost jellyfing themselves as I stood myself firmly. I walked over to the wall, then stood tall for the camera.

 

“Oh come on, Carms,” I almost stunned when she mentioned my nickname. “Be a model for me, will you?” Kim requested.

 

“Uh- sure,” I agreed, not entirely sure what to do. So I tried to turn myself a little to the side, and head was now looking over my shoulder.

 

“That’s better,” Kim commented as she took aim. “Now, smile!” click  Beautiful,” she remarked, and my cheeks began colouring. “Would you like a copy of these photos?” she asked.

 

“I-if it’s not too troublesome,” I replied, rather delighted that I could get some nice pictures of myself in my new ‘do.

 

“No worries,” Kim said as she stepped towards me. “But, could you do me a favour?” she asked with curious eyes.

 

I looked up into her eyes, gleaming and eager to help her out in any way I could. “Anything,” I gladly said.

 

“Could you accompany me sometime this weekend when you’re free? I wanna get my hair cut short like yours.”

 

*

Elation filled up inside of me as I skipped up the walkway to Elijah’s house. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end my first barbershop adventure. A great cut, and an even better person that came into my life. My head was just spinning thinking of being able to see her again sometime this weekend. Best part of all, she wanted me to accompany her when she got her hair cut. I never knew stars could align so perfectly in my youth.

 

I clutched the folded piece of paper that held her telephone number tightly in my hand. It was most certainly going to be a great weekend.

 

With the sun almost completely setting now, the blue hues of dusk surrounded the bright streetlamps. I stopped to look up at Elijah’s house door, then remembered I had another thing to get through today. I wondered, “what in the world he would think of me?”

 

Surprisingly, this was probably the first ever time I had one of those “new haircut to reveal” sort of moments (I know, shocking for a girl of my interests). But today was the start of my revelation, and the start of me realising more about this peculiar interest that had for so long laid dormant within me.

 

I heaved a heavy sigh, then knocked.

 

There was silence, then footsteps. The chains jangled behind the door and the knob turned. The door opened wide to reveal Elijah, whose eyes and mouth seemed to be much wider than his own door.

 

“Hiya!” I broke the ice of shock first. “Oh, yeah, haha, I got a little haircut.”

 

“C-carmen? Y-you look really different!” his eyes were fixated on my hair, as the reversal of roles settled in.

 

“Really? I don’t think it looks that different,” I sarcastically commented as I walked into his house.

 

“But, how? When? Why?” his face was of incredulity.

 

“Well, you did say that if I liked the way your hair felt, I should just cut it the same way. And well,” I shrugged. “I realised I couldn’t help but agree with you.” I gave him a cheeky smile.

 

“My goodness, what’s all this ruckus?” I heard a faint voice growing louder in the hallway. “Elijah, dear, who’s at the d- oh, Carmen?!”

 

We turned to see Elijah’s mom come from the hallway, almost the same look of shock plastered on her face. “Hi Ms Keaton!” I gave her the same unfazed greeting. “You like my new hair?”

 

“Oh, sweetie, you look gorgeous,” she complimented, her hand reaching out to rub my new hair. “Gosh, I swear, the two of you look like twins.”

 

“Mom, please!” Elijah got defensive.

 

“I’m just joking, you,” she laughed it off. “But you know what I’m definitely gonna do? I definitely need a picture of the two of you like this. I’m gonna go get the camera!” and she darted off into one of the rooms in the hallway.

 

“Mom, you really don’t have to do this,” Elijah let out an exasperated sigh.

 

“Well, I think it’d be really cute if we had a picture,” I spoke out.

 

“Don’t encourage her!” he retorted, but almost right after he had Ms Keaton had already returned with her film camera ready.

 

“Now, squeeze in the two of you!” she gestured for the both of us to move closer together. With an eager hand I grabbed onto his shoulder and pulled him close. Elijah only grunted as Ms Keaton aimed with her camera. “Now, smile you two!” she instructed, but I was already all smiles by then.

 

“One, two, three!”

 

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