Infinitus Hair – Cape Roulette

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Author’s Note

This story is a follow on from ‘Infinitus Hair’. Alot of the aspects such as the hair experience and what the infinitus salon is about is explained in that story. There are also alot of references to that story too so I’d ask you make sure you read ‘Infinitus Hair’ to get everything out of this story. Thanks and enjoy! Also, this is a repost of the same story from the now defunct 1hss site and I don’t know how to add in the pictures that were originally in on here so I’ve had to remove them.

Cheryl sat at the furthest corner of the bar, hidden away inconspicuously from unwanted attention but with a full view of the bar. Watching the door as she absently fingered the straw in her drink, her deep copper hair had grown out to a stylish pixie since her Infinitus experience.

This was the first time she had been to this newly opened bar. The place had a very high end look, but was only skin deep. A glassed topped bar, gold accents in all the furniture and live band playing soft jazz just low enough for people to still have a conversation. Cheryl had paid double what she would normally for her drink, which she had figured from the general atmosphere and clientèle. Either it was people too old and wealthy to care about money or it was the young and naive that hadn’t yet discovered the value of money. It was a Thursday night so it was quite and relaxed, around a dozen others in the bar.

She smiled as she saw Vicki appear at the door, she had changed her hair to a light hazelnut since she had last seen her. Much more toned down compared to the violet purple she had when they first meet. She almost skipped over to meet Cheryl, they hugged briefly before she sat down beside her, ordered a drink for herself and starting exchanging pleasantries.

“The Emma Watson look suits you. Well of course it does, just about any look suits you.” she smiled at Cheryl. Her own hair up in a stylish bun. They had both deliberately not worn anything too risqué for this evening. Cheryl in a knee length skirt and tights with a high necked lace top. Vicki in dark leggings and a daisy print peplum top.

“Did you bring it?” Cheryl asked quietly and a little anxiously.

“It’s in my bag” Vicki replied nodding to it, “Do you honestly expect her just to let you put it on her?”

“I don’t think she’ll realise what it really is until its on. She paid the full amount up front as well so she’s pretty keen.” replied Cheryl with a smirk, “Plus I know she’s wearing it in a ponytail. I saw her selfie on Twitter earlier. That’ll make it much more simple.”

Vicki couldn’t help but laugh out loud a little at that comment,

“You have to love social media. All you need to know is someone’s name and you can simply observe as they document their entire day for anyone caring to look.”

They sat in comfortable silence for a while sipping their drinks and people watching.

“Grace not coming to see this?” Cheryl asked.

“Nah she’s at the shop. She wanted to double check everything was perfect for your first time as lead. You know how she is.”

Cheryl smiled inwardly. After her experience she had spent a lot of time with both Vicki and Grace and had gotten to know the ins and outs of ‘Infinitus Hair’ quite well. Vicki was mostly the visionary and creative one, Grace the astute organiser. She had sat in on a couple of experiences just as an audience and had been involved in another by pulling her wig off to reveal her near bald look for dramatic effect. Vicki had been the lead for her experience and for all but one of the others she had sat in on. Grace had taken personal offence to someone’s slightly homophobic views and was keen to challenge these views in designing the persons experience.

Cheryl thought back to when she had been asked her to be lead for this clients experience. Vicki said she was always conscious of keeping a good balance of mystery, intrigue, risk and reward so to keep someone from saying a safe-word when designing an experience. She told her the whole point of an experience wasn’t meant see if the lead could do as much as they could to the client without the safe-word being used, but rather to bring the client to some sort of revelation.

Once Cheryl had read through the questionnaire she knew what shortcomings about this client she wanted to target and set about thinking about how to test them. The resulting experience she had put together was something even Vicki had said she was in awe of if she could pull it off.

“Heads up…” whispered Vicki, nodding slightly towards the door.

Cheryl looked up and tried to take a calming breath as she watched the three young women swan into the room and towards one of the booths against the wall. Cheryl vaguely noticed the first two girls, perfect make up and wearing dresses that lacked any modesty. It was third that she was most interested in. Carmen.

Perfect alabaster skin, bright blue almond shaped eyes with neatest eyebrows you’ve ever seen. High cheekbones that went with a wide inviting smile and a straight edge nose that you could be forgiven for thinking was too good to be true. Her hourglass figure complimented by her red off-the-shoulder bodycon dress.

She had drawn her long blonde hair up into a sleek ponytail, using the hair itself to cover the band so it looked as if the hair was used to make the knot. Cheryl knew from the questionnaire that at its longest it went just past the middle of her back and completely natural.

“No being jealous of her now hun” teased Vicki.

“Remind me, which one of us was offered a glamour model contract?” retorted Cheryl with an air of smugness.

Vicki rolled her eyes and sipped her drink.

“Best wait until she goes to the bathroom. She’ll be more receptive on her own.”

“I know, I know. You helped me study her remember.” snapped Cheryl, a little harsher than she meant to. Holding back the nerves was becoming difficult.

Cheryl reached into Vicki’s bag and found the special hair clasp she had had made for this experience, with it she drew out a small remote that could fit on a key ring. The hair clasp was an ornate shiny metal cylinder that opened down the middle. Inside she could see the short, thick overlapping pins that held the hair in place once it was closed. She traced her finger around the tiny box that sat just inside one end with a metal rod extending down to the hinge. She pressed the remote to check if it was working, the flash of metal from the box came and went as a whisper.

“Did you finally come up with a name you like for it then?” asked Vicki as she glanced back to Carmen and the two girls.

“Yes, ‘Cut Clasp’. No point in coming up with something too fancy. After all it’s only us that will ever us it.”

They watched and waited for Carmen to move away. Hoping they wouldn’t need to figure out a way to force her without her realising. Eventually the two friends went to the bar to pick out cocktails while Carmen started heading to toilets.

“Here we go. No one else is in there Cheryl hun. You should be fine for anyone walking in. Good luck. I’m sure she’ll bite.” Vicki gave Cheryl’s hand a squeeze before letting her go follow.

Cheryl walked down the full length of the bar, moving her hand to touch her hair and conceal her face as she walked by Carmen’s friends. She reached the door and pushed it open quietly, before rounding the corner and going through the second door.

As she entered the surprisingly bright and pleasant toilet she saw Carmen at one the sinks adjusting her mascara. She pulled herself up to her full height and put on confident demeanour before speaking.

“Hello Carmen”

Carmen screwed up her face and looked over to her.

“How do you-“

“My name is Cheryl. I’m with Infinitus Hair” she let the last part hang. She couldn’t understand why but she felt very grand referring to herself like that.

“Oh…” the sense of recognition flashed onto Carmen’s face, “But I thought my experience was tomorrow afternoon?”

“Don’t worry there’s nothing wrong, I just wanted to give an exclusive gift before tomorrow.” Cheryl held out the hair clasp deliberately hiding the inside, “It’s just a little hair clasp but I think it would really suit you.”

“Well, ok thanks very much…what was… Cheryl. Yes thank you, it looks really unique” Carmen replied, genuinely admiring the polished expensive looking piece.

“Can I see what it looks like on you now?” Cheryl asked as innocently as she could.

“Sure why not!” Carmen exclaimed happily, turning her back to help her.

Surprised at how easily her rouse had worked Cheryl stepped in close and placed the clasp over the knot of the ponytail. She made sure the whole width of hair was in the clasp before pushing it shut until she heard a little click.

“Thank you Carmen. Have a look, see how it feels.”

Carmen duly started flicking her head left and right, looking in the mirror the as she did.

“It looks so original.” she ran her hands over it, feeling for a release. After a moment of poking around it she asked “So how does it come off?”

Cheryl was grinning by this time, watching as Carmen searched in vain for a way to get the clasp off.

“I’m afraid you don’t control that Carmen, I do.” she revealed the remote control from the hidden pocket of her skirt.

Carmen stopped feeling for the clasp and looked at her, a little bemused.

“Carmen that hair clasp is very original. I call it the Cut Clasp. Inside that cylinder Is the usual arrangement of pins to stop you just pulling it off, the same as any other clasp, as well as a little surprise. This remote controls a surgically sharp blade that’s hidden inside. All I have to do is push this switch and that rapunzel ponytail will drop to the floor like the useless trimmings of any other haircut.”

She stood watching Carmen. Letting what she just said wash over and watching to intercept the near inevitable comeback. The wait was achingly long before Cheryl saw her draw breath to speak.

“Wait! Before you blurt out your safe word and end your non-refundable experience…” she made sure Carmen heard those last words, “There is a reason why I’ve got the Cut Clasp on you, but at the moment I can only instruct you to bring those two friends you have with you tomorrow.”

“You…you want to bring Holly and Izu tomorrow?” Carmen asked haltingly.

“Yes. Holly and Izu.” Cheryl repeated the names for confirmation, “Tell them it’s part of a fundraising event you’ve found out about.”

“Fund raising event?! What has that got to do-“

“Do you understand Carmen?” Cheryl asked threateningly, purposefully lifting the remote.

Carmen hushed down and just managed a shaking nod in reply.

“Good” Cheryl put on her best false smile. Trying to take the air of tension out of the room as best she could. “I look forward to seeing you tomorrow Carmen”

With a wink Cheryl turned on her heel and walked out of the toilet. She nodded to Vicki at the bar as she came out before leaving, hoping for good nights rest for the day ahead.

The next day Cheryl stepped down the stairs and into the familiar reception that led into the Infinitus Salon. It was warm, the start of summer warm. She was wearing a light satin blouse with the collar open to halfway down and denim hot pants. She had no desire to try and shock her client with a catsuit like Vicki had for her experience.

She looked around and noticed the small details Grace had put in place. Background noise from the radio, a few flowers with some soft lighting made the whole room feel much more calming than when she had had her experience. The curtains that normally blocked the view to the salon were gone, beckoning anyone who would to walk through the archway.

Inside Grace had obviously given the salon the same treatment. Along with the wash station and cabinet there was now a couple of waiting sofas and a few simple abstract art pieces on the wall. The single immense chromed black barbers chair still dominated the room though, this time with a table sat in front of it with the usual array of hairdressing equipment.

Cheryl was drawn to the long rolling clothes rack to one side of the room. On it hung exactly 50 different styling capes, ranging from the cheap and simple to the extravagant and extrovert. On each of the hangers a black envelope was clipped, the exact contents of which even Cheryl or either of the other girls didn’t know. They had sealed them and mixed them all up together before putting one with each cape.

“It’s all set up. We just need our willing participants.” Cheryl whirled round to see Grace standing the doorway smiling. She had kept her high a-line bob since Cheryl had chopped off most of her hair as part of a power hungry binge in her experience. The binge which she later payed for dearly. Cheryl hadn’t specified any attire for them for today, just something casual and comfortable. Grace had gone for a simple white t-shirt and tight jeans rolled up to the knee with black and white chequered slip on Vans.

“Grace, what can I say but thank you. It looks amazing.” Cheryl stepped forward and gave her a hug.

“It’s what I do babe. Are you all clued up on how to do each of them?” Grace asked, like a mother asking her child if they had finished their homework.

“Yes don’t worry. I’ve watched the videos ten times over and practiced any of the ones I wasn’t sure with on a dummy with Vicki. And if any colouring or treatment’s come up I can do them too. Where is Vicki anyway?”

“Right here! Oh good they haven’t arrived yet.” Vicki said a little out of breath as she appeared at the bottom of the stairs. She had elected for a long flowing taupe beach dress with strappy sandals that had green gem embellishments.

“I swear you couldn’t function without me.” Grace laughed

“So what’s her safe word by the way?” Vicki asked, ignoring the jib and getting straight down to business.

“Unicorn, of all things.” Cheryl replied holding back a giggle, “What is it with cute animals and safe words? Mine was bunnies.”

Just then they heard movement at the top of the stairs, signalling the arrival of Carmen and her friends.

“We’ll take them through and get them settled.” Vicki murmured as the three women emerged, all whispering to each other and looking around as they clung to each other excitedly.

“Hi there girls. My name’s Cheryl and I’m organising this today. If you’d follow Vicki and Grace through to the salon, I just need to sort out some details with Carmen before we get started.”

The girls all trooped through to the salon, leaving Cheryl and Carmen alone out of earshot. Cheryl couldn’t help but smirk as she looking Carmen up and down. Her hair was still up in the grasp of the Cut Clasp as her eyes constantly darted around warily.

“Now Carmen” Cheryl put on her most authoritative voice, “You won’t understand what I’m going to tell you now but it will become apparent once we are through there and I explain what’s meant to be happening to your friends. Firstly, there is no Las Vegas promotion, that’s a front for me to make this easier. Secondly, all the donation’s will be given to charity regardless of wither or not your friends go through with it. Thirdly, and most importantly for you Carmen, if either of your friends back out I will hit the button and you can say bye-bye to all that long hair. Do you understand?”

Cheryl was worried Carmen was going to be sick she turned white so fast at the mention of her losing her long hair, but still nodded nonetheless.

“Good, now follow me through please and we’ll get started.”

Cheryl walked through to the salon and motioned Carmen to sit in the waiting chairs along with her friends. Vicki had been making small talk about the decor and introduced Cheryl to Carmen’s friends. Cheryl then stood in front of the women, ready to explain why they thought they were here.

“Well ladies first off thank you so much for coming today. We’ve been approached by a entertainment group from Las Vegas who are looking to implement a new attraction in one of the casino’s and they asked us to do a trail run and give them some feedback.”

Cheryl waited a moment to allow for the interested looks between they women that came from mentioning Las Vegas.

“What they are calling it is ‘Cape Roulette’ and the concept is that…” Cheryl walked over to stand beside the clothes rack with all the capes, “Each of these styling capes has a black envelope attached to it. In that envelope is a description of a specific haircut as well as a picture of the haircut as it would appear on someone. What cut goes with what cape is completely random, there isn’t a pattern that a cape looks expensive therefore has an expensive looking haircut in it. Once a person picks the cape they want they then sit in the chair and are draped in that cape, the envelope is opened and they get the cut that they picked.”

Cheryl stepped back across the room and leaned slightly on the huge barber chair.

“Now because this concept is still in development a pricing model hasn’t been decided. We did ask that we be given funds for paying models but all they were willing to give us was a donation to be made to a charity of the persons choice, and only if they get the haircut they select.”

The girls all started whispering to each other, but not quietly enough that Cheryl couldn’t hear snippets of the conversation. She could tell the general tone was that seeing as it was charity they should just go for it, which is what she was counting on when she designed the experience. She watched Carmen who was looking a little revealed at how positive the reaction was.

One of the girls, Holly raised her hand to ask a question,

“What sort of haircut’s are in the envelopes?”

“Glad you asked,” Cheryl gave an easy smile she continued “There is 50 capes in total, all different. The cuts range from a simple trim and blow dry to something a little more…extreme.”

She let the last words hang, captivated by her audience.

“What do you mean by extreme?” asked Izu with a little trepidation.

“Well, as you’ll see on the counter we have everything we need to do all the cuts, including clippers. There are a few of what you might call barbershop haircuts, as well as a head shave.”

There were wide eyed gasps as the girls realised just how serious a haircut they might be volunteering for, again the whispering starting. Cheryl sensed the sudden lack of enthusiasm in the room so decided to drill home her point and reveal one last twist.

“Ladies please remember that the group has given us a sizeable amount for each of your donations to your prospective charities. I would also like to mention that there are only 48 actual haircut envelopes. There are two unique envelopes, one contains ‘Players Choice’ in which case you decide on the haircut you get, the other contains ‘Dealers Choice’ which is when I get to decide what haircut you get” Grace and Cheryl exchanged a knowing glance as she finished the last sentence.

“Oh and one last thing, you all have different hair lengths and your hair might be too short as it is to get a cut that you pick. In which case you’ll pick again until you find something you can have.” She let the rabble of whispering start again again before remembering one final point.

“Oh and since Carmen has the longest hair out of all of you I think it’s more fun if she goes last, more fun that way.”

The last point was another lie, but it was necessary to get the other girls in the chair in front of Carmen.

“So, who’s first?” she asked looking at the group hopefully.

Almost without hesitation Izu’s hand shot up,

“Me! Im always sick of these girl’s saying I’m boring for never changing my hair. What are the odds of getting a really short one I won’t like and it’s for charity too.” She got up and started for the rack of capes.

Cheryl was hoping Izu was going to be the first to try it out. Her asian ethnicity was obvious with her virgin black hair which was thicker than most people’s. It was extremely sleek and shiny and was styled with a slightly off centre part that went to her shoulder blades. She also seemed to be the most bubbly and enthusiastic of the group.

Vicki and Grace had sat in waiting chairs opposite the others and looked on as Izu slowly looked the capes, pondering. She pulled out a cape that looked much like an upturned blue umbrella.

“Oh my god haha! My gran has one of these back in Tokyo. Hair catcher capes they’re called right?” she asked looking round to Cheryl.

“Yes that’s right, it’s a bit quirky and different.” Cheryl replied, happy her array of capes was a talking point.

Izu replaced the cape and started looking through the hangers again, eventually she stopped and pulled one out.

“Ohhh tiger print. I think I’ll have to go with this” she held it out for everyone to see before handing it over to Cheryl. She confidently stepped up into the chair and sat facing the mirror.

Cheryl took the cape off the hanger and found the black envelope before placing it on the counter. She billowed out the cape and let it fall over the petite frame of Izu. She admired the orange and black print on the nylon cape as she did up the little hook fastenings in the back before walking round and adjusting it over the chair.

“So Izu…” she picked up the envelope and started opening it “The haircut you picked is…..Double sidecut a la Cassie”

The room feel silent as Cheryl turned around the card to show off pictures depicting the eye catching and unique hairstyle.

Izu’s mouth had fallen open, although she hadn’t realized it, eyes transfixed on the card as she made an effort to comprehend what she might be letting herself in for. She cautiously looked up to Cheryl,

“Could….could you show me were it would be buzzed on me before I decide? Please?” she asked cautiously.

Cheryl nodded graciously and stepped towards the chair. Taking her tail comb she started at the left side, just below the temple, and took a curving line around the ear and ending just at the point were the head starts to curve around at the back. She used hair clips to hold the hair on top away from the line before shifting around to the other side. This time she started the line above the temple and took what was in essence a mohawk line all the way over Izu’s head to her neck. Cheryl loved moving Izu’s hair around, it felt like a heavy silk the way it ran through her fingers so easily.

“Now…” Cheryl started, standing behind Izu looking in the mirror ready to describe the cut, “Both of these sections here would be buzzed completely. And it wouldn’t just be a long buzz, it would a be number 0 with the clippers, which is the bare blade. It’s essentially bald.”

Izu watch impassively, clearly weighing up the choice in her head. Cheryl glanced over at Carmen and the over girls. Carmen looked as if she was waiting for an execution.

“You know what?! Lets go for it!” Izu burst out suddenly, “I would never have the spunk to get something like this on my own. And she rocks that cut.”

Cheryl shared a look with Grace and Vicki who promptly started to give encouragement, whopping and clapping. Cheryl reached to the counter and picked up the purples handled shears. She stepped into Izu’s left side, taking the section and casually twisting the hair round before holding open the scissors against the hair. She gave Izu a couple of seconds to give any complaints, the room was deathly silent.

I closed the scissor deliberately slowly, a faint crunch could be heard as the scissors sank through the hair.

“Ohhhhhh….” was the only sound Izu managed.

Cheryl tossed the clump of hair onto the cape and it slid to the floor. She loved the feeling of cutting someone’s hair again and was itching to get a proper go with the clippers. She walked around to the other side and briefly caught Carmen’s eye. She took the right section and with the same casual motion, twisting the hair in her fingers. Again she slid the scissors in right beside Izu’s ear.

The crunch was louder this time, more hair to cut through. Izu flinched as she felt the tautness go from the side of her head. Almost all the black silk feel away. Cheryl made a few more quick snips to catch a few strays. Holding the mass of hair up in front of Izu’s she let it gracefully slide through her hand and into her lap.

She laid down the shears on the table and took up the clippers. She heard Izu shift uneasily under the cape, clearly apprehensive about this intimating cutting tool.

“Don’t worry hun” Cheryl purred as she gave her shoulder a reassuring squeeze “These don’t hurt or anything. They just tickle a bit.”

With that she turned the clippers. Surprisingly Izu didn’t react at all, she just sat with a faintest hint of a smile. Cheryl felt the vibration in her hand from the clippers. They had felt out of control and unwieldy when she first started practising with them, but was soon using delicate free hand movements with ease. Of all the cutting tools she had practiced with, Vicki had said she had got the knack of clippers the quickest.

She decided to start on the small area, the side none of the other girls could see. Izu sat motionless as Cheryl placed the clippers at her sideburn and moved them smoothly to the section line. Cheryl had to fight hard to hold back a giggle as she drew the clippers and the hair feel away to reveal next to nothing. I tiny, prickly stubble was all that was left. She glanced up at Vicki who returned a knowing wink. She cautiously placed her finger on Izu’s ear and moved it forward, running the clippers around it in an arc. Wither she was meaning to or not, Izu was leaning her head to help Cheryl, the choppy mess of hair slowly being buzzed away. She took special care working the clippers up to section line, making sure it wasn’t jagged and unclean.

With one side finished she held the clippers up slightly to get the cord over Izu and the chair, ready to work on the larger section. As she did she saw Izu’s hand flash out from under the cape and rub her head. She thought she tried to say something that might have been “Fuck!” but she only mouthed it.

She was more confident with the clippers this time, carving a long path right up behind Izu’s ear. She felt some of the clippings hit her feet as she continued shearing, Carmen’s and here friends oohing and ahhing as more and more pale skin was revealed. Cheryl moved the clippers from her temple all the the back over her head, following the line exactly. She chanced a glanced in the mirror to see if Izu was still smiling. She was, widely!

Cheryl stepped behind her and pushed her chin down into her chest, exposing her small neck line to make it easier for the clippers to zoom up the back of her head. She went over both sides again, just to be sure before shutting off the clippers.

Standing behind the chair Cheryl preceded to give a few styling tips for the new cut.

“Now you can style it a few ways Izu. You can do the simple side-swept look, and id say always do it to show off the bigger sidecut to make it the most eye-catching,” She rubbed her hand over the right side over Izu’s head, “You can bring it all straight back, you can do some rolling using the line and show off both buzzes. I’m sure you can imagine even more.”

She wisked the tiger print cape off, and Izu almost jumped out the chair and leaned in closer to the mirror. Looking at her new cut from side to side, running her hands over the buzzed area.

Turning back to her friends she cocked her hip asking,

“Still want to call me boring?”

They all burst out laughing, standing up to hug her, feeling the buzzed sections with fascination. Izu caught Holly by the arm and pushed her towards the rack of capes.

“Your turn Holly, your the one that always teased the most.”

Holly stepped towards the capes nervously. Of all the girls Cheryl thought Holly’s look was the least complimentary to her. She guessed she used as much make up in a day as most girls would use in a week, clearly fake eye lashes and pouting every chance she got. Her hair was dyed a deep red mahogany and Cheryl guessed it spent most of its time in big rollers in the morning judging by the heavy curls. It lay almost to her bra with a very long fringe that was swept to one side over the ear. Cheryl stepped a little closer to her, making as if she was just leaning on the barbers chair but actually she was checking she wasn’t going to need to handle any extensions.

Holly took much longer to pick out a cape. Cheryl could see she was caught between a very shiny gold cape and, curiously, the traditional red and white stripped barbers cape. She wasn’t rushed though, the other girls were still admiring Izu’s cut.

Eventually she pulled out the barbers cape and handed it to Cheryl who looked at her, a little surprised at her choice,

“That material. I’ve never felt that in any salon cape. I thought it might be a nice change.”

Holly stepped towards the chair and started to climb up into it, Cheryl noticed she maybe wasn’t as confident and held it firm for her to stop it from spinning. As before she took off the envelope before she caped her.

The heavy cotton was a little unruly to drape over Holly and the chair, eventually she had it the way she wanted and tied off the neck ties in a little bow before tucking them out of the way. She had a play around with Holly’s hair, again checking for any extensions and inspecting her roots to see how recent the dye was. Her hair was fairly healthy for dyed hair and the roots had been redone within the last week she guessed.

She went to the counter and looked up at Holly all caped up in a barbers cape in a barbers chair before she opened the envelope. Silence descended again with the sound of the ripping as she opened the envelope.

She slid the card up and smiled broadly as she turned it around to reveal the words “Dealer’s Choice”.

Holly’s mouth feel open and glanced at Cheryl like a child fearfully waiting for a parent to deliver a punishment. The rest of the girls all oohed like it was pantomime, lead by Vicki and Grace. Cheryl started working her mind as fast as she could, she needed to think of a cut that was drastic enough to cause some suspense for Carmen but not so severe that Holly would back out, she still wanted to give Carmen a haircut.

As if reading Cheryl’s mind Vicki piped up “You want me to bring the folder over?”

Cheryl nodded and waiting for Vicki to hand over a small leather bound folder. In it were pictures of all the styles that she knew how to do. Immediately she thumbed past everything that went past the shoulders and, after a few forlorn looks, dismissed anything that would involve clippers. She felt Holly would freak out at that little nuzzling feeling. She thumbed her way back through the book, before finally settling on a cut she knew she enjoyed doing.

“I think this would look fantastic with your colour Holly!” she turned the folder so everyone could see, revealing a picture of Dianna Agron with a neck length messy bob with flyaway side-swept fringe 

Holly looked visibly distressed at the sight of the cut, she would be loosing around 9 or 10 inches of length Cheryl guessed.

“Oh my god that’s so so short….” Holly exclaimed as her hand came out from under the barbers cape and unconsciously started to finger rake the ends. “I…..Im really not sure I’d be ok with that.” she sounded rather woeful but defiant none the less.

“Oh come off it. That’s not short at all” Izu cheerfully replied, she was clearly impatient for someone else to receive a haircut.

Holly seemed to ignore Izu and instead was looking only at Carmen, giving her a pleading for some sort of reassurance or support. Carmen showed little sign of fear but still exchanged a flashing look with Cheryl. As if weighing things up in her head she made a slight nod before replying.

“It’s for a good cause Holly. And you never know you might like having shorter hair, your always telling me how much you hate spending time straightening it all or curling it in the mornings. Even if you don’t like the look of it you can still get extensions.” She stood up and walked to Holly’s side, taking her hand.

“Go on, do it for fun, ill stay here the whole time I swear.”

Cheryl looked at Vicki who had turned her head to hide her giggling at the desperate ploy on Carmen’s part to get her friend to receive the cut.

“Al….Alright then I’ll do it.” Holly stammered out, although the colour was still hadn’t come back her face. Carmen managed to mask her joy with an encouraging look.

Cheryl sprang straight into action and grabbed the spray bottle and comb. She rhythmically started to spritz and comb the water into Chloe’s dark red hair, which went even darker as it dampened. Grace appeared with a stole and laid it beside the chair for Carmen to sit while holding Holly’s hand. Cheryl couldn’t help but notice it was the same stool she had sat on when she first came into the salon.

She took the clips from the bench and started sectioning Chloe’s hair. 6 sections in total. One for the fringe, two either side from temples to ears, two more either side from the ears going towards the nape and finally a v-section at the nape. All but the last were twisted up tightly and pinned out of the way. She picked up the feather styling razor and took up position behind Holly.

“Last chance before I start, your sure now?” Cheryl asked giving Carmen a mocking look. Holly gave no response which Cheryl took as not saying no.

Drawing the long hair out at the nape and holding it taught she gentle but firmly teased the blade down through the hair. The scratching noise as the hair seemed to slowly break away was electrifying to Cheryl. The feeling of peeling away wet chunks of hair was the main reason she had picked this cut. She let the first chunk plop to the floor and before grasping another chunk and applying the blade barely an inch from the root. As the hair came away it left a heavily textured ends, just the look she was aiming for. She worked up through the nape section, carving hair away.

She let one of the back sections down and calmly sliced off the length just as it touched cape at her shoulder. She knew once the hair dried and curled slightly it would be off the shoulders. The mass of red hair at her feet was rapidly growing. She let the other back section down. For the first time she saw she was taking off over a foot of hair. She stepped around slightly and continue feathering the blade through the thick hair.

She felt Grace move past her and hand something to Holly. Briefly she glanced up at the and saw it was a tissue, she had been so engrossed in shearing her she hadn’t Holly had become a little emotional. She decided against saying anything and just to power through. She let the first front section down and carefully ran the razor through the hair, the masses of hair continued streaming to the floor. Working from front to back she connected the lengths and moved to the other side.

Now she was on the same side as Carmen who was still holding Holly’s hand. This time instead of just dropping the the chunks of hair on the floor she deliberately tossed them onto the barbers cape and Holly’s lap, right in Carmen’s eye line. Holly seemed to have calmed down now which was just as well for Cheryl, she couldn’t stand looking at watery eyes while she was doing her fringe.

She touched Holly’s chin, adjusting her so she was looking straight ahead and let the final fringe section down. She pressed the razor through the hair taking a couple of inches of the grown out fringe, bringing it to her eye brows.

The cut was finished. She went over Holly’s hair with the hair dryer with diffuser, giving it the right look and bounce before whipping the red and white cape off. Holly gingerly stepped from the chair. Izu was quick to give her a hug and assure her her new look fantastic. Cheryl gave Grace a quick nod and she stepped forward.

“Holly why don’t you, me and Izu go upstairs and get some fresh air. Is pretty warm down here and you look a little flustered. I can get your details for preferred charity too. Don’t worry well come back down to see what comes of Carmen’s hair”. With a wink to Cheryl and Vicki she led the other girls out and up the stairs.

“Well I don’t think that could’ve gone any better don’t you Vicki?” smirked Cheryl as Carmen sat with a slightly scolding look.

“Oh definitely” replied Vicki in the same tone, “I’ll just clean all this up” and she went to get a brush to clean up around the chair.

Cheryl turned back to Carmen and gave her a stern look,

“Proud of yourself then?” she asked looking down her nose, “Izu looks great but I honestly don’t know if Holly suits that length.”. She was lying about Holly, she did suit the cut but she wanted to get a reaction out of Carmen.

“You can’t blame any of that on me. You gave me no choice.” Carmen retorted, “And they did. You saw how Izu reacted.”

“And you saw how Holly was going to react” Cheryl came back, “She was going to back out of that and you talked her round. Just so you could save your own hair.”

Carmen made to speak but stopped briefly, deciding it was an argument she couldn’t win. Cheryl wasn’t done however.

“I looked up your history on social media Carmen. Between that and what I gleamed from your questionnaire you’ve quite a history of abusing relationships for your own advantage. This is fourth group of friends in as many years because you stood on them keep yourself up.”

Carmen looked angry, annoyed at the accusations being levelled at her.

“Don’t tell me everyone doesn’t do it” she murmured back eventually, “I’m just getting in first.”

“I won’t deny it does happen a lot Carmen, but you have to realise when you have a good thing.” Cheryl paused for moment, building to a point.

“Those two girls just came to a supposed fundraiser that you invited them to and that they knew nothing about. They then picked a haircut at random, which could of been any cut, got in the chair and then took those pretty drastic changes. Are you honestly trying to tell me those girls are the ones wanting to push you down. For heavens sake Carmen stop looking for ways to screw up relationships!”

They stood in silence for a few moments, Vicki had returned to her seat and was simply observing.

Eventually Carmen exhaled loudly, clearly exacerbated.

“Ok, maybe your right. But what on earth has all this got to do with this damn thing” she touched the Cut Clasp, “And when can I get it off?”

“Well Carmen, I have to confess I lied to you last night in the bar. Well it was lie of omission. There’s only one way that clasp comes off.”

Carmen looked between Vicki and Cheryl puzzled. Vicki was sitting with eyes gleaming and smiling broadly.

“You see I was banking on the girls getting their cuts.” Cheryl continued, “I wanted you to see how committed they were to being your friends. And I’m going to help you show some solitary with their new looks. Carmen the clasp can only be opened after the blade has been released. The second I put it on you it was the end for your ponytail.”

Carmen mouth was just hanging open. Cheryl did feel a little sorry for her. Getting such severe cut is hard enough to handle without it being a complete surprise.

“Think about it though. When Izu and Holly see you got the biggest chop out of all of you it’ll cement your friendship even further.”

Carmen stepped across to look at herself in the mirror. She brought the ponytail over her shoulder and stroked it slowly, almost lovingly. An age seemed to pass before a calm smile crept across her face.

“Can I press the switch?” she asked, looking at Cheryl in the mirror.

Cheryl smiled and produced the remote from her pocket, handing it to Carmen.

She watched as Carmen held the remote in her hand slowly closed hear eyes and made a visible effort to slow her breathing down. However long past felt like an eternity but finally Carmen pressed down hard on the remote. There was a faint whisper and suddenly the ponytail was falling away, held together by the clasp.

The metal cylinder crashed to the ground with a loud enough bang to make everyone jump. Cheryl didn’t move as she saw Carmen still hadn’t opened her eyes, her blonde hair still drawn back tightly but now with an evident void of a ponytail only filled with severed ends.

“Hardest parts done babe, don’t be scared to see yourself.” Vicki declared with an air of authority.

Carmen opened one eye first and then the other slowly before reaching up and running her hands up her neck, the pulled back look suddenly giving way to her roving hands. She burst into a fit of nervous giggles.

“Oh it’s gonna be so weird getting used to this hair.” she mused as she gave it a ruffle.

“Who says that’s the hair your leaving with?” Cheryl quipped “I’m not letting you walk out with that mess. It’s your turn to pick a cape now.”

Carmen turned as if suddenly realising that she wasn’t alone. She went to the rack of capes and started fingering through them. Vicki stepped forward and picked up Cut Clasp which still held onto Carmen’s severed ponytail, looking it over closely before setting it down on the counter.

Leaning in she whispered in Cheryl’s ear “Your’s was even longer than that I think.” giving her a playful nudge.

“Hush you…” Cheryl whispered back smiling.

Carmen returned holding a rose floral print cape and handed it to Cheryl before casually jumping into the barbers chair.

“Well this one is certainly an eye catcher” Cheryl commented as she whisked the cape over her and did up the velco across the neck. She took the envelope and stood in the same place she had for the last two, facing the chair so she would be the first to see what was in the card. As she opened the envelope she observed Carmen looking very comfortable and at ease, waiting expectantly.

She slid the card inside up.

So looked at briefly and laughed to herself.

“Take the cape off and put it back hun, this one just isnt possible on you now”, Cheryl turned the card to show Annalynne Mccord with hair around the same lengths as Carmen’s had been with tight spiral perm all the way through.

“I’ll get it for you hun.” Vicki stepped forward and swiftly removed the cape and set it to the site. “I can pick your next one for you like?”

Carmen pondered for a moment before nodding in approval. Vicki went to the rack and started going through the capes herself. Cheryl made sure to watch what she was doing, she didn’t put it past Vicki to sneak a look at the card so she could get Carmen a cut she wanted despite Cheryl’s insistence that it had to be random. She pulled out a cape and smiled, clearly deciding that was the one.

She handed to Cheryl to cape up Carmen. It was red and made from shinny pvc with a high and rigid collar. Cheryl had to push Carmen’s head forward slightly to do over the metal studs. The plastic shifted noisily as she adjusted so it lay properly.

“Lets hope this time then” Carmen smiled. Cheryl could see she was both excited and a little nervous about the upcoming cut whatever it may be.

This time Cheryl opened the envelope quickly.

“Oh we can certainly do this one” she smiled broadly as she turned the card to show a glamour shot of Jessie J not long after she buzzed her hair for comic relief and dyed bright pink.

“Buzzed and pink, awesome combination I think” Cheryl stated matter of factly, beaming.

Carmen sat with eyes wide, a bemused smile on her face.

“So do you want to do the buzz first or the dye pink first?”

“Uhm…” Carmen hesitated, still trying to come to terms with her impending makeover “I think the dye first”

“Very well. Come on over to the wash station.” Cheryl replied as she walked turned the chair slightly for Carmen, Vicki was already getting the necessary things from the cabinet.

Carmen slide out the chair, the pvc cape ruffling loudly as she took her place at the wash station and lay back. Cheryl took her place behind the basin and slipped on the protective gloves before turning the tap. She delicately wet through Carmen’s, the few remaining inches spreading out against the bottom of the black bowl. Vicki had returned with the pink dye, the same ‘wash-in and go’ Cheryl was familiar with.

She pressed the little pump three times, dispensing the pink goo into her hand and started to massage it all through Carmen’s hair, a familiar honey and vanilla scent rose from the basin. As the light foam began to froth she made sure to get it from each root to tip, the pink colour change already coming through against the blonde.

At that moment they heard footsteps and voices coming through from the next room, signalling the return of the of Grace, Izu and Holly. They were all still talking loudly as they entered. Izu was the first to notice Carmen’s severed ponytail on the counter and gasped loudly, quickly follow by Holly. They both came across the picture at the same moment.

“AHAHA!” they both screamed in hysterical delight and ran over to Carmen’s side.

“Oh my god you seriously getting all your hair cut off, that’s awesome!” Holly exclaimed

“I bet you’ll love how the clippers feel!” Izu smiled as she squeezed her hand.

Cheryl let them continue chatting innately about what charities they choose and how they were going to present their new looks to their family and friends. Once she was happy the colour change had taken hold she rinsed Carmen’s hair out with cool water. As Carmen sat up she could see herself from the mirror across the room. She clapped her hands over her mouth to hold back a scream. Her hair was now a vivid shocking pink that went to her cheekbone one side and her chin on the other.

As the other girls took their seats Grace and Cheryl exchanged a smile, Vicki touched her shoulder and whispered in her ear,

“Can we double team her?”

Cheryl nodded quickly with wry smile.

Carmen settled herself back in the chair as both Cheryl and Vicki walked past either side of the chair to the table, each picking up a pair of clippers and attaching the number 2 guard, set to cut to a quarter of an inch.

“It takes both of you to buzz me?” Carmen asked looking a little shocked.

“No…” Vicki replied with a sinful smile, “This is just much more fun for us”

Cheryl and Vicki flicked the switch on the clippers at the same time, the dual humming sound quickly became the only sound in the room. They both placed their free hand on Carmen’s nape and their clippers at her forehead. They paused, catching each other’s eye for a moment.

Cheryl moved her clippers back first, closely followed by Vicki. They nuzzled and snarled loudly as the hair rolled up against the blade, leaving behind a thin pink felt. As they lifted away pink hair cascaded down like candy floss. Cheryl went to her forehead again to make another pass while Vicki stayed at her nape. The dual action clipper attack shearing Carmen down at a frightening rate.

“How are you feeling?” Cheryl whispered quietly just so Carmen could hear as she ran the clippers around her ear.

“Like I’ve been reborn” Carmen replied just as quietly, she could see almost all her head had been buzzed now. She was trying not to shrink down away from the ferocious shearing and unfamiliar tickle of the clippers.

“Well, you’ll be able to watch it all back.” Cheryl replied.

She saw Carmen scrunch her face up in confusion, wondering if she had heard her right.

“Hidden cameras, behind the mirror and in the ceiling too. All of it’s one way mirrors. We’ll make other versions just for your friends to”

Vicki had finished buzzing her side well ahead of Cheryl and was now happily admiring the ponytail still held together by the Cut Clasp. Cheryl took her time finishing off around Carmen’s nape before flicking the clippers off and setting them down. As she walked back to the chair she gave Carmen’s head a little rub before undoing the cape.

Chloe and Izu rushed forward clapping and ready to hug. They each in turn went over every detail of each others cut. As the girl’s said there thank you’s Carmen gave Cheryl the longest hug, just murmuring “Thank you” loud enough before breaking away and walking out with her friends, arm in arm.

Once they had left Grace, Vicki and Cheryl sat down and recalled all that had happened.

“So how do you rate my first time as lead?” Cheryl asked.

“Good enough to do it again.” Vicki replied with a smile.

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