A Good Cause

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In all honesty, Amelia wasn’t sure to expect when she first showed up for the photoshoot. It’d been something of a last minute booking her agent had arranged before heading off on vacation, with something to do with office tropes and archetypes. She had barely felt the need to ask for details once her agent mentioned Donovan, an incredible photographer someone of Amelia’s neophyte professional stature would be blessed to work with, was involved. Amelia was practically all-in from the first word.

Aside from local ad campaigns when she was in high school, Amelia hadn’t done many full photoshoots like today’s. Most of her full-on professional work in the two years since she moved to New York had been for haircare products, the marketers of which sought to take full credit for the beautiful, silky, dark brown hair that fell halfway down her back. Its lush fullness made it more than easy for her agent and most bookers to ignore the fact that she was a few inches shy of the preferred 5-foot-ten height requirement for runway models once they saw how talented she was when it came to flaunting her mane’s liveliness when it came time to twist and turn this way and that.

On set, Amelia was quickly directed to deposit her cellphone and backpack into a personal locker, along her her clothes. Wearing just a white robe, she found herself sitting in an art deco stylist’s chair, tended to by the pink-cropped lead stylist, Miranda. An artist of her own renown, her teamwork with Donovan was often the most talked about in the fashion and modeling circuit, so getting to be her muse was considered a privilege. The stylist stood behind Amelia, gathering all of the thick, dark locks back and turning Amelia’s head this way and that, humming thoughtfully to herself as she looked at the brightly lit mirror before the girl.

With aplomb, the stylist then let Amelia’s hair fall free, its length swirling around her shoulders and face in long, gentle waves. “Terry, when you have a moment, could you bring over my tablet?” She stepped in front of Amelia as she made the request, brushing the thick locks back from Amelia’s dark eyes as she did. She ran her left thumb along Amelia’s left eyebrow, tracing its thick, elegant arch and, again, humming softly.

Unable to help it, Amelia furrowed her brow.

“Don’t worry,” Miranda insisted. From the side where Terry had been fashioning another model’s thick, red curls into an updo, the stylist’s assistant handed her an iPad. Terry’s hair, rod-straight and golden blonde, flipped swung wildly as the assistant spun away, quickly settling back into its cheek-length bobbed perfection afterward. “I just want to check your contract real quick.”

“Why?” Amelia asked. “Did I do something wrong?”

“Not at all. I just want to see what you agreed to.” A mischievous smirk wrinkled her cheek. “And yes, I realize how bad that sounds. It’s just that two of the girls we booked today are running late, so we have some time to kill. I’d really like to give you just the barest hint of bangs and face-framing highlights, if you’d be up for that. We’d have to amend your contract, though.”

Amelia winced. “My agent is on a plane to the Caribbean this morning.”

Miranda nodded. “I understand. Contract stuff can be tricky. But if you’re up for it, there’d be a few hundred bucks in it for you, and we’d just be adding some typical boilerplate language to the contract. Nothing unusual.”

Amelia chewed her bottom lip. “How much is a few?”

Miranda told her, and the “few” would be enough to cover Amelia’s share of her rent for the month by itself.

“Just for ‘a hint of bangs’ and a few highlights?”

Miranda nodded. “They’ll barely be noticeable.”

“Okay.”

Miranda smiled brightly. “Perfect! Let me just get this set up…” She tipped and tapped at her tablet screen for a few minutes, and then held it out toward Amelia. “I just added the standard clause that lets us adjust your hair length and color. But, like I said, we’re just doing light bangs and highlights.”

Amelia read over the legalese of the new contract wording, and then signed, resigned to losing the pure brown shade her hair had always held since the day she was born.

Within moments, Amelia found herself ensconced in a white sheet. Her hair was carefully dampened and meticulously sectioned, with the vast majority being pushed behind her ears to fall down the back of the styling chair in which she sat. Gradually, Miranda began to pull some of Amelia’s long locks forward, carefully selecting them with her comb and gathering them between pinched fingers in front of Amelia’s nose. Cross-eyed, Amelia watched as a pair of silver blades rose to the twisted lock, rising to the level of Amelia’s eyes, and then snipped away most of its length. Her new bangs sprang free, and with concentration wrinkling her forehead, Miranda combed them into place.

Amelia blinked a few times, her lashes teasing the ends of her shorn locks. And then her eyes widened when Miranda started combing more of her hair forward, gathering almost as much as before. Again, the locks were gathered and twisted, and then mercilessly snipped just as short as the previous lock. Amelia held her breath until Miranda took a step back, and felt her heart starting to race as she wondered whether she misheard the phrase “barest hint of bangs.”

“Okay, they’re a bit thicker than I originally planned, but that’s all I’m going to cut. Let me shape them a bit, and they’ll be super cute. Trust me.”

Amelia nodded, realizing she didn’t really have a choice. Miranda moved in close with her scissors again, chipping away at Amelia’s new bangs until they fell in an even line just below her eyebrows. Despite her momentary panic, they turned out not to be very thick at all – within a few months they be long enough to blend right in with the rest of her hair if she parted them in the middle. Odds were that the highlights would have a more permanent presence than the fringe.

Fortunately, Miranda stayed true to her word when she said the highlights would be just a few face-framing ones. And since the third model, a young woman with a gorgeous mass of one-length raven-hair that swirled past her shoulders, hadn’t even shown up until the foils were being pulled from Amelia’s hair, there was plenty of time for Amelia to admire her new look in the mirror. With the last foot or so styled into gorgeous, bouncy curls, Amelia found herself repeatedly lifting and dropping her mane, feeling its silky weight fall against her neck and brushing against her cheeks, with the new, soft bangs and highlights drawing attention to her dark brown eyes.

“That looks absolutely gorgeous.” She looked at Donovan’s reflection in the mirror, smiling as he took a few photos of her admiring herself. To say he was handsome was an understatement; she could only imagine the hordes of women he probably had throwing themselves at him after shoots. But for that reason, she’s already promised herself to not even give a hint of flirtation toward him. Sure, that could be how modeling careers were made, but it could also be how they were ruined.

“Thank you,” she finally said. “Miranda gets al the credit of course.”

He grinned. “Not all of it. Now give me one more lift and drop, and then we can get started.”

Amelia, did as requested, gathering her hair up atop her head before delivering a coy wink and letting it all fall around her, shaking it out and running her fingers through its glorious length.

“Perfect,” Donovan whispered. “Don’t ever cut it.” He turned to Miranda. “Are we ready to go? Everyone here?”

“We’re waiting on one more,” she replied.

“Really?”

She nodded, tapping her tablet impatiently. “But you should probably get started on the main shoot for now.”

_______________________

The main shoot was themed around life in the office, with each of the girls taking on various personality types while showing off business-casual clothing that probably cost more than any of them would make in a year. Donovan made the shoot fun, asking them to pose on desks and tables and in all sorts of mock meeting situations. Amelia found herself wearing a lot of skirts and frilly blouses, and although the other girls wore their hair up – the redhead, Siobhan, in casual updos and the raven-haired girl, Tina, in a more formal twist – Amelia’s was left loose and sort of wild. Donovan gave her almost as many stage directions for her hair as for her body, telling her to toss it over her shoulder, let it hang over one eye, and even having the other girls occasionally play with it, as if they were trying to tame it into a hairstyle like their own. Her curls lived up to the moment, shining brightly in the staged lights and just feeling so perfect against her neck and cheeks and shoulders.

After a couple hours and a few clothing changes, Donovan turned to Miranda. “I think we’ve gone as far as we can without the fourth girl. Have you heard from her?”

“We should talk,” was all Miranda replied.

Donovan looked pensive as he looked to the three models who had bothered to show up. “Okay. Why don’t you girls get back into your civvies and go grab lunch? We should have an idea of what’s going on in an hour or so.”

Donovan and Miranda then quickly sequestered themselves in a corner of the studio, talking in agitated whispers and Amelia and the others peeled off the expensive clothes and got back into their jeans and tees. Having gotten along well enough during the shoot, they decided to hit up an eatery nearby that sourced its food from local farms. Before they reached the front door of the studio, however, Miranda beckoned Amelia over.

“You two go ahead,” she told the others. With questioning looks, the other girls. Amelia tried to put on a brave face.

“Yes?”

“We have a problem.”

Amelia’s heart sank. “With me?”

“No, no. Not at all. With the fourth girl. She’s not coming.”

“Okay, so what can I help with?” She began to wonder whether they’d ask if she could call in a friend. She started listing off names of girls in her social circle who might be free, but it’d be a tough ask on such short notice.

“Donovan and I want you to play the role of the edgy boss for the next set of photos.”

“The edgy boss?”

“Yup. Do you think you can project a hardass, superior attitude?”

Amelia grinned, thinking back to her early teen years. “Yeah, I think I could manage.”

“Perfect. Unfortunately, we’re going to have to give you a completely different look, but we’ll be compensating you for it, of course.”

“Different look? What do you mean?” She assumed different clothes would be involved, obviously, and maybe harsher hairdos and make-up. But why go out of the way to say that would be considered unfortunate?

“Your hair,” the stylist replied, in such a matter-of-fact manner that Amelia felt a little like an idiot. “The girl next door look isn’t going to work for this, so we’re going to need to chop it and lighten it a bit.”

Amelia’s heart froze. “What? No!”

Miranda raised an eyebrow. “We need you to do this for us, Amelia.”

Amelia gathered her long, soft locks over her left shoulder and shook her head. “But I… I…”

“You signed a contract that said you were willing to cut and color your hair, Amelia.” Miranda held up the iPad, as if Amelia could have forgotten that.

“But that was just for the bangs and highlights!”

“That’s not what the contract wording says. If you want to take time to call your agent and talk about it, that’s fine, but we’re on a schedule here. If you take too long, the contract is going to be considered broken, and that means you’ll have to cover the costs of this entire shoot, including Donovan’s and my time. Can you afford that?”

Amelia’s vision wavered as tears threatened to spill down her cheeks. “No, I can’t… but you said…”

“Here, before you start crying. This is what we’re willing to pay you for going this extra mile for us.” Miranda scrolled down and showed Amelia the new number.

It was no longer just a matter of paying one month of her rent share, but more than a year’s.

Amelia stroked the length of her hair again.

“It’s your call. You can either be the hero of the day, and a well-paid one, or a known problem in the industry. What do you say?” Miranda stepped away and patted the back of her stylist chair. “Have a seat?”

Amelia turned to look at herself in the mirror as she backed up and sat in the seat. She ran her fingers through the long, brown waves of her treasured mane as they fell across her white t-shirt, and then with a startling finality her ass met the leather of the chair and she felt like she sealed her one true beauty’s fate.

“How… How much do you have to cut?”

“Just to a inch or so,” Miranda assured her, flipping the white cape across Amelia’s lap once again.

The girl let out an audible sigh, wondering why Miranda hadn’t just said that from the start. One inch wasn’t terrible… it was barely more than a trim. But then she realized the bulk of her new paycheck must be to compensate for the lighter color, and if the lightness was in any way related to the size of the paycheck… Amelia began to wonder what she was in for.

Miranda spent a long time brushing out Amelia’s hair, with each brushstroke followed immediately by caressing fingers. It went a long way to calm Amelia’s fears, but not completely. She wished her agent hadn’t gone on vacation – something about this set up didn’t feel right, even if everyone involved had stellar professional reputations.

After pausing to murmur something to her assistant, Miranda gathered Amelia’s heavy mane up into a ponytail close to the crown of her head. With quick swirling motions, she bound it with two rubber bands, one right at the ponytail’s base and one just a couple of inches further down.

“Okay, let’s get rolling.”

“Wait!”

“What?”

“You said you were only cutting an inch!”

Miranda’s reflection in the mirror rolled its eyes. “Kid, we would not be paying you that much money if we were only taking off an inch. That’s career-altering money for…” She set her familiar silver shears just past the second rubber band and began opening and closing its blades, “…a career-altering haircut.”

Amelia’s mouth fell open as a horrible, terrifying crunching assaulted her ears. Again and again Miranda opened and closed the scissors, not even slowing as Amelia squeezed her eyes closed and felt tears slide down her cheeks. She hid her face in her hands, not wanting to see the cause of the rhythm tugging on her hair, the source of the tension that kept pulling her hair and yet grew a little weaker with every gut-churning crunch that sounded.

Despite the brutality of the sensations and the sounds, it felt like Miranda’s scissors were taking forever to claim Amelia’s beloved hair as their own.

“My hair…” Amelia whimpered. She finally forced herself to peak through her fingertips, a new whimper rising in her throat as she saw ragged ends of her once gorgeous mane that had slid free from the rubber band to tease her right cheek. Miranda’s scissors were still working their way through her ponytail, though each ensuing schnickt seemed to sound a little bit faster than the one before it.

“My word, you have a healthy head of hair,” Miranda said. “I’m going to have to resharpen my blades after this.”

“It was gorgeous,” her assistant added.

Was.

With a final snap, the tension pulling at the back of Amelia’s head finally released. Miranda, smiling in the mirror, held up the banded ponytail she had seized, a treasure of gorgeous brunette silk that was at least a foot and a half in length, thick and uniform in density and lazy waves. The type of hair that infected passersby with envy; the type of hair that was meant for shampoo commercials.

“Don’t worry, kid, this will go to a good cause.”

Amelia tried not to start crying again as Miranda set her magnificent ponytail down on a table behind her. A good cause, she kept repeating to herself. Probably one of those hair charities that made wigs for women or little kids with cancer. If that were the case, at least something good would come from having her hair taken from her.

With a snap of the second rubber band, Amelia’s remaining hair spilled free around her. Springing up into disheveled waves, the rough-edged bob barely made it past Amelia’s chin, and it was considerably shorter toward the back. She hated it. She absolutely hated it already.

Misting water suddenly attacked her, and Miranda’s moved a comb harshly through the remaining locks until they were thoroughly soaked. “Don’t worry. This is going to be a bit rough, but once we’re all done, you’ll look amazing.”

Amelia somehow doubted that, and was grateful when Miranda nudged her head forward, forcing her to look down into her lap instead of into the mirror. Miranda’s fingers, somehow gentle despite their intent, slipped through Amelia’s hair at the crown of her head. There was a soothing sense to them, almost like a massage of some sort, until she felt Miranda’s fingers close together with the stylist’s palm flat against Amelia’s scalp. The angry shears started snipping and snapping again, each chilling sound followed without fail by a soft, dark lock of hair falling against the white sheet covering Amelia’s lap.

Circling again and again between each spurt of butchery, Miranda’s hand moved across and up and down Amelia’s nape, shearing and cutting without mercy or regard for what she was going through. As the stylist worked, Amelia comforted herself by watching the hypnotic sway of the curtain of lush locks that remained around her face, but with growing anxiety she recognized the fact that Miranda’s hands were constantly moving forward, snatching up thick hanks of soft hair that were growing longer and longer, but chopping them off just as brutally short as the rest. Amelia closed her eyes and tried to block it all out, but couldn’t avoid the undeniable sensation of each heavy, wet lock plopping into her lap after it had been shorn.

Soon, there was no soft silkness laying against her ears, and shortly after that the face-framing highlights she had just received came to rest atop the heavy pile of beautiful, shiny locks in Amelia’s lap. She tried to look away, her gaze unfortunately falling to the screen of Donovan’s laptop, where he was scrolling through pictures he had taken that morning, each seeming to feature a more beautiful version of her, smiling and beaming with the self-confidence that came from the gorgeous head of hair framing her features.

Hair that wasn’t hers anymore. Hair that would take years to grow back.

And even after today’s payday, there was a very real chance she wouldn’t work as a model again.

But did she have a choice? No. Not really.

With a gentle lift with a hand placed below Amelia’s chin, Miranda lifted her gaze to the mirror before her. It wasn’t to show off the final result, that was for sure, but rather to make it a little easier to shear away the last of the wispy bangs the stylist had just given her a few hours ago.

“Okay, that’s the worst of it. Not so bad, right?”

Amelia’s brow furrowed as she looked at her reflection and fought back tears. Of course that was the worst of it – how could anything else be worse than all of that?

So much more hair rested in Amelia’s lap than on her head – so, so much more. Where there were once flowing, bouncy waves of brunette beauty, there was now just a wild, almost angry, crop of brunette cowlicks. None of her hair, not one single lock or tress, was more than an inch or so long, and none of it had any sort of order as it stuck out from her head this way and that. Aside from its beautiful, rich color, there was simply nothing recognizable about the treasured mane she had just a few minutes ago.

Miranda returned to the mirror’s reflection with plastic gloves on her hands and a bowl in her grasp. “Now it’s time for stage two.”

“More highlights?” Amelia whimpered.

Miranda smiled, setting the bowl down on a table next to her and smearing a brush full of it contents across some of the wild locks sprouting from her crown. “Not quite.”

Amelia whimpered again, closing her eyes as the concoction was spread across what remained of her hair, its stink filling her nostrils. She kept her eyes closed the entire time, right up until, after she thought the process had been completed, Miranda lifted her chin once more and spread the same stuff across each of Amelia’s eyebrows.

“I like when everything matches,” she said as a way of explaining.

Amelia pressed her lips into a pout again, looking away from Miranda and flushing when she realized that Donovan had been taking pictures of her in this chair with her hair being meticulously assaulted. “How long have you…?”

“Don’t worry, I got every step,” he said, as if that was what she wanted to hear. A burning sensation rose in her cheeks, born from the humiliation of knowing there would be pictures of the worst day in her life and proof of the dumbest decision she had ever made. Bangs and face-framing highlights? Bah.

Over the next hour, Amelia just sat and waited. Waited for Terry to return from an errand with a sandwich for lunch, for Tina and Siobhan to return from their lunch to see her like this, for the smelly concoction of her head to remove every last trace of the beautiful, rich brown color her hair had been.

Finally, after a round of toner and a shampoo – the quickest shampoo Amelia could ever recall receiving, she found herself seated in Miranda’s chair again, though the mirror, suspiciously, had been moved away. The floor surrounding the chair was covered in the pampered brunette waves that had been shorn from her head, and a new black cape waited to envelop her for whatever Miranda had planned next.

“Okay, this is going to sound scary,” Miranda insisted as she shuffled around behind Amelia, “But it’s going to look great. And kind of feel great.”

Amelia started to turn to look over her shoulder, but Miranda’s hand quickly braced itself at the crown of her head. Gentle pressure guided Amelia to look down at her lap again, and then a quick snap ad a quiet rumble sounded behind her.

“Oh god…”

“Trust me, kid.” The use of the word kid had purpose, and it carried a tone that Miranda’s patience was wearing thin. Despite every urge to get up and run, to cut the terrible, terrible losses already inflicted upon her and just haul ass for the door, Amelia slumped in the chair and felt cold, nibbling teeth press against the nape of her neck. The tone of the clippers changed drastically when they encountered her thick hair, slowing a little as they were pushed upward to the curve of her crown. A brief pause sounded when they were lifted away, and then slowly, dramatically, a puff of pure white fuzz fell into Amelia’s lap.

Oh god. That was hers. That was her hair and it had absolutely no color left…

Again the clippers ran up the back of her head, and again a tuft of white blonde hair fell into her lap, its stark contrast with the black cape screaming out for attention as the shutters of Donovan’s camera clicked again and again.

She would not cry in the pictures, Amelia swore. She would not cry.

And, somehow, she managed not to. It helped, minimally, that the rhythm of the clippers – their gentle nibbling and nipping; their soft purr against her slowly denuded scalp – was amazingly somehow pleasant to experience. In that, Miranda had not been wrong. Eventually, Amelia’s head was tilted to the left, and the clippers continued their abuse of her tortured hair, carving her ear free from any sort of cover or caress from her once beautiful locks. In her lap, the dry, harsh pile of clippings grew. The entire cape had become covered in the dustings of her hair, turning it from pure black to a mottled shade of grey.

When Siobhan and Tina finally returned, their gasps echoed throughout the studio. A million questions lingered behind their eyes but they quickly died; Amelia imagined the harsh mistress Miranda had become glaring them into silence. Eventually, but not before the pure humiliation of having her peers watch her actively be lowered on the social ladder of appeal and desirability, Donovan guided them away and began telling them what the plans for the afternoon’s shoot were.

With her left ear freed from the tyranny of adorable tuck-behinds, Amelia’s head was lifted to look straight forward again. The misting bottle returned, soaking the short tufts of hair remaining atop Amelia’s head. That was followed by the semi-harsh comb, each stroke scratching against her scalp in a way that never happened when her hair was long, and then the searching, gathering fingers of Miranda’s left hand. Again and again they captured locks of Amelia’s hair between them, and again and again Miranda’s shears reduced them down to barely more than a finger’s width of a white blonde field of wheat.

Miranda started at Amelia’s forehead, with the rainfall of shorn locks continuing unabated as she moved backward. Soon, though, the shorn remains were too short even for the stylist’s fingers, and it was her comb and scissors alone making sure no hair – if there was even any left – was out of place. There were no longer hungry, angry crunches or agile schnikts of the blades; there simply wasn’t enough left to offer any sort of audible resistance.

After the last snip, Miranda circled Amelia, her fingertips slipping through whatever hair was left on Amelia’s head, smoothing and sorting it as best she could. Some product was used, carefully sculpting Amelia’s new style into exactly what Miranda wanted it to be. Though Amelia felt a burning resentment for the stylist, she had to admit she was taking the work seriously. At least Miranda hadn’t butchered her for no reason, though that was small consolation.

And her hair would go to a good cause, Amelia reminded herself.

“Can I see it?”

“Not yet. I want your makeup done first.”

“You realize I’m going to bawl my eyes out, right?”

Miranda smiled, pulling a cart filled with makeup to her side. “I’ll use waterproof stuff.”

_____________________

After her makeup had been applied and first clothing change provided, Amelia walked past Siobhan and Tina s to step in front of the mirror. They both looked just about the same as in the morning, save for one change – their hair. Siobhan’s wild red curls had been set free and tamed into gorgeous, rolling elegance, and Tina long locks spilled around her shoulders in an ebon curtain, free of any constraint.

Amelia, meanwhile, in just about any sense of the notion, could not have looked more different. Gone were the soft, flirty skirts, replaced instead with form-fitting leather pants and high heels. The white blouse she’d been given lacked the top two buttons, revealing the black bra beneath that did its best to enhance the curves within its hold. And undone bowtie accented her slender shoulders, the same shoulders that once were graced by the flowing, soft waves of her shampoo-commercial-worthy hair.

And above the bowtie, there was just her neck – her long, elegant neck – and then her ears, the same ears she always thought stuck out a bit too much to be perfect, but remained small enough to be cute. Then, finally, her hair.

Or what was left of it.

Styled in a brutally short pixie – if it could still be called that – worthy of Annie Lennox or Charlize Theron, the only notable length was the bit that graced her forehead. Styled into a harsh parting, it soon gave way to a velvety covering toward her crown, and from there, into near nothingness surrounding her ears and at her nape. If she said that all of her hair was gone, she doubted anyone would call her a liar.

Even her eyebrows – the dark, elegant arches that accentuated her moods and expressions so perfectly – they could not escape the change. They were just as blonde as her hair now, barely noticeable against her pale complexion even as she furrowed her brow with regret. Even with the bold red lipstick Miranda had applied and the ultra-heavy eyeliner that drew attention to her immaculate lashes and the heartwarming, brown color of her eyes, she felt like there was nothing about her to make her stand out in a crowd now. She was just… nothing. Just someone who couldn’t possibly stand out in a pile of headshots.

This would be her last job in modeling. She just knew it.

Holding back the tears that wanted to come, she turned away from the mirror and found herself staring at everyone else working on the shoot. She wasn’t sure if it was anticipation or concern on their faces, as if they were waiting for her ti lose control and start sobbing hysterically. But she was a professional, damnit. She was going to act like one.

She took a deep breath. “Okay. Back to work?”

___________________

The afternoon’s shoot had an entirely different feel than the mornings. With the “edgy boss” now in attendance, Amelia was able to channel her disappointment and anger at herself toward the two girls portraying her subordinates… or, as Donovan noted at one point, simply her subs. All throughout, Siobhan and Tina received directions on how to toss and position their hair, much like Amelia had that morning, to the point where she almost felt like the photographer was rubbing her face in the loss of her own crowning glory.

But that was silly. Why would he do that?

Amelia did her best to brush those thoughts aside and finish her work, which they eventually did shortly before nightfall.

“You are so brave,” Siobhan told her as they changed back into their streetclothes.

“I’m an idiot,” Amelia insisted. “It was contractual.”

“But still,” Tina consoled. “And you look gorgeous.”

Amelia rolled her eyes. Walking toward the exit, she was sure the other girls were just being nice. But still… She eyed a bathroom near the front door and went to duck inside, waving her goodbyes to the others.

As always, for some reason, the lighting in the women’s bathroom was fantastic. Amelia used it to her full advantage, eyeing the bleach-blonde stranger in the mirror’s reflection. Was she gorgeous? She still wasn’t sure. But while she had always thought of herself as a pretty girl with gorgeous hair, her reflection was that of a beautiful woman – even without makeup – with enchanting eyes and adorable cupid’s bow lips. Her nose was petite and pointy, but not too long, and the ears that seemed to be waving for attention had their own certain type of charm. Perhaps they wanted people to notice the cheekbones that had, until now, been hidden under her blankets of hair.

Perhaps.

Amelia ran her hand up the back of her head. Her beautiful hair was no more. The style, perhaps, had its own allure, but her hair itself was now stiff and harsh. Sharp to the touch as she moved her hand up and down. The bleach had completely destroyed it, sapped it of both its gorgeous color and its trademark silkiness, leaving behind a terrible corpse that held only one benefit – it was so short that her natural color would be grown out within months, if not weeks.

She already couldn’t wait to see it again.

The length, however, would not be so easily regained. Amelia let out a soft sigh as she slung her backpack over her shoulder again and headed for the door. She didn’t want to do the math of how long it would take her brunette waves to grow back. Didn’t want to worry about whether it would retain the texture and feel of her youthfulness as she tried to grow it back to its former glory.

Didn’t want to think about how her agent would react when she saw it. Maybe a text photo to break the news? No. Why ruin her vacation?

If nothing else, the envy-inducing ponytail would be going to a good cause. Would be improving someone else life, even if just a little bit.

Amelia was on the street and ready to call an Uber to pick her up when she realized she’d left her phone inside. Grabbing the door before it closed completely behind her, she slipped through the near-empty studio to the small room with the models’ lockers. Grabbing it, she wondered whether this was maybe an opportunity to apologize to Miranda if she’d given her too much attitude or resistance before surrendering to the chop. And maybe to Donovan, in case she got a little too enthusiastic during the afternoon shoot. Being polite like that certainly couldn’t hurt her professional prospects, could it? Maybe that and the fact that she hadn’t even cried after losing her hair would encourage them to give her more work.

Leaving the locker room, she turned toward the main studio.

“I can’t believe she didn’t cry,” Donovan said, his voice echoing in the near-empty studio.

Amelia halted in the hall, moving to press up against a wall to remain unseen as she smiled to herself.

“I know! And, I mean, did you see what I did to her hair? How could she not have cried? It’s all gone! Even the color.”

Amelia’s smile faded.

“Maybe you should have gone shorter.”

“She would have been bald.”

“And that would have been really hot to get photos of.”

Leaning toward the corner, Amelia saw Miranda walking toward Donovan. He wrapped his arms around the pink-pixied woman, kissing her softly as she giggled against his lips.

“Still,” she said, wriggling against him. “It was a fun time and a good haul. I love it when a job gives us opportunities like this.”

Donovan shifted against her, lifting his eyes toward the ceiling as Miranda shifted against him.

Amelia stayed frozen in place, not sure what the hell she was supposed to think of this. Had they chopped off all of her hair just to play mind games with her? What was the point of that? Miranda had threatened her career over it!

She wanted to scream at them both, to lash out and curse them, but… the way they were moving together, she felt like she should just run away instead. Until she noticed Miranda’s hands… they were down Donovan’s pants as he moved and moaned, but that wasn’t all…

A sick feeling rose in her stomach when she saw the end of her perfect ponytail hanging over the waist of Donovan’s jeans.

“Feel as good as I thought it would?” Miranda asked.

“Oh yeah.”

“Good. Get this placed cleaned up, then, so we can get home. I can’t wait to wrap this around that gorgeous cock of yours and get to the real fun.”

Donovan laughed. “It’s a shame we can’t donate it afterward.”

“Somehow I don’t think there are any charities that accept cum-soaked ponytails, no matter how pretty and soft they used to be.”

Amelia covered her mouth as she bolted for the front door, though she wasn’t sure whether it was to keep quiet or to keep from throwing up. She burst through the door, hearing Donovan’s echoing, “Someone there?” behind as she raced around the street corner and just kept walking. She kept her hand over her mouth, not trusting herself to refrain from screaming in disgust of she removed it.

Oh gods. Her hair. Her beautiful hair. They stole it for a sex toy.

No, she sold it. She sold her beautiful, treasured hair to be someone’s sex toy.

After putting several city blocks between herself and Donovan’s studio, she let herself finally crouch down on the sidewalk. She let her hand fall away from her mouth, let herself scream like she wanted to.

And that was when the tears finally came.

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As always, thank you for reading! I hope you liked it, and I’d love to hear your comments or critiques, if you have any. Thank you!

4 responses to “A Good Cause

  1. A delightfully erotic story! I loved the way in which Amelia is reduced from a hair model with gorgeous chestnut tresses, to a jet white pixie, all for a few moments of her pride and joy wrapping around the photographer’s cock, forever ruined for a second of sexual bliss. I did, however feel truly sorry for her, regardless of the compensation. Very well written.
    Claire

    1. Thank you! I felt pretty bad for her, too, but thought a less-than-happy ending fit the story better. I may have to bring her back in a future story just to show whether she got past this (though clearly as a side character to someone else who gets their hair cut, since she has practically none left herself).

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