A New Look for Summer

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Hi Everyone! I’ve been reading a lot of good stories here, and was hoping to eventually write one myself. This is my first published story, so be kind, but I hope you like it! Also, a special thank you to Flickr.com I was able to use a lot of good pictures on that site.

 

Angela stared ahead at the line of people. She checked her phone, and groaned as she realized she had already been waiting at the end of the line for almost 15 minutes to deposit her check. Even though she had today off, she didn’t want to spend it waiting around! Angela was an interior decorator, and had the wonderful ‘problem’ of constantly being bombarded with new projects. As a result, today was the first ‘real’ day off in almost a year! Just as she was about to head out of the line, another window opened, and the line dispersed. Relieved, Angela moved forward a few places, then gasped as she caught a glimpse of one of the tellers.

 

The teller, Nicole, had worked at the bank for several years, and she and Angela were always on friendly terms. Nicole was about 10 or 15 years older than Angela, lower-middle aged for sure, but very trim, and still quite pretty. After her warm, friendly smile, her most distinct feature, until now, had been long, perfectly straight dark brunette hair. Now, however, she sported a radically different hairstyle! Her long locks had been cut into a longer pageboy-like style, almost mushroom shaped. It extended a few inches around her head, hanging just above her earlobes. It was also much lighter in color, with several blonde streaks sticking out, but in a very hip, fun sort of way. As Angela moved forward through the line, she gasped again when she saw Nicole turn her head, and saw that her nape had been shaved into a triangular wedge shape, a striking feature.

 

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Angela tried her best not to stare, but couldn’t help herself! The cut framed Nicole’s face very nicely. Angela smiled as she would watch Nicole turn to help someone, and shake her head in conversation, her hairdo swishing freely, but always returning to the same precise place. Before she knew it, Angela now faced the smiling Nicole.

 

“Oh, hello Angela! How are you, today? And what may I help you with?” Nicole asked. Angela returned her smile, “Hi Nicole, I’m doing fine thank you. Wow, you look great! I hardly recognized you with that new haircut!” Nicole beamed, and gently primped the ends of her hairdo with her palms, “Why thank you! It’s a big change, and I’ve gotten lots of compliments. A friend recommended her stylist, and I thought I’d try someone new. I really love it, if you don’t mind me saying!” Angela nodded, handing Nicole her check, “Well, it’s easy to see why, Nicole. It’s a striking look for sure. It really suits you, nicely!” Nicole smiled again, and lightly shook her head, allowing Angela to see it fall perfectly back into place. Nicole printed out Angela’s receipt, and said with a grin, “You know dear, you should try something like this. It’s getting hotter out there, and I bet you could use a nice trip to the salon, if you don’t mind me saying. You look like you’ve been burning the candle at both ends!” Angela blushed a little and brushed a stray curl from her face. About nine months ago, Angela had asked for a body-wave perm as a way to save time styling, but the perm had since grown out, and badly, too.

 

Lately, Angela had been forced to pull her chestnut-brown hair back into a big, bushy curly pony-tail, but the increasing heat and humidity had made it a challenge to keep it from springing out into a large mass of less-than-neat looking hair. Because most of Angela’s business had been done through video calls for the last year, she had been able to neglect her hair somewhat. Now however, she was becoming increasingly aware of her hair’s bedraggled appearance. She had had a face-to-face meeting with a new client about four weeks ago, and recalled the awkward feeling of having her appearance scrutinized more than usual. Angela also now considered that other prospective clients in subsequent face-to-face meetings seemed a bit less enthused lately when speaking with her. One person had even mentioned in an email that she was expecting someone to appear more professional when meeting a potential new client. The sudden realization that these series of events might be rooted in her hair’s appearance hit Angela with a wave of crimson-colored embarrassment.

 

Seeing her expression change so drastically in an instant, Nicole quickly patted Angela’s hand and said “Oh, I didn’t mean anything by it Angela! I’m sorry…” Angela smiled and put her purse over her shoulder, “No, no, you’re fine! You’re right, too… Well, thanks again, and I guess I’ll see you in a few weeks.” Angela turned to leave, but Nicole said hurriedly, “Here, Angela, wait just one moment, please.” Angela pivoted, and saw Nicole scribbling a something on a post-it note. “Please, that came out wrong, dear. What I meant was, you looked like you could treat yourself to a relaxing day at the salon. I know it’s been a challenge lately.” Angela smiled, “Really, it’s okay, Nicole!” Nicole waved her hand and shook her head, her hairdo again swaying perfectly with the movement. “Here, I wrote down the name of the stylist. She told me that she’d do a new client’s hair half off, if it came as a referral, and she’d give me a discount on my next appointment, too. So please, consider this an apology for my comment dear, and try her out! She’s maybe the best stylist I’ve ever had!” Angela felt like she couldn’t refuse, so she smiled, and took the paper from Nicole.

 

As she got back into her car, Angela almost threw the paper away, but hesitated. Her usual stylist had temporarily retired after having a baby just a couple months ago, and wouldn’t be back for several months. Angela sat down, and as if on cue, the pin holding the left side of her pony-tail flew out, releasing the mass of humid curls into her face. Grumbling, Angela did her best to tie it back with a scrunchie and another pin, but she knew this was, at best, a short-term fix. She picked up Nicole’s note, and looked at the note. “The Lady’s Coiffure – 8900 Elm St. Ask for Vanessa!” Elm Street was only a few minutes away, and it was her day off…maybe she could get a trim, pick up some extra conditioner, and have a simple recharge.

 

Angela arrived a few minutes later, surprised at her own whimsy. Angela had been seeing her current stylist for almost 5 years, and had been going to that same salon for nearly a decade. Still, on a client-based budget that can fluctuate wildly, the chance at a half-off salon visit was hard to pass up! Also, Angela thought that, even if she did look a little outlandish, she was impressed at the obvious skill with which Nicole’s hair had been cut. Sighing again, Angela checked her appearance in the mirror, then stepped outside. Even though she was wearing just a short sleeve blouse and midi skirt, the heat had sweltered even more since leaving the bank. Embarrassingly, Angela could feel a bead of sweat roll down her back as she crossed the parking lot to the salon. She felt a cool rush of AC greet her as she opened the door and stepped inside.

 

The salon was of a very modest size. There were two chairs sitting opposite a shelf that contained numerous styling products and tools. A pretty little twenty-something with a cute blond box-bob was sitting at a desk was flipping through a calendar book.

 

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Together, the desk and shelf obscured Angela’s vision of the salon’s main area, but she wouldn’t have to wait long to see it, as the receptionist stood up and said, “Hi! Welcome to The Lady’s Coiffure! Do you have an appointment?” Angela smiled, and walked up to her, “Uh, Hi! My name’s Angela Stevens. Urm, no, I don’t. I was actually referred to your salon and was looking to see if you might have something open this afternoon with Vanessa?” The receptionist smiled, and flipped through the book, then frowned, saying “Ooh, I’m sorry. Vanessa’s actually booked this afternoon. Can I look into another day for an afternoon appointment?” Disappointed, Angela shook her head, “No, that’s ok. I start with a new client tomorrow, and the weekends are too crazy for me. Thanks for checking though!” The receptionist nodded, then suddenly perked up; “Well, hold on, Vanessa’s got an opening right now, if you’re free?” Angela paused, she’d wanted to maybe pop home quickly to put on something cooler, but maybe this would work…

 

“Are you sure, urm, I mean, I don’t want to be an inconvenience.” The receptionist waved her hand dismissively, “you’re FINE, girl! Trust me, Vanessa’s just finishing up with her 10:30, and you look like you could use haircut. Just take a seat over there, if you wouldn’t mind.” Angela looked down and sheepishly took a seat; was her hair really that bad? After only a minute or so of waiting, Angela could hear the sounds of heels hitting the tiled floor, and a lady walked from behind the product shelf to the desk, chatting gleefully with someone.

 

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The woman was a pretty, and striking brunette, wearing a pastel purple suit. Although more than a little dated, she gave off an aura of chic and presence. Angela thought of pictures of her mom from the late 80s in ‘power suits’, but 30+ years out of date or not, this lady was pulling of her ensemble! Angela couldn’t help but feel a little inadequate with her own modest clothing.

 

“Marvelous, simply MARVelous, Vanessa.” the lady said, stopping before the desk. Angela smiled to herself. This lady spoke with a haughty voice that reeked of pretentious pomp, yet somehow fit her perfectly. The lady put on a pair of sunglasses, then stepped beyond the desk, allowing another woman out into the waiting area.

 

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Angela saw that this lady, also sporting richly dark brown locks, must be Vanessa. She was very pretty and looked to be about the same age as she was, though she walked with a confidence Angela certainly didn’t. Her sweater-dress, despite the summer heat, looked just perfect on her, and it seemed to compliment the precise longer bob she wore. Vanessa’s bangs framed her hair in such a way that it gave her almost a commanding presence. Angela stood up to say hello, but before she could utter a word, the first lady turned her way with an almost scandalized look. She lowered her sunglasses to give Angela a once over, then said, “Oh my.” Angela felt her cheeks flush red, but couldn’t say anything. The woman then chuckled to herself, fixed her sunglasses, then quickly grabbed Vanessa’s hands and kissed her on both cheeks. “Well, I must be off my dears.” She stepped beside Angela, before turning around, and waving a well-manicured hand over Angela’s head, saying “And good luck with this…thing. Ta!” With that, a shocked Angela watched her leave, too insulted to even formulate a response.

 

Vanessa stepped forward and put her hand on Angela’s, “Hi. Don’t mind her, sweetie. Julianna is a character. I’m Vanessa, but you probably already figured that out.” The receptionist piped in “V, this is Angela Stevens. She was hoping you could squeeze her in for an appointment. Your schedule’s clear for like the next two hours, so I told her it wouldn’t be a problem, if that’s okay.” Vanessa smiled shook her head, “Of course not, Cassie! I was actually worried we’d have to just sit around until my 1 o’clock showed up. Besides, I’ve always got time for a new client, especially a fellow brunette.” Cassie rolled her eyes, but smiled. Vanessa grabbed a sip of water, then beckoned to Angela, “Follow me, won’t you?” Angela followed Vanessa into the salon proper, and was surprised at how sparse the setting was. There was just one styling chair in front of circular mirror, which sat upon a white shelf. A smaller porcelain sink and shampoo bowl were set a few feet away, adjacent to a two-in-one hooded dryer spa chair. Finally, there was a slender wooden cabinet, from which Vanessa pulled a fresh black nylon cape. The set-up, while very neat, did not seem the type of salon that a posh elite like Julianna would patron. “If you’d take a seat, I can take your purse and put a cape on you, Ms. Stevens.”

 

Angela nodded her thanks as she handed her purse over and took a seat in the very well-padded black leather chair. “Thanks, and you can call me Angela.” Vanessa smiled, before tightly securing the cape to her neck with a loud snap. “Lovely, Angela. So, let’s see what we’re working with” she said, removing the various pins and scrunchies from Angela’s hair. Vanessa pulled out a wide brush from one of the shelves, brushing Angela’s curly hair down and out onto her cape. After a few minutes of this, Vanessa sucked her teeth, crossed her arms, and shook her head. Then, making eye contact with Angela’s reflection, she said in an almost exasperated, pensive tone, “What are we going to do with you?” Angela looked at her reflection; Vanessa had brushed her hair into a big, bushy mass. For the first time, Angela now saw what those other ladies must have seen: a messy, curly nest of hair. Feeling a little ashamed, and very aware that Vanessa seemed to be scrutinizing her intently, she felt her face flush red again, and said in a small voice, “Well, I guess I don’t know. I know my hair is due for a re-perm…” Angela shook her head. “Mm, I don’t think so. If it were like 1986, I’d say maybe, but I think you shouldn’t put any more body in your hair, hon. Let’s get you shampooed, and we can go from there. Everyone feels better after a good shampoo!”

 

Angela smiled with this bit of reassurance, and gratefully took a seat at the basin. She closed her eyes as she felt the warm water wash through her hair. “See, isn’t this nice?” asked Vanessa. Angela smiled more broadly, “Oh, yes. It’s been a few days since I really washed, so I’m sorry.” Vanessa smiled politely, “Don’t apologize, sweetie. Lots of hair like this can be tough to manage.” Angela murmured in agreement as Vanessa began gently massaging in a healthy quantity of lilac-scented shampoo. “So, I forgot to ask before, what made you walk into my salon, if I may ask?”

 

Angela, still smiling, opened her eyes, “Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention it! I was actually referred to you by a friend of mine, Nicole Haeg. She works at the bank off of Hurst Street.” Vanessa now smiled, “Oh, Nicole! That’s sweet of her. I’ll have to thank her next time she stops in to see me. She’s so nice, isn’t she?” Angela cleared her throat, “She sure is. I saw her this morning, and she, urm, thought I needed a salon visit.” Vanessa chuckled, “Well, she’s right, but I don’t need to tell you that.” Angela sighed, but didn’t say anything; she was enjoying the shampooing too much. “She went a LOT shorter, but she looks great, if I do say so myself.” Angela nodded. Vanessa smiled to herself, sensing a chance, “You know, you’d look fantastic with something short. Have you ever had short hair before, Angela?” Angela shifted in her seat, suddenly feeling uncomfortable. “Um, when I was teenager, I had a bob, but not since then. So, urm, how long have you been cutting hair, Vanessa?” The stylist chuckled to herself, knowing that Angela was obviously trying to change the subject. She’d have to work a little on this one, but for now she’d play along.

 

“Hmm. I’ve been cutting hair for about twelve years now, I think. Actually, Julianna was a customer from the last salon I worked at. It was a real posh kind of place downtown.” Angela smiled as Vanessa now rubbed in a very foamy and flowery conditioning treatment. “That’s interesting! Why’d you leave, if you don’t mind my asking?” Vanessa now began rinsing Angela’s hair free of the product. “A few reasons. Here, I’m my own boss, and I get to choose my clients. Plus, I prefer to work a little more privately, as you can see by my décor. It’s a little plain, I know, but budgets, you know. I’m hoping once I get a few more clients, I’ll be able to spruce it up a bit.” Angela considered for a moment, but held her tongue as Vanessa wrapped a towel around her head. The two walked back over to the styling chair. Julianna was noticeably taller than Angela, so Vanessa pumped the chair up quite a bit higher now, forcing her client’s feet to dangle in the air.

 

Vanessa towel dried Angela’s curls to a damp point, and again took out a brush, but asked first, “So, enough about me, what do you do, hon?” Angela studied her reflection, and straightened herself in the seat. “I’m actually my own boss, too. I’m an interior decorator.” Vanessa laughed, “Oh, that’s funny! You know, you must have looked the same way at this drab interior in the same way I looked at your hair.” Angela smiled at the jibe, “Well, I wasn’t going to really say anything, but it is sort of plain.” Vanessa put her hands at her hips in mock outrage, but smiled, “Well, I think we have a great chance to improve both of our lines of works then!” Angela turned her head, confused, “We do? I’m not getting it.” Vanessa picked up some clips and a brush, and began sectioning Angela’s hair into long pony-tails. “Honey, if I may, you need a new look. This place needs a new look. How about this: you’ll help me redo this place’s style, and I’ll give you a new look, and keep it fresh for however long you want to keep it, no charge.” Angela raised her eyebrows, “Hmm. I mean, I think that could work. You really think you can liven up my curls into something more chic?” Vanessa shook her head.

 

“Angela, it’s the summer. It’s hot. It’s humid.” Vanessa then changed her tone from commanding to more sympathetic. “Honey, these curls have GOT to go. Will you let me pick a better look for you?” Angela’s lip quivered, but was able to compose herself. “Okay. But, what did you have in mind? It might be too late, but I really don’t want a pixie. I don’t want to look like a little boy.” Vanessa smiled “Hmm. Just because she DID refer you to me, did you like how Nicole wears her hair?” Angela’s eyes bulged, “Whuh, what? A mushroom haircut? Are you serious?” Vanessa pumped the chair up a few more inches. “Yup. In fact, I think you’d look great with one, or something similar!” Angela didn’t know how to react. She felt almost vulnerable, the weight of the cape and distance between her legs and the floor suddenly seemed to triple. She looked at her long hair, but then remembered the messy mane she had a mere 10 minutes ago and closed her eyes. “Okay, I’ll try it, but I don’t want to see it until you’re done. I don’t think I’ll keep my nerve if I have to watch it!” Vanessa beamed, and squealed with delight.

 

“You’re making the right choice, sweetie. I’ll turn you away from the mirror, and just tell you to close your eyes if I have to spin you around.” Angela gave her a nervous smile, “I think I’ll just keep them closed anyway!” Vanessa laughed, “Suit yourself, Angela. Now say good-bye to this mess.” Angela could only splutter a nervous laugh, then closed her eyes as she saw Vanessa pick up a pair of shears. Vanessa busied herself for a moment, sectioning all of Angela’s hair, putting everything above her ears into one lock, and then gathering the left and right-hand sides into smaller sections. If Angela had taken a peak, she might have laughed at her appearance, almost like a crazy high school cheerleader. Angela jumped a little as Vanessa put a hand on her shoulder.

 

“Honey, you’re so tense! It might be easier if you watched it as it happened.” Angela shook her head, her eyes still tightly closed, “Sorry, I don’t mean to be difficult. No, no, but maybe if we talk, that’ll calm me down.” Vanessa tilted her head, “Aww, you’re not being difficult, honey! I’ll keep you talking, okay?” Angela relaxed her shoulders, and nodded. “Good girl, just focus on my voice. So, Angela, what’s your favorite part of being an interior designer?” Angela took a deep breath as she suddenly felt the left side of her head become much lighter, and a wet ‘plop’ signified that Vanessa had just severed a huge chunk of hair. “Urm, well, I guess it’s the whole process of starting with something looking one way, then seeing it be transformed into something totally new and fresh!” Vanessa cut another section, but immediately responded, “That’s so cool! I think I love doing hair for the same kind of reasons, seeing someone leave with a great, new ‘do. That’s so interesting. Now, what’s some of the craziest requests you’ve had from some of your clients?”

 

This question lead to several minutes of lively conversation and recounting from Angela, thoroughly distracting her. Despite this, though, she could still feel Vanessa sectioning her hair again, and could feel the cool metal of her scissors touching the sides of her head. Her head now felt considerably lighter, though her lap was now weighed down by a mass of wet, curly locks. Vanessa, however, was able to watch with great satisfaction as she continued to separate section after section of Angela’s hair. She didn’t want to spook Angela, but she could already tell that the finished style was going to be much shorter than Nicole’s finished mushroom hairstyle. This was definitely going to be a bowlcut, no doubts about it! After a few more minutes of engaging salon talk, Vanessa set down her scissors. Angela’s hair was now entirely pulled up in a single pony-tail in the middle of her head, everything about an inch above her ears was cut to barely an inch in length. Vanessa turned Angela away from the mirror after saying, “Okay sweetie, you might want to keep your eyes closed for this next part. I’m afraid I won’t be able to hear your wonderful voice, but feel free to keep talking while I work!” Confused, Angela squeezed her eyes closed even tighter, but a second later had to muster all her will to keep them closed!

 

A warm, loud, vibrating sensation suddenly filled her senses as Vanessa carefully began using a set of clippers to shear her hair even shorter. Vanessa bit her tongue in concentration as she ran the clippers up Angela’s nape. She had selected a very high grade attachment, not wanting Angela to be totally hairless in these areas, but certainly not long enough to even pinch between her fingers.

 

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Angela squirmed a little in her chair, and closed her eyes even more tightly shut. She had never felt clippers used on her hair THIS much! Normally, they were only used to clean up stray hairs on her nape and sideburns. But now she could feel them going over and over around her head. She felt Vanessa fold down the tops of her ears as the clippers ran over and around them. It was both exciting and terrifying! The whine and buzzing of the clippers made any conversation impossible, but Angela was so entranced by this new sensation that she wouldn’t have been able to muster any words, even if the device was silent! Angela could feel the AC on her nape and the sides of her head much more noticeably. “You’re doing great, Angela! Did you enjoy the clippers?” asked Vanessa, setting down the appliance. Angela grinned nervously, “Sort of! I, urm, have never really had them used on me like that before!”

 

Vanessa was now the one to grin, “I didn’t want to scare you by telling you that I was going to be using the clippers. I’ve just got the top to do now, so we’re about halfway done.” Angela signed, then said, “Okay! Are, um, you done using the clippers?” Vanessa chuckled, “Yep! I take it you preferred talking to just listening to me work?” Angela nodded, but a little part of her was disappointed that she wouldn’t feel that warm, buzzing sensation again…

 

“That’s the one part I don’t like about using the clippers! So, if I can ask another few questions, we can get back to our regularly scheduled salon chat, honey.” Both of them giggled. Vanessa then released the tightly secured clip on top of Angela’s head, causing all of her remaining hair to tumble down, still damp. “Ask away, please!” said Angela. Vanessa smiled as she sectioned out a large pony-tail on the left side, “It’s cliché, I know, but are you seeing anyone right now?” Angela cleared her throat, keenly aware Vanessa had just severed another huge section of hair. “Actually, I’ve been seeing this guy for about the last two months. He was a client, and we actually just kept seeing each other after I was done helping design his office.” Vanessa made an overly dramatic “Ooooh” sound, which again cause both ladies to laugh. “Do you think he’ll like the new ‘do on you?” asked Vanessa.

 

Angela’s smile suddenly faltered. For a moment, the steady snip, snip, snip of Vanessa trimming her hair shorter and shorter was all that be heard. “I, um, hadn’t really thought about it, to be honest.” Vanessa took a sharp breath, “Oops, I didn’t mean to worry you, honey. And, although I’m biased, I can tell you’re just going to ROCK this style.” Angela didn’t respond. She could feel the cool metal blades again, this time high on the back of her head. Vanessa had been working methodically, layering the hair slightly, to help the bowl achieve a fuller shape. Angela winced as she felt the scissors press against her temple, then release as Vanessa snipped another small clump of her hair. Feeling awkward, Angela forced a nervous laugh, “I hope so! He’s, urm, always really complimentary, but I’ve never really even broached the subject with him. Do you think he’ll like it?” Vanessa hated this question.

 

“I mean, it’s going to be a big change,” she said, as she quickly brushed another section down before trimming the ends perfectly straight, “but for what it’s worth, I think you already look even prettier than before. Short cuts really show off facial features, and you’ve got some AWEsome dimples to show off, but I guess to give the standard flake response, we’ll just have to see!” Angela considered this, trying not to focus on the massive weight Vanessa just lifted from the right side of her head. “How about I ask you a question, then Vanessa?”

 

“Yeesh, I think I killed the mood!” said Vanessa, spritzing some water on Angela’s last remaining section of un-cut hair. Angela smiled, and peeked an eye open, “No, I just think I’m already dying of anticipation about one thing, I don’t think I need to be worrying about TWO things, haha!” Vanessa picked up a finer brush, then diligently brushed all of Angela’s remaining locks over her face, “Fair enough! Ask away, as you said, sweetie!” Angela suppressed a sneeze as her hair brushed over her nose, “I’m guessing you cut Cassie’s hair, right?” Vanessa smiled, “Yes, though I’m afraid you’re not exactly going to look like twins, hon…” Angela now waved her hand, “Oh, I know, I know! I was just thinking, SHE’s got short hair, Nicole’s got short hair, Julianna’s got short hair, now I’ve DEFINTIELY got short hair, so I have to ask, why don’t you?”

 

Vanessa smiled at the question, but thought about her response. She had already lined the majority of the cut perfectly level around Angela’s head. “What a question to ask while I’m working on your bangs, Angela!” Angela tried to give a satisfied look while keeping her eyes firmly shut. Angela couldn’t help but laugh as she felt the familiar cool blades close right above her eyebrows with a small crunch. “That is a good question. Hmm. Well, I’ve certainly had short hair before, but do you remember when I told you that I used to work at another salon?” Angela nodded, though not much, as she felt Vanessa was continuing to shape her bangs. “Well, my manager there required all her stylists to be neatly cropped. No one, except her of course, could have longer, prettier hair than our clients.” Angela opened an eye in surprise, watching as her vision was suddenly expanded as another tress over her right eye was cut. “Really? That’s…weird, and…kind of mean.” Vanessa sighed, and said “Yeah, I thought so, too. I mean, it kind of made sense. You know how some girls’ moms wanted their hair always done in a certain way?” Angela snorted, thinking back to many dreadful school picture days, with lots of arguing, stupid outfits, and too many ribbons and pony-tails. “Uh-huh. I know exactly what you mean, Vanessa.” Vanessa giggled, “Ah, sorry for whatever you’re remembering. Anyway, oops, head up for me…” Angela felt Vanessa straighten her head, her well-manicured nails now brazenly felt where her sideburns used to be. “Our boss felt like our mom. Anyway, that got kind of old after a while, so I guess once I got the chance to grow out my hair, I never looked back.”

 

Angela shook her head; it was a strange sensation, as it now felt like almost nothing was on it! Before she could respond, though, Vanessa took out a hairdryer and curling iron, and began curling the ends of her hair. “I’m just adding some shape to your cut, Angela. I swear, as much I love having longer hair, your cut is very tempting!” This process didn’t take very long, which even without vision Angela could tell, but was somewhat a relief, as the anxiety was almost unbearable at this point! Angela peeked both eyes open, she wasn’t facing the mirror, but she could see a mound of mostly dried curls all over her lap and the floor. Vanessa noticed, “Oh, no peeking, honey! I just need to add some spray,” she said, applying a generous amount all around. “Okay my beautifully bowled friend, are you ready to see your new look?” Angela grinned, and said in a louder tone than she meant, “Oh YES, please!” Vanessa laughed as she brushed her lap clean, and removed the cape. “Okay! Here you are!” She spun the chair around, and Angela opened her eyes.

 

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Angela beamed at her radically changed reflection. Her hair was indeed very different than Nicole’s mushroom pageboy, this was, as Vanessa intended, a very pronounced bowlcut. It sat almost perfectly even all around her head in a very precise round shape. The ends had been lifted for a bit of volume, which added a feminine touch to the look. She turned her head side to side, noting with amazement and delight that the bowl shape was almost perfectly symmetrical, no matter what way she turned her head. She smiled, and noticed that her dimples did seem a bit more pronounced in a very flattering way. “So, I know you were dying to see it, but I’m dying to know: what do you think?” asked Vanessa, betraying a hint of nerves in her voice. Angela turned around and smiled at her stylist, then said coyly, “I think you’re going to have some help redecorating this place after all!” Vanessa clapped her hands together and squealed in delight, “Oh, I’m SO happy! I know it’s a big, big change, but you look just perfect with a bowlcut. Here, want to send a picture to you-know-who?”

 

Angela had turned back to face the mirror, grinning as she shook her head, only to see her hair fall back to the exact same position. “Hmm? Oh, I don’t know.” Vanessa said, “Come on. You look H-O-T, honey! Here, hand me your phone.” Angela rolled her eyes, but grinned as she stood up and passed Vanessa her phone. Vanessa held it up, “Awesome! Now, do a little twirl.” Angela complied, her hair lifting momentarily before settling immediately back into shape. “Okay, okay, that’s enough, I think. Let me send it.” Both women laughed as Vanessa passed the phone back to Angela. Angela took a few more pictures of her new hairstyle, then quickly sent off the pictures and video.

 

“Angela, if he doesn’t love it, honestly, he’s an idiot.” Angela sighed in mock condemnation, “Oh, be nice, he’s really smart. Now we just have to wait.” Vanessa picked up Angela’s purse, and gave it back to her, “While we wait, let’s get you checked out, and we can schedule your follow up and some time for us to talk about your plans for the salon.”

 

Angela stole another glimpse at her reflection, before running her hand up her nape. It sent goosebumps over her whole body, the sandpaper like texture of her nape and sideburns feeling so foreign, yet oddly wonderful to her touch. They both stepped forward to the desk, where Cassie was sitting. “Oh WOW! You look fantastic!” said Cassie, her expression displaying both shock and delight. “Aw, thanks a lot! A lot better than how I looked walking in, huh?” Cassie flushed a little, “Well, I hate to say it, but yeah. So, I assume we can schedule a follow up?” Angela smiled, “Oh definitely!” Vanessa smiled with satisfaction, “This one’s in the house, Cassie. Angela’s going to be helping us improve our décor.” Angela blinked in surprise, “I thought you said trims were free? I can’t let you give me this for free!” Vanessa waved her off, “Honey, you’d be paying yourself, effectively. Trust me, we’ll be even. I’d love to fix your color next time into something bolder, if you want.” Angela smiled, “Hmm, well, I’d have to think..OH!”

 

Angela jumped a little as she felt her phone buzz. Vanessa leaned forward, “Is it him?” Angela nodded. “And…?” Vanessa said, raising her eyebrows. Angela giggled and spun around before showing Vanessa and Cassie the text: “WOW! Lookin’ hot, babe! Can we do dinner tonight instead of tomorrow?” Vanessa and Cassie both laughed and squealed in delight. Angela couldn’t help but hug them both. “I’m so happy for you, sweetie!” Vanessa exclaimed. Angela laughed again before saying “I just love it, Vanessa! Well, it looks like I’ve got to go get ready for a date tonight. I’ve got your number, so I’ll call to schedule an appointment where we can look at samples, and then talk something new color-wise, for both of us, I guess!” Laughing and giggling again, Angela again thanked Vanessa and Cassie, hugging them once more before leaving, her confidence lifted even more as the warm air skimmed across her nape.

 

As Angela turned her car on, she smiled to herself. She couldn’t resist checking out her new appearance in the rearview mirror. She never would have thought this was the cut that would be her summer style, but Vanessa had very much lived up to Nicole’s praise! This thought sparked another smile for Angela: perhaps she’d have to stop by the bank tomorrow, just to say hello, and see the surprise and delight on Nicole’s face.

 

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