Accident

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Roxanne loved fairy tales growing up, so telling them to her own daughter when she had one was a given. “It’s magic,” she told Rosemary when little Ro asked how her hair turned dark red again every three months. Damned if her baby girl would know about her shameful brunette past, and that she had to regularly dye it to maintain the crimson hue. “Is mine magic, too?” Ro excitedly asked, pulling it in front of her face to inspect it, as if she’d see it start to glitter with a spell. “Yes, but unlike me you were born with your magic,” Roxie responded, almost jealous that the red hair she had to pay for came naturally to her daughter. Since Joanna carried their baby, Jo made sure to find a donor with red hair so that the child would resemble both of them. Of course, Roxie wasn’t a natural redhead, but her hip-length red hair was such a defining element for her that with Jo’s big green puppy dog eyes and Roxie’s red hair, Ro could be mistaken for the first immaculate conception between two women.

When Ro asked “Mama, how come your hair is so long and Mommy’s is so short?,” she and Jo exchanged smiles. “If mine gets cut, I’ll lose my magic. And if Mommy’s grows long, she loses hers.” Ro looked up at them quizzically for a second from her position lying on both their laps as the family spent that night together on the couch. She was too little to question this logic. “So what happens to mine if I cut it?” Jo started to twirl their baby girl’s long hair around her finger as Roxie told her, “since you were born with magic, you’ll never lose it. You can do anything you want with your hair and you’ll still be powerful.” Jo and Roxie had long ago decided that any child of theirs would be free to express themself however they pleased. But Jo, a short hair evangelist who preferred her own wavy blonde hair cropped so short she didn’t even need to comb it, especially because her wife had a shirt hair fetish, unexpectedly loved tending to Ro’s thick red hair so much that she insisted they let it grow unless Ro voiced any objection, at which point they’d follow her wishes.

But Ro had started to question the ways of magic. Could magic hair regrow automatically? Could it change color or texture? So she set about finding out. Chasing after Jo with paint to see if painting her hair would make the color permanently stick proved that magic was real. “See?” Jo jokingly chided as she washed out the paint Ro had splattered on her head. “The magic means it stays blonde no matter what.” Ro’s eyes widened, and she wondered if her other mom’s hair would also stay in its current state, powered by magic. The little detective was on the case.

“Mama,” Ro eventually asks one day as she climbs up onto her parents’ bed, where the mermaid-like redhead was nestled comfortably reading a book with her glasses on, “can I comb your hair?”

Roxie looks up from her book, raising a brow at the unexpected request coming from her little bumpkin. “You want to comb Mama’s hair?” she leans forward, a hand instinctively pulling forward her long, luscious tresses that she so dearly treasured.

“I wanted to comb mommy’s hair cos she always does mine, but hers is too short,” Ro pouts, to which Roxie softly smiles as she remembers that crucial detail about her wife’s hair that’s always turned her on so much. “So she said I can comb yours!”

From the moment Ro had enough hair to even run a comb through, Jo had taken it upon herself to be the one ‘in charge’ of it— which meant every morning, without fail, Jo would spend that precious time caring for her daughter’s beautiful locks. “To maintain the magic,” she’d always remind little Ro.

“You’re such a sweetie,” Roxie says as she sits up, turning herself so her back faced her daughter. “Go ahead, darling,” she gives the green light as she turns her attention back to her book. But what she never saw was the mischievous grin that played on little Ro’s face as she knelt behind her mother.

Roxie settles in as she feels the comb running through her long locks a little clumsily, eyes readjusting to the novel that’s in her hands. Little Ro’s free hand holds onto her mother’s crimson tapestry that hangs down to her hips, still being very careful to make sure nothing would seem out of the ordinary. After a few passes with the comb, she eventually sets it aside before picking up the true tool she wanted to use to conduct her investigation.

SHHHNICK

Roxie’s body freezes when she hears it— that eerily familiar sound that rings across the room so clearly, coming just from behind her. She knows exactly what’s happened, but she doesn’t want to turn around. She’s too afraid to see it. To believe it. Roxie sets down her book as calmly as she can, not even thinking about the bookmark she’s to leave in the pages. Her body shifts, heart pounding with anxiety as she regards her daughter.

And there Rosemary is— with a wide-eyed wonder as she holds a bundle of locks two feet long in her little hand, while her other hand holds the devious scissors she’d initially hidden from her Mama. She looks up to Roxie, whose expression is still blank in shock, but with a hint of terror. Ro’s eyes dart to her Mama’s back, staring at that wide section in her blanket of hair that was missing. Waiting. Observing. Surely, magic hair grows back immediately? But the longer she stares at that section of Roxie’s neck that’s now exposed, the harder the realization hits. “Mama…” Ro starts with a weak voice, looking at the fistful of hair she holds, “did I ruin your magic?”

Before Roxie can even muster up an ounce of courage to speak, from the corner of her eye she spots her wife appearing by the door. “I could’ve sworn I heard a loud snip. Is everything oka-” Jo freezes mid-sentence when she sees it. That clump of red that’s in her daughter’s hand— separated from her wife’s gorgeous mane. “Ro…” she utters softly, carefully inching towards the two on the bed.

“I just wanted to see if Mama’s hair would grow back! You told me it was magic. Magic hair grows back, right?” Ro gets defensive, looking up at her Mama who had told her of all the grandiose wonder that came with her hair.

Jo bites her lip, realizing the elaborate fairytale they’d told little Ro has backfired. She looks to Roxie for help, but she’s been frozen the whole time, unable to utter a single word. The only thing Roxie does is to reach forward— to pick up those poor, helpless locks from her daughter’s hand. A pit forms in her stomach when she realizes how long they are as she wistfully strokes those broken pieces of her crown.

“Of course it does, sweetie!” Jo eventually speaks up as she moves forward, giving an encouraging pat on her daughter’s back while carefully taking the scissors from her. “Sometimes the magic just takes a while,” she continues to spin the tale, making sure the facade is still intact, lest Ro grasp what she’s truly done. “Listen, dear, why don’t you go play with Oscar for a bit? Mommy’s gotta talk to Mama about something important. And by the time we’re done, who knows, maybe the hair’s grown back already!”

Ro’s face lights up a little, still absorbed by the lie Jo’s trying to hold together. “Okay, Mommy,” she cheerfully agrees before bouncing off the bed, taking her leave to play with their grumpy ginger furball. Once she’s out of earshot, Jo immediately shuts the door and locks it, then turns to the victim of their magical lie.

“Oh my fucking god, Roxie… how did this happen?” The panic returns as Jo sets herself on the bed, with the both of them now staring at those limp, red locks that’re still in Roxie’s hands. “Talk to me Rox… are you okay? How’re you holding up?” But not a single word leaves Roxie’s lips. She’s still mesmerizingly stroking her fallen locks, as if in a trance. “Okay… words aren’t working, uhh,” Jo realizes, then slowly tilts her wife’s head to look up at hers. “Look at me, babe. Nod, shake your head, do something. Are you okay?”

Roxie shakes her head. “Okay, we’re getting somewhere,” Jo sighs. “Are you sad?”

Roxie nods. “Of course. Are you…” she hesitates, then softly asks, “angry?”

Roxie shakes her head. “No?” Jo’s taken aback. A huge chunk of her wife’s gorgeous mane was so abruptly cut off, but she’s not furious? Jo stares into those absent eyes, trying to see if Roxie’s just lying. She searches, but those blue eyes hold no fury. And as Jo studies that azure expanse, she begins to understand.

If it had been anyone else that had dared to brazenly cut off her Majesty’s prized locks, there would be no peace on earth for as long as it remained in its severed state. But it was little Ro— their own golden child— that had committed such an act, albeit based off their elaborate ruse that they made her believe. In some obscure way, she could even reason that it was because of Jo and her that such an outcome even arose.

But even if it is Rosemary’s own doing, there’s no room in Roxie’s heart to have any ire directed at her beloved daughter. Something so grave is not to have its vengeance, and Jo realises that. But the damage still needs to be repaired, and she must be strong for Roxie. “Do you want me to call Fran?” She eventually asks.

Roxie’s stomach churns, understanding what that request fully means. The way forward: to rip the band-aid off. She hasn’t even seen the full extent of the damage from the back, but those severed feet of hair she holds in her hands paints enough of a picture. She looks up at Jo. Then her eyes widen. “Do we have to?” Her voice finally returns, though laden with a melancholic weight.

Jo has to hold herself together when she hears that voice, lest her own waterfall breaks out. Roxie had often teased Jo about cutting her hair off, knowing nothing made Jo more upset. For as long as she’s been with Roxie, those long, crimson tresses have very much been theirs. While rightfully on Roxie’s magnificent head, it had undoubtedly been a wonder for both of them to marvel over and appreciate together. To think that this pleasure would come to an end feels like a stab in Jo’s gut. “I don’t know,” Jo keeps her voice stable, “but at least she can say what’s the best way forward.”

 

**********

The people Jo and Roxie needed most during this crisis made themselves available as soon as they heard how dire the situation was. Fran, longtime colorist to Roxie and barber to Jo, said she could cancel everything else in her day so that they could come to her shop ASAP. Ever since she’d opened her own, business was so good that she could afford to clear her day for her favorite customers and good friends. Lex, Jo’s mischievous nibling who years ago had their own home-haircut emergency after buzzing their long blonde hair off themself in Jo and Roxie’s bathroom, had become Fran’s apprentice and later co-owner of the new shop. Lex got swift permission from Fran to leave early and look after Ro while her moms cleaned up Ro’s mess. “You look so cool!” Ro exclaims as Lex walks in with their buzzcut newly dyed electric-blue, and Lex scoops her up into their arms, giving her a kiss on the cheek. Ever since that mishap with Jo and Roxie’s clippers so long ago, Lex had kept their hair buzzed and dyed it every possible color, which means every visit is always another surprise when Lex turns up with a different, bright shade on their fuzzy head.

“Here,” Jo says as she and Roxie are about to leave the room after getting ready. Roxie turns to see Jo’s outstretched hand, offering a sky blue scrunchie. “I know you don’t really like tying up your hair, but maybe it’s the best way to hide the damage when we’re walking there.” But this isn’t just any scrunchie— this is the exact same one that Jo wore faithfully when she was still a ponytailed girl so many years ago, having kept the scrunchie out of sentiment.

“Okay,” Roxie replies, voice still weak. “Can you help me put it up? I really don’t wanna look in a mirror right now.”

“Of course,” Jo affirms before sitting on the bed cross-legged, tapping her lap to invite her wife onto it. Roxie obediently sits, hunching herself slightly as Jo gathers up her still-bountiful mane. Jo slips on the scrunchie, tying up the hair securely in a high ponytail so that it’s all neatly off her wife’s face. “Maybe this scrunchie was always meant for you. Matches your eyes so well,” Jo tries to lighten the tension as she bends forward to look at her wife, tracing a thumb along the side Roxie’s face. Roxie only gives a weak smile— trying her best to stay calm even if it is the hardest thing to do.

Once the two are ready, they head out the bedroom door to see Lex and Ro sitting on the living room couch, both petting Oscar who’s laying majestically like the Great Sphinx. “Mommy and Mama are gonna be out for a while, darling. We’ll buy some dinner on the way back, okay?” Jo says as she has to be the more vocal one of the two for now.

“Okay, Mommy,” Ro replies, eyes still glued to the ginger furball.

“Let me know if you two need anything, okay Lex?” Jo adds, turning to her nibling.

“We’ll be fine,” Lex replies, looking up to their two aunts with serious eyes. “Hope it’ll turn out well,” Lex adds softly as the two head for the door.

“It will,” Jo guarantees as she gently squeezes Roxie’s hand. “It’s Fran. She does magic.”

**

The bright splash of colours in Fran’s shop shakes Roxie back to life after a dreary march from her house that seemed to go on for eternity. It felt like Jo was half-pulling her most of the way— and Jo wouldn’t blame Roxie for dreading what’s to come. Both of them are, but Jo has to be the strong one now. They walk through the glass door with their arms interlocked, with the little bell on the door ringing the arrival of the last customers of the day at Rebel Rebel.

“Hey, you two!” Fran greets from the counter— still cheerful as always, but with a heavier tinge in her voice. Unlike all the other visits she’s had from Jo and Roxie, this one’s not as jovial. But she can’t make it feel too different. As best as she can, she wants to make it like any other visit, even if it isn’t.

“Thank you so much for doing this Fran. I know you had to cancel quite a few appointments,” Jo speaks up first as Fran gets closer to embrace the two of them. She gives them both a warm rub on the arms, but especially Roxie, who’s still a little out of sorts.

“It’s nothing, trust me,” Fran assures with a wave of her hand, putting on her biggest smile. “Why don’t you have a seat, Roxie? Jo, grab a stool from the counter and you can come sit beside her too.”

Roxie hesitantly sits herself in the chair, and Jo sits on a stool right next to her, holding her hand. “Let’s see what we’re working with?” Fran asks, and Roxie takes her hair down, putting the scrunchie around her wrist. From her angle, she looks the same as she faces herself in the front with her long hair still spilling around her, but Fran’s angle behind her displays a more ghastly view, where much of the back of her hair has been shorn a bit above her shoulders. Roxie can feel the newly-cut ends tickling her body, but she doesn’t want to accept what that feeling means. “I suppose there’s no way to fix it?,” she asks Fran, still staring intently into the mirror to take in the last sight of herself she’ll see with her precious hair for a long time. “I certainly can fix it,” Fran says, running her fingers through the back, “but fixing it means cutting the rest to match.” Roxie’s shoulders start to heave, and Jo moves forward to embrace her. “Rox, baby…you’re going to look beautiful, ok? A different hairstyle doesn’t mean I’ll love you any less. If anything, it makes things more exciting!”

As Roxie’s sobbing into Jo’s chest simmers down, Fran gently says, “let’s get you caped up and sort this out. Should I turn you away from the mirror so you don’t have to watch?” Roxie squeezes Jo’s hand. “That’s a kind offer, but no. Watching as it all happens gradually will make…seeing the end…less of a painful shock.” “Well,” Fran insists as she unhooks the teal-coloured cape from the wall, “you won’t be painful to look at all— you’ll look gorgeous. I guarantee it.” “A sophisticated modern mermaid,” Jo says to Roxie with a wink, and Roxie’s heart melts.

The mermaid forces out another smile, but this time it’s a lot easier. If there’s ever a harsh reality where she must part with her crowning glory, she wants it done by Fran’s trusted hand and beside her one and only Jo. And that’s exactly what she’s getting. Her eyes are still glassy with tears, though it’s not all gloom. There’s a drop of relief in this ocean of melancholy, and it soothes the ache in her heart ever so slightly.

As Fran shakes out the cape, Roxie musters the strength to act— gathering up her hair behind her for perhaps the last time. Fran’s a little startled at the sudden confidence, but takes it as her cue to fling the cape over Roxie, letting it drape her petite body majestically before securing the ends snugly behind her exposed neck. As Fran smooths out the cape, Roxie lets go of that bountiful bundle of hair, letting it spill across the sea of teal that contrasted her tresses so starkly.

“Do you remember that one time,” Fran starts as she picks up the comb to run through Roxie’s locks, “back in the old shop, when we were waiting for the dye to set in, and we were talking about what a short-haired Roxie era could hypothetically look like?”

“God, that was a long time ago,” Roxie says, remembering that this was even before Jo had stepped into her life.

It was a harmless conversation that had sprung up as they were watching a makeover happening in one of the other barber chairs— where a ponytail was giving way to a sleek, long bob. Not as dramatic as the type of haircuts Roxie was more accustomed to watching to satisfy her trichophilia, but it still sent quite the shiver down her spine watching it happen so up-close. “I think you’d look good with that cut,” Fran had joked when she realized Roxie was watching rather attentively, to which Roxie quickly turned away— cheeks coloured in shame at her fetish being exposed. But instead of deflecting such teases with sass like she always did, that one time she actually nibbled on the bait. “You think so?” Roxie asked, biting her lip almost immediately after the question left her throat as she realized how silly she sounded.

But before she could even take it back, Fran was quick to jump on the chance. “Totally!” she asserted as she stood behind Roxie in the chair, carefully placing her hands flat in front of the crimson mane to mimic a semblance of how it would look. “A sharp, long bob. Chin-length would be tempting fate a bit, but if it’s too long that it touches the shoulders… well, that wouldn’t be a bob, would it?” she started describing it, and Roxie observed with rapt attention— her insides tingling as she let this demonstration take place. “We’d keep the way your hair’s parted on the side. It’ll be so sleek. It’d end somewhere around…” her hands slowly inch up towards the middle of Roxie’s slender neck, “here?” Roxie was giddy, biting down her tongue just even trying to imagine such a possibility. “Ah, those gorgeous collarbones are just begging to be seen by the world.”

Roxie snaps back into the present as she hears Fran say, “let’s just rip off the band aid and not put this off” as she wields a pair of scissors in her hand. As her hand begins to approach the mane she’s so lovingly combed out over her back, Roxie squeezes her eyes shut, and feels Jo squeeze her hand just as hard. She hears Fran laugh as she chides Jo while looking at her with a squinted eye, “why are you squeezing your eyes shut? It’s not your hair being cut!”

“Hey, you’re not the only one that loves your hair!” Jo retorts with an opened eye.

“I don’t think you gripped my hand this tightly when you were getting yours cut the first time!” Roxie sasses back.

Jo loosens her steel grip on Roxie’s hand. “Well I’m sorry for caring more about your ha-”

SHNICK 

There’s a pin drop silence when the two hear it, with only widened eyes staring at each other. Jo’s the first one to see it— those long, flowy red tresses deftly held in Fran’s hand. Separated from Roxie’s head. The ends of her hair swing forward softly across the cape as she realizes a large weight is released from her crown. She hasn’t even looked in the mirror, but the look scrawled on Jo’s face says it all. As her heart’s pumping into overdrive, her head slowly turns to finally look at the damage.

Roxie takes a large gulp as her eyes stare back into themselves— suddenly realizing how starkly blue they are with her face so ravishingly framed by the shorter locks of red that end no longer than her shoulders now. Dangling right beside her head is the makeshift ponytail, held aloft in Fran’s hand like a trophy.

“Hardest part’s over,” Fran announces. “Here,” she hands the thick bundle of hair to Jo, who sheepishly accepts it. “Alright, let’s get you shampooed up,” Fran says as she rubs Roxie’s shoulders, where the ends of her hair sweep.

Roxie slowly gets to her feet, already feeling lightheaded from the weight that’s been unceremoniously removed from her head—about two feet of hair chopped off! Fran softly takes her by the arm, gently guiding her to the shampooing station at the back of the shop. The last thing she sees as she settles down into the reclined chair is Jo who’s still on her little stool, lovingly stroking through the severed ponytail as if it’s still a part of Roxie. A part of them.

Fran tucks a towel into the collar of the cape, then carefully lowers Roxie’s head into the basin. With a squeak of the tap, the warm water starts pouring onto Roxie’s hair, and for a moment the tightness in her chest loosens up. She steadies her breath, easing herself into this familiar part of her visits to Fran. Fran always takes utmost care in this stage, especially for a customer so special like Roxie, and especially now that she’s going through hell on earth. And so Fran takes her time here— slowly lathering up the hair as she massages through the mermaid’s crown. It may be considerably less hair than usual that she’s shampooing, but she treats it like any other session when Roxie’s mane was still in its full glory, so she can have all the time she needs to calm herself. By the time she turns the tap back on to rinse, Fran can feel the tension from Roxie loosening up.

“Holding up alright, Roxie?” Fran asks as she starts drying the hair, easing her to sit back up. “Mm,” Roxie lets out a soft sound, still keeping her eyes closed. “Alright, let’s get back to the chair, and we’ll make you even more gorgeous.”

Fran leads her back to the main barber chair, with Jo still quietly seated in the stool beside it. The moment Roxie’s settled back into the chair comfortably, Jo’s hand immediately interlocks with Roxie’s. Roxie puts all her energy into ignoring the gorgeous shorn hair that’s lying on the countertop. Once Fran’s done smoothing out the cape again, she springs back into work, sectioning out the damp locks with hair clips.

Hacking off the length may have seemed like the ‘hardest’ part, but deep down Roxie knows it’s only the start. That image of her in the mirror with such drastically shorter hair, all clipped up and primed for cutting— it’s terrifying. Her heart starts filling with fear as she wonders if she’s even strong enough to be facing the mirror. As Fran starts combing out part of the nape section down her neck, Roxie’s grip on Jo’s hand tightens. She’s anticipating it— that awful snap of the scissors that she thought she’d never have to hear so close to her head.

Snip snip snip

Her teeth clamp down on her tongue as she feels the cold steel of the scissors against her neck and those loose locks slide down her neck and plop onto her caped shoulders before being flicked off by Fran’s comb. But Fran doesn’t leave a moment to linger— she quickly unpins the next section to be cut, then dives right back in.

Snip snip snip. Snip snip snip 

Fran works quickly— getting into her usual rhythm of combing and cutting. With every click of the shears, another small piece of Roxie is discarded, making way to shape the long bob that Roxie had always secretly envisioned at the back of her mind. There’s barely any progress in the mirror with all the cutting going on in the back, but Roxie’s already so unnerved by the violent snips that’re deafeningly ringing in her ears.

“You’re doing so well, Rox,” a soft voice whispers in her ear amidst the chaos as Jo brings Roxie’s hand up to her lips for a gentle kiss. “Just a little bit more,” Jo continues comfortingly, rubbing a finger across the back of Roxie’s hand. Jo’s the only reason she’s still holding it together, and she’s gonna need all the soothing words she can get as Fran starts unclipping the side sections.

Fran combs it all straight down— letting that red curtain drape her right ear and cheek as the ends reach down to graze the top of the cape. Fran then positions her scissors horizontally, calculating where the cut should end as it all plays out in clear view for Roxie to see through the mirror.

Snip snip snip snip.

Fran snips right across in a straight line, sending feathery locks plunging down onto her shoulder. It takes a lot of restraint for Roxie to not grimace as Fran’s scissor-wielding hand remains poised and steady. She knows that she has to not move an inch lest Fran messes up and ends up cutting it even shorter than what they’d settled for.

Snip snip snip.

The clump of hair on her shoulder gets too heavy as it slides down the cape, with some of it tumbling down onto her semi-outstretched hand that’s still interlocked with Jo’s. Jo carefully dusts it off, letting it fall onto the floor with its other lost brethren.

But with every snip Fran makes, the sound gets that little bit more bearable for Roxie as the image in the mirror becomes a bit more complete. Fear may be the one thing she can feel so clearly in her bones, but behind some layers of it she can’t deny that little ounce of curiosity.

With a few more precision snips the right side is done, and Roxie finally has some inkling of how the final product’s gonna look. Her red mane may not be flowing bountifully anymore, but it’s now left in a perfectly blunt line, ending about an inch below her jaw, short enough that it doesn’t even touch the cape-covered shoulder.  Just like Fran described so many years ago.

It’s all still terrifying— having to embrace this new version of her out of nowhere. Sure, it’s not as dramatic as Jo’s big, first transformation, but it’s still the biggest step Roxie’s had to take rather unwillingly after making long hair her signature. Jo took the plunge, and now it’s Roxie’s turn. Jo survived it, and Roxie knows she can too. All this while Jo’s been so strong for her— trying her best to be the anchor through such a terrible storm. And at some point, Roxie’s gotta pick herself up. As Fran unclips the left side, Roxie’s grip on Jo’s hand slowly loosens, much to the latter’s surprise. Roxie spares a glance at Jo through the mirror, mustering a soft smile.

Snip snip snip, snip snip snip.

Her heartstrings still twang with every lock that falls, but she’s getting through it a lot better. The teal cape is littered with soft, red hair all over— the most amount of hair she’s ever had to see lying so helplessly all over her. Curiously, she takes her other hand out of the cape, reaching down onto her lap to pick up a few of those locks. They’re barely a few inches long, but they still feel so heavy in her fingers— holding onto lost pieces of her magic.

Oh, little Ro’s going to be devastated when Mama comes home with her hair suddenly cut short and she realizes what she’s done.

The hairdryer screams to life with a whirr once Fran has set down the scissors. The hot air blasts over the short, red locks that now frame Roxie’s face as Fran lays each section out with a round brush. She starts on her right and moves around, working carefully to make sure each side is gracefully blowdried. This is another part that’s familiar to Roxie— feeling that hot wind gushing close to her head as her crown’s being shaped to perfection. But this time, it only takes about half the usual duration to fully style the resultant look.

“All done!” Fran eventually announces as the hairdryer shuts off. Roxie looks back into the mirror as Fran shakes out the bob, making sure it’s parted on the side like how Roxie always wears it. “What do you think?”

It’s such a weird thought, but somehow it looks exactly like how Roxie’s imagined it would whenever she’s teased Jo about cutting her hair off. Her crimson locks twirl a little as they end around her mid-neck, not even at risk of grazing the shoulders. On anyone else, she wouldn’t deem such a cut to be ‘short’, being the trichophiliac she is. But for someone whose hair has flown to her hips for so many years, it’s shocking. There’s something about the length, though,that works , where it frames her face just right— there’s still enough hair to appreciate, but it’s not too much that it distracts from her face, where those blue eyes are finally taking center stage.

“It’s…good,” Roxie finally says, opting for a rather neutral word as she’s getting trudging through the road of acceptance. It might grow on me, she thinks as she lets go of Jo’s hand to physically inspect this new crown she must wear. She starts cautiously— gently touching her red mane as if it’s a precious diamond, afraid that she might ruin the way it looks. Her fingers slowly weave through the locks, and she bites her lip when they end so abruptly below her jaw rather than flowing all the way down to her hip. It’s going to take a lot of adjustment.

“I think it’s phenomenal,” Jo chimes in, grinning from ear to ear. “A sophisticated mermaid.”

Roxie suddenly swings her head around from side to side, smiling as her bobbed hair whips around her head. She could never truly shake her hair around her head when it was long. “Was always curious how that would feel,” she admits, and then giggles. To think that she’s spent countless hours watching videos of women getting their first ever bobs, swinging their head around in disbelief or joy. Her stomach sizzles at the thought, realizing she’s now joined that club.

She grabs Jo’s hand again, giving it a squeeze as Jo gently reaches out to smooth her hair… but Jo only does this after messing it up with her hands teasingly. “Time for you to get all the head ruffles you give me,” she says, and leans in to give her transformed wife a kiss after smoothing the bob, combing through it with her long fingers so it lays sleek. Roxie still can’t believe the feeling of her hair slapping against her neck— but her mind’s stuck on that feeling of Jo’s hands running through her hair.

“Do that again,” Roxie instructs softly, looking at Jo. “What— play with your hair?” Jo asks bemusedly. Roxie nods— again, shaken by that feeling of her hair tossing so closely about her head. Jo shrugs, then dives right back in with her fingers, massaging Roxie’s head. “Oh,” Roxie lets out, her eyes instinctively shuting as she surrenders to Jo’s touch. For so long it was always Roxie’s devious fingers that would get the better of Jo’s blonde hair— running through every different cut she’s gotten from her pixies, crops, and bobs, and even the occasional buzzcuts. Now, she gets a taste of her own medicine— and it tastes divine.

Intoxicated, she instinctively grabs onto Jo who’s standing beside the chair, then pulls her in. They share a deep kiss, with Jo’s hands still naughtily running through Fran’s handiwork on Roxie’s head. It’d been a gloomy day for Roxie— but in that moment, she can at least feel alive through the despair by having her wife give her all the love she needs and deserves.

“I have to say this every time one of you is done in my chair, and I can’t believe I have to say this even after such a tough haircut for you, Roxie,” Fran eventually chimes in, a playful annoyance in her tone, “but you two need to get a room.”

Jo and Roxie giggle as they pull apart, with the latter blushing guiltily realizing it’s always her getting the two of them into the naughtiest situations after a haircut, even if the shop’s jam-packed with people. Fran starts undoing the cape, sparing a moment to dust the back of Roxie’s now-exposed neck with a neck brush. Roxie shivers, still reeling from the fact that so much of her is now so naked. Fran whisks the cape off, giving it a flick as those red locks make their final descent to the floor.

Jo offers her hand, helping Roxie climb out of the chair who’s feeling- “Lightheaded?” Jo asks, smirking now that she shares such an experience with her wife. “Takes a while to get used to, but you’ll love how much less weight you gotta carry around,” Jo assures, pulling Roxie towards her as they both turn to face the mirror together. “God, you’re the hottest, Roxie,” Jo whispers longingly, her fingers daintily tracing Roxie’s collarbones so seductively.

It’s such a straightforward compliment, but it works on Roxie every time. She curls herself up into Jo’s arms, cherishing that image of the two of them in the mirror as Jo holds her tight. That image of herself may be drastically different, but when beside her blonde, cropped beauty of a wife, Roxie recognises herself so much more clearly. As Jo tucks a stray red lock behind Roxie’s ear, Roxie sighs in relief— knowing it’s all going to be okay.

 

**

“We’re home!” Jo announces as the two enter the apartment after a walk full of kisses, Jo’s arm wrapped around Roxie as she faced the world as a bobbed babe for the first time. When they stopped at one of their favorite restaurants nearby to pick up dinner, Roxie was so self-conscious that she waited outside to avoid others asking about her transformation, forcing Jo to order.

“Mama!” Ro exclaims from her room, immediately bolting out with Lex closely behind her. She runs up to her Mama, looking up at her anxiously. A pout appears on her face. “Lex wasn’t lying.”

Lex shoots their aunts a guilty look from the couch. “I… thought I might as well tell her, since you were definitely gonna come home looking different,” they explain. “I tried to do it as gently as I could. I think we went through the five stages of acceptance. I swear I had to stop her from chopping her own hair off about 5 times since she wanted to give hers to you to attach to your head!”

Roxie kneels down to look at her despondent daughter as Jo shuts the door. Roxie picks up Ro’s hands, rubbing the back of them warmly as Ro’s taking in this new image of her Mama. “Did you really have to cut all your hair off because of me?” Ro speaks up first.

“Yes, but it’s okay, Ro,” Roxie assures.

“Are you angry at me?” Ro asks, the guilt in her voice evident.

“Oh, not at all, sweetie,” Roxie pulls Ro in for a hug. Roxie can feel Ro’s tears soaking through a bit of her dress as her face is pressed into her, with Ro grabbing onto her tightly. If there’s one thing Roxie’s been entirely certain of throughout this whole ordeal, it’s that she’s never felt any anger towards her guilty daughter. “It’s alright,” she coaxes as Ro sniffles, “besides, I’ve always been curious about trying short hair some time in my life. I don’t think I would’ve ever had the guts to if it wasn’t for you.”

Ro pulls back a little, staring at her Mama with puffy eyes. “Really?”

“Mhm,” Roxie says— hoping that verbalizing it enough times will help the reality settle in. She may have relied on her flowing hair to feel unique and special for most of her life, and doesn’t feel like her true self without it, but she needs to be strong for her daughter. “Do you like Mama’s new hair?” she asks Ro as she gets down on her knees to be at her little girl’s level, trying to own the confidence she needs to show.

Ro nods, a small smile returning to her face and she replies “I love it! It’s really pretty!” Roxie hears Lex agreeing as they quietly tell Jo so that their daughter won’t hear, “really suits the femdom vibe.” “Can I play with it?” Ro asks, her face brightening. Roxie manages to crack a smile, and Jo beams as she looks on. “Of course, sweetie.” Ro cautiously brings a tiny hand onto the top of Roxie’s head, running her palm over the meager amount of hair left from the top all the way to the bottom, then twirling a chunk at the bottom around her chubby finger. “It’s really thick!” She observes as she plays with the bluntly-cut ends, “it’s thicker now then when I was combing it.” “Well, with so many years of growth cut off, it’s bound to feel a bit healthier,” Roxie explains, feeling a lump in her throat as she thinks about the magnitude of her loss. “If it’s healthier, then it’s even more magical now?” Ro asks, her eyes widening. Roxie brings her in for a hug, stroking her daughter’s long red locks, so similar to the ones that fell all the way down her back just a few hours ago. As she starts to feel a tear form in her eye thinking about being stuck with her hair short, fantastic as everyone thinks it looks, she hears Jo say, “Ro, Lex is gonna stay a bit longer while Mama and I have…a meeting, ok?” Roxie stands up and suddenly feels Jo’s strong arms sweep her up. As her adoring wife has her picked up, she starts to feel better again. “We’ll be in the bedroom. No interrupting,” she instructs Ro and Lex as Jo carries her off, ready to strip off her clothes and cherish every newly-exposed part of her body.

 

******************

 

The sound of the alarm was so unbearable that Jo had to shut it off almost immediately, and she struggled to open her sleep-swollen eyes. Roxie was already awake, smiling down upon Jo sweetly, her long red hair spilling over her bare chest. “Oh my god,” Jo murmured, “I just had such a wild dream.” “Which you were clearly still deep in when that alarm went off,” Roxie replied, giving her a kiss on the forehead. Jo pulled Roxie to her and stroked the back of that mermaid hair. “God, I’m glad to be able to feel that right now,” she yawned. Roxie smirked. “You always should be.” Jo laughed along with her. “I dreamt that Ro was combing your hair, and then cut a ton off by accident, so you and I went to Fran’s and this,” she brings some of that scarlet silk even closer to her, “was all gone. You had a blunt bob instead. Very Shiv Roy. Very sexy, but not you, my mermaid.”

“Awww, babe,” Roxie reassured Jo, stroking her soft blonde hair.  “You must be feeling anxious about Ro’s big day and it got warped in your dream somehow.” Jo sat up on the pillow. “That makes sense. I just don’t want her to get teased. I know we said we’d always let her do anything she wanted with her hair, but it’s so rare for a little girl to have a pixie cut…I got teased for being a tomboy at her age, and I don’t want her to get singled out.” Roxie took Jo into her arms. “she’s going to be fine. Our little girl’s strong. She’s not going to let some stupid comments get to her if they come.” Jo nestled her head into Roxie’s chest as Roxie continued. “Nothing could stop her from begging us every goddamn day for the last few months to get her hair cut like mommy’s unless we actually let her. She’s as stubborn as me so I know there’s no stopping her when she wants something so badly.”

Roxie gave Jo a scratch at the fuzzy clippered part at the back of her head as she snuggled her closer. “And I can’t believe you of all people are sentimental about your kid having long hair! You hypocrite! Are you turning into your mother? What’s next, voting Republican?”

Jo wanted to be playful with her wife, but if she lay in bed for too much longer she’d be late for work. So she settled for a quick pinch of Roxie’s butt to make her yelp. “Look,” Roxie reassured Jo as Jo started to get dressed, “Fran went over pictures with us and Ro and we liked what they chose, more of a longer pixie, so it’ll go well. It’s summer, so if she really hates it, it won’t be as drastically short after a few months when she starts first grade. And she’s in the best hands with Fran, so…”

The door slammed open as their little darling ran in, Oscar padding along after her. She grabbed Jo around the knees as Jo stood next to the bed, jumping up and down. “Haircut day! Haircut day!” She exclaimed, as Roxie scooched over and lifted her up onto her lap in bed, then Oscar. “You’ve gotta let mommy finish getting dressed, ok hun? Then she’ll take you to camp when she’s done getting ready…at least one of my favorite girls gets ready on time” she said, winking at Jo at that last part, “and then she’ll take you to see Auntie Fran for the big haircut. Just a few more hours, so be patient, ok?” Ro pouted, petting their orange cat who watched in amusement. “Can’t I skip camp for it? I’m not gonna be able to do camp, I’m too excited about—“ she made scissors with her tiny hands and mimicked scrunching them through her waist-length hair, giggling.

Jo checked with her baby girl one more time, hoping for a different answer, “and you’re sure you want it really really short? Not to your chin even? I love that you love my hair, but people can be mean about boy haircuts on girls.” She sat on the bed and started to twirl her daughter’s thick hair that she so loved tending to around her finger. “Of course there’s no such thing as a boy haircut or a girl haircut, but sometimes people think I’m a boy from behind, so if that will hurt you, I want you to be warned.”

“Honey,” Roxie cut in, “with the way Ro dresses like a fairy princess most days that’s unlikely.” “Yeah!” Ro added. “You said I’ll still have magic hair no matter what, and Mama likes your hair so much that why wouldn’t I want mine like it?” Roxie and Jo exchanged sly looks, both thinking to themselves that they hoped Ro would never fully realize the ways Roxie loved Jo’s hair and the role that her haircut fetish played in their relationship. “A pixie is as magical of a creature as a mermaid,” Roxie reminded Jo before turning to their little girl and widening her eyes, “and you’ll have gotten to be both, that’s so cool!”

“I’m going to have double magic!” Ro proclaimed in joy, brimming with excitement for her first big haircut later on. “But double magic’s gonna have to wait a little bit more, okay? Why don’t you go wait outside for a bit with Oscar. Mommy still needs to get ready,” Roxie instructed. “Okay, don’t take too long, Mommy!” Ro said as she picked Oscar up, and Roxie watched her two ginger babies leave the room. “You see? She’s gonna be fine,” Roxie chided as she closed the door, turning to Jo who was putting on her jeans.

“I guess,” Jo sighed, giving her best smile as she tried to fight the nervousness. “It’s gonna feel so different that I won’t be able to do her hair for such a long time.”

“Aw, don’t worry— you’ll still have all of mine to braid and play with,” Roxie assured as she hugged her wife from behind, leaning her head on Jo’s shoulder so that her cascade of red draped down onto Jo’s body.

“I’m so glad that was just a dream,” Jo said, holding those crimson locks close to her chest. “You’ll always keep your hair long, won’t you?” she asked.

It’s a simple question— but it’s one that Roxie doesn’t quite answer immediately. She seductively ran a hand through that gorgeous mane of hers, shaking it a bit before tossing it back behind her. She placed her lips on Jo’s ear, giving a soft nibble before answering, “for now.”

 

 

 

 

 

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