Scarlet frantically looked around the fancy salon to see if by any chance they would be opened at this odd hour of the night. But it was shut close without the sign of a human being around it.
She needed someone to fix the hair – so, so badly. Scarlet, the 25-year-old tall, curvy redhead, had never been so desperate in her entire life before.
In the evening, while cooking her dinner, she accidentally burned a portion of her layered hair, and now it looked awful. By no means, she could go to her shop tomorrow morning with her hair like that.
But what else she could do? Scarlet was no hairstylist herself to fix it with the scissors. Tying and pinning curly hair was a pain but that seemed to be the only option.
Sighing, she headed down towards her apartment.
On her way back, she saw a shop with the lights on. The ‘closed’ sign still hung outside the door, but clearly, there was someone inside. The shop was none other than a modernized barbershop that only deals with male clientele.
The board outside the barbershop read: GENTLEMAN’S CORNER – short, neat and clean cuts for men.
Pausing for a moment, she weighed her options. The expensive hair treatments in her usual salon versus the modern barbershop that only dealt with men’s haircut – it was an excruciatingly impossible choice to make.
“I have to fix the hair somehow,” she told herself as she approached the barbershop slowly. Pushing the door open, she stepped gingerly to look for the occupant.
“Hello,” she called out politely. “Is anyone here?”
A young, masculine figure peeked out from the back room of the shop and strode over to her.
His face looked familiar, yet Scarlet couldn’t recall the man instantly. “Can I help you?” he asked curiously and walked a notch closer towards her.
It was then the flash of memory struck her. “Declan? Is that you?”
She couldn’t believe it was her long lost best friend’s brother, Declan Smith.
The last time Scarlet saw him, she was a 15-year-old teenager with lousy glasses on her nose and unruly curly hair on her head. Declan, on the other hand, was the charming young footballer of the school team. They belonged from two different worlds.
“Scarlet Jordan? Oh, dear. I almost didn’t recognize you.”
“Yes, in the flesh,” she quipped, blushing nervously.
Declan gave her a long, tight hug. “How long has it been?” he mused.
“Almost five years, I think,” she said thoughtfully. “The last time I came by when Dana was leaving for Russia.”
“I know, I remembered.”
She looked around the modernized barbershop impressively and waved a hand. “So, you own this?”
“Yes. I moved to this city a year ago after completing barber school,” he informed, “I had no idea you’re here, I would have gotten in touch with you, Scarlet.”
Would he? Scarlet wondered thoughtfully. She couldn’t even believe that he’d remembered her name.
“It is nice to see you again, Declan.” She smiled and almost turned on her heel, but the voice stopped her midway.
“Wait, if you don’t mind me asking,” he said cautiously, “you came inside the shop… were you looking for something?”
The long forgotten haircut suddenly popped up inside her brain. “Oh, Lord. I completely forgot,” she said, patting her forehead. Then, she looked at him and sheepishly added, “I was looking for someone—a shop actually—to fix my hair.”
He chuckled a little at first. “You didn’t see the board, here we cut men’s— wait for a second! What happened here?” he asked, taking the burned portion of her between his fingers.
“The hair accidentally burned while I was cooking,” she supplied, mortified. “I did see the board outside. So I am so sorry for barging in like that.”
Declan’s concerned eyes glanced all over her face and neck. “Are you hurt anywhere?”
“Oh, no, no. I am fine, otherwise,” Scarlet responded.
“Let me help you fix your hair then,” he said with his signature charming smile. “Come on,” he gestured over to the large barber chair.
A weird excitement churned inside her. “I thought you said—”
“No worries, I will take care of it.”
While Scarlet sat herself down, Declan walked over to the counter. He couldn’t believe he met her after all those years. Her charm and innocence were equally enthralling as they were when she was a teenager.
The cape engulfed her figure on the chair as he snapped it close behind her neck. “Let’s see the damage first.”
Long masculine fingers gently combed through her auburn curly tresses that reached up to shoulder. Her hair was previously cut into various layers to emphasize the curls.
“The layers are slightly uneven. I might have to take down the length at the back to make it look all better. Are you okay with that?”
“I have no idea what to do with all these unruly curls. Just make it look presentable, please.”
“Alright. I will dry cut the hair so that you know exactly the length you are having. Okay?”
Scarlet smiled at the reflection and nodded in affirmative. Instead of reaching out for the shears, he picked up the clippers directly. As a barber, he knew how to wield a clipper like no other hairstylist.
It took him less than ten minutes to reduce the length a little below her nape and then angled it downwards in front. Her hair was an angled long bob with the layers freshly cut and styled.
“You hadn’t change your hairstyle,” he commented while working.
A sad sigh escaped her lips. “I have horrible curls, you see. No fancy styling suits my hair.”
Declan wasn’t happy with the comment at all. Definitely, the curls can be styled, cut and look fancy, too. “Whoever told you that, doesn’t know much about styling curly hair. Have you ever tried going short?” he asked.
“Yes. I was twelve, I think. Aunt Linda took me to a salon to have a short wedge hairstyle every school going girl was having. Long story short – I looked horrible,” she reminisced.
Declan touched her shoulders, giving a soft squeeze and met her eyes on the mirror. “I think short hair would suit better. Not the wedge bob, but something even shorter.”
“How shorter?” she asked curiously.
“A customized boyish cut.”
A silent gasp escaped her lips. “I have never had hair that short before…”
“Exactly. If I cut your hair that, the curls will be there. Short, but manageable.”
The way he was playing with her natural curls, she loved it. And the idea of a thrilling haircut by the man she adored was stimulating.
And in the heat of the moment, she blurted out, “Do it.”
“Are you sure, Scarlet? I don’t want to force you.”
“No, no, not at all. I never like my hair anyway; it’s just frizzy all the time. If you are sure about the style, go for it. I am ready.”
Declan could have been happier. He had hardly cut any girl’s hair, but he always wanted to experiment. And he sincerely thought Scarlet would look lovely in a short style.
“Would you mind me turning the chair away from the mirror? I don’t want you to freak out during shearing.”
Shearing? Oh, Lord. It is scary, she thought. But did she trust Declan? Of course.
“Alright,” she smiled. “Surprise me, then.”
With that, Declan quickly spun her around and walked farthest towards a wall. A magnificent collection of the clippers lay there, and he picked up a damn big one. When he neared her, he didn’t bother with the comb and separated her front layers away from the back.
A large palm rested on her crown urging it down. “Keep it down, please.”
Scarlet heard a loud drone of the clippers, and her heart began thudding even louder, only heard by her. The metal teeth plunged into the stubborn nest of curls, quickly shearing and severing it down to a really short inch in its wake. Once in a while, Declan would maneuver her head slightly to either side until the back was short to his liking.
“You can look up now,” he said, taking his palms off. Declan busied himself to oil another clippers before approaching her left.
“So, do you still play football?” she asked conversationally.
“Sometimes, I hardly got time after Barber School. What about you, what do you do now?” he asked.
“I own a bookstore here – it is three blocks down. Oh my!” She jumped the moment the clippers touched her temples.
“Sorry,” he quickly apologized. “I should know you are not used to the clippers.” He clamped a hand on her head, steading her.
“It’s not your fault. I am a little jumpy now.”
The left side was completely peeled off. The hair was now around an inch, matching with the back. Although the length looked much shorter due to the curls, the thickness was present. The fur was totally off the ears and sharp around it. From an angle, she looked like a little boy with curly hair getting a short crop.
The Clippers were brought up to her right in one fluid movement, receiving the fate as her back and left side. The bulk was all done.
Picking up the spray, he wetted her top portion effectively and dragged a wide tooth comb to smoothen the snags. Scarlet could feel that her hair was considerably short, but could precisely guess how. But she was immensely enjoying the haircut – the hypnotizing buzz of the Clippers against her scalp.
So, so enticing…She loved how captivated she was in Declan’s thrall.
He was a master in his job. The way he unleashed the clippers into her unruly thick curly and snipping them off as they tumbled down to her lap and the floor – Scarlet was assured that he loved the experience as much as her.
“Your hair is turning out exactly that the way I wanted,” he commented.
“I am dying to see the style.”
“Hold yourself for a few minutes more,” he answered with a small chuckle and continuing snipping off the length. He would carefully comb a small section, trap it between his masculine fingers and quickly snip them off.
The snipping went on and on until he blended with the sides and crown. He also kept the front a little longer and slanted for styling.
“Do you part left or right?”
“Left,” she answered.
Declan took out the thinning shears and plowed into the top to make the hair properly layered. He dried her hair and crunched the curls at the same time. Because it was barbershop and men always end up shorn to the scalp or end up with short crop hair, he neither had a good serum or a diffuser for the curls. But somehow the results turned out great.
“Are you ready?” he asked, removing the cape off her.
“Yes,” she said with a mix of nervousness and excitement.
Declan slowly spun the chair around. For the first time, Scarlet saw herself on the mirror, and the breath whooshed out of her lungs. It took a few seconds to believe how short her hair was. Finally, a exhale passed her lips, mumbling, “Oh, my God. It’s short but,” she paused for a second and ran her fingers on the back. “But so chic.”
“Do you like it?” Declan asked. He was worried she wouldn’t accept it graciously.
“I love it,” she finally found her voice, and a smile peeked out of her lips.
The back and sides were short but not scalped. The front had short layers that emphasized the curls for styling. And Declan accurately remarked, it was a customized boyish cut.
“I am so glad you liked it. I know you never had short hair, but God, you look beautiful.”
“What do you call this cut?”
“It’s something pixie and little boy cut,” he informed, running his fingers affectionately over the soft curls. Maybe it was the haircut or the new look, Declan couldn’t take his eyes off her as well. His hands closed around her nape when she faced him again.
Damn, she looked beautiful, even without a speck of makeup.
Scarlet shyly bit of her plump lips. And when he titled his head slightly, leaning in, she welcomed his lips. The tongue thrust into her possessively yet lovingly. And she liked it every bit as much as a first kiss.
When the kiss broke, they could finally breathe.
“I can’t believe this happened,” she breathed.
“The haircut or the kiss?” he asked playfully, snaking an arm around her waist.
“Both,” she laughed. “So, so perfect.”
“If you are feeling brave next time, I will take down the sides a little shorter. You will look amazing in it,” he said confidently.
“Well, then, I can’t wait for the next trim in this barbershop.”
I would love to hear your remarks about the story in the comments section below.