Back in the Saddle

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It was more like sending a child off to school for their first day than seeing your 43 year-old husband go back to work after lockdown. It had been a long time of wearing shorts and tee-shirts, but seeing him in a suit this morning just hadn’t seemed right. Don’t get me wrong, I was more than ready for him to go back, to have the house to myself again, but it was weird too. I’d never actually got used to him being there all the time, working in the study or lying around reading with his headphones on. We’d been cooped up together for so long that it seemed that we were more distant in some ways. We were so conscious of not encroaching on the other’s space that maybe we’d put up barriers. We certainly hadn’t got closer during the lockdown, hadn’t used the time for ourselves. Now it was at an end and I was watching him pick up his briefcase and head to the car.

‘Be careful’ I said with a little wave.

He was gone. I turned back into the silence that had settled on the house.

It was actually good to be on my own again. I could get the house cleaned without Ian moaning about the vacuum cleaner, without him noticing that I’d tidied away some of his things. I could wander round the house in my underwear without him telling me that I was being slovenly. I thought that he might find it a turn-on to see me doing the housework semi-naked, but he’d looked at me as if I were Freddie Mercury in that video. I wanted to break free sometimes, but Ian hadn’t really responded to our changing times very much, didn’t see it as an opportunity to let some of the old habits fall by the wayside.

I sipped my coffee and thought back to just before the lockdown and how I’d come so close to giving in to temptation with a guy at the gym. Ian had been working long hours and I’d felt under-appreciated. There’s nothing like the confidence boost of having a buff man mentally stripping you while you’re trying to nail a yoga pose. It wouldn’t have taken much for me to be getting exercise of a different sort, but then came the lockdown and with it, the realisation that I was on the verge of being very silly. The gym closed down. I cancelled my membership. Disaster averted.

I showered and pointedly went downstairs in just my knickers, because I could. I straightened stuff up and put some laundry on. I was just about to switch the vacuum cleaner on when my phone pinged. I picked it up, hoping that it might be someone emerging from their cocoon, looking to make contact. It was Ian. My temporary excitement shuddered to a halt. He’d forgotten to ask me to do something for him probably. I opened the message. It was a picture with the caption “The ‘A’ Team. Back together again!”I was almost embarrassed for him. It was a picture of his team, back at work. And to think that I’d paused my housework for that! Phone back on the table, I returned to my chores.

I wondered how many teenage fantasies I’d fulfil while hoovering the lounge, boobs swaying with the motion, backside barely covered by the sheer fabric of my panties. Probably not just teenagers, I thought. “Gym-hunk” popped into my mind. He’d definitely like it. I glanced downwards, wondering how Ian could possible resist if he could see me now, smooth mound announcing itself through the black opaqueness, boobs dancing. If I hadn’t wanted to get the hoovering finished, I’d have had to do something about it myself!

After a while, it was time for a break. I put the kettle on and checked my phone, just in case. Still the only contact with the outside world was Ian’s message. I tapped the photo to give me something to do while the kettle boiled. I’d met his team at a couple of Christmas dinners and the occasional barbeque, so I knew what to expect. My disinterested glance became more interested when I realised that not everything was as expected. There was someone new. There was someone missing. I zoomed in, until I realised that I’d been wrong. No-one was new, no-one was missing. The team were all present. I’d been thrown by Ian’s secretary’s drastic haircut.

When I first met Debbie, I’d got defensive. My husband had a secretary with long blonde hair, younger than me, slimmer than me. What wasn’t there to feel threatened about? That’s why I joined the gym. Now her long blonde hair was gone and she had next to nothing left. I couldn’t see exactly what she’d done from the photo, she was one of seven people in it after all, but it was enough that the mane was no more. I wondered whether she’d done it herself. Even though the lockdown was over, my salon still hadn’t opened up and as far as I could tell, they’d be booked out for weeks even when they did open. I could scarcely tear my eyes away from her. She looked so different. Of course she did. She’d chopped all of her hair off. What annoyed me though, was that the bitch still looked sexy! I looked across to see my reflection in the mirror. I saw a reflection of a not-bad looking woman with a dirty blonde bob in desperate need of TLC, wearing just a pair of knickers. I still couldn’t compete with Debbie, hair or no hair, even though the gym membership had paid off handsomely. I wondered what Ian thought. Had he ever held a torch for her? Had she ever held his torch on one of the evenings when he said he’d been working late? I tried to banish such thoughts.

I couldn’t wait for Ian to get home. Although he’d said he’d be earlier than he would’ve been pre-lockdown, the day still seemed very long. I did him the honour of getting dressed before he got home and was ready with a beer to help him recover from his first real day’s work in a long time. He showered and changed, so I was actually putting our dinner on the table by the time he came down.

I let him tell me about his day, none of which interested me. All I wanted him to mention was Debbie and her lack of hair, but he didn’t. Did that mean anything? Was he just being a man? He couldn’t have helped but notice. He would’ve made a comment. She would’ve been flattered by the attention. He didn’t say anything about it to me.

‘Nice photo’ I said eventually.

‘What?’

‘The team photo. It was nice. You all looked happy to see each other again.’

‘Yeah’ he said. Did I have to spell it out for him?

‘Debbie’s changed her hair’ I ventured. The understatement of the year.

‘Yeah’ he replied. Was the brevity an admission of guilt?

‘It looks good on her.’

‘Yeah’ he replied infuriatingly, concentrating on his plate.

‘I’ll have to ask her where she got it done. My salon isn’t open yet and I’m sick of looking like a scarecrow.’

He nodded, which was good. Another “yeah” would’ve probably got him decorated with the rest of his dinner.

‘She didn’t say, did she?’

‘What?’

‘Where she got it done?’ For fuck’s sake!

‘No’

I let it drop. We weren’t going to end up anywhere good if I carried on. For the time being, I’d just have to accept that I looked like someone who hadn’t had a haircut for three months and that his secretary looked sleek and well-groomed, albeit without her trademark hair.

The following day, there was no waving off, just a desire for him to go. I didn’t know why I was so annoyed with him, but I was. Was I jealous? Was something going on? At least he hadn’t said that he needed to work late. That would’ve clinched it for me. I had a leisurely shower and made coffee. I looked at my phone. I should go out somewhere. I looked at my phone again. I picked it up. I looked at that picture. I shouldn’t have. I looked up the switchboard number for Ian’s work.

‘Hi, could you put me through to Ian Porter’s secretary please?’

‘Can I say who’s calling?’

‘Amy Porter.’

‘Putting you though.’

Debbie answered. Professional, sunny, inviting.

‘Hi Debbie, it’s Amy Porter.’

‘Hi Amy. He’s in a meeting at the moment.’

‘That’s okay, it was actually you that I wanted to talk to.’

‘Oh, okay’ she said, sounding slightly unsure now that she was off-script.

‘Ian sent me the team picture yesterday. I loved your new look! I just wanted to ask where you got it done. My salon’s still closed and mine’s driving me mad’ I babbled.

There was a pause while Debbie broke down what I’d said into bite-sized chunks.

‘Thanks. A friend of mine did it. She’s a stylist.’

‘What made you go so short, if you don’t mind me asking?’

‘It just happened. There were all these people cutting their hair themselves during the lockdown and we talked about that for a bit. She made me promise not to cut mine myself. Somehow we got from there to me letting her cut it and this is where I ended up.’

‘It’s so different.’

‘I know. It just sort of happened. She thought that I should go shorter and I just let her do what she wanted. Turns out that she wanted to scalp me’ she laughed.

‘It looks great, not that Ian’s photo did it justice, probably.’

‘It’s so liberating. I can’t believe how much time and effort, not to mention money, that I spent on my hair and now I don’t give it a second thought. Quick rub with a towel and it’s done. Fran freshened it up after a couple of weeks, but that only took a few minutes. It’s great. I certainly won’t be going back to the way I was’ she chuckled.

‘I don’t suppose your friend is looking for business, is she? I’m not sure that I can put up with mine for much longer and I don’t know where to go, if I can’t get in to my regular place.’

‘I can ask’ she replied.

‘That’d be really good of you. I’d best not keep you or Ian’ll be shouting at you’ I laughed.

‘Don’t worry about that. I’ll be in touch.’

I ended the call, relieved that my hair nightmare may soon be coming to an end. I’d toyed with the idea of trying to do something about it myself, but there’s no way that you can trim your own bob. Not if you ever wanted to go out of the house again.

I headed to the supermarket with a spring in my step. I hadn’t realised what an impact that my hair was having. Whatever I did at the moment, whatever I put on, was let down by my hair. If I could get to see Debbie’s friend, I could get back to normal. I was just loading bags into the car when my phone went. I fumbled in my bag, trying not to send shopping all over the car park. I looked at the screen. I thought that it would be Debbie, but it was an unknown number. Scammer, probably.

‘Hello?’ I answered carefully.

‘Hi. Amy? It’s Fran. Debbie’s friend. She asked me to call you.’

Fran? Debbie’s friend. Of course. The hairdresser.

‘Hi Fran, thanks for calling.’

‘You’re welcome. Debbie said that you’re in need.’ In more ways than one, I thought.

‘Yeah. You could say that. My salon hasn’t opened yet and even when they do, I suspect that people will be trampling over each other to get through the door.’

‘Yeah, we’re going to have the same problem when we open up. All the restrictions are going to make the wait that much longer.’ My heart sank.

‘So you’re not open yet?’

‘The salon isn’t, but let’s say that you and I could meet up for a coffee and a chat. At the end of that chat, you could look different, if you get my meaning.’

‘I do indeed’ I replied, wondering why a complete stranger would do something like that for me.

‘When do you think you could get together for that chat?’ she asked.

‘Whenever it suits you.’

‘I’m not doing anything now’ she replied. I laughed.

‘I was just fighting with the shopping, trying to get it into the car’ I replied.

‘Oops, not a good time to call’ she said apologetically.

‘No, you’re fine. Had you got somewhere in mind? Do you do house calls? I mean, would you like to come round to my house for a coffee? Would that work? I don’t know where you live’ I rambled.

‘Debbie told me where you live. I could be there in ten minutes, help you put the groceries away, how does that sound?’

‘Wow, that would be great’ I said, a little flustered, grateful that I’d done so much cleaning yesterday. ‘Are you sure it’s no trouble?’

Not at all. I see you shortly’ she said and was gone.

I sat half in, half out of the car, one hand on the shopping trolley to stop it from rolling across the car park. I got out of the car, threw the last few bags in the back and headed home.

Fran didn’t make it in time to help put stuff away, but she wasn’t far off. I answered the door to see a rather attractive red-head, with a broad smile. The sort of friend that I’d expect Debbie to have.

‘Fran! Hi’ I said.

‘Hi Amy, pleased to meet you. I’ve brought a friend’ she replied, holding up a small leather bag.

‘Have tools, will travel’ I said, standing back to let her in. I couldn’t help noticing that she looked great from behind in her jeans. But then she was a few years younger than me. Her cropped hair kissed the collar of her shirt.

I led her in to the kitchen, where the coffee was sitting in anticipation. We stood at the breakfast bar, chatting about nothing, while I did the hostess thing. She moved the topic around to working in a salon, what it had used to be like against what was in prospect now.

‘I’m not actually sure that I can work in a mask and stay inside all the regulations. I’m not sure I want to do that. I may have to find something else to do and just do this for friends and family’ she said with a hint of dejection.

‘I’m fine without any of that stuff, if you are’ I said. ‘You look healthy enough to me.’

‘I had a good cough and a spit before I came in’ she joked.

‘We’ll probably get in trouble with the authorities and the bad-humour police too’ I said, realising that we were making light of many people’s tragedies.

‘So’ she said ‘Debs says you were admiring her haircut…’

‘I’ve only seen the team photo that my husband took of their first day back at the office’ I replied.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out her phone. After a moment of tapping and scrolling she held it up for me to see a picture.

‘Wow! I said.

‘She looks spectacular, even if I say so myself’ Fran observed.

‘It’s so short!’

‘I’m trying to get her to colour it, but she’s a bit reluctant. I think she still thinks of herself as a long-haired person in some ways and thinks about re-growth and re-touching roots and all that fun stuff. I’m trying to tell her that even a permanent colour would be gone in no time, because I’d just re-cut it for her and get rid of it.’

‘I’d never have recognised her if I’d seen her in town’ I observed.

She showed me a few more pictures, but all they did was confirm that Debbie looked great and my husband couldn’t bring himself to talk about her when asked.

Fran took a sip of coffee and looked round.

‘Are we okay in here?’ she asked, glancing at the tiled floor.

‘Sure, it’s as good as anywhere’ I replied.

‘I can pop upstairs and wash it while you finish your coffee, if that’s easier’ I offered.

‘Don’t worry about it, you’re fine as you are’ she replied.

She unzipped her little bag and pulled out some material, like a magician pulling a handkerchief out of his previously empty fist. The material fell into the shape of a cape with a deft flick of the wrist.

‘Neat, uh?’ she observed as she watched my expression. She held it out for me and fastened it at my neck.

‘I should probably sit down’ I said, pulling a stool from the breakfast bar. ‘Is this okay? Not too high?’

‘It’s fine, I can work with that.’

I followed her hand as she reached into the bag again. The hand emerged with some hair-clippers rather than a rabbit. She set the clippers down and went back in, pulling the opening towards her so that she could see what she was looking for. Out came another bit for the clippers. I expected her to go back for a comb and scissors, but she pushed the bag away, reaching for the clippers instead. She joined the two bits together, and then caught my eye.

‘Bit different from what you’re used to, I bet’ she said.

‘My stylist only ever uses scissors’ I replied. I’ve seen other stylists use clippers though. Apparently it’s to get a sharper line or something’ I ventured.

‘You can use them for that, if you take the guard off’ she said, pulling the attachment off to demonstrate. She put it back on almost as soon as it was off. ‘It’ll be a while before anyone’s playing at Vidal Sassoon for you, though’ she continued.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked.

‘Vidal Sassoon was famous for precision cut bobs. We’re using these properly’ she said.

I looked puzzled. I realised. I laughed nervously.

‘We haven’t actually talked styles, have we?’ I said.

It was her turn to look puzzled.

‘Debs only told me how much you liked her hair and that you wanted yours done’ she replied.

‘There was a full stop in there that appears to have got lost. I said that I liked her hair. Then I said that I needed mine done. The two things were separate’ I explained.

‘I thought you wanted yours done like hers’ Fran said awkwardly.

‘I might have said that I wanted to get rid of the lockdown mess, but believe it or not, this was cared for once upon a time’ I said, tugging at the ends of my hair, trying to lighten the mood.

She looked at me. ‘Sorry. Crossed wires. She definitely told me that you wanted yours cut like hers.’

‘Don’t worry about it. No harm done’ I said.

‘I haven’t got any scissors with me’ she confessed.

‘I’ve got some, in the drawer behind you.’

‘If they’re kitchen scissors, they’d be no good for cutting hair. They’d wreck it’ she said.

‘It couldn’t be worse than it is, surely.’

‘I couldn’t use them, as a professional, I just couldn’t.’

‘Couldn’t you use the clippers like Vidal Sassoon?’

‘That takes years of practise’ she said.

‘So near and yet so far. You’re probably fully booked with other “friends” to go and see, aren’t you? Can we slot something else in?’

‘I haven’t got my diary with me’ she said, reaching for her little bag.

We looked at each other. Caped-crusader and my inadequately-armed saviour. She took a deep breath.

‘It would really suit you, you know.’

‘What?’ I asked.

‘Going super-short.’

‘I couldn’t.’

She smiled. ‘I had this conversation with Debs. Several times. Then we did it and she shouted at me for not doing it sooner, so how about we just do it?’

‘I couldn’t. My husband, he’d freak out’ I objected.

‘Did he freak out when he saw Debs?’

‘I don’t know. He didn’t say’ I replied.

‘I don’t want to talk out of turn, but she said that he liked it.’

‘He did not? Bastard!’ I said, not sure whether I was angry or disappointed.

‘We could surprise him’ she offered.

‘I could surprise him by cutting the arms and legs off his suits’ I said, not quite sure if I was joking. It would be a terrible waste.

‘You could do that or you could be waiting for him with a glass of wine, not many clothes and a lot less hair’ she said, raising an eyebrow.

‘You’re wicked, you know that?’

‘I’m good, even if I do say so myself’ she said waving the clippers at me, as if that would entice me.

‘Can you do it in stages?’ I asked.

‘Got you interested now, haven’t I?’ she said, flicking the power switch to make her machine purr.

‘I can’t bear the thought of having to walk around like this for another day, when I had a hairdresser in my kitchen.’

‘I’m in your kitchen and there’s only one thing on the menu. A Fran special’ she said, waving those confounded clippers at me again.

I looked at her. I didn’t really have a choice, since I’d been hooked up with the only hairdresser on the planet who didn’t bring scissors to a hair appointment.

‘What if I don’t like it?’

‘No chance of that. You’ll love, your man’ll love it’ she said.

‘There’s confidence for you’ I observed, still unconvinced.

‘So what’s it to be? “Lockdown straggle” or “Fran neat”?’ she asked.

‘I don’t want to be straggly anymore’ I said.

‘Chin down for me then’ she said. I looked at her, trying to find a reason to do as she asked. She reached for her little bag, looking as though she was about to put the clippers away. My heart sank, my chin dropped to my chest. She moved behind me.

My whole being jumped at the hum from the clippers. This time it wasn’t an idle demonstration, they were creeping up behind me. I shuddered as I felt them touch me.

‘You’ll be fine’ Fran said, sensing the fear in the air.

‘I might not be able to go out for another few months’ I replied.

‘Nonsense. You’ll want to show the world what it’s been missing’ she said.

I’d been waiting for a harsh scraping on my scalp, but it just felt like she was stroking me. I dreaded to think what she was doing, what it would look like. Whatever it was though, it was too late. She was up towards the top of my head already. I thought back to the picture she’d shown me on her phone, High res, sharp, not like the grainy group shot where Debbie was one of many. She was the focus of Fran’s photo and she knew it. She’d been shorn, but she knew that she looked better than she did before. She looked good before, but looked great in that picture. I tried to remember whether she’d got a boyfriend, but couldn’t. As long as my husband wasn’t showing his appreciation, I didn’t really care. He’d better show his appreciation for what I was doing though or there’d be trouble. There was potentially a couch in his future.

I could feel Fran’s fingers on the back of my head. The back of my head that had just lost its covering of my lovely hair, even if it had looked better in normal times.

‘Head back up for me’ she said, moving to attack me from the side.

I so wanted to see what she was doing, but could only look out of the window at the changed world outside. My world inside was changing just as dramatically, from my point of view. She moved the clippers effortlessly up the side of my head, higher and higher. My stomach was in knots, but there was nothing that I could do. My hair was on my kitchen floor. I was going to have to get the vacuum out again. I followed the progress of the clippers, trying to imagine what each part of my head would look like without hair, what I would look like without hair. She went up and over my ear, quickly meeting the hairless back of my head. Two barren patches had become one. I anticipated the other side to fall victim to her next, but I was wrong. With a bold flick, she went over the top. That was it, no possibility of a way out, just a growing pile of lockdown locks in my lap.

It wouldn’t have taken much to get my bob back. Even with blunt kitchen scissors, she could’ve tried. She could’ve come back later to rescue it if needed, but I’d been too wary of letting her go and given in. What would Ian say? It’s one thing to look at something on someone else, but quite different when it’s your wife. He generally wasn’t one for change, wasn’t one for experimentation. Not with me anyway. Was Debbie his blank canvas to try stuff. I bet that she didn’t get the missionary / doggy-style one-two on a Friday night. She probably got all manner of delights that he never brought home. Or was I being unfair? Was he just Old Faithful, a predictable gusher who never strayed? In that case, what would he say when predictability had just disappeared, along with my hair.

Fran was sweeping the clippers across my scalp with gay abandon, if you’re allowed to use that phrase these days. I was cradling my hair, hair that I’d fallen out of love with in recent times, but it wouldn’t have taken much for us to have kissed and made up. There was hair under my feet. My hair. There was a hand on my shoulder and a professional smile coming in from my peripheral vision.

‘That’s the hardest part over.’

‘That’s easy for you to say’ I replied.

‘Stay with me’ she urged.

She fiddled with the clippers and went in for a fresh assault. There was obviously still hair there otherwise she wouldn’t bother. Debbie still had hair, just not very much. Was I getting the same cut or a variation? Did it matter? My hair wasn’t where it should be anymore. I let her do what she was doing. What else could I do? I hadn’t got a mirror, I couldn’t say “leave it like that, it’s fine” or “could you just do this?”. She was running the show, I was well and truly at her mercy. I just hoped that she had some.

She was stooped, concentrating. If I’d had hair, I’d have said that she was titivating it, primping it, putting in way too much effort, but all I was aware of was stooping and slight movement around my head.

It went quiet. She was finished.

‘I’m not quite finished’ she said, dashing my hopes. She went to the little bag and came back with a different set of clippers. They sounded different, they felt different. They were taking more hair away, hair that I hadn’t got. Thankfully, she didn’t seem to use them extensively, mainly around the edges as far as I could tell. I summoned the picture of Debbie, trying to work out what Fran could be doing. The clippers went quiet. The gentle touches stopped, replaced by a vigorous rub of her palm on the crown of my head. She moved around in front of me and crouched down to look at me from my eye-level. She smiled.

‘That’s better’ she said. I looked down at the pile of my hair.

‘Where’s the bin, so I can get rid of some of this?’ she asked. She was talking about my hair. Putting it in the bin. I suppose that’s what they do in salons, but it’s not something I’d ever thought about. The silent junior usually takes care of that. She got the bin out. I ladled handfuls of my hair into it, without even saying goodbye. I’d do that later, once she’d gone, while I was mourning. Regretting that phone call to Debbie. A phone call that had brought such a rapid change to my world.

Fran eased the cape off me, careful to capture as much hair as she could.

‘You can feel it if you want’ she offered.

‘I don’t think I want to’ I said, gathering some more of my hair for the bin.

‘Yes, you do. It’s different, but it looks wonderful. You look wonderful’ she said.

I reached up. I touched. I squealed. ‘I’m bald!’

‘You’re not bald. It’s just very short’ she said, as if that was any comfort to me.

‘There’s nothing there!’

‘Maybe not round the edges, but it’s a number one on the top and then I’ve graduated it to a zero right at the bottom’ she explained, as if it would mean anything to me.

‘I’m bald!’ I repeated.

‘It’s the same as Debbie’s. Go and have a look in the mirror. I’ll help you rinse it off if you want’ she offered. I continued my fruitless exploration.

‘I can’t look’ I said, one curious hand still on my scalp.

She was standing by the sink, the flexible tap waiting. I approached reluctantly and bent over the sink, letting her play the warm water over my head. She chased any loose bits away with her hand and then it was done. As good as it was going to get. She towelled my head and then that was it. She looked at me, positive. I couldn’t return the sentiment. The bin was still out. My hair was in it. What would Ian say? What would I tell people?

‘You’ve got to look sometime’ she said. She was right. I headed into the hall and walked towards the mirror, not wanting to look. I did. Debbie looked back at me. The picture of Debbie at least. The reflection had the slightest covering of hair. I traced a line from my crown to my neck, sensing the changes as my finger descended. Fran has said it was a number one graduated to a zero or something like that. To me, it was almost nothing to nothing. Parts of my head were hairless, whatever she said. Well, to be fair, I suppose she did say that some of it was “zero”. “Zero” as in skin. I was fascinated by the sensation. I quite liked it as long as I told myself that it wasn’t me.

‘Well?’

‘I’ve got no hair’ I said.

‘You have got hair. Expertly cut hair that some people would love to have.’

‘I’m sorry. It’s very rude of me. You’ve gone out of your way to do it for me. It’s just a shock, that’s all.’

‘Don’t worry about it, you’ll get used to it. In a couple of days, you’ll be just like Debbie, you’ll love it.’

‘I hope you’re right’ I said. She squeezed my arm.

‘I’d better be off then’ she said. She offered to clean up, but I told her not to be so silly. I watched her putting the offending clippers away, watched as she paused for a moment.

‘Oh, look! I had them after all’ she said, holding up the pair of scissors that she’d just pulled from the bag.

‘You knew!’ I said, although I’m not sure what good the objection did me at this stage. She’d played me.

‘They weren’t right. You needed to do that, without distractions’ she said.

‘Hopefully I’ll agree with you before too long’ I replied.

She zipped the bag up. ‘Right, I’d better be off’ she said.

‘One question before you go’ I said.

‘Fire away’ she urged.

‘Why haven’t you done it yourself? You’ve got a lovely face’ I asked.

‘Honest answer. I don’t know anyone as good as me with the clippers. When I find someone, I’ll do it’ she said.

‘An honest answer’ I replied.

‘If we’re being honest with each other, I’d probably better tell you that Debs didn’t say that your hubby liked her hair. He didn’t come up in the conversation. I was just messing’ she said.

‘I knew that’ I lied.

‘Is it worth leaving my card?’ she asked.

‘Please. That way, Ian’ll know who to come after’ I said. ‘Just joking’ I added.

I paid her and then followed her to the door at a safe distance. Getting too close to her had cost me my hair, so I didn’t want to expose myself to anything else. She did have a great backside, I confirmed, as an impartial observer.

I leaned back against the front door after we’d said our goodbyes. What was I going to do? I took a deep breath and went to the mirror. I stared at what I’d become. I had to give Fran full credit for her skill. It seemed to be an excellent cut, not that I was an expert. I’d once been out with a guy who shaved his head because he was on a swimming team. My head wasn’t shaved. I had an almost full covering of hair, it was just so fucking short! I wanted a shower to get rid of the tiny bits of hair that were making themselves known.

I headed up the stairs, undressing as I went, so that I could get in as soon as I could. I stood under the water, eyes closed, just thinking what to do. I still didn’t know how to explain it to Ian. He’d think I was copying his secretary for some weird reason, like that old film with whatshername, the red-head stalker woman. The water felt good on my head. I squeezed some shampoo out of the bottle and then realised that I wouldn’t need as much as I had only this morning. I tried to force it back into the bottle. I started to work it into my hair, or rather my scalp, since I didn’t have hair worth talking about. It was such a strange sensation. I’d never really paid attention to washing my hair before, it was just something that needed to be done. Now, when there was so little there, the sensations of my fingers and the water were amplified. My left hand strayed from my head, eager to work out why I was feeling things elsewhere that I wouldn’t normally.

My nipples were hard. My hand carried on down, reaching the curve of my mound that had only recently been revealed in all its glory. I’d been a trimmer rather than a shaver, but I decided to shave it completely a month or so ago to try to give Ian something different. We were in a rut in that department, so much so that I’d looked at porn sites for inspiration. Most of the women were shaved down there, so I decided to give it a whirl. Ian noticed, but it didn’t spark the interest that I’d thought it would. Nevertheless, I decided that I liked it, so just carried on shaving from that day on. I’d thought about getting it done professionally after the lockdown, but would you even be able to get someone to do it for you now? I’d have to check the government guidelines.

A finger burrowed between my folds, the hand on my scalp still working away with the shampoo. My fingers found the shaved part of my head, sliding over it to compare with the sensations from my other hand. I moved my hand up through the stubble, on to my crown. It was just so strange. My right hand on my head seemed to be inspiring the left and feelings from both were getting more intense. This wasn’t something that I did on a regular basis, although it probably had become more regular in recent times and certainly since I did my little porn investigation. I tried to think about being with Ian, trying to think of our best fuck, but the most recent memory of Fran clippering me forced Ian out of the picture. My haircut was so fresh, the sensation of my nearly-there hair so immediate that Ian didn’t stand a chance. I was getting close, closer. I shuddered and gave myself to the pulses that were firing through me.

I got out of the shower feeling invigorated, more alive than I had for ages. I looked in the mirror. The unkempt bob was gone. I’d been stripped of a burden, stripped back in a way to what I needed, rather than what I wanted. What I thought I wanted had clearly been dulling something else. When I touched my head now, I felt something happen. I only hoped that Ian felt the same way. The consequences didn’t bear thinking about if he didn’t. Fran had unleashed something and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to put it back in its box.

I turned my attention to the great reveal. Would it be best just to go about my business as if nothing had happened? Let Ian take the lead. Should I make a big production out of it like Fran had suggested? I thought it through while I put my moisturiser on.

The afternoon dragged, but it gave me time to convince myself that I’d chosen the right approach. When Ian came through the front door he would see the note telling him that I had something special for him and that he should go and have a shower. I could only imagine what he thought was going to happen, but I heard him go upstairs and heard the shower turned on. He was going with it.

By the time he came out of the shower and into the bedroom, I’d positioned a bottle of wine by the bed with an ornate dish of strawberries that had been lurking in the fridge. I was peeping through the gap in the door, squinting to see his reaction.

‘Do you like what you see?’ I asked, still hidden.

‘Wine and strawberries. Always good’ he replied, casting aside his towel.

‘Would you like to have cream with them?’ I asked.

‘Why not’ he replied, almost impatiently. Maybe that was a good sign. He and I had missed our previous Friday session. The mood hadn’t been right, and if he wanted to get down to business now, it meant that he hadn’t been getting it from his secretary.

I opened the door, standing in the frame. My big reveal. Ian look towards me, expecting the familiar, but was faced with the unexpected. I stood there in fishnet stockings and suspender belt. High-heel shoes. No knickers. A squirt of cream on each nipple. One hand behind my shorn head.

He stared at me.

‘Fuck me’ I said as alluringly as I could. Not something that I’d ever said to him before. He too was probably thinking “Fuck me!”, but in a different way.

He said nothing. His cock twitched. I walked towards him, picking up a strawberry, touching it to my creamy nipple before biting in to it. I was watching his expression all the way. I licked my lips and went to my knees in front of him. I took him in my strawberry mouth and reached for his hands to bring them to my head. I felt his fingers make contact, I felt him get harder. I swallowed the strawberry and went to work. His fingers were roaming, stroking, feeling. I reached between my legs, doing what I wanted Ian to do, but was out of his reach. He was fully hard now, his grip on my head firm. He’d never been a hair-puller, but he couldn’t now, even if he wanted to. A firm stroke would be the limit. I looked up at him, his cock still in my mouth. I eased back, giving his tip a little kiss.

‘Do you like it?’ I asked.

‘Debbie said you rang’ he said, scooping some cream off my nipple.

‘Did she tell you why?’ I asked, flicking my tongue over the end of his cock.

‘No. It’s a complete surprise.’

‘A pleasant surprise?’ I asked, before placing my teeth around his shaft.

‘Yes’ he replied warily.

‘You like her with short hair, don’t you?’

‘It looks better.’

‘You want to fuck her, don’t you?’

‘No.’

‘You do’ I said standing up. I wiped the rest of the cream from my boobs, reminding myself not to do it again, for practical reasons. I poured us some wine, cupping his balls while I filled the glasses.

I looked at him as we toasted and then took his glass off him to put it safely out of harm’s way.

I looked at him again, touching his cock.

‘Mr Porter’ I breathed quietly. ‘It’s Debbie. Do you like my hair? I had it cut short just for you. Do you like it? You can call me Debs, if you like’ I said.

He looked uncertain.

‘Debs wants to fuck. Debs wants you to come all over her head. Debs wants you to rub your cum into her short hair’ I said. I was taking both of us where we hadn’t been before. Sex was usually done after we’d gone to bed, not during the hours of daylight. Sex was telegraphed by a quick fumble and a leg-over. Our sex wasn’t great, if I was honest.

Now here we were, standing naked in front of each other. Exposed, aroused. He stroked my head. I stroked his cock and then pulled away. I sat on the edge of the bed, eased back, put a hand to my cropped head and spread my legs. My free hand went to my pussy. I’d never done anything so brazen, for him or any other man. He started to work himself gently. I slipped a couple of fingers inside myself.

We watched each other. This was a novel form of social-distancing, but a very enjoyable one. I could tell that he was thinking about things while he was watching me. Wondering what he should do. My own musings were interrupted.

‘Come here Debs. Suck my cock’ he said assertively.

‘Wow! He’d gone for it.

I got off the bed and knelt in front of him. I looked up at him and wrapped my fingers round his cock, then dipped my head and rubbed my bristles against him. I heard a little moan.

‘Oh Debs’ he said softly.

‘Anything I can do for you, Mr Porter?’ I asked.

‘Stand up.’

He hugged me, briefly letting me feel his cock against my belly, before turning me round and urging me to lean forward. I braced myself, but heard him fiddling with something. A backward glance revealed that he’d picked up his phone from the dresser. I was about to object when he spoke.

‘Hi Debs. I hope you don’t mind me ringing you. Amy just wanted to say thank you’ he said. I looked back at him, not believing what he was doing. He reached forward with the phone, at the same moment that he was guiding himself into me. I tried to stifle a gasp as I said ‘Hi, Debs’

‘Hi Amy. Fran said you went for it.’

‘Yeah. She’s very persuasive’ I replied, trying to ignore Ian sliding in and out of me tantalisingly slowly.

‘Do you like it?’

‘Yes, it’s a big change, but I like it.’

‘What does Ian think?’

Ian chose that moment to really press home.

‘You know what men are like. They don’t say much’ I replied.

‘He’ll come round, I’m sure’ she said.

‘It’s a question of time’ I replied. ‘Thanks again’ I said and hung up.

‘Ian!’ I said.

‘I needed to hear her voice’ he said. He started to thrust. This wasn’t going to be a porn-star marathon, not by a long chalk. I tipped my head back to let him stroke it. He gripped it in both hands, moulding his body against mine. He thrust, I gasped. ‘Fuck me, Mr Porter, fuck me.’

‘Debs’ he said. A couple more thrusts and he was done. It hadn’t lasted long, but it had been more intense than anything I could remember for a long time. Ian stood up, relieving the pressure on my back. I stayed bent over the bed for a moment, gathering my thoughts.

‘Well, that was different’ I said after a moment.

‘Yeah’ he said. ‘About the Debs thing…’

‘You get a free pass this time, but if you ever do it for real, you can wave goodbye to that’ I said, nodding towards his spent cock. He started to speak again, but I put a finger to his lips. ‘We shall never speak of this again’ I said in a mock-formal tone.

We showered and went downstairs for dinner in just robes, enjoying the decadence of the evening. We were both lost in our thoughts for much of the time, but then Ian spoke.

‘Did you mean to copy Debs?’ he asked.

‘Not at all. I just wanted to get to a hairdresser to get back to some semblance of normality.’

‘But you got the “new normal”.’

‘Would you like it to be the “new normal”?’

‘It suits you’ he replied.

‘That’s the best compliment you could pay a lady? “It suits you”. Not “You look so gorgeous I just want to fuck you all night long”?’

‘That too?’

‘Okay. You want me to keep this, you get to play too. I’m not having you with longer hair than me. At the weekend, we find a barber and we’ll get you bald, how does that sound?’

‘Like the impossible. How are we going to find a barber that doesn’t have a queue around the block?’

‘We’ll work something out’ I replied with a smile.

3 responses to “Back in the Saddle

  1. Thanks Priyanka, I’m pleased that you enjoyed it.

    I’m not sure that I can re-post the old stories without knocking everyone else’s off the list of new stories. That wouldn’t make me too popular! If anyone knows how to do it without that happening, I’ve no objection to it.

    Rayzur

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