Canice waited there, protectively running his fingers through his hair as his boss whispered instructions to Augustine. Augustine hesitantly nodded and returned to Canice’s side. Canice looked up at him with fearful eyes, but Augustine didn’t meet them. He positioned Canice’s head, holding those terrible scissors and a comb. Then, he sectioned off hair at the top front of Canice’s head. Canice knew what was coming, but prayed that he was wrong.
Augustine combed the hair straight down over Canice’s face, obscuring his view of himself in the mirror. He could feel the locks softly brushing his inner thighs. He braced himself, gripping the arms of the chair and squeezing his eyes shut. He was breathing quickly and his heart was pounding. He despised bangs, and even disapproved of people who had them. Furthermore, he was very particular about all of his hair being even and the same length.
He could feel the scissors pressed just above his eyebrow, cold, open, and prepared to destroy. Canice groaned, eyes pricking with tears.
“I want- I want my hair to all be the same length.” Mercifully, Augustine did not bring up Canice’s prior desperate plea that he didn’t care if his hair was even or not.
“Don’t worry, it will be,” Augustine replied simply, which sent a chill down Canice’s spine. “Now hold still.”
The scissors crunched shut, and Canice felt hair slowly begin to slip down his face. It clung to his eyelashes, and he didn’t even have time to think before the blades of the shears snapped closed again. Each snip felt excruciatingly slow, but he didn’t dare open his eyes.
At last, Augustine finished on the left side of his face. He gently combed down the bangs, dislodging stray severed strands. Every time the comb passed through a section, it flattened the section and then it would spring up again. Augustine made a few adjustments, assumably evening the newly shorn bangs out. Canice heard him step back, and peeked down at his lap. He opened one turquoise eye and then the other and whimpered in despair.
Draped over his chest and lap were meter-long locks of ginger hair, still shining sublimely although they had been sliced off. They mingled with his loose, still attached ones. The lump in Canice’s throat felt heavy as he struggled not to burst into tears. He reached out his hand and picked up one of his long, treasured tresses. It felt so wrong, so unreal. He brushed his fingertips over the bluntly cut tops and fresh tears sprang up.
Canice could feel his new bangs brushing against his forehead, and loathed the feeling. Combed down they had touched the top of his eyebrows, but loose they curled and reached an inch above them. Augustine caught his slender wrist in his strong hand, and Canice’s heart jump-started. His grip was firm, but not painful. Canice didn’t attempt resisting.
Augustine guided his hand so that his fingers met his bangs. A fresh wave of mourning and panic rolled through Canice, and tears slipped from his eyes. The bangs felt so short, with their harsh ends lined up straight across his forehead. Augustine let go, but Canice tugged at the ends in disbelief. Why? Why?
Augustine eventually took his wrist again and returned his hand to the armrest, where it latched on. He took out the comb once more and began parting Canice’s flowing hair in a straight line across the back of his head, far above his ears.
A horrible inkling of what was happening began to form in his mind, and like a child he started shaking his head to try and mess up Augustine and delay the process. It was futile; when Augustine realized what Canice was about to do, he grabbed the hair tightly with quick reflexes. It pulled painfully when Canice shook his head. (Under other circumstances, Canice would have greatly loved this; however, this perilous situation was not the time.)
When this failed, Canice reached up with trembling hands and weakly tugged at Augustine’s wrists in an attempt to dislodge him. Augustine paused, leaned in close to Canice’s ear.
“Listen,” he murmured gently. “I could stop now, but I doubt the boss would let you keep your job after all of the money you lost the company.” Canice blinked away tears, heart sporadic. “So I need you to decide right now. I am not going to force you, so are you going to cooperate?”
‘Run away!’ Canice’s heart screamed. But his brain knew that he would not be able to find another job with the same wages quickly enough to satisfy his needs (and wants). Perhaps if his head were clearer, he could assess the situation more rationally, but he was not in that mindset. Slowly, he dropped his hands.
“Good boy,” Augustine purred in a low voice, and it sent tingles down Canice’s nerves into the tips of his fingers and toes. He finished making the part, and twisted the upper half of Canice’s hair so he could clip it to the top of his head. He had so much hair that one clip was not nearly enough, but instead of putting an additional clip, Augustine said, “Hold it here,” gruffly.
Canice lifted a delicate hand and placed it over the soft bundle of hair to pin it in place.
He heard the sound of clippers roaring to life and whirled around, terror gripping his heart. He caught a glimpse of the giant pair of black clippers buzzing threateningly in Augustine’s hand before Augustine grabbed his head and forced him to look forwards again.
And then, all too soon, Canice felt those clippers against the skin of his nape, vibrating angrily like bees against his sensitive skin. It was complete sensory overload, and he jolted. Augustine pulled the clippers away.
“Easy there,” he told him, in the same way that you would comfort a spooked mare. He ever-so-slowly ran a hand through the thick hair at Canice’s nape, all the way to the bluntly trimmed ends. The amount of hair hanging there was thicker than most girls’ whole ponytails. Augustine grabbed the bundle and lifted it up for better access.
Suddenly, the clippers were back and biting into Canice’s skin.
“Ah!” Canice tearfully moaned at the feeling.
They climbed up, curving over the back of his head, past his occipital bone, and stopped a couple inches under his crown. Augustine pulled the tail taut and went back to the attack, carving another wide path beside the first. He repeated this, Canice shivering each time the blades touched him, until the whole back of his head was cleared away. The tail was detached, and Augustine slung it over his shoulder like an expensive scarf while he used both hands to maneuver Canice’s head and even out what little remained of the hair on his nape.
Canice felt so cold, so tender. The skin smarted, since Augustine had really needed to dig in the clippers to cut through the thick hair. Augustine set the clippers aside and ran his hands over the back of Canice’s newly exposed head. He traced his fingers from the base of his neck, all the way up to where his lovely long hair was still clipped up. By some miracle, Canice hadn’t let go of the hair he was holding in place. Augustine gently scratched Canice’s sensitive skin, and he lost his breath.
Suddenly, he felt something soft tickling his skin, brushing up and down his nape, and realized that Augustine was teasing him with his newly-severed ponytail. The bluntly shaved meter-long hair scandalously rubbed against the milimeter-long bristles on his nape. Canice groaned at the feeling, looking up and leaning into it. Then, the feeling was gone.
Something heavy and rope-like landed on his lap, and slithered down the cape. He caught it and gasped, and before he could fully process that Augustine had tossed his buzzed-off hair onto his lap, Augustine tore away Canice’s hand that was holding his hair in place, and removed the clip. It tumbled down all around Canice, and he cried out when he felt those long, silky locks caressing his bare nape.
Augustine pushed all of his hair forward, over his face, and Canice’s vision was blocked. He couldn’t see anything through the thick curtain of fiery orange hair that spilled down his front and pooled in his lap. Again, Augustine took him by the wrist. It caught Canice off-guard, since he was blinded by his own hair at the moment. Augustine guided his trembling hand to his shaved nape, and Canice tentatively ran his fingers over it, horrified.
The feeling was so completely alien to him, velvety and almost sharp when his fingers went against the grain. His heart beat quickly in panic, and he nervously bit his lip. None of this felt like it was actually happening. It couldn’t be! His hair was so beautiful and long, how could anybody ever shear it like wheat at the harvest, down to stubble?
Augustine flipped his hair back over his head, and it hit against the cape heavily. Canice turned to see what he was doing, and Augustine picked the thick bundle of his mane up with both hands, as if to assess it. Canice tightly clutched the ponytail he still held in his own grasp. Augustine playfully bobbed his hair up and down like he was weighing it. Augustine rarely spoke to the models, usually in the role of the strong silent type, but it was like he couldn’t resist teasing Canice some more.
“You still have a lot of hair here, my princess. What shall we do with all of your highness’ lovely locks?”