Hotel with an Edge
Pacific Crest Consulting
Coraline Marcus stood at the windowsill, looking out over the city from her corner office. This was where she wanted to be. For years she had been busting her proverbial ass to get there, too. As a systems analyst for Pacific Crest Consultants, better known as PCC, she remembered when things were not all that rosy.
Cora had started from the bottom, in an entry-level position straight out of college. She was wide-eyed and ready to take on the world. Little did she know that the world she was entering had thorns. From word go, it had been a cutthroat environment.
She hated to think that her stunning good looks had anything to do with her advancement, but seeing as nearly all the upper echelons of the firm were male, she had a hard time putting the thought out of her mind.
There was no doubt that Coraline had everything a red-blooded male could want. There was her angelic face, and her long, platinum-blonde hair, yes, but her body, that was the kicker; it was built for sex.
Like everything else in her life, Coraline had fought for that too, working out at her local gym three times a week. There was, however, only so much working out could do, but Cora had that covered too. Her ample ‘C’ cup breasts fit her physique perfectly.
So, as she turned to make her way back to her desk, she wasn’t surprised to find Dave Reynolds standing in her doorway, presumably admiring her ass. He had made no secret of the fact that he wanted Coraline in the most ardent way imaginable.
“Quite a view.” He remarked, and Cora was certain that he was not talking about Belltown or the sound.
“Yes, David, I’m sure it was,” Cora smirked, deliberately not sitting down.
“I was talking about…”
“Never mind. What can I do for you?” Coraline sighed, resting a hip against her carved oak desk.
“Well, you haven’t forgotten about the Eugene thing, right?” He asked nervously.
“No, I haven’t. Seeing as most of our major accounts will be in attendance at the convention, it would be rather shortsighted of me, wouldn’t you say?” Cora managed to speak down to him, even though he was a good four inches taller.
“Well. Just making sure.” He walked away, feeling a little foolish, as he almost always did after one of their exchanges.
“Hi, Mr. Reynolds,” Stephanie said, hopefully. She smiled as he walked by her without so much as a look. Stephanie Christopher had been Coraline’s personal assistant for nearly a year, and it wasn’t hard to see that she was more than a bit jealous of the power her boss had over men. What really jerked her chain, was that not once had Coraline Marcus given any of them the time of day.
In any other setting, Stephanie would have been noticed. She was moderately attractive, her mousy brown hair cut into a stylish lob, and she had a smile the lit up a room. The problem was Coraline. Talk about being upstaged. Stephanie felt a bit like a fencepost whenever she and her boss were together, and that was nearly all the time.
Stephanie had desperately hoped that Coraline would be able to do without her that weekend, leaving her some alone time to go out and shine a little without her boss turning her into nothing more than a shadow. It was not to be. When she had asked, Coraline had insisted that she come, saying that she was indispensable.
Cora stared at the phone for a good fifteen minutes, almost willing it to ring. When it finally did, she swept it into her hand. “Coraline Marcus.”
“I have an Alex Molina on three for you, Ms. Marcus.” Stephanie sighed, patching the call. ‘Alex?’ Stephanie wondered. They didn’t sound like an Alex to her. She put it out of her mind as she prepared for the convention.
Coraline looked up to check that the door was closed before speaking. “Alex?”
“Cora. I got your text, but I’m afraid I’m still tied up with that group hike this weekend.” Alex said, flatly.
“So, you weren’t able to get out of it then?” Cora sighed, dejectedly.
“Looks like you’re on your own, kid,” Alex said, trying to stay upbeat, knowing how disappointed she was.
Alex Molina had, like so many before her, been awestricken by Coraline’s breathtaking beauty. So, when she had approached her, she had expected rejection. It was a gay bar, so what was this specimen of femininity doing in there? ‘She has to be with a friend or something.’ Alex had assumed.
Alex was more than a little surprised when Coraline immediately warmed to her rather sharp features and short-cropped black hair. One thing led to another, and they ended up back at Alex’s place. The sex was great, but something about Cora’s somewhat untouchable beauty seemed to rub Alex the wrong way.
She sat, amazed, watching Coraline brush her hair in the mirror of her rather spartan bathroom for fifteen minutes. “That would drive me crazy.” She remembered saying. She didn’t remember what Cora’s response had been, but it hadn’t instilled any confidence.
Alex had been put off by the idea that if she ever did devote herself to Cora, that she would undoubtedly get her heartbroken. What could an angel such as Coraline, ever see in her? So, she had kept her distance. Alex could easily have blown off the hiking trip, but the idea of getting even closer to this girl could only spell trouble.
“Well, have fun on your hiking trip,” Coraline said, sarcastically. “Can we get together when I get back from Eugene?”
“Cora… I, sure. Why not.” Alex gave in, cringing over how that must have sounded. She probably deserved the reply she got.
“Well, don’t put yourself out or anything, Alex.” Cora spat, trying to kid.
“Sorry. That came out wrong. I want to see you. I think we should… talk.”
A line formed between Cora’s brows. “O…kay. See you then.” She hung up.
Coraline knew what it meant when someone said they needed to talk. She had noticed how distant Alex had been on their last few dates. ‘What could be wrong?’ She wondered.
The Creekside Hotel, Eugene, OR.
Stephanie was disappointed enough to learn that she was accompanying her boss to a convention in Eugene, Oregon, of all places. Learning that she would have to stay in an adjoining room, was just the icing on the cake. There would be no chance of her meeting anyone, now. Not that there was probably anyone of interest there, but it was the principal of the thing.
“Run down to 356 and find out what he’s wearing, tonight.” Coraline insisted.
Stephanie smiled thinly. “Who would that be, Ms. Marcus?”
“David Reynolds. I’m not going to be outshined by that guy, but I don’t want to go overboard.”
Stephanie begrudgingly made her way down to room 356, knocking, but suddenly realizing she had no other reason to be there, other than to spy. When the door opened, a rather disheveled-looking man answered the door, a towel wrapped around his shoulders.
“Stephanie?” Dave said, a little taken aback by seeing her. “What can I do for you?”
Stephanie then noticed the short wisps of hair that dotted the towel. “Are you cutting your own hair? You know, I…”
“Of course, I’m not. Did you know, this hotel has a barber?” He remarked, slyly, raising his eyebrow. He indicated an older man, probably in his fifties, totally bald and sporting scissors and a comb. “Antonio, this is Stephanie Christopher, undoubtedly, here to spy on me.” Dave assumed, correctly.
“Guilty as charged.” Stephanie held up both hands and backed out of the doorway. At the same time, a devious plan began to form in her head. She would probably lose her job, but, she wasn’t in love with the position in the first place.
“So, what was he wearing?” Cora asked.
“He wasn’t, yet,” Stephanie said, not lying.
“Oh well.” Cora held up a short black gown, not too elegant, but stylish. “What do you think?”
Stephanie smiled. “It’s nice.” She watched as her boss stepped into it.
“Please, help me with this dress. The zipper is murder.” Coraline asked, slipping the black gown over her shoulders.
Stephanie knew that this was her chance, it was just presenting itself sooner than expected. Was she going to do this or not? She held Coraline’s waist-length hair away from her back as she grasped the zipper. She had done this so many times, but this time would be different. As she pulled the zipper upwards, she let loose the hair and forced the zipper upwards, locking several strands in its teeth.
“Ouch!” Coraline yelped. “What happened?”
Stephanie cringed when she realized just how much of her boss’s hair was caught in the zipper. “It was an accident. Your hair is so long it slipped out of my hand.”
“You can’t be serious.” Coraline tried to get a look in the mirror, but the bulk of her hair was hiding the disaster underneath. “Can you try and get it out.” She begged.
Each time Stephanie would try the zipper it pulled down on Coraline’s scalp, eventually causing her to cry. Suddenly, what Stephanie had done seemed incredibly childish and mean. Her original plan of cutting the hair out of the zipper with scissors went right out the window as she earnestly tried to help.
Finally, having had enough, Coraline held up her hands. “To hell with the dress. Just rip the zipper open.” Coraline sighed.
Stephanie grasped the dress on either side of the zipper and pulled, separating the zipper and a good section of material as it tore open to the waist. What she hadn’t counted on were the strands of platinum that slipped to the floor along with the dress. The zipper had essentially acted like a pair of scissors. Stephanie’s hand flew to her mouth. “Oh, shit.”
“What just… Oh my god! My hair!” Coraline reached back trying to assess the damage. “Can you look? How bad is it?” She whimpered.
As Stephanie lifted the hair, not only were several strands of hair severed but a lot more of it was damaged as well. She reached down and picked up one of the blonde tendrils and held it out. “I am so sorry.”
Coraline rushed over to the mirror, naked except for her panties, and grabbed a brush. “Can you… would you please brush it out so I can see how bad this is going to be?”
Feeling horrible, Stephanie crossed the room and took the brush from Cora’s hand, easing it carefully into the roots and stretching the length downward with its bristles. There would be no hiding it. Right in the middle of the back, were three glaring gaps, at least a foot up from the bottom. “I… Oh, god, I’m so sorry!”
Stephanie ran from the room, horrified over what she had done. No matter how she felt, Coraline didn’t deserve this.
Coming to Terms with the Mess
Coraline had taken a few selfies in the mirror to confirm how bad her hair actually looked. There was no getting around it, she was going to have it cut. It seemed simple enough, a blunt cut to the middle of her back, but there was no way she could do it herself. She couldn’t ask Stephanie. Cora figured it would just about kill her to cut it after what had happened, even if it was just an accident.
She looked down at her watch. There were just three hours before she was expected in the banquet hall. How on earth was she going to get this taken care of?
“Front Desk.” A thin female voice answered, obviously distracted by something else.
“Yes. I’ve…well…oh hell, is there someplace that can cut hair reasonably well on short notice?” Coraline asked, deliberately.
“Coincidentally, we have a barber that cuts hair on concession here, and he’s just finishing up with another guest.” The woman said, as if nothing could have been more normal. “I can send him your way almost at once.”
‘A barber?’ Cora imagined some old man attacking her with clippers. “I don’t need a barber, I’m a woman. I need a stylist.” She finally said.
“He’s very good. He styles women’s hair all the time here.” The woman responded.
“Really?” Cora mused. She couldn’t believe that she was considering allowing a barber anywhere near her hair, even in the state it was in. “I’m short on time. I guess I don’t have a choice.”
“His name is Antonio.” And with that, the line went dead, and Coraline was left wondering just what she had agreed to. She quickly donned a pair of slacks and a loose-fitting top, in preparation for what was to come.
There was a soft knock on the door, and she wondered if Stephanie had returned. Surely it was too soon for ‘Antonio’ to arrive. Opening the door, she was greeted by a middle-aged man, bald, and carrying a small satchel.
“You called for a haircut?” The man seemed puzzled, observing Coraline from the front.
“Everything isn’t as it seems.” Cora sighed, indicating the room behind her and inviting him inside. “There’s been a bit of an accident.” She admitted, feigning calm. Coraline turned so the man could see the damage the zipper had wrought.
“Oh, dear. I see. Such a shame. You have such lovely hair, Miss.” He pulled a comb out of his bag and ran it down the length of the hair.
“Can you fix it?” Cora asked, sadly.
“I can always fix it. The question is, will you be happy with the result.” He said to the mirror, regarding Coraline’s face as he stood behind her.
Cora felt the comb stop just below her shoulder blades. “To here.” Antonio stated, firmly.
“That seems shorter than the damage.” Coraline ascertained.
“You have long hair. I will cut here,” He slid the comb down to where the first jagged slice started, “and it will spring up to here.”
Cora nodded, understanding the principle of what he explained. Core felt the comb again pull through her once-glorious mane and stop, as if holding a place. The pop of clippers caused her to jump from the chair. “What are you doing?” She demanded.
“Please, don’t panic. I use clippers because they give the cleanest, straightest cut.” He held out the comb and mimicked how he would run the clippers along its edge. “Please.” He indicated the chair.
Coraline sat once again, still nervous about having clippers anywhere near her hair. “Go ahead.” She sighed.
Just as he was about to start, the door opened and Stephanie walked in, surprised to see Antonio there.
“Antonio, this Stephanie, my…”
“We have been introduced.” The barber smiled, nodding at Stephanie.
Coraline mulled over what she had just heard, and continued. “Antonio is going to straighten out our little… accident.” She wasn’t at all surprised to see a modicum of guilt wash over her assistant’s face. ‘Was it an accident?’
Again, Antonio ran the comb through Cora’s hair, stopping at the prescribed spot. This time the clippers only elicited a shiver of dread as Coraline anticipated what was about to happen. She heard a high-pitched rasp as the clippers entered her full blonde hair, sending torrents of it to the floor of the small dressing area.
Stephanie couldn’t help but let out a slight gasp at the sight of so much hair falling away from her boss’s head. This is what she wanted, right? For this luscious blonde, god’s gift to men, to get a good smackdown. She wondered if Coraline Marcus knew just how short her hair was being cut? Stephanie felt a twinge of excitement between her thighs as more hair tumbled to the marble tiles.
Each time the comb lifted, the hair would spring up a good two inches, and Coraline knew she was getting more than a trim. This was a serious haircut. She looked back at Stephanie, whose eyes were glued to the back of her head. Cora didn’t think she could tell she was being watched in the mirror, but there was an unmistakable frisson of arousal on her face. ‘She’s enjoying this.’ Cora realized.
The cut didn’t take long at all, but the results totally changed the way Coraline looked. Rather than the long straight silk that ran over her shoulders and straight to the top of her butt, the hair fluffed out, fuller and thicker, resting just over her shoulders. Coraline seemed to enjoy the look, but Stephanie wasn’t ignorant of the fact that this would change the way guys would see her. ‘Had she accomplished her goal?’
The Following Day, Revelations.
The banquet went off smoothly, and contrary to Stephanie’s intentions, Coraline was admired even more sporting the new shorter style. Coraline had noticed that as the evening wore on, Stephanie seemed more and more perturbed, as if some grand scheme had failed to go off as planned. She was convinced now, that the zipper incident, was no accident at all.
It was around ten o’clock the following morning when Cora’s phone rang, with a familiar number. She looked around the room, being certain that Stephanie was gone. “Alex, hi.”
“How’s the convention thing, going?” Alex asked.
“Oh, there was a little bit of a mishap, but everything went well,” Cora admitted.
“Mishap? Are you okay?” Alex seemed genuinely concerned.
“Let’s just say, my hair is quite a bit shorter now.” Cora sighed, almost afraid to know what Alex might think.
“Really? How did that happen?” A sudden lift in her tone seemed strange to Cora.
“It was, well… a barber cut it, with clippers,” Cora said, wondering just what Alex might conjure up in her head.
“Holy shit! That’s cool. Did you get a buzz or something?” Alex asked, hopefully, imagining how Cora might look with that short a cut.
“Nothing that extreme. It’s about to my shoulders now.” Coraline admitted.
“Oh, well that’s cool too,” Alex said, a bit let down.
“Alex? Were you hoping that I’d gone shorter?” Cora asked, curious.
“I was… well, it’s almost embarrassing. I was imagining you with a platinum crew cut, sort of ‘a la Tank Girl’, if you know what I mean.” Alex chuckled.
“Is that right? Is that something you might like?” Cora asked, almost afraid to know the answer. “What if I shed a little of my girlie-girl persona you seem to find so cringeworthy, as you put it?”
“You’re going to make me come over the damned phone,” Alex said, dryly.
“Alex? Do you still want to talk?” Cora asked, flirtatiously.
“Who is this, and what have you done with Coraline Marcus?” Alex chortled.
“Maybe you’ll find out. I’ll see you next week, lover.” Cora purred. Before Alex could respond she had disconnected. ‘So, Alex likes short-haired girls.’ Coraline mused.
“Who’s Alex?” A voice asked from behind. Stephanie had entered quietly, and Coraline wondered just how much of the conversation she had been privy to.
“Why?” Was all that Coraline wanted to know.
“I’m just wondering who he is.” Stephanie misunderstood.
“No, Stephanie, why did you deliberately do this?” Coraline held up her drastically shorter hair, allowing it to fall back against her shoulders. “And, Alex is a she, you moron.”
“You mean you’re a…a…”
“Lesbian? Yes.” Coraline admitted, knowing that the knowledge could very well affect her career. “Why, Stephanie?”
“Well, oh God, it seems so stupid now, Jesus! The guys would always look at you and… Oh Christ, will you just fire me and get it over with?” Stephanie crumbled.
“I have no intention of firing you. If, after you have fulfilled a rather daring challenge, you want to quit, well, that’s up to you. This afternoon, I’m planning on having Antonio return and give this mess a little bit of a style. The deal is, you have to match what I get, strand for strand.”
Stephanie looked at her boss rather strangely, and then nodded. “You’re not pissed?”
“Last night, I was royally pissed off at you. Once I figured out you had done the zipper thing on purpose, I had every intention of firing you. As it turns out, you may just have done me a favor.”
Antonio knocked on Coraline’s door at two o’clock sharp. The man was punctual if nothing else. All during lunch, Stephanie had to wonder just what her boss was up to. Nothing could be so easy as matching whatever style this gorgeous blonde received. Still, she wondered.
“Good afternoon, ladies.” Antonio offered a shallow bow, and set his satchel on the counter by the large plate glass mirror. “So, you like, and now you want shorter?” He asked, honestly.
“Let’s just start cutting and see where we end up.” Coraline sighed, mischievously. She took a seat, allowing Antonio to spread a thin cape over her and fasten it tightly at the neck.
He held the comb at a point just off her shoulders, but she simply shook her head no. A little higher, and he was at her earlobe. “Here?” He asked, inquisitively.
“It’s a start,” Coraline smirked, looking over at Stephanie who was now a bit more nervous.
This time, Antonio used his scissors lopping off another six inches of Coraline’s lovely blonde hair. The floor was now covered in platinum, blending nicely with the white marble. Her hair was thicker still now, and puffed out into a bit of a ball as the cut was slowly completed around the opposite side.
“You like?” He brushed an inward curl into the style.
“Shorter.” Coraline insisted. “In fact, let’s just save some time and put those away.” She reached out and took the scissors from his hand, depositing them on the counter.
“You are absolutely sure?” The barber asked, as he lifted the clippers from his bag.
“What do you call that, when it’s pretty much shaved on the sides, and a little bit standing up on top?” Cora heard Stephanie gasp, audibly.
“You surely aren’t talking about a crew cut?” He asked.
“That’s exactly it. Antonio, give me a crew cut.” Coraline grinned, almost looking forward to feeling the graze of the clippers against her scalp, as much as the reaction she was getting from her assistant.
“Well, this is a first for me.” The barber admitted.
“Antonio, you’ll be pleased to know that it won’t be the last either,” She glanced over at a shell-shocked Stephanie. “because she’s next.”
Cora had to feel a little surprised when Antonio pushed her head down so her chin was resting against her ample bosom. When the bare blades of the clipper slowly climbed the back of her head, Coraline couldn’t help but gasp. She wondered just what was going on inside her assistant’s panties at that moment. This had to be a bit of temporary justice, seeing her stripped so starkly of her silken tresses, even if Stephanie would soon suffer the same fate.
Cora could feel her scalp slowly being exposed as the cool air of the room brushed against her bare skin for the first time in her life. How she wished Alex was there. She wondered just how things would be different now, with them. She hoped it would be enough.
Antonio slipped a different blade on the clippers and brought them to rest against the top of Cora’s forehead. He looked down, smiling, as the clippers ate into the virgin tresses, peeling them away like so much snow, leaving a silver pelt in their wake.
Gone was the knockout blonde that could bowl men over with a look. In her place, a starkly bald lesbian goddess, bereft of the trappings of femininity. Cora ran a hand over her head, surprised at the pleasant sensation. She could most definitely get used to this.
She stood, the bold impression even causing the barber to step back and away. Coraline turned and stared down at her assistant, cowering on the bed. “Next.”