Settling Debts

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Three weeks, like clockwork. Three weeks had passed since Denise had last sat in Brad’s chair, letting him shear away the last vestiges of her glossy brown mane into a cute little pixie cut, and she was already back in his chair having it neatened up.

Since Denise’s last visit, Audrey had also joined the ranks of the ultra-short, clippering away the gorgeous auburn curls that used to tumble past her shoulders. It’d been a source of both astonishment and adoration ever since, and Rebecca had begun to wonder whether Sandi might step away from the reception desk and ask for the raven curls that fell halfway down her back to be given the same treatment. It was like some short-hair virus was sweeping through the salon.

And still, Rebecca’s own hair remained the same. Stepping into the salon’s break room, she strode over to stand in front the mirror and ran her fingers through the long, thick locks that still graced her head.  So close to reaching her waist, but their days were allegedly numbered – or at least a portion of them.

Because her beloved Chiefs had lost the Super Bowl, Brad had won the right to cut her hair however he pleased. So, how short would it be? Rebecca had no idea. He hadn’t even hinted at what his plans were, or when he would execute them.

Execute them. Appropriate wording, considering what he could wind up doing to her waves.

Rebecca gathered her hair back into a high ponytail, baring her neck and ears and leaving only her overgrown, thick Bettie Page bangs – now long enough to tease her eyelashes again – to hide her doe-brown eyes.  Her nose wasn’t a cute little button like Audrey’s, but it was still a perfect fit for her face. And she’d always thought her cheekbones were worth envying, and her smile quite bright when she wanted it to be.

Brad had always been certain she’d look good with it short, he’d made no secret of that; but she only qualified as “hopefully optimistic” in that regard. But she’d known him for almost a decade now, and despite the constant, good natured teasing he practiced, he’d never once cut off more than she asked. It was absolutely possible he would only snip a few inches away, or give her some layers or reinstate the short, short bangs she stubbornly refused to keep after Audrey chopped them in December.

She dropped the brownish blonde locks down her back and shook them out, burying her hands into the tresses and fluffing them as much as she could. “Just got fucked” hair, she’d heard it called. People had been saying that – friends, lovers, coworkers – ever since she was 16, and she didn’t mind one bit.

But what if Brad took that away from her? What if he tamed her wild waves to a point beyond recognition? Oh, she had no doubt whatever style he picked would look amazing – he was a bit of a god when it came to the work he did, but still. Would she look like herself, or someone new? And would either possibility really be a bad thing?

She tried to picture herself with a crewcut like the one Audrey gave herself. Hopefully Brad hadn’t gotten any ideas from that…

“Should we start a pool as to whether he’s ever actually going to cut your hair?” Audrey asked as she entered, pulling off her top and flicking Rebecca with it as she headed to her locker.

“Oh, I’m sure it’ll happen.”

“Uh uh.” The redhead didn’t sound convinced. She pulled on another, brighter shirt and stepped up next to Rebecca to check her own hair, what little of it there was, in the reflection.

Rebecca simply couldn’t resist the urge to reach up and caress her friend’s nape as Audrey refreshed her lipstick. The soft pelt felt incredible brushing against her palm, but Rebecca missed the wealth of silky curls that had been sacrificed to the hair gods.

Audrey, meanwhile, just closed her eyes and made a soft purring sound.

“Seeing your mystery girl again tonight?”

“Yup,” Audrey answered, smacking her lips before heading back to her locker to grab a light jacket.

“When do I get to learn her name?”

“I don’t know. I think you might have to wait until I have this one properly collared. But stop trying to change the subject.”

“Not a chance.”

“Fine, have it your way. See you tomorrow” Audrey patted Rebecca’s shoulder as she passed by. When she disappeared around the corner just beyond the break room’s entrance, Rebecca heard her say, “Hurry up and cut your girlfriend’s hair already! Some of us are gonna die of anticipation soon.”

Rebecca closed her eyes, feeling the heat rise in her cheeks. It was one thing to suddenly be sleeping with Brad on a regular basis, barely spending a night alone in the past month, but it was something else to have it so brazenly broadcast among coworkers.

When she opened her eyes again, Brad was almost laughing at her.

“She’s subtle,” he said, stepping close.

“Is Sandi gone, too?”

He nodded, providing a metaphorical starter’s pistol that gave Rebecca permission to step forward into his embrace, cupping his face in her hands and drawing his lips to hers as he held her close. She opened her mouth against his as his arms closed around her, one hand sliding up her back and into her hair, teasing and stroking her neck softly as she pressed against him.

“I’m honestly not sure whether I’ve ever looked forward to the end of our work days quite so much,” he said afterward.

“Yeah, there’s definitely been some new benefits to it lately.” She let herself just stare into his gorgeous blue eyes for a moment, his fingers slowly playing through her thick hair, before she said, ”I think it’s time for you to do what you want to do.”

He blinked. “There are, like, seventeen different things that come immediately to–”

“To my hair,” she clarified, reaching around to give his ass a punitive pinch.

He grinned, but seemed hesitant. “Are you sure?”

“Of course. Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Well, it was a bet…”

“Which was my idea.”

“Yeah, but it was your idea when you were my friend. Now you’re… as Audrey would put it, my girlfriend. That kind of changes things, you know?”

“In what way?”

“Your ability to make me suffer if you don’t like the result has grown exponentially.”

She couldn’t resist laughing because, frankly, he was absolutely correct. “That would be so sweet if it wasn’t based solely on self preservation.”

He shrugged.

“Would it help to know that I’m kind of looking forward to this?”

“You are?”

She nodded. “I think… half of the reason for the bet was to give myself permission to chop it all off, if that’s what happens.”

“And the other half of the reason?”

She grinned. “You’re going to have to solve that mystery yourself.” She pulled away, taking his hand in hers and walking back toward the salon’s main room. “So, what do you say? Time to cash in your chits?”

“As you wish.”

*****

The shampoo by itself almost convinced Rebecca to offer a few dozen other means of paying off the bet – surely Brad would take her up on one of them and leave her tresses intact to be pampered by his too-good-to-be-true fingers on a regular basis. But no, this could well be the last time she was able to feel like this for a long while.

Sure, he’d washed her hair dozens, maybe hundreds, of time before… but that was as Brad the best friend. Brad the Boyfriend, though? So, so much better… Now she was allowed to let those chills run up and down her spine; now she was allowed to shift and squirm in her seat and ‘accidentally’ brush against him to find he was enjoying it as much as she was.

His fingers belonged in a hall of fame somewhere, that much she was sure of.

There were gentle, drying pats with a towel, coupled with hungry kisses, and then she was guided toward his station, her damp hair held away by a thick towel as the magician flicked a cape across her lap. Her heart started to race again, for different reasons, as Brad let her hair down and ran his comb through its length again and again, stealing glances at her in the mirror every now and then.

With her bangs brushed forward and parted to frame her eyes, Brad stepped back and just looked at her as he picked up his scissors. Then he leaned in, tilting her chin up for a kiss before stepping behind her and resting his hands on either arm of the chair, leaning forward in a gesture of intimacy that was a go-to move for him with his clients.

His cologne launched a full-scale attack, reminding Rebecca of why he was probably so good at convincing his clients to come back so often.

“So, any suggestions before we begin?”

Rebecca considered her reflection – a young woman in the midst of a wealth of waves that couldn’t make up their mind as to whether they wanted to be blonde or brunette, tumbling neatly – if that were possible – to hide her neck, shoulders and breasts and, if allowed to their own devices, soon would overtake her waist and beyond.

“Just one,” she said as she instinctively tucked her hair behind her left ear. “Instead of your girlfriend, pretend I’m one of those hot, sexy little numbers who give you free reign over their precious locks. Make me the hottest thing you can imagine; the girl of your dreams. And remember – I’ve seen enough of your work to know what you like.”

She kept her eyes on his in the mirror, but almost had to break the gaze when he grinned. There was something almost predatory about it, but rather than creating an urge to run away, it really made her want to jump him instead. He nodded, whispering, “As you wish,” once more before breaking eye contact.

Her heart beat faster, little chills of anticipation forming every time she felt Brad’s comb move through her hair. Maybe… maybe getting a serious haircut wouldn’t be so bad, after all. With every gentle stroke, she began to wonder why she had resisted the idea for so long.

Oh, right – because she fucking loved her long hair.

She waited for him to start gathering her hair up, lifting and twisting it and holding it in place with several clips to keep its bulk out of the way as he worked…

But once she felt his fingers, followed by cold steel, against her nape, she realized there just wouldn’t be any bulk to get in the way for long. Then she heard that first loud, horrible crunching, an insistent, persistent sound that just kept going, pausing only to reset and shift a little closer to her ear before it started again and released more of the thick, wet, voluminous waves that had graced her back since before she was in high school to fall to the floor with a soft smack.

She sucked in her breath as the blades emerged to her left. Brad casually untucked her hair from behind her ear and then continued his cutting, glancing at her reflection on briefly to smile reassuringly. She tried to do the same, but she was pretty sure her panicked breathing was betraying her as more of her brown/blonde waves fell victim to his scissors, no longer just falling to the floor behind her but now also tumbling into her lap as the last of her locks on that side were shorn away.

“How are we doing?” Brad asked as he stepped around behind her again.

“Fine,” she lied, hearing every pounding heartbeat echo in her voice as Brad realigned himself to her right. His fingers slipped through her hair one last time before his shears surrounded the precious waves in front of her shoulder, again at about mid-neck as they chewed through her crowning glory. Her lap suddenly held twice as much of treasured locks. She closed her eyes and tried to concentrate on Brad’s fingers brushing against her as he gathered each lock to be sacrificed to Tom Brady’s victory.

And just like that, just that quickly, she had left the realm of the long-haired ladies. Part of her had hoped there’d only have been some new layers; maybe shortened bangs or some other  surface-level change – but, no, with a few quick snips, Brad had changed how she would look for years.

Years.

He’d seized his right to do what he wanted with her hair and now almost all of her soft, pampered locks – pampered by their executioner, of all people – now covered the floor behind her. And he wasn’t finished yet; she still belonged to him for as long as the sleek white cape stayed tied around her neck.

Good god, what was it about him that made her totally okay with that idea?

Beneath the cape, her right hand slid between her thighs and shifted this way and that. She yipped as Brad’s lips were suddenly nuzzling against the side of her neck, and she felt his smile as he turned the chair so she couldn’t see into any of the mirrors around her.

“I wasn’t planning on a bob, but we can stop here if you’d like,” he said before nipping at her earlobe.

She bit her lip, and shook her head. “Pretend this is your one and only shot to give me a cut you’d die to see me in.”

His lips brushed against her cheek. “You sure?”

She turned to kiss him and met his steely gaze with her own. “Never been more sure.”

He smiled, tossing aside the clips he had surreptitiously taken from in front of his workstation. “Alright then.”

His comb went back into his pocket, and with no clips in sight, Rebecca realized things were about to get very serious. His gentle fingers guided her head to look down into her lap, and then they were once again burying themselves in the thigh waves of her hair that fell from her crown to her nape. Again and again they slide through, caressing and stroking, teasing and playing with, before the first victims were gathered between two of his fingers. With his hand flat against her nape, she could only listen as the shears claimed more of her locks. His fingers moved away after each cropping, leaving no sense of length behind – no weight of her waves, no sensation of their freshly cut ends teasing her neck. Where there used to be warm, silky comfort, now there was just….nothing.

Again and again he gathered and harvested her hair, moving higher and higher until his fingers mimicked the gentle curve where her nape became her crown. She began to picture herself with an angled bob, soft waves still framing her face as she tried to explain why she decided to cut off almost all of her trademark tresses, ridding herself of the opportunities to wear playful ponytails or elegant twists.

But she’d still have the cute eartucks, and maybe even the sultry sweep of her long bangs to complement the bedroom eyes she’d give Brad later, a display of gratitude for leaving her with an easy-to-grow out style other stylists might not have…

But then his fingers brushed against her left ear, and the hungry crunch of his shears was louder than ever as it stole away any cute little ear tuck she might have done in the next year. She opened her eyes in time to see the long lock land in her lap, followed by another and another as the snaps of Brad’s blades sounded again and again.

His reaping hand touched beneath her chin, lifting her gaze from the field of shorn golden-brown waves before he continued his work, his hand sliding across the crown of her head in tandem with his scissors, claiming more and more of her former glory. Inches upon inches fell forward into her lap or to her shoulders. His hand no longer rested against her head, so she at least was able to find solace in the hope she might have some length to play with in some way.

“You know, I’m beginning to wonder whether I’m going to regret making you this goddamn gorgeous,” he murmured. She tried not to blush, but could tell she was failing miserably even as that emotion had to struggle against the mounting panic as more and more of her beloved hair kept falling away from her head.

“Seriously. I’m going to have to head back to the gym just to keep Audrey from trying to stealyou away.”

“I can think of one very important reason that shouldn’t concern you.”

He turned his back on her, and she seized the moment to reach up and feel her hair – or, more accurately, not feel it. He breath stilled in her chest as he fingers moved through what was left, though it felt like there was barely enough left to allow that. She thought back to how close her hair had been to her waist just a short while ago, and now it seemed to be just that close to her head.

“Oh my god, I have short hair…”

Brad turned to look at her, a mock-disappointed expression. “The whole point of turning you away was so you’d be surprised.” He had his clippers in hand, and yet was acting all casual as if he wasn’t HOLDING HIS CLIPPERS IN HIS HAND.

“What… what are those for?”

His head tilted, equal parts cute and infuriating. “Did you miss that day of class?”

He smiled at her scowl. “Fine tuning only, I promise. Face front.”

She did, reminding herself to trust him and that she brought this on herself. She’d used her pride and joy, her gorgeous, magnificent mane as a barter to get a date with a man she had a crush on and it had backfired. As Brad gently tilted her head to the left, she told herself that she’d just have to accept the fact that her treasured locks were no more, at least not for however many years it would take to grow them back. Four, maybe five, she guessed.

Cripes, what had she done?

Christ, the clippers were loud, and they only got louder as they got closer. With practiced patience, Brad held her head still, working carefully to make sure there wasn’t a single hair in the vicinity of her ear, and, with mild surprise, Rebecca realized she was a little sad when he stopped holding her in place. Instead, his hands worked in tandem, one with a comb and one with the clippers, to shear away more of her hair around her ears and along her nape.

Then the clippers went quiet and his thinning shears came out, creating another shower of soft, dusky locks in front of her. Her long bangs were swept up between his fingers and assaulted until they no longer brushed against her eyelashes or even, from what she could tell, her eyebrows, and then the blades were finally set aside.

His hands ruffled what was left on her head, thick and full and so, so short – Rebecca closed her eyes, imagining what her clients would say, what her friends would say when they saw her. That stylist with the gorgeous long hair was in the past, for … what? Two, three years, at least?

The worries and the fears began to fade, to melt away, though, as Brad just kept playing with her hair. Was he putting product in it? No, she didn’t recall him pausing long enough at any point to do so… he was just playing with what was left, ruffling and smoothing and ruffling again, running his hands up and down her nape, an arresting mix of hands over velvet and fingers teasing short, soft locks. She bit her lip and straightened in the chair, finding herself pressing her head back into his caresses.

His hands brushed across her ears and neck, followed by warm puffs of breath to blow away clippings and trimmings. A large, soft brush followed, a tickling sensation that elicited giggles she didn’t expect, but when she threatened to instinctively turn her head, Brad’s hands guided her eyes away from the mirrors again. He tossed the brush aside, caressed her hair some more, and then with a well practiced flick, loosened the cape from around her neck. He pushed it forward as he leaned into her from behind, his lips seizing her naked neck, forcing a surprised moan from deep within as he dropped the cape in her lap and wrapped his arms around her.

Her neck hadn’t changed, and neither had his teeth – so why did his nibbles and teasing bites feel so desperately different? They started behind her, but moved forward until her right earlobe became their focus, and Rebecca was unable to save it despite the amount of gleeful squirming she employed. Instead,she remained trapped within his arms, her hands clutching at his wrists and she might have– no one could prove it was purposeful – guided his right hand down between her thighs as she remained a prisoner in his chair.

“So unprofessional of you,” she tried to whisper, but instead it came out as a soft gasp while his fingers teased her thighs.

He was unrelenting, letting his tongue play along the edge of her ear before finally asking, ”So… want to take a look?”

She waited just long enough to worry him before finally nodding. “Very much so.”

He didn’t let her go right away. Instead angling for a long, lingering kiss that pushed her back into the chair under just enough of his weight to make her wish for more. Then he pulled away, taking the cape and all of her shorn locks with him, the soft, now-dry waves forming massive fluffs on the floor where they landed.

The sight of all of her hair on the floor around her gave new life to her nerves, but she forced herself to step in front of the mirror and face whatever was in the reflection. As she lifted her eyes, she had expected every single thing that entered her view – the unhidden shape of her breasts beneath her t-shirt; the bare curves of her shoulders and collarbones; the vulnerable expanse of her slender throat… but each and every one shocked and surprised her, right up until she was staring into her own unhidden eyes and naked ears.

“My hair… it’s gone,” she murmured. “Where did it go?”

To the floor, that where… at least most of it. What was left – what was left of her long, are-they-brown-or-are-they-blonde fairytale princess locks were a collection of wild, sex-goddess mini-waves, each doing its own thing in perfect lockstep with every other wave, a beautiful cacophony of mayhem that somehow worked together. It was like, removed of its impressive weight, her hair was finally screaming, “This is me!” as it launched itself this way and that.

The length – if that was the right word for it – would have to be measured in finger-widths rather than inches, at least as far as the stretch from her crown to her forehead was concerned. The sides themselves were too short even for that, clippered down to create something of a mohawk effect that narrowed to a point just above her nape, where the difference in length between the bulk and the buzzed portion was barely noticeable.

What jumped out at Rebecca the most, however, as Brad came up from behind and placed his hands on her shoulders and looked hopefully at her reflection, was that she was almost completely brunette now. The only hint of her former blonde resides at the tips of the longest locks along the middle of her cropped mane. Practically every sunkissed tress had been shorn from her head–every claim to being flaxen-haired taken from her as part of the bet she’d lost.

Yes, what was left would lighten quickly without the tumbling lengths to hide some of her tresses from the sun’s bleaching light, but…

“Thoughts?” Brad asked, his nose and lips nuzzling against that vulnerable neck she noted the existence of earlier.

“You, uh…” she closed her eyes and trembled a little as his arm enveloped her again. “If you happen to have a preference for blondes, there may be an issue.”

His reflection smiled at her.

Her hand slipped into her hair again, a mix of thrills and terror ripping through her as she continued to fight the disbelief that her reflection truly was her own. “You really didn’t hold back.”

“I refused to miss my one shot.”

“Our salon is going to get a reputation for being anti-long hair if we’re not careful.”

“There are worse business models.”

“Uh-huh.” She slipped her hand from her hair to his, holding his lips against her neck as she pushed her bottom back against his hips. She wriggled her own just a little, offering encouragement for his continued affection.

On some level, she knew they should take a moment to clean up the blanket of manic waves that used to adorn her head, but… Hell with that. They owned this place. They could clean it up tomorrow.

“Which of us is parked closer? I think we need to get home to find out whether I can still manage an just-got-fucked look.”

 

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I hope it lived up to expectations! Comments and critiques are always welcome – I love to know what you’re thinking and what you’d like to see.

5 responses to “Settling Debts

  1. Another awesome one, nicely built up and the delivery was perfect. Was wondering if you think you’ll still continue this story line, or to some one offs? Or create a new sorta friend group?

    Anyways looking forward to whatever sort of stories you have planned next, can definitely say you’re one of my favourite writers!

    1. Thank you!

      I’ve always loved being able to track how people/characters change their looks over the years, so I think part of the reason I set these stories up the way I did is so I can drop in old characters whenever I feel like it. So we may see Katie from my very first stories pop up at the edges of an otherwise-unconnected story, or Brad and Becky could be unnamed background players when Cara and Denise send a stubbornly long-haired classmate to see Audrey. And each of those appearances will let me show off whether the characters kept their hair the way it’s been, or changed it up somehow (It has been almost half a year since Katie’s crop, afterall)…

      So that’s a long way of saying “Yes and No.” Unless I specifically note it in some way, I plan on all of my stories taking place in the same little world, but I’d imagine stories that focus only on pixies getting trimmed might get kind of boring so I’ll have to bring in some new players.

  2. Outstanding story!! Well worth the build up and development of characters. So many possibilities of what else could happen with the merry band of stylists and friends. I too always look forward to getting to read your stories.

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