Two for One

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Maggie pulled her hair back into a loose ponytail as she started to sip her coffee and visit with her best friend. It was almost second nature to her at this point as her long brown hair had been with her for most of her life. Even when she had tried a shorter cut years ago, a long bob, she had still had enough to make a small tail to avoid it getting in her face. Currently her mass of hair was at its standard length which reached down to her mid back.

This was quite different from her friend Amy who sported a cute black bob that ended just below her chin with bouncy little bangs that made her eyes pop. Ironically Amy had gotten her bob the same time that Maggie had, they often did things together. The only difference was that Amy had kept her hair short, and much to her friend’s chagrin Maggie had immediately grown her hair out.

The two sat and talked about their day and sipped their drinks as was their daily ritual. They had been best friend’s since they were in diapers. A relationship that remained strong even now that they were well into their 20s. After work each day they would meet up for a coffee and decide whether to go out or go home. It was a great way to support each other and stay in contact. Today seemed like it would be one of those days they would be going out, as Amy had some plans.

“I want to go and get my haircut, would you come with me?” Amy asked

Maggied sipped her coffee and considered it. She had nothing planned for the night and Amy wouldn’t have asked if she didn’t think she needed the company.

“Pleeeeeease”

Amy pushed in and leaned toward her friend.

“Yeah yeah alright. You don’t have to beg me. I was just taking a second to think. Of course I can go with you. Are you thinking of trying something new today?”

Maggied prodded her friend.

Amy’s face contorted as she thought about it.

“Mayyyybe? I think so but I haven’t quite decided.”

Maggie chuckled as they paid their bills and left for the salon. They continued to make small talk on the way to the salon. They were quite the striking duo and always managed to turn a few heads if they walked by enough people. Both were quite fit as going to the gym was also a weekly routine they had. Neither were fitness focused, it had just been a way they could hold each other accountable and stay healthy. Amy was small but had a big bubbly personality. It worked well as a foil to Maggie who was a little above average height and was much quieter. Maggie had cultivated what she refered to as “librarian vibes”, staying quiet most of the time and wearing lots of different long sleeved garments when appropriate.

Time passed by in an instant as it so often does when with friends. Before they knew it they found themselves in the salon with Amy being escorted into a hydraulic salon chair and Maggie perched in a waiting area where she could still see her friend.

Amy had her lips pursed in quiet contemplation as the stylist pulled out a small hand towel and affixed it around her neck, her arms glued to her sides and her hands balled into tiny fists as a large pinstripe cape was draped over her.

From her spot in the waiting area Maggie could only see her friend’s mouth move as Amy discussed what she wanted to do with her stylist. There were some nods and smiles but any noise was drowned out by the ambience of the salon. At one point Amy pointed at her, which prompted a smile and a wave from Maggie. The stylist returned the gesture before returning to their discussion. Eventually they agreed on something and Amy’s chair was flipped around and reclined so her hair could be washed.

Maggie decided this would be a good time to bury her nose in her phone and zone out for a bit. One hand scrolled on the touchscreen while the other found itself twirling a strand of her long hair. Looking over the strand she pinched it between her thumb and forefinger so she could inspect the tips. It had been a while since her last salon visit and the split ends made it clear she was due for a trim.

She heard footsteps and looked up to see that the chair next to her friend had just opened up. The client that had just been there sported a short pixie cut.

Maggie wrinkled her nose at the thought of getting her own hair cut that short. It was cute and all but she could never pull it off, or atleast would never want to. Long hair was a part of her identity, one which she had for many years. She could put it up in lavish updos, play with it when bored, or hide behind it in nerve wracking situations. It wasn’t like she was overly attached to it, she was just used to it at this point. Why try something that could make her look bad when she already felt great and loved her hair as it was?

Maggie looked back at her friend. Her wash had been finished and her hair was now being blow dried. Her stylist also noticed the now vacant chair next to her. She paused what she was doing and turned off the hair dryer before she waved at her co-worker to come over. Maggie was once again forced to wonder what they were discussing from across the salon. This didn’t last very long however as Amy nodded vigorously with a big smile plastered onto her face and handed something to them. It looked like a small piece of paper similar to a coupon or voucher of some kind. As they took it she poked her thumb out in her Maggie’s direction. The woman looked at Amy with her eyebrows raised, then the voucher, then to Maggie. With a shrug she put the paper in her pocket and walked to the waiting area.

“Hi, you must be Maggie?”

She said, extending her hand.

“Ah, yes that’s me”

Maggie smiled back, taking the outstretched hand. In doing so she was hoisted from her seat. It surprised her a bit but she went with it.

“Alright well the chair is open next to your friend. Did you want to come sit down?”

“Um, sure.”

Maggie shrugged and let herself be guided over to the empty chair. She sat on the cushioned surface and propped her feet up on the metal footrest. Amy must have told them they were friends and that she needed some moral support. Using her foot she slowly nudged the ground and turned her chair to face her friend. The two exchanged looks and smiled at each other. They had known one another long enough that the silent look was all they needed to say “don’t worry I’m right here for you. I got your back.”.

A pair of hands undoing her ponytail startled Maggie slightly as the stylist that escorted her had moved behind her chair and was dragging their fingers through her hair. The shock must have been noticeable as one hand came down from her head and lighty squeezed her shoulder in a reassuring manner.

“Sorry for the startle there hun, you have really beautiful hair but I can tell you’re long overdue for a cut”

The stylist sounded nice. Her voice was gentle and calming.

“Hah yeah I guess so.. and that’s ok it is a hair salon after all. I should have expected someone to touch my head”

Maggie replied, relaxing back into her chair and closing her eyes.

It may have been unexpected but this stylist was very good with her hands. Fingers repetitively moved through her mane and massaged Maggie into an intense state of relaxation.

Apparently the stylist got the hint because she stopped talking, instead electing to continue to rub Maggie’s head and brush her hair. This went on for a few minutes as her hair was gathered up, neck rubbed, and then let go as fingers massaged her temples. All in all it was an incredible experience, or at least it was until it was interrupted.

The hands had stopped moving and just one still remained on her head, holding all of her hair back in a tight ponytail. Maggie instinctively bent her head down assuming the woman would rub her neck again, but instead felt a jagged tugging and heard a distinct repetitive shhhhhnik sound from behind her. This was a sound she recognized, one of a large pair of scissors slowly sawing through hair.

The shocked Maggie tried to choke out words..

“What..why?”

The stylist moved to the counter and laid down the severed ponytail that had to be too long to be Maggies.

“What do you mean why? Your friend said you’re here for the 2 for 1 experience.”

She held up the flier and Maggie read the details.

“Special Twinning Event!
2 for 1 haircut deal!
Bring a friend and get matching styles! After your new dew you and your twin can have your picture taken for the salon!”

Maggie read it and reread it before doing a quick sweep of the salon. Around the mirrors were lots of pictures of people with matching hairstyles. She had glossed over them before but was now embarrassed she had missed them.

Her stylist spoke again, still clutching Maggie’s severed hair in her hand.

“You Did say you could use a haircut..soooo..” she ruffled Maggie’s hair a bit for emphasis.

Maggie frowned and turned to try and look at the damage that had been done. Her once long luxurious hair now hung losey below her chin at its longest point.

“2 for 1 huh? Does that mean I’m getting it cut like hers?”

Maggie sighed while motioning to her friend who’s hair was still being dried.

“That’s the plan, yeah.”

The stylist smiled and pulled a cape and cloth from her station that matched her friend’s. She didn’t say anything as she wrapped the towel around Maggie’s neck and sent the billowing cape over her, securing it into place.

It would be shorter than she wanted, but it was a bob and it would grow back. This must have been part of Amy’s plan. She had loved when Maggie had her bob, but Maggie didn’t want to get the regular trims to upkeep it and had immediately grown it out. It wouldn’t be so bad though, she could just do the same as last time and make her friend happy while it grew back. So with a big sigh Maggie just nodded

“Ok, let’s get it over with,” she said.

Then her chair was turned and reclined so that her head was resting in the wash basin.

A pop and buzzing sound started from somewhere in the salon. Someone was using clippers but in the echo chamber of her washing basin Maggie was unable to discern from which direction. Any glimmer of hope she had of pinpointing the sound’s origins were immediately drowned out by the sounds of water and shampoo being lathered into her hair. Maggie tried to relax and just enjoy the experience as fingertips once more massaged her scalp, but found it difficult to get her mind off the clump of her once long hair that now rested on the countertop. She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and let herself sink into the padded chair. The sweet scents of differing hair products wafted over her and the sounds of the salon faded to a dull hum.

It was over all too soon. The water stopped and her chair once more sat upright before being spun to face the mirror. Any view of Amy was blocked by her stylist standing in the way, so instead she looked at her reflection. Maggie went to call out to her friend but was cut off by a high powered blast of air as her stylist turned on a very strong hair dryer. Once more she was stuck in a cone of isolated noise while her professional worked. About halfway through the drying process her cape anf cloth were removed. Then, when no more wet hairs could be felt clinging to her head it was replaced by a paper neck strip and a much longer and tighter cape. These were foreign to Maggie and she looked quizzically at the mirror when the neck strip was added. It looked like a collar or a big white choker. The cape was large and pinstriped and with only the thin paper to cushion it she could feel it lightly constrict her windpipe as it was snapped into place.

Once properly prepared her chair was spun to face Amy’s who was already in a position to face her. Only the person in Amy’s chair didn’t look like Amy. Amy had a cute bob that, this person was almost bald.

“So? What do you think?”

Amy asked making eye contact with her friend.

Maggie’s jaw would have hit the floor if it could detach from her face.

“Aimes?! What.. why.. wow..WOW Amy.”

It sunk in that it was indeed her friend in the chair.

Amy had ditched her bob and now sported a long buzzcut of a uniform length all over. Her head was tilted slightly as her stylist held a pair of inverted clippers to clean up her nape, but it was definitely Amy.

“You look..you look great!”

Maggie struggled a biy but found the words, and she meant it. Amy really did look amazing, her big pretty eyes had often been attributed as her best feature and now they shone through as a beautiful display piece for her gorgeous face.

Amy let out a breath she had been holding in a quick sigh of relief.

“Thanks Mags, I was really nervous at first and I was thinking of having them bring it a little shorter, but I wanted to see what you thought first.”

“Shorter..really??”

Maggie wasn’t sure she could go any shorter.

“Yeah really! I’m just glad you’re here to go through it with me Mags, I don’t think I could have done it alone.”

Her best friend beamed at her while Maggie sat dumbstruck in her chair. Distracted by talking to her friend and trying to wrap her head around what an even shorter cut would look like, she had failed to realize that her own stylist had moved into position to start her haircut. She was oblivious to her surroundings and as such had not heard the pop and buzz of a second pair of clippers.

She was fully focused on her friend. Her mind was muddled between accepting the reality that was facing her, and trying to find the right words to say. So when she felt a gentle tap below her chin she mindlessly lifted her head as a reflex.

What happened next she could not ignore. A gentle vibration tickled her forehead and drifted back into her hairline.

This snapped her back to reality. Broken quiet words escaped her lips as she tried to say somethung but it was too late..

Long strands of beautiful brunette hair clambered lifelessy down from her head. She wanted to scream, to cry, to get up. Anything to make what was happening stop, but the clippers were relentless in their journey and had already crested the top of her head. As if in slow motion they kept traveling back further and further, chewing through her beloved tresses before finally traveling down and off her nape.

Amy squealed at her best friend.

“Ahhhh! No turning back now right Mags?!?”

Maggie was speechless as she felt a comb run over the top of her head, followed by two massive clumps of brown hair falling into her lap.

Maggie looked down as tears welled up in her eyes. Realization had hit her too late, 2 for 1, the same cut as Amy. She was getting the same haircut as Amy. Amy didn’t have a bob anymore.

“Yeah..I guess it’s too late to change my mind” she said in a sullen voice as her head bowed down with grief.

The gentle hand returned to her chin as a reminder that they were not done yet. Shakily she lifted her head so the clippers could make another pass. With eyes closed this time she didn’t have to see a plethora of hair falling in front of her face. However she still felt it as the clippers touched down to her forehead and vibrations moved again through her hair, the buzzing sound changing as it chewed through more of her voluminous locks. Without sight the sensation was even stronger, and the weight of her hair leaving her head was unmistakable. With each pass it felt as if someone were removing a large blanket she was hiding under. Each clump of hair plopping onto the cape and sliding down her body before hitting the floor.

Eyes still closed she let the gentle pressure from the stylist guide her head to the side. As the clippers drove into her sideburns the sound of them devouring her hair was too much and she could keep them closed no longer. She was mortified by what she saw. Amy had indeed gone shorter. The majority of her friend’s head now held only the faintest whisper of hair, just enough to give her some layer of color. Amy looked content as the fuzzy pelt she had only moments ago was being mowed down to a shadow.

Maggie let out a barely audible gasp at the sight of her friend. It sounded more like a hiccup than anything else. But it must have been loud enough for her stylist to hear because the machine that was stripping her of her beautiful locks stopped buzzing.

“Oh look at that, they decided to go a bit shorter!”

The voice from behind Maggie has said what she was thinking.

“Not a problem, that’s an easy fix.”

As the stylist stepped toward her countertop she swiveled Maggie’s chair to face the mirror. As such Maggie got the first glimpse of her new haircut. Needless to say she was not impressed. She looked like a lunatic. Most of the hair from the top and side of her head had been buzzed off into a soft layer of chocolate brown fuzz, much like what she had seen on Amy before her own cut had started.

She could only look for a moment however, as her stylist stepped in front of the station and started rummaging through a drawer. There was a snapping sound and a discarded plastic clipper comb was placed on the countertop next to her.

“Hey Kayla, how long is that?”

Maggie’s stylist called out to her colleague who was apparently named Kayla.

The response came quickly.

“We are bringing her down to a 1 all over and doing a little taper to keep it clean.”

“Perfect thanks!”

Satisfied with the answer Maggie saw her stylist pick up a piece of plastic that was far too thin and heard it snap onto her clippers.

“I actually rather like it how it is now.”

Maggie had found her voice, and hoped she could save some of her locks.

“Good I’m glad! We will book you a follow up appointment so you can maintain that length.”

This was not the response Maggie wanted. In fact it was probably the worst thing she could hear as she was already imagining growing her hair out. She decided to try again, hoping she could lean in to sway the person about to take her hair away.

“I think this length really suits me. I don’t think we need to go any shorter.”

She held her breath while she watched the woman finish securing the guard and brush the hair from her tool.

Apparently her words fell on deaf ears as her stylist turned around and popped the clippers back on.

“Oh dont worry, it’s not a problem, it won’t take long to fix this.”

The stylist replied while waving her free hand toward Maggie’s head.

Still not content with this response Maggie opened her mouth to say something again but was interrupted. Her stylist had not bothered to walk around and instead bent forward and used her off hand to cup Maggie’s chin, forcing her mouth closed and tilting her head back slightly. At the same time the clippers went back to her hairline and were once more pushed into it. Maggie stared into the focused face of the stylist leaning over her as small bristles of hair flew off her head. Their eyes did not meet as her stylist was transfixed with her work. After a few more passes the length was apparently acceptable as he chair was once more turned to face her friend.

Maggie had been defeated. The roar of the clippers met her ear again as they mowed off what little hair still clung to the side of her head. It was clear that there was nothing Maggie could say or do to stop the shearing. Resigned to her fate, she tried to zone out and think of something else while her head was being shaved.

This worked for a little while as the already buzzed parts were reshaved. Even if it was a wild sight to see the cape covered in bristles longer than she could have imagined possible, it was nothing compared to when the clippers hit her nape. Having her hair buzzed was a new experience and she was not expecting the vibrations to be so intense on her neck. This couldn’t be ignored as it sent tingling sensations down her spine and warmed her body.

Amy’s stylist was also working on the side of her head, but her clippers had no guard on them. It was clear she was a professional as she softened and shaped the edges, but also meant that Maggie still had a ways to go before her own haircut was done. However first she had to be rid of the remaining hair on the side of her head not yet been touched by the clippers.

The sounds behind Maggie were relentless as her fluff was sheared away. After every pass waves of brown hair would flop onto the cape and then slide to the floor like a waterfall. The piles of severed tresses on the ground were already shockingly large and yet were still managing to grow bigger.

As the shearing process reached her other ear she found herself preferring when the clippers were on her nape. The gentle massage at the base of her neck was much preferable to the loud sounds of metal chewing through hair. Finally after what seemed like an eternity her last bit of hair was taken off as the clippers ran up the remaining side burn and her temple. A few more passes over the entirety of her head and the shaving was complete. At long last the buzzing noise stopped.

At the same time it looked like Amy’s haircut was finished. Her cape was taken off with a dramatic flourish to reveal her makeover. She hopped out of the chair smiling from ear to ear, clearly happy with her new haircut.

“So what do you think?”

Amy did a little courtesy and spin as she asked her friend. Maggie have a warm reassuring smile to her friend.

“It looks really cute Aimes.”

A normal person likely would have been mad at Amy, but they had been friends too long for that. She wasn’t happy but what’s done was done. She had let this happen and wasn’t about to blame her best friend for that.

Amy blushed a little bit and spoke a little quieter.

“Thanks Mags, I was really nervous but I really wanted to do it. I’m really glad you decided to join me, you look like..crazy sexy. Hopefully you don’t immediately grow it out like last time though.”

This time it was Maggie’s turn to blush, but before she could respond her stylist piped up. While they were talking she had been preparing her tools to finish the cut.

“Oh not to worry, she said she thought this length really suited her and we already talked about another appointment! Go ahead to reception and book a follow up while we finish up. You might as well book a recurring appointment while you’re at it. We can even honor the twinning discount going forward since this length requires more frequent visits.”

Maggie’s heart sank upon hearing that. She let out a groan but it was inaudible over the cheer that came as a response from her best friend.

“Yay! Ok!”

Amy lit up and actually did a little jump for joy as she headed toward the front desk.

She was away before Maggie could say anything. That combined with not wanting to create a weird situation made her hold her tongue. Maggie didn’t want to keep this hairstyle, or lack of hair “style”, but that could be figured out when they weren’t here anymore.

Her chair was swung back to face the mirror and the stylist got back to work finishing her cut. The gentle touch was back as lines were meticulously sculpted and softened around the perimeter of the extremely short haircut. During that time Maggie was able to take in her new appearance. It may not have been something she would ever ask for but Amy was right..she did look pretty hot. The lack of hair really accentuated her eyes, and her make up and earrings became bold accessories instead of small accents.

A couple minutes later Amy returned with the receptionist who had a polaroid camera in her hands. Doing her job she hyped the two women up as Maggie’s cape was flicked off of her with a flourish.

The receptionist got into a decent position to snap a picture for the salon’s twinning collection.

“Oh my gosh you two look Uh-Mazing!”

Amy smiled and knelt over Maggie and put her arm around her shoulder. She put a hand under her chin and struck a pose.

“Oh thanks. We are part time models on the side.” She joked

Maggie forced a smile as her stylist backed out of the photo area.

“I love it. Ok. 3-2-1 smile!”

The camera flashed and a small square photo popped out of the bottom.

Amy broke from her pose and rubbed her friend’s head as she laughed. Maggie reacted as most people would, squinting her eyes and bowing her head slightly due to the surprise contact. This made for an interesting pose as she was still in the salon chair with her feet up and hands on the arm rests.

Another surprise flash went off and another photo printed out of the camera.

The receptionist grabbed the photo and handed it to Amy.

“You get one too of course, you make great twins.”

Still beaming, Amy took the photo and started shaking it.

“Thanks so much. I couldn’t agree more. Right Mags?”

Maggie looked up at her overjoyed friend, even though she hated to admit it she let out a little sigh and responded with a smile.

“Yeah, we look great.”

Amy gave her a little hug and helped her friend out of the salon chair. Then once she was fully standing she gave her an even bigger hug. Releasing the hug she didn’t release her friend, instead holding her at arms length and looking into her eyes.

“Promise you won’t just regrow it and leave me all alone right?”

Maggie’s stomach dropped out of her body as she realized what she had done. Surrounded by all these people she had backed herself into a corner and could only respond one way. She gulped and took a deep breath before giving the only answer she could to the person she liked most, sealing her fate.

“Yes. I promise.”

With a final smile Amy grabbed her friend’s hand and started to lead her out of the salon, waving goodbye to the workers.

“See you all in a few weeks!” she called out as they left.

The last thing Maggie heard before the doors closed was the polite response..

“Cant wait!”

Those words sat with her as she walked with her friend and tried to put on a face that did not show how much she was dreading what would happen in a few weeks.

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