Waking Up (Groundhog Day Challenge)

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Waking Up


Justine opened her eyes before the alarm went off, so she seized the moment to turn it off and closed her eyes again so she could nestle into her pillow. She could feel her hair against her cheek, it unbound silkiness surrounding her as she lay naked beneath her boyfriend’s red, satin sheets. Murmuring softly to herself, she began to move slowly, letting her skin slide over and beneath the bed’s dressings until she finally rolled over to nuzzle against Callum’s back. Dating a professional athlete had its perks, and the high-grade bedsheets and body were among them.

Her hair still in her face, she planted a few soft kisses against his shoulder, moving up to his neck as she slid closer. The short bristles of his hair, clippered so neatly during their foreplay last night, tickled her nose

Morning, baby,” she whispered, sliding an arm around his waist to see how awake he was. He rumbled happily, turning just a bit to make it easier for her hand to get to work. A moment later he turned around completely, pulling the sheets away so his dark eyes could look over her naked form. Then, his lips were pressed against her, his weight pinning her against the bed as they became one. Although a bit rougher than she would have liked so early in the morning, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant.

He finished before she’d peaked, but she guessed he had a lot on his mind with the rivalry game that night and what-not. Once he slid off of her, he made his way to the bathroom for one of his infamously long showers and closed the door.

Justine let herself fall back into the bed, finally brushing her dark locks back from her face. The beneficiary of a treatment and blow-out for a hair-focused photoshoot the day before, it was spectacularly soft and silky, and it only cost her an agreement to have it all chopped off in a second shoot today.

She gave herself a few more languid minutes, but then she forced herself out of the bed. Glancing at the clippers that still sat on Callum’s dresser, she smiled to herself and thought of the night before. She wasn’t sure what her man found so exciting about having her keep his hair nice and clippered tight, but she was more than willing to put in the effort if it kept him happy.

Looking at the mirror above his dresser, she gave herself a few quick poses, lifting her hair with her hands before letting it fall free, almost to her waist, again. She couldn’t believe her magnificent mane would soon be gone, but that was the life of a model. Sometimes you got a call asking if you’d be interested in doing a shoot that needed you to cut your hair, and sometimes that lined up perfectly with a boyfriend who seemed to really be into short hair.

So, for Justine, for the money offered, it was an easy call. Yes, the magnificent chestnut waves had always been her calling card since she started in the business five or so years ago, but she was looking forward to having her leaf-green eyes and bright smile take precedence for a while. She liked the idea of reinventing herself. And so she’d accepted the job where she an another model would be given “updated” styles, though the term was less than well defined when she asked.

Gathering her hair up atop her head and letting it fall, she reveled in the feel of its soft weight slapping against her back. She did it a few more times, and then decided she had just enough time to get home, shower, and then get to the second day of the shoot. As opposed to some jobs where they very much felt like work, she’d practically fallen in love with the other model, Heather, yesterday, and they’d gotten on like fast friends. A newbie to the business, Heather was the typical sweet, everyday, girl next door type, though Justine knew there had to be a switch that could be flipped to glamorous and sexy somewhere in her personality.

Rapping on the bathroom door with her knuckles, she told Cullen she’d see him before his game that night and headed out. Shortly afterward, Justine was on set and hugging the magazine editor, Abby, in greeting. A former model herself, Abby was not only gorgeous, with dark eyes and matching hair gathered back in a tight bun, but one of Justine’s favorite people to work with. That fact probably had a lot to do with influencing her decision to accept a new look.

I’m so glad you agreed to this,” Abby said as she walked Justine into the the stylists’ room, her arm entwined with Justine’s.

There were several chairs in the room, each set before tall mirrors with bright lights surrounding them. Heather occupied one of them, her nose pointed toward the screen of her phone. Somehow, she was both runway hot and the pinnacle of being a nervous girl-next door. Light freckles danced across her nose, settling below bright blue eyes. A wealth of ginger ringlets — the recipients of the same sort of treatment Justine’s locks received yesterday — fell down the back of the chair. Justine could barely resist burying her hands in them during the shoot yesterday, and considering they reached the girl’s tight little butt, she couldn’t imagine how long they’d be if straightened.

Justine snapped out of her trance when Abby’s fingertips brushed her temple tucked her soft tresses behind her ear. “You are still alright with a short haircut, right?”

Justine nodded absent-mindedly. “Of course. Why do you ask?”

Abby hesitated before quietly answering. “We’re sort of looking for a certain amount of change in this shoot — like one drastic change and one that’s more subtle, or two middle ones. That type of thing. And since this is one of Heather’s first jobs, you sort of get the first choice.”

So if I said no, you’d chop off all of her hair?”

More or less. But that’s an alternate universe, right?”

Justine nodded, horrified at the idea that she could have been the reason Heather might have lost even a few of those beautiful curls. Yes, odds were that if she was just starting out in this business she’d eventually have to part with at least some of them, but still… let that be somebody else’s fault.

Soon after, the two girls were guided to their changing rooms so they could don short robes and head back to the stylists’ chairs. Heather’s nervous demeanor calmed noticeably once she worked up the courage to ask Justine whether she decided to go through with the short cut.

I know I agreed to getting a new look,” she said from the other stall, “but, if I’m being honest, I definitely would have cried.”

Justine chuckled, but felt a weird nervousness herself as images of the redhead peeling away her clothing invaded her mind. It was a first for Justine, and even as she brought memories from the previous night with Callum to mind, she couldn’t completely dismiss Heather’s imagined naked form from her thoughts.

When they made their way back to the chairs, they found the stylists waiting. Heather, to Justine’s surprise disappointment, was immediately led away by a petite blonde with a sharp bob to have her curls shampooed. For Justine, a pink-haired pixie waited, patting the back of one of the chairs.

Justine, I assume?” She asked. When Justine nodded, the stylist smiled. “I’m Miranda, and I’ll be chopping off all your hair today.”

Not all of it,” Abby chimed in. Justine had assumed Miranda had been joking, but clearly Abby didn’t want to take any chances.

Sitting in the chair, Justine gave a slight toss of her head as Miranda gathered all of the lush, chestnut locks back and let them fall down the back of the chair.

Holy smokes, this might be the silkiest hair I’ve ever felt,” Miranda commented. A comb appeared in her hand, and she ran it through Justine’s remarkable tresses with long, swift strokes from root to tip. Looking back at Abby, she asked, “Do I get to use clippers on this?”

Just stick to what we discussed,” Abby replied, her arms crossed.

The editor’s body language gave rise to a nervousness that, until that moment, Justine hadn’t been feeling. It was one thing to agree to have her hair cut, but something else entirely to realize the stylist was itching to use the clippers on her.

You really were blessed with a beautiful mane,” Miranda said as she gathered the dark locks back and slipped one hand down their ponytailed length. “I know so many women who would kill for hair like this.”

I guess I got luck—“

The words died in her throat when a sudden tugging started against the back of her head, accompanied by a low, rasping crunching sound the just kept going on and on. Despite knowing it would happen, Justine’s jaw fell open anyway when she looked into the reflection in the mirror and saw Miranda’s hand feverishly working a pair of shears through her thick, soft ponytail. Strands of her shortened hair slipped forward, caressing her right ear and cheek as their ends gradually gathered to form a hideously rough-edged bob of various lengths, though none reached much past her pointed chin. Her ponytail’s death throes seemed to last forever, continuing on and on as Miranda snuck glances up toward the mirror and smiled at Justine’s reflection — or was that a smirk? It was hard to tell.

Finally, the blades snapped together one last time, and Miranda held up her silken prize, nearly two feet in length. The stylist waggled her hand a bit, and Justine felt a pang of regret as her silky tresses danced in the air, the ends of the lush waves bouncing in their familiar curls.

You got lucky and were young,” Miranda said as she set the ponytail down on the table, right where it was sure to be in Justine’s line of sight. “It’s going to take a lot of work and patience for you to grow a head of hair like that again. If your work lets you do so, of course.”

Justine chewed her bottom lip. What was Miranda talking about? Hair was hair… it would just grow back. But now that she thought about it, there were an awful lot of videos about specialized hair vitamins circulating on the internet. Maybe some research was in order. Even if she opted to never grow her hair that long again, it couldn’t hurt, right?

A new round of harsh crunching, this time right up against her ear, shattered her line of thinking. A thick hank of shiny chestnut locks fell against Justine’s shoulder and then rode down the robe into her lap. Miranda’s fingers worked quickly to gather another barely-measured lock and sheared it away, leaving Justine’s suddenly nervous reflection with a completely naked right ear. Again and again, Miranda gathered and hacked as if she were getting a bonus for finishing quickly, lightening the weight of Justine’s mane until she could barely feel it anymore.

Within a matter of minutes, gentle waves that once fell down her back no longer fell past her ears or touched her neck. The front still remained long, however—ridiculously so when compared to the rest of her head, brushing against the tip of her nose while the locks at her crown were only three or four inches at most.

A spray bottle made its appearance, soaking what remained of Justine’s crowning glory before everything above her temples was gathered up and pinned out of the way. With a gentle nudge, Justine’s head was tilted to the left and positioned to look right at the mirror and her beautiful, severed ponytailed. Miranda’s comb slipped through the short locks remaining, and ended its little dance laying flat against her head and encouraging the short, damp locks to stand up almost straight. Then Miranda’s scissors moved in, slicing away any length that reached beyond the thin width of the comb’s teeth. Again and again she repeated the process — flick, flick, snip… flick, flick, snip — and in time Justine began to wonder whether using the clippers Miranda had teased her about would really have done any more damage.

Head tilted forward, she closed her eyes as the same pattern played out along her nape and upward, until the comb’s teeth teased the edges of her crown before each nerve-wrenching crunch of the shears. Justine felt her shorn locks gathering against her neck now, caught against the collar of her robe, only to have Miranda collect them and drop them into her lap. She felt like she was being forced to watch the dark, fluffy pile grow, as if she was being punched for having dared to sit down in the stylist’s chair with a head of long, envy-inducing locks.

A nudge to lean her head to the right, and then her ear was bared in the same teasing manner, leaving her treasured mane short enough for her scalp to peak through at the right angle. Then the clips were released, a razor was wielded, and captured locks ranging in length from one to several inches began to rain into her lap, victims of a ruthless sculptor determined to carve a vision into reality.

When Miranda finally set her tools down, Justine wasn’t sure what type of style she had left — the sides and back were brutally short, that much was evident, with the locks at her crown shorter than most boy cuts. Moving forward, however, the shaggy tresses grew longer, swept to the side in a barely-there parting until they threatened to hide her left eye, though it’d still take a month or two for them to actually do so.

Cute, pointed locks before each of her ears added a feminine touch to the brutal transformation, and Justine had to admit that the longish bang area did give the style a bit of softness. She could imagine it being slicked back for a more severe, formal look, combined with heavy make-up to drive the point home.

Lifting her fingers, she fluffed her remaining hair this way and that, grateful there was still enough to let her appreciate how silky and shiny it was.

So?” Miranda asked.

It’s shorter than I’d ever have picked, but I like it!”

I wasn’t talking to you, actually. What do you think, Abby? I can take her shorter if you’d like. Maybe blonde?”

Justine focused on Abby’s reflection. The editor shook her head. “No. The cut is perfect. Maybe just a few highlights to break it up, though?”

And so, a short time later, Justine found herself with light blonde highlights scattered among her short, dark mane, the edges of which constantly fluttered into her peripheral vision as she bent down to pull on the high heeled boots that matched the black leather pants she’d been given. Coupled with a loose blouse that only closed halfway up its length, exposing a serious amount of cleavage and the black bra that helped enhance it, and she felt like a completely different person than she was when she woke up.

As she changed, she noticed she had missed a video call from Callum. It was really unusual for him to call during the day, but maybe he just wanted to check in to see how the shoot was going. There was a first time for everything, right? Putting her phone away, she figured she’d return the call afterward and give him a bit of surprise.

Stepping out of the dressing stall, she started toward where the photographer waited and gave Abby a quick spin to show off her first outfit.

Mid-spin, her eyes landed on Heather, who as looking at her with hands clasped to her mouth and raised eyebrows. “Oh my god! You look amazing!”

Justine couldn’t come up with an answer, feeling her cheeks warm as the compliment settled in. She looked Heather over in turn; she was clothed in a cutesy but still respectable fluttery skirt, blouse, and sweater combination. She was still — thankfully — a long-haired redhead, but her coiled, spring-like ringlets were all gone. Instead, she had an almost overwhelming, stick-straight mane that had been blunt-cut to one length just above her waist.

Justine tried not to think of how much of the girl’s beautiful length had been lost, instead choosing to focus on the slightly off-center parting she’d been given, highlighted as it was by an almost-white streak on either side. The imbalance of the parting was just enough to tease the idea of her right eye being hidden by a constant curtain, but a shy little ear-tuck as Heather approached killed off that concern before it could happen.

Something else that occurred before a response could happen — Heather’s gentle caress of Justine’s bared nape as she smiled brightly, deepening her dimples. Unexpected sparks zipped up and down Justine’s spine, and it felt as though her flush doubled when Heather brushed aside the hair that would never actually be able to hide Justine’s eye.

Your curls are gone,” Justine finally stammered. Why was she stammering?

Does it look that bad?”

Fuck no.”

Heather blinked.

I mean, no. It looks good. Just a heck of a change.”

Well, that’s why we’re making the big bucks, right?”

As the shoot progressed, Justine felt secure in knowing that she definitely was earning the big bucks, as Heather said. The girls changed their outfits a few times, always being opposite yet somehow complementary, and posed in much the same way. Heather would twirl to splay out her skirts and long hair, and Justine would lift a thoughtful hand to her chin or nape as she appreciated the view.

It was easy enough; it wasn’t like she had to act.

In fact, the only acting she found herself doing was in trying to hide how her heart fluttered when Heather would push the straightened, silken locks back from her eyes. At, one point the photographer asked Justine to stand behind Heather as the other girl gathered her hair over one shoulder, and, perhaps too quickly, Justine offered to help. Heather’s locks felt amazing in Justine’s hands, their impressive weight actually requiring a bit of effort to lift up and over the girl’s slender shoulder. And when Justine’s hand lingered, sliding down through the fall’s long length, Heather leaned back into her, her flowered scent flooding Justine’s senses as she looked down at the pale expanse of the other woman’s suddenly naked neck.

Justine heard the camera continue to click as photos were taken, biting her inner lip as she took in the intimate view of Heather’s little pink ear and, to her surprise, reddening cheeks. Then she realized Heather’s hand was on her own, holding it against her belly as her head tilted back against Justine’s shoulder even though she was only a couple of inches shorter.

Perfect!” The photographer shouted. “I think we got it all.”

Justine stepped back, blinking. She looked to Abby and the others present, smiling as she raked her own hair back and fluttered her blouse a bit. “We did good?” She asked, her voice squeaking for some reason.

Yup. Like the man said, perfect. You two can get dressed and get out of here.”

Justine took her time changing back into her street clothes, half because she needed to process what just happened, and half because she wanted to be sure she didn’t have to talk to Heather about what just happened. They were models. They were professionals. They were being paid to sell an image, and that was exactly what Heather had been doing.

Now the work day was over, and it was time for Justine to go cheer her very handsome, very fit boyfriend on as he tried to vanquish whoever it was his team was playing against tonight.

Remembering she wanted to video chat with him, she reached for her phone. The time it showed suggested she could make it to his apartment before he left for the arena.

She could show him her new look in person — that’d definitely be more fun than a video chat.

Swinging her backpack over her shoulder, Justine burst out of the dressing stall and suddenly drew up short before slamming into Heather. The other girl startled, jumping back a bit and letting go of the long, sleek braid she’d been forming from her straightened hair.

Hey, Heather. Hi. Sorry, didn’t see you there.”

No, don’t apologize. I should have waited further away.”

Waited? You were waiting for me?”

Heather swallowed. “I just wanted to ask… I was wondering… I mean, I’m sorry if this isn’t professional, but… I’m hungry, and I was thinking, if you might be hungry too…”

I have a boyfriend,” Justine blurted.

Oh. Of course. Yeah. I mean, I didn’t mean it like… I mean, he’s a lucky guy.”

Thank you.” So much for all of that during the photoshoot being an act.

Maybe we’ll work together again sometime? I thought we did well together.”

Yeah, sure. I hope so.” Justine moved past the other girl. She really did hope so. In fact, she wanted to trade numbers and make plans to watch movies and eat ice cream and everything else friends did, but how would that look? She didn’t want to lead Heather on. She was too nice… too sweet for Justine to do that to. And Justine had a boyfriend. A very hot, handsome boyfriend who made a lot of money.

She kept that thought ringing in her mind as she made her way to his apartment building. With a laugh, she actually had to reintroduce herself to the doorman, and even had to show her ID to Pete at the security desk to prove she was in fact the long-tressed beauty who’d left there that morning.

Damn, girl. You really make that work.”

Smiling, Justine felt a renewed pep in her step as she rode the elevator up to Callum’s floor and made her way to his door.

It swung open just before she reached it, and he stopped as she stood there with her fist raised to knock. She opened her hand, as if asking for a high-five.

Heeey there,” she said. The high-five went unaccepted, and she lowered her hand and faked a smile as he stared at her with a furrowed brow. Turning slowly, she asked, “What do you think?”

I think you look like a fucking boy. What the fuck did you do?”

It was as if his words were a slap across her face. “I… I cut my hair.”


For work. It’ll grow back.”

Not fast enough. What the fuck were you thinking? You want my mates to think I’m fucking a boy?”

Whoa… what the hell?”

What the hell? What the hell do you mean what the hell? You’re my girl. My girl. Why would you do something like that without telling me.”

“Because it’s my hair!” She yelled. “Why should I need to ask your permission?”

He stepped close, leaning down so his nose was close to hers. “Because. You’re. My. Girl. You don’t do things that make you look ugly just for shits and giggles.”

“It was for work. It was important!”

“No. Looking good on my arm is important. What you do during the day is just a hobby.”

Her jaw dropped, and he pushed past her. “Don’t bother coming to the game tonight. I don’t even want to look at you.”


Day Two

Justine opened her eyes before Callum’s alarm went off, tears dampening the pillowcase as she thought about how she went home and cried herself to sleep the night before. The alarm began its incessant buzzing, and she turned it off so she could close her eyes and nestle into her pillow. She could feel her hair against her cheek, it unbound silkiness surrounding her as she lay naked beneath Callum’s red, satin sheets. Here eyes opened, focusing on the locks draped across her face. Sitting up, she raked the still-long locks back and looked down at Callum next to her.

It was a dream?

She smiled, and let herself fall backward into the bed. Oh thank god, it was a dream.

Mumbling next to her, Callum slowly stirred, and dropped his feet to the floor. She reached out, her fingertips light against his back, and smiled again. “Morning, baby,” she whispered.

He mumbled something in reply, and then made his way to the bathroom for one of his infamously long showers.

Justine jumped from the bed and ran to stand before Callum’s dresser and the mirror above it. She looked just as she had the day before, with a wealth of shiny, silky chestnuts locks swimming around her shoulders and well down her back.

It had been a dream! This was perfect.

But oh god. The shoot.

Her hair.

That stylist.

Sure, yes, it’d be silly to put so much weight in a dream, but… what if it’d been a warning? What if it was a sign that she shouldn’t let them chop off all of her hair?

But she’d made a promise.

Butterflies burst to life in her stomach as she paced back and forth. She couldn’t back out of the job; it was already halfway finished. If she backed out, she’d have a black mark against her, and everyone in the industry talked to everyone else. Her agency might even drop her.

She gathered her long hair over her shoulder, stroking it lovingly as her pacing quickened.

But wait! In the dream Abby asked her what she wanted to do. Abby, beautiful, lovely, amazing Abby gave her a chance to back out.

But at the cost of Heather’s beautiful locks. How would that be fair?

In the dream, Callum was angry because he said she looked like a boy. So, all she had to do was avoid that outcome. All she had to do was not look like a boy, so maybe, if Abby offered, Justine could ask to be left with some length. Just a little bit more. Then maybe Callum wouldn’t freak.

Yes, that might just work.

Rapping on the bathroom door with her knuckles, she told Cullen she’d see him before his game that night and headed out. Shortly afterward, Justine was on set and hugging Abby in greeting.

I’m so glad you agreed to this,” Abby said as she walked Justine into the the stylists’ room, her arm entwined with Justine’s.

“I have to admit I’m a little nervous,” Justine said, hoping to soften the oncoming blow she was about to deliver.

Heather once again occupied one of the stylist’s chair, her perfectly cute nose again pointed toward the screen of her phone.

Justine felt Abby’s fingertips brush against her temple just as they had before. “You are still alright with a short haircut, right?”

Justine swallowed. “Actually, how short were you thinking?”

Abby hesitated before quietly answering. “Not quite a pixie cut, but close. We’re sort of looking for a certain amount of change in this shoot — like one drastic change and one that’s more subtle, or two middle ones. That type of thing.”

So if I wussed out of a pixie cut, you might cut Heather’s hair shorter than planned?”

Abby pursed her lips. “We would make it work. Why?”

I don’t want a pixie cut. I’d prefer something longer.”

Abby’s demeanor darkened, her brows lowering. “How much longer?”

Shit. Justine hadn’t really thought of that. Without much consideration, she raised her right hand to her collarbone. That’d leave her with some girly options, right?

Abby sighed. “Fine.”

For the first time that morning, the butterflies in Justine’s stomach calmed. Yes, she hated being the reason Heather would lose more of her curls than intended, but… it couldn’t be that much of a difference, could it?

After the change in the situation was explained to Heather, the two girls were guided to their changing rooms so they could don their robes.

I know I agreed to getting a new look,” Heather said from the other stall, “but, if I’m being honest, I think I might cry when they start cutting.”

Justine said nothing, but felt the familiar nervousness herself as images of the redhead peeling away her clothing invaded her mind.

When they made their way back to the chairs, they found the stylists waiting as they had in the dream. Heather, again, was led away by the petite blonde with a sharp bob to have her curls shampooed. For Justine, the pink-haired pixie waited, patting the back of a chair.

Justine, I assume?” She asked. When Justine nodded, the stylist replied, “I’m Miranda, and I’ll be chopping off all your hair today.”

Not all of it,” Abby chimed in.

Nope. Just most of it.”

Sitting in the chair, Justine swallowed the lump in her throat as as Miranda gathered all of the lush, chestnut locks back and let them fall down the back of the chair.

This might be the silkiest hair I’ve ever felt,” Miranda commented. A comb appeared in her hand, and she ran it through Justine’s remarkable tresses with long, swift strokes from root to tip. Looking back at Abby, she asked, “I guess I can understand why she’s chickening out of the short cut.”

Just stick to what we discussed,” Abby replied, her arms crossed.

The combing went on as before, but no ponytail was formed. Instead, Justine’s head was steadied so she’d look straight into the mirror and Miranda crouched down behind her. The scissors were lifted to Justine’s shoulders, and with surprising quickness they slid across the width of her back, opening swiftly and closing with long, loud crunches again and again. In mere seconds, Justine was removed from the ranks of the long-haired and placed into Club Lob. Miranda flicked the shortened ends of Justine’s hair in front of her shoulders, and then bent down to gather the shorn locks from the floor to drop them in Justine’s lap. Justine’s jaw dropped; the length she had sacrificed was still impressive. Over of foot of waves and curls gathered on her thighs; a foot of length Callum used to stroke and tug, gather and pull when he fucked her from behind.

Maybe this had been a mistake. Maybe it had still been too much…

But if so, it was too late.

Miranda tilted Justine’s chin up and began cutting again, this time moving slowly and deliberately as she selected the locks to be trimmed and shorn. In time, her long, seductive waves were molded into a sleek, straight lob, with a barest hint of curl left to let it bend inward just above her collarbones. It still had plenty of body and shine, and this time, instead of adding highlights, Miranda opted to take Justine a shade or two darker.

Afterward, as she changed into the same clothes as in her dream, Justine heard nervous breaths and intermittent sobs coming from the next stall. She reached out, touching the wall that separated the two, but said nothing. Heather had said she might cry, this was no surprise. Certainly, whatever style she’d been given would look good on her.

As Justine finished changing, she noticed she had missed Callum’s call. Putting her phone away, she knew she’d have time to swing by to show him her new look before he left for his game.

Stepping out of the dressing stall, she started toward where the photographer waited and gave Abby a quick spin to show off the first outfit.

Mid-spin, her eyes landed on Heather, who was walking closely behind. Her clothes matched Justine’s dream perfectly. However, the long, thick, one-length ringlets that had teased her cute little ass earlier, though straightened again, were this time chopped in a heavy weight-line that didn’t reach past her breasts. And bangs — brand new bangs her ringlets had probably never allowed her to have before — fell in a thick, full curtain across her brow, completely hiding her elegant, expressive eyebrows behind their mass. They way they made her eyes, pop, though… Justine’s heart fluttered.

Wow,” Justine said. “You look amazing.”

Heather smiled, though it was a bit sad. “Thank you.”

Are you okay?” Justine asked as the girl walked past, no thought even given to a possible nape-caress.

Yeah, I’ll be fine. It’s just shorter than I expected. This is why we make the big bucks.”

The shoot progressed just as it had in Justine’s dream, for the most part. Though she was probably the only one who noticed, the chemistry just wasn’t the same. Oh, the twirling and the posing and the directions given were all similar, but there was no gentle lean-in when Justine placed Heather’s hair over the girl’s shoulder, no gentle taking of her hand.

No blushing.

The shoot ended; Heather didn’t wait afterward. Justine made it to Callum’s apartment even earlier and didn’t have to show her license to the security guard. He again insisted she made the new look work.

Callum look at her in surprise when he answered the door.

What the fuck?” He asked.

It was for work,” she said. Spinning nervously, she asked, “Do you like it.”

Hell no. You look like a soccer mom. You’re supposed to look hot.”

She took a deep breath, steadying herself and wishing the tear falling down her cheek didn’t exist. “I’m going to skip tonight’s game,” she whispered.

Fuck if I care. Jesus, if I wanted to be seen with my mother, I’d just start dating her.”

The door slammed shut.


Day Three

Justine turned off the alarm before it sounded. She brushed her hair back out of her face, and turned to see Callum stirring. “Morning, baby,” she said.

He grumbled something, and then disappeared into the bathroom.

She got up and looked in the mirror. Her long, lush locks were back.

Another chance, I guess?”

She rapped on the door, said goodbye, hugged Abby in greeting.

The same day, a third time.

I’m so glad you agreed to this,” Abby said as she walked Justine into the the stylists’ room, her arm entwined with Justine’s. Heather once again occupied one of the stylist’s chair, her nose again pointed toward the screen of her phone and her beautiful curls falling free.

“I don’t think I can,” Justine said flatly.

Abby leaned in close before quietly answering. “Justine, we’re sort of looking for a certain amount of change in this shoot — like one drastic change and one that’s more subtle, or two middle ones. That type of thing. If you don’t go short like we agreed you would, Heather’s going to have to step up.”

Justine swallowed. “I’d just prefer something longer.”

Abby’s demeanor darkened, her brows lowering. “How much longer?”

Justine motioned level with her nipples.

Abby sighed.

The girls went to change into their robes, and Heather stayed quiet the whole time. When they emerged from their respective stalls, Miranda took the redhead by the arm and guided her to the closest chair, while the petite blonde motioned Justine to a chair a short distance away.

My gosh, this is some of the softest hair I’ve ever worked with,” the blonde said as she gathered it all back behind Justine’s shoulders.

Thank you,” Justine whispered. She could see Heather and Miranda from where she sat, could see those gorgeous red curls being gathered back into a ponytail by the eager stylist as Heather clinched her eyes shut and gripped the arms of the chair. A bit of silver flashed in Miranda’s hand.

Can you spin me around?” Justine asked.

Of course.” The stylist did so, removing the sight of Heather in the chair but not the sound of her quiet sobs starting up. “So, basically just a trim today, right?” the blonde asked.

Pretty much.”

Justine tried to block out Heather’s sobs as the blonde snipped away almost a half-foot of beautiful chestnut tresses. She told herself that if asked, Heather would gladly trade her locks for Justine’s relationship, but that didn’t make her feel any better. So she focused on the snips the blonde took instead, the careful, meticulously placed layers placed throughout her long hair, and the gentle caresses of the comb and the stylist’s fingers as she worked.

As she tried to drown out the unexpected droning of the clippers and flat-out crying in the distance, Justine was taken by surprise when thick swaths of her hair fell forward over her eyes. Again and again the comb gathered more forward, hiding the world behind a chestnut curtain that suddenly began to fall away when a glimpse of steel appeared just below her eyebrows and began to slide across. The familiar feel of long, lush locks tumbling into her lap returned, and Justine’s stomach clenched at the massive change being inflicted upon her without discussion.

When the cut was done, some subtle highlights were added, and Justine changed into the leather pants and blouse, though she wasn’t sure they complemented her new look as well as before. When she appeared from the dressing stall, she spun to show off her look, but Abby only nodded. They had to wait while Heather composed herself and had her make-up redone, giving Justine time to contemplate the massive ponytail of thick, red ringlets Miranda placed in a plastic bag and set aside with the tools of her trade.

When Heather finally appeared on set, she was dressed in the same skirt and sweater, though their style now stood in stark contrast to her new hair. Gone were the long, ginger ringlets. Gone was any length worth mentioning at all, replaced by the barest of light red fuzz that gradually got longer toward her crown, looking almost like ginger velvet. There was no hint of any curls, no sign of any kind of parting, no indication of the soft shine her beautiful hair had once had, save for the slightest hint born in the one inch or so of bangs left to tease the brink of her forehead.

Justine felt the girl’s sadness as much as she would have felt a blow to the stomach, and she knew it showed in the work they did. Despite how gorgeous Heather still looked, despite how endearing her cute little ears were when completely exposed, or the elegance of her long neck, the absolutely stunning prominence her perfect cheekbones gained, the brightness of her blue eyes or the way what remained of her hair looked like a wheat field in the wind when Justine’s hand passed over her crown, any chemistry the previous rounds held was gone.

The photographer didn’t end the day with “Perfect!,” and no one had expected him to.

When they’d finished, Justine ignored the missed call message on her phone and rushed to get dressed in her own clothes. When Heather emerged from her stall, Justine was waiting for her, phone out, hoping to exchange numbers. Maybe in time, in some way, she could make things up to the girl without ever having to actually explain what happened.

I’m sorry,” Heather demurely declined. “I’m not feeling very social right now.” And she walked away, one hand rubbing the naked nape of her neck, as her slender shoulders started shaking again.

When Justine reached Callum’s building, he was already leaving. He stopped short before getting into a cab, his jaw clenching as she approached.

What?” She asked.

Bangs? Really? What grade are you in?”

They were for work.”

What you do isn’t work. It’s a hobby.” H cleaned in close and spoke quietly. “A side-gig. Your job is to look good for me.”

I think I look great.”

His brow furrowed. “Did I ask? Do you think I care?”

She crossed her arms. “Sometimes I wonder if you care at all.”

He looked at her as if she were stupid. “Since when was what we have about caring?” He asked. “It’s about two hot people fucking. That’s it. So if one of us is going to change one of those two factors, I think it’d be polite to discuss it first.”

She stared at him, unable to believe what she’d just heard.

He blinked. “What? You thought this was…”

She backed away. “No. No. I’m not having this discussion now.” Not after what she… no, not after what Heather had just given up for him. “Have a good game. Break a leg.”

Whatever. You’ll be back tomorrow.”

God, she hoped not.


Day Four


Justine slapped the alarm into silence before it barely had time to sound. Laying still, she watched the long, soft hair falling across her face flutter each time she exhaled. She stayed under the covers, curling in on herself as she waited for Callum to stir, waited for him to get up, and waited for the bathroom door to close.

When the water began to run, she finally pushed the covers away and sat up. She raked her hair back before slouching forward, catching her face in her hands and biting back a few sharp sobs.

Her life was a lie. Or at least her relationship. And now she was trapped here, repeating the same sequence over and over with no clue how to get out. She’d just keep waking up again and again next to the brutish lug who made it more and more clear every time that he just didn’t give a shit about her, only to get a brief glimpse of a kind-hearted soul at work and then end the day with an inevitable fight.

No matter what she did, it always ended in a fight.

She looked at her reflection, standing as she flicked her hair back.

What could she do differently to keep her job and keep Callum happy?

Fuck, why did she even want to make him happy?

If nothing she did made him happy, why should she even try to do so?

She gathered her hair back into a ponytail. She looked good with it short. Real good. And the shorter she wore it, the more hair Heather got to keep, which would make her happy.

And Heather deserved to be happy.

Justine wanted the sweet, shy girl to be as happy as possible.

She looked down at Callum’s clippers, left out in the open after last night.

She might not be able to make Callum happy, but she could make Heather happy.

Justine looked at her reflection, at the glossy, blow-out fresh tresses framing her beautiful features, and slid her left hand past her right cheek and under her locks, flipping their heavy length up and over her head. The fell in perfect waves before her left shoulder, resting against her naked breast as the caught the morning sunlight entering through the penthouse window.

She picked up the clippers, and they snapped to life with a loud pop. They rumbled loudly as she lifted them to her right temple, vibrating almost pleasantly as she pressed them close. The plastic of the guard felt cold against her flushed skin.

Justine closed her eyes.

She pushed the clippers back.

She gasped as their tone changed from happy rumbling to a workman’s growl, a deafening change in tone when they met the sudden resistance of her thick mane. She didn’t push them back far, just two or three inches, but still gasped at the amount of hair that fell free when she lifted them away.

The next pass started lower, closer to her ear, and moved quicker. Again and again she caressed the side of her head, moving around and above her ear, pausing briefly each time to let the sacrificed locks fall into the growing pool of magnificent tresses on the dresser.

When she looked in the mirror again, Justine found herself smiling, liking the side-shave style on herself. But that was not her goal or her intention. Straightening, she set the clippers where her side part once was and moved them back. She closed her eyes, relishing the rough rumbling and the steady vibrations and the freedom and choices they both symbolized. Her left hand followed the clippers’ path each time, gathering the long, shampoo-commercial-worthy shearings and letting them fall behind her.

No more bangs. No more braids or updos, not for a few years. No more Callum, not ever. All that remained was a quarter inch of a soft, dark brown pelt. Soft enough to move when touched, but an immovable force for the same breezes that used to toss her crowning glory about.

Her naked feet kicked at the swirls of dark hair gathering around them, each urgent growl of the clippers adding to their number as Justine’s crown was nearly bared. Her left ear followed, and then, with some careful regard for her reflection, her nape, until she dropped the very last long lock of note to the floor and set the clippers down.

Her hair, truthfully, looked pretty boring. One length all around; a simple buzzcut and nothing more. But it felt great, and Justine found herself holding in giggles of delight as her hands slid back and forth over what remained of her once-envy-inducing mane. She danced in place, her hand swirling in every possible direction as excited chills rode up and down every nerve ending. From eartip to toe tip.

She wanted this sensation to last forever, but then the water in the bathroom stopped running. Justine calmed herself, centering her thoughts on what might come next and getting dressed in last night’s clothes. She’d still have to get home to shower — especially caked in the clippings of her own hair — but with luck she wouldn’t be too late to the shoot.

When the door opened, Callum didn’t even look in her direction until he had crossed the room and checked his phone for messages. As he glanced at its screen, he asked, “You’re still here? Don’t you have a shoot or some…” He looked up, and his eyes widened as she stood there in her cream-colored virgin-killer dress, high heels, and buzzcut. “What the fuck did you do?”

Let’s just save the long fight, okay?” She grabbed her overnight bag and sang it over her shoulder. “I thought this was a relationship, but you think it’s just for sex.”

It is.”

Yeah, well, that would be fine, except the sex sucks. So I’m done. Have fun getting paid for that little hobby of yours, and you can keep the hair since that’s pretty much all you cared about anyway.” She flashed a peace sign with her fingers and walked out, already editing the exchange in her mind in case she had to repeat it again the next day.

This time, Abby didn’t greet her with any words, but rather just wide-eyed shock. Justine ran her right hand over what was left of her hair as she approached in her fresh t-shirt and jeans, a minor bout of nervous pecking at her stomach. She’d just assumed Abby would be okay with this, but there was a very real possibility everything would go off the rails as soon—

Holy shit, what did you do?” Abby shouted.

Took the initiative?” Justine tried.

Abby grabbed her by the shoulders and spun her around once, twice, and then a third time, as if doing it enough times would cause the centrifugal to force Justine’s hair to grow back.

Oh my god. Oh my god! What were you thinking?”

It was a bit of a break-up haircut.”

A bit of one? It was a lot of one!”

Can we still work with it?”

Oh my god.” Abby rubbed her forehead. “I guess we’ll find out.” She linked arms with Justine again, which Justine decided to take as a good sign, and led her back where the stylists were waiting.

Leaning against one of the tables as she played on her phone, Miranda’s jaw dropped open. “Oh my god!”

She took the initiative,” Abby explained.

She certainly did. Damn, I was looking forward to chopping all of that off myself.”

Justine tried to be subtle, but scanned the room for Heather. She found her across the way, straightening the loose blouse she wore as she came out of the women’s room. When the redhead set her eyes on Justine, she froze in place. “Oh my god!”

That seems to be the popular consensus,” Justine admitted. She chewed her lip as Heather rushed forward, pulling herself to a halt only a foot or two away as a hand lingered halfway to Justine’s head, silently asking permission.

Justine lowered her head, and tried to hold back a delighted purr as Heather’s hand cupped the curve above her nape and moved in slow, circular motions from front to back.

That feels amazing!”

Justine smiled. The girl had no idea how amazing it felt from the other side, too. It was nice — no, it was fantastic — to see her smile again, her beautiful pixie features surrounded by the cloud of ginger ringlets she clearly treasured despite being willing to give them up if she had to. Justine hoped she’d done enough to save them.

So what would you think of working with two crewcuts today?” Miranda asked.

No!” Abby yelped. “We can work with one. But just one.”

Miranda pouted. “Can we work with Justine’s color, at least?”

Abby looked to Justine, eyebrows raised as she waited for an answer.

Justine shrugged. “Sure, why not?”

Great.” Abby clapped her hands together. “Okay people, we’re already running late. Let’s get to work.”

In the changing stalls, Justine eagerly listened to Heather’s declaration of how happy she was that she might avoid crying on the job today.

Trust me when I tell you this, Heather — You would look great no matter how short they cut your hair.”

I somehow doubt that, but thank you.”

Surprisingly, Miranda stuck with Justine and sent Heather off with Terry, which Justine opted to take as a good sign for the future of Heather’s lovely mane. Before refining the rather brutal calipering Justine had given herself, Miranda painted the remaining pelt with a beginning bleach, and then followed with some other concoction that didn’t smell great.

Don’t ever try to do this in one go when your hair is longer, hon,” the stylist advised her. “The only reason we can beat it to hell like this and not care is because it’s so short.”

Justine nodded, waiting patiently for the color to set. After she returned from having the coloring washed away, Miranda dried the soft fuzz in a matter of seconds with nothing more than a big fluffy towel. When the towel was pulled away, Justine gasped at her reflection — her purple-haired reflection. Still gaping, she turned her head this way and that, gasping again when red highlights flickered to life depending on the angle of the light.

I. Love. It!”

Right?” Miranda asked. “Can’t really do that in one sitting with long hair.”

The stylist then set to work with her clippers, the sound of which was very familiar to Justine at this point. She noted — with extreme happiness — that the whirring of Miranda’s blades was not accompanied by Heather’s soul-crushing sobs.

Miranda did her job with meticulous care, forgoing the barely-concealed jabs she’d issued in the past. The plain, one-length buzzcut Justine had given herself was slowly sculpted into a sharp fade, baring more skin at her nape and around her ears before letting the purple pelt maintain its thickness at her crown. Thinning shears were put to use toward the front, however, adding some texture and a bit of softness to the style. Coupled with Justine’s fine features and the carefully tended pointed locks before each of her ears, the end result was still quite pretty and feminine.

I look kinda hot.”

Miranda rolled her eyes. “Yeah, just a little.”

Abby came up from behind, looking halfway unsure and halfway impressed with Justine’s new look.

You said you wanted one of the looks to be really dramatic, right?” Justine asked.

Abby’s brow furrowed. “I don’t think I ever said that to you.”

Oh. Well, you would have.”

Ooookay. Go get dressed.”

Justine donned the leather pants, low-cut blouse, and bra eagerly. She’d seen this script before, but she was desperately curious to see how this rendition played out. Especially one particular part of it.

Exiting the stall, she caught Abby’s eye and spun for her, stopping as Heather, right on cue, gasped and covered her mouth. “Oh my god! You look amazing!”

Justine’s cheeks warmed as the compliment settled in. Heather was in the fluttery skirt and soft sweater again, but now her hair — her beautiful, shiny, knee-weakening ginger hair — straddled the line between graceful curls and voluminous waves as it fell just past her breasts. The subtlest of highlights framed her face, coupled with a hint of sideswept bangs that fell into her face and teased her lashes when she blinked.

Justine’s mouth went dry as Heather approached, every step causing Justine’s heart to beat a bit faster until she was afraid everyone nearby could hear. But if they could, they were polite enough not to say anything. Like before, Heather lifted her hand and gently caressed Justine’s naked nape, smiling brightly. The girl licked her lips and whispered, “Purple really brings out your eyes.”

Justine trusted herself only to smile in return.

The shoot, like the first one, went well, with a strong chemistry developing as the girls posed together. But this time, Justine refused to fight anything that came her way. She didn’t act unprofessionally, but she refused to acknowledge the frightened tension of that first day when she realized how being near Heather made her feel. When Heather leaned back against her again, holding Justine’s hand as she looked at her through her unruly, seductive bangs, Justine let herself lean closer, feeling Heather hold her breath as…

Perfect!” The photographer shouted. “I think we got it all.”

Justine stepped back, blinking. She looked to Abby and the others present. “We did good?” She asked, her voice squeaking again.

Yup. Like the man said, perfect. You two can get dressed and get out of here.”

Justine took her time changing back into her street clothes. Did Heather ever say how long she had waited out there the first time? If so, Justine didn’t remember. She felt like she was walking a fine line in letting this iteration of her day diverge from the previous ones, and making sure she repeated as much of that first attempt as she could.

Ah, screw it.” Swinging her backpack over her shoulder, she burst out of the dressing stall and drew up short before slamming into Heather. The other girl startled, jumping back a bit and letting go of the long curl she had been nervously playing with.

Hey, Heather. Sorry, I didn’t see you there.” Could that be considered a lie? That’d be a terrible start to things. No, Justine decided. Even though she knew Heather would be there, she couldn’t see her through the door, so saying that wasn’t a lie.

No, don’t apologize. I should have waited further away.”

You were waiting for me?”

Heather swallowed. “I just wanted to ask… I was wondering… I mean, I’m sorry if this isn’t professional, but… I’m hungry, and I was thinking, if you might be hungry too…”

Justine stepped forward, one hand landing on Heather’s waist as the other slipped behind Heather’s ear, cupped her nape and pulled her lips to Justine’s. There was a surprised squeak, and Heather lips remained firm at first. But then they softened, and then they opened. As the kiss deepened, Justine felt the Heather’s arms rise around her shoulders, pulling her close as timid fingertips played across the velvety texture of her hair.

When they finally came up for air, Heather smiled. “Oh wow.”


Day Five

Justine slammed her hand down before her alarm even went off.

She groaned softly, nestling back into bed.

Then her eyes shot open.

Her alarm.

She looked down at the pink sheets.

Her bed.

She sat up, looking at the mass of wild red hair that half-hid Heather as the girl stirred next to her.

Not a dream…”

She reached over and pinched Heather.


Sorry. I wanted to make sure this wasn’t a dream.”

You’re supposed to pinch yourself for that!”

Oh. Right.” Justine laughed, and decided she didn’t really care whether this was a dream. She slowly leaned in to kiss Heather, and then again and again as she spread her body out to touch as much of the other girl as possible, sliding one thigh between both of Heather’s.

When she moved her lips to Heather’s neck, the young woman cooed softy and began caressing Justine’s pelt-like hair again. “As gorgeous as your long hair was, you really do look absolutely amazing with it short.”

You would, too, you know. Not that I don’t think yours looks gorgeous, too.” She pulled away, booping Heather’s nose. “You just have such absolutely adorable features.”

Heather blushed. “I don’t know. I don’t think I could pull it off.”

Trust me. Let’s pretend I saw it in a dream. You looked amazing.”

I’d have to be drunk. And maybe held down, too.”

Justine twirled one of Heather’s long curls around her finger, then reached up to brush the pesky, too-long bangs back from her beautiful eyes. “Challenge accepted,” she whispered before leaning in for another long, gentle kiss. “But not just yet.”

The End.


This one was so much longer than anticipated, but I hope you enjoyed it! As always, any comments, critiques, or whatever are welcome and appreciated.


13 responses to “Waking Up (Groundhog Day Challenge)

  1. “This one was so much longer than anticipated,” oh but is so wonderful that it might have been even longer…
    I was afraid that after day 5, day 6 was another challenge…, but o, an happy ending.
    Loved it, both women!

  2. Now that I’ve finally, belatedly, finished my own Groundhog Day story I’m allowing myself to read everyone else’s. love the way that your setup allows for not one, but two women to experience haircuts of varying degrees of drama.

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