tagRomanceHair Salon

Hair Salon

byLiamChristopher©

I usually do not take too many risks and could be considered a creature of habit or at least one of a conservative nature. I don't change things that do not need changing and especially when I like the results of whatever it is. That goes with the restaurant choices I have, the stores I shop in, and the salon I get my hair cut at. Megan had been cutting my hair now for over five years. She and my ex fiancé Becky had been best friends since they were five. Living near each other and going to the same schools their whole life made it so they were constantly around each other and were rarely seen alone without the other. Becky and I met during a psychology class in college and began dating within a month. She was pretty, she was cute, and she was a flirt. Unfortunately that led to our downfall as a couple.

After we graduated, I got a job near Becky's home town with the two of us planning a future together. During one of our trips home before our last semester I was introduced to Megan who had attended a cosmetology program and was working at a salon in town. Becky insisted I let her do my hair much to my reluctance of change and the fact that she was a student. Megan did a great job on my hair and I instantly found her to be very pleasant and compassionate for her customers. Her personality could make you forget your day and you would just be consumed in her beautiful nature. Combined with the fact that she was Becky's best friend I now had a new stylist for the foreseeable future.

We double dated with Megan and her boyfriend Mark who became engaged during the first summer we were home. I was happy for them because they were both good people and cared about others which made them an incredible couple. Becky went crazy helping Megan prepare for her wedding and I enjoyed watching the two girls get more excited each day as the wedding date drew near. Unfortunately on the day of the wedding Becky decided to cozy up to her ex-boyfriend who was in attendance all day and night. It seems that they had separated when they went off to different schools and now were in the midst of rekindling on the day of Megan's wedding. I avoided making a scene at the reception and decided to leave early since the only friendly faces were the bride and groom who did not have time to spend wallowing in my problem. That left me off on my own and I was emotionally devastated. My new job, the new home I bought, and everything else since graduation was obtained based on me being with Becky. Change did not work for me in this case and it was too late to go home. I now lived somewhere I didn't want to be.

For the first couple of years I tried telling myself it didn't hurt. But it did. Once I realized it and stopped feeling sorry for myself I became fully functional as an adult again. I could talk to others and even had a few dates. And the good thing was that when the dates didn't pan out it had nothing to do with Becky who wasn't a factor in my feelings anymore.

Megan still was my stylist and at first she was very quiet when I would come in. She eventually let me in on the fact that she did not approve of what had happened at her wedding and the commotion that Becky had caused. I am not sure what commotion she was talking about because I didn't cause any and had left early. She and Becky were no longer talking and Megan wanted me to know she felt really bad for what had happened that day. At one point she stopped cutting my hair, started crying, and then almost sat in my lap as she hugged me. And that is who I always thought Megan was. Kind and compassionate. And that is also what kept us as good friends. On occasions over the next few years I was invited over for different barbecues or super bowl parties making sure each time there was no chance of seeing Becky.

About a year ago I found out that Mark's company gone through a major downsizing and that he was let go. Megan didn't ask for help but I knew she could use it. I was still single with a good income living in a very affordable home. With a non-discussed motive I started making sure I tipped her quite generously on each visit. I even tried to tell her once that all I had was a one hundred dollar bill and that she would have to take it. I met some resistance at first but then told her that I am very uncomfortable with the discussion and to just take it which she did. She also walked around the counter and gave me another big hug.

I also made sure I got my haircut on a more frequent basis and didn't meet any other resistance to my tipping. She also allowed me to hand her a few one hundred dollar bills with the agreement that I would take it back whenever she felt she was back on track. It took about six months before Mark found work and in the meantime I made sure she was ok financially each time I visited her. If nothing else I was getting used to the hugs I was getting.

Mid-afternoon on a Tuesday I decided to take some comp time and call it quits so I could go home early. I had been working late most days and when the project I was on was completed I figured it was due to me. First order of business that day was to stop and see Megan on the way home. I had missed her for the last six weeks and my hair was being ruffled in back by my collar. I looked like an unkempt duck. Plus I needed a low key friendly conversation to relieve the pressure of working so many hours lately.

The salon was empty when I walked in and it was just Megan and a newer girl named Carly working. I had said hello to Carly a few times while I was there but didn't know too much about her. When Carly recognized me as one of Megan's customers she got up and walked to the back of the salon to allow Megan to attend to me. Something was lingering from their conversation that my arrival interrupted because Megan watched her until she got out of earshot before she turned back to me and started talking.

"Can you do me a favor? Carly is hurting for money right now and we aren't getting too many walk-ins. Plus the last couple of people in here today have all been my regulars. Would it be OK if she did you today?"

"Sure, but you know I don't like change? I am a little more scraggly than usual so she will have her work cut out for her."

"Thank you. You are a sweetheart."

And with that said I was the beneficiary of another one of Megan's hugs. It was consistent with her. Thinking of others first. She called back to a gracious Carly and told her she could take me that day and that she had to make a quick call if Carly didn't mind. I don't think she really had a call to make but I went along with it.

As she worked on my head mop I found Carly to be warm and fuzzy too. She wasn't Megan but she did have a very pleasant chair voice and liked to touch when she talked and worked. She seemed real nervous though and I tried to talk her slowly to put her at ease but that wasn't it. She was hurting for money and her thoughts were in two places. With me and with her problems. So I just came out and asked.

"Megan said you are struggling and could use some help." I said causing her to stop cutting and stare at me.

"Well unless you want to be my sugar daddy I don't think you can help me as much as I need." Carly said with an uncomfortable laugh.

Good, she can be just as up-front as I was. That will make it easier.

"How much money do you need?"

With her hand on my shoulder she stood back and looked at my face. She had seen me plenty of times in the six or seven months she had been working here. All of my visits with Megan were pleasant just maybe she had shared some things about me with Carly but I wasn't sure. I saw a look of relief in her eyes as she leaned towards trusting me with her story.

"My car payment is due next Monday and I don't have it. My rent is due in two weeks and I won't have it if I try to make my car payment on time. Other than that, I am rolling in dough."

Normally this wouldn't be too much of a strain. I could help her out with both and I think Megan knew that I would when she asked me to help her. But the real issue for me is that I didn't want to just give her money. I wanted to find a way to get to know her instead.

"How much are they?" I asked with a genuine concern in my voice.

"My car payment is 270 and my rent is 420"

"Do you have any of it?"

"No, we have been so slow here. And I am still catching up on other things. Money is going out faster than it is coming in right now."

Instead of giving her one lump sum and easing her worries, I wanted to see her twice and give her half each time. With any luck we might form a relationship. I waited until we were done with my cut to make an offer. I did pay for the service and gave her a twenty dollar tip, but then I offered her more.

"If you are interested, I would like to spend time with you Friday night. You can come over around six and stay to around ten. I can give you four hundred dollars that night if it would help with your bills. Then if things go well and you would like to get together again next Friday I will get you another four hundred." My offer came out different in my mind than it was received in hers.

She stared at me. It wasn't the face I was expecting though. I couldn't tell if it was anger, disappointment, or what, but she didn't respond to me. I quickly grabbed one of the little appointment cards and wrote my number and address on it and reached out to hand it to her.

"I am sorry if I offended you just now but if you decide to come over, call me on your way. Here is my phone and my address. I look forward to seeing you if you can make it."

Each time my phone rang that night I jumped. Carly didn't call and I was surprised that I didn't hear from Megan either. I thought she would at least have something to say and I was hoping to get her take on this. What had she expected if anything for me to do for Carly? And did the fact that Carly didn't call indicate anything? Did I just screw this up?

Fortunately I was busy enough all day Wednesday and Thursday and didn't have any time to dwell on my little problem. My mother had called during the evening but no one else. My day on Friday started like Thursday with a few early morning fires but left the afternoon quiet enough for me to head home in case Carly accepted my offer. In my mind I told myself she was coming and took a shower, shaved, and put on some nice casual clothes for when she arrived.

At six o'clock I sat on the couch disappointed in the fact that Carly didn't show up or call. My original plan for her was to take her to dinner which I would just go to by myself alone now that I had been un-formally stood up. The doorbell rang just as I grabbed my keys and was about to leave. Whoever it was either ran or was too short for me to see through the peep hole so I opened the door to find Carly standing on my front doorstep. She was dressed to kill which was a huge contrast from the smock/apron she wore while doing hair. She had on black heels, black stockings, and a black pencil skirt to go along with a sleeveless loose fitting red top that was showing a little cleavage. Her hair was done up and she was adorned in makeup. It took a second to register all of this in my head as I just stared at her.

"Just in time, I was about to leave without you." I said to her as I walked out onto the porch with her. "Come on, I have plans for our dinner."

She seemed to be caught off guard somewhere between saying hello and following me out to the driveway. I walked to the passenger side of my car and opened the door motioning for her to get in. Reluctantly Carly walked to me and got into the front seat. We drove into the city in silence but as I pulled into the restaurant I commented about feeling like Italian food for a change. She didn't have too much to say while I ran to her door to open it and help her out. Carly reached for my outstretched hand and held it as she slowly raised herself to a standing position in her skirt. I could feel her eyes staring at me but instead of looking back at them I repositioned the hand I was still holding and proceeded towards the entrance.

"Sir we currently have a twenty minute wait, would you like to have a seat in the bar until I call you?" The hostess replied as I asked for a table.

This worked for me and it would give me a moment alone with Carly and a chance to break the ice this evening. I held her hand and walked into the bar where I showed her to a barstool and had her sit as I stood beside her. The skirt made it difficult to slide onto the stool so once again I grabbed her hand and helped her balance making sure I did not touch her anywhere else. I wasn't trying to scare her any more than she appeared to be and I didn't know why? But I was couldn't make any sense of the look on her face so far this evening. Soon after she was seated the bartender approached and asked us for a drink order.

"A glass of Nero d'Avola for the lady and I will have a diet coke please."

"Sir I beg your pardon but may I see the ladies ID?"

I hadn't considered her age but when she showed the bartender her ID he apologized for having to ask, then I felt a little relieved.

"How come you got a coke instead of a glass of wine?" Carly finally asked.

"I do not drink. I also don't go anywhere near alcohol when I have a pretty lady in my care."

That comment brought a slight smile to her face. Maybe it was because I said I refrain from alcohol or maybe it was because I referred to her as a pretty lady. Either way she was smiling as she looked at me. An explanation was given as to why I chose Italian and just after her second glass was filled we were taken to our table. The menu had so many great options but I stuck with chicken parmesan and she chose a light angel hair pasta dish with sundried tomatoes. We enjoyed a light conversation with her explaining how she became a stylist and me explaining how I came to this town upon graduation. Although Megan had already told her most of my story. I was sad to see our time at the restaurant coming to an end so I added an additional ploy to spend more time with her.

"Come on, we have to make a run to go get desert." I told her as she looked up at me helping her to stand.

The check was paid, a tip was left, and I held her hand again as we walked to the car. She didn't have the reluctant or tentative grip she had earlier and I could feel her hand and fingers actually holding my hand back. The car ride this time was quick as I made my way to the grocery store nearest my house. Carly wasn't sure what to make of any of this but she was going along with me so far.

"Come on, we have to get the last of the good strawberries before someone else does!" I exclaimed as I ran around the car to get her.

She laughed as I pulled her through the store first grabbing strawberries and then a little tiny package of mint leaves. From there it was back to the ice cream coolers looking for Italian ice before heading to the registers. She looked at me and just shook her head as we ran back to the car.

We made quick work of cutting the strawberries and then after making two bowls with a scoop of lemon ice we covered them in strawberries and threw on a mint leaf. Just watching her eat it was half of the fun. Neither of us stopped moving our spoons until the bottom of our bowls were empty. The time had passed quickly and I had asked her to stay until ten which had passed a half hour ago. The two glasses of wine before dinner and the one she had after dinner didn't seem to have an effect on her but I insisted she allow me to drive her home and pick her up in the morning to come retrieve her car.

"You know my feeling about alcohol and cars, so that isn't really a question. Come on."

I took out five hundred dollars for Carly and handed it to her which she thanked me for on the way to her place. That wasn't my original offer and she didn't comment on the dollar amount in the stack. Neither of us knew what the protocol for this was. I was thinking it was like a date, she had been thinking something completely different only I didn't know. And for that reason she exited my car as soon as I was in her apartment parking lot and said she would see me in the morning and ran to her door. I didn't have her apartment number or her phone number so I didn't know how or when I would find her in the morning. That answer came in the form of a text message around nine AM telling me her friend brought her back for her car. They hadn't made any noise and I was disappointed I would not be seeing her that morning. I texted her back a playful reminder for next Friday at six again hoping to start a text chat but to no avail. My phone sat in silence.

Nothing on my desk was addressed or completed at work on Monday. All I could think about was Carly and what she looked like when she first appeared on my doorstep Friday night. It was simple. I wanted more of Carly but wasn't sure about what the end of our night meant for us. A kiss would have been nice, a handshake, a hug, anything, but to run from my car had me confused. The night was replayed over and over again all week trying to weigh my chances of seeing her again.

Like a clock she appeared at the same time on Friday. This time she was in a tight form fitting summer dress with bare legs and heeled sandals. Her hair was straightened this time and framed her face flowing down over her shoulders. I stepped aside to allow her in but she just stood there on my porch. My original idea was to take her to a restaurant near the wharf but as the night cooled her dress would allow her to get cold so we drove off to one of my favorite pizza parlors instead. In an attempt not to objectify her beauty or diminish her character, I chose not to comment on her dress which ended up being another thing that unknowingly bothered her.

Traffic in the city crawled for a Friday night and it took almost forty five minutes to drive in and find a place to park. This wasn't all that bad until you considered there was an additional half hour wait for a table which actually turned out to be fifty minutes by the time we were finally seated.

Carly did a lot of silent staring all evening starting with the drive in and throughout the dinner. I asked more questions about her and thought I was getting closer to knowing her. She opted out of my wine choice tonight and chose one of the pizza joints well-known light beers. It did not appear that she was holding anything back but she didn't ask any questions of me for which I was now the one disappointed. It may be I was too old for her or that she just wasn't interested in me in that way. I couldn't get a grasp on her thoughts at all?

The pizza was great and she did comment on it being her favorite restaurant but I was still trying to invoke humor or lighthearted conversation looking to see her beautiful smile and wasn't making progress. We were able to wrap up the last couple of slices and time allowed her to finish her beer before we took a walk back to my car for the ride home. I had another bundle of five hundred dollars for her which she actually smiled over once she had counted it in the car. Carly let me know that she had a pretty good week in tips at the salon and with my help she was going to be able to catch up on her bills that weekend. I pried a little trying to find out more about her finances and knew she was still paying the cosmetology school along with her visa card that had gotten out of hand when things slowed over the last two months. She had taken a cash advance to pay last month's bills. As we neared the neighborhood I live in she begged for me to allow her to drive arguing over the fact that she almost ate half of the pizza and only had two beers. I was totally against it but somehow found myself pulling into my driveway. Carly bent over and gave me a quick kiss before she ran to her car and left in a hurry with no mention about a repeat night.

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byLiamChristopher© 2 comments/ 3205 views/ 1 favorites

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