***Attention!!!*** Find Part I of this story here. Thank you, everyone for being so patient! I’m sorry this post was so terribly late. I do sincerely hope you all find it worth the wait. Now, on with the story!
I scurry up to the front to meet Mrs. Haffsted before she has a chance to say too much within earshot of Mindy and her two-second fuse.
“You’re not the stylist I reserved,” she says, her nose tipping into the air. “I need the best.”
In the two seconds I flounder for an answer I see Pam trace the client sheet to confirm the request.
“Sorry, boss, I didn’t catch that.”
“Pam, get Mrs. Haffsted some red wine, on the house.” I smile gesturing for Mrs. H to follow me and barely catching her brown faux fur coat as she flings it at me. Quickly, I usher the gold yoga pant and purple tank top clad, silver washed brunette back before she can change her mind. “So,” I take a deep breath once she’s settled into my chair, far away from explosive ears, “what brings you in today?”
“I need to look hot.”
I bite my lip to hold back the urge to snort. Mrs. H, in case you don’t know, is fifty-five if she’s a day and hot is not a word I’ve ever come out of her mouth. Too vulgar, she says. “Any specific occasion in mind?”
Her eyes shift from one direction to the other before she leans toward me, motioning me forward with one finger.
She pulls away like I’m a burning coal, her nose taking its place back up in the air.
“Here’s your wine,” Pam says, handing her the glass. Before leaving us again she quirks an eyebrow at me.
I keep my face professionally blank, not that I have anything to tell her. Once she’s gone, Mrs. H continues in her whispered tones. “My husband has been caught—” she looks around once more, “—philandering. It’s been going on for years, but I just can’t take it anymore.”
My stomach clenches, her eyes watering even as they shine with a stubborn pride. As much as I can’t stand this woman, no one deserves that. “Hot, huh?”
She bobs her head numbly up and down. “I’m giving him the divorce papers today.”
I pat her shoulder. “Well then, let’s get to work.”
“Drink with me?” She says, lifting her glass.
I shake my head. “You deserve my full, and sober, attention.” My stomach lurches at the idea of wine. I step away and tell Pam to bring her another, but watered down with grape juice. No need to see what happens when grief and anger meet booze.
For four and a half hours I work on her, handing my other clients off to the girls who are all too happy for more cash. I wash, bleach, color, deep condition, cut, brush, blow out, curl, de-bulk, feather, and tweak until my joints are aching and her hair is flawless. I can’t believe it, but even I have to admit I’ve outdone myself. She looks about ten years younger! “This ought to teach your husband a thing or two,” I say, spinning her around to face the mirror.
My heart stops when for a second she says nothing. She just stares open mouthed at her reflection.
I tighten my grip on the back of the chair. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted her when she told me to choose a hair color I thought would suit her. She’d never been a blond, but she had the right coloring for it, and it hid the gray nicely. Lavender tips might have been a bit much, though…
“I love it!” Her eyes fill with tears once more and she turns, throwing her arms around my neck.
I stumble under her sudden weight, but thankfully neither of us go to the ground.
“He’ll never know what hit him. And I won’t listen to a single phony apology.” She takes my hand in both of hers, squeezing it tight enough to make my bones pop. “As soon as I hand him those papers, I’m going out to find myself a new man, someone I deserve. Thank you!”
As she hustles up to the front to pay, I collapse into my chair and check my watch. With a groan, I close my eyes. Only 4 in the afternoon. The vice grip that had been tightening on my temples since noon takes another turn tighter. Maybe the girls wouldn’t hate me for ducking out early just this once?
Pam sticks her head around the corner. “It doesn’t look like you have anyone else lined up boss, can you take a walk in?”
I rub my pounding head, a breath away from freedom when I catch a shadow of sadness fall across her face. “Who is it?”
To be continued….