THE REGULAR
by Tairish

BACKGROUND

Name: Kimberly Ann Jacobs

Age: 27

Hometown: Anywhere, USA

Education: Business Degree, State University

Occupation: Realtor in one of largest realty companies in the state

Marital Status: single but heavily involved. Three year relationship with Michael Garrett, a 28 year-old banker she met through her job during one memorable closing.

Hobbies: working out, listening to live music (especially R & B and Jazz), photography, travel.

Description: 5í 4", large, deep brown eyes, fit yet extremely shapely physique, chestnut brown hair (all one length, reaching almost to her bottom, extremely full and healthy), full lips, high cheekbones, a brilliant smile. All in all, a real stunner.

HER BACKGROUND STORY: brought up in a small town as an only child in a household struggling to pay the bills, Kim learned early the value of hard work and not to take anything for granted. Kim was a very late bloomer, and without all the money she couldnít buy all the nice clothes, never wore make-up, and never spent any money on hairstyles. Her hair was just all one length and kept trimmed at about mid-back level by her mother. Her hair routine was just braids and pony-tails, as luxuries like curlers, hairspray and styling products were never even considered. (One bright side about this was her hair was extremely healthy.) She wore glasses all through school as there was no money for contacts, and her teeth badly needed braces, but there was no funding for that luxury either. The result was a very lonely girl avoided by all, who shut herself away into her studies, working part time at the local library as a filing clerk. She was a straight A student which led to numerous scholarship opportunities for college.

Once in college, she used her savings to get the braces, and even had enough to get contact lenses also. Still very much a loner, she spent her spare time working out at the campus fitness center, and taking in the various shows on campus. Her hair was always in that pony tail or braid as she never thought twice about it, and now away from home just let it grow rather than find someone else to trim it for her. And grow it did, until it finally reached her bottom. At that point it basically seemed to stop growing, though it was perfectly healthy and strong.

During that time it all came together. The contacts, the shapely and firm body, the braces coming off, and Kim emerged an absolutely stunning woman, even without any makeup. But since she was so unskilled socially, she got the reputation for being snobbish and cold. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was just shy around strangers. She dated a little but was turned off by guys who were just after her because of how she looked, and made no efforts to get to know her or carry on anything more than a superficial conversation. So she often went out alone, losing herself in the music of many of the local nightclubs, different cultural events, and museums. She knew she could never move back to the small town of her upbringing as she too much loved all the varied offerings of the big city.

After graduation she went into real estate, where she was doing all right for herself, though she felt she didnít get quite the respect from her female boss that she thought she deserved, and was always passed over for some key assignments for unexplained reasons. They often went to salespeople far less experienced and proficient than her. She suspected that her boss was threatened by her looks as Dawn was a very masculine looking woman, in her dress, lack of makeup, and short unflattering haircut that looked to be the product of a Barbershop, and a poor one at that. However she could never prove this in any way, and never brought it up to friends. Still, she could afford a nice two-bedroom apartment in the better part of town without needing a roommate to help pay the bills, and developed a small circle of loyal and dear friends.

Dating hadnít worked out, including some blind dates set up by her friends, until she met Michael. They immediately hit it off and had been dating for the past three years.

He too enjoyed the same kinds of music as her, and both had an often juvenile sense of humor and adventure. They both adored holidays, well known for their Halloween costumes and extravagant Christmas decorations.

But they were also happy together just hanging out, watching movies, taking walks, and doing little to nothing. Some days were just spent helping the other clean their respective apartments. Michael had spent many happy hours just lying on the couch and reading a book while Kim tried to create some new French braid from a magazine, more often than not succeeding despite all the length. With all the time she put into it, she probably could list spending time on her hair as one of her hobbies.

Although she really wished it was longer, and even fantasized about it reaching the floor, she was happy with it now, as was Michael, who not only supported her efforts with her hair, he encouraged them, and even helped. He was more thorough and gentle when it came to washing or brushing it then she ever was, and even could pull off some decent braids when she let him try. Michael loved to play with her hair but was reluctant to ask, and usually waited for her to initiate any hair play.

As in tune with Mike as she was, Kim didnít realize this, and usually hesitated to ask him to even brush her hair although she adored the sensation and the results. If she knew how often he wanted to play with it, the couple would never be at a loss for something to do.

And so is the setting for our story, which takes place over several years.


CHAPTER ONE

The stretch limousine casually drifted across the town, picking up one by one each of the ladies until all seven were finally aboard. Then it started out for its next stop. Well ahead of schedule, there was no rush.

Stacy Chamberlain, soon to be Bartlett, was the traditional excited bride, and here she was with her six dearest friends; her bridesmaids. The group all chatted and laughed endlessly, quite awake despite the early morning hour. Pastry and beverages were quickly devoured as the ladies prepared for the busy day ahead. The limo finally pulled into the small corner strip mall in an older, less affluent part of town and stopped in front of an old beauty salon. A hand painted sign, "The Bella Donna", graced the window of the shop. The ladies started filing out of the car and into the shop, ignoring the ĎClosedí sign. The shop had been reserved just for them so they could have their hair done for this special day. To all of them this seemed no big deal. To all but one at least.

When Kimberly Jacobs agreed to be a bridesmaid for Stacy, it hadnít occurred to her how elaborate the wedding would be, and how every little detail would be attended to. But considering that Stacyís parents were very well off, and she was the last to leave the nest, she should have seen it coming.

The bridesmaid gown she would be wearing was a fairly elaborate thing, but not the gaudy outfit most bridesmaids end up wearing insuring the bride is the prettiest one at the wedding. This dress was actually designed so that with minor modifications it could actually become a very practical outfit for a semi-elegant evening out. She even took great delight in that fact. That wasnít the issue.

Stacy planned to wear her mid-back length hair up in a soft, romantic updo. But she also wanted all her bridesmaids to wear their hair up too, and for them all to match. Since some of them had bangs, and their hair styles ranged from a short bob to Kimís own Ďclassicí length, reaching just past her waist, that would be no easy trick. But Stacy didnít see what the big deal was, and promised to Kim that it could easily be done in the right hands without any cutting or risk.

"My mom said the ladies at her salon (The Bella Donna) would have no problems making everyone match."

"If you say so. But be prepared for the possibility that all this hair wonít cooperate," Kim said, holding up the mass of her mane to Stacy.

Stacy didnít understand Kimís nervousness. She didnít realize that Kim hadnít even tried to wear her hair up in nearly 10 years, and that was when it was far shorter (A simple bun, which ended up falling out in minutes after putting it up.) Nor had she ever had another do it for her. Just going to her regular stylist, Jill, for her trim every six months was nerve-wracking enough. To have a complete stranger work on her hair would be tough for her to take. Plus this salon, where Stacyís mother was a regular, wasnít exactly a cutting edge modern shop. It was an older shop which dealt primarily with fairly aged clientele, and if Mrs. Chamberlains hair was any indication, specialized in fairly dated styles. Not that she didnít look good with herÖ.. Well, Kim didnít know any other word for it but Ďbouffant.í Not that she didnít look good in her bouffant, that was pinned and sprayed so harshly in place a tornado wouldnít have an effect on it, but it certainly wasnít a look she would ever entertain for herself, (although a wig of such a style could be fun for a Halloween costume.) Of course she wouldnít even dare putting her hair through such torture for anything, even for Halloween, special as that holiday was to her. Yet here she was walking into the shop with basically no control over what was to come of her hair. Seeing herself with her hair professionally put up wasnít the issue, and she was actually kind of looking forward to it since she had never seen herself like that. (She always enjoyed looking different which explained why she savored Halloween so much, and was constantly trying out new variations of braids with her hair.) She hoped her hair would cooperate so she didnít ruin the ambitious wedding plans. It was the unknown and the risk to her hair that bothered her. All she knew was she would end up with a French Twist, but had no idea how that was going to be accomplished and what was involved. She was pretty sure it meant using fair amounts of hairspray at a minimum. She had never used hairspray before, and wasnít sure what to expect. The thought of her hair ending up feeling different than its normal silkiness wasnít something she was looking forward to. Hopefully it wouldnít require anything more than pins and hairspray, though as she lay wide awake the previous evening stressing over this she couldnít imagine what else could be involved. After all, she wasnít getting a Ďbouffantí like Mrs. Chamberlain, which obviously required curling and (just the word frightened her) Ďteasingí to produce, in addition to the tremendous amounts of hairspray. No, at least that wouldnít be the case.

Stepping into the shop was like stepping back in time a bit. It had the strong pungent odor of hairspray and perfume. There were five stylists chairs along the right wall, while the left wall had eight hairdryers. Her normal shop had only one hairdryer hidden in the back. The decorations were pastels and veryÖ. old looking. Even the pictures on the wall were of older women instead of young preppy models.

There were four stylists there ready to great them. One was already working on Mrs. Chamberlain, rolling her shoulder length hair into curlers. She must be Tina, her regular stylist. The process stopped as the proud mother of the bride stood up to come and greet everyone. It was so odd to see her with her hair in disarray. Quite honestly, Kim had no idea how long her hair was since she always saw it up. It was actually longer than she envisioned.

Mrs. Chamberlain introduced the group to the four stylists. Tina, a middle aged redhead with a style similar to Lucille Ball was, as predicted, the one working on her. The clearly youngest one, perhaps Kimís age, sporting a blonde shoulder length bob, was Joy. Kim secretly hoped she would be her stylist, not trusting the older ladies.

Next in line was a woman perhaps in her 50ís named Maggie, who wore a short head of tight brown curls, the back pinned up a bit. And finally at the end of the line was a woman who looked near 60, her obviously dyed dark brown hair a perfect replica of the old Mary Tyler Moore flip, teased into shape and sprayed stiff. Her name was Gail.

Tina would be working on the bride after finishing with her mother, while the other three stylists would handle the six bridesmaids. They all circled the six a bit, feeling their hair a bit discussing exactly how they would approach their assignment. Stacy made sure they understood they were all to match as close as possible, and was told that wouldnít be a problem.

Kim couldnít hold back her concern. "You wonít have to cut any hair will you?" Stacy laughed a bit. "Of course not Kim, Iíd never ask you to do that." Then the bride-to-be looked at the stylists for confirmation. "I am right about that, arenít I."

Gail spoke up. "Not a problem dear. Nobody is getting anything cut off."

Kim breathed a sigh of relief.

At that the stylists divided up the six. Since Kim clearly had the longest hair (by over a foot, though it seemed like much more due to the thickness and health of it all) and was told it would take the longest as a result, she was chosen as one of the first to begin. Much to her dismay she was told Gail would be her stylist. Joy could clearly see the disappointment on her face, and she whispered into Kimís ear. "Donít let her age concern you. Gail is absolutely the best at working with long hair. Trust me, you are in good hands."

Kim sat down and allowed the salon robe to be placed around her. Her tenseness was obvious.

"Whatís wrong honey?" asked the matronly stylist.

"Iím just a bit nervous. Iíve never had my hair done before."

"Itís just a basic French twist. Youíve done that before havenít you."

She shook her head. "Actually, I never wear my hair up. It always just slips out of anything I try so I just gave up years ago, and that was when it was shorter."

"Well, Iím proud to say Iíve got quite a bit of experience with hair as long as yours, so I donít foresee any problems."

With that she gently started brushing it to smooth out any tangles. While at first tense, it was instantly clear she was extremely competent and Kim started relaxing and enjoying the always pleasurable act. "This wonít damage my hair any, will it?"

"Not at all."

"Thatís good. Thatís what Iím most worried about. Iím trying to grow it longer and donít want to do anything that would jeopardize that."

"Iíd say by seeing how healthy it is you are well on your way to having it as long as you wish."

Kim just smiled, not wanting to share her frustrations with the fact it just wouldnít get any longer without looking scraggly and splitting.

Finally the brush was set down. "All right, letís go back and get you washed."

Kim hadnít even noticed that two of the other bridesmaids (with much shorter hair) had already gone to a back area and had their hair washed. She didnít anticipate this at all and wondered why it was necessary. Since Gail was obviously competent brushing her hair, the shampoo would probably feel very good. But she didnít want her hair blown dry, as all that heat could have negative effects on it. "I washed it just last night, so you probably can just skip that step."

"Itís no big deal. Besides, it needs to be wet for me to set it."

Kim wasnít sure she was hearing things right. Set?! Her hair was going to be set? In curlers?! Why? Her hair was too straight to curl. And besides, this was a Ďbasicí French twist. There were no curls in a basic French twist. What was going on? Her fear of the unknown started up again.

She had only tried to curl her hair once, and then only the very ends. That was with a curling iron in the bathroom of a very elite nightclub. After watching another woman touch her hair up with it she had tried, intrigued by the possibilities yet nervous at putting something so potentially damaging against her precious locks. She was pleased at first by the result, and took the time to curl under the very end all the way across the length, only to see the subtle curve straighten out in minutes after leaving the room. She had never had her hair Ďsetí. But rather than say anything she just held her tongue. It all seemed a waste of time to her. Her hair didnít want to curl then. It certainly wouldnít curl now.

She was led back and Gail started gently washing her hair. She was good at it, and she was relaxing again despite all the questions running through her brain. She didnít want her hair Ďsetí, although she was intrigued if this professional would have any luck getting it to curl. Mostly, it was sitting under a hairdryer and having her mane cooked for who knows how long that concerned her.

"Why bother curling my hair if itís just going to be put up anyway?"

"Iím just going to give it some more body today, and not really try to Ďcurlí it too much. That way it wonít slip out of the style."

So that is what she had done wrong in her efforts so many years ago. "So thatís the trick to keeping it from falling down!"

"Well, thatís one of them." Gail left it at that, and Kim didnít think any more of it.

Soon she was seated in the styling chair again watching Gail easily comb through her now wet hair. She was so good that every tangle had been easily worked out without the slightest discomfort.

"I imagine you donít work with hair this long to often!?" said Kim, trying to start up a conversation to settle her worries.

"What makes you say that?"

She was ready for that answer, and it threw her for a bit. "I donít know. I just thought that most people who come here areÖ.. older."

"Older people can have long hair too."

"I know. But isnít most of your business people who come in quite often to get their hair done?"

"Yes, most of my business is from my Ďregularsí. But many of those have long hair. One lady in particular, Jeannette, has hair almost down to her knees."

"Really?! And she is a Ďregularí?"

"First thing every Monday morning."

"Every week? Do you just wash it for her or what?"

"Actually she always wears hers up, since it is so much easier for her. So Iíll take hers down for her, wash, set, and restyle it until the next week."

"And she just leaves it up all week?"

"Sure. Thatís what most of the Ďregularsí do."

Kim couldnít imagine washing her hair only once a week, and just having it up in the same bun or twist for an entire week. She wouldnít even be able to brush it each day. That would be very strange.

"How does it stay up so long?"

"Tricks of the trade. Thatís why she gets it done for her."

"I bet that takes a toll on her hair."

"What do you mean."

"I would think being treated like that would damage it."

"Not at all. In fact hers is still growing longer. She wants it to the floor. While it doesnít grow real fast, I think sheíll make it someday."

"Iíd love my hair to be that long. I think it would be so cool." She again withheld her frustrations about how it wasnít growing at all now without the ends splitting, etcÖ

"Itís a lot of work but is quite a thrill. My own hair used to reach to my knees."

"Really?! Why did you cut it?"

The stylist stiffened, and seemed a little unwilling to share on this point. She worded things very carefully. "I didnít want to. I was basically forced to."
All kinds of awful thoughts ran through Kimís mind. Seeing this, Gail put her at ease.

"I had to have Chemotherapy 10 years ago, and it all fell out. Since then Iíve let it grow out a bit, but finally have settled with this look."

Her bouffant flip didnít seem so gaudy to her anymore. In fact, it seemed to fit her quite well, though the obvious stiffness of the Ďdo put her off. She probably just didnít want to fuss over it during the day when she working on others, so it was more out of practicality than anything else.

For the first time Kim looked around in the shop to see what was going on. Mrs. Chamberlain was underneath a dryer, reading a magazine, looking very content. Tina was now back washing Stacyís hair, and the other two stylists were busy Ďsettingí the hair in front of them. Obviously that additional body to the hair was important regardless of how long ones hair was.

As Gail rolled out a cart filled with rollers of all sizes and numerous pins, Kim realized she really wasnít too nervous anymore. She was liking this elderly stylist, and almost looking forward to the look and sensation of having her hair Ďsetí.

Gail chose the larger sized rollers, and with amazing speed Kim saw her hair perfectly rolled and pinned in place. They were all snug, but she never experienced even the slightest discomfort. As Gail put the cart away, Kim studied her new reflection, turning her head every which way. She looked so different, so muchÖ older. That was all she could think of, since she always connoted a head full of curlers as the look of frumpy old housewives in the morning or such. She smiled at the humor of her thought process. She certainly wasnít a frumpy old housewife, yet here she was all rolled up tight. Plus all the other young ladies in the room were going through the same thing. She almost wished someone would take a picture of all this.

She was led to a dryer and it was cautiously lowered into place. Due to the size of the curlers Kim had very little play before she would hit the side of the giant contraption. She feared so much direct heat would be potentially harmful.

"How long will I need to sit under this thing?"

"With all your hair? Probably about 45 minutes."

This answer stunned Kim, and her fear returned. "Wonít that fry my hair?"

"Donít worry. Iím using a cool setting, and I applied a protectant when I washed your hair. Thatís why it kind of smells like vanilla."

So thatís what that scent was. She really didnít notice it anymore, but the scent was strong when her hair was being washed. She thought it was just the type of shampoo or conditioner.

So with no place to go, she resigned herself and relaxed as the machine was turned on, and the only slightly warm air started blowing against her hair. She felt totally odd. This was definitely not what she expected. As long as it wasnít going to harm her hair it was kind of a fun adventure, and something to talk about with Michael. He was going to meet her at the wedding reception. She wondered if he would even recognize her with her hair up, although she had told him about it and he seemed quite excited about it all. When she queried him on it, he simply stated it would be fun to see her looking so different for the event, as he always wondered what she would look like with her hair up. Well, he would certainly get his opportunity to find out. She was now kind of excited to see what she would look like too. She had never even tried a French twist before, though admittedly loved the look on others, like movie-stars and such. She had failed so dismally with just basic buns she never even bothered to try anything more ambitious. Now she was going to be sporting the classic, elegant style.

But no sooner had she relaxed then she opened her eyes and watched what was happening with Mrs. Chamberlains hair. Tina had taken out all the curlers and was in the process of viciously teasing it all over. It looked awful, like a comics fright wig, and Kim winced as she watched the stylist add tangle after tangle with each motion of her hand. How Mrs. Chamberlain could just sit there so totally relaxed watching this awful act was beyond her. Never would Kim tolerate such treatment of her locks.

She looked away and watched the other three stylists quickly rolling up the hair of the three remaining bridesmaids. It would be so odd to see Theresa without bangs, since she always wore them. Just seeing her in curlers was odd enough. All the other girls seemed to be taking this all in stride. But then none of them had the hair concerns, or goals, that Kim did.

Ten minutes later the rolling was done and the last of them were in position under the dryers, and Angie, who had the shortest hair, was already having her curlers taken out. Of course, since she had a short bob that didnít even fall to her shoulders, it made sense that hers would be dry first. Kim wondered how Angieís short hair would end up matching the twist that all her hair was going to produce.

Maggie came and rescued Paula from the drone of the dryer, while Gail checked on Kimís progress.

"You really have quite thick hair. Itís going to still be a bit longer."

"How much longer?" It had already been nearly 45 minutes.

"Another fifteen minutes should do it."

Fifteen more minutes of this monotonous drone. Kim looked over at Mrs. Chamberlain now. Her hair was nearly done now, and was basically just a slightly more festive version of her regular updo. Kim couldnít believe that this woman willingly went through this whole ritual each week to keep her Ďlookí. As Tina started absolutely plastering it with hairspray, all the girls seemed to be taken aback. Then they all started giggling a bit. All except Kim. She hoped her hair wasnít going to be in for such a drenching. She couldnít imagine what it would feel like, and didnít want to.

She turned her attention back to Angie. Her hair looked so much shorter still now that it was a sea of curls, though Joy was rapidly brushing them into waves. Then much to her dismay Joy picked up a teasing comb and started in on Angieís hair. She was every bit as vicious as Tina had been, and soon Angie too was sporting a horrid mass of tangles that stood straight out from her head in every direction. And she was even laughing about it? Of course she would. Angie had always toyed with numerous different looks and probably was no newcomer to such damaging treatment.

Kim started looking at Paula now, whoís hair was the closest in length compared to her own, although it reached not even to mid-back, with much shorter layers in the front. It now looked much shorter as it was a sea of soft curls. She and Maggie were chatting a bit, pointing to Angie, as Paulaís curls were rapidly brushed into waves. Paula seemed a bit concerned and Kim desperately wished she could hear what they were saying. Finally Paula shrugged her shoulders and gave a nod of her head. Then Maggie, just like the other two stylists, started in with her teasing comb. For the first time Kim seriously wondered if her mane was next. She never would have agreed to all this knowing it meant having her hair (gulp!) teased! She looked over as Tina started teasing Stacyís hair, and suddenly it was everywhere she looked. Kim could feel her heart rate double, and suddenly was jolted by Gail, who was checking her dryerís progress once again. Suddenly Kim hoped her hair was still sopping wet so she wouldnít be led back to the chair.

"OK Kim. Youíre dry. Time to get up."

"Are you sure? Iíll stay here longer if you want." She didnít want to go any further with this awful treatment.

Gail laughed a bit. "I know itís easy to relax under there, but weíve got a wedding to get ready for."

She cautiously sat back down on the stylists chair and studied her reflection, still not used to seeing herself with a head full of rollers. She wanted to ask if the teasing comb lie ahead for her, but was too frightened to ask. What if the answer was yes? Gail was taking out the back roller, so Kim couldnít see what the results were yet. She tried to start up a conversation to hopefully calm herself.

"So did these things actually do anything?"

"Oh yeah. Quite a bit actually. Your hair could probably curl up quite a bit if you wanted to."

"Youíre kidding?!"

" Seriously. It takes to a curl much better than I expected."

Kim saw this as a ray of light. Maybe that meant she would have enough body that she wouldnít have to have her hair teased like the others. Maybe they were just having it done so their mass would match her extra length. She momentarily forgot about everything as she could finally see the results of the curlers. Her hair really did show some very nice body, like the models in the magazines! As each roller fell she was more and more pleased with the result and was almost a little sad when Gail started brushing through it all. But when she put her brush down it looked stunning. It was an ocean of huge waves from top to bottom.

"Oh wow! Are you sure I canít just keep it like this for the wedding?"

"I know it looks real nice, but Iím supposed to make you match the others."

Match the others. The others were sitting there having their hair brutalized. She had no desire to match the others. Kim couldnít hold back her concern any longer. "Youíre not going to have toÖbackcomb it (She couldnít even bring herself to say the word Ďteaseí ) like all the other girls, are you?"

"Yes, but itís no big deal."

YES! SHE SAID YES! It was even a concerned ĎYesí. It was all very matter-of-fact to her. Oh God NO!!! Kim wanted to get up and leave.

"Do you really have to?"

"Yes actually. That way it will end up workable and wonít slip out no matter how hard you party tonight."

"Couldnít you just use a little extra hairspray instead?"

Gail chuckled. "Youíve neverÖbackcombed your hair before, have you?"

Kim shook her head. Tears were falling from both eyes. She wiped them away hoping others didnít notice.

"Iím trying to grow it out. The last thing I want to do is destroy it."

"Teasing isnít going to destroy your hair. Try and relax, and Iíll show you the secrets of combing it out when you eventually take it down. Follow my directions and I promise your hair will be absolutely fine."

Kim was trapped and knew it, so she nodded weakly in agreement. She was sure what Gail had just told her was all a line just so she could get on with the task at hand: killing her hair. What if she couldnít get the tangles out? What if it severely damaged her hair? What if she had to cut it just to return it to its natural state? How short would she be willing to go? How short would she have to go? All these thoughts bounced around her head like an atomic reactor as she watched Gail pick up her teasing comb, and separate out the front and center section.

Kim could swear the pounding in her chest must have been audible to everyone within a mile radius as the comb sank in. The procedure was, like the other girls, vicious. The hair was rapidly being forced back on itself, and her eyes were wide watching the mass of tangles grow and grow. At least it didnít hurt. That was a welcome relief, as she imagined the task as painful to feel as it was to watch. Quite honestly, if she shut her eyes she couldnít really feel it at all. She also expected a ripping sound, but that didnít happen either. She figured that would come when it was time to try and Ďunteaseí this mess.

She didnít even notice the shop was alive with giggles. Half were laughing at Stacey clowning around with her ratted hair standing up in every direction. Others were laughing at the thick shellacking of spray being dumped on Angies finished French twist, which looked positively stunning and gave no clue to how short her hair actually was. And finally some were laughing at the sight of Kim, ever so protective of her hair, being attacked by the teasing comb.

Kim could think only of her own present dilemma, and basically was holding her breath trying not to watch, yet watching all the same, as this first strand was now nearly complete. Gail was running down the complete length, showing equal contempt for the ends as she had the roots. Gail threw the finished section forward so it loosely hung forward of Kimís face. She could study the carnage up close now, and quickly gave up trying to count the tangles. Besides, another section had now been separated out and was being made to match. She watched it for a bit, then closed her eyes and tried not to cry. This was turning into a horrible day. She somehow kept her eyes closed, feeling section after section being separated and tortured. The entire top and both sides were done now, and she could feel Gail starting in on the back. She opened her eyes only to be greeted by a solid wall of her own tangled hair. She could no longer see the mirror and watch what was happening. This curtain of tangles prevented that.

Her head was tilted forward slightly so Gail could get to the lowest sections of hair without the rest falling back over it. Finally she felt Gail let go of her tresses, and heard the comb returned to the counter. Mercifully, all the teasing was done. It seemed to have gone on endlessly.

"OK Kim, now you get to see again." Gail reached forward under the mass and pulled it all back. Kim got to see her new reflection, and this time heard all the giggles filling the rest of the room. She looked anxiously in the mirror, fully expecting to see herself in that fright wig. Thankfully, it was not to be. She was surprised to discover her hair simply hanging down and out a bit in a huge gnarled mass. It did clearly have some lift away from her scalp, but it was nothing near an Ďafroí. Instead it just looked like a big tangle.

"Oh lord, what a mess! How will I ever get all these knots out?!"

"Itís really not as bad as it looks."

"Thatís good to hear. Actually I was kind of expecting it to stand up like everyone else. I suppose I was planning on seeing the Bride of Frankenstein staring back at me."

Gail laughed out loud. "Well, sorry to disappoint you. Maybe next time."

That cracked the tension and Kim smiled, if only for an instant.

"Actually, I went quite easy on your hair. Since you have so much more than everyone else, I had to tone it down for everyone to match."

So this was going Ďeasyí on her hair?! It had been horrible to sit through. Kim was glad she didnít end up getting a Ďhardí teasing job, though she couldnít imagine how much worse it could have been.

Gail took some time now and explained and showed Kim how she should go about untangling her hair when she was ready to take it down. She listened attentively, but even though she watched it all explained step by step didnít believe it was truly going to be as easy as Gail made it out to be.

Once Gail finished with her lesson, Kimís head was tilted forward again and the mane thrown forward so the stylist could start in on the back. Kim tried to follow each step of the procedure just by how it felt, but soon lost track. She felt a large section being separated from the rest, then being twisted and folded into place. Then she heard the unmistakable sound of hairspray quickly being applied. She felt a dampness on her neck, and the pungent odor invaded her nostrils. But it had been done quickly, not like the massive overkill the others had been privy to. It all happened so fast she didnít have time to be concerned. She figured she could live with such a light layer. Of course she could. After all, what was done was done.

With that she relaxed as she felt another good sized section being brought into the finished style. Although she couldnít feel them she could hear Gail constantly reaching for more and more hairpins. She was extremely gentle. She obviously did have a great deal of experience with this style, and with long hair in general. Another short blast of hairspray indicated this next step was done.

Finally her head was returned to level and the remaining mass of hair was drawn back so Kim could once again watch what was going on. Her hair was gently smoothed straight back and wound to form the top portion of the twist. Pin after pin was added for security, and then the style was done.

Two thoughts hit her. First, it looked really good. It was very sleek without any flyaways. Quite to her relief it in no way looked like a Ďbouffantí, which she imagined was going to be the outcome with all that had been involved up to there. She wasnít looking forward to being a Dolly Parton clone sporting Ďbigí ratted up hair. But it wasnít Ďbigí at all. In fact it didnít even looked teased at all, except for the very slight fullness on top that made her normal center part completely vanish. That was the part that really made her look different, but also what she was liking about it the most. She didnít think it possible to hide her natural part.

The second thought that hit her was how comfortable it was. With all the hardware she knew was in there she expected it to painfully tug at her scalp. This didnít tug at all. In fact it felt easier on her scalp than when her hair was allowed to hang free.

She was handed a hand mirror and saw the perfect seam of hair running up the back. Every pin was hidden. It looked better than she thought possible, and was completely sturdy. She stared around the room at the others, and noted Angie and Theresa, who were both already done, looked exactly like her (at least their hair did). It was odd to think that a complete stranger wouldnít be able to say who had the long hair and who had short hair, or even who had bangs. Kim decided Theresa looked quite different without bangs, but in a good way. She wondered if this would encourage her to grow them out.

"Is this going to stay up through the day?" Kim asked of Gail.

"As soon as I give it a last shot of spray it will. Cover your eyes." And with that, before Kim had time to get a word in edgewise, Gail proceeded to give a complete drenching of the entire style with spray just as the other girls had been subjected to. Maybe more (since she had more hair to hold). Kim coughed and cringed as she could feel the dampness and the literal weight of all the spray. Much of her was just numb that she had truly sat through all this torture. She almost started crying again, as having all this junk deposited on her head was almost as bad as watching it teased. After what seemed like an eternity, the hideous product went silent. Kim opened her eyes and saw the aftermath. It looked the same but different. Then she realized so much product had been applied her hair looked numerous shades darker. It no longer looked chestnut brown. It now looked almost black. One would swear she had colored it. Kim figured it would dry and lighten up again, and politely thanked Gail. She refrained from touching her still damp hair and, still stunned by all she had just been through, took a seat in the waiting area as the rest of the girls finished up. Stacy was nearly done now and her wedding style was truly a romantic marvel, full of soft curled tendrils. She would look every bit the beautiful bride.

It was a full ten minutes until Kim got the nerve to finally touch her hair. She could sense it was going to be stiff, but when she touched it she was immediately taken aback how right she was. It felt like plastic. This wasnít her hair! It was a helmet! She touched it again and noted it was completely dry. She looked at it in the mirror again, disappointed to learn that all the spray wouldnít allow it to show her natural color. For the rest of today she was going to be a dark brunette. She was both repulsed and attracted to her new reflection. It was so peculiar to see her neck and ears and no part in her hair. In many ways hit reminded her of when it was short, but it wasnít. It was far sturdier than she thought possible, and was already so comfortable it was easy for Kim to understand how such a style would be practical for work. But then whoíd want to go through this awful process on a regular basis?! She shook it a bit, almost hoping it would fall out so she could be rid of this nightmare, but it held easily and firmly. Gail wasnít kidding. It would hold until she took it down.

Soon Stacy was getting shellacked, and then all were done. The six bridesmaids truly matched, and it looked like a group of sextuplets walking back into the limousine. It was off to the chapel.

All the way the group chatted animatedly, still astounded how different some of them looked. Angie loved the look, noting she didnít think it possible to make her look like she had hair as long as the rest of them. Theresa wasnít sold on it though, as she was still uncomfortable not having her bangs hanging down over her forehead. Kim didnít know what to think, and found herself constantly touching it ever so gently, always quickly repulsed by the thick layer of spray.

The wedding went off perfectly, as it should have for all the money put into it. At the reception Kim finally got to show off her new Ďdo to Michael. He had been strolling around the crowded room like a lost puppy, not able to find her. When he finally did he had to do a double take, as Kim looked so different now. But it also instantly aroused him.

"So what do you think?" she said as she performed a 360 degree turn any model would be proud of.

"Wow! You look fantastic! Did you dye your hair or something? It looks black."

She winced. "No. Itís got so much hairspray on it that it just looks darker. Touch it."

Michael cautiously touched the top, shocked at the feel. Strangely it didnít diminish his aroused state. His hand lingered probably longer than it should have.

"Pretty gross, huh?!"

"It certainly feelsÖ different."

"Not only that, the stylist teased it all first!"

Michael knew what a hazard that could be, or so he had been told by Kim in the past. "Youíre kidding?! She didnít damage it, did she?"

"I hope not. I guess Iíll find out when I get home and try to take it down."

"It doesnít look teased."

"Thankfully. She told me she went easy on it, but it sure seemed awful to me. Iím glad I didnít end up with hair out to here though." (She held her hands out as far as she could from the sides of her head.)

Michael listened to her every word, sharing her adventure. He even wondered what she would have looked like with her hair Ďout to there.í His arousal was even more extreme. Ď What was that all about?í he thought to himself.

The reception went smoothly and the couple danced in each others arms for most of the night. Michael found it so different not to feel her hair running down her back, and was turned on by her exposed ears and neck. She could sense his heightened state of arousal too, but figured it was just the romantic nature of the event. She was totally used to it up now, and had to admit it was easier to get through the day not worrying about her hair falling into things or getting tugged. Also, the wedding procession really had been quite a sight, as the six matching bridesmaids walked down the aisle.

Late that evening she was dropped off at home and pondered the task of taking her hair down. The reception had lasted much longer than she anticipated (the band had been outstanding) and she was having difficulty staying awake. Against her better judgment, she decided sheíd tackle the hair issue in the morning after a good nights sleep. With all the hairspray in her hair, she couldnít imagine sleeping on it would damage it any further. It was all teased already. It couldnít possibly get more tangled as a result of sleeping on it.

While at first she was cautious trying not to move, fearing pressing on the stiff hair might even break it off, she was soon sound asleep. When she awoke she almost ran to the mirror, shocked at first to see her reflection with her hair still up, and then amazed to see her hair no worse for wear. It didnít feel nearly as stiff as the night before. Or was she just getting used to it? She decided sheíd eat breakfast before diving into the task, as she figured it would consume most of her Sunday.

The morning breezed by as she read the paper, did some cleaning of the kitchen, and ironed some freshly washed clothes. Except for occasionally catching her reflection in a mirror or window, she didnít think twice about her hair and was actually pleased to have it up and out of the way. But after her chores were done, her thoughts went back to her beloved mane, as did her fears of discovering it was now damaged, perhaps severely. She went to her dressing mirror and just gazed at the different reflection one last time. It had actually been kind of fun to have her hair up and she was getting used to the look now. Her hands gently ran over it, no longer repulsed in the slightest by the feel. It was like touching a work of art. But it was time to dismantle this piece of art, and her fingers started searching for the hairpins. Hopefully Gail was telling the truth about how easy it would all come out and that her hair would come out unharmed..

As pin after pin came out she was stunned at how thorough Gail had been. Twenty pins already were on the dresser and it still hadnít unraveled. How many were there? Finally the intricate roll of hair started to fall, though the spray didnít give up easily. The spray had seeped through to the innermost hairs, and it didnít reach even to her waist now. She looked at the stiff, tangled tresses, growing fearful that it would never again be like it was. Then she stepped in the shower.

She proceeded exactly as she had been told, though she doubted she would be successful. One hour later her hair was tangle free and again tickling her bottom. Though her arms were tired, she had expected it to take much longer. She also expected to have handfuls of broken hairs everywhere. She couldnít find any. She carefully studied it closely, trying to find signs of damage. She couldnít find any.

She couldnít believe it, but eventually relaxed. It seemed Gail had been right. It had come out just like she said, and her hair seemed no worse for the experience. After breathing a huge sigh of relief, Kim sat and just thought back on the past 24 hours. It had been quite an adventure. As she relished once more the feel of her hair against her back, part of her already missed the updo, knowing that was probably the only time it would ever be that way.

Michael called up and she told him of her morning. He was relieved too that her hair had come through unscathed. "Maybe youíll get it done again sometime in the future."

"And watch it get teased again?! Donít hold your breath."

"I know, itís just it was Ö fun seeing you look so different."

"If you wanted to see different you should have seen me sitting there with Ďteasedí hair."

Michael again strangely felt a shot of adrenaline. Maybe he should have at that.


END OF PART ONE.

If you liked this, hated this, or whatever, give me some feedback. Look for part 2 of this story to appear in the not too distant future.

Tairish at tomlg@earthlink.net


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