REUNION (part four - the conclusion)
c1998 jmhlhl

The flight west seemed interminable to Joe. Normally a good flier, who could relax and get some sleep, or entertain himself looking out the window, he was fidgeting and nervous. This is worse then the flight on Friday, he thought. Friday, of course, was when he said goodbye to Karen, and left her in tears over her hair.

"Damn," he said to himself. "If only I could have gotten out of that Saturday luncheon! Then I could have stayed the weekend, and helped Karen make the right decision." What did she do? What will she look like? Did she cut it all off? No, she couldn't have, could she?

He dozed off, and Karen filled his dreams, as she had done so often over the last twenty years. It was always the same. He held her tenderly, allowing her hair to slide over his arms. Then she handed him her brush, and he stroked her tresses. He would get on his knees, and continue to brush. She would look down at him with that bright, wonderful smile, and touch his cheek.

This dream would happen even while he was married to Marie. Oh, Marie!

Joe dreamed of the guilt he would feel. Marie was everything he could ever ask for - beautiful, sexy, vivacious, and such wonderful hair that she grew just for him, from mid back to mid thigh. All of that, and he still dreamed of the girl he had a crush on in junior high. "The only hair better than Marie's," he thought.

Through high school and college, he tried to keep up with Karen, but she slowly lost what little touch she kept with him - a couple of notes a year - and finally nothing. He compared all of the girls to Karen, and none could compare. That cute face and wonderful smile, her thoughtfulness and soft touch, just so wonderful and sweet, and framed by that incredible, unbelievable hair. Yes, it was unreasonable, it was stupid, basing everything on a few conversations between a high school senior and a fourteen year old kid, but only Marie almost measured up, and she was gone.

He thought back to their incredible evening together, just a couple of days ago. It was better than any fantasy he could have had about her. Everything he remembered about her from twenty years before was better. Her smile and her eyes were beaming, her face was even cuter. She was so sweet and gentle. She had a wonderful figure, and she just felt perfect in his arms, like she had always belonged there. And her hair was just heaven. Soft, silky, thick as ever, and so long! He knew he would never see anything more beautiful and sexy than her hair.....

He wondered if he was just being selfish, wanting her to keep all her glorious hair for his enjoyment - what she went through for that hair! But no, she loved it. She wanted it more than anything.

He walked down the jetway into the boarding area in a fog. Everybody was a blur, the walls were a blur, the lights were a blur. Suddenly a soft form was in his arms - Karen! He closed his eyes, not wanting to look and see her without her hair. They kissed, and his arms moved up her back towards her shoulders. "There..." he thought, as his fingers felt the comfort of her hair, but then all the energy left him. "Oh, God, she did it!" He pulled back and opened his eyes.

"What do you think, Joey?"

What he saw was Karen forcing a smile. Her face was beautiful, but the sparkle wasn't there. Neither was her hair.

"Oh, no. You did it Karen..."

Her soft brown hair looked a little fuller, but it barely touched her shoulders. It was tucked behind her ears, and they looked awkward on her.

"You don't like it, do you."

"It's a shock, Karen."

"But you don't like it, do you. Tell me!"

"It's fine," he lied. "You look great."

He reached out and pulled her towards him, feeling as if a cloud had just filled his soul. She looked so sad, so weak, so frail! Even when she was crying about her hair, she had an inner strength that came out, that radiated from her. It was a strength that came from thirty years of growing and caring for her hair, and wearing it proudly. It was gone! "Oh, no Karen," he thought. "What did you do? Will I ever see the Karen I fell in love with again?"

"Sir? Sir? Sir, we'll be landing in ten minutes. Please get ready, and bring your seat back up."

The smiling flight attendant had her hand on his shoulder as she said, "Are you okay?"

"Yes," he said, as he let out a breath. "I'm fine, thank you."

He busied himself with getting ready to land, and peeked out the windows at the sprawling suburbs tucked in the valleys below. He tried not to think of the next ten minutes, but a sad, short haired Karen kept looking back at him. He thought back to what he had told her on the phone, and when he saw her last. He knew that what he said was true, that she loved her hair, even if it was too long and uncontrollable. He could see it in her eyes when she held it, or talked about it. He could see it in her smile when she let it down, like she went into some perfect world. But was that enough? Did he say something that clicked? Or did what he said matter? And should he bare his true, longstanding feelings for her, not just a crush, but love, confirmed and strengthened over their last meeting?

Mercifully, his flight landed, but his nerves didn't calm down at all. It only meant that the waiting was almost over. She said she was going to pick him up, would she be at the gate? He followed the other passengers down the aisle, wanting to push them to the side and get out. His heart pounded in anticipation as he walked up the jetway. He walked into the gate area and looked for her. he swung his head one way, and then the other, but couldn't see her. "Come on, Karen!" he whispered, as he walked by other passengers being greeted by friends and family. He walked up to the main corridor, turned around the corner, and there she was.

She had the sheepish smile of someone who had survived something that was completely their own doing. Her shoulders were shrugged as if to say "I did it!" He saw baggy blue jeans that set off her slim waist, and the same sweatshirt she had worn the other night, with one shoulder exposed. Her hands were behind her, and her hair was loosely pulled back, but he could see no more.

"Karen?" he said, not knowing what to expect as he walked closer. He stepped up to her, and she leaped into his arms and kissed him, her hands wrapped around his neck, and full of.... Hair! Loops and loops of braid fell over his shoulders. He spun her around in joy and relief when he realized that her hair was still attached. She didn't do it!

"Ah, you're a sight for sore eyes! And you still have your hair!"

"You wouldn't believe it, Joey. I'll tell you about it on the way home. And I'm glad you're back!"

She handed him her loose braid, put her arm around his waist, and guided him towards the baggage claim. His eyes moved from the beautiful hair in his hands to the beautiful face at his shoulder, a beaming, happy face.

"I passed out."

"You what?"

"I passed out. I was sitting in the salon chair this morning, ready for the big snip, and I passed out!"

"You mean you..."

"I was this close to doing it," she said, holding her fingers an inch apart.

"This close, and then next thing I know, I'm waking up with a crowd of people around me."

"You were going to do it? You were going to cut your hair?"

"I sure was."

"But you fainted before they could make the cut. How short?"

"About here," Karen said, chopping with her hand at the base of her neck.

"Oh, my, Karen. You were going all the way! Why do you think you fainted?"

"Overload, I think. I was shaking so bad, and I was trying to be so strong, but maybe deep down inside, I wasn't ready to lose my hair. I'm not sure."

"Do you still want to cut it?"

"I don't know. Not for a while, I think. I have to recover from this episode and figure things out a little more."

"Well, I'm glad you didn't"

Karen looked at him and smiled.

"I'll admit, I'd hate to see you cut an inch of it. It took me about two seconds to fall head-over-heels in love with your hair, but I'm also glad for you, Karen. I still think you will never cut your hair - not because you can't, but because you love it too much. It is too much a part of you."

"Maybe you are right. I don't know yet."

"Think we can talk about it some while I'm here?"


"Good enough for me. Feel in the mood for a little celebration? It's a beautiful night."

"If you want to celebrate being together again."

"You bet. Know of any places to see the lights and be alone? This view is spectacular!"

"I know just the spot," she said, putting her hand on his thigh.

They went to Sausalito, to a late night coffeehouse. They talked inside for a while, then fortified by their hot drinks, they ventured out into the summer night chill to gaze at the boats in the harbor, and the lights across the bay. Arm in arm, both were silent for the longest time as they reflected on how they reached this place. She moved into his neighborhood in high school, he had a schoolboy crush on her, they kept in touch sporadically over twenty years, he looked her up while he was in town, and they had one magical night of reunion less than a week ago. That night was powerful enough to bring him back across the country, and bring them back together again.

For the next two days, Karen showed Joe the sights of San Francisco- Fisherman's Wharf, the cable cars, Chinatown, Golden Gate Park - and some of the lesser known haunts she had learned about. They saw a play, and visited a jazz club. Most of all, they talked, and got to know each other. They talked about families, jobs, likes and dislikes, ups and downs, hobbies and heartbreaks.

Remarkably, both of them thought, the subject of hair didn't come up once. Karen porposely avoided the topic, and Joe decided to let her bring it up first. She didn't even take it out of the braid she picked him up at the airport with. She wore it swirled up in one manner or another, she changed it every time she went to the bathroom. Once he caught on, Joe looked forward to seeing her re-emerge with a new look. He was dying to feel it, and run his hands through it again. It took all of his patience and strength to back off, but he knew the time would come.

They awoke in each other's arms Friday afternoon, after spending most of the night before talking. Karen's braid was tucked in between them. She gathered it, and ran the length of it through her hands. He studied her face as she inspected her hair.

"I'm overdue for a wash, so I'll have to stay in today."

"Oh?" Joe said, his eyes widening.

"You wanted to talk about my hair, you can watch me wash it, and we'll talk."

"You sound like you don't want to."

"Oh, no. I do. I want to share with you the work and time I have to put into this," she said, holding up a piece of braid, "so I might as well take you along for the ride."

For the next four hours, she talked him through her routine, but never let him touch her hair. He wanted to jump in and help her a few times as she ran into snags and tangles as she undid her braid, but she would have none of it, saying, "No, you have to see it as I have to face it twice a week, don't help me." She showed him the shower hooks, and the stack of towels, and gave him a play-by-play narrative of her washing and conditioning routine. He tried to change the topic slightly, but she always quickly brought it back to what she was doing. He watched as she started to dry her hair, and counted the towels she used.

She finally emerged from the shower, wet hair looped over her arm, put on her sweats, picked up her supplies and walked to her comfortable balcony chair. Joe followed at a distance, and watched silently as she fed her hair over the back of the chair. Finally, her hair once again hung freely off the chair, and she relaxed.

"What now?" asked Joe.

"I wait a while, then I comb it, then it dries," she replied, matter-of-factly.

"How long do you have to wait for it to dry?"

"Seven hours or so."

"Wow! I never knew. Marie's hair would dry in an hour or two."

"I've got a bit more than she did. Hey, come on over. You can't help me with my hair today, but you can help me wait."

Karen slid to one side of the chair, and motioned for Joe to slide in next to her. He did so, and they cuddled together.

They talked through the afternoon, breaking only as she combed her hair after an hour. For six hours, she told him everything about her hair - not just the basic facts of how and when like she had before, but also her thoughts and feelings. Once she opened up to Joe, the floodgates burst, and she shared the joys and frustrations of growing hair for thirty years. He listened intently, his face inches from hers. He occasionally whispered a question, but did not otherwise speak. She led him through her life of hair, from shoulder length to five yards, and the stops in between.

She told him about her brief encounter with fame and notariety, when the magazine feature was done about her just after she left college. At first, she enjoyed the attention, but she quickly regretted the move. Too many people wanted to see and touch her hair, and she shrank into a shell until the furor died down. Ever since, she has been very careful about showing her hair in public, and in private.

She talked about other people's reaction to her hair. Nearly every one of her friends had been telling her to cut it for the last ten or fifteen years. "Why do you bother?" they would ask. She lost count of prospective employers who told her she should cut her hair to land a job. People who knew her thought she was crazy, those who didn't saw her as a sideshow, a freak. Only a few close friends understood her, but even they thought she was carrying the hair thing too far.

She talked about feeling down, and how taking a day off to play with and care for her hair would pick her back up again. She also told him how having to wash her increasingly longer hair twice a week became more of a burden as she tried to keep up with her interests and activities. When push came to shove, she always chose her hair over doing anything else.

She talked about her marriage, and how Bill was indifferent about her hair at first, but grew to love it before pulling away and becoming distant. Though she knew their incompatibility was much deeper, she often blamed her hair, and the many times she just had to put it before anything else. He knew what he was getting into, she made that perfectly clear when he proposed, but still...

She talked about the everyday hassles of dealing with such an extreme length of hair, how many times the last ten feet of it just seemed to exist to get in the way and upset her. Some days it just sat there sprawled out along the floor, mocking her, saying "I am free, you are not!" What good did all of that hair do anyway? It kept her from wearing it down all the time, and just took away her free time. She sometimes missed the good old days when her hair only fell to her calves and ankles. She could wear it down all the time, and feel it swinging around without a care.

She also told him about how much fun it could be to just wander about the house with her hair down and free and dragging behind her. She talked about the joy of feeling her hair against her skin, surrounding her completely. She told him about the little pleasures she got from her hair - having it pop up or plop down unexpectedly, or just sitting down and seeing the ends way out there, seemingly beyond reach.

She told stories about good and bad incidents with her hair. Ones that made her glad she kept it all, and ones that made her think of cutting it off.

Finally, she shared what she was going through over the last week or two. She went through her long list of plusses and minuses, and explained each one. She talked about her biggest frustration - that of being a slave to her hair, and feeling as though she was losing control of it.

"I really do love my hair, Joey, and love it more the longer it gets, but I'm just tired of coping with it. I can't keep up with it on my own anymore. Even if I spend every waking moment on it, I don't think I can give it the care it needs anymore. It is just too long for me. I have to do something, I just don't know if I can."

And then there was silence. Joe stared into her eyes, reflecting on what he had heard over the last several hours. He followed the lines and contours of her face - her smooth complexion, her high cheekbones and dimples, her inviting lips, her nose a half-size too big. She smiled, a sweet, innocent, wonderful smile. He felt as if he could see her entire life in her smile and her haunting brown eyes.

He realized that in telling him about her hair, Karen said much more. Her life and her hair were woven tightly together. So much of who she was came from her hair. No, she wasn't just incredible hair stuck on a body, but her identity, her personality, her essence all seemed to emanate from her yards of silky treasure. He couldn't explain how, but he just knew it was the case, and he was even more convinced that cutting her hair would be the worst mistake Karen could ever make.

He also realized that he was madly in love with this most incredible woman. Her strength, her grace, her vulnerability, her uniqueness, her youthfulness and love of life, and of course, the most amazing hair on the planet.

Karen hadn't planned on talking for so long, she just wanted to give Joey a taste of what she was up against with her hair, but once she started, she didn't want to stop. She felt completely comfortable sharing everything with him, and not once did he take his eyes off her. She had really gotten to know him since he flew in again, and now she didn't want him to leave.

They kissed, and laid on her chair without saying a word for about fifteen minutes. Finally, she reached behind her and started gathering her now dry hair. Once again, he attempted to help her, but she smiled and whispered, "not yet, I have to finish."

"When can I help?"

"When I finish brushing it."

"You'll be done then."

"Who says we'll be done?"

"Are you - "

"After I brush it. I want you to see this, OK?" she said, with a mischevious smile.


They kissed again, she moved to her bed, and began to brush her hair. Joe watched and Karen brushed in near complete silence. The only sound was her brush, the one he had given her years before, gently moving through yards of silk. She moved along her tresses with what Joe thought was incredible care, and absolute unconditional love. He was amazed at the transformation that happened in front of him, from limp and somewhat lifeless, to shiny, silky, vibrant hair. The volume seemed to triple as she worked up the length of her hair, and she made an art of keeping it from getting tangled in itself. Joe could see why her hair was so vigorous and young looking, even at the extreme ends. She spared nothing on her hair! She paid attention to every little detail, and cared for every need.

It took Karen an hour to brush the full length, but Joe had lost track of time. Her hair looked better than the first time she let it down for him. She stood up, maneuvered her hair behind her, then shook her head, allowing it to cover her shoulders. Her hair was full of life and motion, and so was she. She was beaming as she walked up to him and fell into his arms.

"You are incredible, lady," Joe said between kisses.

"I know!" she laughed.

"You thinking what I'm thinking?" he said, making an obvious glance at the bed.

"You talk too much," she mumbled, as they fell onto her bed in a cloud of hair.

They made love again. Joe seemed to respond to every slight movement of her hair across his bare skin. Marie could play him like a piano with her thigh length tresses - she knew how to take him to the brink and then let him down, how to leave him begging - but Karen wasn't even trying, and he felt like he was on some incredible sexual high, a great trip. He was almost completely surrounded in silky hair, like he was swimming in it. The sensations were overwhelming. Incredible excitement and arousal one moment, absolute comfort and security the next. Afterwards, as they extracted themselves from her hair and brushed it out again, both seemed to realize that something very special was happening.

Saturday morning, they woke early, and got ready for a full day of shopping and fun. Joe was looking at flying back East Monday morning, and both he and Karen wanted one more day on the town.

Karen started separating her hair as if to braid it, but Joe put his hand on hers to stop her.

"No. Don't braid it. Leave it loose."

"But we're going out today. I have to put it up."

"Let's go out like this."

"I can't. We can't...... My hair!" she protested.

He moved to her side and gathered her hair by her neck. He then ran his hands down the length until he could hold it in both hands and keep it off the floor. It cascaded over her shoulders to within about six inches of the floor, then up, down, up into his other hand, and down almost to the floor again.

"You said you missed being able to wear your hair down and free all day," Joe said. "You liked feeling it in the breeze and against your arms, right?"

"What are you thinking of?" she asked somewhat suspiciously.

He bowed, smiled and said, "Your beautiful hair shall hang to your ankles, Madame, and I shall care for the rest. In my loving hands it shall be as safe, if not safer than it would be hiding on top of your head. You shall feel your hair against your shoulders as you turn your head. It shall brush against your legs as you walk. If you stop quickly, it shall envelop you."

"But Joey... I can't do that."

"Yes you can. You have me! in my hands, in my care, your hair will be relaxed and carefree, and so will you. Trust me."

"I don't know.... It's so much. It'll be a hassle for you."

"Are you kidding? It will be fun. And if you get really spooked, we can braid it and put it up. How about it?"

She still hesitated, so he suggested a brief walk down the block to demonstrate his technique. She reluctantly agreed.

They found some old shoelaces, and tied them around the bottom half of Karen's hair, leaving about eight feet free and loose. They stepped out her front door, her hair flowing over her shoulders, falling to within a foot of the ground, then climbing back up and around his neck and down to his knee. Joe held her hair in his right hand, watching and guiding it above the sidewalk.

"Go ahead!"

"It must look like you are walking the dog or something," she remarked as they made their way past the neighbor's house.

"Maybe, but when they see the leash!" he laughed, and she joined in.

Karen felt different, less burdened. This was the first time in years that she had stepped out of the house without the weight of her hair on her head or her braid looped all over the place or in her hands. She constantly turned and looked back at Joe, but he only smiled and nodded, and studied the movement of her hair as she swung around. She was nervous, but excited, and she decided that Joe would be almost as careful with her hair as she was. "Bill never did this for me," she thought.

They walked all over downtown San Francisco, stepping in and out of shops, and turning heads everywhere. They heard hushed comments, and were conscious of being the center of attention everywhere they went. Karen was uncomfortable at first, but grew comfortable with Joe holding her hair. She enjoyed her new found 'independence,' and Joe encouraged her to go anywhere she wanted. He followed her everywhere, concentrating on her hair, letting it drop as low as possible without touching the ground or getting caught in her heels.

Every time she faced him, she was beaming. Joe thought he had never seen anyone so happy, and felt that this was the 'real' Karen, drawing strength and joy from her hair.

They took a ferry ride, and Karen screamed as ker hair blew in the wind. She fought back the urge to pull her hair in - Joe still had a firm hold on it - as it flapped about.

"I haven't done this since I was 21!" she exclaimed.

They had a late dinner, her hair spread across both their laps and covering her shoulders. Her face, bathed in candlelight and framed in loose tresses, was perfect, Joe thought.

They went dancing. Joe was so entranced with the motion of her hair as she moved about that he was a poor dance partner. They settled on slow dancing, no matter the speed of the song, and lost track of time in each other's arms. They were enveloped in her hair, and were oblivious to the stares and comments - oblivious to everything but each other.

They returned to her house early in the morning, exhausted, and fell asleep on her couch almost immediately, her hair trailing away on the floor.

Joe woke first, late in the morning, and borrowed the keys to her car for a quick half-hour shopping jaunt. This was to be their last day together, and she had agreed to let him do her hair. He also got her to agree to answer his questions about her hair. "It's my turn," he said.

He returned to find her still sleeping, so he cooked up a breakfast of bacon and eggs. The smell finally woke her, and she turned, bleary-eyed, to look at him. "Hi..." was all she could get out. Joe thought she even looked great half-awake.

By the time she had taken care of her morning business - "Don't touch your hair," Joe said - breakfast was done, and they ate silently, perhaps remembering the bliss of the night before.

Joe cleared the dishes, then walked behind her, gently massaging her shoulders through her hair.

"You are in for a treat, M'Lady," he whispered into her ear. "Whenever you are ready."

"Mmmm, let's get started," she cooed.

The word 'treat' doesn't describe this, thought Karen, as she stole a peek at Joe in the shower with her. Roommates, friends, parents, aunts, boyfriends and her ex-husband had all helped her take care of her hair, but she had never seen anyone hold her hair with as much care, tenderness and love as he did. It just seemed to glide through his hands as he shampooed, conditioned, and rinsed. Every few minutes he would turn around and touch her and smile, and maybe kiss her before returning to her hair. He towel dried it, and gathered it in his arms as her eyes followed him around the shower.

They barely spoke in the shower, and the silence continued as Joe led Karen out to her chair, stopping only for her to put on her baggy sweats, and help him into shorts. She laid down on the chair, and he gently fed her hair over the edge, until it hung straight down. He then helped her roll over onto her stomach, adjusting her hair as she did. He climbed up and straddled her waist. A little bath oil in his hands, and he reached under her sweatshirt and massaged her back. Gentle moans told him that she was melting in his hands, completely relaxed.

He rubbed her back for much longer than necessary, enjoying her soft skin at his fingertips. Finally, he got up, kissed her neck, and whispered "Don't move," before heading downstairs.

When he first came into her house, he noticed a floor-to-ceiling cabinet, with one long door. It was located next to her chair, where her hair now hung, just two feet away. During an idle moment a few days before, he had opened it, and immediately recognized what was inside. Now, comb in hand, he opened the door again, folded down a seat, buckled himself in, and hit the 'up' button.

It was a noise that Karen hadn't heard for over five years, and it surprised her. She pulled herself closer to the edge of the chair and said, "You found it!" It was a small one person lift that extended nearly to the ceiling. She and Bill had it, and her chair area built soon after they had the house built, eight years ago. They had planned on her hair growing much longer. The thought of Bill did not hurt for the first time in a long time.

The gentle tug on her hair sent a chill down Karen's spine. She wanted to peek over the edge, but knew her damp hair was still too heavy to hold up. Joe worked his way up her hair, running her favorite comb through her hair slowly and carefully. He moved the lift up and down, working on different sections of her hair, and finally reached the top. Though he was careful never to pull very hard on her hair, Karen was able to feel every stroke, and she loved the feeling.

He returned upstairs to check on her, and was greeted with a wide smile and beaming eyes.

"This is wonderful, Joey," she said softly.

He kissed her and replied, "It's just starting."

Joe went back downstairs to open up his purchases from earlier in the day. He removed a small fan, and an extension cord, and plugged them in. He then sat back on the lift, turned on the fan to a medium setting, and started to give Karen's incredible cascade a very gentle cool blow drying. He held one hand behind her hair, and held the fan about a foot and a half away with the other. He had tried something similar with Marie, with fabulous results. Her hair was always at it's softest and fullest after his special drying treatment and brushing.

Joe went up and down with the fan, caressing Karen's hair, letting the fan blow the strands off of his fingertips. The quiet whir of the fan, and the rythmic hum of the lift, combined with the very slight motion she sensed as he moved, combined to return her to the trance that his massage had put her in.

Drying Karen's hair took a little longer than Joe expected - he had forgotten how much thicker it was than Marie's. Finally, after an hour, her hair was completely dry, and felt like silk in his hand.

He returned upstairs one more time for another kiss, some juice, and her brush. As Karen watched him go down the stairs with her brush in hand, excitement and anticipation welled up inside of her. She always loved having her hair brushed, but having her entire length brushed while hanging free was an experience she couldn't describe, and one that hadn't happened in years. "Almost as good as sex," she thought.

Once again, Joe strapped into the lift, and Karen slid herself forward so her chin rested on the end of the chair. She looked down and saw hair, and occasionally his hands. The gentle tugging of his short strokes turned into long strokes as he moved up the column of soft hair. She sighed and moaned as he ran the brush through her hair, and he found that he could produce a more vocal reaction by drawing out a stroke as long as possible. He could feel her tense up and raise her head slightly.

He finally reached her head, and began using the lift to make long strokes through a good part of the length of her hair. He enjoyed feeling her now silky tresses flow through his hand, and ultimately put the brush down, so he could just run his hands through the entire length. He was lost in a trance, his senses focused on the endless tresses running through his hands. She started to pull her hair up, and broke his reverie.

Joe climbed out of the chair, returned the fan to the shopping bag, and climbed the stairs once again He found Karen standing next to her bed, completely enveloped in a cloud of hair. He had never seen hair look so light and shiny - better than the perfection he had seen earlier with her. if it was possible, she looked like she had even more hair. It fell like a fluffy blanket around her, and reached around her bed to where he couldn't see the ends. He grasped her hands and tried to speak, but before he could her lips were on his. He felt the tension, the passion, the excitement in her, as if she was going to explode.

Where their previous lovemaking sessions were composed of relatively equal parts of both partner's initiative, this was all Karen. Joe would remember it later as the moment he knew he had her, or maybe she had him hooked. It was a new peak in arousal and stimulation by hair. She tried this time, and was wildly successful. He sensed a little bit of clumsiness as she manoeuvred her hair about, but the sensations she created in him quickly overwhelmed him. When she finally finished expending the sexual energy generated by his caring for her hair, Joe was completely spent - happily exhausted and satisfied - with barely the energy to crack a smile.

Karen snuggled next to him, covering both of them in her hair, and said, "You keep doing what you did with my hair, and I'll never cut it. You were incredible."

"It can get even better, Karen," Joe replied. "I've never, ever seen anything more beautiful than you standing there, covered by your hair."

"You know, you're right, Joey. You've been right all along. I don't think I could ever cut it off. I think I'm stuck with it, good or bad. It's too much of a part of me - I love it so much!"

"I had a dream on my flight here that you had cut it all off. You looked so sad and drained. I think your hair gives you energy. I can see it when you let it down- it's kind of like turning on a light bulb."

"I do love how it feels when it is down and all over the place. I guess I feel great when my hair is doing great."

They stared at each other in silence for a moment, and then Karen whispered, "Please don't go."

"You've taken me to heaven, it can only be downhill from here," he joked, kissing her softly.

"Please don't go, Joey," she whispered again.

"I have to go tomorrow, but I'll be coming back. I want to come back for a long, long time. I want many more days like today"

"And I want you to stay for a long time. I love you Joey."

"I think I've loved you since I met you way back when, but never more so than now, Karen."


Joe flew back to Philadelphia the next day, and within two days had talked his bosses into experimenting with a west coast company office on a one-year trial basis. Joe was somewhat shocked at his conviction and initiative, as was his boss. He had always been good at what he did, but had rarely put in that extra ten percent that separated the near greats from the greats in his field. "Joe, you seem like a different person," was the comment from his boss.

Within two weeks, when Karen's divorce became final, Joe had packed up his condo, settled his affairs in Philadelphia, and returned to the Bay Area. For the first two months, he worked long hours, setting up the operation, and building a network. Every night, when he returned to Karen's home at eight, nine, ten, or even eleven, she fulfilled one of his fantasies, greeting him with her hair down, covering her like a coat. Any doubts he ever had about his new business venture, and his fledgling life on the west coast dissolved every night when he saw Karen standing in front of him, her hair framing her smile, and spread out behind her. He was always as excited as he was the first time she let her hair down for him, and though she still had to wear it up most of the time, Karen was letting her hair hang free more and more with Joe around, and she could sense an increase in her energy level, as if she did feed off her hair.

Joe also met Karen's children, Amanda, 13, David, 11, and Susie, 8. Both of them were concerned about how the kids would react to Joe, but after a clumsy start, they quickly warmed to him. They knew much more about what had happened with their mother and father than they let on. They saw that Joe treated her with love, and wasn't mean to her, so he was OK. Joe wasn't surprised to see that Amanda and Susie were trying to follow in their mother's footsteps. Both got their hair genes from their mom, though Amanda's knee length tresses were blonde.

Nine months to the day after their reunion, Joe and Karen were married. And yes, they lived happily ever after. A fantasy couldn't end in disaster or disappointment now, could it?

Of course, Karen never cut her hair, and to her amazement, it continues to get longer and longer. Joe remains busy with his work, but never misses a Wednesday night or Sunday afternoon of caring for Karen's hair, and often helps her put it up in the morning. Most of their free time seems happily centered on her hair, and it continues to look better and better. An offhand comment by Joe one evening turned into a fun and hopefully profitable project - a book on the joys, pitfalls, and care of extremely long hair.

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