by Tairish
"Are you sure this is what you want me to do?" It was a question she always asked before cutting off a good amount of hair, and two feet of hair certainly qualified as a good amount. If her client didn't like the outcome it would take her years to grow it back. She combed the long wet strands straight down once again making sure they were in perfect alignment for her scissors.
"Yes, I'm sure, go for it." Her voice was calm as she was totally confident. She knew exactly the look she wanted.
"OK, here we go." With that she slid her scissors into place. She watched her client close her eyes with a big smile on her face. She intentionally made this first pass about one inch too long. You could always take off more, but not put back what had already fallen to the salon cape. She slowly snipped bit by bit in a straight line. The long curtain of hair fell to the cape with an audible "plop," propelled by it's length and all the water it still held. In no time she completed the first pass, then used her comb to once again straighten these new short hairs before making her final pass. It would require another inch off to get the desired look. She carefully made this final pass, and minutes later the client opened her eyes to see her new look.
"Have you ever had bangs before?"
Janice Henderson was smiling even bigger. The ends of her new bangs stabbing into her eyes. "No I haven't. Aren't these a little too long?"
The stylist looked once again at the photograph of the attractive blonde that was her reference for this cut. "Not at all, you'll just have to curl them under each day and then probably hit them with some good hair spray. I'll show you how when I'm finished."
Janice eased back in the chair and looked at her wet, nearly waist length dark hair. She was eager for the completion of this make-over.
"I guess now it's time for me to become a blonde?!"
The stylist once again referred to the photo, and then inspected her clients' nearly black hair.
"Do you really want to bleach your hair as light as this lady's? That is going to take a lot of doing and will damage your hair."
"YES, YES. Exactly like hers."
She continued to inspect the hair. It was not in the best of condition.
"In that case I'm going to need to trim it a bit to get all these damaged ends off."
Janice's eyes opened wide. She needed her hair longer, not shorter. "how much will you need to take off?"
"A good 3-4 inches I'm afraid. Your hair is pretty damaged. After I bleach it you'll have to take better care of it if you wish to keep it this long."
"I want to grow it a lot longer."
"If you keep these damaged ends it will keep breaking and never grow longer."
"All right, just no more than you have to."

This time Janice wasn't smiling as she saw her hair falling to the floor. She hadn't planned on this setback, but had to agree with her stylist that her hair was not in great shape. Her late night activities with her hair were taking a toll, as every night she was secretly trying, for her, brand new styles and looks. All the heavy curling, teasing, spraying, and heavy brushing had damaged it. Why didn't 'That Woman' suffer the same fate? It never even occurred to her that her harsh, inexperienced handling of her hair mixed with the cheap products she used were a deadly combination. She looked disgusted as Sheri finished her trim. Her hair did look healthier, but now no longer reached to her waist. Instead it ended just past mid-back, and the hairs that fell forward of her shoulders barely covered her breasts. The good news was she now could have a fresh start. She was confident the damage would not return and it would grow. It would reach the same length as 'That Woman.'

Sheri broke her train of thought with a chipper, "OK, time to make you a blonde."
It would be hours later before the desired shade of very light blonde was achieved. Sheri wondered why a woman with such rich dark hair would want to subject it to such torture, but this was not the first bleached blonde she had produced, and knew it wouldn't be the last. The bangs were an even bigger mystery, since Janice's face shape really looked better without them. She had been trimming her hair for years and never before had she expressed any desire for bangs. Plus the heavy damage was something very recent. Janice had always had such healthy hair. She had seen radical changes like this from teenagers, but Janice was now in her 20's and a graduate student. She thought her past this stage.

When Sheri finally put down her blow dryer, had gently curved under the ends of Janice's hair and curled and sprayed the new bangs, her client was almost unrecognizable. Sheri couldn't say she looked 'better', but she had accomplished the desired look. Janice was once again smiling big, and touched her new head of hair and played with her bangs. She frowned just a bit when she was shown the back which looked even shorter than when wet. It would be a long time before it was down past her bottom. She left giving a descent tip, but didn't buy any of the products Sheri suggested to take care of her new shade. Sheri shook her head sadly as Janice left the shop and strolled down the sidewalk just outside the main entrance to the campus. She wondered how long it would be before Janice walked in with her hair again heavily damaged, with the result an even shorter look.

Matt had never been much of a Halloween person, but he'd never had a girlfriend like Mandy who so enjoyed the event, and now had to admit he was looking forward to the party as much as anyone, probably more. He was at a total loss weeks earlier for costume ideas, so Mandy suggested he leave it up to her and he would be surprised. Now he sat in her room very still as she applied his make-up to his face. She made him face away from the mirror so he couldn't see what she was doing, and she still hadn't told him what his costume would be. He was just told to come with a collared shirt, and a loose fitting pair of jeans and tennis shoes. Covered cardboard boxes sitting on her bed contained the outfits (he supposed) but he wasn't allowed to even sneak a peek. All he could do is look at Mandy's gorgeous face as she fussed over him. He couldn't understand why all the makeup was being applied to just the right side of his face. Not once had she even touched the left side. Mandy was almost laughing out loud as each new product was applied. She was dressed in just an untucked oversized white men's T-shirt and baggy jeans. That was no give-away because she always wore that shirt when she had her hair in curlers so she wouldn't have to pull anything over her head.

Her lovely long mane was once again rolled neatly around the dozen or so giant curlers he had remembered from their first dinner date together. He wondered if she was going to copy that fabulous style tonight. The only difference was this time her bangs were also wound around the curlers. Tonight's hairstyle wouldn't have bangs. That was fine, she looked equally good either way and he loved the fact she could, and would, pull off both looks. He was looking forward to a repeat performance of the brushing, teasing, and spraying process that he had so unexpectedly found arousing that evening six weeks ago. Back then a woman's hair was of no particular importance to him. Now he couldn't imagine being attracted to short hair ever again, nor being attracted to anyone other than Mandy.

She turned to him. "I've kept the secret as long as I can. We're going as 1/2 man-1/2 woman, both of us. With that she placed down her traditional makeup kit in front of Matt including some false eyelashes, and a box of fake fingernails." She started laughing.

Matt understood what was happening now. The right side of his face was being transformed into a female. While he wasn't totally enamored with the idea, it was going to be a very original costume and could be fun. He couldn't imagine Mandy looking like anything besides a gorgeous female though. What would she do with her hair? They still had hours before the party and plenty of snacks in the fridge. He would find out in time.

"Just don't make me prettier than you."

She giggled. "I'd deserve an award if I could pull that off. Now hold still."

"What have you done so far? I already feel like I have a ton of makeup on."
"I've just begun. So far all I've done is applied some foundation. Now close your eyes so I can make you beautiful."
It was a good thirty minutes later before Mandy put down the lipstick and laughed out loud. "Go ahead and look."
Matt turned to see himself in the mirror and laughed too. He had to admit she had done a great job as the right side of his face was now that of a woman, with very red lips and even a beauty mark. The long fake eyelash was already driving him nuts. With his short hair the look just wasn't right.

Mandy went to one of the boxes and pulled out a medium length curly wig, or more exactly 1/2 a wig as Mandy had earlier chopped it in half. It was the same color as Matt's hair.

"OK, this is going to be the tricky part." With that she turned Matt around again and pulled out her large bin of hairpins, combs and clips. Matt just smiled as he prepared to be transformed into a look he would never have suggested himself. She attached some combs inside the wig and carefully slid it into place. He could feel the combs grab against his own hair and lock in place. Then meticulously she pinned it all over until it was entirely secure. The long, synthetic curls fell against his cheek and shoulder. This too would take some getting used to. When he looked at himself again in the mirror he realized that he might actually be able to pull this off. "Great job, dear. Now what?"

"Now you get your fingernails and then I'll do myself." In a matter of minutes Matt had long, ruby red fingernails on his right

Mandy now started in on her own makeup, also applying it only to the right side of her face. She looked fantastic with no makeup. With makeup she was an absolute goddess. This time she was applying much more than usual to match the exaggerated job she had done on Matt. As she applied her eyeliner she casually told Matt, "You need to take your shoes, socks and pants off."

Matt thought he was hearing things for a second. He was taking the physical part of this relationship very slowly. He didn't want to make any mistakes by rushing things, so being down to his underwear in front of her would be something new. They were very accomplished kissers now, and hugging and holding hands were natural motions to them, but further than that he hadn't yet pursued. Heck, he was still waiting for her to ask him to brush her hair If she wasn't willing to have him do that, he didn't dare push things further. Part of him was excited that she now felt comfortable enough to have him strip, albeit partially, in front of her.

As he started taking off his shoes, he simply asked,"Why?"
"So you can put on your stocking of course."
"I'm not going to have to shave my leg am I?"
"Of course not, now strip baby!"
He quickened his pace. "At your command."
"Ooh, good line, remember it."

By the time Matt had his stocking on (yet another discomfort) and his jeans and one shoe back on Mandy was done with the right side of her face. It was perfect. She was working on the left side now, the 'male' side. He couldn't imagine her pulling this off, but when she pulled out 1/2 a fake moustache and 1/2 a fake goatee he realized she just might. She darkened and thickened her eyebrow, and added some shading that really made for a transformation. Some theatrical glue attached the facial hair and he had to admit she was looking the part. But there was this hair issue, and no trick could disguise that, as good as she was.

Mandy came over to Matt and rolled up the right sleeve of his shirt as far as she could, and pinned it in place so it wouldn't fall, then repeated the process with his right pant leg. He simply stared at her hair in the giant rollers, wondering what this clever woman had in mind. The rollers were filled with her long thick tresses which reached to just below her bottom when straight. He was aching to reach out and remove the curlers for her, to feel the luscious full curls unravel against him, and to run his fingers through them transforming them to the sea of waves. Maybe one day she would entrust him to do just that. Or even better, let him brush it for her. Just holding her hair out of the way that one evening as she styled it had been a most memorable experience. Wonder if she taught him how to wash it for her, braid it for her, even curl or tease it for her!? Every time he touched it he had to control himself from getting totally enraptured by it. For now he just dreamed of the day.

For the next 30 minutes the couple got into their outfits. It was obvious to him now that the mystery of the evening's hairstyle was last on the itinerary. The costumes were clever actually, as Mandy folded one of her own dresses in half and pinned it around Matt so it looked as if it had been cut in half. The same look she repeated on herself. Matt was looking forward to seeing her strip in front of him but soon disappointed when he discovered she already was wearing the stocking underneath the jeans. Yet another thing to look forward to down the road. When they were done Matt looked in the mirror and had to admit that his female 1/2 looked pretty realistic....if the onlooker were really drunk. He was actually happy that he didn't make a totally believable female, but it was a great costume. The large fake breast was an awkward sensation. The oversized woman's shoe he wore on his right foot was already hurting him. He had a new appreciation for all women go through for fashion.
Mandy began taking out the curlers, and Matt watched with rapt attention. Again she began with the very lowest one in the back, and again worked all too quickly. Like that first date the curls came out perfectly falling no further than her waist. Curl after beautiful curl was unraveled and stacked one over another until soon the huge sensuous pile of hair was ready for the next phase. She again hopped up on her chair and began brushing it out to full, wondrous waves. It was a sight he could never imagine tiring of, and he had to control himself from jumping over, grabbing the brush and assisting her.
She tossed the huge mass again over her back as she hopped down. Matt's heart was beating so fast it was frightening. Despite the makeup job and clothing she looked anything but male.

Matt didn't believe she could make one side of her head look like a guy's hair, but wouldn't say so. When it came to hair he doubted there was anything she couldn't do and was anxious to see what she had in mind. He just sat a watched enthusiastically.

Mandy tilted her head hard to the right and started brushing her hair up and over to that one side, exposing her ear fully. She then quickly started putting hairpins in it directly along the center. In minutes the left side of her hair was drawn tight over to the right, and a tight line of pins ran from front to back. She returned her head upright and threw back the long strands which now fell over the right side of her face. The volume of curls on one side was a stark contrast to the tightly drawn hair on the left. However different it looked it didn't look like a guy. But then Mandy wasn't done.
She picked up her huge hairspray bottle and plastered the left side until it was soaking wet with the lacquer. He had never seen her put so much on. A fog appeared around her head as she took her small brush and made sure it was tight and in place, especially the smaller stray hairs at the neckline. She used her handmirror and checked the back, again meticulously putting each hair in place. Then she hit it again with spray, though not as much as the first time. A quick shot with the blow dryer on cool rapidly dried the spray and froze her hair in place. The strands were thick with product and obviously very stiff. Matt desperately wanted to run his hands along the crisp hair but refrained.

Mandy smiled at him as she reached into another box and took out another wig, again one that had been sliced in half down the center. This was a very short one, in exactly her hair shade, that had a latex scalp to it. Under the latex scalp were pins and combs ready to fix it to her own hair. She slowly slid it on and in place, and then used hair pins to attach the top and keep it in place. As it formed to her head the short hairs took the shape of a rigid flattop. Again using the theatrical glue she attached the scalp to her own skin at the hairline, then used makeup to blend it all in. When finished it didn't look totally real but very close. From a distance it would look real. This was obviously a very expensive wig because the quality was so good.
Mandy worked on her own hair now along the seem of the wig, teasing it gently but thoroughly so it stood up a bit and the volume hid all the pins, clips and combs. Then she again teased different spots all over to bring out the volume of the waves. The amount of mass was really noticeable compared to the buzzed wig on her left side. He never realized just how big her hair was until now. It looked awesome, as usual. She took a decorative hairpin and neatly pinned back the section that kept falling across her face. Then she used her comb and found the bangs that normally covered the right side of her forehead. She combed them out, and used a curling iron to expertly transform them into a perfect curtain. However this time the curtain covered only the right side of her forehead. Then, after checking that all was perfect from all angles in the mirror, she locked it all in place with an ample dose of spray.

She turned to him. "What do you think?"
The effect was almost scary. Upon close inspection the trick was fairly obvious, but in the dim lights and crowd of the party it would certainly pass muster. This illusionist had done it again. "You are amazing?" He took her into his arms.
"Did you notice what I did with our sides?"
"Not really. What?" He wasn't sure what she was talking about but disappointed he didn't know the answer anyway.
"When we kiss, the boy side is always facing the girl side."
"How convenient." With that he kissed her, and treated his left hand to the thrill of her mass of freshly done hair. It delighted in the volume, the incredible fullness of it since now all her hair was on one side of her head, and the sticky texture of the spray.

Matt had a terrific time at the party, thanks to his stunning date and their wonderful costumes, easily the most elaborate there. He had to admit he was disappointed by the efforts of the other college students, especially the women. While many of the guys bordered on the outrageous, the women were...boring. The flapper, the saloon girl, the hooker, the Southern Belle. All were first interested in looking good with minimal effort or change. Their idea of costume seemed to be more makeup and perfume. None of the women did anything at all interesting with their hair. Even the Southern Belle wore her hair the same as any other day. His date was by far the exception, but then she always stood out in that department.
Midway through the evening Matt whispered to Mandy, "I adore spending holidays with you."

"In that case, would you come home with me for Thanksgiving. The family is dieing to meet you with all I've said about you, and the food is fabulous."
"Mom and Dad will be disappointed, but then maybe you can spend Christmas or New Year's with us."

Matt loved this conversation, talking about the future.
After the party, the two walked arm in arm back to Mandy's dorm. Once there, she helped Matt out of his costume and was soon herself down to just the jeans and button down shirt again. She removed his wig and fake eyelash and was about to start removing the makeup when he spoke up.

"Do me a favor and take that wig off first. It's just too strange seeing you with a flattop."
She reached up and patted it tenderly. "Gee, I was getting to like it. This might just end up being the new me."
"Don't even kid about something like that."
Mandy got quiet for a second.
"Really, what would you do if I cut my hair? Not in a flattop of course but what if someday I cut it. Would you still love me?"
This turn of the conversation surprised Matt, but he was prepared because it was a question that had crossed his mind often.
"Mandy, I love your hair. That has to be obvious. But, hopefully even more obvious, I love you. If you cut your hair I may not love it as much, but I will always love you. ALWAYS!"
Mandy was not ready for such a definite, articulate answer. It brought tears to her eyes, and she almost ran to his arms. "You are just too good to be true."
The couple hugged long and loving, neither wanting to be the first to let go. Finally they did, and Mandy peeled off the two pieces of fake facial hair, then removed the short wig from the left side of her head. The stark contrast between the tight left side and the bountiful waves on the right again struck Matt.
"You know, that style right there looks pretty good too."
Mandy turned and looked at herself hard in the mirror. She had to admit he was on to something. The look had definite possibilities.
"You know I think you're right. You have a good eye. I may have to try something like this again."

Matt walked up behind her impressed with himself that he thought of a hairstyle she had not. She unclasped the ornate hairpin holding back the section on the right, which quickly fell forward again over her eyes. One quick snap of her head and it returned to the right side as if by command, and she reached up to start removing the numerous pins and combs running all along the center. Matt quickly reached up and placed his hand over the heavily lacquered hair laying tight against her head.
"Please don't take it down yet. I'm really enjoying this look right now." He was slow to remove his hand as it marveled at the extremely stiff feel of this hair. It was such a contrast. He was so aroused right now it almost hurt.
Mandy noted the delay of his hand movement. She turned to face him. She reached out and took his hand and returned it to the side of her head.

"Whatever you wish my love."

The action and her words melted Matt. She closed her eyes and held perfectly still enjoying the sensation of his touch.
Knowing he had her full permission, Matt let his right hand totally soak in the unique feel of her hair. It was absolutely stiff with each shaft locked to the next. It felt like a helmet. While once even the thought of this would have seemed repulsive, now for some reason it was captivating. He laid his hand flat against it and followed the direction of the shafts up to the center and the dramatic difference as it hit the teased waves. Her heart was beating quickly and she wet her lips. He brought his hand back to the side again, and this time ran it around the back, once more enjoying the hard surface and then greeted by the huge mass along the center-back. His left hand now joined the fun, touching and lifting the bounty falling over her right side. She started breathing from her mouth with quick, short breaths. She again licked her lips. He put one finger under her waterfall of bangs. She held her breath in expectation. He flicked at them delicately and watched them return quickly to place. She smiled, giggled ever so lightly, and arched her back a bit to lean into him.

Matt's left hand continued running over the outline of the waves, barely touching them. Mandy's breathing was faster now, and she leaned into him a bit further. She wanted to taste his lips now so badly she felt like screaming. Her arms, hanging straight by her sides, now ended in clenched fists as she tried to fight her urges. She wanted him to make the first move.
Matt found the one section of hair that always wanted to fall in front of her face. He lifted it gently and let it fall where it wished. It once more fell covering her right eye and half of her mouth. He smiled and looked at it.
Matt was not stupid. He knew what all this was doing to Mandy and he was milking it for all it was worth. He wanted to kiss her badly, and even his baggy pants felt much too tight right now. He wanted her to make the first move. He didn't know how much longer he could last.

He wrapped his left hand loosely around the stray section and ever so slowly ran his hand down the length, feeling the soft waves brush against the inside of his thumb and index finger. As he passed her right breast he ever so lightly brushed against it, at the very tip of the nipple. This took Mandy by complete surprise but also sent tingles through her body. She momentarily held her breath. It was the first time he had ever touched her breast. Was it an accident or intentional? It was thrilling either way. Her fists clenched even tighter.

His hand soon ran down the entire length, then released it and returned to the top only to start the slow pass once again. As he neared her breast Mandy wondered if he would again brush against her. Twice would not be coincidence.
He paused a bit inches above her breast. She held her breath. The suspense was killing her! Then he returned his downward path, and once again the back of his hand brushed her right nipple, this time just slightly harder. It was no accident. She wondered if he noticed the nipple was now fully erect. She could take it no longer and reached up and pulled him towards her, pressing herself against him hard. She kissed him using her tongue with great relish. Mandy had been anxious for the relationship to become more physical and clearly he was now ready too.

Matt smiled inside that he 'won' this little battle of who could hold out the longest, and held her in his arms tight, trapping her waves between his arms and her back. His gamble seemed to pay off. He was anxious for the relationship to become more physical and clearly she was now ready too.

The next hour involved very little talking. But keeping with the pace of the relationship neither removed a stitch of clothing. The two just sat on the edge of her bed slowly running their hands over each other's body. Matt spent considerable time on her left side, since it was much more accessible with her hair all drawn over to the other side. But exploring the other side gave him an excuse to run his hands under her hair or, better yet, gingerly picking it up and holding it aside. He touched her breasts, her stomach, her hips, her legs, her bottom. She spent considerable time on his chest, but also his stomach, hips legs and bottom.
It wasn't till both could hardly keep their eyes open that Matt called it a night and stepped into the cool night air for the short trip home. This relationship was getting better and better. Life was great.

Janice threw the brush down hard in total frustration. It ricocheted of the countertop and hit the mirror, leaving a noticeable crack. She had spent hours on this updo and was nowhere close to the picture. Her red tired eyes looked at her reflection in the mirror, with stray hairs everywhere and the main mass sagging. It couldn't be her fault. It just must be that her hair wasn't long enough yet.

She picked up the photo and placed it in the second drawer, the one filled with all the other photos of styles she had yet to master. How did 'That Woman' do it? This drawer was already twice as full as the top drawer, the one's she actually figured out to some degree.

That was the last photo of her most recent roll. She picked up her camera and checked how many photos were still left on the current roll, almost dropping it due to the added bulk of the huge telephoto lens. She still had over half a roll left.
She reached up and yanked all the clips and pins from her hair, and it fell down again past her shoulders, filled with knots from areas of extreme teasing or concentrated hairspray. Her bangs were again sagging and poking into her eyes. This was becoming more and more aggravating every day. She quickly reached for her teasing comb and rapidly backcombed them furiously until they were reaching only to her eyebrows. She blasted them with a good layer of Super Hold Aqua Net. They wouldn't bother her now. At least that was a trick she had learned well.

Janice opened that second drawer again and grabbed a handful of the photos and spread them out on the counter in front of her. Then she reached for her hairbrush, filled with broken off pieces of her own hair, and started pulling it hard through her bleached mane as she looked over the styles. She picked up one and looked at it intently again. 'That Woman' was wearing a dark colored dress (since the photo was taken at night it was hard to tell) with a huge head of hair that looked like a tight perm, big and full and mountainous. How did she do it? Janice knew it wasn't a perm because the photos from the next day clearly showed her hair hanging perfectly straight. She continued to brush her hair with her right hand as her left reached over and plugged in the hot rollers and curling iron yet again.

Plans were made for Thanksgiving, and Matt would travel with Mandy to Beaver Falls for Thanksgiving. There her would meet the whole Harper clan, and he was constantly trying to get all his facts straight.
Her dad was William Harper, who ran an electronics repair shop. His wife, Marie, was a former concert violinist who now worked part time giving music lessons.

Her sister, Gail was married to Howard (Hank) McCormick. She, of course, was a hairdresser and he worked construction. They had no children but had only been married two years and just getting on their feet. Her younger brother, Paul, was a high school senior, member of the baseball team, and very popular because of his extreme level of confidence. If his was anything like Mandy's he could understand why.

Matt's parents were a bit disappointed that he wouldn't be home for the holidays but understood and supported him. They couldn't wait to meet this woman who had captured their son's heart. All they knew was she was named Mandy Harper, a computer science major, and she had fabulous hair (whatever that meant?). Their son had never been real good at filling them in on his daily life, so learning that much was significant.

Richard and Elaine Johnson had planned on filling Matt in on a business venture they were seriously contemplating, but decided it would wait for Christmas. Perhaps by then it would be more definite. And perhaps then they could even meet this girl of his.

As Matt was walking to class one day, he saw a familiar blonde elaborate updo walking away from him some 50 feet ahead. It looked a little messy today, but there was no mistake that is what one of Mandy's creations. He thought she was in class right now, but decided to sneak up and surprise her. He cut around one of the buildings and sprinted so he could get ahead of her unseen. As he saw the familiar thick bangs come in view he jumped out and yelled "Hi gorgeous". Janice Henderson screamed and dropped her books. Matt stood wide-eyed that this was not Mandy. Up close it was obvious but the hair looked just like Mandy's style from the last dance class. Maybe her styles really weren't so unique after all.

"I'm so sorry. I thought you were someone else." Matt quickly helped pick up her books and made sure she was all right. When Janice was on her way again she was smiling inside. She had fooled 'That Woman's' boyfriend!
Matt told Mandy about the encounter that night. He expected her to laugh with him but she didn't.

"Several of the girls on the floor said they've seen the same girl. They said she wears her hair like I do and they thought she was me more than once. It's kind of spooky."
"I wouldn't worry about it. They say everyone has a twin somewhere in the world. Maybe yours is on the same campus. That's double the pleasure for all the men."
The compliment relaxed Mandy, and she smiled once again and held him tight.
"I wonder if she kisses as well as you do?" Matt kidded.
She grabbed him firmly. "Don't you even think about it." Then they both started laughing.

Matt was proud to be driving Mandy to her folks house. She looked great in a nice full sweater and tan dress pants. Her hair was up in another original. It looked like a french twist on either side, joining into one big bun on the back. It all hung a bit loose, giving it a Victorian flavor.
When he picked her up she had apologized for it. "I know you like my hair down but Thanksgiving with the folks can be crazy, people and food flying all over, so I thought I would put it up."
"You never have to apologize for wearing it up. I love every one of your looks."
This would be the first time the two slept under the same roof, or even saw each other in their bedclothes. Of course he would be in the guest bedroom on the other side of the house, but it was a start.

The Harper house was a well-kept middle class home in an older neighborhood, but the inside was gorgeous, full of hardwood floors, beautiful wall hangings set off with track lighting, and tasteful furniture. It was far less cluttered than any house he had seen. He met her father, William first. He was a tall, slender man with ruggedly handsome features. Matt knew where Mandy got her great smile.

"So this is the young man we've heard so much about."
"Pleased to meet you sir." The two exchanged firm handshakes.
"The pleasure is mine, and please call me Bill. This is my lovely wife, Marie."

The first thing that struck Matt was that Marie looked more like an older sister than a mom. She was stunning, and though she had to be in her forties easily could have passed for her 20's. She walked up and gave a nice hug to the new guest. As he put his arm around her he discovered that she too had long, full hair. She took his jacket and led them into the living room. As she walked away he could see, except for a slight fringe of bangs, it fell almost to her waist. Although much of the dark blonde hair was now streaked with grey, it was magnificent. This couple was such a stark contrast from his folks, who looked their age (of course they were both ten years older than the Harpers to begin with). It was strange meeting a mom with long hair, but he figured in this family long hair must be the norm. That assumption was proved correct as he headed to the kitchen and met Gail, whose rich brown hair was in an extravagant series of french braids that all met in the back and became one thick braid, reaching just to her waist. He was in long hair heaven, and smiled like a little boy in a candy shop. After being introduced, he was ushered into the den where Paul and Hank were watching the Detroit Lions try to keep the New England Patriots from converting their most recent turnover into points. Matt was amazed at how open and friendly everyone was, and how he felt so very much a part of this group that he had never met.

Dinner was outstanding, and table conversation was fast and filled with humor and love. This was a happy household.
Marie turned to Matt. "So I hear you are a great dancer. I can't imagine Twinkletoes here captivated you with her dance skills."
It was obviously a family joke, as they all laughed except Mandy who blushed a bit.

"I don't get it. What's the joke?" Matt said. Mandy filled him in. "I tried to dance when I saw the ballet on television when I was about 10 and I fell down and broke my arm, and a family heirloom in the process. Ever since if I start dancing they give me a hard time."
"Actually Mandy and I have been practicing some dancing and she is getting very good."

This brought forth an onslaught of requests for a demonstration. Mandy was furiously shaking her head, and Matt was polite. "I don't think I could on such a full stomach from this magnificent meal." Gail and Paul wouldn't let their sister out of it so easily, and they made the couple promise before the weekend was over they would show off. They reluctantly agreed.

That evening, as most of the household was trying to fall asleep, Mark and Mandy sat in the den watching a great old movie classic they had never seen. During a commercial break Mandy excused herself and went to the restroom. When she came back her wonderful updo was all taken down, and she was brushing her silky straight hair. Matt just watched, enjoying the sight of this beautiful ritual. Finally he could contain his thoughts no longer.

"I wish you would ask me to do that for you someday."

Mandy just looked at him dumbfounded. "Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting for YOU to ask ME to brush it? I honestly thought you weren't interested. I'd love you to brush my hair!" With that she sat at his feet with her back to him and gave him the brush.

Matt was so excited to finally be in this position. He had watched her do it so many times he knew exactly what to do: start at the ends and work his way to the top. He made sure he was very gentle and took his time. He figured if he did it well he might get the opportunity again.

The movie was on again, but neither of them noticed. Mandy sat with her eyes closed, purring inside like a cat. His touch with her hair was like his lead on the dance floor; perfect. Matt was extremely focused, enjoying every second. He was totally aroused. By the time he was running the brush down her entire length, drawing her bangs straight back, he couldn't imagine a more enjoyable day. After about thirty minutes he wondered if all this brushing might be bad for her hair. He stopped, and she smiled back at him a wickedly satisfied grin.

"Thank you, that was sooooo nice. Your arms must be tired."
"No, I only stopped because I thought I might be brushing it too much. I can keep going if you'd like."
"You don't have to if you don't want."
He wanted, he wanted! He wished she would just speak her mind. If she had he could have experienced this joy weeks ago. But then, he hadn't asked either.
"I'm really enjoying this. So I'm going to keep going until you say stop."
"Be prepared to go for a long time then."
The challenge was on. Who could last longer? Matt continued for another five minutes as it was, then drew it all over to the left and brushed it more, then drew it all over to the right. Mandy was loving every second and constantly wondering what he would do next. He had her bend over and threw it all forward so he could brush the underside starting at her neck. When that was all smoothed he had her sit up and threw it back again, delighting in how great it looked and felt. Mandy was astounded that he was even better at this than she was.
"Are you sure you haven't done this before?"
"No, why? Am I doing OK?"
"OK?! I would pay you to do this."
"You mean I might be able to do this again someday."
"ANY time you want."
"You may live to regret that statement.."

Matt continued brushing. He moved and sat in front of her, brushing her bangs straight down. He could see they reached just to the tip of her nose when straight. Then he started brushing more hair down in front. She smiled at his playfulness. Never had anyone brushed her hair so well. Not even when they had plenty of practice. Soon her face was hidden under a curtain of hair.
"I feel like Cousin It on the Adams Family."
He cautiously poked his fingers through the curtain and drew it to the sides, revealing her lovely face once more. He kissed her soft and slow. He dropped the brush as his hands went up to hold her. They kissed and touched once again. When they accidently rolled onto the remote and the television volume went way up, they quickly scrambled, laughing all the way, to shut it off.

Mandy whispered trying to contain her laughter. "We really should get some sleep. We have a full weekend ahead of us." Matt had to agree, now realizing how late it was. He had been brushing her hair for well over an hour. He whispered to her. "This has been a great day!" She walked him to the guest room, then gave him a gentle kiss and a long hug. "See you in the morning." She ran her fingers through her smooth hair. "I can't believe you haven't done this before." Matt went to bed ecstatic, and totally in love.

The next day the plan was for the entire gang to go shopping. Mr. Harper, Hank and Matt all patiently waited for the ladies to come down the stairs. Matt could hear them giggling upstairs and wondered what was going on. He wasn't used to waiting for Mandy. She was by now used to his promptness and always ready for him on their dates. But Bill (Matt was amazed he was already comfortable with the first-name basis) and Hank just took it all in stride. They appeared very used to it.

The ladies came downstairs looking like triplets. It was amazing how young Mrs. Harper looked and acted next to her daughters. All were wearing similar jean/sweater combinations, and all had the exact same hairstyle. This time it was a classic french twist, but one that ran the entire length of their head, from the nape of the neck all the way up ending directly over the front hairline. It was impossible to tell that the three had different hair lengths, even though Marie Harper's was about a foot shorter than her daughters.

Matt just smiled at the sight, while Hank and Bill applauded. The ladies all turned like models on the runway.
Bill stepped forward. "You three are sure to be the prettiest at the mall." He kissed his wife quickly but with obvious passion. Matt liked how open these people were with their affection for each other.
Matt whispered to Mandy. "Do you three always dress alike?"
"Heavens no. We just thought we'd have some fun today."

Matt never really enjoyed going to malls, much less when they were crowded with the Christmas mobs, but this day was different. He loved the looks the three girls got from men and women alike. He loved window shopping, or giving his opinions on different gifts. He even enjoyed seeing Mandy try on different outfits for him. After a full afternoon of shopping, the group all went home for leftovers and an evening of playing games. Even though the combination of Bill and Gail easily won at Pictionary, the close battle for second between the Mandy/Hank team and his pairing with Marie was very entertaining. He didn't even mind losing.

Later that night, everyone drank tea around the fireplace and chatted. Bill had his arm around Marie as they leaned against each other in the loveseat. Matt sat near enough to Mandy on the couch to hold hands. Matt was trying not to be obvious, but was watching every move Hank made. Hank came across as the stereotype burly, beer-drinking, tough-guy construction worker. But when he was with his wife he was so different, so... tender. Gail knelt down in front of him and leaned back against his legs. As she told a story to the group he slowly started taking down her updo without being asked. But she seemed totally unaware of it, and just continued talking, making sure to keep her head still for him. When it was all undone and falling to the floor, he picked up a hairbrush from the adjacent coffee table and gently brushed her hair. Her dark mane wasn't quite as thick as Mandy's but was just as long and looked every bit as healthy. He never expected Gail to have long hair and didn't know why. Probably because she was a hairdresser, and Matt always thought hairdressers wore the latest styles, which usually meant fairly short.

It was the next moments that really captured Matt's attention. Hank put down the brush and just started playing with his wive's hair. He would start braiding parts of it, twirling others around, or just start arranging it on top of her head. She just continued on with her story like nothing was happening. The others in the room also ignored it, like it was an everyday occurrence. Maybe it was.

Hank was now replacing the hairpins as he haphazardly created an updo of his own with her hair. When he was done she touched it with her hands to feel what he had done (it was nothing special but fun to watch) and then lovingly smiled at him, then tugged on his shirt until his lips met hers for a short but wonderful kiss. Then Hank took down the creation and just let her hair lay straight. He brushed it just a bit to get whatever tangles he created out, and then once again placed the brush down and just stroked it with his hands.

She softly talked to him."Would you do a 16-strand for me for the ballet tomorrow night?"
"Sure, that would look great."
Matt had no idea what they were talking about, but he did know that the three couples, plus Paul and his girlfriend were all going to the Nutcracker the next afternoon. Mandy also overheard the conversation.
"Did you actually teach him to do that one?"
Gail smiled enthusiastically to her little sister. "Amongst others. He actually does it much better and faster than I do!"

Now Matt understood and was stunned. Gail actually taught Hank how to style her hair. He was sure Hank didn't share that tidbit with his buddies on the construction sight. But the idea was also very exciting, and very arousing to Matt. He wondered if he would ever get to that point with Mandy. He certainly wanted to. Though he had no idea how to put her hair into even a simple ponytail, he would love the chance to try. He looked over at her in the wonderful french twist. She was watching attentively as her sister spoke, but gave him a quick, lovely smile and wink.
Matt went to sleep that night trying to figure out what that wink was for.

The next day was a casual day around the house, doing some simple chores and watching television. Then around noon the ladies went upstairs to prepare for the ballet. Hank also went upstairs. Matt knew why, but feigned ignorance. He posed the question to Bill.
"Where is Hank going?"
"Upstairs to do Gail's hair for her." He said it with indifference.
"I thought she was the hairstylist."
"Oh she is, but she likes him to do it sometimes for her. I'll do Marie's sometimes to if she asks." He seemed a little melancholy.
"You sound a little disappointed."
"It may sound odd but I wish she'd ask more often."
"Why don't you ask her?"
He sat with a blank look on his face, as if the thought never crossed his mind. "You know, I might just do that. Thank you."
Matt wondered if he'd get the nerve up to follow his own advice someday.

After a shave and shower the three men were all dressed in suits awaiting the appearance of their ladies. Gail came down the stairs first in a beautiful navy blue dress. Her hair was in a sleek and extremely wide braid that only reached about halfway down her back. What he'd learned is that a "16-strand" meant 16 sections molded in to one braid. It was fabulous and he had no idea how Hank did it, but he did it very well. She looked extremely elegant.

Marie was next down the stairs dressed in a floor length gown with her hair in a Victorian updo. It was fairly simple but classic and met with the warm and loving approval of her husband. Like Mandy these ladies very much enjoyed dressing for their men.
Mandy finally made her appearance. Her bangs were combed the side and slicked smooth and glossy, and the rest was drawn tightly back behind her. It was arranged in an elegant series of coils, and then (similar to her short hair illusion that one day several months ago) about a foot of full and fabulous curls were allowed to escape down to the middle of her back. It was impossible to tell how long her hair actually was or how the style was done. She wore a long deep green dress and looked every inch like royalty. She beamed a smile at him. She knew exactly what she was doing, and that was putting him deeper under her spell. His love for her was growing every minute.

That afternoon went all too fast. The ballet was a delight. Even Hank seemed to like it. He was destroying every preconceived notion Matt ever held about the construction profession. By the time everyone was home and into casual clothes it was time for Hank and Gail to go as they would be spending that evening and the next day with his relatives. Matt had hoped he would be able to spend some time alone with Mandy, and maybe even brush her hair again, but somehow that opportunity just didn't arise. It was a great weekend though and Matt genuinely adored the Harper family.
The next morning, as the young couple prepared to leave for State College, everyone exchanged good-bye hugs.
"You know you have to come back," exclaimed Marie. "You still owe us a dance demonstration."
As they were driving back Matt put his hand on Mandy's thigh. "That was the best Thanksgiving I've ever had. Thank you."
"Thank you. My folks think you're great." She pecked him on the cheek. "So do I."
It was hard for either of them to believe that in only a few hours they would have to again hit the books and worry about classes. They talked about Christmas. It was decided they would each spend the 25th with their own respective parents, but Mandy would come to Philadelphia for New Years. Matt hoped she would like his parents as much as he liked hers.

Sheri delicately touched Janice's hair. She had anticipated this appointment, but not quite so soon. Her bleached blonde hair was extremely dry, course, and brittle. The ends were ragged and split, and it looked like a great deal had broken off since her last appointment two months ago. She wondered what she was doing to cause so much damage so fast.
"I'm just here to get the roots bleached. They're looking pretty tacky."
"So you don't want a trim?" Sheri knew she didn't need a trim to repair this mess. She needed a cut, and a major one at that.
"Oh no, I don't want to cut anything. I need it to grow much longer."
"It's really in poor shape. I should cut at least...."
"No, I don't want it cut."
"If I don't, it's only going to get worse."
"NO, I DON'T WANT YOU TO CUT A FUCKING THING!!!" Her volume brought all activity in the shop to a standstill. Sheri stood stunned. Janice was certainly not the young woman she once knew anymore.

Janice clenched her fists and tried to contain herself. "I just want the roots bleached. Are you going to do that or should I go find someone else."

Sheri figured Janice was just having a really bad time lately, so she humored her, even though she certainly wouldn't be helping her hair any. "All right, I'll do it for you." As she did she tried to pry into why this change in personality. She didn't really get any answers, just that she wanted her hair down below her bottom as soon as possible.
"What about getting extensions?" This was a new concept to Janice and for the next hour she asked all about the possibilities. The cost was an issue, but she figured in time she could come up with the funds. She left much happier, and Sheri did too. If she did get extensions, then at least she could cut off the damaged portions of Janice Henderson's hair.

As usual when he needed a study break, Matt could be found with his girlfriend. She was stressing over her upcoming English final, and so his company was very welcome too. He was again brushing her hair, something he could often be found doing ever since Thanksgiving. Mandy didn't mind in the least. That first time he brushed her hair had been absolute paradise. Now, with more experience, he was even better at it. Doing it herself wasn't nearly as pleasurable anymore since discovering how adept her boyfriend was. She could just sit with her eyes closed and relax. It was as stimulating as any massage.

Matt loved brushing her hair. When focused on this simple task he found his mind cleared of all the problems of the day. He could just go on and on endlessly. He also knew he wanted to play with her hair, just like Hank did with Gail's. At this very moment he had strong urges to start gathering it up and arranging it in various twists and braids. He'd even caught himself fantasizing about such creations when trying to fall to sleep one night. But unlike his advice to Mr. Harper, Matt couldn't summon up the courage to ask.

When finals were finally over, the couple went to see a campus Holiday theatrical production as a treat. The next day they would both be heading home and wouldn't see each other until New Year's. Mandy was surprised that Matt asked her to wear her hair in the same french twist she had at the shopping mall in Beaver Falls. She had planned something a bit more elaborate, but gladly obliged. It was the first time he'd ever requested her to wear any particular style. She didn't realize that one had been such a favorite to him.

Prior to heading out, the two exchanged Christmas gifts. Matt bought her a pair of earrings she had admired in the mall over Thanksgiving. She hugged him in delight and wondered how he had bought them without her noticing. He just smiled but refused to reveal his little magic trick. Her present to him was a full length warm robe he had always talked about having. With it on he felt a bit like Hugh Heffner. He certainly had a gorgeous woman by his side. While neither gift was extremely expensive, both were very much from the heart and neither could imagine a finer present.
After the performance, which suffered from some technical problems but was a joy all the same, the couple went to Mandy's room. She kicked her shoes off and snuggled up next to him. He touched her updo tenderly.

"I didn't realize this was a favorite of yours."
Matt was fumbling for words again. "I love all your creations. I can't say this is my favorite, but I kind of had a..... a reason for asking for this style."
"And what was that?"
"I was kind of hoping you'd...... that you'd let me take it down for you. I saw Hank take down Gail's and figured I could do it too. On a lot of your other styles I wouldn't even know where to begin."

Mandy was cheering inside that he wanted to do more, though on the outside she just gave him a warm smile. She was hoping he'd be just as competent at this as he was at brushing her mane. She sat at his feet with her back to him. "Be my guest."
Matt gently touched the hair, trying to find a pin to remove. As he looked it over he tried remembering how Hank did it, and wondered if Gail had used as much hair spray as Mandy, as her style was firmly locked into place. As he recalled Hank started at the top and worked his way down, and so Matt tried to copy it. He found a pin and slowly slid it out, making sure it didn't take any hairs with it. Mandy purred ever so quietly. His touch was proving just as she hoped. Matt found himself totally aroused in record time as he removed pin after pin and it slowly started to unravel. When the last pin was removed and it all tumbled down her back he felt very satisfied with himself but was almost sorry there wasn't more to it. He took her brush in hand but then paused.

"I've never brushed your hair when it's been sprayed."
"Don't worry, it just brushes right out." She was completely confident in his abilities right now, and looking forward to being further spoiled by his touch. She also very much wanted to be in his arms and kiss him. She knew every day she was falling deeper in love with Matt Johnson.

Matt was looking forward to seeing his folks again and relaxing at home, even if it did mean being apart from Mandy for a bit. He was really looking forward to seeing her on New Year's Eve. He wondered what she would wear, and how she would arrange her hair. She had the uncanny ability of keeping everything so fresh and new. But when Matt pulled into his parents driveway all thoughts of Mandy immediately faded. Instead he looked stunned at the 'For Sale' sign planted in their front yard.
When his dad and mom came out to welcome him home, they couldn't even manage a hug. He just pointed to the sign.
"Would someone please tell me what this is all about?!"

Richard spoke up. "It's good to see you too! Come on inside and we'll tell you. It's really going to all be quite marvelous."
Matt sat mouth agape as his parents took turns filling him in on their latest venture. It seems they had a good friend, Juan Marquez, who was looking to retire and wanted to sell his established and profitable dance studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. At first the thought of moving didn't interest the couple, but after visiting they quickly fell in love with the smaller but elegant city, the slower pace of life, and the entire southwest lifestyle. They approached their present senior instructors, Eddie and Blair, about the possibility of buying from them the Philadelphia studio. It all went as planned and not only would it be a brand new start but the couple would have a nifty profit to show for their troubles.

Elaine touched his shoulder. "Wait until you see the sunsets there. They are just incredible."
Matt didn't know what to say. He couldn't remember the last time he saw his parents so excited, so he couldn't help but feel happy for them. Still, NEW MEXICO?! That was about as far from Philadelphia as they could get, literally and figuratively, and still be in the United States. He also couldn't imagine anyone else owning this house. This was the house he was brought up in. Someone else would be calling his bedroom their own. That evening Matt got very little sleep. This had been a trying day.
As New Year's approached the Johnson's were looking forward to meeting Mandy, and tried getting more information about her from Matt. He didn't really say much though, as he would rather they just meet her without a great deal of preconceived notions.

Elaine was clearly wanting more information. "Would you at least tell us what she looks like?"
"She very pretty, or at least I think so."
"You said she has nice hair. What does that mean?"
'Nice Hair.' What an understatement that was. "It's real pretty. It's long and blonde and .... really pretty."
"OK, it's blonde and long. Now we're getting somewhere. How long is long? Below her shoulders?"
"No, much longer than that. Actually, she can sit on it."
"Sit on it?! Oh my, that's just too much hair if you ask me."
Matt didn't think there was such a thing as too much hair anymore, though he could understand his mom's train of thought. He used to agree with her before he met Mandy. He wondered if she would alter his mom's opinion of very long hair also.

When Mandy pulled into the Johnson driveway Matt was standing there ready to greet her. He had been sitting by the window all day, trying to read a book to make the time pass, but really just anxiously waiting to be with her again. She looked terrific in her warm winter jacket and jeans. Her hair was hanging down straight and silky, and her bangs were perfectly curled under as usual. The couple hugged long and hard and then kissed each other passionately. Then Matt collected her bags and led her into the house. She stared at the 'For Sale' sign. "What's that all about?"
"Don't worry. It's my parents latest, greatest adventure."

He led her inside where he proudly introduced her to his parents. He grinned as he could see his father immediately captivated by her beauty and energy. His mom stared at her long tresses with amazement.

"Matt told me you had long hair but I never imagined. Don't you find it gets in the way, or limits you, or anything?"
Matt frowned at his mom, but Mandy took it in stride.
"Not at all. In fact I think it gives me more possibilities actually."
It was not an answer Elaine was ready for, and she was left speechless.

The next hour was spent sipping hot apple cider and getting to know one another. Mandy was enlightened about the move to New Mexico and was filled with questions. She loved 'Santa Fe Style' and impressed they had the courage to make such a move. Matt could see it in his parents eyes, she was winning them over just like she had won him. Her energy, her confidence, her.... spirit, were all so strong one was helpless to be anything but enamored with her.
After dinner Mandy went upstairs to get ready for the New Year's Party that evening. As soon as she was safely out of range, Matt turned to his parents. "So, what do you think of her?"
Richard spoke up first. "Wow! She's terrific son. And very pretty too."
Elaine cut in. "She's more than that, she's absolutely gorgeous, and such a pleasant personality."

Matt was so happy that his parents approved of her, even though he knew they would. He didn't realize until now how much their opinion still meant to him. He headed upstairs to prepare for the evening's festivities. They would all be heading to a major party at the convention center, with numerous rooms each featuring different themes, live music, and dancing.
When he was ready, Matt knocked on the guestroom door to see if Mandy needed any help. He was extremely anxious to see her.

"I'll be just a few more minutes, so you'll just have to wait."
"Are you sure I can't come in?"
"No. I want to surprise you."
Matt went downstairs and chatted with his parents. Elaine seemed as anxious to see Mandy as he was. "Does she need any help dear?"
"No, she'll be right down. She likes to make big entrances. She's rather good at it too."
"Well I hope she doesn't take too much longer, because we really need too........OH MY!!!"

All heads turned to see Mandy walk down the stairs. The sight of her even took Matt's breath away, and he thought he was used to it by now. She was wearing a very tight dress that was a mixture of bright pinks and purples. It was cut at a sharp angle so it nearly touched the ground on the right, but showed almost all of her left leg. A purple fringe lined the angled seem. It was extremely low cut with thin straps. It looked to be pretty low cut in the back too since he was looking at her profile.
Her hair had once again been transformed into a huge mass of tight curls that exploded with volume. But it was all drawn over to the right, and the left side was a smooth but formidable wave that arched high over her head. Her bangs were drawn into the wave so it was impossible to tell she even had them. Matt recognized that it was a variation of the style he suggested on Halloween. That was her surprise! The hair went fantastic with the dress, as it was drawn up and over on the short side of the dress, and hung down on the long side. She looked absolutely magnificent. Matt quickly went up and hugged her. He relished the feel of her stiffly sprayed, teased-out hair. He was stiff too. He whispered in her ear, "You look so awesome I can't even find the words." She smiled at him with wet, full lips. "Thank you. Your hair idea worked didn't it!?"

Elaine Johnson couldn't believe this sight. This woman looked every bit a Goddess. And her hair was amazing. There was so much of it but it totally fit her. She already was becoming a fan of this lovely creature. "Please tell me that's a wig."
"Oh no, it's all mine."
"Really. I didn't think that was possible. Wherever did you learn to do this?" Elaine was delicately touching it. "Isn't this incredible Richard? I'll bet you've never seen anything like this before Matt!" Matt just kept his tongue, letting his mom soak in the moment. If he told her about all the things he'd seen Mandy do with her hair, they might never get to the party.

The Convention Center was packed with many beautiful people, but Mandy still stood out wherever she went, and Matt loved the fact he was the one she was with. By now he was used to the attention she attracted and was comfortable with his role of supporting actor. The fact that they could dance beautifully together really made people take notice. It was a tremendous night, and when the clock struck midnight they kissed long and passionately. Richard and Elaine noticed and were thrilled. They both had no doubt that this girl was someone very special. They wouldn't be surprised if the relationship went the distance.

The next morning when Elaine and Richard finally awoke, Mandy and Matt were downstairs preparing a late breakfast. Mandy had showered early that morning and her hair was once again straight and hanging down behind her. It was nearly dry. Matt could see his mom trying not to be obvious, but staring at her hair at every opportunity. He smiled and had trouble containing a laugh of satisfaction. The rest of the afternoon his parents, especially Elaine, were always at her side, learning more about her and sharing stories. Matt caught Elaine constantly reaching out and touching her on the shoulder, on her hair. His mom was usually not that way with people, and he just sat back content. They were crazy about her.

When it was finally time for Matt and Mandy to depart, in separate vehicles, to return to school the Johnson's couldn't wait to meet again.
"Take good care of her," Richard whispered. "This one is a treasure."
"I know, and I will."

Several weeks later Matt was in his room studying. His roommate, Eric Meadows, was in the library again. He spent more time there then in the apartment. The phone rang and Matt was welcomed by Mandy's musical voice. She wondered if she could come over and use his stereo. She had to listen and critique a piece for her Music Appreciation class and her small boombox just didn't do the trick. Matt welcomed the study break and went out to tidy up a bit first. Mandy arrived very cold from the winter storm passing through the area, despite being wrapped in layer upon layer of clothing. Matt went and fixed her a big hot chocolate, and did the same for himself. By the time he returned to the living room she was busy cueing up the piece by Bach. She was down to just a sweatshirt and jeans, and her hair cascaded down her back straight and perfect. She sat down on the floor in the middle of the room so she was directly between the two speakers, and closed her eyes as she listened to the music, sipping her hot drink.

Matt sat on his favorite chair several feet behind her and just watched. He couldn't believe how important this woman had become to him. Just watching her brought him extreme joy. All he could see at this moment was her long tresses swaying back and forth slowly with the rhythm of the orchestra. How he wished he had a brush in the apartment so he could brush her hair. That was one of the reasons he much preferred getting together at her room. She listened to the full piece, then started it over again, jotting down some notes from time to time. Matt just sat entranced. When she started running through the song a third time, Matt couldn't take it anymore and crawled behind her. He gathered her hair in his hands and started brushing it with his fingers. He could hear the slight purring sound she always made which meant his attentions were very welcome.

When the piece ended again and she went up to start it over, Matt helped her and showed her how to program repeat mode so she wouldn't have to keep getting up to start it. The couple returned to the floor, and Matt suddenly found his hands starting to separate the huge mane into three sections and trying to braid it. Never before had he done anything but brush her hair, and he hoped she wouldn't mind. He very much wanted to play with it and was finally taking the chance. Mandy knew precisely what was going on, and she stopped swaying her head to the music to make it easier for him. She didn't say a word or even look at him, just as Gail had done with Hank. He had been given the green light. He was totally aroused.

After he finished the braid, he started winding it up into a loose bun. As he folded the end into the mass he was stunned to find it stayed in place. He let it go and just surveyed his first creation. It wasn't much but it sure was fun. Mandy reached up and touched it to see what he had done. She turned to him and gently smiled. "Someone is having fun."

"Yes, I am."
"I wasn't talking about you." She turned away from him again and started jotting down more notes. The bun unraveled and fell down her back. Matt was even more excited. She was encouraging him to continue. He undid the makeshift braid and started smoothing the hair again with his fingers, wondering what to try next. He remembered undoing her french twist after the Holiday show, and wondered if he could recreate it. He started delicately winding it all into a coil. Mandy just kept jotting down notes as if nothing was going on, but paused to reach into her pocket and deposited a handful of hairpins on the carpet. "You can use these if you want." She went right back to her schoolwork. Several minutes later she closed her notepad and set it aside, then closed her eyes as Matt tried to pin the roll in place. He crawled around in front of her to get a better angle, and he noted her relaxed features with a hint of a grin. His version of the french twist was looking nothing like hers, but he was enjoying this immensely anyway. He slid the last pin in place and stood back holding his breath. He was expecting to see it all come flying apart. She reached up and felt it, then ever so slowly opened her eyes and looked at him. She licked her lips. They were wonderful lips. They mouthed the words "I love you'. He kissed them ever so softly, again and again. She put one hand around him, gripping his hair and pressing his lips to hers hard. The two fell into each other and held tight. Then they both just laid on their side staring at one another. Mandy ran her right hand slowly down the front of his shirt. When it reached the bottom she untucked it from his pants, then reached under it and started walking her fingers up his bare chest. Matt rolled onto his back to make it easier for her. She sat up and slid her left hand up to join her right. Once both had reached his upper chest, they pulled his shirt off and tossed it on the floor. Then she bent over him and started slowly kissing his chest. The french twist started flopping to one side but held. She ignored it. He started to reach up to take it down but she caught his hand and stopped it. She put his forefinger into her mouth and gently sucked on it, then let it slide out. Matt let his fingers softly slide down her chin, her neck, and then down her chest until it reached her right breast. He started slowly circling her right nipple with the tips of his fingers. She stopped in her tracks, closed her eyes, and started breathing through her mouth a bit faster. He kept going, fluctuating the size of the circle, and the amount of pressure he applied. She sat up and pulled of her sweater and T-shirt, leaving only a light pink silk bra. Amazingly her hair still stayed up, although it was now looser. Matt just took in the moment, unmoving.

"You don't have to stop," she whispered. He touched her once again. Then his hands went up to her hair and started removing the pins. This time she didn't stop him. Instead she continued kissing his chest as he unlocked her flowing tresses. They all tumbled down over her shoulder, and over his stomach.

She sat up and tossed her mane behind her, and put the handful of pins on the counter nearby. She turned back to him quickly, just as he began sitting up. Her chest was thrust directly into his face. It momentarily surprised her but she just held still. Matt rubbed his cheeks softly against her breasts, and then started kissing the exposed portions. Mandy closed her eyes. She was breathing faster and louder now. She reached behind herself and undid her bra so he could kiss wherever he wanted. He brought his right hand up and caressed her left breast, gently flicking at the nipple while he kissed the right one. She ran her nails along his back fairly vigorously. He ran his left hand down her thigh and softly up the back of her leg, taking his time just behind her knee. Then it traveled upward again and massaged her bottom. She was really breathing fast now, and traveled one hand down his chest until it rested on the front of his pants, now stretched to the limits. She pressed against them and started rubbing him..

As he sat up he gathered her into his arms, all the time kissing her breast. She wrapped her arms around him hard and her hair fell over her shoulder and down his back. He carried her to his room, and closed the door. The two made love for the first time.

Over the next month the couple grew even closer, and neither could imagine life without the other. Their schoolwork suffered a bit at first until they both recognized the need to start buckling down. But any free time was spent in the loving arms of the other.

Janice Henderson left the shop totally happy. It had taken a while but she finally had enough money to get the hair extensions, and now she had the long blond hair she so badly wanted. It was just as long as 'That Woman', and just as full. Of course when Sheri had to severely cut her own hair well above her shoulders to get rid of the extensive damage she had almost cried, but she had to admit her own hair had been in terrible shape. Now she had a fresh start, and this time even purchased the products Sheri advised to maintain her new look. She almost ran home anxious to see what she could do with it all.

Richard and Elaine Johnson finally found a buyer for their house, and made the move to New Mexico. They already had a house lined up to buy, which was larger and newer than their old house at a lower price. Their Santa Fe studio was very nice and full of students ready to give the new owners a try. Juan had almost no staff, opting to do most of the teaching himself, so the Johnson's were really in control of their own fate. Once it was discovered how competent the couple was, the money started living up to all their hopes and expectations. They started taking in all the cultural and artistic events of the city, and quickly became lovers of this unique state. They had to admit it would take them a while to get used to some of the cuisine. Mexican food in the east was tremendously mild compared to the desert southwest. But overall the couple could honestly say they had never been happier.

A month later Mandy was awaken by her phone. It was 2 a.m. She had no idea who was calling but usually calls in the middle of the night weren't good news.
"My father had a stroke."
"Matt? Oh No! Is he all right?"
"From what I can tell he's out of danger, but mom is hysterical. In any case it will be some time before he can work again. He was doing a lot of the teaching and was running the business. Mom doesn't know what they will do."
"You need to be there for them."
"I know. I can teach his classes, and I'll get to see real fast if these business courses actually prepared me for the real world. I'm packing up my stuff right now. I figure with luck I can be there in three days."
"Don't push yourself too hard. All I need is to learn you wrecked because you fell asleep at the wheel. I'm coming over to help you pack."
"You don't have to....." The phone line was already dead. Mandy was on her way.

Between Matt, Eric and Mandy the car was packed and ready to go before daybreak. Eric and Mandy would take care of everything with the school and his classes. He would have to take incompletes this term which was the last thing on his mind. He was visibly shaken by everything and feared for his father's life. Mandy was frightened too but needed to be the strong one now. She held his hand and talked to him softly as he ate a big breakfast. Eric just gave the couple space and made sure the car was ready for the long haul ahead by checking the oil, tire pressure, etc...

Matt looked at Mandy with tears in his eyes. "I don't know when I'll see you again."
Mandy fought back her own sorrow. "I know. I'll be here for you when you get back, and there's always the phone and E-mail." They squeezed hands wishing they didn't have to let go. But soon the sun was peeking over the valley and both knew it was time to say good-bye. They kissed and hugged long and hard, and as they parted Matt ran his hands down the length of her hair one last time. At least he hoped it wasn't the last time. Then he was in his car and started on his long journey west. When his car was finally out of site Mandy could no longer hold back her emotions, and she sat on the sidewalk crying.

Janice Henderson sat outraged, her hands full of the extensions that used to be on her head. They were handling her daily styling sessions even worse than her own tresses had, falling out at an alarming rate. She figured soon she would be left with only her own hair, which was now the shortest she'd ever had it. She stood and looked at the collage of pictures of 'That Woman' that adorned her walls. She knew now she would never have the look she wanted and was beyond furious. There would be hell to pay and she fully intended to make the guilty parties pay for doing this to her. She picked up a lipstick and walked over to the largest picture. Revenge would be easier since 'That Woman's' boyfriend had moved away. She opened the lipstick and smiled as she drew an X across Mandy's face.


So how did I do? Please send me any comments, criticisms, ideas for the plot of part 3 or any other story ideas you might have. Thank you to all who submitted their ideas after reading Part 1.

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