Nicky Needs To Be Normal - The Hair Story Network (2022)

Just a heads up to readers. This story is very long, more of a novella than short story. There are 4 haircuts on 3 people and and a half dozen or so sex scenes, 4 long and detailed. Pace yourself.

Chapter 1

———————- The first request ———————

I looked in the bathroom mirror and ran my hands through my hair. The top and back could easily wait till the week after next for a trim, they were pretty long and deliberately shaggy anyway, Angel only trimmed the top and back every third haircut. The paired side cuts were looking scruffy as hell though. The sides were short enough that the quarter of an inch changed everything. The designs in them were no longer visible, and the fade looked more like a taper. It was no wonder, it was the day after recycling day, the day Angel always redid the sides.

Ok, the day after recycling was pretty much a coincidence. Angel did new designs on the sides of my mullet-hawk every other thursday, recycling was every other wednesday, they just happened to have synced up. Angel had been particularly enthusiastic yesterday telling me they couldn’t wait to show me the sketch they had in mind for this time. I almost always just let them do what they wanted, I trusted them to know me well enough to pick things that worked for me, and their instagram brought in plenty of business.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Emma approach. She eased up next to me leaning against the counter, peeking coyly with one eye from behind her curtain of bright red hair in a way that screamed that she was going to ask me for a favor. I smiled and put my hand on her curvy hips, because indulging Emma was something I tended to enjoy immensely.

Emma coming to live here had been the silver lining of the pandemic for me. I’d met her a few years ago, before the pandemic started, on one of those all lesbian cruises. The cruise had been a gift from my business partner Nicklas, Klaus, he said it was the only way he could think of to get me to stop moping. I suspected he just wanted me out of the shop for two weeks.

I was moping because I’d been through yet another cycle of a client, sometimes mine but more often one of the other stylists’, becoming a girlfriend, then breaking up with me, and us agreeing to still be friends and she could still come to the salon. Frankly, things at the shop had started to get awkward with all my exes.

My dating life had admittedly been kind of a disaster at that point. It was hard to just get to date normally when everyone knew me ahead of time from my reputation. Every lesbian in town knew me as the barber to butches, or one of the Doms from the kink community. It was hard to just relax and simply be me when dating someone who I’d only just met, but who thought they already knew me.

The cruise had turned out to be the perfect opportunity to meet people who didn’t know a single thing about me ahead of time. Emma, lived far enough away that I wasn’t a staple of gossip in her lesbian friend circle, but close enough that driving to her on my days off, or her driving here for the weekend, wasn’t unmanagable. Then when the pandemic hit, and Emma started working from home, home became here with me. It had been a bit early in the relationship, but not a total uhaul moment.

Having the nerdy little femme switch move in had gone wonderfully. I wasn’t stuck at home alone to just worry about if the barbershop could survive being closed during lockdown. Then when we could reopen, it had been nice coming home to someone who loved me at the end of a long day. And finally once everyone was vaccinated and could meet her, everyone adored her.

“Nicky,” Emma opened the request I’d known was coming, “I need a really big favor from you.”

“Um’hmm,” I encouraged her as I used my nose to nudge the cascading flame colored wave over her shoulder and started nibbling her neck.

“It’s the day you usually get your haircut after the salon closes?” She checked.

“Mmmm, that’s right.” I worked my way up towards her delicate ear, her soft hair brushing against my face.

“Could you skip it?” Emma asked, as she arched slightly.

“Sure, I can get Angel to do it tomorrow or maybe during my lunch break,” I easily agreed, wondering what Emma had planned for tonight, and kissed back down her neck.

“No, I meant skip it completely.” Emma said, breathing heavily as I kissed her collarbone.

“Huh?” I paused, stood up, and pulled back so I could look at her properly. “What are you getting at?”

“Ok, I know this is huge,” Emma said nervously, “but can you please grow out the sides for a couple of months.”

“You have got to be kidding me.” I was a bit hurt and confused by the request.

“Listen, it’s not for me.” She explained. “I love your mullet-hawk, and don’t want you to change, but my mom…”

“Marge has already seen me and had her pearl clutching moment.” I pointed out. “It’s a bit too late to hide from her that your girlfriend is a butch blue collar biker dyke.”

“She asked me to try to get you to look ‘normal’ for my sister’s wedding.” Emma did at least look embarrassed asking me.

“Or,” I offered with a smirk. “I could just skip your sister’s wedding and your mom could enjoy a whole weekend of pretending you’re going to fulfill her desire for you to marry a well educated middle class man.”

“She won’t just be content to pretend,” Emma pouted. “She will spend the entire time actively trying to make it happen.”

“Don’t worry, I trust you.” I pecked her on the cheek and walked out of the bathroom since I did actually need to get ready for work.

“It’s going to be pure torture for me though.” Emma whined adorably following me to the bedroom.

“If you find it that hard to resist the men your mom tries to fix you up with,” I smirked at her obvious annoyance, “then maybe you should start identifying as bi instead of lesbian. I’ll still love you.”

Emma gave me a death glare from the doorway as I put on my watch.

“You KNOW that’s not what I meant.” Emma grumbled, then turned on the puppy dog eyes. “Please, I need you there with me. I just want your support to get through the weekend without murdering my mother and going to jail.”

Damn she was good at the puppy dog eyes, adding just the tiniest bit of lip quiver to it.

Chapter 2

————————— Instagram worthy ——————————-

“Angel, I’m sorry.” I sighed as the other barber followed me into the office where I had a stack of mail I needed to look at before my first client was scheduled to show up. “I’m not exactly thrilled myself, but I’m trying to be supportive of Emma.”

“But I need it for my instagram.” The skinny enby pleaded. “I will lose followers if I don’t post.”

I managed to not roll my eyes, as I sliced open an envelope. I was pretty sure that was melodramatic BS, but tried to be nice anyway.

“You have 9 appointments today. I have trouble believing that not a single one of the people you give haircuts to today will be willing to let you post them and let you do something instagram worthy.” I dropped the contents of the junk mail into the shredder. “It’s just a couple of months, as soon as this wedding is over, my mullet-hawk is all yours again.”

“You know that in a couple of months, it’s not even going to look like a mullet-hawk.” Angel warned me.

I sighed, because of course they were right. I already kind of felt like it looked like crap, and I wasn’t even past the two week mark yet,not for another 9 hours. It was going to be a really frustrating couple of months growing this shit out and trying to not look scruffy at work. I dropped the offer of yet another credit card into the shredder.

“Well, Emma’s mom doesn’t want it to look like a mullet-hawk,” I said with annoyance, “so that is kinda the point.”

“How are you going to deal with looking good at work for two months?”

I sighed. I’m going to go insane that’s how. Completely and utterly mad.

“I’ll manage.” I said as I sliced open the next envelope. “I’ll just slick the sides back with some sculpting wax.”

“That is going to look so vanilla.” Angel pointed out like I didn’t know it.

“Do you have anything actually helpful to add? Any great styling tips I don’t know.” I asked sarcastically, getting really annoyed with the conversation that was making the excruciatingly mundane task of checking to make sure all the junk mail addressed to me actually was junk take even longer.

“Let me give you a haircut and stop acting like a henpecked husband.”

“I said helpful.” I pointed out while glaring at Angel, and put an envelope that I figured I actually should go over with Klaus aside. “And try to remember, I am your boss.”

“Hmmph,” Angel scoffed, but did leave the office.

It was going to be a very long, painful 2 months.

Chapter 3

———————————— The bargain ———————————————-

I was all nice and cozy in a warm bathrobe as I rubbed the towel over my too long mess of hair. The two month grow out had taken me from super edgy and androgenous mullet-hawk to, I guess we can pretend it’s a trendy wolf cut even though the sides are still quite a bit shorter than they should be for a wolf cut and the shape wasn’t really right. The top and back had of course been growing along with the sides. The hair on top had gone from barely brushing the tops of my ears, to coming almost half way down them, which was making it harder and harder to get into a pompadour each day.

In reality, the look was way more late ‘80s early ‘90s hockey player than trendy woman’s hair. I was actually really looking forward to Emma’s sister’s wedding in 3 days, just so I could get back from it and get this shit cut properly.

I walked into the bedroom, where Emma was carefully putting the satin bridesmaid dress that was a shade of blue she hated and a style that didn’t fit her vintage vibe at all into the garment bag next to the tan women’s pant suit with dark dusty rose stripes that had been our compromise between “there is no fucking way I am wearing a dress” and “you can not dress like a man, my mother will NEVER let me hear the end of it.” I was 99% sure I would never wear that damned suit again after this, and figured I should probably donate it to one of those charities that give suits to broke out-of-work women for job interviews. I had other suits, suits I actually liked and felt good in.

I’d actually been rather insulted at being told I couldn’t dress like a man, since I hadn’t thought I did. I thought of my look as androgenous mostly outside the binary. Yes, some of my clothing came from the men’s department, but I leaned towards the androgenous items there. Yes, all my suits came from the men’s department, but I got them tailored to fit my body in a way that didn’t aim to obscure the natural curves of my form.

One of my favorite places to get clothing was Costco where all the clothing was simply placed in the middle and not divided up by age or gender. Sure, it was often labeled by gender, but the way it was done simply felt descriptive, not prescriptive. I could get the bluejeans that were cut to fit the curve of my hips well, without having to venture into a women’s department. Then I could walk a few tables over and grab a hoodie that was thick and sturdy without having to sneak into the boys department.

When Emma turned from zipping up the bag, she went over to the bed and started doing her Veronica Lake impersonation that I was starting to feel was more than just a bit manipulative. Ok, I’d always known it was manipulative from the first time she pulled it out on the cruise, but I enjoyed it when it only came out occasionally and most of the requests were fun. In the lead up to the wedding, she’d been way over using it.

“Hey Nicky,” Emma smiled at me with a shyness that hinted at a new favor, it was getting old. “I was thinking, you could kind of use a haircut.”

“Seriously,” I’m pretty sure my jaw dropped. I mean sure, I agreed with her, I did need a haircut, but the reason I needed a haircut was because I was growing it out as a favor to her. “I have wanted a haircut for 2 months, growing out the sides was to make YOUR mother happy.”

“I don’t mean like your regular haircut.” She said, batting her eyes. “I appreciate how you let the sides grow out so much. They are absolutely perfect, no scalp showing. I owe you such a debt of gratitude for that. It’s the back.”

“What’s wrong with the back,” I asked defensively as I picked up a comb and ran it through the hair that had reached my shoulder a couple of weeks after I’d started the grow out. I was trying to get ready for work.

“It’s just that it’s not the same length as the sides.” She pointed out as she nervously fiddled with the hem of her vintage green dress and looked out from behind the curtain of hair that draped over one eye.

“Well, it would have taken around a year for the sides to have grown that much.” I said. “I can’t make it grow faster.”

“I know,” she conceded, but then added a request. “You can get the back cut to the same length as the sides though.”

I stopped getting ready and turned to really look at her and see if she seemed serious. Of course she did. She also looked nervous. I think she knew this one was an ask on a whole different level from the way too numerous previous asks.

“Growing out the sides was a couple of months of looking a bit scruffy. It was a bit embarrassing at the shop, but basically something I could camouflage with styling.” I said bluntly. “I can’t just cut the back then have it back when the wedding is over. It will take a year to grow back.”

“I know. I would owe you big time. I know it’s a big deal.” Emma looked almost like she might cry.

“Emma, the mullet-hawk isn’t just a style I like, it’s part of my branding. It’s part of a very carefully cultivated image.”

“It’s an image that sets you so far outside of anything my family is comfortable with.” Emma said as a tear rolled down her pretty cheek.

“Why are you making me go then?” I complained. “If you care that much about being acceptable to them, why not just let them pretend you’re straight.”

Emma started really crying at that one, the silent tears rolling down her face and the manipulative theatrics dropped. She just looked hurt. I knew I’d hit below the belt. I knew she’d been trying to find some impossible way to make them accept that she was gay. I knew she thought that if she could show up with a woman who was otherwise acceptable to them that they might start to accept the gay. I knew that that was complete bullshit, but it was bullshit that Emma still needed to cling to.

“It’s going to cost you way more than a little extra nookie and bondage.” I gave in, because as much as I’m a Dom, I’m also a complete sucker where Emma is concerned.

“Anything. I will do anything.” Emma promised, as a tear dripped from her pointy little chin.

“After we get home from the wedding weekend, I get to do anything I want to your hair.” I bargained. “And I mean anything. No holds barred.”

“Anything?” Emma asked, her voice delightfully fearful as a hand twitched towards the end of the lock of hair nearest it. “What do you have in mind? You still want to shave my neck don’t you?”

“I haven’t decided yet.” I admitted smiling. “But you will let me, and you won’t complain. And I really do mean anything, I don’t want any limitations while I think about it. And I don’t mean you are just finally giving in and letting me clean up that pretty neck of yours, I mean anything I feel like with all of it. I get to shave you bald if I want.”

“Do you want to shave me bald?” Emma asked with surprise.

“I haven’t decided yet, but it needs to be a possibility on the table considering what you’re asking of me.” I reiterated. “It’s definitely going to be way more drastic than just cleaning up those little baby hairs on your neck that bug me.”

I was hoping to come up with something more creative than just shaving the pretty flame red hair all off, but it was definitely going to have to be extreme to make sure she didn’t think I was a total pushover. It needed to make an impact so that she understood how much of an impact her requests had already had on me. Generally undecided as I was about what exactly I was going to do, there was one detail I already knew for sure, the peek-a-boo wave that covered one eye was definitely going to be gone.

“I’m not asking you to shave your head though, I’m just asking you to get a normal haircut, and inch for inch lost, frankly just bobbing my hair would be more than triple what I’m asking from you.” Emma seemed to think negotiation was an option.

“It’s not really about the inches of hair though.” I explained. “I’m a barber, my hair and look are part of my branding as I said before. I have already let that branding go for 2 months. The mullet-hawk is my signature look, people who have never met me before know me from descriptions of it. You sit behind a computer and type all day by yourself. I could cut twice as much as I will be losing from yours and nobody would notice.”

“I have zoom meetings and go out in public.” She said.

In my head I added, and you need that copper wave of hair over one eye to peek out from in order to try to manipulate me, you don’t know how to do puppy dog eyes without it. And I just smirked.

“You want the mullet gone for the wedding, then I get your hair when the wedding is over.” I said, making it clear that I wasn’t going to be negotiating. “Carte blanche, anything I want, no complaining. Take it or leave it.”

Emma inhaled, closed her big brown eyes, bit her bottom lip and nodded.

Chapter 4

——————————— Gender conforming ————————-

“So why did you ask me to stay late?” Klaus asked as he turned off the neon sign.

“I need a haircut,” I muttered as I looked at the mirror above my work station while unbuttoning my red barber smock, revealing my basic black t-shirt.

“You’ve needed a haircut for over a month.” Klaus pointed out. “Did you and Angel have some falling out or something?”

“Not exactly.” I said, trying to get over my reluctance to admit to my business partner what was going on.

“So, why didn’t you ask Angel to stay and give you a haircut?” Klaus asked, then pointed out. “They are much better at the tattoo thing than I am. The only line work you’re getting from me is something basic with straight lines and simple shapes.”

“I’ve been growing out the sides for the stupid wedding I’m taking off to go to this weekend.” I admitted, because if I was going to get Klaus to cut my hair the way I needed it, he needed information. “I need my hair to look normal. And that would be Emma’s mom’s definition of normal. So the same length in the back as it is on the sides, and as female gender conforming as possible.”

Klaus just stared at me blinking and not saying anything, while I felt exceedingly uncomfortable.

“Are you serious?” He finally asked. “Is this a belated April fools joke? You want a girly hair style.”

I felt my ears get hot, I was sure they were bright red.

“Fuck you.” I said and went to go get my jacket and motorcycle helmet.

“Nicky. I didn’t mean anything.”

“I’ll go to some fucking beauty parlor or just cut it myself.”

“I’m sorry, I put my foot in my mouth.” Klaus tilted his head at me. “Do you really want to trust some other salon to do it right? And dealing with the back of your own head is a giant pain in the ass. I promise I won’t tease you, and Emma’s mom will think it’s reasonably gender appropriate. Besides, since you told me you guys are leaving first thing in the morning, it’s not like you have time for anything else.”

“You know how hard it was for me to ask you for this.” I said, putting my helmet down on the reception desk.

“Nicky, I really am sorry,” Klaus said rather genuinely. “Come on, I’ll take care of it.”

I pursed my lips and nodded, “Thank you.”

“Come on back and I’ll shampoo you, because of course my assistant is gone.” Klaus complained.

Under other circumstances, I would have told Klaus to just skip it and use a spray bottle to dampen my hair, but between the amount of product I’d used to slick back the sides and just wanting Klaus to be in his element, I didn’t say anything. I walked towards the sinks with Klaus, grabbing a towel along the way and wrapping it about my shoulders. I sat in the first chair and leaned back letting the long back of the mullet-hawk hang into the basin.

Klaus’ hands were already there, making sure my neck didn’t hit too hard, and gathering the hair towards the running water. I closed my eyes and relaxed into the warm water, it had been a long time since I’d had a wash like this. I’d half forgotten how good it felt, Klaus’ fingers working the lather against my temples.

Angel never wanted my hair to be just washed since they worked mostly with clippers. Clean, sure, but not dripping wet. So I only ever washed my own hair standing in the shower. Just leaning back and relaxing as someone else did the work was a treat I’d forgotten about.

By the time Klaus was wrapping the towel around my head and guiding me back into a sitting position, I was over the earlier hurt. I went with Klaus to his work station, and sat in his barber chair. I stared at myself in the mirror, wondering why I had agreed to this futile plan.

“So exactly how far are you willing to go to fit someone else’s definition of normal?” Klaus asked carefully. “What is happening with tattoos and piercings? How far should I take this?”

“Take it as far as you have to, you don’t have to hold back to make it fit with my andro and butch clothing and stuff. I have a very femme suit and pretty blouse from the women’s department. I’m going to be taking out the piercings.” I grumbled. “And Emma got us both cover up makeup for the tattoos.”

“Both?” Klaus asked. “Emma has tattoos?”

“Just a little butterfly on her shoulder,” I smiled slightly thinking of the way she would shyly peer over that shoulder, the butterfly right next to her bra strap. “It doesn’t show most of the time, but the bridesmaid dress is a spaghetti strap and her mom insists it can’t be visible.”

Klaus rolled his eyes, I assumed at Emma’s mom, as he began to shake out a cape, then asked. “Any last instructions?”

“I’m sure you have a better idea of what a conservative 58 year old suburban mom thinks is normal and gender appropriate than I do.” I admitted as I sat there. “Fortunately, since women’s hairstyles tend to be longer, I’m sure you’ll leave a fair amount for Angel to work with when I get back.”

“There is definitely going to be plenty left for Angel to do something with. Except for the mullety bit in the back, I only plan to adjust the shape and texture, not take off much length. Heck, if it wasn’t complicated and such short notice, I would be trying to add length to make it more femme. Angel will have more than they need to do something with.” Klaus assured me as he swung the cape over me, not bothering with a neck strip like Angel would have. “Sorry the mullety part really has to go though, I know the mullet-hawk is your look.”

“It’s fine,” I pretended not to care. “It was getting a bit old anyway, people I’d never met would just be like ‘oh you must be Mistress Nichole the Dom’ at parties and stuff.”

“You’re allowed to be unhappy.” Klaus said as he gave my shoulder a squeeze. “It’s just you and me.”

I worked my jaw, grinding my teeth just a little. There really was no particular reason I should be pretending for Klaus. I realized I was pretending for myself.

“Ironically, the more successful you are at doing what I asked, the more I’m going to hate it. I guess it’s hard for me to admit how important hair can be for identity,” I admitted as Klaus started running the comb through my wet hair. “I mean you know what I do in the backroom. It’s pretty normal for subs to leave there bawling.”

“Well sure.” Klaus nodded. “But isn’t that just reinforcing their identity as subs?”

“Yeah, I guess.”

“This is you allowing yourself to give up a big part of your identity and change your gender presentation from androgynous to femme just to make your girlfriend’s family more accepting of you.” Klaus had begun sectioning my hair and using little clips to hold it. “You are allowed to be unhappy. Heck, if I believed this wasn’t about identity, I’d be insulted that you were going to be having Angel cut it again when you get back. I’m sure it’s going to be uncomfortable enough for you having to wait a whole week till next Thursday after work.”

“I actually asked Angel if they could come in early Tuesday morning.” I admitted. “Sorry, but I really can’t handle looking, as you put it, ‘girly’ at work.”

“It’s ok.” Klaus chuckled and ran the comb down through the hair he’d left hanging on my neck, then he warned me. “Here we go.”

First he guided my head down, tilting it to his prefered angle with his fingers against my scalp. Then I felt the blade of Klaus’ scissors on my neck, then the ever so familiar sound of them slicing through wet hair.

Shhhlick

It was fascinating, how you could tell a lot about how a haircut was being done from the sound. The hiss of very sharp blades through a thin curtain of wet hair. The satisfying crunch of blades struggling against a thick hank of dry hair. The rhythmic snipping of point cutting. The clicking of scissors over comb. The decisive chomp of thinning shears. The menacing buzz of clippers. The whiny hum of edgers. The just barely audible and almost indescribable whisper of a razor gliding through hair and lather.

The weight of the wet hair slid away, and I knew that was the end of my signature mullet-hawk. I suspected I wouldn’t have the patience to grow it back anytime soon.

Klaus combed the loose hair up, and started point cutting it against his comb. I listened as he snipped away at the hair, making it match the soft length of the grown out sides. I felt the bits of hair land on my neck, similar to how they landed on my hands all day long.

It was funny. I usually got a haircut every couple of weeks, and didn’t pay much attention, just sat there and let Angel do their thing while I caught up on emails, or whatever. This felt different.

Klaus, took the clip from one of the sections he’d made, and combed down some more of what was left of my mullet. He then lifted it up with his comb and started snipping it off, the relatively long black hair fell on my shoulder heavily.

It wasn’t long before Klaus had sliced off the whole mullet part off the mullet-hawk. Of course the growing out of the sides had pretty much killed the mohawk aspect already. I was pretty much down to basic normal short hair.

I sat there watching Klaus taking tiny little snips adjusting the shape and texture, while trying to preserve as much length as he could. His main focus seemed to be softening but not eliminating the disconnect between the top, which hadn’t been all that short and the sides which even with 2 months of growth were quite a bit shorter.

When Klaus put down the comb and scissors, the cut was still what many would consider androgenous. I really just didn’t have enough hair for Klaus to have taken it to high femme, I figured he was about to take me as close as he could via styling when he picked up a big round brush and hair dryer.

I sat there watching Klaus twirl the brush through my hair sculpting it gently. When he was done, my bangs swept over my forehead off to the side, instead of up and back in the pompadour I usually did. It wasn’t the girliest thing ever, but I basically read as female, even with the cape completely obscuring my figure.

Of course Klaus spent another 15 minutes on the little details like making sure my sideburns ended in wispy perfection instead of sharp angles, He then coated the whole thing in a mist of hairspray.

Klaus acted like he was done without picking up his trimmer. I knew I wasn’t getting a clean to the skin razor finish from Klaus, since he’s a cosmetologist not a barber, but I had expected him to trim the baby hairs at the neckline off to stubble.

“You’re not going to clean up the neckline?” I asked as he unfastened the cape.

“Nope.” He confirmed as he shook the little snippets of hair to the floor. “We’re going for soft and feminine, not fresh haircut sharpness. This gives it a more lived in look. You only have to live with it for the weekend. I’m sure Angel will shave it smooth Tuesday morning.”

I knew he was right, but I still didn’t like it. Of course I could also see it was a very good haircut that I didn’t particularly like either.

“I suppose.” I said as my fingers rubbed the shorter but still there little hairs on my neck while walking off to get the broom.

By the time I’d finished sweeping up both my own black hair and some light brown that had been around my station from my last client of the day, Klaus was done disinfecting everything. I was tired and really ready to get home. I went over to the reception desk where I’d left my motorcycle helmet and picked it up and started to head towards the back door.

“You’re not going to put that on and mess up the styling I did are you?” Klaus complained. “I want Emma to get to see it in its pure form.”

“You know, if I crash and smash my head open, it’s going to mess up my hair way more than the helmet.” I pointed out.

“I’ll drive you home.” Klaus offered. “You guys will be taking Emma’s car to the wedding anyway, right? Your bike will be fine in the shed here for the weekend.”

“You realize I’m coming in an hour and a half before opening time on Tuesday?” I reminded him, because I knew what he felt about mornings. “You want to come and pick me up at that hour?”

“It’s worth it.” Klaus sighed.

Chapter 5

——————————— A fine whine—————————————

“I have a feeling this is going to be a hellish weekend.” I said as I sat in the passenger seat of Klaus’ car rubbing my neck.

“Weddings can be a bit stressful.” Klaus observed. “They are romantic though, and you get to spend the whole long weekend at a nice B&B with Emma.”

“It’s not like Emma and I get to really enjoy the weekend till Sunday afternoon.” I complained. “Tomorrow morning, we just have to get on the thruway and drive straight up. We get one stop at a rapid charger at one of those reststops with nothing but fastfood and an overpriced convenience store. Then we are at her family’s beck and call for the rest of Friday with wedding preparations and the rehearsal dinner. Then of course all day Saturday is wedding stuff. We have to be at the house early for the hairstylist and makeup artist to get Emma into her bridesmaid uniform.”

“Uniform?” Klaus snorted a tiny laugh.

“It’s accurate.” I defended my choice of words then continued my whining, because sometimes you just need a good whine. “Then of course there’s the actual wedding. It’s a full wedding mass, it’s going to take forever. Then photos. Then the reception till god knows what hour.”

“The reception should be fun though, right?” Klaus tried to cheer me up. “You’ll get to just have a nice dinner with Emma, then enjoy some dancing, right?”

“Emma has to sit with the bridal party.” I grumbled. “Which I of course am not part of.”

“Oh,” Klaus said, sounding like he was beginning to understand that there was more than just the usual wedding stress going on.

“Then Sunday, it’s church and brunch.” I went on. “At least the bride insisted on the 10:30 mass instead of the 9am mass Emma’s family usually attends.”

“Usually attends?” Klaus’ voice had a little worry edging into it.

“Oh yeah.” I confirmed. “I don’t think all of Emma’s siblings go every single week, but they go when they are visiting home, and Emma’s mom and dad pretty much always go. As far as I know, Emma is the only one who has issues with it and doesn’t take communion. And of course every time she gets dragged there, it kicks the Catholic guilt up for days.”

“Well that sounds fun.” Klaus quipped sarcastically.

“The really fun part is that Emma wants me to be included in everything to try to force them to accept us as a real couple.” I got to explaining the part that was going to be hellish for me. “Somehow she thinks if I am acceptable enough, she will make them come around to accepting that she’s gay. Hence the need for a normal haircut. I’m just taking out the piercings tonight and leaving the jewelry home. And the tattoos have to be covered the entire time, so I’ve got to spend the weekend in turtle necks and heavy makeup. Well, except the top I’m wearing to the wedding, I couldn’t find a dressy enough turtleneck blouse, so that outfit just gets extra make up.”

“Do you think that’s going to work?” Klaus aked doubtfully. “Do you think they’ll actually accept you guys?”

“Nope.”

“So, why are you going along with it?”

I took a deep breath, and gave it some thought before trying to answer.

“When it fails, I don’t want to be the reason it fails.” I admitted in a melancholy tone.

Then in a lame attempt to lighten the mood, I added chuckling, “and I made her agree to let me do anything I wanted to her hair when we get back. She agreed to no holds barred, I get to shave her head if I want to.”

“Nicky!” Klaus gasped disapprovingly.

“What?” I said defensively. “She’s going to owe me big time. Besides, I just said I was allowed to shave her head if I wanted to, not that I was going to. I was thinking of doing a sidecut and putting the word ‘brat’ in it. I’d originally been thinking ‘bitch,’ but ‘brat’ seems like a better fit.”

“You’re going to make her walk around with ‘brat’ written on the side of her head?!”

“Only for a day or two, then I’ll offer to shave it off.”

“Oh Nicky,” my best friend and business partner let out tiredly. “What do you think that’s going to accomplish?”

“She’ll get turned on.” I defended myself a little unsurely. “She needs to know that what she’s asked of me this weekend is a big deal.”

“She already knows that it’s a big deal, and being turned on is going to last an hour or two, but then she has to live with it.” He pointed out. “Tuesday morning, you’re going to put your piercings back in, put on your regular clothing, and get a haircut. By Tuesday afternoon, you will be feeling like yourself again. Tuesday morning Emma is going to wake up and feel like crap because her months-long plan to be accepted has failed. And that crappy feeling is going to last a long time.”

Klaus pulled up and parked the car in front of the olive green nineteen-teens craftsman house I’d restored, but continued talking. “She was so invested in this plan, she agreed to let you shave her head. Emma’s hair is down past her waist. That’s got to be more than 20 inches of hair, probably close to 24. If someone brought me a picture of Emma and said they wanted extensions put in to get that look, I’d use 22 or 24 inch extensions. This meant so much to her that Emma agreed to possibly give up 3 or 4 years worth of hair.”

“So you’re saying I should just forget about cutting Emma’s hair?” I asked, feeling a bit guilty about having been looking forward to hacking through the red tresses.

I reached for the car door expecting Klaus to just tell me I should leave Emma’s pretty hair as is. Instead he placed his hand on my arm to still me. Klaus turned towards me and took a deep breath.

“No,” Klaus said cautiously, then paused. I waited patiently as I watched him gather his thoughts.

“I’m not saying you shouldn’t cut Emma’s hair. Just not cutting it may leave her feeling guilty about an uncollected debt. I’m saying, you don’t need to make Emma really pay for her actions even if she is willing to.” Klaus went on slowly, obviously picking his words carefully. “Tuesday, when Angel cuts your hair, you aren’t getting your mullet-hawk back. You’ll be getting something new and different. You’ll be getting a new start, a chance to meet people without them automatically knowing you’re Nichole the Dom Barber they’ve heard all the rumors about. BUT you’ll still be you. You’ll be butch you’ll be edgy, you’ll feel good about who you are even if you’re going to be a bit sad that the mullet-hawk you loved is gone.”

“So?” I prompted, but Klaus held up a finger obviously needing a little more time to think.

“I’m saying… Don’t punish Emma for what she’s done to you, she’ll punish herself enough, but instead help her move past the need to do it again.” He continued, still slowly, thoughtfully. “Try to think about and respect who Emma is. If you cut Emma’s hair, embrace the vintage femme vibe she identifies with.

“Help her grow into the Emma she’s striving to be. Think about her being a woman who is confidently gay, instead of unsurely psuedo straight. Do you get what I’m saying?”

“I’m not sure. That maybe it’s ok for me to give Emma a little trim, so she feels like she paid her debt and it helps with the guilt?” I guessed a little unsurely, “but that I should keep Emma looking like Emma?”

“Ehhh,” Klaus looked just a bit frustrated as he searched for more words. Then obviously thinking out loud said “Ok. Let’s try a metaphor: So you tell me Emma has to cover up and hide away her butterfly tattoo. Her mom is insisting it be not visible for the weekend. I’m guessing if Emma’s mom had her way she’d insist it was not visible ever. Emma is keeping her butterfly trapped in a chrysalis. You know, that thing that forms when a caterpillar is ready to grow up and be a butterfly, and then the butterfly has to struggle to get out of it before its wings expand. Maybe this is an opportunity to help her break open that chrysalis.”

“When you guys go there, how much does Emma tone down the hyperfeminine retro look?” Klaus asked. “Does she wear actual vintage stuff, or does she just wear modern clothing?”

“She wears plainer clothing, bluejeans usually,” I realized. “She also changes to a subtler lipstick color and stuff.”

“Think of this as an opportunity for a very overdue coming-out haircut.”

I nodded, finally getting what he was saying. I put my free hand over Klaus’ hand that still rested on my arm and gave it a pat.

“I’ll think more about it. I’ll take my time and make sure it’s right for her. Whatever I do, I’ll do it remembering that I love Emma.” I assured Klaus with a smile. “And by the way, thanks for the haircut and everything.”

Chapter 6

————————————— Nicky is pretty —-———————————

“Hey, babe.” I called from the front door, guessing from the sound of running water that Emma was in the kitchen. “I’m home.”

I heard the water shut off, and something heavy and metallic sounding being put down on something else metal. My guess was a pan of water on the stove burner.

“I left my bike at the shop and Klaus gave me a ride home.” I explained why I’d come silently to the front door instead of noisily to the back, as I walked towards the dining room and Emma emerged from the kitchen.

Emma was wiping her delicate hands on the calico apron she wore over her dark dress. She looked like a witchy version of a mid-twentieth century housewife.

“Dinner is coming along,” she informed me as she smoothed out the wrinkles she’d caused in her apron, then she looked up and her brow wrinkled. “You got a haircut.”

“You asked me to,” I reminded her, feeling the skin at the corners of my eyes wrinkle with my ironic smile.

“You look pretty.” She complimented me a bit sorrowfully.

“Is that a terrible thing?” I teased her about the tone, but knew what she meant. Though pretty is usually a good thing, it wasn’t really my thing.

“No, of course not.” She recovered her composure, put on a not very convincing smile, and came around the table to kiss me. “It was just a bit of a shock, which I know is silly, since I knew you were going to do it, but I guess I didn’t realize… didn’t think about how… It looks nice. I’m sure my mom will approve.”

“Thanks” I said as I pulled her into a hug. Her weight fell on my shoulder, her breathing became a bit ragged, and I felt a wet spot. “Hey, what’s wrong babe?”

“I’m not sure,” she admitted with a chuckle at herself.

I held Emma tight, hoping there wasn’t anything in the kitchen about to burn. I had a sinking feeling Klaus was right, and this was just a small preview of how Emma was going to be feeling Tuesday morning. After several minutes of my just holding Emma, and the damp spot on my shoulder growing, I heard the bubbling of boiling water making the pot’s lid rattle.

“That’s for the couscous,” Emma stated, and pulled away to head back to the kitchen.

“It’s ok. I’ll get it,” I said, holding Emma back and guiding her to a chair.

“Thank you.”

That night, when we went to bed, our love making was slow and tender in a new and different way. It wasn’t like we didn’t skip the Dom/sub stuff pretty often. We had just plain old sex more often than complicated bondage games that required planning, props, and clean up. It wasn’t like we had sex every single night either, sometimes we were just tired. That night though, was different. It was love making purely for comforting each other, not aimed at getting each other off. We hadn’t discussed it, we’d never done it like that before, but we somehow both knew.

We lay facing each other, I had one arm wrapped protectively around Emma as I stroked her pussy gently with the other, just gently caressing between her folds. Putting the barest pressure on her soft clit. At the same time, Emma just had a single delicate finger tip inside me, mostly just resting, as her other soft fingers explored. We drifted to sleep like that.

Chapter 7

————————————— Centerpieces ———-———————————-

We got to Emma’s suburban hometown too early to check into our B&B, so we headed straight to Emma’s parents’ house. It was the proto-typical big white center hall colonial revival. The kind that went into the older, fancier, more established suburbs than the more common post-war housing boom cape cods that were marketed as the perfect GI starter home.

As Emma drove up the long driveway past the large well manicured lawn, I couldn’t help but wonder what so much land so close to the city cost, and think what a waste it was that it was just plain mowed lawn with a few azaleas right by the house. It was that kind of neighborhood, where lawns like so many other things were more about status than what could be done with them. Along the tree lined streets we were surrounded by as we’d driven through the neighborhood, I’d seen more lawn jockeys than trampolines, volleyball nets, or basketball hoops that might have suggested people actually spent time on the lawns. Of course we’d passed at least a half a dozen landscaping crews maintaining the perfect carpets of green grass that were so rarely used for anything.

I’m sure in this neighborhood the herb and vegetable garden, blackberry and raspberry bushes, fruit trees, and bird feeders I had surrounding my small house would be seen as messy and cluttered. They wouldn’t fit any better than my tattoos, piercings, or usual haircut would.

Emma turned off the car and turned to me, giving me a tight smile then reaching her hand over. I gave her my hand, and put on what I hoped looked like a reassuring smile as she gave my hand a squeeze. I couldn’t quite think of anything to say to help Emma with her obvious tension as she released my hand and reached for the car’s door handle.

As Emma retrieved the garment bag we’d be leaving here at her parents house so we could change just before the wedding, I checked to make sure the make up hadn’t rubbed off of any of the tattoos that poked out from the uncomfortable turtleneck and long sleeves of the shirt I wore. I smoothed the bland haircut back from my forehead in the vanity mirror, and sighed. Maybe I should have filled in the faint remains of the grown out eyebrow slit, but it was too late so I just got out of the car and followed Emma into the house.

“Hi, we’re here.” Emma called into the kitchen as we entered the mudroom.

We walked through the mudroom, not pausing to take off our shoes. It felt strangely wrong to me, even though I knew it was perfectly normal.

“Ah, you’re finally here, Emma. We have so much to do.” The complaint came from Emma’s mom even though we weren’t any later than we’d said we would be, then she looked at me cooly. “I see you’ve come along, Nicky. I had thought Emma would drop you off somewhere.”

“Hi Marge.” I said trying to make it sound neutrally friendly. “It’s always good to spend time with Emma, and I figured maybe I could be helpful since as you said there is so much to do.”

Of course, I would have been happier to have just been dropped off somewhere to do my own thing. Or even better, gotten to drop Emma off and been given the use of the car. I suspected the thrift stores around here would be almost as good as the antique shops back home. Emma really looked like she needed me though. Something about how she’d been crying the night before had kicked me into protective mode.

“Hmm, I suppose.” Marge pursed her lips at me, then began walking away taking Emma’s arm. “Emma, the ribbons on the centerpieces the florist dropped off are ridiculously too long and the bows are all floppy. I don’t want to risk sending them back and them coming back even worse, so I thought you could fix them, you have an hour before we need to head to the salon to get you and the other girls manicures and have your hair done, for the rehearsal dinner.”

I simply followed. Marge led Emma to the breakfast nook where the offending centerpieces sat on the table waiting for Emma to spiffy them up.

“Sure mom.” Emma agreed, then she indicated the garment bag adding. “I should hang this up first though.”

“I’ll take it up to the room you and the other bridesmaids will get ready in.” Marge reached for the bag and took it, noting. “It feels heavier than the other dresses.”

“Nicky’s suit is in there too.” Emma said in her I’m trying to sound casual voice.

“Emma, I don’t think the girls are going to be comfortable changing in front of a lesbian.” Marge whispered the last word as though there were small children around who shouldn’t hear it. “I think Nicky should change at the B&B and not with you and the other girls in the bridal party. No offence Nicky.”

Because of course adding no offence totally made it ok to say offensive shit.

“I understand completely.” I said in my most carefully polite tone. “I know how uncomfortable it is to get naked while some gay gal is leering at you. Emma often just gawks at me when I’m getting ready for bed. Sometimes she even comments on my ass.”

The tightness of Marge’s lips at the not so subtle reminder that Emma was also a lesbian, made them nearly disappear. Emma glared at me.

“I suppose it might be best if you changed in Emma’s old room.” Marge stiffly concluded, and walked off through the kitchen toward the back stairs.

Emma watched her mother go cautiously. Then she sighed, and pulled out one of the chairs and sat down.

“Did you have to do that?” Emma fretted at me.

“Yes I did,” I stated, stole a kiss, then sat next to her. “If you want her to stop pretending you’re straight, you can’t just keep letting stuff like that slide. Now let’s see what we can do to perk up these floppy bows.”

Chapter 7

——————————- Just a Manicure and Blowout ————————————

After the centerpieces were spiffed up, it was time to head to the salon. Marge of course suggested alternative activities I might rather be doing in an attempt to get rid of me. Ironically, I really did agree with her. Yes, I would rather go see a botanical garden than sit around the waiting area of a salon watching a bunch of bridesmaids get manicures and blowouts. I wasn’t going to abandon Emma though, so I feigned professional interest.

I sat in the waiting area across from Emma entertaining a toddler, Oliver, Olly, who was supposed to be with a babysitter. The toddler’s babysitter had bailed at the last minute, so Olly had to come along with his mom, Jessica, who was one of the bridesmaids, and was currently being shampooed.

Marge had not looked happy about it either when Olly’s mom had shown up with Olly in tow, or when I had offered to watch the child, assuring his mom I had a dozen nieces and nephews who all looked forward to spending time with me. Marge had looked especially unhappy when I casually mentioned to Olly’s mom I was Emma’s girlfriend outing the both of us.

Jessica hadn’t seemed at all nervous about entrusting Olly to me, which had surprised me a little at first, but then I remembered I was going around looking normal. It occured to me I hadn’t gotten any of the usual dirty looks at the highway rest stop either. People were treating me differently.

“The End.” I announced as I closed the board book for the fourth time, then looked at the golden haired child in my lap.

“Again!” Olly happily demanded.

“There are other books. Your mom packed more.” I reminded him, opening the bag with plenty of others to show him options.

“Again!” The kid obviously knew what he wanted.

(Video) "Why Am I so Unhappy?" Nick Keomahavong (Buddhist Monk)

“Ok.” I turned the book over and opened it once again. “‘I am a bunny. My name is Nicholas. I live in a hollow tree.’”

I moved my finger along as I recited the words from memory barely bothering to look at the print. I mostly looked at the eager child who squirmed only slightly in my arms. Olly’s round blue eyes darted over the page.

“Who’s Nicholas?” I asked him, his pink pudgy finger pointed to the rabbit in overalls. “Yes, that’s Nicholas. Where is the hollow in the tree?”

I looked up and saw Emma smiling at me, just watching. I smiled back. Marge approaching caught my focus out of the corner of my eye. Emma followed the movement of my eyes, and swivelled to see her mom walking towards her. I turned the page, recited the lines about picking flowers and had Olly help me counting daffodils.

“Isn’t Nicky going to be a wonderful mother someday?” Emma asked her mom, as she turned back towards me and beamed a smile.

“Please tell me I don’t have to explain how the birds and the bees work to you again Emma.” Marge scoffed.

If I hadn’t had Olly sitting in my lap, I would have taken it as an invitation to explain in graphic detail how turkey basters work. As it was though, I figured scarring a young mind wasn’t worth the fun it would be. Emma was unlikely to actually appreciate it anyway, especially since her insurance was good enough that we didn’t have to DIY it.

I watched as Marge took Emma to the nearest manicurist’s station. The discussion between Marge and the manicurist looked way more involved than just telling her to make it the same pink color the other bridesmaids had gotten. Emma looked increasingly unhappy as the conversation dragged on.

“Mom,” Emma finally complained loudly enough for me to hear her clearly over Olly, who I had convinced to give all the butterflies names. “I don’t want acrylics, they will ruin my real nails.”

“You have hardly any nails to ruin Emma.” Marge argued back. “Have you been biting them down?”

While Emma’s nails were admittedly extremely short, there was no mistaking the neatly trimmed and filed edges for those of a nailbiter. The whole nail was smooth and healthy. Emma only rarely polished them, always putting down a foundation layer to protect from staining on the occasions she did. She kept them simply short, smooth, rounded, clean, and buffed to a shine. Emma’s nails were quite perfect.

“I trim them.” Emma stated, Marge obviously had her on the defensive. “I can type faster when they are shorter.”

I knew that wasn’t the primary reason Emma’s nails were quite so short. Sure really long nails might slow down typing, but Emma’s where trimmed way beyond what was practical for typing.

“Well, you can remove them before you go back to work.” Marge dismissed Emma’s argument. “If your job is really as important as you imply, why are you doing your own typing anyway? That’s what secretaries are for.”

I knew that the shift in conversation was a tactic to put Emma even more on the defensive. I wanted to get up and start defending Emma, but the shifting weight of the toddler in my lap giving butterflies names made of long strings of nonsense syllables kept me in my chair.

“I type faster than I talk.” Emma explained allowing herself to get sidetracked. “And any secretary who knows enough C++ to understand what I was saying could get a job as a programmer.”

“Fine dear.” Marge’s words were a concession but her tone suggested disbelief, leaving Emma no room to further argue the point, which I was sure had been brought up as a distraction anyway. “Now stop fussing and let them start on your nails.”

I was a bit confused about the whole exchange really. Marge had never struck me as the acrylic nails type. I would have pegged her for someone who considered them low class and tacky. Her own nails extended a modest eighth of an inch or so from her fingertips, and were never bright colors.

“But mom…”

“Is there another reason you don’t want them?” Marge challenged Emma coldly.

She said the words to Emma, but her focus shifted to me. Her glare piercing as she looked me straight in the eye, as she asked the question she knew Emma would be too embarrassed to answer. I realized, I’d been right that Marge considered acrylic nail extensions tacky, she had a reason unrelated to the wedding for insisting on them, reasons she was willing to put above her distaste of acrylic nails. She knew just enough about lesbian sex to think they would function as a chastity belt for the weekend.

I looked down, letting Marge have this round. Olly had finished giving all the colorful butterflies names. I turned the page and recited the lines I had memorized, tracing under the words with my own short nails. I usually kept them painted black, but had them in a bland blush color for the weekend.

Chapter 8

——————— Do NOT wake the baby ————————

The sixth time I opened the book, I recited the words more slowly and softly. “‘I am a bunny. My name is Nicholas, I live in a hollow tree.’” I didn’t run my fingers under the words, or ask him any questions. I just held Olly so that his sleepy head rested against me, a toy car clutched tightly in one fist, the other fist in his mouth, it seemed he prefered to suck the knuckle of his pointer finger, instead of the classic thumb. By the time I got to the page where Nicholas the bunny was asleep inside his hollow tree, Olly was asleep on my lap.

I considered moving the child into his stroller, so that I wouldn’t be trapped beneath him, but decided it wasn’t worth the risk of waking him from his nap early. My mother used to bribe me and my older siblings quite generously to be quiet during our little brother’s naps because if he woke early there was no getting him back to sleep, then he’d be a grumpy monster the whole rest of the day. So, I just leaned back, closed my eyes, and got comfortable in the soft waiting chair.

I was roused from my dozing by the sound of Emma and her mom arguing again.

“It’s fine the way it is mom.” Emma’s voice had a sad defeated fear I only ever heard in it when she was talking to her mother.

“You said yourself that the color of the dress went with it badly.” Marge said.

“I’m not dying my hair for it to match better with a dress I’m only ever going to wear once.” Emma complained.

Emma and her mom argued while a rather young and nervous looking stylist, or more likely stylist’s assistant, stood next to them holding swatches. The young stylist looked like she’d rather be anywhere than where she was at that moment.

“It won’t be a major color change, just a subtle shift. Emma, it’s just so bright. It will look so much more grownup toned down a little.” Marge needled at Emma. “Remember how you used to get teased for looking like Ronald McDonald. You would have loved it if I’d offered you this when you were a little kid. I just assumed it would darken with age.”

It was a low blow, reminding Emma of what it was like growing up a red haired child. It wasn’t something I fully understood, but I knew Emma had complicated feelings about how it had transitioned over the years from being an object of ridicule to fetishization. She’d talked about her mixed feelings about how it always made her standout. She’d talked about her difficult journey of learning to accept it and appreciate it.

I sighed, it was time to risk waking the baby. I figured if I was really careful, I should be able to manage it. Then it occurred to me that sleeping baby was the perfect excuse to intervene. I gently shifted Olly’s weight from my lap to my shoulder and hip as I prepared to stand up.

“Hey,” I said softly as I entered the group, swaying rhythmically to keep Olly asleep, “can we keep it a little quieter, and not wake the baby. What’s going on?”

“Mom thinks my hair is garish.” Emma complained in a much lower volume.

“Your hair is natural.” I feigned confusion, because I knew that what was going on was all about control and had absolutely nothing to do with Emma’s lovely hair color.

“You must admit it is rather loud.” Marge challenged.

She was trying to pin me into a corner where I would have to either argue with her, and then she’d have an excuse to openly dislike me for something besides being gay, or I would have to insult Emma be agreeing with her. I decided to avoid the trap by continuing to play obtuse.

“What do you mean by loud?” I bounced and hushed Olly who had stirred slightly. “Of course what really matters is what Emma thinks.”

“Yes, it’s Emma’s hair so Emma gets to decide, but don’t you think toning it down a little would be nice.” Marge smiled at me, a smile I knew was fake but was impressively real looking.

I wanted to correct her. I wanted to inform her that no, it wasn’t Emma’s hair for Emma to decide about. She had given me those copper locks as her little deal with the devil. That was my hair now, and I got to make decisions about it. It wasn’t really the best time and place for that though. Instead I just returned her fake smile with one of my own, not bothering to care how unconvincing it was.

“It really doesn’t matter what any of us think.” I side stepped the argument. “Emma has never dyed her hair, and there isn’t time to do a patch test before the wedding.”

“Oh, it’s not that important.” Marge dismissed my concern.

“Emma has very sensitive skin.” I decided to bring out the big guns, and casually mention the allergy Marge had just ignored for Emma’s childhood, but pretend I didn’t know that part. “You know how it triggers her eczema if her clothes are washed in scented detergent.”

I now had Marge in a corner, she could either admit that Emma had sensitive skin or show herself in front of people to be the mom who had ignored her child’s physical discomfort for years. Her smile slipped slightly.

“Hair dye is hardly the same thing as scented laundry detergent.” She made a futile attempt to circumvent the subject.

I looked at the terrified young stylist. I was pretty sure Marge had selected her because she looked so young and inexperienced, and Marge figured that would make her easier to manipulate. I wasn’t above doing a little manipulation myself.

“What’s your salon’s policy?” I asked blandly as if I was genuinely seeking information, and not just trying to intimidate her. “At the salon I own, we have a first time dying requires a patch test policy, but it’s in another state, so maybe the licensing requirements are different.”

“Let me go check.” The stylist said quickly and made her escape from the situation.

Marge glared at me, her lips once again pursed so tightly they nearly disappeared. I just casually swayed keeping Olly asleep. I looked down at him, simply ignoring Marge, I knew I’d won this round. There was no way the salon was going to agree to risk an allergic reaction at this point no matter what they usually did.

“Thank you so much,” Olly’s mom, Jessica, said, coming up to me, her long light hair having gone from a practical ponytail to blown out beach waves. “I hope he wasn’t too much trouble.”

“He was a delight.” I assured her. “Do you need a hand getting to the car?”

“Thanks, but we’re good.” She smiled, holding out her arms to take Olly. “Julie has the stroller and bag, and I have a trick for getting him in the car seat without waking him.”

“Ok,” I said and smiled as we gently transferred him from my hip to hers.

The toy car rattled to the floor. I bent down, picked it up and held it out for Jessica.

“mommy?” Olly muttered groggily.

“Shhh, shhhh,” Jessica stroked his back, showing the neat nails, that just barely extended past her finger tips, from her manicure. “Mommy’s here, you can keep sleeping.”

“See you at dinner tonight.” I smiled as Jessica took the obviously much loved toy and shoved it in a pocket.

“Yes. Thanks again.” She whispered to me, then walked off, cuddling her baby.

I looked over, Emma watched the exchange a bit wistfully, Marge was still glaring at me. I wondered if Marge had ever cuddled Emma like that, or if she’d always just been cold and manipulative.

Chapter 9

———————————— Pillow Talk ———————————

“Sorry mom stuck you off in a corner like that.” Emma said as she took off the dress she’d worn to the rehearsal.

I sighed as I dried myself off from my shower. Being hidden in a corner while Marge insisted Emma spend time with the single groomsman she’d been paired up with was exactly what I had expected to happen. I’d had no expectation that making my appearance slightly more acceptable was likely to make my simple existence more palatable to Marge.

As far as Marge was concerned, I was the reason she couldn’t get Emma married off to some middle class man. Some man who would get her pregnant the old fashioned way. A man who would give Emma the option to quit her job and be a stay at home mom, even though that was something I was pretty sure Emma had no desire for.

The fact that I made enough that if Emma really did want to be a stay at home mom we could manage it, did nothing to change Marge’s perception. As far as Marge was concerned, that was what men were for. I was just Marge’s scapegoat for every way that her carefully made plans for Emma’s life weren’t going the way she wanted.

The reality that Emma had known she was a lesbian long before I came along did not change Marge’s perception. The obvious evidence that Emma had been firm in her identity long before she met me was dismissed. Emma having booked herself on the all lesbian cruise where we met didn’t mean anything. Emma’s previous girlfriends didn’t mean anything. Marge was convinced that if I wasn’t around, she could totally straighten Emma out.

“You clean up good.” Emma teased and smiled at my damp naked body, finally free of the makeup that had covered the visible tattoos.

“Do I?” I teased back, and grabbed her around the waist.

She wore a lacy white bra. The long still flame red hair brushed my arm as I reached up to unfasten the bra. My fingers worked the hooks, releasing her from the tight garment. I began nibbling her neck as I slipped the bra off her shoulders and down her arms.

“If you give me a hickie before the wedding my mother will be pissed.” Emma chuckled.

That hadn’t been my goal when I started nibbling, but it suddenly was very much a top priority. I began to suck, hard.

“We have the cover up makeup anyway.” I made the excuse as I took a little break to catch my breath before I got back to working on making sure Emma was going to have a pretty impressive hickie tomorrow morning.

“You just took that as a challenge didn’t you?” Emma asked in exasperation, realizing her mistake.

“Oh yeah.” I confirmed as I pushed Emma down onto the bouncy king size bed that our B&B room came with. “I’m also going to see how much we can do while working around these talons your mother insisted you get.”

“Hmmm.” Emma held her hand out and looked at the extensions. They were notably longer than any of the other bridesmaids’ nails. I’m sure they were basically the longest length Marge could stomach.

“Why did you let her do this?” I asked as I took her pretty hand, and rubbed my thumb over her pointer finger.

“I don’t know,” her tone going a little melancholy, which wasn’t really what I wanted,

“Don’t worry.” I assured her. “They’ll be gone in a few days, and in the meantime we can view them as a challenge to get creative.”

“What did you have in mind?” Emma asked with the glint returning to her eye,

“Well for starters, these hands are getting tied up.” I informed her she was definitely going to be my sub tonight. “I don’t trust you to have the self restraint to not forget about these claws and scratch one of us somewhere unpleasant.”

“I don’t want to be tied up.” Emma claimed pouting, not that I believed her. It wouldn’t be much fun though if she didn’t put up at least a bit of a fight.

“And just for that, you’re getting a blind fold too.” I told her as I went through my luggage to find our special bag.

I opened the bag and pulled out the soft bamboo rope, and Emma’s silk blind fold. I left the bag open as I approached Emma. I climbed onto the huge bed, where Emma sat demurely waiting in nothing but her white lace panties and curtain of wavy hair.

“Do you want to know what I’m going to pull out of the bag next?” I asked softly in her delicate ear, as I pulled her arms behind her.

“Yes.” She breathed hard, as I slipped the loop around her wrist.

“Too bad.” I teased as I tightened the knot. “You’re just going to have to wonder.”

“Is there anything new?” Emma asked nervously, while I slipped the silk blindfold over her big brown eyes.

“Yes.” I purred in her ear.

I climbed off the bed and walked back to my bag, letting Emma hear the rustling of fabric, the opening of the case I had put my new toy in after I’d sterilized it. I pulled out the new toy, a shiny surgical steel wartenberg pinwheel. The tiny instrument with its row of sharp little spikes on a wheel. I gave it a quick flick to check that it spun freely.

I looked at Emma’s pale freckled skin, trying to decide where to use it first. Just start somewhere very sensitive or start with something less sensitive and build up gradually? Emma’s head turned nervously at every sound.

I decided to go with letting her feel the cold metal somewhere sensitive before I started using the item properly. I walked back over to the bed. Before I did anything with the pinwheel though, I grabbed Emma’s hips and pulled her down away from the pillows she sat in front of. The sudden jerk causing her to fall back into a prone position. She gasped slightly startled.

I placed the cold metal object on her soft belly, she gasped again, her belly quivering slightly as her breathing became erratic. I pinched her face and gave her a rough kiss. I finished it off by biting her bottom lip, just before I picked up the pinwheel.

“Do you want to know what this is?” I asked in her left ear as I pressed the side of the instrument against her soft right cheek, not letting her feel the spikes yet.

“Yes?” Emma answered unsurely.

“Do you think you can guess?” I doubted she would.

“No.” She admitted.

“Do you want to feel it being used?”

“What is it?”

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes.” Emma paused, I could see the pulse in her neck, her breathing was shallow. Then she added a little fearfully, “Will it hurt?”

“Yes probably.” I warned Emma, causing her breathing to quicken.

I started at her shoulder. Emma gasped as the sharp little points made contact. I slowly began to drag the instrument down Emma’s arm. Using just enough pressure to see a very slight indentation, but not enough to actually pierce the skin.

Emma’s body tried to twist away from the little spikes. As much as this was something she wanted on one level, instinct makes one pull away from pain.

I had to stop at her elbow. I would have liked to continue all the way down to her sensitive fingers, but I hadn’t been thinking about that when I decided to tie her arms behind her back. I ran it up and down both of her arms several time, as she squirmed at the series of tiny pricks over her skin.

“Where should I do that next?” I whispered in Emma’s ear. “Do you think that’s going to hurt more or less on your vulnerable belly?”

“No please not my belly.” Emma begged, her tone suggesting she actually meant it.

“But I so want to,” I teased her. “What do you think you could do to distract me?”

“I could go down on you.” Emma offered.

“Ok,” I said, then I added, knowing how extra vulnerable Emma would feel on an unfamiliar floor. “How about on your knees?”

“Can’t I just stay in the bed?” Emma asked nervously.

“No.” I chuckled at the request.

“Are you going to untie me?” Emma’s voice had a squeak that told me we were getting very close to the sweet spot that comes right before going too far. “I don’t want to fall getting out of the bed.”

“Have I ever let you fall?” I asked, proceeding cautiously.

“You’ve only ever guided me at home,” Emma pointed out, “where I know the layout.”

“I’m disappointed,” I chastised my little vixen. “I thought you were trusting me, not confident in your ability to get around our bedroom without seeing. We’ll have to see what we can do about that when we get home. For right now, you’re going to have to trust me.”

I pulled Emma up into a sitting position and helped her swing her legs over the side of the unfamiliar bed. I could see why she was more nervous here than at home. Her legs dangled from the side not reaching the floor. This bed was a fair bit higher than our bed at home, where she could feel the floor her feet would have been firmly planted on and just stand up. Here, getting to the floor was going to be a leap of faith. I smiled, that should definitely get Emma’s juices flowing.

I climbed out of the bed and stood in front of Emma, ready to catch her if she lost her balance. I also realized that if she did lose her balance, she couldn’t just sit back down on the bed. It would be well above her adorable little rump. I tossed a couple of extra pillows to the floor, so I would have something to lower her to, just in case.

“What was that?!”. Emma asked, a little frightened as her head turned towards the light thud of the pillows hitting the floor.

“Wouldn’t you like to know.” I hissed in her ear.

The thuds were not planned, but if they took Emma closer to the edge, I was happy to use them. I placed my hands on Emma’s hips and began pulling her closer to the side of the bed. When just a tiny bit of her butt was all that was still on the bed, I made sure I was standing so that I could take her weight.

“Time to take that leap.” I whispered in her ear, then gave her hips a final tug pulling her off the bed.

She stumbled very slightly as her bare feet hit the floor. I held her up though, not needing to lower her to the pillows. Her breath was ragged as I got her steady. I could feel her heart pounding where our chests touched. I stroked the side of her face and into the long hair held back a little by the blindfold.

“See,” I whispered tenderly in her ear. “I kept you safe.”

“Thank you.” Emma breathed back.

“Let’s get you down onto those knees.” I said as I guided her to turn around.

The pillows proved useful to get Emma the extra height necessary so that her mouth could reach me as I sat on the edge of the mattress, my legs spread open. I used the long redhair I still hadn’t figured out what I was going to do with as a handle to guide her plump berry colored lips to my swollen clit.

I leaned back just a little as Emma sucked hard on that most sensitive part of my anatomy, occasionally teasing it with her tongue. Her soft hair brushed against my knees and the insides of my thighs. Her chin rubbed against my wet labia. Her cheeks pressed against my hand that I held my own outer folds open with since Emma’s were tied behind her back. My hand clutching the hair I used as a handle squeezing rhythmically as the pleasure ripped through my body.

As the first orgasm burst through me, I struggled to keep my position, and not give into the temptation to just lay back as I panted trying to catch my breath. I couldn’t just let myself go with it, Emma was tied up and blindfolded on the floor, I was responsible for her safety.

After my third orgasm, I pulled Emma’s head back away from my no longer swollen clit. My labia were beginning to dry up and going from slick to sticky. It was almost time for it to be Emma’s turn.

I leaned forward over the side of the bed, and put my mouth next to Emma’s ear and told her, “Your face smells like cum.”

Then I gave her a deep kiss. Tasting my cum on her soft lips. I carefully climbed down from the bed as I made sure I didn’t accidently leave Emma unsupported in her precarious position kneeling atop the pillows with no way to catch herself if she lost her balance.

I pulled my lovely Emma back up to her feet. I turned her around and guided her to the bed with its too high mattress. Helping her up into the bed proved to be a whole new level of her having to trust me since I didn’t want to untie her yet. I was rather proud of the fact that I could lift her whole weight, I’d done it a few times, and I contemplated just sweeping her off her little bare feet and plopping her into the bed, but decided that instead of just lifting her, I would guide her through climbing up using the bed frame. I loved that she had to just listen to me and trust me as I talked her through it, her delicate foot groping behind her.

When I had her laid down on the soft mattress, one of the pillows I hadn’t used for the floor behind her head, the red hair spilling over it. I ran my fingers lightly over the smooth skin before me. Emma wriggled slightly as I hit the ticklish spots, her breath catching.

I decided to get out the new toy again, this time using it on her legs. I started on the out sides, running the little wheel of spikes over the less sensitive parts. Emma reacted only slightly to the pain. When she seemed to have gotten used to it, I switched to her inner leg, at first not going very high up though. After a few passes, I started working my way towards her more sensitive inner thigh, backing off when her breathing became shallow, then going back again. Each time going a little higher, till finally the little spikes were almost at her little white panties. Her toes curling at the pain told me we were right at the cusp.

She was at the point of breathing heavy constantly. I put the toy down and slid up next to her, so I could whisper in her ear. I rested my head on the pillow next to her, as my hand fondled one of her nipples.

“You want to touch yourself don’t you?”

“Yes!” The desperation in her voice was palpable.

“You can’t though can you?”

“No,” she answered, pulling a little on the rope that bound her hands, then begged, “please Nicky.”

“Oh you can do better than that.” I teased her, giving her nipple a nice squeeze.

“Please Mistress Nichole, please pleasure me.” She begged properly.

“That’s more like it.” I purred in her ear, and gave her a quick kiss on her cheek.

Her head turned to try to kiss me on the lips, but I was already moving away from the pillow. I got up on my knees, next to her perfect body, I pulled down the soaked lacy panties, tossing them aside.

I looked down at her bare mons. Usually, she kept a neatly trimmed landing-strip, but giving it up had been what I’d asked for in exchange for agreeing to wear the cover up make-up and turtleneck to hide my tattoos. I actually liked seeing the landing-strip of auburn curls better than the completely bare look, but tying her spread eagle to the bed frame while shaving it off a few days ago had been beyond fun. She’d been completely terrified when I’d shown her the gleaming razor blade. And the feel of the smooth skin was amazing.

I rubbed my finger over the bare skin, finding my way between the fold, I began to rub. Pulling the slippery cum from inside her labia up to her swollen clit. The hood pulled back exposing the pearl, I pressed and rubbed. Emma orgasmed pretty much immediately, but I knew I could make it a multiple so I pressed on. I bent down and placed my mouth over one of her pink nipples, sucking it. I put 2 fingers inside Emma, keeping my thumb on her clit. I kept pressing, and rubbing, and squeezing, and sucking. I bit the soft nipple, using pressure just shy of doing actual damage.

Emma moaned and panted as I brought her to orgasm, again and again. Her heart pounded hard enough that I could feel her pulse. Her petite body writhed in pleasure. I eased off, just keeping the pressure there as I could tell Emma was spent and exhausted. Her breathing gradually slowed.

I finally released her from my grasp, and sat next to her. Tenderly, I bent over and granted her the kiss I knew her lips were craving.

“Thank you,” she whispered sleepily as I pulled away.

I gently turned her over, and untied her hands and pulled off the blindfold. I stroked her long lonely hair as she pulled her arms up, stretching her fingers with the annoying talons, and put them under her head. As I stroked the long hair to the side, there was the little butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. I traced it with my finger. I bent down and kissed it.

I pulled the sheet up over us, wrapped an arm around my exhausted Emma and lay down spooning her. Her soft beautiful hair in my face.

“I love you.” I breathed into her ear.

Emma muttered something unintelligible that I hoped was “I love you too.”

Chapter 10

———————————— Ready, Set, Hide —————————————————-

Morning came, and with it a brief time to relax. Emma used the long nails to give me the kind of good back scratching it had been ages since I’d had. Short fingernails are wonderful for most things, but back scratching isn’t one of them. We shared the shower, so we would have enough time to enjoy the very good breakfast that came with the bed and breakfast before heading off for Emma’s parents house to start getting ready.

I’d worn one of the turtle necks, and a pair of yoga pants under a hoodie, since there was still a bit of a morning chill this early in spring, even if it looked like it would be warming up by the afternoon. When we arrived, I’d helped with a few last minute emergency errands, but then headed up to Emma’s childhood bedroom to start the long process of applying the makeup that would hide the tattoos during the wedding while I wore the light blouse. Tattoos that covered my neck up to my jawline, then down past my collar bones, plus the full sleeves that extended onto my hands. At least I didn’t have to do anything about the ones on my legs, since I was going to be wearing long opaque pants.

Emma had been flitting back and forth between her room, where I had unpacked my suit and blouse, and the rooms where the other bridesmaids and her sister, the bride, were getting ready. I stood in front of the long mirror that was attached to her closet door in just my bra and the yoga pants. I had just begun on the easiest part, my left arm.

I was only a little surprised when I heard the knock at the door, since Emma had just been walking in and out as she needed. I figured it was probably Marge.

“I’m only half dressed.” I warned through the door.

“I don’t care if you don’t.” A vaguely familiar female voice that didn’t sound like Marge called back through the door.

“Hang on.” I said and grabbed my hoodie as I went over to the door.

I slipped the hoodie on, zipping it all the way up and clutching the hood closed around my neck. It wasn’t that I felt a need to be modest so much as a need to not have to explain why I was hiding the tattoos that covered so much of my body. I opened the door just a crack, and peered out. Jessica, Olly’s mom, stood there looking rather uncomfortable in a robe and holding a nondescript small black case.

“What’s up?” I asked.

“I need somewhere I can pump.” Jessica said, holding up the little case.

“Pump?”

“Milk,” Jessica explained and indicated the front of her robe that had a pair of wet spots. “I dropped Olly off with my mother-in-law hours ago, and I’m starting to leak. Emma said you wouldn’t mind.”

“Sure, come in.” I said holding the door open for her too come in as I hoped the hood hid my neck well enough as I shoved my tattooed hands into my pockets. “I’ll just grab a couple of things and give you some privacy.”

“You can finish what you were doing, I don’t need that much privacy.” Jessica assured me coming in and setting the case down on Emma’s old chenille bedspread.

“I was just doing my makeup,” I said. “I can finish it later.”

“I don’t mind.” Jessica continued politely, trying not to displace me from the room as she unpacked the pump. “You can stay.”

“You know I’m a lesbian?” I checked.

“As long as you aren’t going to be making lewd comments I really don’t care.” Jessica chuckled as she plugged the pump in.

I sat down on the chair in front of the old fashioned dressing table, trying to keep the angle so that the hood obscured my neck.

“Sorry, I know this is weird,” Jessica apologized, sitting on the edge of Emma’s bed with the domes over her breasts, as she pulled out her phone and started playing a video of Olly crying. “It just helps me empty all the milk.”

“It’s fine.” I assured her as I averted my eyes trying to not make her self conscious. “My sister used recordings of my niece and nephews back when she was still nursing.”

“You can keep putting on your makeup. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.” Jessica suggested. “Marge is already annoyed enough with me, I don’t want to get blamed for making you late.”

“I think Marge will be more upset if I let you see me without the makeup than if I’m running a little late.”

“What?”

I sighed, realizing it was something I really shouldn’t have said for way too many reasons. I started unzipping the hoodie. I figured, considering how vulnerable Jessica was, it was a bit unfair of me to not just come clean. I got up and walked back over to the mirror, slipping the hoodie down my arms, and tossing it onto the chair. I picked up the makeup and applicator sponge and went back to dabbing it up my arm.

“Oh, wow.” Jessica looked more than just a bit surprised as she stared a bit. “I had no idea.”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I’m sorry.” Jessica looked away, back to the video of Olly. “I shouldn’t stare.”

“I’m sorry I was hiding them yesterday.” I said as I reached my elbow, and put down the creme makeup, and started putting a dusting of powder over it to help prevent smudging.

“You don’t owe me an apology for that.” Jessica stated, with a hesitant conviction that sounded like it was more to remind herself than for me.

“Would you have felt comfortable leaving Olly with me if you’d known?” I asked, then wished I hadn’t. I didn’t want to be confrontational, and Jessica had been pretty polite.

Jessica’s lips wrinkled with inner conflict. I waited patiently for her to figure out her answer as I dabbed creme makeup onto my left hand.

“I’d like to think it wouldn’t have mattered.” Jessica said rather honestly. I let her keep the quiet part, but it might have, internal. “It shouldn’t matter.”

“I do prefer to be upfront about things,” I explained, carefully “but Marge didn’t want my appearance to be a distraction.”

“Distraction.” Jessica snorted, then made an offer. “Do you want help with the right arm?”

I looked down at the tattoo covered arm that held the sponge. The right arm couldn’t do itself, I would have to either do it slowly and clumsily with my left hand or hope Emma could get a spare moment to help me, which seemed unlikely.

“Yeah,” I smiled at Jessica. “Thanks.”

Chapter 11

————————————— The Collector ————————————

The wedding itself was boring and reasonably uneventful. I sat towards the back by myself. I only had to let a couple of people get past me when it came time to go up for the communion I hadn’t taken since I was a teenager.

After the wedding, it was picture time. Marge insisted family pictures get taken care of first, So that she could get to the historic mansion the reception was being held in and micromanage things. With Marge busy doing other things, I decided that I didn’t need to hover protectively by Emma’s side. So instead of following the photographer and wedding party around the scenic park, I kissed Emma a quick goodbye, borrowed her car and decided to do a little antiquing.

First, I’d hit a thrift store, scoring a covered dish in rare red willow ware instead of the common blue, so common that it was often called blue willow; an old denim jacket with a painting on the back panel signed and dated ‘88; and a vintage knitting and crochet pattern book for Emma. The glaze on the dish was crazed to the point that I wouldn’t want to use it for food, but I thought it would look good in the backroom at the shop, and could be handy to store something out of sight. I’d have to look up the artist that had painted the jacket when I got home. Emma would have to tell me if I’d guessed right about the patterns or if it was a duplicate of something she already had or just not an interesting one. Going to a thrift store in the light colored suit probably hadn’t been the wisest thing I had ever done, but I’d managed to be careful, and not get dust all over it.

Then I headed to a more upscale actual antique store. I walked around the little shop, with its carefully labeled furniture.

“Do you have anything barbershop related?” I casually asked the first of my usual questions as I got near the shopkeeper.

“Not right at the moment.” She said after a second of thought. “Are you looking for a present for your husband?”

I had never before been asked that, it surprised me at first, but I recovered quickly to answer, “No, it’s for me.”

“Huh, I would never have guessed you were into those things.” She casually observed. “I can take your number or email and let you know if anything comes in.”

I was used to antique store shopkeepers being surprised by me, but not by the collecting barbershop stuff. Usually what surprised them was if I asked my second usual question, “do you have any Barbies?” Before I got to it though, I spotted her sitting on a china cabinet shelf.

“Can I see this Barbie?” I asked the shopkeeper.

“Of course,” the shopkeeper smiled at me and pulled out a ring full of labeled old keys from a drawer.

“I believe she’s a number 6, but she could be a number 5.” The shopkeeper told me as she carefully handed me the doll, just assuming I knew what that meant for the first time ever. “As you can see, ponytail in the titan hair color. She doesn’t have her original swimsuit or packaging, but her paint and hair are in excellent condition, and she still has her hoop earrings.”

“I love this dress she’s wearing.” I said looking at the full skirt that so reminded me of something Emma would wear.

“I believe it’s homemade.” The shopkeeper said as she showed me the slightly uneven hand stitching inside the dress. “Pretty well done though.”

It was funny how the shopkeeper seemed to think I looked like a Barbie collector, but not a collector of antique barber equipment. That had never happened before. Even the very first time I bought a Barbie it caused confusion.

*******************************

I’d gotten some money for my birthday, so mom had taken me to the toy store to pick something out. She looked very surprised when I went to the Barbie aisle. That is where I found the item I sought, “Butterfly Art Christie.”

“You want a doll?” Mom asked in a slightly confused and concerned tone. “Did you hear Nana saying girls are supposed to play with dolls not cars? You don’t have to play with dolls just because you’re a girl. Girls can play with any toys that they think are fun. We can go look at the cars or legos, if you want.”

“I don’t want to play with it.” I explained to my mom. “I want to get it for Rosa.”

“The new girl at school?” Mom asked and I nodded, then she squatted down to talk to me from eye level. “Sweetie, you can’t buy friendship. You can’t make Rosa be your friend by buying her toys.”

“Rosa is already my friend.” I insisted. “I just want to make her happy.”

“Ok sweetie.” Mom said with a smile that still looked a little worried and rubbed my back. I hadn’t understood the worry at the time. Now I know she had just been afraid I would get my feelings hurt.

Mom stood up, and started looking at the shelves in the Barbie aisle herself. She reached up to a high shelf, and took down one of the dolls. She showed me the box and the red headed doll inside dressed in a black jacket. The box had a Harley Davidson logo on it that I recognized from some of my toy motorcycles, as well as a picture of a motorcycle as part of the background.

“Dolls are more fun if you have a friend to play with them together.” Mom said to me. “You can get that one for Rosa, and I’ll get this one for you. Then when Rosa wants to play with her Barbies you can join in with this one , and it will be more fun for her. This one seems a little bit more like your kind of thing than any of the others.”

I looked at the box some more, then carefully sounded out the words at the top. “What does ‘collector’s edition’ mean?”

“It just means that collectors like to keep them nice and in the box.” Mom explained. “So you have to take good care of her, ok?”

“So am I a collector?” I asked.

“I guess you are now sweetie.” Mom chuckled, I’m sure she had no idea I was going to take it to heart.

***********************

I looked down at the doll in my hand. She was actually a bit similar to my first Barbie, who I called Harley instead of Barbie, the long red hair with those bangs. Harley’s bangs weren’t as much of a dominating feature as Number 6’s bangs were though. Number 6’s curly red bangs covered her whole forehead from one side of her head to the other.

I decided at that moment that by this time next week, Emma was going to have bangs like that. No more hiding behind that wave of red hair and playing peek-a-boo. But that still left the rest of those long tresses. Were the bangs enough?

I looked down at the doll in my hand again, and remembered that she had to always wear the ponytail. They didn’t give early ponytail Barbies full heads of hair, because then it would have been too thick for the jaunty high ponytail. I smiled to myself, I finally knew what I would be doing. Emma’s hair wouldn’t be exactly like this number 6 ponytail Barbie, but the inspiration was there. I’d be taking a little inspiration from the Butterfly Art Christie I had given to Rosa as well. It felt good to finally be settled on what I was going to be doing to Emma’s hair.

I looked over at the shopkeeper, she was grinning. She’d seen me smile, there was no way I was getting very far with haggling, she already knew Number 6 was going home with me even if she didn’t knock a few bucks off the price.

“Oh,” the shopkeeper said as she spread out some tissue paper to wrap Number 6 up in. “It just occurred to me I have something else you might find interesting. It’s not barbershop stuff, or Barbie stuff, but it’s kind of similar to both. I have a fair amount of victorian hairwork jewellery.”

“Well that does sound intriguingly creepy.” I admitted since I was curious to see it.

Looking at the braided bracelets, a’whole’nother idea popped into my head.

Chapter 12

—————————-——— Yes mom —————-——————-

I leaned on the railing of the porch looking out over the dark lawn, I held the whiskey I’d been slowly sipping. Music came slightly muffled through the french doors that lead back to the ballroom. The sound briefly grew louder and clearer, then died away again as the door behind me closed. Then Emma was next to me.

“So, how are things at the gay cousin table?” Emma asked.

“The gay cousins seem nice.” I said, because they did. “Why is Uncle George the only one who gets a plus one with his invitation?”

“Because Uncle George can be counted on to hire an escort, instead of bringing his ‘roommate.’” Emma punctuated roommate with air quotes. “Jason and Pat can’t be trusted not to bring boyfriends. Did Uncle George get Grace again, or was she unavailable?”

“Sarah,” I informed Emma. “She said Grace retired and moved to Arizona. Sarah seems nice. There is also a Jimmy and Dianne from the groom’s side of the family.”

“Hmmm.” Emma nodded.

“Do you usually get a plus one for weddings?” Since all the big weddings had been delayed during the pandemic, this was the first family one Emma had to go to since we’d been seriously together.

“No,” Emma said as she took my glass of whiskey and took a swig of it. “Mom made an exception for you. When she first did, I thought she was finally coming around, but now… I think she thought it would make me more cooperative, more compliant. Don’t expect to be dragged along to most of the family weddings.”

It suddenly made sense why my coming and being acceptable was such a big deal to Emma. It suddenly made sense why she was willing to drive me crazy and agree to all the things I’d demanded as compensation for going along with it. My simply being allowed to come along had been a huge victory for Emma.

“What happens when we get married?” I wished I could immediately take it back, Emma and I hadn’t discussed marriage yet, it was incredibly presumptuous of me.

“Can we just go to Vegas?” Emma asked, taking the assumption we would in stride.

“Yeah sure.”

(Video) 53 Times SpongeBob Got WAY Too Real 👁👄👁

I noticed Emma was shivering. I slipped off my suit jacket and draped it over her bare shoulders. She looked over at me and smiled an incredibly loving smile that warmed me more than any jacket ever could. Emma leaned against me.

The music grew louder and clearer again, then the door closed.

“Emma, Robert’s all alone.” Marge complained.

“He looked like he wanted a break from the dancing.” Emma framed it as being for Robert’s comfort, not her own. I wondered if that was because she knew that was what her mother would accept, or simply because Emma had been raised to never think of her own comfort.

“You can sit with him and keep him company.” Marge chastised. “Offer to get him a drink.”

“Yes mom.” Emma simply said. She shrugged out of the jacket and handed it back to me along with my whiskey. “Sorry honey.”

I turned and watched Emma and Marge return to the noisey ballroom. Marge gave me a dirty look over her shoulder just before closing the french doors. I’d give it a half hour or so, then go rescue Emma. I turned back towards the lawn.

For a bit when I had started to figure out exactly what Emma’s childhood had been like, I began to worry that she was into kink for unhealthy reasons. Google had assured me that there was no concrete evidence that there was a link, and even if there was, kink was a healthy way for adults to work through childhood trauma. I didn’t totally trust google, so I’d had a discrete conversation about it with Cath while we straightened up the backroom after one of her bondage safety classes. She’d said pretty much the same thing.

Still, there were times after I saw the way Marge treated Emma, that I worried about Emma subbing. Tonight, I would encourage my lovely switch to be the Dom even if I wasn’t really that much of a switch myself.

Chapter 13

—————-———————— Nicky’s turn ———————————————-

I’d called the uber to take us back to the B&B as early as I thought we could get away with, claiming to be exhausted. Marge hadn’t looked exactly thrilled when Emma left Robert free to flirt with actually single women. Jason and Patrick had come along in the uber, asking to be dropped off at the local gay bar they both had nostalgic feelings about from having come of age in the area.

“God I can’t wait to get out of this dress.” Emma complained as we entered the room.

“Do you want me to unzip you?” I asked.

“Yes please.” Emma said as she turned her back to me so I could start. “I’m sorry this has been such a lousy weekend for you.”

“It hasn’t been all terrible.” I assured her as I unzipped the dress and nibbled on her shoulder. “I got to go antiquing, I’m spending time with you, and last night was good, wasn’t it?”

“Mhhmm” Emma purred. “Last night was very good.”

“How about tonight we trade places, and you do whatever you want to me.” I gave her shoulder a final kiss as the dress slipped down. “I’ll give you a few minutes to think it over while I take a shower and get all this damned makeup off, then you can surprise me. Ok?”

“Ok.” Emma smiled.

As I stood under the hot flowing water lathering away the tan makeup, I thought it would be nice to not have to be in charge. Just relax and not be the one in control. It had been a while, a long while. As the last of the makeup and suds swirled down the drain, I reached for the soft towel to wrap myself in.

Back in the room, I could see Emma had gotten out her favorites from the bag of toys I had packed. There was the leather flogger, a red candle, and the steel handcuffs. Emma had also gotten herself dressed for the occasion. Emma always needed a costume change to get into a Dom headspace. She wore a leather bustier and a matching half mask with kitty cat ears. Usually with it, she would wear gloves with metal claws, but I guess the stupid acrylic nails interfered with the fit. She’d put on a much darker black cherry shade of lipstick. Her hair was still in the updo from the wedding, but the flowers and rhinestones that had decorated it were removed, leaving it just slightly messy, the ribbon that secured the mask had a couple of bobby pins holding it in place next to the bow.

************************

I remembered the first time I’d been at a kink party with my darling switch. She’d been visiting for the weekend. A group of us had rented out the back room of a bar. Before the pandemic had changed things.

She was wearing that bustier, a tulle skirt, and fishnet stockings. Her long copper hair loose about her shoulders draped dramatically over one eye as usual. In just the bustier and skirt, she’d acted the sub, staying close to me, asking permission.

When I’d settled into a cozy spot with a good view of the room, I whispered in Emma’s delicate ear. “I want to watch while you discipline Lisa.”

She’d simply nodded, and opened her little bag of tricks. From it she pulled the mask and gloves. As she tied the ribbon of the mask securely on the back of her head, her whole demeanor changed. The wave of hair that usually acted as a curtain was held back curling around the mask’s ears. Her smile going from demure to wicked.

I’d just sat there watching as Mistress Pussy had circled Lisa who was hung from her tied up hands. Mistress Pussy had barely begun lightly tapping Lisa’s exposed thighs and threatening her with the claws of her gloves, when Becky, the oh so vanilla women’s studies professor Lisa’d been dating, started flinching. Becky was dressed more like she had planned to go to a renaissance faire than a kink party. When Mistress Pussy finally gave Lisa a proper smack with the flogger, the leather tails leaving marks on the bare flesh, the pure terror in Becky’s eyes was positively delicious.

When she was done making sure Lisa was put in her place, I had praised her greatly for being a very good kitty while I stroked Mistress Pussy.

*******************

“You kept me waiting way too long while you were in that shower.” Mistress Pussy chastised me when she noticed I was back. “You’re in a lot of trouble young lady.”

“I’m terribly sorry.” I said, trying to keep a straight face. “There was a lot of makeup to get off, Mistress Pussy.”

“That’s no excuse for dawdling.” Emma said as she picked up the flogger. “Now drop that towel and get into bed. And if there’s any more dawdling, I will have to double your punishment.”

“Yes ma’am” I dropped the damp towel as ordered, revealing my slightly damp naked form.

I crossed to the massive bed and climbed into it. I started leaning back onto the pillows to get cozy, but didn’t get very far before I was stopped.

“I don’t think you want to lay facing upward exposing that tender belly.” She warned me as she let the tails of the flogger just teasingly lick the vulnerable flesh. “Turn around and grab the rails of the headboard.”

I did as instructed and kneeled facing the metal bedframe, my hands grasping the cold decorative metal work. Emma put the flogger down on the bed next to me for a moment, and retrieved the handcuffs. She slapped them first around one wrist, and began to thread the chain through the bedframe, but then seemed to think better of it, and just left them free of the frame as she tightened the other side around my other wrist. They felt cold and hard and heavy. Then she climbed into the bed with me, kneeling next to me, and picked up the flogger.

“Mistress Pussy got so so wet while waiting for you out here. You were so selfish spending so long in that hot shower.” Emma scolded me as she stroked the tassled leather over my bare shoulders. “You need to be punished don’t you?”

“I wouldn’t presume to tell Mistress Pussy what to do.” I said as contritely as I could as I felt the leather strands playing over my exposed ass.

“And what punishment do you think Mistress Pussy has in mind?” Emma teased, me brushing the tails of the flogger against my thighs,

“Well, Mistress Pussy seems to be holding a flogger, so I think she might feel I deserve some strokes from it.” The leather tails tickling my flesh.

“How very insightful.” She purred.

The first lash landed on my bare butt, the impact of the flogger stinging. I didn’t react to the slight pain. Emma tended to start well below the delicious edge of almost too far.

“Mistress Pussy doesn’t think you’ve learned your lesson yet.”

“No Mistress, not yet.” I confessed.

The next smack was harder. This time I sucked in air at the sharp pain as the tips of the tails snapped against my skin, I suspected leaving marks this time. Emma was getting closer to the sweet spot.

“Will you be keeping Mistress Pussy waiting again?” Emma demanded.

“No Mistress, never again.” I promised.

“I think you need another stroke to remember,” Emma threatened. “Don’t you?”

“Yes Mistress,” I admitted, “I still might forget.”

The third stroke was just that perfect amount harder than the second, as the tails of the flogger hit my thighs again. I inhaled again at the sharp pain. Emma had reached that precariously delicious edge.

“Have you learned your lesson?” Emma asked.

“Yes Mistress Pussy.” I answered contritely.

“Then you owe Mistress Pussy a reward for teaching you such a valuable lesson, don’t you?”

“Yes, Mistress Pussy deserves a reward.” I conceded.

“You may turn around and begin rewarding Mistress Pussy.” Emma ordered as she moved away.

When I turned Emma was leaning back towards the foot of the huge bed, her legs spread open. The outer labia I had shaved hairless just a few days earlier waiting for me to open them. They’d be needing the attention from my razor again soon, the deal had been I could keep them bare for 3 months. I looked forward to spreading the warm lather over them again soon. For now though it was too soon, they were still fairly smooth.

Careful not to lose my balance, I reached forward with my cuffed together hands. I let the chain that forced my hand to stay within inches of each other lay across Emma’s pale pubis, knowing the effect the cold metal would have on her. I unfolded her, revealing the wet gap and swollen clit.

I dove down, thrusting my tongue inside Emma, tasting her savory cum. I ate Emma out alternating between sucking and licking and thrusting. Kneading her bare mons very slightly with my hands. She orgasmed again and again. Her joyful moans the praise I desired.

As I pleasured Emma over and over, the talons her mother had forced upon her, raked through my hair. The nails scraped deliciously against my scalp. Eventually, Emma’s hand stopped scraping and she grasped the hair on the top of my head, the only hair long enough to actually grasp, and pulled me head up from between her soft thighs.

“Mistress Pussy is very pleased.” Emma informed me. “Now it is time for Mistress Pussy to put her seal upon you. Lay down face up.”

I did as ordered, leaning back on the pillows. My cuffed together hands resting against my belly. The chain was pretty warm from having rested against Emma’s skin for so long, so the chill from it was slight. Emma lit the candle, bringing it carefully over my exposed belly.

Emma tipped the candle slightly, and it began to drip. The hot wax burned at that perfect level of hurting just enough to feel really good. I inhaled sharply once again. Emma used the tip of her finger nail to drag two little triangles up at the top of the drip, turning it from a simple circle into a very crude cat head, Mistress Pussy’s seal. Emma tipped the candle again, creating another burning kitty seal on my tender belly.

Once my belly was dotted with several of Mistress Pussy’s painful little seals, she blew out the candle and put it carefully aside. She ran a finger between the red drops of wax down towards my mons. I watched tilting my head higher and higher as the acrylic talons made their way towards my most vulnerable parts.

“Mistress Pussy,” I said getting nervous. “Have you forgotten something?”

“What do you think Mistress Pussy may have forgotten?” Emma challenged me.

“That those claws are not attached to gloves that will come off.” I pointed out. “I know you enjoy feeling the wetness inside me, but I’d rather not have to explain any injuries or infections to my gynecologist.”

“Mistress Pussy hasn’t forgotten.” Emma assured me. “Do you trust me?”

I had asked Emma the same question many times when she was scared. She let herself be completely vulnerable with me so many times. I did trust Emma.

“Yes Mistress,” I said as I lay my head back down letting go of my need to take over the situation. “I trust you my darling.”

I closed my eyes and simply embraced the fear that Emma might miscalculate what she was doing with the unfamiliar talons. At first she used them, teasing me with them on the outside. Scraping them along my inner thigh, over my neatly trimmed mound, on my outer labia, then once she’d spread me open, what I felt inside me and against my clit was her knuckles. Everything released, the fear the tension. I orgasmed hard, even though she was rather clumsy with just knuckles.

Emma then carefully took off her mask, and set it aside. She always did that before going down on me. While she technically could perform oral with the half mask on, she found it clumsy and felt it was hard to clean.

Emma spread me open, the long nails pressing into the delicate flesh that lay to the sides of my vulva. Emma surrounded my clit with her plump red lips. Her tongue started teasing the hood. Unlike the night before, I could just let myself go and relax into it fully, even if I was still a little nervous that Emma would forget about the state of her nails. The slight fear added a nice edge to things.

Emma went to town on me. She sucked and licked at my clit. She used her knuckle just at the opening of my vulva. She massaged my outer labia with her other hand, letting the long nails scrape over the soft skin. By the time she was done, I was dizzy and light headed from orgasming 4 times.

Emma slid up the bed to sit next to me and began to peel the little cat head shaped wax dots off my belly with the tips of her long nails. It was a satisfying sensation, something we both took a simple pleasure in. I watched as the little pile of wax grew on the side table.

Emma stood up next to the bed, she slipped the small key into the handcuffs and released my wrists. After placing them on the side table, she bent down, kissed my cheek, and whispered next to my ear softly.

“I’m going to take a shower,” A loose tendril of her hair tickled my face. “Do you need anything before I do?”

“No babe, I’m good.” I said, as I reached up to caress her beautiful face.

I turned in the bed and watched her round rump as she headed into the bathroom. I was only just barely awake when a damp Emma returned and I wrapped my arms around her.

Chapter 14

——————————————— Catholic guilt ————————————

In the morning, I had simply straightened Emma’s long red locks. They were a jumbled combo of straight, wavy, curly, and frizzy from her having gone to sleep with still wet hair. As I pulled the round brush through the thick tresses, I imagined what it was going to be like watching much of it falling away in just a few days, when I collected my debt for having gotten the simple pixie and gave Emma her very overdue coming out cut.

Then I dressed in what I hoped would be the last turtleneck I’d be obliged to wear for a long time. Emma sat on the side of the bed watching as I styled the pixie into a soft sweep across my forehead.

“I’m sorry I made you do that.” Emma said with pretty genuine remorse.

“It was my choice,” I assured her with as much conviction as I could muster. “It’s not like you strapped me down. That would have been fun though wouldn’t it have been?”

Emma just gave me a tired smile.

At the church, I got to stare at the smooth hair that hung down over Emma’s back. Marge had claimed there wasn’t room for me to sit next to Emma on the pew the family occupied, so I shared the next pew back with a young family.

I watched Emma go through the motions. I stood and sat at the right moments, but remained silent, rejecting the church that rejected me. I watched Emma cross herself, as I kept my hands tightly clasped. I simply stood politely as I listened to Emma’s soft voice join in the recitation of faith, saying the creed I only just barely remembered the words to. I shared the sign of peace with the enthusiastic gaggle of young children from the family that sat down the pew from me, the only ritual I still participated in since it was one that felt like it was part of society as a whole and not particularly exclusive to the church.

As Emma’s family prepared to go up to receive communion, Marge muttered “I don’t suppose you are eligible” to Emma.

Emma sat alone on the pew. I reached forward and placed my hand on her shoulder. Emma reached up and put her hand over mine, and gave it a gentle squeeze.

The father from the young family cleared his throat, since I was blocking his way. I pulled my hand back muttering “sorry.” He traded places watching the gaggle of young children as the mother went up to receive communion, taking the eldest child with her. She gave me a friendly smile as she passed, would she have done that if I looked the way I usually did?

Emma kept her head hung for what little was left of the mass. I knew there’d be guilt tonight instead of sex. Depending on how bad it was, there might even be quiet tears into her pillow. I’d hold her tonight and tell her it was ok to be gay, hoping that it might finally burn through the painful shame, just like I had dozens of times before.

Chapter 15

————————————— Invisible ————————————-

Brunch finally came with no obligation for Emma and no seating assignments. Finally a moment for Emma and I to just sit together and relax like the couple we were publically like Emma wanted. Not that I wasn’t expecting Marge to try something to disrupt it.

As Emma and I entered the private party room a voice called out “Aunt Nicky, Aunt Nicky,” very loudly, the volume making up for the usual toddler lack of clarity.

“Hi Olly,” I said, smiling at the small child in the highchair. “Did you have a good time with your grandmother yesterday?”

The head covered in golden curls nodded as the round blue eyes looked at me.

“Please join us.” Jessica offered waving her hand at the empty seats across the table from herself, Olly, and the groomsman I figured was probably her husband. “Dave, you know Emma right?”

“We’ve met a couple of times.” He confirmed nodding at Emma.

“This is her girlfriend Nicky.” Jessica added, indicating me. “This is my husband Dave.”

“Nice to meet you.” I said as I pulled out a chair for Emma, then took the one in between Emma and Olly.

Even though Olly had been the one to invite me over, he was mostly content to play with a shape sorter while the grown ups talked as long as we didn’t ignore him completely and acknowledged when he got one of the colorful shapes through the correct hole. It was all going rather pleasantly till Marge came over.

“Emma, I need you to sit with Robert,” Marge said as she pulled Emma up to standing. “He’s all by himself with two other couples.”

I looked over at the table where Robert was happily joking with a couple of other groomsmen, and the two women with them chatted separately from the three men. The one empty seat at the table for 6 had a pile of sweaters and purses on it. I wouldn’t say the group looked like it needed a third woman, they looked like they considered the table’s group complete.

“If I go Nicky will be by herself,” Emma pointed out. “I want to stay here.”

“Nicky seems to have made a friend.” Marge said snidely as I handed a colorful shape that was out of his reach to Olly. “This table will have even numbers without you.”

“We have a free seat at this table,” Jessica offered helpfully, “Bobby could join us over here.”

Dave frowned and looked at Jessica. I kind of had the feeling he didn’t love that idea. He kept his mouth shut though.

“Thank you, Jessica?” Marge said in her fakest tone. “But I don’t want to drag him away from his friends, just even up the numbers at the tables.”

“Yes, can’t have that.” I slipped into mild sarcasm. “Odd numbers at tables is just odd.”

“No mom.” Emma pulled her arm back from her mother’s grasp. “I’m sitting with Nicky.”

“Emma, stop making a scene.” Marge’s lips were pursed to invisibility as she hissed orders. “You’re embarrassing me and everyone else.”

“Mom, nobody else cares where I sit.” Emma didn’t lower her voice. “You know what I’ve realized, you didn’t want Nicky to look nice this weekend, you wanted her to be invisible. And you want what I am to be invisible.”

“Mom, Emma, NOT now.” Emma’s sister, Anne, the blushing bride, hissed at the both of them. “Nobody else cares where Emma sits, mom. And this so not the right moment for you to make one of your melodramatic scenes, Emma. Now can you both just sit down and shut up, so dad can make his damn toast.”

Marge walked away stiffly glaring at me like it was my fault Emma had finally had enough. Emma for her part just sat down and leaned into me, hiding behind her hair. I could tell she wanted protection.

It was a hollow victory for Emma. Sure, Emma was being allowed to sit with me, but it wasn’t because anyone had thought it was right. The reason given that Emma was being allowed to sit with me was because nobody besides her mom cared. And then she’d been told to go back to being invisible.

Emma sat quietly for the brunch, just poking at the waffle she seemed to have little appetite for.

Chapter 16

——————————— Uncomfortably Comfortable ————————————

“So, how was the weekend?” Klaus asked me way way too cheerfully for so early in the morning, as I got into his car and buckled my seatbelt being careful of the willow ware dish I would hold in my lap.

“Really?”

“Who else will put up with your whining about it?” Klaus kept up a cheerfulness level I suspected was at least partly deliberately to annoy me into opening up.

“It went pretty much how I expected. There were some fun moments, I did some antiquing. I’m expecting a couple of shadow boxes with some victorian jewelry for the wall in the backroom, so if you see a package from a framer, just put it in the back for me to deal with later. Emma and I had some fun at the B&B. We went hiking Sunday afternoon, and took the scenic route home Monday.” I started with the positives from the weekend.

“And Emma’s plan for acceptance?”

“The family stuff was also what I expected it to be.” I decided to give into Klaus’ efforts too get me to open up and started really sharing. “No blatant rejection, but 20 tons of tension.”

“I take it that showing up looking normal, didn’t suddenly have Emma’s mom welcoming you into the family?”

“Of course not.” I snorted. “I’m still the evil spider that is trapping Emma in my web of gayness.”

“Wasn’t Emma out to them before you met her?” Klaus’ brow furrowed. “That cruise I sent you on, where you met her, was advertised as all lesbian.”

“Sure, Emma was out. She wasn’t hiding that she was a lesbian at all, but Emma’s mom still pretended she wasn’t.”

“But no blatant rejection?”

“Blatant rejection would mean admitting to bias.” I explained with a sigh. “The neighborhood leans toward moderate conservative, but Marge’s social group leans moderate liberal. So, she likes to keep up a certain appearance of being progressive, as long as it’s not hitting too close to home. But of course Emma is way too close to home.”

“So she never launches direct attacks, just makes things uncomfortable?”

“It’s like the coldwar, and neither of us want to take it nuclear.” I continued explaining. “She’s scared she’ll lose Emma and be ostracized, and I just don’t want to hurt Emma in the crossfire.”

“So was it Emma’s idea, or her mom’s idea that you should look normal?”

“It was mostly Marge. She’s good at hitting all of Emma’s buttons, manipulating her insecurities.” I sighed. “It was a win win for her. If she pushed it too far, and I broke up with Emma over it, that would have been ideal. Or, I might just have decided to stay home, which would have given her an unprotected Emma all weekend. As it was, making me look normal made it a bit easier for her to hide me at the back of the church, or off at the gay cousin table without my standing out too obviously.”

“So, how was it looking normal for the weekend?” Klaus’ tone was carefully neutral.

“You mean how did it feel just getting treated in a more neutral manner?” I added to the question. “It was different… It was in some ways really…. comfortable? I think that’s the right word for it. I’m pretty uncomfortable with how comfortable it was.”

“You like just knowing upfront what people think of the real you?”

“Probably,” I said a little tentatively as I considered it. “Yeah, I think that’s part of it. In the past, when I didn’t look so obviously gay, I would be in the middle of a long conversation with someone, sometimes people I’d been aqquaintances with for a while, and I’d say something without really thinking about it, and I would suddenly out myself. Then I would get to watch their face change. The sudden wrinkling of the nose, almost like I’d let out some giant fart. When I look obviously different, even if they don’t specifically know I’m gay. they know I am not exactly mainstream. The way people act is the same way they act after they know I’m gay. No sudden shift.”

“I’ve seen the wrinkled nose more than just a few times when I mention my husband or something.” Klaus shared. I’m pretty sure it’s something every straight passing gay person has experienced. “Or the pursed lips as their hand goes to a necklace. Maybe I should try to look more gay myself, so they’re forewarned.”

I chuckled mildly at the joke, even though it was more sad than funny. I looked over at Klaus. As usual he wore an impeccably tailored button down shirt, today it was a red one, some days it was black or a dark gray. His medium brown hair was of course perfectly styled. His smoothly shaved face was blemishless, or he had applied subtle coverup makeup so perfectly that it fully achieved the illusion of flawless. He looked like a slightly extra perfect business man. Nothing that jumped out and screamed *GAY!* But also, he wasn’t deliberately hiding it.

“You don’t owe anyone a warning, you get to be who you are. And if you start wearing rainbow everything, it’s going to clash with the shop’s decor.” I said, even though I was sure Klaus already thought so, sometimes it’s good to say this shit out loud. “Me being myself just happens to look a little more gay than when you look like yourself.”

“Whelp,” Klaus said with a smile as he turned down the alley that lead to the small parkinglot behind the shop. “It’s time to get you back to obviously queer Nicky.”

Angel’s car was already there. I sighed, it was time to see how Angel was going to react to my having ruined the mullet-hawk.

Chapter 17

—————————- The case of the missing mullet —————————

“What did you do?” Angel moaned as they saw me. “How am I supposed to fix your mullet-hawk when the mullet is gone.”

“I needed to get a more conservative haircut.” I stated the rather obvious calmly. “It’s not the end of the world.”

“But it was your signature style.” They lamented. “Your signature style that I created. The one that everyone knew. I was so proud of it.”

“You know hair is a fleeting art medium.” I cajoled them. “You get to create something new now. Show your flexibility.”

“But mullet-hawk.”

Klaus just leaned against the reception desk looking amused. I briefly considered throwing him under the bus and telling Angel that Klaus had done the deed, but decided to be nice.

“Think of it as a blank canvas,” I coxed Angel, “you can do anything with.”

“I can’t do a mullet-hawk.” They quipped. “It’s too short a blank canvas for that.”

“I’m sure we can think of something to do with it.” I continued encouraging and cajolling them, as I sat in the red leather barber chair and got comfortable.

“I had a whole plan.” Angel kept griping, but did also grab a neck strip for the drawer and begin to get me ready for a haircut. “I had sketches.”

“Weren’t the sketches just for the sides, and not for the mullet-hawk part anyway.” I pointed out. “You can do what you planned to for the sides, you just need to restyle the center.”

“I suppose.” Angel conceded as they started shaking out a fresh barber cape.

I sat there listening to the familiar sound of flapping fabric as the folds fell open. Angel gave it a final good thwack, then swung the cotton cape over me. The fabric covering my just slightly chilly bare arms was a comfort. They fastened the collar over the neck strip nice and tight so nothing would be getting inside it

“So,” Angel asked and ran their hand through the hair on top. “Are we going to just do the classic floppy on top, short on the sides androgenous thing.”

I thought to myself the part Angel had left out, the classic floppy on top, short on the sides androgenous thing that is so ubiquitous that half the fucking world has it. Of course, that was why it read as androgenous, lots of people had it both male and female. The mullet-hawk had been androgenous, because it had been both long and short. Plus it was so uncommon on either men or women that it simply fell far enough outside of any norms that it also fell well outside of gender norms. At this point though, I didn’t have enough hair to do that, my options were either androgenous and ubiquitous, or stepping over the line.

“I think I need something a bit less… ordinary.” I said with a sigh. “Just get rid of it. Take it short, make it polished. You can step over the line from andro to masc. Be creative and surprise me with the details.”

A lot of hairstylists hated being given free reign, being nervous about not pleasing the client. Angel though, viewed heads of hair like sheets of drawing paper. They were delighted when they were given the opportunity to color outside the lines.

“Alright.” Angel simply stated and reached for a set of clippers.

The first set of clippers Angel grabbed was one it had been a very long time since they’d used on me. The big old corded ones, the set Angel used for getting rid of bulk. It was a clipper set really similar to the ones I used in the back room mostly to be intimidating. Angel didn’t bother with intimidating though. Angel only pulled them out when they really wanted them to just zip through bulk and not think about battery life. Maintenance of the same style on a biweekly basis, meant there hadn’t been bulk to get rid of for years. Even during quarantine, I had kept the sides at a number 2 myself.

Angel flipped the switch, the clippers let out a distinct pop and started their angry humming. Angel combed a good size chunk of the floppy hair on the top of my head straight up, stopping at about an inch. They pulled the clippers across the comb.

ZZZzzzhwoop

Hair landed on my shoulder, soiling the previously pristine red and white striped cape with black. I watched in the mirror as the dry lock on my shoulder tumbled apart, some of it falling to the floor. Angel had more combed up and ready to be cut off in little time. They once again simply pulled the buzzing clippers over the combs teeth, with no hesitation, no concern, no regret.

ZZZzzzhwoop.

More of my hair slid away from my head, leaving behind the short crop. Angel swiftly reduced the small amount of longer hair I’d had on my head to too short to flop around anymore. Most of the length gone, Angel kept carving and sculpting away with the comb and clippers. They roughly shaped the top into a short crop, leaving just a hint of extra length righ at the very front.

The top reduced, Angel grabbed a guard, it looked like a number 3, and started on the sides. I watched in the mirror as the perfectly wispy sideburns Klaus had given me were buzzed down to the uniform length. Knowing Angel, those sideburns would be completely gone by the end of this. Angel went all the way up past my temple and to the parietal ridge with the number 3, before they finally pulled away.

Watching the sides buzzed off, the top suddenly the shortests it had ever been, I found myself strangely attached to hair I’d only had for a couple of months, and had never wanted in the first place. Of course, I knew it wasn’t really about the hair, it was that over the weekend, people had acted differently around me, calmer, less on guard. I’d looked normal for a change, and people had simply treated me normal, all the people had treated me normal.

Then I reminded myself of the conversation with Klaus in the car. I reminded myself, that if people were going to be all weird around me just because of my haircut and tattoos, it told me they weren’t really the kind of people that I wanted to be around anyway, so not looking normal just acted as an early warning system. It had been kind of comfortable though, and here I was giving that comfort up.

I was way too much in my own head, and really could use something to take my mind off choosing to go back to looking so very very queer.

“Hey,” Klaus came over with a rather thick stack of papers, and a handful of highlighters and pens. “How about we go over insurance options while we’re here?”

“Might as well,” I said. It was a good time to do it. It was a task I was not exactly excited about, so wanting a distraction was a good motivation to actually get it done.

“Ok, so I’ve got our current policy here to refer to, and this is that offer for another policy that you said would cost a bit less each month.” Klaus sorted through the stack of papers as he sat in the next barber chair over and turned it towards me.

Angel paused briefly and turned the barber chair I sat in away from the mirror and towards Klaus, so we could easily pass papers back and forth. I tried to just relax and not over think the familiar feel of clippers running up my scalp as Klaus and I compared cost and coverage. Occasionally I had to shake off sprinkles of dark hair from the papers in my lap. Angel included the back with the sides as they buzzed away the last of the softly textured pixie.

I feigned my usual lack of concern when Angel switched to the cordless clippers, that they normally used to take the sides of my head down to a number 3 in preparation for design work and went over the area again. Then they pulled out the trimmer they used for lines. I was a bit surprised when I felt the hard part carved from above the parietal ridge in the front all the way down to my spine on the nape. Then I felt Angel carve another symmetrically on the other side.

I tried to not over focus on trying to figure out what Angel was drawing as they used the corner of their trimmer to start the outline. I was sure whatever it was would be appropriate. It always was.

Done carving lines through the buzzed hair, Angel began the fabe. The trimmer setting the level to which Angel would shave. The bald line was set at different heights around the design, but high enough everywhere that almost the entire bottom inch of my scalp would be fully shaved smooth. Angel then picked up the electric shaver that would take everything below the line they’d set to the finest sandpaper texture.

Without discussing it, Klaus and I would wait whenever we wanted to hand papers back and forth, and Angel would pause when they could see we needed to. During one pause, I stole a quick glance at the mirror. I was a completely different woman from the typical business woman in a nice feminine suit with a cute pixie cut who had spent the weekend in the suburbs blending in. Between the tattoos that peaked over the edge of the cape and the severe haircut I was halfway through receiving, Hollywood would cast me as gang member #4 in some police drama. Male gang member #4.

I turned back to the papers that contained the 2 insurance policies, because most of owning a business was dull as hell stuff like that. The dusting of black hair that once again fell on the sheets I was reading and highlighting relevant lines from looked like pepper. Angel was back to the regular clippers, working upwards blending out the lines between the 0, 1, 2, and 3 guards. They spent just a few moments perfecting the top with shears over comb.

Then I felt the hot towel against my head, preparing the skin and hair so that the shave would be close enough to last for a couple of days before there was a hint of stubble. Angel let the moisture have time to work while they put a fresh blade on their razor, I took the opportunity to sign and initial the new policy that Klaus and I had settled on since saving a bit didn’t look like it would leave us vulnerable if someone tripped and fell in the shop or if there was a tornado or something. As Angel took off the towel, they turned me back to face the mirror as Klaus got up to go to the office and fax off the signed contract.

I stared at myself in the mirror as Angel scraped the last hint of stubble away from the bottom of my scalp. The blade making a faint crackling sound as Angel pulled it through the lather and stubble. Then they a blade along the design, taking the fade up higher in several places, as well as defining the lines of the design.

It was evident that Angel had taken me at my word about it being ok to cross the line to truly masculine. Not only was the top very short, but it had a sharp crispness to it instead of the soft texture that helps a very short haircut look feminine.

I contemplated just how butch I looked as Angel dusted me off and styled the very short top into a quiff with a tiny bit of pomade.

With the cape off, I sat there looking at the mirror as Angel held up a smaller hand mirror to show me the back and sides. The black hair stood out against my scalp. Angel had drawn the silhouettes of cats into the hair behind my ears. There were lines that echoed the silhouettes. It was simple and intricate at the same time. The hard parts separated the top and back from the sides, creating a more subtle mohawk section than I’d previously had. At the back it narrowed in a way the mullet-hawk hadn’t. The mullet hawk had stayed wide all the way to the bottom, the new center section narrowed to a point at my nape, the hair inside the section was tapered to a number one where the hard lines disappeared into the smoothly shaved skin at the bottom of the fade.

While I got a new design on the sides every 2 weeks, the mullet-hawk itself had been such the main feature of my look that the overall image had been little changed. This was definitely a whole new image. Sharper, harder, more masc. It was going to take a bit of getting used to.

Chapter 18

—————————————— Inspiring ———————————

With my first three clients of the day, the new haircut had been no big deal. One simply ignored it or didn’t notice it. One just said “nice cut.” One complimented it, but also asked why; which I just blew off with “change is good.”

It was my fourth client of the day, Emily, that had a major reaction. She was one of my newer clients, young. I’d only had her coming for a bit over a year or so. She wore casual neutral clothing, simple jewelry, and never had obvious makeup. I wasn’t sure if she was more sporty femme or soft butch. I don’t think she was really sure herself.

She’d been coming to me to get her long straight sandy hair trimmed slightly about every 12 weeks since she had turned 18. I had the feeling she still had at least one foot in the closet. Every time she came into the shop she was very nervous, maybe even a bit scared.

Everytime the same thing happened. I’d ask what she wanted. She’d nervously ask me to trim just an inch. I’d give her a doubtful look, because people who really just wanted an inch trimmed didn’t normally come to a barber with my reputation. We’d stare at each other for a few moments while I waited for her to ask for what she really wanted. I would decide she wasn’t ready yet, and figure maybe she would be next time. Then I trimmed off the inch of split ends leaving a nice clean edge. Emily would look mildly disappointed as she thanked me and got out of the chair. A couple of times, I asked if she wanted me to clean up her neck, she looked confused and shook her head.

Don’t get me wrong, I had several long haired clients, but they generally wanted some barber specific element. An undercut most often. I still had a few who kept the single side cut even though that was going out of style. With them, I had no feeling that they were pining to go short.

I’d also had clients like Emily before, ones who would come, looking like they were holding something in. They’d get their long hair trimmed, but were never really thrilled with the results. They usually got comfortable enough to admit they wanted a short haircut after a few visits. I’m not sure if it was just about building courage, or about building trust with me, it probably varied. Emily was the longest hold out so far.

“Wow,” She nervously stated looking at the top of my head while standing next to the chair. “That’s short.”

“Do you like it?” I asked her, and patted the back of the seat to remind her she was supposed to sit.

“Yeah.” She admitted as though she was confessing to a grave sin, as she almost reluctantly lowered herself into my chair. “I wish I was brave. Were you nervous, what made you cut it off?”

I almost just blew it off with “change is good” again, but looking at her, she needed more. She needed a real answer.

“I had to cut the back and even out the sides into a simple conservative pixie cut to attend an event with my girlfriend’s family. The mullet-hawk just stood out too much. I was annoyed, but not nervous.” I explained as I twisted Emily’s long hair up and put a clip in it so it would be out of the way while I put the neck strip and cape on her. “When I got back, I didn’t want the pixie, it wasn’t really me, so the best option was to go shorter. I admit I was nervous about that. Not so much because of losing the length, it wasn’t that long anyway, but about looking different again. I had kinda gotten used to being straight passing.”

“So, you felt straight passing with a pixie?” Emily asked curiously.

“Yeah, it was short, but it was soft with feminie touches like wispy sideburns. Do you want to see a picture” I pulled out my phone and pulled up one of me and Emma from the weekend. “Totally gender conforming. Not like what I’ve got now.”

I’d finished fastening the cape, so released the clip letting the long hair fall loose. I just waited in the silence for a moment to give her room to say something or ask another question, but she just squirmed slightly.

“So, how do you want this cut?” I asked as I pushed half of the long locks to hang in front of her shoulder. I suspected my haircut might have inspired her to finally take the leap.

“I…uhh…” Emily was even more nervous than usual, more unsure, more hesitant. “I guess an inch is what you should cut.”

“You guess?” I watched Emily shrug, then added, “There’s no ‘should’ here, there isn’t a single right way, that’s why I ask.”

“Sorry.” She said hastily. “Just cut an inch.”

“Why?” I challenged her, pretty sure she was ready but needed a little push. “Do you like it long? Or have you just always had it that way?”

“I uh…” Emily hesitated, I waited. “I’m not sure. Everyone says girls are supposed to like long hair. I mean it’s pretty, right?”

“What do you actually want?”

“Will I look like a boy with short hair?” She asked nervously.

“Only if you want to.” I said, making sure to say it in a neutral way that let her know wanting to was a perfectly valid option.

She nodded slowly, obviously processing the concept that a girl might want to look like a boy. Processing that a girl wanting to look like a boy was ok.

“I don’t think I really want to look like a boy.” She finally said a little unsurely. “My mom will be upset if I look like a boy. It’ll confuse her.”

“But you don’t have a major attachment to looking like a girl, do you?” I made a guess.

Emily shrugged, then asked quietly. “Will I look gay with short hair? Especially if it’s boyish?”

It sounded like the reluctance to look like a boy had more to do with keeping a foot in the closet than actually caring about getting mistaken for a boy. I’d let her know how we could stay firmly femme, but also give her a few more androginous options. As much as I had a feeling ahead of time what she was going to like, I wanted to make sure it was a decision she owned. She wasn’t here as a sub.

I laid out options, talking about pros and cons. Occasionally I pulled up pictures. I talked about a bob or a shag that I knew wasn’t really what she ultimately wanted, but thought might be a stepping stone to getting there. I talked about a crop that she didn’t really have the right texture to make look feminie and would need a lot of styling to not look purely like a little boy haircut. A crop could be cute on her, just not easily feminine.

Then I suggested the classic undercut pixie, which is a classic for a reason. It would go well with her straight hair texture. It could be styled either more androgenously or more femininely. It was nice and cool for the swiftly approaching summer weather. I was right, and she admitted that was the kind of cut she wanted. A bit androgenous, and very lesbian. It only took a little bit for her to decide on the length for the top, while she’d obviously fought another internal battle between what she wanted and what she thought she was supposed to want.

I didn’t even bother asking if she’d thought about donating the hair, and just proceeded assuming we would be saving it for something. It was long, healthy, and light colored enough to be easy to dye. There was no reason to waste it. So I divided her head into quarters and ponytailed them up. Then I pulled out my alternate big shears, since I didn’t want to dull my main ones on hacking through the dry thick bundles. Besides, I thought to myself as I gave them a test snap, this pair do make a much more satisfying crunch

Emily’s hazel eyes stared intently at the mirror as I raised the shears to the hair at her neck. She had a nervous energy I was sure was fueled almost equally by excitement over finally getting what she wanted and fear that it was going to cause family issues.

Schrunch, schrunch, shhrunch-runch-unch, shnap.

I admired the 20 or so inches of hair that dangled from my hand. I laid the long ponytail out on the counter before Emily. Then I raised the shears to the next bundle. The one hanging over her ear.

Shhhhhrunch, shrunch, shrunch-unch-unch, shnap.

I laid out the second ponytail. As I returned to cut off the next ponytail, I ruffled up the area between the first two I’d cut, so the sections didn’t look so separate. Emily still looked happy, if rather nervous as I cut the last two ponytails.

As I laid out the last ponytail, Emily wiggled her hands out from under the red and white cape. She ran her hands through her abbreviated locks as she smiled. She flopped the top back and forth, then brushed it back from her face.

As she played with her hair, I got my clippers ready. I would try a number 5 guard first, then work my way down if she was ok with it. I had to interrupt her playing with her hair eventually so I could start sectioning the top.

I quickly scribed the dividing line between the top and bottom with the corner of my comb and had the top fastened up out of the way. I picked up the clippers, and turned them on. Click, hummmmmmm. Emily still looked nervously happy.

I combed down through the hair along the side of her face, then ran the clippers up through it, starting at her side burn and taking it up to her temple. The clippers simply glided along her scalp, the soft hair putting up too little resistance to slow them. A clump of hair built up on top of the clippers’ casing, between my hand and the blades. At the end of the stroke, I tipped the clump of hair off to the floor. Then I paused.

“Ok, that’s the number 5,” I explained. “I think taking it down to a 3 is going to be more the look you want, but if you’re not comfortable going that short, this will look good. You can give it a feel if you want.”

Emily once again wiggled her hand out from under the cape, and rubbed the short hair on the side of her head.

“I think I can handle going a little shorter,” she said with determination. “Since mom’s going to be upset anyway, might as well go for it.”

“Do you want to see the number 4 first?” I asked as I took the 5 guard off.

Emily shook her head. “Just go for it.”

I popped the 3 guard on and started the clippers again. I went over the same area I had shown her the number 5 on, and took off the extra quarter of an inch.

“That good?” I asked without turning off the clippers this time.

Emily turned her head to get a better look at the the soft pelt on the side of her head. “It looks great.”

I started just cutting. Pulling the clippers through the hair, it fell away leaving behind the short ⅜ inch that just barely covered her scalp. Emily started to look a bit more excited as the humming clippers did their job taking everything down to a uniform length.

Emily smiled nervously as she tried to keep an eye on the mirror. It was making things a bit harder for me as I nudged her head down so I could access her nape. I tried not to not make it too hard for her to see.

It was even more difficult when I put down the clippers, and wanted to clean up the edges with the trimmer. I was careful to aim for something neither completely maculine nor distinctly feminine. I made it a clean crisp line, not wispy, but I rounded the line instead of squaring it off. Emily did seem to try to keep her head down and still, and mostly just strained her eyes to see the mirror. Then I gave it a very very slight taper, so the transition to bare skin wasn’t too abrupt.

When it was time to do the top, I finally could just let her watch as I sprayed the water to dampen the soft hair that was a bit dark to call blond but also a bit light to call brown. She watched intently as I trimmed the short hair into simple layers that would fall well and be easy to style.

Her eyes stayed straight ahead looking at the mirror instead of darting to the floor, or fixed at the growing pile of shorn hair in her lap. When I cut the hair off of women who were emotionally attached to their locks, looking at the shorn mass almost always took precedence over looking in the mirror. I wasn’t sure if it was more about looking longingly at the hair they had loved, or avoiding facing the new image they would be finding in the mirror. Emily obviously thought nothing of it though, the hair on the floor and scattered on the cape was nothing but refuse to her.

I dried her hair, and went through with the thinning shears, lightening the top up. They made a most satisfying chomp as they closed, severing just a fraction of the hairs between their blades, which I would then comb out. It added the texture and movement the straight hair needed to not just lay completely flat.

(Video) Vlad and mama pretend play Makeup toys

Then it was time for one last question. I usually didn’t bother asking, and just did it, but Emily was so nervous and wiggly.

“Do you want me to clean up your neckline with the razor?” I’d offered before when her hair was still long a couple of times, because I did have some clients who liked that, but she’d declined. “It will look and feel nice, but it makes some people nervous.”

“Is it going to be really obviously masculine?” Emily asked. “Is it something that will really scream ‘gay?’”

“Honestly,” I told her frankly, “you’re probably going to be the only one who notices unless you have a girlfriend who frequently strokes your neck.”

“No girlfriend.” She interjected very quietly.

“See this exceedingly slight shadow here,” I grabbed the hand mirror to show her what I meant, “a razor finish will eliminate it. If you run your fingers over this you’ll feel a slight prickiness, that will be gone. It will look and feel a little smoother, which in my mind has always seemed a bit more feminine, since I associate hairy necks with guys, but that’s kind of a me thing. What do you think?”

“Ok,” was all she said in her still nervous voice.

She was still exuding the same excited but nervous energy as I rubbed the shaving gel into the stubble. I was a little worried the nervous energy might bubble over and make her not sit still while I wielded the exposed blade. When I was ready to start shaving her neck, I held her head a bit more firmly than I usually did, pressing her chin to her shoulder as I pulled the skin taut.

The actual shaving was thankfully uneventful, she just obediently looked at her lap or to the side as I pulled the blade along her skin, removing the faint stubble the trimmer had left. She was grinning when I took off the cape after cleaning her up.

“I love it, it’s so cute.” Emily said, and though it was obviously a true statement, she still seemed really nervous.

“You’ll find it’s nice and easy too.” I promised her. “More comfortable. Do you play any sports? You won’t have to fuss with tying it up.”

“Soft ball,” she said still nervous, maybe a little more nervous. “I hate the bows and ribbons we always tie around our ponytails.”

“So,” I said to her as I showed her the back, “does this help you feel more like yourself? Something a bit androgenous.”

“Androgenous? It is, isn’t it? OH GOD!” Emily furrowed her brow as her mood shifted. “What have I done? My mom’s going to take one look at me and know isn’t she?”

Emily began hyperventilating a bit. I put down the mirror, and started rubbing her shoulders to try to get her to calm down.

“It’s ok, it’s going to be ok.” I assured her. “Let’s just slow it down, take slower breaths. It’s ok.”

“I’m not out, I’m not even a little bit out.”

“It’s just a haircut, straight girls get haircuts too.”

“Not like this.” Emily argued. “I think she suspects. I need to be careful.”

“It’s ok.” I told her, though I was beginning to worry it wasn’t really. “Are you in danger if you come out?”

I looked over at Mike, our receptionist, as I walked over to my counter so I could face her straight on. Not that Mike had actually made the mistake of coming out, he’d just forgotten to clear his browser history.

He was happily flirting with a customer. Looking at him sitting there batting his eyelashes at the man who had just had his surfer dude hair trimmed and highlighted by Tom, you would never guess the things Mike had gone through as a teen and what he’d resorted to in order to survive. He just looked so carefree with his turquoise cropped hair and tight sweater, he just looked so put together and stable. I knew it was at least partly a facade, partly just an acceptance that the past can’t be changed so why dwell in it, but mostly support from the community.

Bad as things were with Emma’s family, I had to remember, they could be much worse. Way too often they were much worse.

“Not danger, but…” Emily slowed her breathing. “They’ll kick me out, they’ll stop paying my tuition, they’ll cancel my insurance, they own the car I use. I only have a part time minimum wage job.”

“Ok,” I looked down at the locks of hair on the floor as I formed a plan. “Do you normally casually text stuff to your mom during the day? Do you send her pictures?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Emily seemed a bit confused as I opened a drawer and pulled out the pack of sugarless chewing gum I kept for when I had something with onions for lunch.

I popped a piece of the minty gum into my mouth, and offered a piece to Emily, who still looked confused as she accepted the offering, but seemed to just think trusting me might help. As I chewed away, getting the blob nice and gooey, I picked up the largest most intact lock of Emily’s scatter hair from the black and white linoleum. I carefully spit the gum out onto the lock, then gingerly worked it in with my fingers. I staged the mess on the floor, being careful to not get gum on the linoleum.

“Here’s what you’re going to do.” I instructed. “You’re going to take a picture of that and tell her that there was gum in your hair. Then tell her you got a haircut. Then you’re going to go to your car, take a selfie and tell her you’re worried you look like a boy.”

“I don’t want to lie.” Emily frowned.

I sighed. Pointing out that being in the closet was just another form of lying didn’t seem helpful. Most people don’t want to lie, it takes a toll on one, but necessity makes it the best thing sometimes.

“It’s not really lying. It’s three true statements put into a context that might happen to lead one to make false conclusions. Politicians do it all the time.” I explained. “That really is your hair, there really is gum in it. Just because it isn’t the reason you got the haircut, doesn’t make saying it happened untrue. Obviously you really did get a haircut, you just aren’t mentioning that you wanted it. And you definitely are worried about it looking too much like a boy haircut so that’s true too. Ok?”

“Yeah, I guess.” Emily pulled out her phone and started the text message.

“She’ll probably be so focussed on convincing you that it looks like a girl haircut,” I continued assuring Emily as she carefully composed the photo of the lock of hair with the gum embedded in it, “that she will convince herself.”

“Thank you,” Emily said as she got up and I gave her a hug. “Thank you for everything. I really do love the haircut.”

“It’s ok.” I gave her back a couple of pats, then handed her one of the business cards I had with my cell number written on the back of it. “Save that phone number into your phone as something your mom won’t be suspicious of, then leave the card here. If something goes wrong, you can call me at any hour, ok?”

Emily nodded as a tear, I thought from relief ran down her cheek.

“Hey,” I said as she began to head over to the reception desk. “What do you want to do with the ponytails.”

“I don’t care.” She shrugged. “I can’t take them with me since my hair was supposedly ruined with gum. If you have something useful to do with them, they’re all yours.”

Emily had been my last client before lunch, so I did a quick clean up, and headed out. As I walked towards the deli, I called my mom. “Hey mom, how’s it going?”

**It’s fine honey,** she said, sounding concerned. **You sound sad honey. Was the wedding weekend that terrible?**

“Nah, it wasn’t that bad.” I felt a warm tear on my cheek. “I just wanted to tell you… I don’t think I ever told you… how much it meant that you were supportive when I was coming out.”

**I just treated you the way any good parent should.** Mom claimed, but she knew as well as I did, that way too often, it wasn’t the way kids were treated.

Chapter 19

—————————————— Regrets ———-—————————-

I pulled into the garage and shut off my bike’s engine. I slipped off the helmet, and ran my hand over the short brush of hair. It was time to face Emma.

“Hey babe,” I called into the house as I closed the back door behind me.

She didn’t answer. I looked around, she wasn’t in the kitchen like I had expected. I looked through the door into the diningroom and beyond into the livingroom. I wandered towards her office.

“Hey babe?” I said more softly as I leaned against the frame of the open door.

“Hi.” Emma turned towards me, and gave me a shy smile.

She was still in her pajamas. Normally Emma was a believer in getting dressed even if she wasn’t going anywhere because she felt it helped her be in a productive mind frame. She usually had finished the work stuff she needed to for the day by the time I got home, but here she was in her office still staring at a screen full of code.

Maybe she had just had a lot to get done, and decided to skip changing to get a faster start to the day. Maybe she hadn’t finished just because she had so much to do. I had a sinking feeling though, that she’d just had a rather unproductive day. She’d been a bit melancholy since the wedding.

“You got another haircut.” Emma observed looking a little startled by it.

“I figured you would expect it.” I chuckled at her fluster. “It’s why I left early this morning.”

“I guess I should have. I didn’t expect it so soon, or quite so drastic.” She fumbled through the words. “It’s pretty cool looking. What’s on the sides? Show me the design.”

I’d self consciously raised my hand to the little quiff in the front, I feared my helmet had flattened, but when Emma requested to see the designed, I turned my head, revealing the sides.

“It’s a kitty,” Emma chuckled at me, her voice warm and the most cheerful I’d heard it since being told to sit down and shut up at brunch. “It’s adorable.”

“Hey, that’s no sweet kitty.” I defended myself with mock indignation. “That’s a rough and tumble alley cat.”

“Sure,” Emma said in a humoring tone. “What’s on the other side?”

“An even rougher alley cat,” I claimed as I turned my head to reveal the other silhouette.

“Angel did a good job.” Emma praised.

“That’s why I hired them.”

Emma got up out of her office chair and started to explore the cut with her fingers. The tips of her fingers first on the freshly shaved fade then moved slowly over the velvety designs. I had felt it earlier myself, it had kind of reminded me of corduroy the way it often did.

“It’s been a long time since I felt that.” Emma almost hummed, then added. “The sweet design helps balance the severity of the top.”

“Is it too short?” I asked more nervously than I probably should be. “Too masc?”

“I like it as long as you aren’t unhappy with it.” Emma assured me, but her eyes told a story of regret. “I’m so sorry I made you cut off your mullet-hawk.”

“I was due for a change.” I tried to convince her, as her fingers worked their way up my scalp.

“There’s no way to get a good a grasp on this is there?” Emma complained as she ran her fingers through the short brush on the crown.

It hadn’t occurred to me as a consequence of telling Angel to just go short. That was going to be a regret, I had grown to love the feel of my hair being tugged, and Emma had always obliged. That was going to be impossible till I grew it back; impossible if I didn’t let it grow back.

“I guess not.” As I said it, I ran my hand back through my hair till my fingertips met Emma’s.

I suddenly realized what I hadn’t been feeling as Emma had been examining my new haircut with her fingers. The long acrylic nail extensions were gone. I awkwardly pulled Emma’s delicate hand forward to look at it.

Emma’s fingertips were dry and red. The once perfectly buffed surface of her nails was now roughly scratched up and dull. The cuticles which had been healthy the week before were pushed way too far back and cracked. I reached down and lifted up Emma’s other hand, it looked just as bad. I wasn’t sure how much of the damage had simply been inevitable, and how much had been because Emma had taken them off inexpertly herself. I would bet she’d just watched a couple of youtube tutorials.

I should have insisted on taking Emma to the manicurist to get them removed. I wasn’t a cosmetologist, and only ever just put regular nail polish on my own short nails, but I knew enough to know that the surfaces of Emma’s nails had been doomed from the moment I had chosen to not disrupt reading with Olly to prevent the acrylics from happening. I knew they had to grind and rough up the nail surface to accept the acrylic. But maybe if they’d been professionally removed Emma’s fingertips and cuticles wouldn’t look quite so painfully raw. Though for all I knew it wouldn’t have made a difference, maybe the cuticles had already been pushed too far in the application, and a professional would have used the same harsh chemicals that had dried out Emma’s sensitive skin.

“Oh Emma,” I sighed out as I continued to hold and examine the hands. “I’m sorry I let this happen. Do they hurt?”

Her narrow shoulders shrugged. I figured that meant only occasionally, only a little. It was better than yes. I raised Emma’s hands up to my face and gently kissed each on the back.

“Did you put anything on them to help heal the skin and cuticles?” I asked as I lowered the hands and clasped them within my own; Emma shook her head slightly. “Let’s go do that, then.”

As I led Emma out of her office and down the hall towards the bathroom, I decided we would definitely be having some fun tonight. I’d tie up her hands again, because I had a feeling getting them slimy was not going to be conducive to healing. I would redirect that Catholic shame into kink that came with a release so maybe she would stop just bottling it up.

Chapter 20

—————————— Smooth ——————————————————-

After dinner, I decided it was time to make space on my Barbie shelf for Number 6. I was contemplating putting her in the place of honor at the center of my collection where currently Harley and a Jessica Rabbit doll resided. Niether Harley nor Jessica Rabbit were anywhere near my most valuable dolls, they just both had a special place in my heart. I liked to call the Jessica Rabbit doll, Mini Emma. It drove Emma up the wall, which made it just that much more fun for me. Frankly, if Emma didn’t complain about it everytime I did it, it probably would have never stuck.

“So I finally get to see the new one you went on and on about on the way home?” Emma asked as she came up to look over my shoulder. “Cute dress.”

I sat next to the shelf unwrapping Number 6. I carefully unfolded the tissue paper that had enshrouded the plastic doll that was decades older than me. I hadn’t thought I’d gone on and on about her, just mentioned what happened at the antique store, and told Emma she would love the dress. I had already gotten out a spare stand for 6, and started placing her in it making sure I didn’t rip her homemade dress.

“I’m thinking of putting her in between Harley and Mini Emma.” I announced as I made sure the stand was still stable with her in it.

“Can we please stop calling her Mini Emma,” Emma complained for the hundreth time.

I looked at the Jessica Rabbit doll I was scootching over to make room for Number 6. The reality was, she didn’t actually look that much like my real Emma, it was just one thing that had made me get her and call her Mini Emma, the wave of bright red hair that draped dramatically over one eye. Emma’s eyes were round and brown, not icey blue and hooded. Emma had a slight hourglass figure, but not a comically exaggerated one. Emma was petite not tall. Emma had natural eyebrows that were rather straight, not thin arching ones. Emma did wear high femme make up, but never blue eye shadow.

“Ok, we can just call her Mrs Rabbit.” I agreed easily, the wave of hair was going to be gone in two more days anyway.

Emma knew me well enough to suddenly look suspicious when I finally agreed so easily after 2 years of resisting. I let my evil grin show as I placed Number 6 with her short curly bangs in the center of the shelf. I decided to tease Emma even more, and moved my Number 7 bubble cut also in the titan hair color up next to Number 6.

I stepped back and contemplated things. I had a wide variety of Barbies. I had Barbies with every hair color Barbie designers had ever imagined. Yet some how, the center of the shelf was now completely dominated by red heads. I sighed. I would need to rearrange stuff more. I looked over at Emma. Rearranging Barbies could wait for the weekend, I needed to go tie a real person to the bedframe right now.

“Let’s go to bed my darling.” I said as I went behind her and nuzzled my face into her mostly doomed hair. As I did, I stuck one hand down through the waist band of her pajama pants and into her panties, I scraped my fingernails through the short prickles of hair I found there. Then I accused her. “You’ve been wearing these pajamas all day, haven’t you?”

“I just wasn’t in the mood to get dressed, and I didn’t have any zoom meetings.” Emma stated blandly, obviously not having picked up on that I was her mistress and about to discipline her yet.

“That’s a rather poor excuse.” I chastised her. “Now as soon as we get to the bedroom all this filthy clothing is coming off. Do you hear me.”

“But it’s so chilly.” Emma whined adorably realizing we were going to be playing tonight. “And you’re wearing your pajamas.”

“Mine are fresh.” I pointed out.

“Mine are comfortable.” Emma pouted. “I don’t want to take them off.”

“Well you should have considered that when you chose to wear these all day.” I said as I led the way to the bedroom. “You know dirty pajamas are not allowed in the bed.”

“Yes Mistress.” Emma sulked as she entered the bedroom, then she paused and stared at the bed. “I see you have prepared Mistress Nichole.”

“Yes,” I purred. “Since you’d obviously negelcted hygeine today, I felt it was going to need attending to. While you were heating up dinner, I prepared.”

In truth, Emma’s basic hygiene was fine. She might not have showered today, but she hadn’t done anything particularly strenuos or messy since yesterday’s shower. And she’d obviously done the basics this morning. It was a good excuse though for starting what I was about to. I had the bed covered in clean white fluffy towels to soak up the water that would be involved. Most of what I would be needing in the way of tools was obscured in a basket on the nightstand next to the victorian pitcher and basin that was always there. The white ropes laid out on the bed matched the towels.

“Can I please turn up the heat Mistress Nichole.” Emma requested timidly, I was sure she suspected, correctly, that she was soon going to be naked and wet and tied to the bed frame.

“No. We are not driving up the utility bill just because you decided to neglect your hygiene. Now start stripping!” I ordered as I sat on the chair in the corner of the room to watch the perfect pale freckled flesh being uncovered.

Emma started with the soft old pink hoodie, dropping it into the hamper revealing the plain white tank top she’d worn to sleep in the night before. She shyly pulled the tank top up, revealing the round breasts, and temporarily obscuring her face. As she pulled the tank top up past her face, her long hair was swept up into it, then fell dramatically back to her shoulders, slapping against her back as she pulled the tank top away and dropped it into the hamper. She then reached down to the waistband of her pajama pants, the ends of her long tresses brushed it as she bent to slide the pants off, and dropped them into the hamper. Finally, she stripped off the simple white cotton panties with little flowers on them revealing her lovely round derriere. Emma stood there looking coyly over her shoulder, her hair just to the side of her little butterfly tattoo.

“Now I need you in the bed and I will secure you so that you don’t wiggle around while I get you tidied up.” I informed Emma.

“I don’t want to be tied up.” Emma complained not too convincingly. “I promise I won’t wiggle Mistress Nichole.”

“What if it tickles while I am tidying you up?” I pointed out, “You need to be secured, now get into the bed before I have to come up with a punishment.”

“It’s too early,” Emma complained again with a pout, “I’m not ready for bed.”

“Hmmm.” I considered the situation, deciding what punishment I was going to be doling out to my naughtly vixen. I didn’t want to blind fold her, I wanted to make her watch. Then it came to me, she’d been complaining about being chilly, she was going to be a lot chillier if she didn’t get that cute little ass into bed. “I’m going to start counting seconds, and for every second it takes for you to get into bed and get ready to be tied up, I am goig to place an ice cube on you.”

The best thing about the threat, was that it should highten what was to be coming after. Emma started moving.

“One, mississippi. Two, mississippi. Three, mississippi. Four, mississippi. Five, missis….”

“I’m ready,” Emma announced from the bed. “You can tie me up Mistress. Can we please call it four ice cubes since five wasn’t a complete second.”

“Only if you are very good while I tie you up.” I told her as I came over and sat next to her in the bed and smiled down at her prone figure. I brushed the hair away from her face and gave her an indulgent kiss before I began to secure her arms.

Once I had Emma secured to the bed spread eagle, I went to the fridge to get the ice cubes. I returned to the room with the 4 ice cubes in a tea cup. Emma tried to squirm, but tied up the way she was, it was rather ineffective.

“Relax my darling.” I purred at my tender victim. “It won’t be all terrible.”

I fished one of the ice cubes out of the tea cup. I would start her off with something that should be simply pleasurable. I put the dripping cube to her plump pink lips. She gratefully opened her mouth slightly letting the fresh liquid slow drip into it. I allowed some to drip inside, but also made sure plenty wetted and chilled her lips, I then bent down, and kissed the soft lips tasting the cool liquid myself.

“Now open,” I ordered as I pulled back from the kiss.

Emma obeyed, and I carefully dropped the slick not quite a cube anymore piece of ice into her mouth where I was pretty sure it wouldn’t choke her. I then grabbed the second cube from the tea cup. I used it to trace little circles around one of her nipples. It went from pale pink flat and smooth to almost red wrinkled and pointy from the cold, a delightful imitation of what happens to them when they are stimulated. I knew that it would be much more sensitive, so I lowered my lips to the pointy nipple, as I started circling the other one with the rapidly melting ice cube. I teased Emma with my tongue, as she moaned. I finally gave the pert nipple I little nibble, and Emma moaned much more deeply. I wondered if I’d managed to take her all the way to nipplegasm.

I raised my head and smiled at my happy little sub. I put what little was left of the mostly melted and very slippery cube in between the soft mounds that rose and fell with her breaths. I got out the third cube, which had shrunk somewhat sitting in the cup melting. I needed to do something quicker with it if we were going to get to the fourth cube before it was just water in the bottom of the tea cup.

What I did with the first ice cube will have been pure and simply pleasurable for Emma. The second will have had only a very slight element of discomfort accompanied by pleasure. It was time to really start inflicting the discipline my vixen needed with the third cube. I bent down and tenderly kissed Emma’s quivering belly, then I replaced my warm lips with the hard frozen object. Emma grasped, causing her belly to jiggle even more.

I rubbed the cube all about her tender quivering belly as she panted at the shock of the cold against such excruciatingly tender flesh. I left the last sliver of the ice inside her belly button. I fished out the fourth and final cube. This one I drew lines up and down her inner thighs with. When I grew bored, I placed the last of the ice inside her, eliciting the most surprised pained gasp yet from my beauty. I left it at the opening of her vagina, so the cold melt water would slowly dribble out and down her taint.

I positioned myself between her legs.

“I would so so like to taste that.” I teased Emma, with my fingers and tilted my head slightly like I was actually going to go down on her. “You’d like me to taste you wouldn’t you?”

“Yes.” Emma pleaded. “Yes please, Mistress Nichole.”

“But it’s so messy down here.” I chastised her. “I’m just going to have to clean it up aren’t I?”

“Please do it quickly, Mistress Nichole.” Emma begged. “Waiting for you to taste me is excruciating.”

“Oh, I don’t think you want me rushing.” I warned my impatient lover, as I reached in to the basket and pulled out the straight razor from it. I opened it, turning the blade so it would catch the light and Emma could see how sharp it was before I put it down on the nightstand. “Now be a good girl while I go get some water.”

“Yes, Mistress,” her melodic voice suddenly contright.

I picked up the pitcher, and headed down the hall to fetch hot water from the bathroom. I opened the tap and just let the water flow till it was too hot to touch, knowing that it would cool as I worked. Back at the room, Emma looked surprisingly angelic spread out on the bed as she was surrounded by the white towels, her hair behind her head like a copper halo.

I poured a small amount of the steamy water into the basin, and dropped a clean washcloth into it. I gingerly pulled it out, and wrung out the cloth till it wasn’t too drippy, it was almost but not quite burning my fingers as I did. As I’d predicted, by the time I was ready to use it, the cloth was no longer hot enough to do serious damage, merely hot enough to be uncomfortable. It should be a very delightful contrast to the ice from earlier, which seemed to be mostly done melting.

I placed the hot cloth over the short auburn curls that had begun to grow back on Emma’s pubic region. Emma whimpered ever so slightly from pain as the heat touched her very sensitive skin. I left the cloth in place to soften the hair, as I poured just a little bit of water into the shaving mug. I then began to work the small round of soap inside the mug into a good lather with the shaving brush.

Once it was ready, and before the cloth could cool down too much, I lifted the cloth away, and began to spread the thick lather over Emma’s mons and outer labia with the soft brush. Once the lather was well worked in, I picked up the straight razor. Emma’s eyes watched it warily as the glinting blade traveled towards her womanhood.

I pulled the soft skin good and tight with one hand, and began. The sharp blade gliding smoothly over her skin, shearing off the tiny hairs. I then wiped the blade on the towels, dirtying it with the lather and auburn hair. As I worked, I could tell Emma’s muscles were pulling against the bounds.

“Relax my darling.” I suggested as I wiped more of the auburn refuse on the towel. “You don’t want to strain anything.”

“Relax!” Emma said sarcastically. “That’s easy for you to say.”

“Darling, is that anyway to talk to your Mistress?” I scolded.

“Humph.”

“For that you are definitely getting a punishment once you are cleaned up.”

Emma just pouted at me. I now needed to come up with another fun punishment. Hopefully one that didn’t require untying my impertinent wench. I looked up at Emma’s face before I turned back to the task of denuding her womanhood, god she’s an adorable impertinent wench.

We’d been playing with temperature all night, I thought we could keep playing with that theme and I’d steal something from Mistress Pussy’s repitoir. She was going to be labeled as the wench she was before the night was out.

I made the final swipe of the razor blade, taking off the last of Emma’s short pubes. I put down the razor blade, and dipped a fresh washcloth into the basin of still warm water. I wiped away any lingering lather with the pleasantly warm cloth.

I looked down at the bald mons and labia. Yeah, the landing strip of auburn curls had a certain aesthetic appeal that I missed, but the bare look wasn’t terrible, and it came with a rather delightfully novel tactile experience. I ran my fingertips over the smooth soft skin.

“Ohhhh.” A rather desperate sounding moan escaped Emma’s throat, then she managed to form a single word. “Pleeease!”

There was no point in making Emma wait till after the next punishment. I pushed my fingers between her labia into the slick creases. Emma climaxed almost immediately, her muscles straining against the ropes that bound her to the bed. I pressed on till she came again.

“Be a good girl and wait here,” I ordered her as though she had a choice in the matter. “I need to grab a couple of things for your punishment for speaking to me rudely while I was so generously cleaning up all that messy hair.”

“Yes Mistress.”

I went and got a candle and a long feather. I’d found a purple candle, and a reasonably short peacock feather. I’d bought the bundle of peacock feathers to use for tickling and cat toys, but the shortest one from the bundle should make a functional quill.

When I returned, I lit the dark candle, and waited for enough wax to melt to begin. I allowed the first drop to land just above and to the right of Emma’s deep belly button. She inhaled with pain as I used the quill to draw down a line. Then I let another drop of the molten wax land at the end of the line I’d drawn, so that I could make a new upward stroke.

It was a slow, and painful for Emma, process to write out the entire word wench across her soft belly, each letter taking 4 or 5 drops of wax to complete. When I finished, I was rather proud of how well it had gone. I found myself wishing for the first time ever that I had installed a mirror on the ceiling over the bed. Tacky as the things were, I wished so much to be able to share what I saw with Emma at that moment.

I could tell Emma was ready to go again from the way she’d been squiming. I stroked down Emma’s soft legs. I maneuvered myself to be between her legs. I bent down between them, I started by giving her smooth mound a gentle kiss. I spread her open slightly and bent my head to the pink flesh between her bare lips. I tasted soapiness, her sweet flesh, and savory cum. Pressing my tongue to her flesh. thrusting my tongue inside her. Emma moaned again in pleasure. I brought her to climax till I’d exhausted her, just basking in her joyfullness.

I slid up to lie next to Emma, being carefull not to put extra tension on the already tight ropes that bound her. I stroked her beautiful face.

“You taste amazing,” I breathed in her ear.

I simply lay there kissing Emma, stroking her hair, My fingers circled her soft nipples. She was just so absolutely perfect.

“Nicky, I really can’t spend all night tied up.” Emma eventually spoke up.

I sighed, knowing it was true. She’d already endured it for over an hour.

Chapter 21

——————————- No Slut Shaming —————————

I sat up and looked down at my spectacular Emma. My thought went back to my earlier wish for a mirror on the ceiling. I don’t think she even realized that the purple wax on her belly formed writing, nevermind what I had actually spelled out. I could take her over to the mirror once I untied her, but she’d be missing the full effect, and half the wax might simply be flaked off before we made it halfway across the room.

“Hold on one second.” I said, then I got up off the bed and started walking towards the door.

“Where are you going?” Emma nervously asked.

“Don’t worry I’ll be right back my darling.” I promised her as I slipped out the door.

I returned with my tablet, to take a picture so I could show Emma. Emma watched me as I stood at the foot of the bed and lifted the device up, pointing it at her.

“No,” Emma reminded me of an old long established rule that had slipped my mind. “No cameras in the bedroom.”

“Just for you and me.” I said.

“Orange.”

I lowered the device a little disappointed. “What’s it going to hurt if I’m not planning to share it? And I want you to see what I’ve done. You are so beautiful.”

“That thing has wifi,” Emma pointed out. “Sharing doesn’t have to be a deliberate act done by you.”

“What if I turn off the wifi?”

“You’re going to keep it off forever?”

“I guess I could print it out then delete it.” I offered, a little disappointed that I wouldn’t get to keep the digital version.

“The printer is on the same network as the router.”. Emma sighed, and lay her head back looking up at the ceiling. “Just leave the wifi on the tablet off, and I’ll save it on a thumb drive for you.”

“Thank you.” I smiled as I shut off the wifi, then took a few pictures.

I placed the tablet next to Emma as I untied her delicate wrists. She rubbed her wrists while I untied her ankles, then she sat up. The wax writing on her belly cracked apart as she moved. She lifted up the tablet and looked at the picture of herself. I sat next to her, and stroked the long tangled hair that hung down her naked back.

“Wench!?” Emma sounded insulted. “Is that what you think of me?”

“What’s wrong with wench?” I asked with a shrug as I pushed the mass of hair over to the side so I could kiss her freckled shoulder.

“It kind of implies loose morals.” Emma answered casually.

“Depends whose definition of morality.” I pointed out. “I thought we were above slut shaming.”

“I hadn’t really thought about it that way,” Emma said leaning into me, as she swiped to the next picture. “I can’t believe you want to keep these pictures.”

“You look angelic in them.” I said softly. “The white towels and white rope. Your hair forming a halo.”

Emma put the tablet down and looked up at me with a rather pleading face. I could see she was trying to gauge something. There was definitely fear and hope combined.

“Thursday evening, after work, after the shop closes.” I could hear her voice quivering slightly. “You like the halo effect.”

“Are you fussing about your upcoming haircut?” I challenged her. “You know that’s going to be a surprise.”

“I know.” Emma admitted with disappointment.

“I promise you will still be beautiful.” I assured her.

“Your definition or mine?” Emma asked with a wrinkled brow.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I asked, already feeling a bit insulted.

“I‘ve seen more than just a few examples of what you consider feminine.”

“If this is about my haircut,” I started a little self consciously. “I don’t think of it as femme, or even androginous anymore. I told Angel it was ok to make it masc if that’s got you worrying. Do you really hate it?”

“You’re very handsome.” Emma assured me and rubbed her hand over the bristles of hair on my head. “I just don’t want handsome for me. But, I wasn’t talking about your hair. I meant others.”

“What others?”

“Like Stephany’s wife.” Emma said. “You claimed her hair was still feminie after you chopped it all off on Stephany’s say so.”

Everybody always brought up Stephany and her wife. The big fight that led to them starting marital counselling happened very publicly at a party just a week after the haircut. Those who didn’t hear the shouting directly, heard rumors about it soon after. Though it was not really a fight, since Steph’s wife was yelling about her own inability to use the safeword before things went too far. Steph’s wife wasn’t really blaming Steph or me, just really really upset anyway. Sure the haircut was one of the main things Steph’s wife seemed most upset about, but it wasn’t the only thing. Of course the rumors made it out to be a plain old fight about the haircut. It was the big topic of conversation till we’d all been distracted by the pandemic.

“What was unfeminine about that cute crop?”

“See, I don’t get how you can not see that it was super not feminine.” Emma let out with exasperation.

“It was all soft and textured.”

“It was so short it barely covered her scalp!”

“Stephany thought it was feminine.”

“Stephany thinks her own hair is feminine.” Emma said as though that weren’t true.

“Steph is one of my most femme clients.” I contradicted the assertion that her hair wasn’t femme. “She often wears makeup. Besides, everyone else thought her wife’s crop was pretty and femme.”

“Who did you hear say that?” Emma asked dubiously.

I sighed. It was clear that Emma and I had very very different interpretations of what constituted feminine hair. It sounded like it was possible that half the world had a very different interpretation of feminine hair than I did. I realized that just because I was going to think what I planned was going to be really pretty and feminine, didn’t necessarily mean Emma was going to embrace it as such.

“Did you think the haircut I got for the weekend was feminine?” I asked, remembering how she had said it was pretty.

“Relative to this, but not really.” Emma stroked my very short hair again, then shrugged. “Feminine is pretty open to interpretation, but it’s more than just gender appropriate. It goes beyond simply gender conforming.”

I sat there, just letting Emma comfort me. I was feeling weird about the whole thing. I worried about making Emma do this.

“If you really don’t want to do this letting me cut your hair thing, you don’t have to.” I said tentatively trying to hide the reluctance I felt. “I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t looking forward to it, but it’s ok if you really want out of our little deal.”

“I don’t welch out of things.” Emma said a bit stoically.

“I don’t hate this haircut.” I told her, then picked up one of the long locks. “You not hating me means more to me than getting to play with this.”

“You lived up to your end of the deal,” Emma continued sounding stoic. “I will live up to mine. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life feeling like I owe you. I will be at the salon at 7 o’clock Thursday evening. You can do anything you want. I have only one request.”

“Ok,” I said, “What’s the request?”

“That whatever you do that the one and only person whose opinion matters to me, will think it’s beautiful.”

“Ugh,” I joked. “I have to call Robert.”

“I’m going to kill you.” Emma teased back as she pushed me down onto the bed. Then she straddled me, bent down and kissed me. I smiled back up at her, and she added, “I think I owe you something else too.”

“And what’s that?” I asked up at her beaming smile.

“You made me cum so many times, I lost track.” She praised me. “And here you are still in your pajamas. Let’s get those off and I’ll see what I can do about making you cum a few times.”

“I think we should give your cuticles a chance to heal.” I reminded her.

“How about a little tribbing.” Emma offered as she pulled my top up off me.

“You don’t really get much out of it.”

“That’s ok.” Emma shrugged and pulled down my pants. “You like it, and I want to make you cum now.”

“Ok then,” I agreed and smiled at her, knowing that it would keep her hands clean and dry.

“Besides,” Emma speculated, as she slipped off my underwear, “maybe without any hair down there acting as a barrier, it will work better for me.”

“We can hope.” I smiled at her, put my hands on her hips, and tilted my pelvis.

Chapter 22

————————- Definitely NOT Invisible —————————

Emma sat in the waiting area looking nervous. Mike was counting out the cash drawer and getting the bank deposit ready. Tom was blow drying his last client, the last one in the shop. The shades were already drawn and the neon “OPEN” sign turned off.

I simply sat in my barber chair watching Emma squirm as everyone cleaned up around her. She knew that once the last client was gone it was going to be time to pay the piper. I already had a fresh blade in my razor waiting for her.

Emma had been to the shop before several times, but not for a haircut. I trimmed the long hair at home. It was something I had only started once we were trapped in quarantine. I think Emma had mostly decided to trust me to trim the soft U shaped layers because she could see how bored and nervous I was. It had been different for her, the work she did had not actually needed to be done in an office, since long before the pandemic started. She’d mostly gone into the office 2 or 3 days a week so she didn’t feel isolated. Quarantine had only cut down on socializing for her, not changed her job. For me though, I wondered if what I did would ever be something anyone did again. So during quarantine, Emma had let me do her hair that would have been fine going untrimmed.

Last night, I’d told her how I expected her to show up for today. She knew I expected her in a nice dress, with her hair styled in loose waves, and she’d done as instructed. Of course she knew me well enough to know that if she didn’t follow instructions, she would be facing consequences. Sometimes she would be disobidient because she thought she might enjoy those consequences, but today, she was rather genuinely terrified about the possibilities.

She’d begged me last night as I had applied a thick coat of pink polish over the damaged nails to tell her what I planned. The stoicism she’d shown Tuesday night had obviously faded, the soft spot in my heart that had made me offer to let her off the hook, had faded as well.

All I told her was that I had come up with something creative that I thought would be beautiful. Then she’d asked, “what if it’s something I really can’t live with?”

I then assured her, “I’m not cruel. If you really hate it that much, I will shave it off for you Sunday night.”

She’d gone pale at that, at the idea that it might be something so terrible being bald would be preferable. I didn’t think she was going to think so with what I currently planned to do, but if Klaus hadn’t given me that talk last week, she definitely would have chosen shaved over going around with the word “brat” carved into the side of her head.

I was pretty hopeful she’d be happy enough with what I had planned to want to keep it instead of shaving it off. I certainly thought it was going to look pretty on her. It wasn’t technically going to be vintage, but it would have a certain retro vibe. But of course consulting with her about it would ruin the delicious tension.

“Hey, Nicky.” Mike said as he tucked the deposit into its bag. “I need someone to walk with me to the bank. Can you?”

“Take Jay.” I told him after a quick look around the shop to see who was doing something easy to pause and finish later, then I looked Emma in the eye and smiled. “I’ve got my special client waiting.”

Mike looked over at Emma, and nodded as Jay put down the broom he’d been using. Jay went to the door, and waited for Mike. On his way to the door, Mike paused next to Emma.

“Don’t worry, we’ll be back before things get started.” Mike casually assured her.

“What?!” Emma looked between Mike and me as Mike continued towards the door. “Nicky?”

“I invited everyone to watch.” I informed Emma, who immediately turned beet red then covered her face with her hands. “There’ll be video for us to keep too.”

I sat watching Emma come to terms with the fact that she was going to be the center of tonight’s entertainment as the shop bustled around me. Everyone except Tom had pretty much finished up the actual work they had to get done like sanitizing their work stations, and what not and were either just relaxing or doing extra stuff, like Angel was rearranging their top drawer. Tom was finally finished with his last client and showed her to the door. At the door, Tom lingered holding it open, I looked out and could see it was because Mike and Jay were almost back from the bank.

I stood up. It was time to get the show started. I started the video recording on the tablet I had propped up.

“I’m all ready for you darling.” I told Emma as I turned the retro barber chair towards her, inviting her into the comfortable red leather seat. “Come be a good girl now.”

Emma looked reluctant as hell, but forced herself to her feet. She slowly walked towards my chair as everyone else got settled to watch either in their own barber chairs or on chairs they dragged out from the waiting area..

I could see Emma’s hand was shaking as she reached out to grab the armrest before lowering herself into the red leather seat. Emma slowly sat. She delicately crossed her legs then smoothed her skirt. I saw her throat ripple as she swallowed while looking at her reflection.

Once Emma was all settled, I gathered up the mass of soft copper locks into my hands. As I held the weight of the bundle back from her face and off her shoulders, I bent over and gave her a gentle peck on her cheek.

“You’re being so good and so brave.” I whispered the praise in her delicate ear.

Normally I would secure the long hair up out of my way, but I decided to instead I let go of them leaving the soft locks loose. I would just manage to work around the beautiful obstacle. I went to my counter, and tore off a strip of tissue. I wrapped the white paper around her pale neck. I smoothed the paper, feeling her pulse pounding under my fingers as I did. I gave it a quick twist at her spine.

It was time for the cape, my last chance to build up the tension. I had a fresh one folded on the counter, I opened it up and shook it out. I deliberately gave it a good thwap even though I didn’t actually have any hair clippings on it to be shaken off.

I swung the cape over Emma, letting the billowing red and white striped fabric fall over her lap. I pulled it up over her shoulders under the long hair obscuring the pretty dress. I tightened the ties nice and secure, leaving it just loose enough that I wasn’t actually choking her. I folded down the tissue over the edge, taking the opportunity to stroke her long neck.

“Time to begin.” I warned as I lifted the long hair freeing any that had gotten trapped in the cape, then released it again letting the long red curtain of hair fall dramatically around her shoulders and across her face.

(Video) Miss Misery & The Spell

Chapter 23

—————————————— Snip ——————————————-

I decided to do things a bit out of the usual order, and begin by getting rid of the damned peek-a-boo wave she was hiding behind. There was going to be no more hiding for Emma, those big brown eyes were going to be fully visible all the time, including through the rest of this haircut.

I gathered up the curtain of hair that hung over the left side of her face, and combed it forward, distributing it more evenly across her forehead. Temporarily it would make her even more hidden, but that was going to be very temporary.

I began the triangle very deep, a full 3inches back from Emma’s widow’s peak. And I took it wide, carving the parting of the section all the way past the deep side part above the right brown eye that was so often the only one visible, and down to her temple. Making the triangle look centered and symmetrical took just a bit of fiddling, since I hadn’t wanted to wet Emma’s hair before beginning.

Once I had the section separated, and the hair that wasn’t part of it twisted back out of my way, it was time to choose my first cutting implement. I was planning to leave enough extra length that the first cut didn’t need to be perfect, so I could just focus on how I wanted to make Emma feel as I did it.

Oh the choices. My hand danced over the tools that I’d so carefully laid out on the counter so that Emma would see them. I couldn’t quite decide what to reach for… The sharp shears, I had various lengths, little ones I could torturously snip through the hair with. I had longer ones that would slice through the dry hair with a crunch. Then there were the clippers, I imagined the menacing buzz making Emma very nervous. Finally, there was the straight razor, the blade would pull and tug going through the dry lock.

I finally settled on a pair of long silver scissors, we’d be getting to the clippers and razor eventually anyway, might as well build up to them. And by starting with the sharp shears, I didn’t have to leave much extra length on the bangs. I combed the heavy section out slightly from Emma’s big brown eyes.

“Keep those eye’s open my darling,” I purred in her delicate ear. “And sit nice and still.”

I raised up the open blades, and positioned them just below the comb the soft peek-a-boo wave hung from. I ever so slowly began to close the scissors. The long dry copper strands drifted just a few at a time to Emma’s caped lap.

Shhhissss

Emma’s brown eyes were wide with shock, as they followed the locks that fell before them to her lap. She looked down at the collection that had just barely begun to pile up in her lap. I saw her hand try but fail to grasp the locks through the stripey fabric that separated her from them. Her eyes returned to the mirror, looking worried as I continued to very slowly close the scissors removing the screen of long hair she hid behind.

Shhhnap

The new bangs were only half cut as I closed the long shears with a snap, I opened the blades and positioned them around the rest of the hair that was to be Emma’s bangs.

Shhhhhhissssss-shnap

Emma breathed heavily as I pulled the comb down, and her new bangs fell to her forehead, just obscuring her eyebrows. I wasn’t totally done with them, but she could no longer easily cover her eyes either.

“No more hiding behind all that.” I said in her ear. “Now you have to always look me in the eye.”

“Is that it?” Emma asked, nervously, fearfully, just a hint of desperate hope. Her eyes darted between the pile of long strands on her lap, the mirror that bore evidence of the results of those strands having been sheared away, and up at my face. It was obvious there was already pain over what had been lost, but there was even more fear over what might be next.

“Sorry my darling.” I purred. “I’ve only just begun.”

I snapped my shears for emphasis, and Emma closed her eyes. I brushed the back of my fingers down Emma’s porcelain neck. I used brushing back some of the remaining long locks as an excuse for the movement, but my real goal was to feel Emma’s pulse. Fast and hard, but not so fast and hard I was worried.

“Open your eyes,” I warned Emma, “or I will take it all.”

Emma inhaled sharply, then exhaled hard, twice. Then she forced the big brown eyes open, staring straight at the mirror, looking at what she could still lose. Knowing she was going to lose at least some of it.

The proper next step to this haircut would be to section it. I didn’t. I was pretty sure if I sectioned it, Emma would suspect what I had in mind, and I didn’t want to give it away yet. Instead, I put the shears in my pocket and just started combing through the long tresses.

“Do you think I’ll miss doing this?” I asked Emma softly, making her whimper.

I decided the best way to begin without giving away too much detail was to start just cutting off locks I knew I was getting rid of anyway, I would just be mindful to not cut above where I should have sectioned off. Plus, maybe first tease her into thinking she might be getting to keep more of this hair than she actually would be.

I ran my comb through the still long hair that hung next to her face. I then did slide cutting down along it, creating a soft face framing layer. I teased Emma with the few strands I’d cut. She began to relax, obviously now believing I was just going to be layering the lovely long hair. I repeated the layering a few times, combing things out as I went.

Emma was pretty relaxed, if still not exactly happy about the bangs when I combed through the back, opening a part in the center, but trying to not make it too obvious. I carefully selected and delicately pulled out the lock that was to be my first victim.

SNAP!

I’d cut it off deliberately hard and fast. The razor sharp shears could have gone through the lock with barely a whisper, but what fun would that have been. I’d cut it just about an inch from the pale scalp.

I held the long lock dangling in front of Emma for her to look at. Her shoulders tightened and a little pained moan escaped her as her face fell. I’d taken her by surprise and she hadn’t had enough warning to dull her reaction.

“Now don’t mess this up.” I instructed as I carefully lay the two foot lock across her knees, immobilizing them. “I have plans for it and the others that will be joining it.”

I went behind her as she breathed a bit unsteadily. I combed through the hair some more, taking my time, enjoying the feel of it and the fear in Emma’s eyes. I selected another lock, trying to make it seem random to Emma, This one was from right behind her ear.

SNAP!

I carefully draped the next lock across her knees parallel to the last one. Her legs were shaking slightly, though it was obvious she was trying to control it. I made sure the lock wasn’t close enough to the edge to get knocked off.

I decided the next lock to go was going to be one that would make a really big impression. Not walking back behind Emma, I stayed where I’d stood while draping the second lock across her knees. I hooked her left side burn with my finger, her whole brow crinkled up as I held the lock out and possitioned my shears.

SNAP!

Emma gasped finally able to see how short I had been hacking the gorgeous red locks off. I could see the chocolatey brown eyes were brimming with tears. It gave my heart a moment of pause, wondering if I had gone too far. Stopping wasn’t really an option though at this point though. Cutting off the side burn had sealed the deal.

I continued chopping off lock after lock, draping each across her trembling knees. The tears that had been waiting rolled down her cheek when she blinked.

We’d reached the point where Emma was likely to notice that I wasn’t just cutting completely indiscriminately. She was already at the point of tears anyway. It made sense to stop deliberately torturing Emma and just divide the hair into sections. We’d definitely gotten to the point where it not being sectioned was going to make it really hard to keep working towards my vision.

I began at her left temple, slightly above where I had chopped off her delicate sideburn, drawing the line with the corner of the comb. I lifted the hair above the parting, then lowered a couple of times, testing out the thickness of the hair above the parting. I wanted the separation high enough that Emma couldn’t hide it completely, but I also wanted enough hair on top that it hung well. I adjusted it, till I found the right balance. I continued making the parting all the way to the back. I matched it on the right side. I tested the weight of the hair above, then added a little from below the parting in the back. I twisted the hair above the parting tightly and used a large clip to hold it tightly to the top of her head.

I swiftly sliced through the remainder of the long hair that still hung below the parting.

Shnip, shhnip. snip.

I placed each long lock on the growing pile at the end of Emma’s knees, till there was just a single long lock left. I lingered over it, wrapping it around my finger. I raised my scissors to the last lock.

Sssnnnap.

I added the final lock with the others on Emma’s knees, then gathered the whole bundle up off Emma’s bouncing knees. Emma’s teary eyes watched me place the bundle of locks on the counter behind my tools. I looked at her, and could see the glimmer of hope return. I gave her a little smile.

I picked up the clippers. The large corded ones from the back room chosen to intimidate. The #3 guard I had planned to use, already on them.

“Now be a good girl and keep your pretty head down.” I warned her as I pressed the pointy chin down to her chest.

I flicked the switch on the clippers. They turned on with a startling pop, much louder than the cordless ones I used most often. They hummed most menacingly.

I placed the teeth of the guard against Emma’s porcelain neck, and began to pull them up through the uneven tufts of hair that covered Emma’s nape. The short severed hairs piled up on top of the clippers. Usually, I would just tip the loose hairs off the clipper however was convenient, not really thinking about where it was going to land, but of course I was putting on a show for my lovely Emma as much as I was giving her a haircut, so I carefully tipped the hair off in front of her shoulder so that it would tumble down to the lap she was looking at. Her whimper telling me I had hit the mark.

I kept pulling the clippers up along the nape, taking the already shortened hair down to a simple even length that would be my clean slate. I worked fast at this point, the #3 buzz didn’t need to be perfect since it was just preparing the undercut for the design work. I wasn’t gentle as I moved Emma’s head around, and folded her ear forward to buzz down the short red tufts from the initial shearing that surrounded them.

As I pulled the clippers through the last of the uneven tufts above and in front of Emma’s left ear, I could see it wasn’t completely perfect, but since the sideburn would be pretty much gone in less than an hour, so it really didn’t matter.

I turned the clippers off, ending the incessant hum. I put them down on the counter, and picked up the clean up brush. I started dusting Emma off, letting most of the debri fall forward into her lap. I could hear her shallow breathing as the unfamiliar brush kissed her neck. I then took a moment to brush my hand over the short bristles, enjoying the soft prickle against my skin, teasing Emma with the shortness.

I picked up the pair of shears I liked best for starting design work with. I worked differently from Angel when it came to design work, I liked to sketch the lines in first with the tip of the scissors. I had a plan in mind as I began, just behind Emma’s right ear. I snipped in the curving lines, drawing the picture I hoped Emma would appreciate enough that she wouldn’t be too upset that she’d had to sacraficed so much hair to give me a canvas to place it on.

It took time. The shop was quiet enough that I could simply listen to the soft snipping of the scissors and Emma’s heavy breathing as the tips of the scissors scraped lines across her scalp. Usually such sounds got lost in the chatter of voices and the drone of hairdryers. The tiny splinters of hair landed on my hand and Emma’s neck.

I tilted Emma’s head around as I needed, not being quite as gentle as I would be with regular customers. I kept snipping the flowing lines, around the back of her head, above her delicate ears. The organic design laid out, enhancing the shape of her head and neck.

I had the whole design nicely roughed out with the tips of my shears. I switched to the trimmer, reinforcing and making some of the lines bolder. I then carved in the bald line I would be fading to well above Emma’s natural hairline.

I switched to my favorite clippers for getting a really even cut, the cordless Osters with the interchangeable blades. They cut cleaner, and tighter than clippers with guards. They would make quick work of taking Emma’s new undercut down to the perfect quarter inch length that the shaved design would pop against. The number 2 blade was already on them.

I flicked them on. I knew they weren’t quite as loud as the old fashioned corded Whals, but the metal blades against the skin had a certain feel that intimidated in its own way. I began pushing the buzzing machine up through Emma’s brand new undercut taking it even shorter.

The glitter like sprinkling of copper hairs rained down on my hand and Emma’s neck. The shorter crisper cut the #2 blade was leaving showed the design much more clearly. I lingered, making the whole area perfectly even, I was being way less efficient than usual, perfecting hair I knew I was going to be taking shorter anyway in just a few moments when I would be starting the fade.

I took a few moments just to enjoy brushing my fingers over Emma’s nape, then I got back on task and changed the blade of the clippers. I began tapering the bottom of the section, and adding some extra shading to the design I’d carved out. I usually would have worked up from the established bald line first, but I was willing to sacrifice efficiency to keep some suspense still going, so it was a while before I put the #00000 blade on the clippers. Emma didn’t react while I worked on her nape, but when I got to her side burn, she gasped as I reduced it almost to the skin.

I turned off the clippers, and briefly felt the barely percetible stubble that was left at the bottom of the fade. It would be completely smooth in just a few minutes. I grabbed a fresh towel out of the warmer, and placed it on Emma’s neck. She whimpered very slightly, I wasn’t sure if it was because it was uncomfortably hot or if it was just that she knew it meant that I was about to start shaving her. I took the corners and held them up against her sideburns while pressing the rest of the damp fabric against her nape with my thumbs.

“How high are you going?” Emma’s voice quivered.

“Remember that if you complain, I will be taking more off. Taking it higher.” I reminded her.

Emma frowned wrinkling the forehead that was just barely visible underneath her brand new bangs. With my hands still holding the warm towel pressed against her I tilted her head back, letting the new bangs slide away slightly, and gently kissed the adorable little wrinkles between her eyebrows.

I let the towel down from Emma’s now very pink neck. I spread the shaving gel over her neck and nape. Then up around her ears and to her sideburns. I wiped my hand off on the damp towel before I picked up the razor, letting the blade glint for Emma. I pushed her head down, and pulled the skin on her neck very tight.

I pulled the razor through the gel and slight stubble removing any trace of hair from Emma’s neck and bottom inch or so of her nape. I took little stroke after stroke, working my way around her sea shell like ears and the design that was staying. I tilted her head sideways as I took her sideburn truly to the skin, then shaped the hair line at her temple. Then I tilted her head the other way, making sure everything that was supposed to felt symmetrical.

Emma swallowed obviously as she tilted her head back and forth looking at what I had done to her long mane while I wiped away the remains of the shaving gel. She certainly wasn’t smiling and still looked worried, but the tears had stopped.

I went to my drawer, and got out a fresh bare single edge razor blade to do the detail work of the design. I held it carefully, the thin flexible metal bending in my fingers. My other hand held Emma’s head down firmly, and the skin extremely tight. I added the little touches that took the design beyond basic line work. It was trickier than shaving the hairline since it had to be done without gel or foam obscuring the details.

When I was finished, I was torn about showing Emma the design right away, I knw I should make her wait till the whole haircut was complete, that it would have more impact, but I was rather eager to share. I resisted the temptation though, and didn’t pick up the hand mirror after I put down the blade.

I undid the clip that held the still long remains of her once abundant locks up. I combed it down, it was thick enough that it hid Emma’s brand new undercut in the back, but as I had planned it was high enough in the front that it just barely hid the shaved sideburns and buzzed temples. If I took the bangs wide enough, it was going to be completely impossible.

Since Emma had lost much of the blunt U shaped layer that had been under the soft blended layers that was what mostly still remained, the ends of her hair were now rather thin. I needed to take everything up a couple of inches. I grabbed my spray bottle and quickly had the red tresses nice and damp. I began sectioning the very top of the long hair out.

“Now if you’re a very good girl,” I assured Emma as I worked, “I will only cut off just enough to even this out and adjust your new bangs. However, if you aren’t a good girl, I can take more.”

“I’ll be good,” Emma promised as she watched the still long hair from the top of her head prepared for a very healthy trim.

Emma looked nervous and slightly unhappy as the two inches of wet ends plopped down into the dry copper colored fluff the clippers had left scattered around her. It didn’t take long, I didn’t bother to actually drag it out, just take enough time to do a good job of it as I released layers from the section to snip to the same length. At the end of it, I left the not quite as long freshly trimmed bulk down.

It was time to refine the bangs, taking them just a little bit wider. I combed the new bangs forward, resectioning them, adding in just a bit more hair leaving what she had to hang in front of the undercut just barely enough to obscure it slightly with careful styling. The long strands I added were hanging mostly next to Emma’s pretty face. I used an alligator clip to hold back the hair not being added to the bangs.

“Are you making the bangs wider?” Emma wrinkled her brow more. “You promised if I was good…”

“I said I was adjusting them,” I reminded her as I posied my shear to start cutting. “No complaining”

“But…” Emma let out a little desperately.

I paused and smiled. I undid the clips, and started combing again. This time taking the bangs all the way back till they actually connected to where the undercut started at her temple. The undercut was going to show no matter how Emma styled the hair I would leave her with. I didn’t actually mind the complaining, but I couldn’t let it go unpunished.

“Are you done complaining about how wide the bangs are?” I challenged my beloved. “Or should I add more?”

A tiny umph sound came from the back of Emma’s throat, but she sensibly kept her plump lips closed. I raised the sheers to the bangs, I started to snip, creating a soft arch just above her auburn eyebrows. Emma closed her eyes against the sprinkle of hair that rained down.

I was thinking I was done, having achieved what I’d planned, so I started dusting the hair off Emma’s pretty face. As I did, I noticed how her eyebrows were suddenly a very prominent feature. It was the perfect opportunity to make a very clear statement of being out.

Emma opened her eyes and watched with a little confusion as I picked up my trimmer. As I started to brush the bangs up out of my way and smooth the eyebrow with my thumb, Emma went from looking curious to delightly fearful.

“What are you doing?” She begged.

“Just relax your brow and close you eyes.” I instructed her.

“No, eyebrows are not part of this.” Emma argued. “I said you could do anything to my hair, and you got to cut it to a very extreme style.”

“Eyebrows are hair.” I pointed out.

“Head hair”. Emma continued to plead her case.

“Your eyebrows are hair and on your head.” I countered.

“No.”

I sighed, and put the trimmer down. Instead, I picked up the spray bottle again. The style I planned could spare a couple of more inches, and of course if need be I could just create another style. I started rewetting the part of Emma’s red hair that was hanging over her caped shoulders.

“But I thought you were done.” Emma lamented.

“I was,” I confirmed as I resectioned the top.

I combed the long locks smooth and began snipping another inch from the bottom. Emma’s face fell as she watched an inch of hair she could have kept taken from her.

Shnip, shnip, shnip.

The damp inch fell.

“Now,” I asked. “Are you going to be a good girl while I give you a cute eyebrow slit? Or do I need to take another inch?”

I snapped the scissors next to Emma’s shoulder as I waited for her decision.

“I’ll be good.” Emma promised softly.

“That’s my girl,” I praised as I put away the scissors and retrieved the trimmer.

I once again, brushed her bangs up away from her forehead to get them out of my way while I pushed her head back. I used my thumb to try to hold her eyebrow still, understanding that it was hard for her to control it. The trimmer hummed in my hand as I shaved the thin line just slightly past the point where the eyebrow angled downward.

“Now see,” I soothed as I stroked the auburn eyebrow, “that wasn’t so bad was it?”

Emma made a vaguely affirmative squeak, while looking me in the eye questioningly. I bent down and pressed my lips against hers, feeling the slight greasiness of lipstick and the tiny pricks of hair that had stuck in it as we exchanged a tender kiss.

I let Emma up to look in the mirror. I pulled out the hair dryer and a big round brush. With the volume of long hair so significantly reduced, it took very little time to dry the damp hair as I gave it a jauntly curl at the bottom, and beveled her thick bangs.

I pulled the long locks up to the crown of Emma’s head and secured the bouncy ponytail up with an elastic I had been wearing all afternoon in anticipation of this evening’s activities. I then went to my drawer and from the top one, I pulled a small black with white polka dots silk kerchief. I tied the soft accessory around the base of the high ponytail, completing the retro vintage juxtaposition to the very modern undercut with line work.

I brushed my fingers across Emma’s neck and gave her a little kiss where her shaved hairline met her spine. I unfastened the snap of the cape.

“All done?” Emma’s voice quivered.

“Yes my darling.”

I removed the cape, tipping the cut off red hair to the side as Emma looked in the mirror coming to terms with the very different looking reflection. The audience of assorted salon staff who had remained silent voyeurs through the little drama, started murmuring compliments.

I took the hand mirror from its hook, and held it to finally reveal the part of the haircut that I thought Emma would actually truly appreciate. Emma’s eye’s were fixed on the puddle of hair on the floor, so I made psst sound and nudged her shoulder. Emma looked up, first meeting my eyes then finally focusing on the reflection of the little mirror, her eyes growing wide.

Perched just behind Emma’s right ear was the butterfly. It was big, the overlapping wings slightly bigger than Emma’s ear. I’d taken the hair inside the wing down to a #1 that I had carved a slightly simplified monarch like design into. At the top of the wings, the sharp shaved outline stood against the thick pelt of hair I’d buzzed down to a #2; at the bottom, the shaved outline simply became part of the background of bare skin since the wing reached well below the bald line of the fade.

Beyond the main butterfly, were other simple little butterflies surrounded by swirling lines that suggested they were in flight. The lepidoptera flock I’d shaved to Emma’s pale scalp extended from above one ear to the next. I hadn’t taken the swirling lines quite to the skin, I’d left a shadow of glittery stubble so that they wouldn’t compete for attention. The flock of butterflies fluttering free was the focus of the show.

“Oh” Emma softly sighed as her hand went to feel the velvety design.

Chapter 24

————————————— Going for a Ride ——————————————

I carefully packed the long locks from the counter into a ziplock bag. Trying to keep them relatively untangled.

“What are you saving that for?” Emma asked as she continued to sit in the chair like I’d instructed her to.

“Unfortunately that’s going to have to be a surprise for another time.” I informed her without giving away too much information.

There was no way I was going to be able to have what I planned to do with the copper mass done in time for tonight’s entertainment. It would be a fun way to relive what had happened tonight in a few weeks when it would be ready anyway. Plaiting the hair into a long cord was going to take hours.

I could only just begin to imagine what a wonderful combination of feelings it was going to give Emma when I tied her up with a rope made from her own shorn crowning glory. The reminder of the cut itself. It was bound to be uncomfortably prickly and itchy as the severed ends would poke into her skin. Then there was just the humiliation and creep factor of it. Yeah that was a thing to look forward to.

The mass of long tresses packed away, I looked around the shop. Everyone had made themselves scarce. As far as I could tell, Klaus was the last person left, and he was heading towards the back door.

“I’ll see you in the morning, Nicky.” He called as he reached the back of the shop and the entrance to the hallway that led to the door out to the parking lot. “Everything is done except setting the alarm, I’ll leave that to you. Nice to see you again, Emma.”

And with that, Emma and I had the shop all to ourselves. I allowed my most evil smile to spread across my face. Emma looked rightfully a little nervous.

“Time to head to my backroom, my darling.” I informed my delicate beauty.

Emma let out a little whimper, then asked. “What are you planning?”

“Just a little fun now that we have privacy.” I assured her. “Don’t be too worried.”

In the back room I made Emma face the mirror as I stood behind her looking over her shoulder at her beautiful reflection. She supported herself, her hands braced against the obsidian counter. I had a hand up her skirt finger fucking her, as I pressed my pelvis against her hip. I made her watch as she orgasmed over and over, her cum drenching my fingers and her cotton panties

When it was time to go home, I just wanted an excuse to keep feeling Emma near me, pressed against me.

“Let’s ride my bike home together.” I suggested as I started to drape my leather jacket over her narrow shoulders. “I’m pretty sure you aren’t going to have nearly as much trouble getting your hair into my helmet as you did last time I took you for a ride.”

“Do you have a spare helmet here?” Emma asked as I held mine out to her.

“I’ll just be careful. Back streets, no speeding.” I negotiated as Emma furrowed her brow at me. “Please, it will be fun. It will be fine.”

Emma sighed and took the helmet from me. She nodded agreement, though I could tell it was a little reluctant. On my bike behind me, Emma held tightly. Her prefect hands clutched around my ribs, just under my breasts. The hard weight of the helmet pressing against my shoulder.

Though I knew it wasn’t really safe, or legal, I loved the feel of the wind over my short crop of hair and bare arms, while Emma pressed her soft body into my back as we zipped down the street.

Chapter 25

—————————————— Confidence ————————————-

Friday morning, my worries that maybe I’d gone too far were dispelled.

I stood next to the open door of Emma’s office as she cheerfully participated in a zoom meeting that seemed to have gotten side tracked. I casually listened, not sure if it counted as eavesdropping since I wasn’t hiding.

“Thanks” Emma said blushing slightly, the long sides of her hair tucked behind her ears not making any attempt to hide her buzzed temples and the fade down to her shaved sideburns. “If you think the front is a big change, you should see the back. I’m not so sure about the bangs, but I love the undercut. There are some advantages to living with a barber.”

*You can’t say things like that and then not show us.* A voice complained through the speaker.

“Ok, hang on.” Emma agreed.

As she got out of her chair and turned and lifting the long hair, She spotted me at the door. She gave me an embarrassed smile having been caught admitting she loved the undercut.

“Can you see?” Emma asked as she tilted the back of her head towards the camera.

*Oh my, that butterfly is amazing.* *That’s wild, is that just hair?* *Does Nicky draw or paint?* Compliments and questions in different voices spilled from the speaker. Emma turned around and sat back in her chair, looking a little overwhelmed by the attention, as she let her hair fall back over her shoulders.

“I just wanted to say goodbye before I head off to work.” I interrupted and stepped into frame.

I gave Emma a G rated kiss on the cheek as a chorus of *Hi Nicky* and *nice job* came from the speakers. I gave a little wave to the camera, acknowledging Emma’s coworks, then headed towards the door.

When I got home in the evening, Emma decided we should go out for a nice dinner. I changed into a fresh blouse and Emma put on a dress with thin straps that didn’t cover her little tattoo.

“What would you think if I expanded my butterfly tattoo into a whole flock going across my shoulders?” Emma asked casually between bites of salad as we started our meal.

“I think that would be lovely.” I said, twirling my wine glass. “It’s your mom who’s going to have a fit.”

“I don’t care.” Emma stated, though I wasn’t fully convinced. “She’s going to have a fit about the haircut next time we see her anyway.”

“The fade and design stuff grows out fast.” I reminded her. “By the time we see them again, it should just be a regular undercut and bangs.”

“Hmmm?” Emma shrugged, poking her salad.

“Wait,” I put the wine glass down and leaned forward eagerly resting my chin on my hands. “Do I get to maintain it?”

“I don’t know. Maybe the undercut, but not the bangs.” Emma said then speared a cherry tomato.

“We’ll see about that,” I teased. “I think you might just get used to being able to see out of both eyes. I certainly am enjoying getting to gaze into both of them.”

When we got home, Emma took the lead. I was only halfway out of my pants when I felt Emma’s hands on my butt. We didn’t bother with anything specifically kinky, but Emma was surprisingly rough. Pushing me down onto the bed, going after my nipples like a predator, ordering me to go faster and deeper as she kneeled beside me while we simutaneously finger fucked.

“DON’T STOP! DON’T STOP!” she yelled out between pants when I faltered slightly as another orgasm left me dizzy.

Then she’d gone down on me, sucking my clit so hard I thought I might explode. The soft bangs brushing my pelvis just above my neatly trimmed bush.

She crawled up the bed to lay next to me, cum all over her face, but not in her soft hair. I stroked her cheek, and up past her smoothly shaved side burns till my finger met the copper velvet on the side of her head.

“See,” I said softly. “If you didn’t have those bangs, your hair would be full of cum and stuck to your pretty face. Isn’t this better.”

“You’re not going to convince me to keep the bangs that easily,” Emma chuckled at me. “Maybe I like when my hair smells like your cum.”

Then she turned over and pressed her body into mine.

Saturday, Emma came into the shop around noon. She looked adorable. She wore a pretty linen peasant blouse with an embroidered yoke, chambray capri pants with rolled cuffs, and red sandals. The long part of her hair was braided and wrapped around the crown of her head in a sort of modified heidi braid fashion that didn’t obscure the undercut.

Though it was a surprise, it wasn’t an unusual surprise. Emma had stopped by on saturdays to see if I wanted to go to lunch, or show off a particular treasure she’d gotten garage saleing many times. Neither of us loved that I worked so many saturdays. Honestly, that was really the thing that had bothered me most about the damned wedding. It had taken up one of my way too precious saturdays with Emma.

“Check this out.” Emma excitedly exclaimed after introducing herself to the client I had in the chair.

She held up the sleeve of knitting patterns which was originally marked all of 50 cents up in the corner. It looked old, probably 1960s, and on it was a crowd of Barbie dolls wearing the little hand knit items.

Emma was usually kind of shy and apologetic around my clients when she came in. But she was calm and outgoing as the three of us chatted. She relaxed into the role of charming entertainment, as soon as she could see that my client was enjoying the show.

At first, I thought it was just excitement over having found such a particularly interesting treasure at a garage sale, but after I finished with my client and I went with Emma to the deli to get lunch, I realized the outgoing attitude was still there as she chatted with the guy behind the counter.

Emma had gained a whole new confidence.

Chapter 26

————————————— Mistress Kitty’s Revenge —————————-

I’d had a very relaxing but productive Sunday afternoon and evening. When I’d gotten home from the shop, the antique instructional manual for hairwork had been waiting on the porch. I was mostly planning to follow tutorials from youtube, but the antique would go nicely with the penny dreadfuls on the coffee table in the back room.

I did a little work in the garden till the mosquitoes started really coming out. Then I headed inside to shower and relax. Sunday night was our regular pizza night, so neither Emma or I had to cook.

I had brought home some cheap synthetic extensions to practice making the rope before I would start with Emma’s actual hair, since it was very unlikely I would ever get a chance to replace it. So I spent some time just working on that. When I decided taking a break before frustration started was a good idea, I decided it was a good night for keeping up with shaving Emma down below, so I laid out the towels and supplies on the bed.

Then I decides it was time to rearrange Barbies. I’d already moved Mrs Rabbit down to the bottom shelf. I was scooching Harley’s box to the side, and trying to decide what doll to put inbetween Number Six and Harley so that there weren’t 2 dolls with red hair and bangs right next to each other, when Emma slinked up. Surprisingly, she was carrying the pitcher from the night stand.

She was wearing a silk robe instead of pajamas, and had her hair up in a ponytail fully displaying the undercut full of butterflies that was still nice and sharp. The bottom of the fade still looked completely bald, though I was sure my fingers would tell me a slightly different story. Emma’s hair was just pale enough to blend to her skin.

My fade never still looked that clean 3 days out. The dark black hair just provided too much contrast even against my tan skin. And of course, I was 5 days out, so mine had a very obvious shadow.

“Are you going to be long?” Emma asked demurely.

“I don’t know,” I explained. “I don’t want new Mini Emma and Harley standing right next to each other, but I can’t decide who to put between them.”

Hmmph,” Emma was not exactly pleased that I had taken to calling Number Six “new Mini Emma.”

“Did you want to do something else?” I asked, I figured she had probably noticed that I had set things up in the bedroom.

“Let’s go to bed,” Emma suggested in her most seductive tone, her head tilted down in a failed attempt to hide behind the too short bangs.

“Sure darling,” I smiled at Emma’s ineffective attempt to work around not having a peek-a-boo wave. “Let me just get this to a good stopping point, you go on ahead and get out of that robe.”

Emma put down the pitcher next to me, and slinked away. I very swiftly just made sure all my dolls were standing up and secure, then closed the glass cabinet doors that protected them from dust and the cat. Figuring out who was going to stand between Harley and Number Six was not an emergency.

On my way to the bedroom, I stopped and filled the pitcher up with nice steamy water. I’d been a little surprised that Emma was actually so eager, I guessed she’d adjusted to being bare down there, and had become invested in keeping it that way. She probably was thinking about the itchy phase of growing out a bush that would be starting in a couple of days.

I entered our bedroom expecting to see Emma looking sweet on the bed amongst the items I’d prepared. Instead I noticed that the items on the unoccupied bed had been changed slightly. The towels were still there, actually I realized as I stared, I think there were even more. The white ropes were gone, replaced by the handcuffs and restraints Emma favored.

“Thank you darling,” Emma said as she took the pitcher of water from my hands.

Emma walked towards the bed, and put the full pitcher on the nightstand. To my surprise, she wasn’t wearing either nothing or just pastel panties. She was wearing the black bustier, a pair of black satin tap pants, her kitty cat mask, and the long black gloves with claws. Her short coppery bangs hung oner the top of the mask and curled around it’s pointy ears the color of her hair standing out against the black mask.

I was a bit unsure what to do in what felt like a completely unfamiliar situation. I knew Emma was a switch, but in the years we’d been together, Emma had never actually spontaneously decided that she was going to Dom before. She generally just slipped into the sub role unless I had indicated that I was in the mood to play sub, or because I wanted to watch her Domming someone else. Emma not simply playing the Dom, but very genuinely being the Dom was brand new territory.

Of course this meant that I was suddenly being thrust into a whole new role. If I didn’t say anything, I was going to not simply play the sub, but actually be the sub. I enjoyed playing the sub sometimes, I loved the feeling of restraints I could pull against. I certainly enjoyed the pleasure that came with just the right amount of pain from a bit of impact play or knife play. I absolutely enjoyed that bit of fear that came with edge play. The thing is, that even when I was playing sub, I always felt very much in control.

I hadn’t planned whatever was happening in our bedroom. I hadn’t asked Emma to play Mistress Pussy for me. I had no idea what was happening. I was very not in control.

“Stop standing there catching flies!” Emma ordered me. “And start getting undressed.”

Startled out of my shock, I closed the mouth I hadn’t realized was hanging open, and said “ok” as I began to walk towards the hamper.

“Is ‘ok’ a sufficient way to address your Mistress?” Emma demanded.

“No Mistress Pussy.” I answered correctly, as I undid my fly and pulled down my pants.

“That’s a little better.” She barely accepted as I pulled off my t-shirt. “Now hurry up and get out of that bra and panties.”

“Yes ma’am,” I said as I fiddled with the clasp of the offending bra.

Once naked, Mistress Pussy looked me up and down with a rather critical eye, and scoffed slightly. I was usually pretty comfortable with my nudity, but something about the way Mistress Pussy was eyeing me made me feel vulnerable in a way I hadn’t in years.

“I suppose that will have to do.” Mistress Pussy sneered. “Now go sit on the bed.”

“Yes Mistress Pussy.” I did as ordered, and sat on the edge of the bed waiting for what would come next.

“Good girl,” Mistress Pussy finally seemed to be mildly pleased with me, then picked up the ankle restraints and handed them to me. “Now put these on, nice and tight.”

“Yes ma’am.” I did as ordered, bending over and putting the padded leather bands around my ankles and fastening the buckles.

“Those don’t look tight enough.” Mistress Pussy scolded. “Can you wiggle them?”

“Only slightly ma’am.” I countered and showed they just moved slightly when I pulled up and down on the D rings on the sides of them.

“Refasten them on the next hole.” Mistress ordered.

“Yes ma’am” I conceded contritely as I rebuckled the restraints.

Then Mistress Pussy picked up the shiney steel hand cuff. “HANDS!” she ordered brusquely and then placed the cuffs on me as I complied.

“Stand up and face the bed.” Mistress Pussy ordered as she picked up the flogger. “Bend over, hands on the mattress.”

I did as I was told and waited for the first stroke, which I expected to be fairly gentle. It wasn’t. Mistress Pussy did not hold back at all, the first stroke stinging sharply against my thighs and butt cheeks. I gasped and let out a slight yelp.

“May I ask why I am being disciplined so that I can apologize profusely, Mistress?” I asked when I recovered my composure.

“Oh my darling.” Mistress Pussy sighed as she stroked my back with the tails of the flogger. “‘Discipline’ suggests I am trying to teach you a lesson. I’m not, I’m just enjoying a little revenge.”

Well, that sounds terrifying I thought to myself, as the second blow landed. I yelped again at the pain I hadn’t prepared myself for. At least I expected the third one, and just inhaled sharply.

“Now lay down,” Mistress Pussy ordered, putting her flogger aside. “Face up.”

I didn’t actually think about whether or not I wanted to until I found myself staring at the ceiling while Mistress clipped the carabiner that was strapped to the bottom of the bed frame through the D ring of my ankle restraint. She’d just been so authoritative giving the orders, it hadn’t occurred to me to question whether or not this was a game I actually felt like playing.

I was completely vulnerable, my legs held open, my hands stretched above my head, all of it held by straps, as Mistress Pussy ran her pointy claws over my tender belly. Then they circled my nipple which became hard at the attention. Then Mistress Pussy Slid up next to me and pinched my face hard, the claws digging in slightly to my cheeks. She kissed me hard, but didn’t release my face when done.

“Are you ready for Mistress Pussy’s sweet revenge?” She asked me, but instead of waiting for my real answer that would have been garbled anyway, since she was still pinching my cheeks tightly, she forced my head to knob up and down. “Very good.”

Mistress Pussy dramatically peeled off her long gloves and draped them casually over my knee. She then turned towards the basket I had put my straight razor in earlier, and reached into it.

“Emma, that thing isn’t easy to use safely.” I warned.

“Excuse me, is it allowed to address Mistress Pussy by her familiar name instead of her proper title?”. She turned and chastised me.

“I’m sorry Mistress, but…”

“Mistress Pussy has brought her own tools,” she informed me as she pulled the little battery powered bikini trimmer from the basket. “Now hold still.”

I tried to relax as I heard Mistress turn on the humming device. I didn’t particularly want my entire bush buzzed down to prickly stubble, but all things considered, I guessed it was kind of fair considering what I had been planning to do to Emma. I stared at the ceiling as the vibrations pulsated over my mound. It felt the short hairs fall away as she denuded my labia.

I grew wet, feeling some of the pubic hair getting trapped in my cum. I breathed heavily, desperate for a release. Mistress Pussy seemed to have noticed, because as soon as she turned off the trimmer, she began to insert her fingers. she spread the slippery cum out, using it to lubricate as she rubbed hard on my clit. It didn’t take long for me to orgasm, my muscles pulling against the restraints, my back arching against the mattress.

“Oh my you are very very messy down there, aren’t you.” Mistress teased me. “Don’t fret, I’ll soon have you all cleaned up.”

She poured some of the water from the pitcher into the matching wash basin and dipped a washcloth in it. I focused on calming my breathing as I waited for the warm wet cloth to wipe away the loose pubic hairs stuck to me. The soft terry cloth felt good as it was laid on my mound, but then to my surprise, it wasn’t used to wipe, it was just left there.

Mistress Pussy turned back to the basket and reached inside. I gave up on trying to focus on my breathing, and strained to see what she was taking out. I recognised the dark blue label immediately on the little bottle of liquid.

“Is that peppermint soap?!” I began to feel a bit of panic set in. “EMMA?!”

“Excuse me?” She turned, I was sure the brow behind the mask was furrowed angrily.

“I’m sorry, I meant Mistress.” I apologized quickly. “What are you doing?”

“I already told you,” Mistress answered casually as she dipped another washcloth and squirted some of the soap on it, and the air filled with the cool scent of peppermint, “I’m cleaning you up.”

“You know that…” I began.

“I am well aware, impertinent imp.” Mistress Pussy interrupted me as she pulled the first washcloth off my mound. “Now stop fussing.”

She placed the soapy washcloth against my pubis and began to work up a lather.

“OH FUCK!!!!” I screamed out as the icy burning of menthol against a mucus membrane spread across my vulva.

Mistress Pussy left the freezing hot lather on me as she dipped her delicate hands into the basin to rinse off the soap that would just feel like soap on the normal skin of her hands. She then reached into the basket and pulled out a disposable safety razor.

“Please be careful.” I begged through gritted teeth as the nerve endings in my vulva still couldn’t figure out if they were feeling hot or cold.

“Really?” Mistress Pussy chastised. “Isn’t that a bit hypocritical?”

“Hmmmph.” I had to admit that was true.

I held my breath as Mistress Pussy began to remove the black stubble and peppermint lather with the razor. I released the breath after the first stroke went ok, praying that I would get through this unscathed. She kept shaving, dipping it in the basin and giving it a swish between strokes. Her soft finger explored the area, making sure none of the stubble was missed. When Mistress had finally removed the last of it, she dropped the razor into the wash basin.

Mistress Pussy dipped a new washcloth directly into the fresh water still in the pitcher. She then began wiping off my mound and vulva. I knew that even once all the soap was rinsed away, the icy burning would linger, once those nerves were triggered it took time for them to recover, but the warm wet cloth felt good anyway. I orgasmed hard as Mistress rhythmically cleaned me.

I lay there catching my breath as I watched Mistress Pussy put her clawed gloves back on, relieved that the ordeal was over. Though I did still have the itchy grow out to look forward to.

“Do you feel better now that we’re even?” I asked as Mistress Pussy finished.

Mistress Pussy chuckled evilly before climbing onto the bed and kneeling over me. She once again pinched up my face and kissed me roughly. Then she lay down next to me, and put her dark red lips next to my ear.

“Oh darling.” Mistress Pussy purred and she ran her claws through my cropped hair, “That was just step one.”

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