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“God, I hate studying for tests,” Carrie complained from her seat at the desk in Tara’s room. She stretched out her arms, let out a sigh, and plunked her head onto the history book in front of her.

“Don’t we all?” Tara answered from her bed.

Carrie reached up to the back of her head and pulled out the scrunchy that held her ponytail in place. The dark red locks fell down over her shoulders, and Carrie began to run her fingers through them. She absolutely loved her hair, it complemented her stunning blue eyes perfectly. It had just a bit of curl to it, so that when it was as long as it was now, the tresses fell in beautiful waves. Her bangs were just a bit longer than eye length, and she had to brush them out of her face pretty often.

After watching Carrie play with her hair for a few minutes, Tara walked over to her vanity and grabbed her brush. She began to run it through her friend’s hair with long, slow strokes.

“Thanks,” Carrie said. “I haven’t had much time for my hair lately, with all these tests we’ve been having.”

“I know, I barely have time for mine,” Tara agreed. Her own thick hair was just a little shorter than chin length, and was a rich auburn in color, and poker straight.

Carrie directed her attention back to the history book in front of her as Tara continued to run the brush through her long hair. Every once in a while she would read out a fact that she thought was important for her and Tara to remember, but she stopped talking when Tara stopped brushing her hair. She heard her friend going through her dresser drawers, and Carrie turned to see what Tara was doing.

“What are you looking for?” Carrie asked.

“Scissors,” Tara replied as she continued her search.

“What for?” Carrie asked. She noticed a slight nervous edge in her own voice. “I just want to trim your hair a bit. It’s a little uneven.”

“No way,” Carrie argued. “My hair is fine the way it is.” Carrie had just gotten six inches cut off her mane two months ago, and she wasn’t ready to get it cut again.

“Oh don’t be such a baby,” Tara replied as she walked back to her desk with scissors and a comb in her hands. “You won’t even notice it.”

“I don’t like this at all,” Carrie told Tara. “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”

“Yes, I’ve seen it done tons of times. I’ll just cut off an inch or two.”

“Make it half of an inch and you have a deal. I’ll only let you cut that much off my hair,” Carrie said while making a 1/2 inch gesture with her fingers. “Fine,” Tara agreed with a grin.

Carrie leaned back in the chair as Tara ran the comb through her friend’s long, scarlet locks. Carrie squirmed a bit, but began to calm down as time went on. Her head moved back a bit with every pull of the comb, and it was a relaxing motion. She shuddered when she heard the first rasping sound of the scissors cutting through her hair, and let out a relieved breath when Tara placed the tiny clump of hair she had cut off on the desk in front of Carrie. “See, it’s not that much.”

“Okay,” Carrie replied as the cutting continued. Every time Tara lifted a lock of hair and trimmed off the ends, Carrie let out a sigh of relief when she saw that the tuft of hair falling was rather small. But as time went on, she noticed that the clumps of hair began to grow in size. “Aren’t you cutting off too much?” she nervously asked as the piles of hair on the floor and her shoulders grew.

“Don’t worry, I know what I’m doing,” Tara answered as she clicked the blades together again. She seemed to take a minute to think about something, and then told Carrie “your bangs are too long.”

“But I like them the way they are,” Carrie argued in vain. Tara pulled up the wispy bangs and sliced off two inches of their length with the scissors. “Tara!” Carrie cried as the locks fell past her face, “You’re cutting off too much! Stop it!”

“Don’t worry, it looks better now,” Tara responded as she took another snip. A long curl rolled down Carrie’s shoulder and came to rest in her lap. Carrie began to panic, she wondered how far Tara was going to take this. Already she was sure that her hair was shorter than shoulder-length. That would be shorter than she had ever worn it in her life. What would the boys at school think? They were always noticing her beautiful hair, and now it was being taken away from her…would the guys ever look at her again? If as much as she thought was being cut off was in fact being chopped, she’d be in college before it all grew back. A sick feeling rose up in her gut, and she bit down on her lip nervously. Still, the cutting continued. Tara moved to Carrie’s right side and began to snip away at the scarlet waves. Several inches of the locks fell onto Carrie’s shoulder. Carrie felt the shorn ends of her hair resting halfway down her ear, well short of their former length.

“Please stop,” Carrie asked Tara, who continued chopping away anyhow. “I’m almost done,” she replied. She moved to Carrie’s left side and cut the red curls until they also hung halfway down Carrie’s ears. Carrie looked down at the large pile of hair, almost in tears, as more and more of her tresses fell in her lap. A chill ran up her spine when she felt the comb run through the thick hair at her crown. She felt Tara hold the curls between her fingers and then heard the rasp of the scissors’ blades. Six inch lengths of hair fell into Carrie’s lap. Unable to hold them back, Carrie felt tears run down her cheeks.

“Stop crying,” Tara told her, “you’re going to look so cute it’ll be sick.” But the reassuring words did nothing to calm Carrie. Tara continued cutting off large chunks of Carrie’s mane, and worked her way towards Carrie’s bangs. Carrie couldn’t see her shorts anymore, the large pile of hair in her lap covered them completely.

Tara moved back to Carrie’s sides and began to cut some more. “Can’t you leave any?” Carrie whimpered as she watched the three-inch lengths of hair fall to the floor. Soon Tara couldn’t pull the hair between her fingers, she had to stand it up with her comb to cut it shorter.

Carrie then felt the comb run through the hair at the nape of her neck, and the scissors quickly hacked off any hair that had been spared before. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity to Carrie, the scissors stopped. Tara placed them carefully on her desk and ran her fingers through Carrie’s short curls. “This looks awesome, Car, get up and look at it,” Tara told her.

Wiping a tear from her eyes, Carrie slowly rose out of the chair. She had to choke back another sob as the large pile of hair in her lap fell to the floor when she stood. Shaking, she walked over to the mirror and stood in front of it. Her eyes widened in shock – she barely recognized herself. Her eyes were red from crying, and her makeup had been streaked. Her once-familiar bangs were no longer hanging over her forehead, her entire face was now exposed for the world to see, she was left with nothing to hide behind. The hair on her crown was just a little over two inches, and as it got closer to her bangs it was even shorter. The locks on the sides and back of her head were almost non-existent, she couldn’t even get any between her fingers – it couldn’t be much shorter if Tara had used the clippers. Carrie couldn’t believe she had a little boy’s haircut. “Isn’t it great?” Tara asked.

As much as she hated the thought of short hair and loved her long waves, Carrie managed a slight nod in agreement. She did look pretty cute with short hair, and in a few months it would grow out into a nice pixie cut. But as she looked at herself, Carrie’s eyes moved to Tara’s reflection in the mirror. Specifically, the reflection of Tara’s silky, shiny hair. She turned to her friend and said with an evil grin, “I think it’s your turn now…”

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