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(follows straight on from Ella’s Apprentice)

Pauline – Paul – ran her hands into her thick grey hair and grinned at her partner Jackie.

“Who’s it to be, Jack? You or me?”

Jack’s eyes swept around my little whitewashed barber’s shop and rested on the spare chair.  “Can’t you do both of us at once?”

Lucy’s eyes widened. That meant SHE’D be wielding clippers too!  I watched the joy on her face and didn’t have the heart to dissuade her. She could easily reduce Jack’s silky bob to a crewcut without causing damage.  And luckily I had two sets of clippers – the ones I’d used on Josh for ages and the new ones I’d treated myself to.

“Of course,” I said smoothly. “Paul, I’ll cut your hair. Just pop up into the barber’s chair. Jack, are you comfortable with Lucy buzzing your head?”

Jack grinned. “I’m game for anything, as Paul will tell you when you get to know us better. Young Lucy did a fine job on your head, Ella. And maybe one day Paul and I may well ask for a haircut like Lucy’s own.”

Lucy blushed, pleased, her cheeks pink against the whiteness of her newly-shaved scalp.

Jack and Paul had a last stroke of each other’s feminine hairstyles before taking their respective chairs.

I had two capes and gave Lucy the shiny black one while I took my new cape, the one I thought of now as my `lucky cape’, which was a dazzling black and white zebra stripe pattern, and fastened it around Paul’s neck.

The Two Lezzies, as I’d always thought of them, were in their late forties or even older but had lovely skin and curiously ageless faces. Paul’s oval face would be beautifully set off by the cut I had planned for her.

Lucy was trying not to fumble as she snapped her cape into place and checked that none of Jack’s bob was caught underneath it.

I passed her my clippers with the number 2 attachment firmly in place and watched approvingly as Lucy turned them on and gave them two precise drops of oil.

For my part I oiled the beautiful new SuperTapers and set them to a number 2 as well. They hummed powerfully. Paul wriggled in her chair.

“Have you ever had your hair cut really short?” I asked her.

“When I was at uni, I did. It was the punk era; I was a bit of a skinhead in those days but once I graduated and became a nice solid accountant I had to grow it out in order to get a decent job,” Paul said with a sigh. “I was with that company until earlier this year, when I moved to a smaller company where they’re a bit more relaxed. I can be open about my relationship with Jack there, and as for the young girls – there’s hardly one of them with long hair.  So, it’s time for me to stop looking like a boring old fart accountant, isn’t it, Ella?”

“Absolutely,” I agreed, and steadied her head with one hand as I brought the clippers to the nape of her neck, nuzzling them under her hair and drawing them up through it. The clippers’ note changed from a hum to a crackle as Paul’s hair peeled away to leave a steel grey pelt in its wake.

“Nice and short,” I said approvingly as I clipped up almost to her crown.

“Good.” Paul grinned. “You enjoy this, don’t you?”

“Oh yes,” I said, surprisingly relaxed in the company of this woman I hardly knew.

“So do I,” Paul said feelingly as I started a second pass up the back of her skull. I glanced in the mirror and her eyes were closed and mouth smiling serenely.

Meanwhile the second set of clippers had snarled into action.  Lucy stood in front of Jack, hiding her view of the mirror, and mowed a steady path from Jack’s forehead to the back; a skein of shiny brown slid over Jack’s head onto the floor. I took a second or two away from Paul’s head to check Lucy’s progress. Despite the girl’s excited grin she was doing very well, shearing a straight path next to the first.

Paul sighed pleasurably as I clipped the back of her head over and over, until it was a very uniform quarter inch in length.

Then I pushed the clippers up behind her left ear, and bent the ear forward for another, closer pass so not a hair escaped its fate.

Hair tumbled onto Paul’s lap for the first time. How funny it is that cut hair looks longer than it does on one’s head, I thought idly, watched Paul’s expression as she clocked the length of the grey locks with a surprised smile.

“I’m taking no prisoners,” I told her, and now she had her eyes open, fixed on me in the mirror as I buzzed up the side of her head. She watched intently as I began to shear the hair in front of her ears, leaving her with stubble all the way up her temple.

“Aaahh,” she moaned, as I moved away and around to the other side. She entangled one hand from under the cape and ran it up and down the back and clipped side of her head.

“Oh Paul, I’m not nearly finished yet,” I promised her, pushing her right ear forward and buzzing away her grey locks. “I’m going to taper the back and sides shorter when I’ve finished the top.”

“Shaved?” Paul whispered.

“Maybe,” I whispered back. “How brave are you?”

“Very.”

“Then sit back and enjoy the ride.”

As Jack was certainly doing!  Lucy had clipped the top of her head closely, revealing a thick pelt and a pronounced widow’s peak.  Jack’s mouth hung open in a delighted “O” as Lucy carefully and slowly brought the clippers up in front of her right ear and the shiny bob dropped away onto the equally shiny cape.

“Short enough for you?” Lucy said casually, but I knew she was excited both emotionally and sexually at what she was doing. She brushed a finger idly over the stubble she’d left on top of Jack’s head.

“Y-yes,” said Jack, closing her eyes at Lucy’s feather touch. I knew what that felt like; the first time you have a crewcut, and someone gently runs a finger or two over your hair, pushing the tiny, clipped strands backwards, it’s like no other feeling on earth. It’s up there with the first time you shave your head and have a shower in terms of sensory overload. Your scalp feels alive, on fire, tingling like mad as it adjusts to the super short haircut and that gentle flicker of human touch.

I watched Lucy push Jack’s ear forward ever so carefully before guiding the clippers around it and following a path up the side of Jack’s head until it met the shorn hair on top. Already Jack looked years younger. How I’d have loved to have been able to watch the entire transformation without interruption, but Paul’s head was half clipped.so much more to come off.

With that I started again on Paul, shearing around her right ear and removing all the long hair on the side of her head.  Her ears lay flat to her skull even with her hair buzzed this short.

“Now for the top,” I said grandly, pulling a comb out of my gadget belt like a real pro, and combing all Paul’s wild pineapple hair that grew wirily on top of her head back and up. I decided her flattop would be half an inch long in front, graduating back to a quarter of an inch at her crown where it would integrate seamlessly with the clipped back and sides.

“Don’t move a muscle,” I warned her as I held the comb at her forehead and flicked the taper to zero on the clippers.

Ratatatatat!  I drew the clippers along the comb and reduced Paul’s fringe to a shocked half inch. As I expected it stood happily to attention.  Encouraged by its behaviour I moved back down her head, ratatatatting all the way and flicking masses of thick hair over Paul’s shoulders and back.

Paul couldn’t see what I was doing as I was standing in front of her, so when I moved to one side to work on the area near her crown, she gasped.  No wild hair any more!  No grey frizz!  A steel grey pelt that spelt action had mysteriously appeared in its place. I grinned at her expression, a mix of shock and wonder.

“Oh, ELLA!  Don’t I look different?”

“Well, you wanted a change,” I giggled, turning off the clippers and picking up my sci
ssors. Time to blend, now, so Paul sat watching me comb and snip and comb and snip, taking off tiny little bits that hung in the air like dust motes before floating to the floor.  I worked all around the top of her head, and finally was satisfied with a sharp, crisp flattop you could rest a cup and saucer on.

I was aware of silence from the other chair.  Lucy triumphantly switched the clippers off and stroked Jack’s buzzed head.  “How do you like it?”

“I love it,” Jack sighed, turning this way and that. She had the most beautiful skull shape, delicately indented under her occipital bone, and the merciless haircut showed it to perfection.  

“I’ll just trim your neck for you,” Lucy said professionally.  “Did you want a natural hairline or rounded or square?”

“Er..natural,” Jack said, and Lucy rather expertly wielded my little red edgers, taking away stray hairs and enhancing the “W” at the back of Jack’s neck.

“What about your sideburns? Angled forward at the top of your ears?”

“Um.yes, yes that would be good,” Jack agreed.

I mentally crossed my fingers that Lucy would get them both even, and she did. She simply pushed the blade of the edgers towards Jack’s skin at a 45 degree angle and left Jack with little points of sideburn.

Letting out a huge sigh, which I recognized as a release of tension, Lucy switched off the clippers and found my big brush and began to tidy Jack’s neck. She looked very pleased with herself and rightfully so.

“Darling, it’s superb,” Paul said to Jack. “I can’t wait to touch it. You should feel mine.”

The hot gazes that leapt between them raised the temperature in the room by at least 5 degrees, I thought.

“Hold still, Paul. I’m going to taper the neck and around your ears a bit closer.”

Paul grinned. “Number one or bare blade?”

“What about a number one tapering down to nothing?”

“A woman after my own heart,” Paul sighed.

“Not exactly, I like blokes and I’m married,” I grinned, and set the SuperTapers to a number one before homing in on Paul’s vulnerable nape.

Her neck already looked naked without the thick mass of hair covering it, and by the time I revved the clippers up to her occipital bone, taking away another eighth of an inch, alabaster skin showed through, delicate and white.

Paul didn’t move as I cut her hair shorter and shorter, shearing around her ears and almost up to her temples with the number one taper. Her cheekbones, which had mysteriously appeared as I buzzed her long hair away only minutes ago, now looked prominent and elegant.

“Are you ready for this?”  She watched as I flicked the taper switch off.

Paul nodded.  

I lay the comb against her skin, half way between her hairline and occipital bone, then pressed the clippers, blades moving quicker than a hummingbird’s wing, at the nape of her neck.

I was aware of a hushed, respectful silence from Lucy and Jack as I shaved away Paul’s hair to the skin, giving her a flattop too radical for most women but one that was perfect on her. The blades rattled against the comb with each upward pass. Paul’s neck was pink where the clippers had shaved it bald, and as I moved to one side the pink started to fade to white, a lovely white that contrasted well with her super short pelt.

Her sideburns had to go – such as they were, little number one fuzzes.  So I shaved them away to the tops of her ears before blending them into the sides.

At last I was satisfied.  A lovely, even flattop and blended, tapered sides.  I brushed the stray, tiny clippings from her face and neck and unclipped the zebra cape to a round of applause from Lucy and Jack.

Paul’s hands flew to her head, stroked her smooth nape, ran up the sandpaper of her number one, and rubbed the rest of her hair over and over, her eyes shut in pleasure. “It’s wonderful. Seriously gorgeous. I wish I’d done this years ago.”

Jack tenderly stroked her partner’s very flat top, caressing the bristles as they got shorter and shorter as she moved back over Paul’s head. “I wish you had, too.”

Paul stroked the stubble on the top of Jack’s head and they both moaned softly.

Double stubble! I grinned.

“Do you think you might be.er .happier at home now?” I suggested gently. You could cut the sexual tension in the room with a knife, four of us excited about the two women’s haircuts.

Jack took Paul’s hand and pulled her out of the barber’s chair.

“How much do we owe you?” Paul said, fumbling her wallet out of her pocket, unable to take her eyes from her partner’s buzzed scalp.

“Twenty quid each,” I said, knowing it was a lot for what was essentially two men’s haircuts, but I couldn’t imagine these two sighing and moaning in just any old barber’s shop.

“Cheap at the price,” Jack said. “Can we tip you?”

I was stunned. “If you’d like to. Tip Lucy, she’s only young and she needs pocket money.”

Jack duly slipped Lucy a tenner and she squealed with delight. Her first professional haircutting payment!

“Now remember,” I said sternly to Paul and Jack, “You’ll need very regular trims to keep those cuts in shape. I’d recommend once a fortnight, at least.”

“We’ll be back,” Jack promised. “I’m sure my hair grows quickly enough that I’ll need a weekly trim.”

“And my shaved neck will be so itchy I’ll be back in a week’s time, too,” agreed Paul.  “I love your barbershop, Ella, and the care you take. We’ll certainly recommend you to our friends.”  She kissed my left cheek, and Jack my right, then both women kissed Lucy and caressed her shaved head.

“Maybe one day,” Paul said wistfully, with one last stroke of Lucy’s hairless skin. “But my hair looks so good like this it would be a shame to shave it.”

“But it WOULD be fun,” Jack said, slipping her arm around Paul’s waist. “Come on darling, I think we’ve got unfinished business.”

We watched them walk away, down the path, down the lane, stroking their own and each other’s heads sensuously.

“Paying customers,” I said, still stunned. “Repeat business paying customers, and very nice ones at that. Lucy, we’re on our way! This calls for a celebration!”

In my bar fridge I had a bottle of bubbly, Australian sparkling wine I’d been saving for this very occasion. It didn’t look very elegant in the tumblers I had to serve it in, but Lucy and I sat in the barber’s chair and spare chair and got quite giggly.

Josh found us an hour later, laughing, the floor covered in hair – Lucy’s bright pink downy fuzz mingled with my brown and the longer locks of Jack and Paul – with my own hair shorter than it was this morning when he’d left to help one of his mates move house, and Lucy with a scalp that glowed in the dark.

“My God! Ella, what happened here?”

“Customers,” I giggled.

“And I had my head shaved, Josh, feel it!” She grabbed his hand and put it on her scalp.

“Feels much nicer than mine,” Josh said. I’d last shaved his head two weeks ago.  “Is either of you up to the task? Or are you both drunk?”

I jumped out of the barber’s chair. “We’re both fine, just giggly and happy. Take a seat, darling, and you can have two barberettes shaving you in unison.”

Josh rolled his eyes but sat in the chair, waiting for the cape and the inevitable. “Double trouble,” he muttered.

“Double stubble,” I corrected gently, and handed Lucy her clippers. “Ready, Luce? One, two, three.”

The end
Copyright 2006 BarberElla

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