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Leigh had made an appointment for Beth and herself to be models for Kate. Beth had been complaining about her hair for weeks and it was going to be a surprise for her. Leigh wanted a short haircut also, but had not decided what it should be. They get dramatic makeovers. On Monday the Amigas are very complimentary, especially Cindi, who is very confused by what her father had told a reporter at the Fourth of July Expo the day before (Part 11.) Monday evening Paula takes Christine to a shop where Christine’s eyebrows are shaped and colored. She likes the look but wonders how Tommy will respond to the change.

Sunday Week Five – Leigh and Beth

Leigh had not told anyone other than Ray about their appointment with Kate for Sunday afternoon. She had told Beth only that they were doing something as a family. They all rose a little late Sunday and had a leisurely breakfast that was more of a brunch. The appointment was for one o’clock. Leigh asked Beth to help clean up. When Beth asked what they were going to be doing she answered that it was a surprise.

At twelve thirty she called to Beth.

“Beth, I’m ready to go.”

Beth appeared and asked. “Where are we going Mom”?

“You’ll see. It’s still a surprise.”

Ten minutes later they were parking in front of Kate’s shop.

“Mom, are we going to Kate’s to get my hair cut?” Beth asked excitedly.

“That’s the surprise, Beth. We’re both getting haircuts as Kate’s models. You get to choose any style you like. Kate’s friend will photograph the process.

Although the sign said closed Kate was inside and gestured for them to come in. Her friend, who was a photographer was also there checking out the light and angles. At the far end of the shop she had set up a backdrop and was arranging lights.

“Come on in. You must be Leigh and Beth. I’m very glad to see you.”

“Hi Kate. Yes I’m Leigh and this is my daughter Beth. It was very generous of you to set up this for Beth. I have to admit we have a very tight budget and I’ve didn’t want to go to a regular shop because of the cost.”

“Besides I hate those shops. I never liked the way they did my hair,” Beth interjected.

“I know Beth. I’m sure Kate can give you a haircut you like.”

“I like Penny’s haircut. It’s neat.”

“Beth, I guarantee that I’ll give you the best haircut you’ve ever had and you get to choose it just the way Penny did. So why don’t you take this big book of pictures and see if you can find anything you really like. You can sit over there and use that little table so you can put the book on it. Take your time. There are a lot of pictures and most of them are short. I’ll sit here and talk to Leigh. OK”

“OK. What if I can’t find something I like?”

“Then we’ll talk about what you want and come up with something on our own.”

“OK.”

“You know Kate, every time she has been persuaded to let her hair grow long she has gotten upset about it as soon as it reached chin length. This is as long as it has been for several years, and she doesn’t like it even though she hasn’t complained too much.”

“Leigh, there are lots of girls who really like and want to have short cuts, but their Mothers, Fathers, boyfriends, girlfriends, and other people keep pressuring them to have it long. Sometimes the reverse happens but not often. It’s good that you aren’t pushing her to let her hair grow long.”

“I actually like my hair short, but they charge so much in the salons that I can’t afford to keep it cut.”

“Haircuts don’t have to be expensive. If you and Beth come in together I can give you a bargain price. I wouldn’t do any shampooing or blow drying, just a good short cut of your choice. If you’ve decided to be a model for me, I’ll do it today.”

“Goodness. I do really want to get a good short cut. Let me decide on the style after Beth has gotten hers cut, but I’m sure I’ll take you up on that offer.”

“No problem at all Leigh.” Kate said.

“Melissa, told me that you did her first shave. When I saw her the first time with her head shaved I was stunned. I wanted to say that it was awful and no girl should look like that, but she seemed entirely content and unselfconscious with it. The more I saw her the more natural it looked, and she looks, well, stunning is the best way to describe it. Even my husband Roy admits that she looks amazingly good.”

“Have you seen Christine, her older sister? If you think Melissa looks amazing, you should see Christine. She is a knock out with her shaved head. She could be a high fashion model in a minute.”

“I know, I’ve seen her a couple of times when her swim team cheered for the soccer team where Beth plays. Those two are something. I have been so taken with the way they look I wanted to have you shave Beth. I kept thinking ‘why don’t I just tell Kate to give Beth a smooth clean shave. She will look terrific with a shaved head.”

I’m glad you didn’t though,” Kate replied. “She might decide to do it anyway, if not this time then later. This time it’s best to let her decide. Besides if I shaved her I wouldn’t get any pictures of a makeover that I could use at the convention.”

“I hadn’t thought of that. Of course you’re right. Maybe later. I actually would like to see how she looks shaved.”

“I’m quite sure she would look super. In a few months she might be ready to take that step. Just be patient. You might ask her then what she thinks about getting shaved. Every woman ought to try it once at least.”

Leigh stared at her for a moment. Then smiled.

“Have you?” She asked.

“For almost a year. It was great. Loved it. I have pictures of myself. I’d do it now if I thought I wouldn’t lose business.”

Leigh was about to ask her if she could see the pictures when Beth returned with the book of styles.

“I found it Kate and Mom. It’s just what I want. This one here.”

Beth pointed out a style that was shown from four angles. From the front there was a moderate fringe of bangs and little pointed sideburns. The rest was buzzed to perhaps a quarter inch and even shorter around the ears and at the nape. The girl had a face shape almost identical to Beth’s.

“Well Beth that is a very short cut, even shorter than Penny’s cut. Everything has to be just right to make it look good. Let me have a look at your hairline in front. Good. You have a good hairline I won’t have to leave it any longer. Turn around so I can see the hairline in the back. No problem here. Some girls have a hairline that has three points or grows way down in a single long point. Yours is nice and even which will make this cut look very sharp. Also it’s important that you have a nicely shaped head, but not perfectly round and yours is just right. Last, but not least, ears that stick out just won’t do. You have beautiful small ears. Perfect.”

Beth had no idea that there were so many things that might make a haircut unsuitable. She was fascinated.

“You mean I couldn’t have that haircut if everything wasn’t just right?

“Well, I’m doing a makeover that I can use at the convention. So if I gave you a haircut that the judges thought was not suitable for the person, I would lose points. But if you wanted it I would do it because I said I would. I just wouldn’t use it at the convention. All those points are really nit pics that the judges look for. They’re like the ice skating judges at the Olympics. Everything has to be perfect.”

“Now I get it. I have another picture that I want to show you.” She opened the book to a different page. It showed a girl with much thicker and longer bangs, but with the rest of her hair clipped even shorter than the first. “Can you made all but the front as short as this and still have the front like the other picture?

“Sure, it’s easy. You really want it that short? Anyway, I’ll want to cut it to the longer length first and if everything looks good and you still
want it this short I can do it.”

“That’s OK. Mom, is it OK with you if I get it that short. I’ve never had it nearly that short before, but I do want to do it.”

“It’s OK Beth. I think it will look good.”

“Seems like everyone’s in agreement, so let’s get you shampooed and blow dried so I can get started. Normally I don’t do a shampoo, but for these makeovers it’s one more thing that’s is needed so that the before shots are good looking.”

A quick shampoo and blow dry later, Beth was being photographed from all sided for the “before” illustration.

Kate had already put in her padded booster seat so that Beth would be sitting high enough for the photographer to get good shots. She explained the reason for it to Beth who laughed and quickly got on it.

“This will be a very cute style for you Beth. I’ll put a few clips on the little fringe that you want and then buzz the rest to a little longer than the intermediate length that you showed me.”

Kate had been parting off a one inch section in front as she explained it to Beth and to the video camera.

“Now it’s time to remove the bulk of your hair with clippers. I’ve attached a number 3 guide which will make it three eighths of an inch overall. That seems short but the final result will be even shorter.”

Kate began running the clippers up the back dropping the cut off hair behind the chair. Beth was facing the mirror and the camera was behind her. Kate was careful to stay out of the way. The photographer had a digital camera that she used to take pictures. She moved from place to place getting shots from every angle as the cut proceeded. Occasionally she asked Kate to halt while she got a particular shot at a particular angle. She had a little step ladder that allowed her to get overhead shots as well.

In her usual meticulous way, she had used the clippers to make sure everything was even. She could not be certain what length the hair on the model was, but she would make Beth’s look much the same for the photo shoot, then reduce it to the length that Beth had requested.

“Now I’ll cut the fringe to a workable length of one and a half inches,” Kate announced. Kate combed it down and cut it to about an inch and a half long.

“The next step is to taper this section from one and a half inches to one half an inch so that it can be blended into the short buzzed hair behind it,” she explained.

Using her scissors and fingers she tapered the fringe just as she had explained it.

“The basic shape of the cut is now in place and the real cut can begin. I’ll start with a number two guide. The final result could be a number one and a half or even a number one depending on the color and thickness of the hair.”

Kate had already snapped on the number two guide and began to run it up the back of Beth’s head. She went up to the crown and a little beyond. She treated the sides the same way going up and a little over the curve of Beth’s head. Then she did the top going from front to back, but starting a little back of the previously tapered fringe.

“Now it’s time to reduce the sides and back to produce the neat and clean look needed for this cut. I’ll start with a number one guide and produce a taper starting at the widest part of the head. The sides and back will be a mere one eighth of an inch tapering into the quarter inch on top.”

Kate put her words into action and quickly and expertly clippered the sides to the number one length up to the highest point on the sides.

“Now it is clear that the top should be reduced more. The number one and a half guide should be just right. It results in a length of only three sixteenths of an inch, perfect for this beautiful feminine buzz cut.”

“It’s important that the result be perfectly even. So I’ll go over it several times to be sure.” Once again she ran the clippers repeatedly over Beth’s head making sure that it was even.

“There are two more important parts to do; finish the fringe to make it light and wispy and taper the back to blend with the short buzz behind it and finish the taper from the sides and back to the top. I’ll do the fringe first. It is done first with my tapering razor. And then with scissors and comb.”

Kate dampened the hair of the fringe and began tapering and thinning it from the root, producing a wispy fringe. She sectioned it in quarter inch thick sections as she proceeded from right to left along Beth forehead. Satisfied with the result, she combed up the hair behind the fringe and carefully tapered it to blend with the very short hair behind it. The result was a short taper from one half inch to three sixteenths inch. Going back to the fringe she used the tip of her scissors to make it even less even. It was now only about an inch long at the longest and fell in distinct strands which Kate emphasized with her fingers.

“Now it’s time to make sure the blending of the sides to the top is perfect. This type of finishing is very important for a super short cut like this.”

Kate took up her scissors and comb and proceeded to do the finishing as she had described it. She combed and snipped repeatedly to make each area perfectly blended.

“A cut like this is not done until it is edged. I’ll use these edging clippers to clean up around the ears, and make a nice hairline in the back. Note that the sideburns have been trimmed to a point which adds to the cute feminine look. There are several possibilities for the nape line, but I’ll leave it almost natural, leaving the little point in the middle to complement the sideburns. And there you have it. A very cute ultra-short buzz cut for an active young teenage girl who wanted something short, simple and easy to care for.”

Kate stepped back and allowed the photographer to continue. She removed the cape and directed Beth to the rear of the shop where a backdrop had been set up with lights and a stool. Kate and Leigh watched as the final professional shots were made.

“Well Beth I’ll bet you’re glad that’s finished. What do you think of it so far,” Kate asked.

“I like it Kate. It’s cute, but I still want it really short like that picture that I showed you.”

“Of course Beth. Now I can actually finish you cut the way you wanted it. You can get back in the chair and I’ll get started. What do you think now Leigh? I don’t want to keep Gabby any longer than necessary.”

“I’m ready Kate. I’m going to take up your offer. I already know what I want,” Leigh answered.

“Great. I’ll finish up with Beth and we can get started.”

“Well Beth, now I can get all of this hair off your head just the way you wanted it. I’m not going to waste any time. I’ll start with a number zero. The picture you showed me may have been even shorter than that.”

Having caped Beth once again, she picked up her clippers and removed the guide and then snapped off the cutter head which she replaced with a number zero cutter.

“Here goes,”she said as she began to run them across the top of Beth’s head. She had actually started just behind the fringe of bangs and was leaving only the longer strands. All of the tapered area was buzzed to the one sixteenth inch of the zero cutter. She treated the sides and back similarly. In a few short minutes, Beth’s head was left with only short stubble and a small fringe of wispy bangs. Kate looked at it critically. She was tempted to go with a double zero or even a triple zero which is probably what the girl in the picture had.

“Beth, the girl in the picture has everything almost shaved except for the fringe. Do you really want it almost shaved? If you like it like that you’ll need it cut every week just like Audra. If you got it shaved Leigh could do it for you or you could do it yourself.”

Beth looked at Leigh. “Mom, can I get it cut here once more. If I still like it, could I get it shaved so we could do it at home”

“If that’s what you want I’m sure we can do it.”

“Please Kate, cute it just as short as the girl in the picture. Audra
and I can come back on Saturday,” Beth said determinedly.

“You’ve got it Beth” Kate responded. She quickly switched heads to the triple zero cutter. This time she was unhesitating in going over Beth’s head leaving it almost smooth. There was a slight raspy feeling if you rubbed against the grain, and a hint of color from the slight stubble. After numerous passes to make sure that Beth’s head was perfectly even she put down the clippers.

“OK, Beth, I going to shave around the sides and back to give it a nice clean look. When you’re ready to do it all, you’ll already know how it feels.”

Kate ran hot lather into her hand and spread it on the sides and up the back of Beth’s head. She had decided to shave it up high in the classic “white side walls” look.

Leigh watched in bemused silence. Beth was coming close to getting her head shaved even though Kate had advised her not to request it. It was almost shaved anyway, and Leigh was already enchanted with the result.

Kate wiped the lather from the temple area so she could determine where to start. She made a short stroke, then repeated it a little higher, just below where the fringe of bangs started. Now she worked confidently and quickly, shaving downward in front of Beth’s ear. Working backward a section at a time she continued to shave the side of Beth’s head, leaving it baby smooth. She spun the chair around and repeated the process on the other side, working from front to back.

“That feels so neat Kate. I like the hot lather. Maybe I should get it all shaved now, except for the bangs. Would that be OK, Mom?” Beth was still not sure how acceptable this was, because Leigh had never expressed her desire to see Beth shaved.

“Of course it’s OK Beth. You’ll be just as beautiful a cherub as Melissa. I think you ought to. Your Dad and I will love it shaved nice and smooth.”

“You really will?” Beth was delighted at this revelation.

“Absolutely, Beth. I wanted you to be shaved, but I didn’t want to do it unless you wanted it too.”

“Please Kate, shave it all except for the bangs.”

“Good choice Beth. I’ll do it” Kate answered.

She had almost finished shaving the back. As soon as it was done she dispensed more hot lather and spread it completely over Beth’s head except for the front fringe. It was a little more delicate to get started on the top because she had to avoid shaving off any of the fringe. She started well back and worked her way forward. Finally she had completed that section and could continue normally. First the top, then the sides and finally the back. She should do the top a second time, but decided to leave well enough alone.

“Well, that’s a very nice chelsea that you have Beth. I don’t get to do them very often. Yours is the nicest that I’ve done. I like it with a little fringe rather than with thick bangs. What do you think Leigh.”

“I love it Kate. It is perfect for her.”

Beth had been examining herself and feeling the smoothness of the skin on her head. “Mom, can I keep it like this. I really like it.”

“I think so Beth. Kate, didn’t you provide the shaver and other materials for Melissa and the others?”

“That’s right Leigh. If you want you can have everything you need from my wholesale store on Colfax. I’ll let you have them at the wholesale cost as part of the deal for being my models.

“That’s great Kate.”

Kate quickly applied moisturizer followed by the bronzer that she had purchased for these occasions, which seemed to be becoming a lot more frequent.

“There you go Beth. A very nice look for you.”

“Come here Beth so I can feel it. Goodness that feels so smooth and soft that I just want to hold it.” She hugged Beth and cradled her head on her breast. “You are so beautiful with that cut Beth. I’ll help you keep it that way as long as you want it.”

She stood up. “I’m ready for my make over Kate.” She got into the chair that Kate had just brushed clear of any hair.

“Don’t you want to look through the books Leigh?”

“No, I don’t need to. I know exactly what I want. I want to have the same cut you gave Beth first, but maybe just a tiny bit longer. I think you said it was a number two at one point. I thought then that I wanted mine that length. I like the little wispy fringe and the way you did the sides and back the first time. Will that work for you or do you need something different?”

“That works really well. I’ve never done Mother/Daughter twin haircuts before. It will be a terrific entry in the awards contest.”

“Well since Beth got most of hers shaved we won’t be quite as much twins as I thought we would be. But I really liked the first version that you did for her, and had decided that’s exactly what I wanted. It would have been fun if we had gotten identical haircuts. Still I can’t help thinking that her shave is quite wonderful.”

“Maybe you and she will have identical styles someday. After all you would be terrific in the style that she has now and you wouldn’t have to keep coming in to get it trimmed.”

“Don’t tempt me Kate. It’s hard enough keeping myself sensible as it is.” She laughed at the thought of the haircut she had requested being sensible.

“OK, we’ll be perfectly sensible and give you this really short buzz cut. I’ll just part off your fringe and away we go. You’ll have the most sensible fuddy-duddy buzz cut ever.” Now it was Kate’s turn to laugh.

Kate wasted little time reducing Leigh’s hair to three eighths of an inch using a number three guide. She quickly cut the bangs to less than two inches in preparation for producing the wispy fringe. She did a partial taper with fingers and scissors, then checked the result critically. Snapping on the number two guide she began at the top front just behind the taper that she had already created. Once again in a few minutes she had reduced all of Leigh’s hair to a quarter of an inch. She concluded that it was just right on top and she could do a one and a half on the sides. Putting thought into action she buzzed up the side of Leigh’s head to the widest point where she continued straight up to produce a nice taper. She continued the process around Leigh’s head then examined the result critically. It would need some hand blending she thought. Now it was time to produce the wispy fringe that was a highlight of the look that she was striving for. She followed the same procedure that she had used for Beth. Soon she had a soft wispy fringe about an inch long. About an inch back the hair was only a quarter of an inch long. Once she was satisfied with the fringe she began the process of blending the sides and back to the top. She worked steadily and confidently. After going over it several times and making what appeared to be microscopic snips she was finally satisfied. The edging was next. Just as she had done with Beth she made the sideburns into little points. She edged around Leigh’s ears and down to the sides. She had observed that Leigh had a nice hairline that could be done any number of ways. After considering several possibilities, Kate decided that simply tapering it from very close at the hairline up about an inch to blend with the buzz would give the best result. She snapped the triple zero head onto her clipper and proceed to make the taper free hand up the inch she wanted. Using a comb she refined it so that it blended with the quarter inch buzz. She carefully inspected it and checked it by looking in the mirror. It looked exactly right.

“I’m going to shave the edges for you Leigh.” She applied a little lather around the hairline and quickly cleaned up. For the nape she shaved a quarter inch higher than the hairline. There was no visible demarkation which is what she wanted. She added a little mousse to the fringe and lifted it up to allow it to dry naturally.

“All done Leigh” she said. “It’s shorter than Heather’s cut, but it looks good on you.”

Leigh examined it and smiled. “It’s terrific Kate. Just what I wanted at least for the
first cut. I’m sure I’ll get it cut shorter soon enough. I like the way it feels, and I think I look younger. Maybe I’ll have to get a little nose stud like yours. How long have you had it.”

“You absolutely do look younger. I keep telling women our age that a short cut like a buzz makes them look younger. I got this just last Wednesday after I closed up shop. They don’t advertise it but they’ll do it at over at Rings n’ Things. It was Ginny who prompted me to get one. I like it. With your ears showing like that you could use one or two more earrings too.”

“You certainly are tempting me Kate. I don’t know what things might come too, but for now we’ll just have to be satisfied with what we can afford. I will have to pay for those clippers and moisturizer and I guess I have to get some sun block too. Beth is fair and she will burn easily.”

“Mom, I can wear a baseball cap the way Melissa did for a week after she was shaved.”

“Good idea Beth. You don’t want to get sunburned and not be able to shave,” Kate added.

“Here’s the bill Leigh. The wholesale price of the shaver is quite low. And the other items are very inexpensive too.”

“Kate are you sure that’s all they really cost? It seems almost too little to be possible,” Leigh said incredulously.

“It’s correct Leigh. The retail markup is almost double the wholesale cost. Since I don’t stock them I have nothing invested. Don’t advertise it, because my wholesaler would get mad and I might lose my status there.”

“Kate I am so happy with what you did for us. I adore Beth’s cut and I’ll help her keep it smooth as silk. I’m equally delighted with mine. It’s been an experience of a lifetime, but I’m looking forward to a few more in the future. Thank you.”

“It was my pleasure. I love to give women and girls the short cuts that they’ve always wanted. I hope to see you back for a trim in about three weeks.”

“I’ll be here I’m sure. Beth will probably need her bangs trimmed by then.”

“Yes, that’s right Leigh. If she comes with you it will be on the house.”

“That’s very generous of you Kate.”

“Not a problem. It will take only a couple of minutes.”

“Thank you Kate. I love my shave. I’m going to keep it like this for a long time,” Beth added.

“Well Beth we should get home and give your Father a show. What do you thing?” Leigh said.

“Let’s go. I want to show Daddy and tell the kids that I got it cut. They’ll flip,” Beth exclaimed.

“Thanks again Kate.”

They left the shop exhilarated and eager to show Husband, Father and friends their new looks. Leigh thought to herself ‘It will be fun to be with Heather and Abby. We will make quite a picture.’

The car had barely stopped before Beth jumped out and went inside to find her father. Ray was always working on some project to improve or repair their house. Although it was a modest ranch, it had a full basement and Ray had taken advantage of the space to set up a well equipped shop. Uncharacteristically she found him watching a baseball game in the family room. She stopped at the door. Ray was facing away from her. She walked quietly toward the sofa and around the end opposite where he was sitting. One step past the sofa he caught her movement from the corner of his eye and turned. For a moment he looked at her without making a sound.

“Wow, look at you Beth! You look great. What a terrific haircut. Come here and let me get a better look.”

Beth ran over to him. Ray stood up and looked closely, then put his hand on her head and felt the smoothness of her skin.

“My goodness Beth, it is so smooth. It’s just like Melissa’s isn’t it? It’s a wonderful haircut. You look just like a perfectly beautiful cherub. Will you keep it like that.”

“I love it Daddy. Mom is going to get the same shaver and stuff that Melissa uses and help me keep it shaved smooth. I want to keep it like this. It’s just what I always wanted even though I didn’t know I could have it like this.”

During this conversation Leigh had been standing in the doorway waiting for her opportunity.

“Do you suppose you might have a little time for your wife?” she asked.

Ray turned around and his jaw dropped. He stepped toward her.

“Oh my god, Leigh. What did you do? You look sensational!” He rushed to her and gave her a bear hug that lifted her off the floor. For the first time in nearly three years, all the care disappeared from her face as it erupted in a huge smile that ended in an explosion of relieved laughter. Ray joined in and then quieted it with a passionate kiss.

“I am a lucky man. I have the two most wonderful women in the whole world. I am so glad that you did something for yourselves that you have wanted for so long. As it happens you gave me a wonderful present in doing it. Well Leigh, Beth says that she’s going to keep her head smooth. Will you keep your new style?”

“I do love it Ray. And Kate will keep it cut for me for a bargain price. So I do hope we can afford it. Beth’s upkeep will be almost nothing.”

“I’m sure you thought of it Leigh, but what about your job. Will That be a problem?”

“Not at all. One of my coworkers already had a cut even more radical than this. Mine is just short, not radical. Hers is hot pink and orange,” Leigh giggled. “Of course if I decide to follow Beth’s example, that might be a little radical. The upkeep would be pretty easy though.”

“Well you just do whatever it is that it makes you happy. I haven’t seen you really happy for a long time Leigh. It’s time for you to be happy. We’re doing OK now, and we’ll be doing better from now on. So you should do whatever makes you happy.” Ray kissed her again.

Beth had retired to the kitchen and was calling her friends to tell them. Leigh and Ray listened to her animated conversation, then strolled to the swing in the backyard. Ray rubbed Leigh’s head and laughed.

“That feels good Leigh. It’s a lot shorter than mine isn’t it”

She giggled. “Yes, I think it is. I plan to keep it that way too. You’re not planning to try to outdo me are you? If you are you’re going to lose.”

He laughed. “I’ve discovered that I like having my wife have a haircut a lot shorter than mine. I might just give her a small incentive sometime.”

“An incentive would be nice. I might just reward a husband who gave me an incentive.”

They sat quietly, his arm around her shoulders, enjoying the afternoon, the birds singing in the trees around them, and each other’s company.

Monday Week Five – New Looks for Beth and Christine

Neither Melissa nor Christine had shaved on Sunday morning. It was the first time in more than a month that they had not shaved. Christine examined her head critically from all sides. She couldn’t see a hint of any hair. When she ran her hand over her head it didn’t feel bristly as she remembered it feeling at the beginning. Even running her fingers in the wrong direction did not result in the sandpapery feel that she remembered. There was a little roughness, but not much.

Christine stepped into Melissa’s room.

“Melissa, I can barely feel anything. How about you?”

“Same with me. It’s a little rough, sort of like when we first started shaving and couldn’t get it smooth the first time.”

“Well, that means that we don’t have to shave every day anymore. I think we can do it just on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays. If one of us has something special happening on the weekend we can shave ourselves. How’s that.”

“I like that plan Christine. I wonder how long it keeps getting better. If all we had to do was put on the moisturizer so we didn’t have to shave at all that would be nice.”

“I guess we’ll just have to keep checking. Anyway I need to shower. Are you fixing breakfast.”

” I’m supposed to but Mom is already up. I think she said she was going in a half hour early today, so she could leave early and pick you up. I’ll go check.”

“Yeah. My appointment is at
six I think. But we need to have dinner. I think Mom said to make some salads and heat up that big veggie pizza in the freezer.”

“That will work. What do you want for breakfast,” Melissa inquired.

Some fruit and a bowl of that whole wheat cereal will be fine for me. I’ll be down in ten minutes.”

“OK.” Melissa walked into the kitchen and headed toward the fridge.

“Look here Melissa! We made the front page!”

“Let me see Mom!” There was a large picture of the whole group with a caption that Melissa read aloud. “Bald Girls’ Mothers Club a big hit Saturday at the 4th of July Exposition at the Stadium.”

Below the picture there was a two column story with the heading “Bald girls and their short haired Mom’s make a bald statement for freedom from bad hair days.” It was a long article that was continued on page three with some more pictures.

“Wow. I didn’t think we would get that much attention. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal.”

“Well, Melissa, to a lot of people it is a big deal. Some people think that women shouldn’t even have fairly short hair like I have. So getting a buzz cut like Heather, or Abby is completely unacceptable to them and a woman or girl with a shaved or bald head is a sign of some awful illness or mental derangement.”

“I’m not crazy so I guess they must be.”

“No, they’re just stuck with some very outmoded ideas that they grew up with and can’t get around. When your grandparents were growing up it would have been unthinkable for them to have a friend like Audra. And their parents would not have thought of having friends like Hallie and Victor. Their other friends would have shunned them.”

“That is so weird, Mom. Why did people act like that?”

“I think you already know about it. When your grandparents were growing up, they had separate schools for black kids. It was called segregation. Anyway, it’s hard to change cultural attitudes and all the movies and TV shows keep reinforcing the old idea that women must have long, preferably blond, hair to be accepted and liked or even to be a real woman.”

“Well Aunt Steffie is a real woman and everybody likes her and she is beautiful.”

“You’re right, Melissa. Things are changing a little bit at a time. Maybe in another ten years, seeing a bald woman won’t seem so unusual.”

“Hey, Christine. Look at this.” Melissa exclaimed as Christine came in. “They put our picture in the paper.”

“Let me see! That is so cool, there’s Tess and me and Audra and you Melissa. Where’s Aunt Steffie. Oh, there she is. And there you are Mom. You look so different in that picture with your short haircut. I was looking for you with long hair. You look so much younger Mom! It’s like you had a baby sister who looks a lot like you and you changed places.” Seeing a photograph of Paula had suddenly triggered Christine’s realization of just how much younger Paula looked with her new style and the brighter and more youthful look to her makeup.

“Well, I actually feel younger Christine. I guess I had let myself feel older than I am. Besides you and Melissa are keeping me young for sure. I’ve got to go. I’ll see you at about five. You and Melissa can heat up that pizza and make salads for us. Have fun today. Bye girls.” She stood up and hugged each of them in turn, grabbed her purse and headed to the garage.

“Bye Mom, Bye.” Melissa and Christine had noticed the change in Paula. She seemed more outgoing and almost bouncy. It was there on Saturday and continued on Sunday as she worked on her flower beds. She seemed to be energized and enthusiastic. Even funnier to them was the fact that she took every opportunity to hug them and tell them how wonderful and beautiful they were. They were a little surprised, but found that they liked the attention. Melissa helped weed the flowers. To her own surprise Christine volunteered to vacuum the living room and family room.

“Let’s go Christine. I want to have time to see Beth’s new haircut.”

“OK, I’m coming. I want to see it too.”

By the time they had arrived at the rec center a dozen kids were already there. Melissa spotted Penny. Audra and Cindi had not yet arrived. Audra peddled up, locked her bike in the rack and came over.

“She’s not here yet is she.”

“Not yet. I can’t wait to see her. She said she was going to get it all cut off. You think she got it shaved.” Melissa wondered.

“I don’t know. She wouldn’t tell me a thing. Maybe that’s a clue that she did something radical.” Audra offered.

There’s Cindi now. I wish she would get here.” Penny interjected.

“Here she comes!” Audra jumped up excited.

They ran over to the bike rack to meet her as she rode up.

“Wow, that is awesome Beth. What a cool style.” Audra was the first to offer a thought.

There was an immediate uproar as they all tried to talk at once. Soon they were feeling her head and telling her how cool it was and how much they liked it. Cindi joined in enthusiastically.

“That is a really neat cut. I love the little fringe of bangs. Does it have a name?” Cindi asked.

“Kate said it’s a chelsea. I never heard of it, but she had a lot of pictures of it. Most had thick bangs. Only one had bangs like this, but a lot were almost shaved. I really like it. Mom is going to help me keep it shaved smooth just like you Melissa. She couldn’t shave me this morning because we don’t have the shaver yet, but Mom is getting it today.” Beth answered excitedly.

“Beth, that is really a cute look for you. It’s a lot like Ginny’s cut except hers is not shaved smooth. Well, at least not yet. I think you look really good.” Christine reinforced their approval of her new look.

“It’s very neat that we all have different styles. I love them all, especially yours Cindi. The color is so beautiful,” Melissa quickly drew them all together.

“It’s OK, but it’s a lot of trouble,” Cindi offered. It was the first time she had ever had anything negative to say about her mid back length light auburn hair.

“There’s Tommy. I have to go to the gym. See you later guys.” Christine was eager to talk to him. After all it had been a whole day since she had seen him last.

By four o’clock, the amigas were tired from their volleyball and soccer practices, and ready to call it a day. They were sitting around talking about their new found fame in the newspaper, wondering where it would lead.

Audra was reminded that she had missed her first trim because of the fourth of July celebration.

“I missed getting my hair trimmed by Kate because of the celebration. Now my hair is way too long and I have to wait ’till Saturday to get it cut. It’ll be really bad by then,” Audra laughed. “Still, I had a lot of fun. It was amazing to see so many kids and Moms with their shaved heads and super short cuts. I wish Ginny and Jill could have been there.”

“I think Mom, and Cindi’s Mom are planning something pretty soon so that they can come,” Penny interjected.

“Here comes Christine, guys. We have to go home and get dinner ready.” Melissa announced.

Christine had put in an intense two hours in the gym along with Janet, Gail and Jessie. Her afternoon had been almost as bad with some serious work on her backstroke, and several hundred meter time trials with Janet. She had showered and dressed, looking forward to getting home and relaxing for a while.

“I’m coming with you,” Cindi said. “See you guys tomorrow. And Beth I’m going to inspect your head to make sure you’ve shaved it properly.”

They dispersed, still getting laughs at the idea of long haired Cindi inspecting Beth’s shaved head.

“Cindi, you really do like Beth’s Chelsea cut don’t you?” Melissa queried.

“I guess I do. I think she looks cute with her little bangs and nothing else. I must be getting a little weird or something,” Cindi replied.

“It’s pretty funny Cindi. I thought I hated my shaved head, but one day when I looked in the mirror, I liked it. At fir
st I thought I was going nuts, because I felt like I loved it and hated it at the same time. I finally stopped thinking that everyone thought I was a freak. Then I just loved it. Maybe something like that is happening to you.” Christine shared her early reaction to being shaved.

“Maybe Christine. All the kids seem to love having their hair really short or shaved. Even their Moms like theirs super short. My Dad said that he wouldn’t mind if Mom got hers cut like Mrs. Singletary or your Mom’s. I thought he only liked long hair.” Cindi was perplexed by what seemed like mixed messages.

They reached the street that led to Cindi’s house.

“You’ll get over it Cindi. You just have to do what you want and be happy with it.” Melissa offered a little philosophy.

“I guess so Melissa. Well, I”ll see you tomorrow.”

“See ya Cindi.”

Melissa and Christine arrived home and immediately set about taking care of dinner. It wasn’t difficult. In fact is was routine for them. Melissa washed some salad greens while Christine cut some sweet red pepper strips and quartered a tomato. A few black olives topped it off.

“I have to go shower Christine. Can you do the pizza.”

“No problem. It should be done by the time Mom gets home.”

Thirty minutes later, a few minutes after five o’clock, Paula arrived.

“Hi, Christine. Everything ready?”

“Almost Mom. The pizza will be done in about a minute. You want lemonade or iced tea?”

“Iced tea. We have plenty of time to eat. We don’t need to go until twenty to six.”

They sat down to eat and began their usual chatter.

“Beth got a chelsea cut. It’s really cute. It’s like Ginny’s cut except that everything except the bangs is shaved smooth. Cindi really liked it and said she was going to check it every morning to make sure she had gotten it properly shaved. I though that was really funny. Beth said that her Mom got a buzz cut like Penny’s Mom.” Melissa was eager to let Paula know about the developments. Beth had told them she had gotten her hair cut, but it was not until that morning that they had any idea what it was like.

“That’s news Melissa. So Beth’s Mom joined the buzz cut set. I wonder how long I can hold out before I join them,” she said and laughed.

“That reminds me Mom. I forgot to ask you what the people at your work though of your new short bob and light brows?” Christine asked.

They all claimed to like it. Some of them really did, like Dorothy. They all agreed I looked younger and, well, less bland is the way I would put it. I think a couple of the women my age were actually a little jealous that I could do something like this and they were afraid to or felt that their husbands would not approve or something like that,” Paula explained.

“They’d be dumb to say you didn’t look good, even if they are stuck with the idea that all women should have long hair,” Melissa added her thoughts.

A few minutes later Christine and Paula were on their way.

“Who is going to do my brows. Do you know,” Christine asked Paula.

“Her name is Ursula,” Paula told Christine. “Dorothy said she is from Germany originally, but has been in the states for the past ten years. She was a cosmetologist there.”

“I hope she can do it without it hurting much. Jessie does her own and she said it hurt when she first started.”

“It was so long ago that I can’t remember when I first did mine or how much they hurt. I think that now they have something to keep it from hurting much. Mine hardly ever need any tweezing and it doesn’t hurt much at all. I though about maybe making then a little thinner a few years ago, but never did. I like Heather’s and hers are thinner than mine. How would you like yours? I think they should be half as heavy as they are now. Maybe later you could get them even thinner.”

“I don’t know Mom. Whatever you and Ursula decide will be fine with me.”

They had parked close to the shop which was well lit. They could see several people inside.

“I’m Paula and this is Christine. She has an appointment with Ursula.”

The young receptionist with long curly reddish blond hair stared at Christine who smiled at her. She swallowed and quickly turned to Paula.

“Yes, here it is, six o’clock Paula and Christine. I’ll let her know. She has a client with her now. Please have a seat.” She indicated the reception area.

A moment later she returned. “Ursula said she would be ready for you in about five minutes.” She paused. “I’m sorry I stared at you. It was just such a surprise.”

“Don’t worry about it. Everyone is surprised. If you decide to go around with no hair people are always doing a double take. I’m used to it. In fact I enjoy it,” Christine responded.

“You aren’t sick or anything?” She asked in a surprised voice.

“Oh, no. I’m quite healthy. I like it this way. I’ve only been smooth shaved for a little more than a month, but I don’t expect to let it grow for a long time, maybe never.”

The receptionist was obviously stunned. “I’d like to talk to you some more, but Ursula is ready for you. This way please.”

“Hello, I’m Ursula. And you must be Paula, and this is surely Christine. I’ve very glad to meet you Christine. I saw your picture in the paper this morning.”

Ursula was slightly plump with very blond and very short hair

“Come on in and tell me what I can do for you”.

“It’s pretty simple Ursula. Christine needs her brows shaped into a nice thin arch so they don’t overpower her eyes and face. They seem to be much too heavy for a girl with a smooth bald head.”

“Yes, I completely agree, although I’ve not had a great deal of experience working with bald girls and women, but I’m pretty sure I understand what’s needed to make it a special look. Christine you have a beautiful bald head. We need to make that and your eyes the focal point. Let me have a closer look. I assume you would like for them to have a nice high arch, and to open up her eyes. That will be easy to do with the way her brows grow. I don’t think pencil thin brows would quite do, but they should be quite trim. Paula, I see that you have lightened your brows. Have you considered that for Christine,” Ursula asked.

“Oh, yes. Mom has shown me how much better I look with them lighter. We’re going to have them done.” Christine interjected enthusiastically.

“Well why don’t I do them right now. It will be easier to decide how to make them look just right after they’ve been lightened.” Ursula suggested.

“Well, we were going to have them done as soon as we could, but this way might be even better. What do you think Christine?” Paula asked.

“That would be great Mom. I’m ready.” Christine responded.

“OK, Christine. Let me put this little make-up cape on you and then we can get started. You can sit in this chair with the head rest. It tilts back so I can do your brows more easily.” Ursula explained.

“This is the cream bleach that I use. It is quite strong and will take about fifteen minutes to work. Your head has a very nice color to it Christine. You must have kept your head shaved for quite a while.” Ursula said.

“Mom had us shaved early in June. It’s been over a month. My sister Melissa and I keep each other shaved now. We both really like how we look. I plan to keep it shaved for a long time.” Christine answered.

“They look wonderful, especially when they put on a little shiner. They’ve been the inspiration for two other girls to get their heads shaved, and even one young lady decided to shave hers after seeing them. I plan to join them, and my friend Abby is going to also. By next year’s fourth of July celebration we should have a big crowd of bald women and girls.” Paula laughed.

“Maybe your are starting a trend that will really take off. I like the way she looks. It is very appealing to me. Her eyes will be even more beautiful once her brows are right. I think they should be quite light – lighter than yours Paula
.” Ursula announced.

“You really think so. I thought mine were light, but they look good. Why should hers be lighter than mine?” Paula asked.

“Well, with your hair, you couldn’t go lighter without it being too much of a contrast, but with Christine there is no hair to compare too. So she can go as light as she wants. A Medium beige blond would be striking and would make her eyes look even bigger and brighter. Thin light brows would enhance her look. If you think they are too light, I can darken them a shade or two.” Ursula explained.

“Do you want to try it Christine. If it’s seems too odd, she can just darken them a little.”

Sure, that’s OK. I would like to see how I look with blond brows. It’s sort of like trying on a blond wig to see how I would look as a blond,” she giggled.

Ursula’s little timer sounded and she wiped off first one and then the other brow.

“Not quite enough,” she announced. “I’m going to apply some fresh cream and leave it on for five more minutes.”

Five minutes later Ursula announced, “That’s much better. She can have any color she likes now. I won’t color them until after I’ve shaped them.”

Ursula gently cleaned Christine’s brows with a little shampoo and warm water, followed by some aloe vera cream. When they were completely dry she applied another cream.

“This is a desensitizer. It has the same ingredient they they use in the doctor’s office to deaden the skin. Now I can begin shaping your brows Christine. You’re going to look elegant as well as beautiful. You boyfriend will be very impressed,” she said.

“How did you know I had a boyfriend.” Christine asked incredulously.

“I didn’t. But you are so beautiful, and seem so confident and assured, that I was sure that you would have a boyfriend a lot like you. I guess I was right wasn’t I,” Ursula smiled.

“His name is Tommy and he’s a great guy. We’ve only been dating for a month though.”

Ursula had been working steadily during the conversation that she had kept up as a way of distracting Christine. She examined her work critically. The arch was quite nice, but she though that a thinner brow would be better. She decided to postpone that decision until she had done both brows.

“Well tell me about him” Ursula encouraged Christine.

“Well he has a junior black belt in Judo and a brown belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’s very smart too. He has a high B+ average. He’ll be a Sophomore in High School in the fall. He doesn’t talk a lot. But he always makes sense when he does have something to say. He’s been helping me and the other girls on the swimming team with our workouts in the gym. We’ve all gotten a lot better. He really works hard in the gym. He never shows off though. I think that is part of being so good at Judo.” Christine’s infatuation was very apparent in her voice.

“I sure wish I could find a boyfriend like that. Maybe I’ll have to shave my head to find one as nice as Tommy.” Ursula laughed.

She had finished shaping both brows. They had a distinct arch and she thought they looked good, even though they were a pale yellow. She still thought they should be a bit thinner. Again she postponed that decision.

“OK, Paula, the color is all wrong, but what do you think about the shape. I think that a little thinner might be good, but I’ll do the color first.”

“They’re going to look much better with the right color, but that is a very nice arch. Maybe they could be a little thinner. I’m not sure.”

“OK, let’s do the color. I’m going to start with a light beige brown. That’s a little darker than the medium beige blond that I mentioned. It should complement her skin tone. If it’s too light we’ll darken it a bit. I’m going to put you way back Christine so nothing can run into your eyes. Close them until I tell you you can open them. It will be about 10 minutes,” Ursula told her.

“OK” Christine responded.

Ten minutes later Ursula wiped off the tint and carefully cleaned the newly colored brows with a cloth moistened with shampoo, followed by one with water only. She patted them dry and used a small blow dryer to dry them completely. She raised Christine up to a normal position.

Well, there she is Paula. What’s your opinion.” Ursula gestured toward Christine.

“I like the way you shaped her brows so they are half as thick as before and have a high arch. They’re much more attractive than before. They do open up her eyes a lot. I’m not sure about the color though. It is so different than before that I have a hard time judging. They certainly don’t dominate her features like they did. Maybe they could be a little thinner. But Christine should have the final say about that and the color.” Paula wanted to be sure that Christine was fully involved in what was being done.

Ursula handed Christine a mirror. “Well Christine, tell me what you think of the nice looking young lady with her beautiful bald head, soft brows and big eyes,” Ursula said.

Christine was a little startled at seeing herself. The girl in the mirror seemed to have a faintly surprised look on her face. Maybe it was because of the high arch of her brows, and the way her eyes seemed to be so big. The brows were much lighter than before, only a little darker than her skin. Still they were definitely there without being very obvious. Did she want them even thinner. She remembered that Mrs. Singletary had brows even thinner than these. She hesitated. It was already a big change.

“I like the color Mom. Is it going to be hard to keep them that way? Later I might want them thinner, like Mrs. Singletary, but I think I’ll just let them be this way for a while. I look a little different. I hope Tommy recognizes me. He already knows that I make my brows lighter when we go out. He said that it looked good. So probably everything will be OK with him. I’m still the same person, and I’m not going to start acting silly or anything. I just want to look the best I can,” Christine responded a little hesitantly. The change seemed bigger than she had thought it would be.

“You look even more wonderful than before. There’s nothing wrong with giving nature a little help. And yes, we can definitely keep your brows this color, if that’s what you want,” Paula reassured her.

“I think you look quite spectacular Christine. I’ve never had the pleasure of providing such a nice improvement on such an outstanding young woman. Your Tommy would have to be dense indeed to think that you’ve changed anything other than adding a small enhancement to the way you look. Let me add a touch of eye makeup so you can get the full effect,” Ursula added.

“That’s a good idea Ursula. She has been using a little when she goes out. It needs to be quite subtle. I definitely don’t want her looking made up,” Paula said.

I understand perfectly. She’s already a natural beauty. She really doesn’t need any at all, but a little touch can make her eyes seem even bigger,” Ursula explained.

Ursula added a hint of color here and lightened the dark areas there. Christine’s eyes seemed even more noticeable and the make up was hard to detect unless you looked very closely.

“That is very attractive Ursula. You can hardly see that she is wearing any and it still enhances her eyes.” Paula said.

“Christine was busy looking at herself in the mirror. She realized she looked quite stunning. Before, with no make up and her dark heavy brows she felt that she looked a little fierce and that seemed out of place with the impression that her bald head gave. Now her look was softer, and more refined. She looked a very mature and elegant fifteen.

“I like it Mom. Can we get instructions from Ursula on how to do it like this. I wouldn’t want to do it every day, just on special occasions,” Christine explained.

After a short instructional demonstration, Christine thought she could do it herself. Paula listened and watched intently. She could easily reproduce the effect.

“Thank you
Ursula. You did a fine job. I guess I should take care of the bill up front,” Paula said.

“Yes, I’ll go with you. If you decide you want them thinner I’ll be glad to do it for you,” Ursula said to Paula. “You will have to keep them shaped almost every week for quite a while otherwise you will lose the shape. You might want to have me do them once a month for a while until the hair growth in the cleaned out area starts to slow down.” Ursula said to Christine and to Paula.

“We’ll keep that in mind Ursula.” Paula said.

“Thanks Ursula, I really like the way I look, even though it will take me a little while to get used to it. That’s how it happened when I first had a shaved head,” Christine explained.

The bill paid and a generous tip given they left and walked toward the car.

“Mom, thanks for taking the time to do this for me. I’m glad you suggested it. I really like the way it looks,” Christine said.

“You’re welcome Christine. I’m glad you’re still not mad at me and that sometimes I can do things that you like,” Paula responded.

“Mom, I’ve been thinking about something I wanted to talk to you about,” Christine said as they got into the car.

“What is it Christine. You know you can talk to me about anything,” Paula said

“Well, you know that Tess, Janet and Tommy will all be going to Forest High this fall. I’m sure Tess and Janet will make the swim team and I think I would too if I were there. Tess already thinks I’ll be there. Anyway, Forest has ninth grade just like Elmwood Junior High. Isn’t it possible for me to go to Forest for ninth grade so I can be there with all my friends and be on the swim team with Tess and Janet.” Christine pled her case.

“I never thought of that Christine, but I don’t see why not. You know, Elmwood is one of the last Junior High Schools in the state. We’re the only school district that still has any. I think they’re going to convert both of them to Middle Schools as soon as the new high school is built. I’ll call the office tomorrow and find out if you can. I suspect it is just a matter of whether there is space available at Forest. It will be a lot different there with all the older kids, but I’m sure you’ll adapt just fine.”

“Thanks Mom. That’s great. I was feeling pretty bad about having to stay at Elmwood when a lot of the kids I know are leaving. Besides Tess would be the only bald girl there. It’s a lot easier if there are two of us.” Christine was relieved.

“Yes, that’s true. And of course Tommy would be there. By the way, you said that he’s on the Crown Point boys swimming team this summer. How is he doing?” Paula asked.

“He’s doing really well for someone who hasn’t been swimming on a team before. He’s a good swimmer and he’s improving very fast. I can still beat him in the fifty meters, but I think he’ll pass me pretty soon. He’s so strong, and he doesn’t even breath hard after the hundred meters. I think he will make the swim team at Forest.” Christine was obviously proud of Tommy’s rapid improvement.

They parked and went in. Melissa had heard the garage door and had come down to greet them.

“Christine I want to see what you did,” she said excitedly as they stepped into the kitchen.

“Well, here I am, so look as much as you like,” Christine announced with a note of pleasure in her voice.

“Wow, you look like a model or something. Your eyes look so big. They made your brows really light didn’t they. And they’re a lot thinner now. I like the way they curve like that,” Melissa was enthusiastic. She looked again at Christine and Paula who was standing beside her.

“You know Christine, if you and Mom went out together, people will probably think you’re sisters, or maybe an Aunt and her niece like Audra and Aunt Steffie.”

“You can’t be serious!” Christine was aghast at the idea.

“Really. Go stand beside her in front of a mirror and look at you and her. I think you both look really cool.” Melissa was quite certain of her assessment.

“It’s OK Christine. You do look elegant and more mature, but you still look like you’re a mature fifteen or sixteen, not some old woman of twenty five,” Paula joked.

Christine laughed. “I guess you do look pretty young Mom. Ginny said that Jill asked her if she and her Mom were sisters and Ginny is only seventeen. Let’s go look in the mirror. Now that I think about it, I guess I wouldn’t mind having a big sister Mom if she is as nice as you are,” she told Paula.

The all laughed as they headed upstairs to Paula’s big full length mirror.
_____________________________

On Tuesday morning Christine got up at the usual time. Paula had set out a breakfast of fresh oranges and frozen waffles. She would leave at eight thirty, just about the time that Melissa and Christine arrived for breakfast. Today was no different.

“Good morning girls. Anything special happening today. You look very good Christine, even without any make up except lipstick,” Paula said.

‘Thanks, Mom. It surprised me this morning when I looked in the mirror, but I do like it. I hope Tommy isn’t freaked out.” Christine still harbored some trepidation over how Tommy might respond.

“It will be fine Christine. Tommy likes you. You just have to forget how you look and just be your self. That’s who Tommy likes,” Paula reassured her.

Paula left. Christine and Melissa had a leisurely breakfast after which Christine cleaned up the kitchen and Melissa started a load of laundry.

They left a little earlier than usual because they didn’t need to shave. They appreciated the extra leisure that it gave them.

Tommy was already there when they arrived. Christine parked her bike. Tommy had walked over to greet her. She turned and smiled

“Hi, Tommy,” she said a little subdued.

“Hi Christine. Something’s a little different isn’t it. You look especially nice today,” he said.

Christine knew that Tommy was observant, so why didn’t he see exactly what had changed.

“I had my brows shaped and lightened last night. I like the way it looks,” she explained a little shyly.

“It’s nice. It make you look a little more gentle,” Tommy responded.

“You knew all along didn’t you?” Christine finally got it. She punched his arm.

“I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. I think of it like wearing different cloths. I wear what I like and what I think looks good. You keep you head shaved because you like it and you think it looks good. Same with your brows. I like that look too,” he added with a grin.

“You’re funny. I like you a lot. Come on, I need to change to my gym shorts,” she laughed.

Christine carried her swimsuit, gym shorts and top, and the shoes she used on the volleyball court along with her lunch in her backpack. The went to change.

Christine had realized that she couldn’t spend enough time with the volleyball team to do it justice. She and Tommy had decided that they would play on the practice team, but not compete. So they worked out in the gym on Monday, Wednesday and, usually, Friday mornings, played volleyball on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and swam on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. Christine and the rest of the swimming team had added Monday afternoon to their practice routine.

Christine had her rescue class on Wednesday. They usually had a light practice on Friday afternoon. It was a very full schedule, but she had come to enjoy it. She knew that some of it was Tommy’s fierce determination to do well at everything he attempted. It had rubbed off on her. The fact that she was succeeding beyond her expectations helped too. She went into the locker room with renewed self-confidence.

To be continued in Part 13

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