Monday, December 19, 2011

Chapter 8

Francois was one of five hairdressers who worked for Streaks, a midsize hair salon that catered to both men and women.  It was a luxurious salon; with gold gild framed mirrors, shiny black marble floors, black granite counter tops, plush red chairs, and photos of gorgeous men and women showing off stylish haircuts.  Soft music played in the background and beverages were served in either porcelain cups or tall crystal glasses.

While Betty enjoyed a cappuccino, Jessie was shown the way to the washbasin. Jessie loved having her hair washed by a professional.  She loved the way strong fingers vigorously scrubbed her scalp, and  gently massaged in the conditioner leaving her head tingling with freshness when a soft warm towel completed the cleanse. .

“What can I do for you today?” Francois asked, standing behind Jessie’s chair, running a comb through her hair.

“To tell you the truth I don’t know,” Jessie said with a shrug of her shoulders.  “I feel like a change, nothing too drastic, but something that will give me a new look.”

“Why don’t we try something simple yet sophisticated like this one?”  Francois pointed to one of the photos on the wall.

“Bangs?” Jessie said with a voice full of doubt.  “I haven’t worn bangs since high school.”

“Not full bangs,” Francois pointed out.  “Wispy bangs, it would suit you.”

Jessie wasn’t sure, but trusted Francois’ judgment.  She’d been to see him twice in the past year and he had never ill advised her.

“Okay,” she said, “let’s try it.”

“Let's add a few layers?” Francois suggested.  “See how the model’s hair is long but full of body?”

Jessie took another look at the picture.  The model looked gorgeous with her layered hair and bangs, but would it work for her?  Still, she wanted a change and so she had to take a chance. 

“Let’s do it,” she nodded.

Francois got to work.  He combed and snipped, combed and snipped, and Jessie could see the transformation taking place.  With a look of appreciation she turned her head from side to side and a smile slowly formed on her lips.

“You like it now, but wait until its blow dried,” Francois said, noticing her smile.

“Yeah, when you blow dry it, it probably will look amazing,” Jessie agreed, “but will I be able to maintain the style?”

“If you want I’ll show you how,” Francois volunteered, then proceeded to show Jessie where to place the brush and how to use it. 

“Wow,” Jessie sighed when he was done.  “I look…”

“Gorgeous,” Francois finished the statement.

Pleased that she had followed Francois’ advice Jessie got out of the chair and walked to the lounge area where Betty was paging through a fashion magazine.

“Ta-da,” she sang.

“Wow!” Betty gasped. . 

“Do you like it?” Jessie asked, flicking her hair off her shoulders.

“Like it?  I love it!” Betty breathed in admiration.  “You look like a bloody beauty queen.”

Jessie blushed with embarrassment and attempted to shush her friend. People were looking at her.  One of them was, an extremely handsome man.  He smiled and openly stared at her.  She recognized the man as Jack Garrett.  She knew who he was as she often saw his name and picture in the entertainment section of the newspaper. 

The nerve of some people, Jessie thought, but was pleased with the attention all the same.

 “Okay now it’s your turn,” she turned to Betty

“Oh no, I can’t afford his prices,” Betty argued.

“It’s my gift to you,” Jessie insisted.

Half an hour later her friend reappeared.  Her hair washed, fluffy and freshly trimmed. 

While Jessie was paying, Francois suddenly appeared at the counter.  “Would you be interested in having your picture taken?  Your visit would be free of charge.”

Jessie’s pen hovered in midair over her cheque book.  “Excuse me?”

“I said” repeated Francois, “would you be interested in having your picture taken?” Then with a sweep of his arm, “It would go on the wall with the others.  It’s my way of marketing my work.”

Jessie was momentarily speechless.  She had assumed that all the pictures on the walls were of professional models.  Now if she was to believe Francois, they were of ordinary people.  They were beautiful men and women, gorgeous in fact, and he wanted her to be one of them!

“So what’d you think?” Francois said.  “A few pictures at no charge to you and your visit today would be free.”

The money wasn’t important.   She was simply overwhelmed to be asked to be up there with those beauties.  Then again, money was money and she needed every cent.  “Can my friend join me?” Jessie asked, knowing how important it would be to Betty to be included. 

Francois inclined his head.  “I don’t see why not.”

Francois handed her a card.  “Go to this photographer and tell him I sent you.  He’ll know what to do.”

“Do we go now?”

“Whenever suits you.”

“But if we don’t go today our hair won’t look as good anymore as when you styled it,” Jessie reasoned.

Francois disagreed.  “Your hair will always look good.  I gave it a good cut, easy to maintain.  As long as the hair is clean the pictures will look beautiful.”

“You sure you don’t want us to come around for a quick styling?” Jessie asked.

Francois nodded.  “You can if you want, but there’s really no need.  You will do a great job yourself.”

After Jessie and Betty had left, Francois turned to the receptionist of the salon.  “Who’s my next appointment?”

“Jack Garrett,” Candice said.

“Jack Garrett?” Francois breathed with surprise, “The Jack Garrett?  The talent agent?”

Candice nodded.  “Isn’t he just to die for?”

“Keep it quiet,” Francois instructed.  “No need to announce that Jack Garrett is here.  The last thing we want is for people to spontaneously burst into song to impress Mr. Garrett, and that includes you.”

“No need to worry about me,” Candice said under her breath, “I already have a date with him tonight.”

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