Darling Nikki by HeadBoy
She had green eyes, and walked in with a smile and some measure of confidence you didn’t see walk into this building very often; it was a Kafka-esque place that would sap the will to live out of anybody it could. Her hair rested just past her shoulders in a casual, semi-pretty, way that led Lance to notice her almost immediately.
“Hi I’m Nikki, I’m supposed to start today,” she said with a zest for life in her voice that made the pall that had hung over this place crack just a bit.
“Lance,” he said, shaking her hand. His voice went up at the end, a smile crept onto his face, and she smiled back. She was pretty, in a simple way, much taller than Lance’s usual crush-victims. Nikki was different, regal in a girl-next-door way, smart as a whip and confident. Lance had forgotten what it meant to have zest for life, to have a smile, and when he felt one come across his melon, involuntarily, he felt his heart thump in his chest for the first time in a long time.
He felt it thump as he showed her around the dank, gray, series of cubicles. He felt it thump as she brushed up against him as they squeezed into the supply room. He felt it thump as she put her lunch into the fridge, and he smelled her hair.
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It smelled like an garden. It smelled like a summer morning, with freshly watered flowers glistening in the early morning sun. It smelled like nothing he’d smelled for years – Lance felt every desire in his being burgeon as Nikki stood next to him, and listened intently, as he went over the phone system.
She ran her fingers through her hair, pushing it out of the way, revealing those eyes of hers, and that supple neck. She pushed it behind her ears and Lance’s heart skipped. He’d never seen a pair of ears look so sensual, never seen a neck so poetic.
Lance heard himself telling a joke, some sort of Dilbert-esque reference to the humdrum existence all the soulless folks in the office had given in to long ago. Nikki smiled, her teeth glinted in the overhead lighting. Lance had no idea what to make of this person, this optimistic, sunny, face in the void of this workplace Hell of his.
Would it last? Would she stay this upbeat, would she come in on Monday mornings with a gleam in her eye and a song in her heart? Or would this place suck the life out of her like it had everyone else?
At noon, Lance took Nikki to the lunchroom, she sat up straight in her chair and asked Lance to join her. She leafed through a Celebrity hairstyle magazine and munched her cucumber and alfalfa sprout sandwich.
“What is that?” he asked.
“Rabbit food on bread. Cucumbers, alfalfa sprouts, mustard on whole wheat bread.”
“Um, no, and ick!” he continued, “I meant the magazine.”
“Oh, this,” she said, sheepish look on her smiling face. “I needed a change in my life. I was tired of my job, so I found this one. I was tired of always being depressed, so I got happy. Now that I’ve changed how I feel and where I work, it’s time to change how I look.”
“So is the healthiest sandwich on earth part of this plan?” he asked, feeling that smile return to his face.
“Well,” Nikki said, slowly, “I ate way too much meat, and I’ve never liked how cruel it is to kill animals, so I’m giving up beef.”
“Oh,” Lance said, laughing, “but it’s okay to kill a chicken?”
“No, but they taste better than a cow.”
“Oh, so if, say, a baby seal tasted good, would you eat it?”
“A baby seal? Don’t be sick.”
“No, no, I’m not, but think about it, baby seals are adorable, so are sea otters, you’d never eat either of those, would you?”
“How much bar-b-que sauce is on the sea otter?” she said, smirking.
Lance stammered for words… “I, uh, well, er…”
Nikki laughed, she’d duped the guy at his own game. “No, I’d never eat an otter, wear fur, or leather shoes for that matter. And no, I don’t eat chicken, bay, or even sea lion.”
“Sea otter,” corrected Lance.
“Oh, screw that, they’re tasty.”
“Can we please get back to the magazine?” he asked, eyeballing Charlize Theron and Cameron Diaz photos with curiosity.
“I’m getting it cut tonight, and I don’t know what to do,” she said.
“No, don’t do it, long hair is so attractive.”
“On who?” she asked. “Do you know how high maintenance this is?” she asked, tousling her head of hair.
Lance looked at Nikki, his face said that he was confused, his voice punctuated the look on his face. “Um, I uh, er…”
“Wow,” Nikki said. “For a guy with a college degree, you’re surprisingly articulate.”
“I just find long hair attractive on women.”
“So, you don’t find her attractive?” She asked, pointing to Charlize Theron’s image in the magazine.
“Oh God no, she’s hot.”
“Well, she’s cropped down to next to nothing when it comes to hair.”
“Yeah, but she’s the exception, rather than the rule.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, your hair’s long, and pretty.”
“So, you wouldn’t find me attractive with this haircut?”
“I don’t know, why?”
“I think I going to get it cut like this… do you want to come with me?”
“It would almost be like watching someone get mutilated.”
“No, moron, it’s only hair. If it looks bad, it’ll grow back.”
“Okay, not mutilated, but isn’t that kind of severe?”
“Tell ya what,” she said, “come with me tonight. If you like it, you buy me dinner, if you don’t, I’ll buy.”
Lance looked at the face that had grown prettier as the day went on, and he found himself enamored of her personality. He’d always dated long-haired women in the past… “Deal,” he said. “Where should I pick you up?”
“Um, my cubicle?” she said.
5:00 o’clock came, and Lance was at Nikki’s cubicle, his heart pounding in his throat. He was nervous, he’d never seen a girl get her hair cut, much less chopped off. Nikki was calm, smiling and confident.
They took the elevator down to the parking lot underground, “I’ll drive,” she said, walking up to a convertible 1965 Mustang.
“Nice ride,” Lance said.
“It was my ex-husband’s,” she said. “I got the car, he got the house.”
“That doesn’t seem fair.”
“Why? He paid for the house, it’s not like we were out to screw one another. It just didn’t work out.”
“Really, why not?” Lance asked, then regretted asking.
“He didn’t want me to get a haircut.”
Lance looked up. Nikki was smiling, she’d duped him again.
“It was just not working,” she said. “After five years, we’d grown apart. He’s a nice guy, but, well, we didn’t work any more.”
Lance and Nikki swapped divorce stories on the ride into downtown. She parked on the street, right in front of a place called The UpperCut, a highly decorated salon, a place where all the stylists had long legs and short hair. Their white smocks hung to mid-thigh, and left Lance a little dumbstruck, a feeling he was getting used to today. Here were five women, all gorgeous, all with haircuts that exposed their necks, their ears, their foreheads. He fixated on a girl with her hair parted down the middle, bangs tucked behind her ears and the back clipped to 1/8 inch. Her neck was long and slender, her nose was cute, button-like almost, and her eyes met his as she walked up to Nikki. “Hi,” she said, “I’m Stephanie, are you ready?”
Nikki handed her the magazine, smiled and walked over to the shampoo basin.
From his vantage point, Lance could see his new friend getting caped. He saw her sit back, as her head lowered into the sink and he watched as her locks were lathered up and rinsed. Stephanie’s long, slender fingers massaged Nikki’s head, you could hear a squeak as she wrung Nikki’s hair of the excess water.
As the two walked over to Stephanie’s station, Nikki winked at Lance. His heart danced. Even in his throat, he could feel his heart surge and thump. Pound and sway. He couldn’t look away.
The scissors and comb in Stephanie’s hands worked fast, snipping away at the back as Nikki tilted her head forward. The comb ran through without a fight. Snipping away around Nikki’s ears, Stephanie and Nikki made small talk as Lance looked on from a slight distance: too far away to hear what was being said, but close enough to see the action.
The nape of Nikki’s neck shown through as Stephanie snipped away, making several little cuts, rather than one dramatic cut. She giggled as the ear on the other side of her head was exposed. Stephanie tilted Nikki’s head to the left and snipped around her ear. She combed down the bangs on Nikki’s forehead, and snipped them away to 1/2 inch. More combing, more snipping, Lance felt his insides churn in expectation. He didn’t know why he was getting so turned on, he only knew he was.
Stephanie put down the scissors and reached for the clippers at her station. Nikki looked over to Lance, his eyes were the size of manhole covers, with a big dumb grin on his face. Nikki looked in the mirror as Stephanie fixed the number 7 guard on the clippers. They popped into action. Nikki’s eyes grew wide, she was not expecting this.
They ran over the sides of her head, rumbling away, trimming everything on her head into a uniform shortness. Short nubs of hair hung on the cape around her neck. Stephanie combed Nikki’s bangs to the left, they were almost too short to comb. Nikki smiled as she watched her bangs cling to her head. She titled her head from side to side to see her ears. “Let me finish,” Stephanie said as she rubbed shaving cream along the hairline and picked up the straight razor.
Lance watched, barely breathing as Stephanie’s sure hands removed the unevenness of Nikki’s hairline and left a uniform, shaven, path in its wake. Nikki’s hair was short all over, getting noticeably shorter at the ears. The back was clippered to 1/4 inch, and it in actuality looked nothing like Charlize Theron. It did look cute on her. Stephanie stood back and held up a mirror so Nikki could see the back. Her hand reached up and touched it… there was a thrill to all of this that she couldn’t describe. Neither could Lance, but he longed to feel Nikki’s head himself.
Stephanie rubbed a small dot of gel into her palms and ran it through Nikki’s hair. What little hair remained fell into place, uniform, and sexy. Nikki confessed how awesome it felt to have the clippers massage her temples and neck. Stephanie smiled as she surveyed the final product.
Nikki looked up at Lance: his face was blank, still in shock.
The cape came off, Stephanie took Nikki’s money and thanked her, giving her a card. “Call me when you’re ready for a trim.”
Nikki assured Stephanie it wouldn’t be long until she returned. She walked up to Lance, who struggled to stand up as she approached.
A smile came to his face. There was a long silence as he looked at Nikki, newly shorn, and grinning back at Lance. Finally, Lance spoke.
“Anywhere you wanna eat,” he said, “I’ll buy.”
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