Poolside by BMower
Janelle pulled her swimsuit up over her long, tanned, legs and fastened the straps behind her neck. The stretchy fabric of the suit showed off her athletic figure. Janelle was getting a rare treat, on this hot, humid, day in July. Her friend’s parents had invited them over to spend the day swimming at their private backyard pool! It promised to be a nice relaxing day of swimming and sipping on gin and tonics.
With her suit on, Janelle turned her attention to her hair. It was light brown and reached to the lower part of her back. Her hair was thick and had a slight wave to it. She had received instructions to have it in some form of a ponytail or braid, as her friend’s parents didn’t want to have long, loose hair getting into their pool. Janelle didn’t like braiding, but it was a small price to pay for the rewards she was about to reap. After gently combing the snarls out of her long hair, Janelle decided on a simple braid. Dividing her hair into three thick sections, she began the process. Just as her arms were getting really tired from braiding, the job was finished. She fastened a hair elastic around the tip of her braid and flung it playfully down her back. She packed a bag with some clean clothes, for after swimming, and was on her way!
By the time she’d finished the short walk across her apartment complex parking lot, there was a slight sheen of sweat on Janelle’s face and neck. It was uncomfortably hot and humid today, and that pool was going to feel wonderful! A wave of heat hit Janelle in the face as she opened the door of her car that had been baking in the sun all morning, and the seats were almost too hot to sit on. Soon, though, the car air conditioning was helping Janelle get comfortable as she eased out onto the highway to drive to her friend’s parent’s house.
Janelle pulled her car up into the driveway and walked around to the backyard pool. There was nobody there, but it was obvious from the stuff lying around poolside that plans hadn’t changed. She went up and slid the glass patio door open and stepped into the house. “Hello? It’s Janelle.” She hollered out in a casual manner, to nobody in particular.
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“We’re upstairs in my room. Come on up, Janelle,” came the reply from her friend, Amy. Janelle put her bag down on a chair and walked up the stairs.
As she stepped into Amy’s room, Janelle couldn’t believe her eyes! There was a bedsheet stretched on the floor. In the middle of the sheet Amy was sitting on a barstool wearing shorts and a tube top. Bev, Amy’s mother, was in the process of giving Amy a haircut. A really short haircut, from the looks of things! The back was cut off short at the hairline, tapered close up the back. At the side, where Bev was standing, Amy’s hair still reached down to about 6 inches from her waist.
“Hi,” Amy said. “Surprise?” she said, jokingly.
“Hi, Amy. Hi, Bev,” Janelle replied. “Surprise isn’t the word for it! When did you decide to do this? I thought you always liked your long hair!”
“To be honest, I’m about as surprised as you are,” Amy said as she ran her hand lightly over the freshly shorn back of her head. “I was getting ready for the pool party and was complaining to mom as I combed the snarls out of my hair.”
At that point, Bev interrupted. “I told Amy I had a solution to her snarl problem, and pointed to my short hairstyle.” Bev had always worn her hair short, and was regularly teasing the girls that it was time for them to lose their long hair. “For the first time ever, Amy didn’t completely dismiss the idea of short hair.”
“I had been thinking about it a little, anyway, so I asked mom if she would do the cutting for me,” Amy said. That didn’t surprise Janelle, because Bev had been a professional hairstylist for many years.
“I asked her if she was serious,” Bev said. “When she nodded her head I ran and got my scissors. Now, though, I’d better get this finished.”
Bev tilted Amy’s head a little bit to one side and told her to hold still. A few snips of the scissors caused the long hair hanging down over Amy’s left shoulder to slide to the floor. Amy looked excited, but also like she was about to cry as the hair fell to the floor. Working quickly, Bev cut the hair in an arc above Amy’s ear. She let loose section after section of long hair and cut it off. Soon, Amy’s long thick hair had been reduced to a cute, short, cropped style. She cut the bangs off about 3/4 inch above Amy’s eyebrows, and proceeded to blend the top into the sides.
After what seemed like an eternity of cutting, Bev announced that she was finished. Amy’s neck, shoulders and lap, as well as the sheet on the floor, were covered with varying lengths and piles of what had been Amy’s thick, long hair. Bev handed her a mirror and asked her what she thought of the new look. “Wow! It’s shorter than I thought it was going to be, but I like it!” Amy replied, as she ran her fingers through her short crop. Her hair that had been almost to her waist was now so short in places that she had to use her fingernails to even get a hold of it! “Yeah. I’m going to like this a lot! Thanks, mom!” Amy said, happily.
Amy stood up from the barstool and the hair fell down around her ankles, as she stepped onto the pile of hair on the floor. “I can’t believe that all came off my head!” Amy laughed. After wiping off her shoulders with a damp towel, Amy decided that she should undress and go get in the shower. She removed her shorts and top, and shook the hair out of them onto the sheet, and Bev helped her wipe the hair off of her body. Janelle was sitting there stunned at how different Amy looked! “I’ll be right back.” Amy said as she grabbed her bath towel and headed towards the bathroom shower.
“I’ll help you clean up, Bev,” Janelle offered. They each grabbed two corners of the bedsheet and lifted it off of the floor. The long, thick, curls tumbled together in the middle of the sheet. Bev and Janelle carried the sheet to the trashcan and dumped the hair unceremoniously. It filled up the small trashcan. “Well, we might as well hit the pool!” Bev said. “I’m ready for a swim and a drink. Amy! We’ll be outside!” Bev hollered through the bathroom door.
Janelle was standing in the shade mixing up three gin and tonics when Amy stepped out through the sliding patio doors. Her newly shorn hair was slicked back away from her face, making her look about ten years younger than her 28 years. “Hey! That looks really different! How do you like it?” Janelle asked as she handed Amy a drink.
“I can’t believe I did it! Showering was a whole new experience!” Amy laughed. She looked at Bev and said, “I really do like it, mom. Thanks again!” The three women toasted each other with their drinks and smiled.
They spent the next couple of hours swimming and lounging around by the pool. The heat of the day was soon forgotten. Janelle couldn’t help notice how Amy kept putting her hands up to her new hairstyle. Admittedly, you do that a lot when you’re swimming, just to get the water out of your face, but Amy seemed to be doing it more than usual, Janelle thought.
As the sun started to set, the three women decided that it was time to go inside. Bev and Amy each went to the two showers in the house to get the chlorine off of them and Janelle poured another drink. As she sipped her drink by the pool, Janelle began to undo her braid. As she squeezed her long, thick, hair, the water dribbled down onto the concrete. Soon her hair was all freed from the braid and stretched wildly down her back.
“Wow! You do have long, pretty, hair. I wish I had hair like that.” Amy teased, as she came up behind Janelle and playfully tugged on Janelle’s hair. Amy’s short hair was combed back away from her face, and she looked fabulous.
Janelle smiled. “It’s always so wild-looking after I’ve had it braided. I’ll have to go shower and get these snarls combed out before it dries.”
“Just don’t complain about it in front of mom!” Amy said. “Look what happened to me!” she said laughingly.
From behind them, Bev said, “Yeah, Janelle. I can certainly take care of that braiding problem, if you want me to.”
“Nice try, Bev, but I think I’ll pass. I’ll keep it long for now,” Janelle said, as she turned and walked towards the house. “I’m going to go get showered.”
Janelle massaged shampoo into her hair as she stood in the warm stream of the shower. The water cascaded down her back as she rinsed out the shampoo and then the conditioner. As her wet hair clung to her body, Janelle thought of what Amy had done. She never thought Amy would cut her hair. Amy had always spent lots of time on her hair, trying different braids and up-dos, and seemed to love having long hair. She did look good with it short, though. Janelle turned off the water and squeezed the excess water out of her hair. Then she picked up the bath towel and began to dry herself off. She used the towel to put her hair up into a turban and began to get dressed. Amy was waiting in her room as Janelle entered. The two happily visited and gossiped as Janelle painstakingly worked the snarls out of her long hair. When she was finished, she flipped her long, thick hair down her back and the two went down to visit with Bev.
“That swim felt wonderful!” Bev said, as the girls came downstairs. “Will the two of you be staying for supper?” she asked.
Amy and Janelle decided that supper would be a good idea and the three started to walk towards the kitchen. As they reached the kitchen, Janelle said, “Actually, Bev. I was wondering if I could take you up on your offer?”
The three women stopped and Amy and Bev looked at Janelle. “Do you think you could do another haircut before supper?” Janelle asked.
“Really?” Amy exclaimed.
Janelle couldn’t believe what she was asking, but she continued. “I think Amy’s haircut looks fabulous, and I think it’s time for me to do it, too.”
“If you’re sure you want to do it, I’ll be happy to do the cutting.” Bev said. There was a long pause, as the three women looked at each other. Janelle smiled at the two of them and slowly nodded her head. The three women turned and went up to Amy’s room.
Amy and Bev spread the bedsheet out on the floor again and Amy set the barstool in the middle of the room. As they were doing this, Janelle was standing in front of the mirror combing her long, thick, hair for one last time. Was she really going to go through with a short haircut? Janelle felt as if she couldn’t breathe, but she walked across the sheet and started to sit on the barstool. “Janelle, I think you’d better get some of Amy’s clothes to wear. You don’t have anything else here to wear, and your clothes are going to be covered in hair soon.” Bev said. Amy got some shorts and a bikini top. Janelle changed clothes and took her place on the barstool again. As she sat down, Janelle took one look in the mirror at her long hair cascading down her back.
Janelle inadvertently flinched as Bev came up behind her and gathered her hair into her hands and pulled it back behind Janelle’s shoulders. “You sure do have a lot of hair,” she said. “How short would you like to have it cut?”
Janelle took one look at Amy and looked back over her shoulder at Bev. “I want it cut just like you did Amy’s,” she said.
“I’m glad you said that, Janelle! It’ll be a big change, but you’ll look wonderful! Don’t you think so, Amy?” Bev said. Amy smiled broadly and agreed with Bev.
Bev started to section out the sides of Janelle’s hair, and the long thick hair piled up in Janelle’s lap. Finally, Bev reached for the scissors. Janelle couldn’t take her eyes off of the scissors as Bev moved back behind Janelle. “This is your last chance to back out! Are you sure?” Bev asked. Janelle took a deep breath and tipped her head forward. Janelle shivered a little bit as she felt the sharp point of the scissors lightly tough her neck. She heard an unfamiliar sound as the scissors moved through her hair and felt the hair brush her back gently as it slid to the floor. Janelle took a deep breath and smiled as she realized it was too late to change her mind.