It'd been a month since Alex and I decided to part ways. I begged her, but in the end, we both sat down and discussed things. If we were honest, we knew it wasn't working like this. We couldn't see each other enough and neither one of us wanted to relocate. I wasn't cut out for a long distance relationship either. I did miss her, but in the end, it was like a huge weight came off me. I didn't have to feel guilty any more. But I didn't go back to Jake. And I wasn't dating anyone. I just needed time to be single and focus on my job.
As I walked toward my office, the boss stopped me in the hallway. My stomach did a little jump. Agent Dickens always tended to make me nervous.
"So...are you having that meeting with Wilder Roberts at the end of the week?" he asked.
The boss knew I did. Why the hell was he asking me this?
"Yeah, I mean, it's not exactly a meeting. We're going out for drinks as friends, but I'm ready. Been briefed on how the night should go. And I'll be wired. Hopefully, we'll finally get a break on the Bambinos." Wilder had been a hard man to see. He was so busy, but finally, our schedules matched up (well, he had to clear something just to be able to meet up.)
Suddenly, Dickens' face grew cold. "Then why the hell are you still looking like a drug addict, Agent Day? Didn't I tell you to clean up your look weeks ago?"
Shit. I thought I'd gotten away with not having to cut my hair. "To be honest, I wear it back in a bun and it looks fine. I don't see a reason why I need to cut my hair to infiltrate the Bambinos' inner circle."
At this, he glared hard and said in a low, scary voice, "First off, if I give you a direct order, you do it. Understand, Agent Day? And second of all, you haven't infiltrated their inner circle. Why? Maybe because they don't trust you. Now, get your fucking hair cut or I'll demote you to watching survelliance video for the rest of your career. Is that clear?"
I swallowed. "Yes, sir."
He stalked off angrily toward his office.
Slowly, I shuffled to my desk, shaking a bit from that encounter. It was funny. I could take down the most heinous drug lords, but when faced with the spectre of my enraged boss, it left me nervous and rattled.
Sighing, I looked up the number to the Mane Event--the hair salon Jake used. I got an appointment with the owner, Caleb Valtore. Hopefully, I wouldn't look like a teenager once he was finished. I didn't like to be reminded of that time in my life.
Walking up to the shop in the fashion district, I'd recognized the billboard. There were a few of these hair salons dotting San Myshuno, but I'd heard this was the original where the owner worked. I just wanted to get it over with. I felt like a sheep that was about to get shorn.
When I entered, I spied a ton of gorgeous, expensive instruments lining the wall. One of their customers was testing out the strings. I wanted to go over and take a look myself but I'd be late for my appointment. I also noticed one of my grandfather's old posters on the wall. The guy must have liked throw back music.
"May I help you?" the girl at the front desk asked.
"Um, yeah, I have an appointment with Caleb Valtore."
"August Day. Hey, does the owner like to play? He sure has a lot of beautiful instruments in here."
"He doesn't play a note. He's obsessed with collecting instruments, though." Then she narrowed her eyes at me. "Don't even think about playing the violins. I've got a headache. Got it?"
Damn. That was salty. "Don't worry. I'll just read a magazine or something while I wait."
She tapped out a message on her phone, then said, "I'll get Caleb. Please have a seat."
I looked around at all the cool stuff this salon had. I must admit, it exuded this tripping vibe. I really liked it. This gave me hope that maybe I'd get a decent hair cut. I hated when people wouldn't do as I asked and would shave everything off.
After a while, the receptionist received a phone call then she walked over to me and said, "Caleb will be right with you. I'll walk you to his station."
After I settled into the chair, she actually smiled at me.
"Can I get you something to drink? We have water, juice, soda....we even offer wine or beer, if you're up for it."
I had to go into work for a bit after this, so I shook my head. "I'm good. Thanks."
I waited for like ten more minutes and wondered if this Caleb guy was going to show when finally, a skinny, trendy looking dude walked up. He smiled and said, "Welcome to my place. I'm Caleb, Mr. Day. Are we going to cut just a tiny bit off today?" His voice was really high like a weird falsetto. Definitely gay. I had to admit. He was cute--looked exactly like his logo on his signs.
"No," I said. "I've got orders to get it cut short, so...yeah. It all goes."
"Orders?" he asked. "Your girlfriend doesn't like your long, luscious locks anymore?"
I laughed. This guy had a sense of humor, too. I liked him already. "Naw...it's for work. Gotta look classy. Just cut it short. Maybe leaving a bit on top."
Caleb opened up a few drawers and picked out some scissors then went straight to work. He didn't say much as he lopped off mounds of my blonde hair. I didn't realize how long it was until I saw most of it piling on the floor around me.
He was the quietest hair dresser I'd ever encountered. Usually, they either talked your ear off or peppered you with questions. But maybe he wasn't feeling well because he was constantly sniffing like he had a cold or something.
He finally put the finishing touches on my hair. God, it was short. I wasn't a fan, but what could I do? Boss was adamant. I didn't dare go back to the office without it chopped.
Wiping his face, Caleb said, "I hope you like it. I'm not going to lie, I love your hair long, August." His voice had suddenly changed to a more deeper version instead of that creepy falsetto.
And all at once it hit me. When he'd said, "August", it was like a train had run over my heart and it'd stopped.
My mouth grew dry. "B-Beau?" I rasped.
He pulled off his glasses as my heart pounded painfully in my chest.
Tears streaming down his face, he nodded and said, "Yes, August, it's me."
I will be on vacation for the following week, so no updates.
Next chapter on Monday, March 19th!
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