A Broken Forever(9)

By: Megan Noelle

“What the hell happened to you?” she burst out.

I glanced down at my shirt, expecting some weird foreign stain to have made its way onto me. After seeing nothing I looked back to Kacie with a question in my eyes.

“What are you talking about?” Our stations were next to each other, and the closer I got the more her eyes bugged out. “You’re really starting to freak me out, Kace.”

“Hey Grey!” I heard Kari call out before Kacie could finish.

Kari and Kacie were sisters that lived together, worked together and honestly—were my best friends. We even set up the stations so the girls were on either side of me, enabling us to spend the entire day talking and laughing together. Where Kacie’s hair hung to her shoulders with lighter highlights covering her head, Kari’s hair was long, straight and had a mixture of purple and blonde streaks in the under layers. The two of them were almost complete opposites, but there wasn’t one thing I didn’t love about the girls. Before I moved in with Richard I had actually lived in the third bedroom of their flat. As much as I loved my fiancé, there were days I really missed being with my girls.

“Hey darling!” When I turned to Kari her eyes bulged just as Kacie’s had. I threw my hands up in the air. “Okay, what’s going on?”

“Did you sleep at all last night?” My head cocked to the side at Kari’s question.

“Um, yes?”

Kacie snorted. “It doesn’t look like it. You look like a mess, Grey!” I rolled my eyes as I flung my purse down onto my chair.

From afar the mirror in front of me didn’t show someone that deserved the kind of reaction the Brooks sisters’ gave. My knee-high brown boots, dark jeans, white and black stripped tank top with a black flowy cardigan looked clean and professional. I even went so far as to curl my hair the same way Kacie had yesterday, not to mention I had checked and rechecked my make-up before leaving the house. All to look like someone who had her life together.

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter what you looked like or how much effort you put into coming off a certain way—you couldn’t fool your best friends. When I glanced back at the mirror again I saw what made them jump. Not only were there massive bags under my eyes, but the smile on my face looked almost awkward and out of place. And my eyes themselves were bloodshot, on the verge of letting out a waterfall of tears. The strange thing was, I didn’t feel as if I was about to cry. Maybe the half dozen cappuccinos I downed this morning deserved the credit for at least being the band aid that held me together.

“Oh, well…” That was the big excuse I mustered up. Oh yeah, that will throw them off the track.

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but Grey, your first client is here.” I whipped around to the soft voice behind me. Our sweet and fabulous new receptionist Eloise said with a smile.

I could kiss the girl for being the needed distraction from the interrogation that was about to occur between these two. Maybe a station between my best friends wasn’t the best idea after all.

“Thanks, Eloise, I’ll be up in a second.”

I tried to ignore their piercing stares as I shoved my purse into the bottom drawer and plugged the straightener and blow dryer into the socket under the counter. Kari didn’t have a client sitting in her chair, so she didn’t have anything to distract her from glaring a hole through me. Not that having someone in her chair would have mattered all that much, since Kacie was applying color to a woman’s hair and still managed to make me feel good and uncomfortable.

My eyes shifted between the two and I felt my fake smile expanding. “I’m fine,” I assured them. Although it probably would have seemed more believable had I not whipped around and ran into Tyler, Bella Donna’s only male stylist. We almost stumbled to the ground had Tyler not have reacted quickly.

“Oh, honey, are you okay?” Tyler asked.

I nodded vigorously and smoothed down the front of my shirt. Casting a glance from him to the girls I smiled again. “Just fine.”

Five minutes into work and I already regretted coming in.

The bulk of our day passed with only a few casualties. I slipped on a pile of hair on the floor that I had just swept up; got tangled in the straightener cord—still not sure how I did that. Then, to top it all off, I spilt a bowl of red hair dye all over Kacie’s leg. Thankfully nothing happened to mine or anyone else’s client, but there were still a few hours of work to go. It was a little after four in the afternoon and things were starting to slow down, but now I was completely starving. Usually I had a bag of chips shoved in my purse, but I had forgotten to bring some today.

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