Augustine Part Eight
Augustine was happy.
Michael may still be giggling next to him after yet again telling Augustine what his face looked like when Sarah had that bat, and maybe he was behind on his hair appointments due to a long conversation with Sarah this morning to get his wife back, and maybe Mr. Wilson was about to bop him on the head for smiling like an idiot, but his wife had forgiven him for Sarah’s kidnapping plot. This meant all was well with the world. He had been frightened that she wouldn’t talk to him ever again. How could Augustine not have been happy?
He was truly scared for a little bit. Sarah refused to give his wife back last night determined that Augustine needed to be punished. He went to bed without her for the first time in years. He was angry with himself that he had no trouble falling asleep after the first angry huff at Sarah’s closed door. Sarah dropped the mask off at his door in the morning before Augustine ran to work. He hugged that mask to his chest and tried to explain himself. His wife was surprisingly forgiving for being kidnapped and after securing her to his waist via a tied string he skipped down the stairs to work.
He even found the time to stop by Sarah’s room and give her a fright with a well timed bark when her back was turned. He had gone from skipping to running when Sarah started screaming. With the pace he was going Augustine had no trouble running through the doors of The Jonquille.
And straight into the arms of his boss, Daft Wilson. Which puts him back to where he was a the moment. Getting a lecture from said boss.
“Augustine, listen up!” Wilson waited for the eye contact. “You were late.” Wilson said trying to hold back the smile. He had a hard time getting angry with Augustine, the boy just reminded him too much of a child.
“Sorry. I got caught up, that’s all.” Augustine replied cheerfully.
“Make sure you don’t make it a routine, please?”
“Of course, not!” Augustine grinned. He couldn’t help himself. “I’d be moving in on Cindy’s territory.”
This earned Augustine a nail file to the nose and a laugh from his boss. Wilson didn’t even bother with a response and merely patted Augustine on the shoulder before heading to the back towards his beloved paperwork. Augustine rubbed his nose tenderly as he watched him walk away. “It was just a joke, Cindy.”
“Sure it was.” Cindy giggled. “So was beating you in the face with a nail file.” She paused. “Throw that back by the way, I need it for my next appointment.”
“Catch.” He threw the file back at Cindy and laughed joyfully when she missed and had to scurry under Julie’s chair to get it. She huffed at him letting her curly blonde locks fall over her shoulders. She ignored him for the rest of the day and pouted when she realized it didn’t matter.
“You’re sure in a good mood today for someone who’s been embarrassed out of his mind.” Michael picked up his conversation where he had left off. “I mean, getting chased by your landlord in her bra is a tad weird, don’t you think? But then again, weird is normal for you, right?”
“As normal as it is for you to forget the curling iron in Mrs. Ted’s hair.” Augustine laughed pointing at the said curls.
Michael let out a undignified yelp before tending to Mrs. Ted’s hair. Augustine went back to his own charge as he listened to Michael talk his way out of a small burn in his client’s hair. As much as he was teased, Augustine had to admit that Michael was probably his closet friend. Augustine paused in his trimming to wonder if that was a good thing or a bad thing. After hearing a smack he decided it was a good thing.
Jamie Burns sighed blissfully as Augustine finished trimming her hair, she could put up with a long appointment due to distractions because it was worth it. No one did hair like Augustine. His hands were careful with her hair and he reached for the water spray bottle to dampen it slightly. A few more hours and he’d be done for the day and Jamie would have a new look for the prom next week.
Five O’clock came quickly at the small hair shop and Augustine was ready to call it a day. He was on his way out when Michael caught the end of his cape. “Hey, want to check out the new store at the mall?”
Augustine looked questioningly at Michael and fingered his wife’s hair at his side. “What store? And why?”
“I’m hurt.” Michael put on a pout as a stray strand of red hair fell in his eyes. He blew it out of the way absently. “Why can’t two friends go shopping?”
“Okay, what store then?”
“It’ll be a surprise.” Michael giggled like a child and threw off his work apron to grab Augustine by the arm. “Trust me, you’ll like it, buddy.”
The mall was quite literally a hop, skip and a jump away from his chosen place of employment but Augustine could say he’d only been in it once or twice. It was two stories tall and housed about 30 shops and a 5 theatre cinema. That was about all Augustine knew, actually. He’d been in once but he couldn’t remember going. Michael seemed unperturbed by this as he unceremoniously dragged Augustine by the cape through the twisting doors. Michael took a quick moment to straighten his blue collared shirt before turning to his captive friend. “We should do this more often. We never get to hang out off the clock, ya’ know?”
“You’re trying to distract me.” Augustine started trying to pry his cape out of Michael’s iron grip, but the red fabric wouldn’t budge. “I’m starting to worry about just what’s in this store.”
“Okay, you got me.” Michael grinned and pulled Augustine close to whisper in his ear. “It’s a strip club and I didn’t feel like going alone.”
Augustine gawked at him in disbelief. He knew Michael has a hefty supply of playboy, but he never thought the guy actually saw girls strip in person. He was even more dumbfounded that he’d ask his married friend to go with him.
Michael tried to keep a straight face but he couldn’t do it. All the color on his comrade’s face had gone away and the façade was dying. “Man you’re easy!” He exclaimed.
“Why you jerk!” Augustine rammed the butt of his fist on Michael’s shoulder. “That’s not funny.
“Yes it was, but seriously, it should be fun.” He took a breath for dramatics. “It’s a new hair saloon and I wanted someone to come with me to check out our competition.”
“No one is touching my hair.” Michael laughed quietly at the glare being directed towards him.
“Course not! We’re just spying, that’s all.”
“I think we’d be a little obvious, don’t you?”
“Hey, no one knows how to spot talent better than you. It won’t take you, what? A browse through their section of specialty hair care products to tell if they’re any good, right?” Michael looked so damn hopeful.
“Did Mr. Wilson put you up to this?” Augustine doubled his efforts to get out of Michael’s grip before those darn freckles and green pleading eyes got the better of him. His own russet colored hair fell over his shoulder.
“Julie and Cindy actually.” Michael dragged Augustine down the mall strip towards the shop. “He told them to stake the place out but they flat out refused.” He stopped to check a map in the middle corridor. “Something about dignity or the likes.”
“I can see where their coming from. If we’re a good shop we don't have to worry about competition now do we, Michael?”
“You’re as bad as the girls.” Michael grinned slyly. “But it’s not like you have anywhere else to go.” He paused. “Unless you’re meeting Ms. Sarah again?”
Augustine blushed a quiet shade of pink. “Fine, you win.” Michael barely heard the explicit words that Augustine mumbled quietly afterwards. Friends were so much fun.
He was about to just give up and unlatch the cape when Michael released it from his hand. Augustine frowned at the wrinkle that had developed. “Here it is. Hair Masters. What a horrible store name.” Michael looked at the sign thoughtfully. “At least the sign was designed well.”
“May we get this over with so I don't feel like we’re doing something illegal?” Augustine made his point by thumping Michael in the side with his fist.
“Okay! Okay!” He finished his reply with a thumbs up and a slap to his blue jeans. “Into the frying pan it is!”
They let out a breath together and crossed the threshold into the new territory. It was clean and tidy, not too unlike their own shop. There were six mirrors and chairs on both sides past the main desk and purchasable goods. They were very impersonal, just the chair, mirror and supplies. Augustine figured it was due to newness, no one had a chance to properly move in yet. He glanced to the side to see Michael browsing the various shampoo and hair gel bottles lining the shelves. He smiled inwardly when he caught Michael’s glances towards the well endowed girl behind the desk.
The customers seemed happy and Augustine noted the girls working in the back seemed to know what they were doing. A second glance told them they were rookies and he had little to worry about. It was in the way they were so careful with every snip, like they had no faith in their skills. A veteran could hold a conversation, watch a bit of the news and style like a pro with little to no effort. Only The Jonquille could hold up to those standards, him and Michael were the best in town. No questions about it. Well, they were the best for now anyway, hopefully they wouldn’t have to worry.
“May I help you?” Augustine was interrupted from his thoughts by the lady behind the desk.
“Uh,” Augustine stared at her blankly. “No?”
“Okay, were you just looking then?” Her blue eyes looked at him questioningly.
“Yes, just waiting for my friend.” Augustine avoided eye contact and shifted towards Michael.
“Are you sure we can’t interest you in something? We have a special on straightening and de-frizzing right now.” She smiled.
“Augustine looked insulted. “My hair doesn’t need de-frizzed or straightened.” He checked the mirror in his peripheral to make sure.
“I was just suggesting,” She looked thoughtful. “Maybe your hair just hasn’t been combed out yet today?”
Augustine was about to explode. How dare she insult his hair!? He combed it this morning and triple checked it at work. His hair was fine! Why that little hairdresser wannabe…
“Well! Saw what I needed to!” Michael shouted randomly from behind him, effectively scaring Augustine. “Come on, buddy. They didn’t have it.”
Once again Augustine’s cape was taken hostage as Michael dragged him out of the store. Unclasping his gold clasp was looking better and better.
“That was close.” Michael unbuttoned the top button of his shirt. “Man, you scared the crap out of me when she made that comment about your hair. You looked like you were going to lose it.”
“Let’s just not repeat that.” He let out a sigh and changed the subject. “But this really was a waste. We’re not going to lose faithful customers to a bunch of beginners.”
“Yeah, we’ve got a few years before we have to worry.” He finished with a hand through his hair. “Care to visit any other shops while we’re here?”
“How about a movie instead?” Augustine tugged on his cape, yet again. “I haven’t seen one in a while and the theatre is inside the mall, right?”
“Sounds good,” He twisted the fabric in his hand absently. “That new psycho killer flick just came out.”
“Sounds perfect.” He was happy for the second time that day to know there were people who liked him other than his wife. And maybe Sarah. “But would you let go of my cape!”
Michael had to laugh at Augustine’s frustrated tone and pout. “Naturally.” He released his former captive and followed Augustine to the box office.