"Close your eyes!"
The scissors are flying through my hair, chopping and cutting my chocolate locks into layers, formations and patterns I never even knew existed. Ashlin has them tight in her hands, her knuckles white with concentration. This being a two woman party means that I don't have Keira or Arianna handy to give a second opinion on her hairdressing skills.
I just have to trust her. This is going to make me popular, this makeover is going to change my life just enough to make Lysander eat his own words, kiss the ground at my feet.
Or so I hope.
Ashlin leans out all of a sudden, peering triumphantly at her handy work. Spinning my chair around to face the large mirror on the wall, she tears the mask from my eyes with a flamboyant flourish. "What do you think?"
I stare at my reflection for all of two seconds, before ducking my face away, unable to speak.
Ashlin still waits, her smile starting to quiver at the edges. "What do you think?"she says again. My cheeks burn red, coloured all over with embarrassment, surprise and burning not anger. Because when I look in the mirror I still see me. I have undergone no miraculous transformation - in fact, the new me actually looks marginally worse than before.
Yes, give Ashlin a make up wand and she's a pro - but to entrust your own hair to her hands you must be a fool. I, the self proclaimed fool.
I look a wreck.
I look hideous.
I look like a small mammal has smashed face first into my head, had babies then died.
"What do I think?" I reply to Ashlin, throwing her excited words back in her pert pretty face. "What do I think?" I laugh sarcastically. Running my hand through my newly cut hair I wince. The matted frizz has been curled, which would force it out even further if it hadn't been cut to roughly chin length. This just means my hair looks like a ball of fuzzy cotton wool. The back is cut up to the nape of my neck, ending in tiny tendrils that mock me just be staying there. "Ashlin," I say, through gritted teeth, "You can do whatever else you want to make me your brand new barbie doll friend, but you are taking me to a hairdresser's right this instant." When she doesn't move, I have to suppress the low growl of fury that works its way up from my belly. "I mean that you know!"
She doesn't complain.
In almost ten minutes, I am sitting with my back to her in silence, a professional hairdresser working frantically on the little tufts of hair that have been spared. The 'L' is covered with some luminous orange concealer, something Ashlin gave me in a futile attempt of apology. Needless to say, when I make my way back to Ashlin's car afterwards, sporting a sleek blonde cut complete with highlights and extensions, the atmosphere is icy, almost subzero.
She needs to learn that I am not to be messed with, and if today seemed like a joke to her, it's her own feelings that will be played with as much as mine.
I mean that from the heart.
If she wants to play with fire, she's going to realise all to quickly that fire will come straight back at her.