A/N: It's Chrissie's Birthday (purpleC305 to all ye fanfic readers), and I'm celebrating by writing this piece of ridiculousness! Enjoy, and wherever you are, dear readers, let's all enjoy a piece of cake or something yum.
"It's a shame."
"You're telling me."
"Maybe he wasn't so bad."
"Maybe he has layers? Like an onion? Dickhead and asstard on the outside, but on the inside…"
"More dickhead and asstard, with a side of douche-canoe."
Bella stifled a giggle. "Come on, Alice. Give the guy a chance."
"Not even! It was the worst date ever, Bella. The worst. That time you went out with that guy who reeked? What was his name? Anyway, this was worse. That man might have been decent if he'd bathed. This guy? His entire personality reeks. I don't even know why I agreed to go out with him in the first place."
Bella raised her hand. Alice waved her on.
"He has a dick to beat all dicks."
Alice sighed. "I did say that, didn't I? Damn it. I didn't even get to try it out. Instead, he turned out to be a dick to beat all dicks, and I ran out of the damned restaurant."
"It's a shame," Bella repeated.
"Ten inches and a missed opportunity," Alice mourned, downing the rest of the coffee in her to-go cup. "Never again. I'm never going to agree to date someone I meet at work. It's a disaster."
"Amen," echoed Bella, quickly gulping down the contents of her mug. If she looked a little guilty, it wasn't something her agitated friend noticed.
"We need to find men, Bella… real men. The kind who aren't defined by the size of their dicks."
Bella frowned. That sounded… "That's impossible, Alice. They are guys. They have dicks. They are defined by it."
"But we don't need to date them because of it. What if, all this time I'm going out with dicks who have huge dicks, but the guy of my dreams is wandering around with an average cock? What if I'm too busy judging his dick to actually recognize that he's my man?" Alice gasped in horror at the thought. "Oh no! What if I've already missed my chance?"
Bella patted her on the back. "I seriously doubt that. If he's meant for you, he'll turn up, and he'll stick around. Otherwise, he's just a …"
"Dick," Alice completed with a giggle.
"That's right," Bella nodded, grabbing her things and walking out of the breakroom. "Hey, what happens if Dickhead decides to come looking for you here?"
"I've actually thought about that," Alice said, leaning against the door as Bella efficiently started restocking her workstation. Towels, fresh sheets, wipes, powder, lotion, tins of wax, sugaring solution… "I'll ask Rose to tell him that I no longer work here. Or if he happens to see me, I'll just pretend to have no recollection of him. Or hey, maybe I'll ask if he was dating my mom, because he looks a bit like one of her guys. That should do it."
"That's just… ridiculous. And convoluted, and mean." Bella shook her head. "I'll think of something better. Shoo now, go to your own station, and you better not steal my waxing strips again!"
"It was just that one time! Oh alright, I swear by the sisterhood of … Bella, what's our sisterhood called?" Alice tapped her chin thoughtfully. "Oh, I know, Bad Luck Biddies, because we have such horrendous luck with men."
"Dickmatized Damsels," suggested Bella.
"I like that one too. Hey, I have an idea," Alice snapped her fingers. "Maybe I should let Rose book him another appointment with me. It will soothe my soul to spend twenty minutes ripping hair off his balls. I won't be gentle."
Bella raised an eyebrow at Alice's manic grin. "No matter how hard you try, honey, ain't no way to be gentle about that."
They dissolved into cackling laughter.
Two hours later, neither was feeling much like laughing.
"God, I hate my job," grumbled Alice. "Ok, not all the time, but days like today? It can go stuff itself."
"Oh yeah? I just had a squealing teenager in there. She insisted on getting her eyebrows waxed, but was crying and screeching in pain before I even touched her face. Fucking drama."
"Bella, perspective, please," said Alice, raising both hands like weighing scales. "Teenage pain-wimp, versus having to wax a hairy ass that decided to pass gas." Her hands see-sawed for a moment, before she snapped her fingers and pretended to throw confetti around. "And we have a winner!"
"Fine, that is gross, but the headache that kid gave me is real. Anyway. You got time for a coffee break? When's your next appointment?"
"Half an hour. You?"
Bella was already power-walking towards the door. "I got fifteen minutes, woman. C'mon, before we get a walk-in."
Unfortunately, that was the exact moment when Rose stuck her head through the beaded curtain leading to the reception area.
"Oh good, you're here! Bella, we have a walk-in. You have five minutes."
"Wha… hey, Alice can do it," Bella exclaimed, turning just in time to see Alice sailing out of the side door of the salon. "No, Rose. No, no, no… I just have fifteen minutes before my next one, please! I need the coffee," she whined.
"Mrs. Cope cancelled, so you're free till two. Just do this guy for me, and I'll bring you some of my own coffee in two minutes."
"From your secret stash?" Bella paused in the act of shrugging off her coat. Rose never let anyone drink her coffee. Her boyfriend had got her a tin of the stuff from Mogadishu or some such place and, from the aroma alone, they knew it was far superior to the stuff they got in the high-priced coffee chain store round the corner.
"Yes! And you know it's the best coffee you will ever taste, B. Now quickly, turn around and get your station ready."
"What does he want done?" Bella hissed at Rose's rapidly retreating back.
"Oh," Rose popped her head back through the jangling beads. "Just a quick case of sugar balls," she sniggered.
Bella groaned. Great. Just great.
It wasn't unusual for guys to come in these days, asking to be waxed. What had begun as a most welcome trend of removing excessive back and chest hair had, in the last few years, grown into a very lucrative bouquet of offerings specifically targeting men—facials, mani-pedis, blemish reducing treatments, and of course, body hair removal.
Usually, the manscaping requests didn't bother Bella one bit. For one, Mike or Eric usually took those. But one drunken weekend in Vegas they realized they were in love with each other; wasting no time, they got married and were currently honeymooning in Napa.
Bella didn't mind picking up the slack. She figured it was her way of giving back to society. She could almost feel the gratitude of hordes of women and men who no longer had to fight their way through a jungle to get a mouthful of their hirsute partners' wieners. Blowjobs everywhere owed her.
But right this moment, with the mother of all headaches already pounding through her head, she was not looking forward to dealing with another pain wimp… and men were notorious pain wimps. They could spend all day flexing their biceps in front of a mirror, but pull out one small hair and you wouldn't believe the way they shrieked.
"Inner Peace," Bella muttered, shutting her eyes and trying to regulate her breathing. "Inner Peace. I am happy. I am healthy. I love my work. I am going to help a person. Peacefully. I will not grit my teeth. I will smile."
"You might want to tone down the scary factor on your smile," Rose's voice startled her. Turning with a hand to her racing heart, Bella glared at her.
"You might want to tone down the ninja when you walk around here! Jeez, I was just about to find my inner peace."
"Here, I have something better," Rose smirked, holding out a cup. She laughed outright as Bella practically inhaled the coffee. "What's up with you, girl? I didn't think you were such a big fan of the stuff."
"I'm not," said Bella, licking her lips and making sure there were no stray drops around her mouth. "But it was another late night, and I'm not going to make it through the day without some sort of pick-me-up. Thanks for this, though."
Rose gave her shoulder a squeeze, and took back the empty mug with a gentle smile. "You'll get through this, Bella. Now go get your station ready, I'll send him through in a minute."
Bella watched with a bemused smile as the gorgeous blonde sashayed through the doorway. Somehow, with that small gesture, those innocuous words, her annoyance melted away.
She took in a deep breath and smiled. She was calm, confident, centered. She had problems, but none of them mattered right this minute. She was going to be ok. She was ready for whatever life threw at her.
Then he walked in.