Burn Notice: I don't own it, I just like to play with it.
While trying to write a new story, I was stuck with fluff on the brain after the hot tub fluff challenge, so here's another piece of fluff. Enjoy!
All I Needed To Hear
She couldn't bear to look at herself in the mirror. It didn't look this bad the day before, but now it was a disaster. Her hair looked better when she got out of jail, when it was lifeless and dark along with her ratty eyebrows. That was the very reason she'd gone to the hair salon, to fix what time and terrible prison food had done to her tresses. Something went terribly wrong, and now she was trapped in the bathroom, not wanting anyone to see how bad she looked.
"Fi, are you done in there?"
"No, Michael, I am not." She knew it was childish and silly to cry over her hair, but that's exactly what she was doing.
"Will you be done soon?"
The sigh she released was full of agony. To her surprise, the door opened a crack. She should have locked it, and now he would see what caused her so much pain.
"What's wrong?" Her face cracked as she put her hands on her head. "Can't you see?" She picked up the ends and flipped them. After hanging in the air for barely a second, her hair dropped like it was made of stone. "This is what's wrong!"
"I'm sorry, Fi. I don't get it. It's just your hair."
She growled out her frustration and her voice rose with each syllable. "Of course, you're a man, you wouldn't understand! It looks horrible!"
Michael still didn't see it. He turned at the sound of the loft door squealing, announcing Sam's arrival.
"Hey, Mikey, what's up?" He allowed Elsa to step in before him and he closed the door.
"It's Sam and Elsa," Michael told Fiona. He closed the bathroom door and smiled at his friends. "It's nothing."
Sam could tell by the look on Michael's face that whatever the issue was, it wasn't nothing. "You and Fi in the middle of a fight or something? We better get out of here now, Elsa, before the furniture starts flying."
Michael came forward shaking his head, and he spoke softly. "No. Fi's all upset about her hair. It doesn't look that bad to me, but she's kind of... freaking out about it." He felt uncomfortable admitting it in front of Elsa. He still didn't know much about her, and didn't feel right discussing Fiona's personal issues in her presence.
"Ohhh. Mike, a little tip: women can get emotional about their hair. So if she's upset, she's probably got a good reason."
Elsa stepped into the conversation. "Michael, would you mind if I talked to her?"
He thought about it for a moment. At this point, as much as he respected Fiona's need for privacy, he also felt helpless. Maybe Sam's girlfriend could assist. "I don't know what you can do, but go for it." As Elsa stepped up to the bathroom door, he whispered to Sam. "I just don't get it. She could be bald for all I care. I'm just glad she's home!"
Elsa tapped on the door. "Fiona? It's me, Elsa. Can I come in? It's okay, honey, I've had really bad hair days too. I know what you're going through." She was satisfied to hear a lock snap and the door opened enough for her to get inside. Her heart went out to the younger woman as she stood in the middle of the bathroom a few feet from the mirror hanging over the sink. Her hair hung limply and it was dark as a fine walnut wood. With her skin tone, the color was completely wrong. It made her look like she just came out of a gulag.
"This is more than just a bad hair day, Elsa. This is like a bad hair life! Before I went to prison, my hair was reddish brown with lighter highlights. Now look at it! And these eyebrows." She made a sound of disgust. "They're hideous!"
"There's a perfectly simple cure for this, you know." Elsa put a hand on her shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Do you have a hat?"
"I can't go around wearing a hat forever!"
Elsa let out deep sigh. There was being upset at a bad dye job, and then there was wallowing in self-pity. Fiona was getting dangerously close to the edge, and from what Sam told her about the woman, it was completely out of character for her. "Enough. Where's your hat?"
"It's out there."
"Okay, hang on. I'll be right back." Elsa left the bathroom and asked Michael, "Could you do me a favor and get Fiona a hat? The most concealing one that she has."
Michael was puzzled, but he complied. "Here you go. What does she want to do with that?"
"It's just a little something to get her out of the bathroom." Elsa winked and went back inside. "Okay, twist up your hair and tuck it inside, and then we'll get out of here. I'll take you to my salon at the hotel. Sydney can do miracles."
"This won't cost me a lot of money, will it?"
Elsa smiled and replied. "What kind of price can you put on your well-being? You've got nothing to worry about. I'm sure I can get you the friends and family discount. Just do me a favor. Whoever you went to that did this to you, avoid them like the plague next time. Okay?"
"Oh, you have my word." Fiona's eyes held a fire in them.
Elsa wondered if she wasn't contemplating some kind of revenge. Mentally shaking away the thought, her smile widened. "Ready to go?"
"Yes, I suppose." She patted the hat to make sure it was in place.
Elsa grabbed one of Fiona's hands and tsked as she looked down at her fingernails. "Looks like you need a manicure too, sister!" She glanced down at the younger woman's sandal-clad toenails and just shook her head. Then Elsa clasped her elbow and led her out of the bathroom. "Let's go! This is an emergency!" She opened the door and pushed Fiona out into the room. Michael and Sam stood near the bar sharing a couple of beers.
"Elsa is taking me to the salon," Fiona announced as she headed for the door.
"You were just there yesterday," Michael protested. Sam backhanded his upper arm, and Michael glared at him. "What?"
Sam gave him a look as if to say he was better off not questioning a woman's need for beauty treatments.
"We're going to get fixed what that stylist did wrong. Don't wait for us, boys. Just go have fun without us!" Elsa hurried Fiona out of the loft and down the stairs. "We'll take my car."
"Do you even know where Elsa's taking her, Sam?"
"I have no clue. Probably the salon at the hotel. They do Elsa's hair and nails all the time."
Michael whistled. "We'll have to pick up another job to pay for that treatment."
Late in the afternoon, Sam's phone rang. He and Michael went to the hotel to spend some quality time relaxing at the pool. "Hey, Baby, where are you?"
"Fiona and I are shopping, but we should be back at the hotel soon. Are you and Michael ready to go to dinner? Someplace really nice. Fiona went through a lot today. She needs this."
"Mike's worried about his pocket book surviving today and you want to make it worse with going out to some place nice?" He watched Michael return from the bar on the other side of the pool deck, glad he wasn't around to hear the conversation.
"Well, it doesn't have to be five star. Just a place with a romantic atmosphere."
"Fine. You pick it, and we'll be ready at six."
"Alright, we'll meet in the lobby." She made a kissing noise into the phone. "Love you, Sammy."
"Love you too, sweetheart." He gave her a quick kiss back and hung up. "That was Elsa, Mike. She wants to pick out a nice place to go for dinner tonight. She says Fi needs it."
"Oh boy." Michael dropped into the chaise lounge next to Sam's.
"She said it's been a long day for her."
"What about me? I've been worried about her stressing over this. She never used to let anything like this bother her."
"Prison changes people, Mike. Just think, she didn't have access to anything to maintain herself the way she liked, and she didn't know if she'd ever be set free. Not to mention the stress of having people wanting to kill you on the inside. That's a recipe for a few mental issues after release, if you ask me." He took a sip of his drink. "You're lucky that freaking out over bad hair was it."
Sam was right. She could have had problems sleeping, or waking up with nightmares. She could have been angry at everyone and shut herself off from her friends. All she wanted was for things to get back to normal. Right now, her hair wasn't normal, and so it bothered her. He still didn't understand the need for perfect hair, but he respected her desire.
"Anyway." Sam got up from his lounger. "We should get ready to go to dinner. Someplace nice, which is woman speak for wear a suit and tie." He sneered. "Think we can try to get away without the tie?"
"I'm willing to try if you are," Michael replied with a smirk. "I'll run home to the loft to change and see you back here in about a half hour or so."
"Okay, sounds good. Meet us in the lobby."
Michael walked in at ten minutes before six wearing a tan suit, light blue shirt, and no tie. He tucked one into his pocket, just in case. Sam wore a white linen suit with a light green shirt and no tie. He smiled at Michael and said, "I'm taking a risk here and wearing something that must go tie-less."
"Livin' on the edge there, Sam." Michael whistled.
"Elsa knows me. I don't do ties this time of year if I can help it. Well, I don't do ties at all if possible, but you know what I mean." He turned at the sound of heels clicking on the tile floor and he whistled. "You two ladies look stunning tonight." Sam turned to Elsa, took her hand and kissed it. "You look fantastic, Baby."
"You look great yourself, Sam." She nestled herself under his arm and put one of hers around his waist. "Michael, aren't you going to say anything about Fiona?"
He would have, but Michael was rooted to the spot gaping at her. Fiona's hair shone with golden highlights on a background of caramel and brown tresses that hung in curls and waves. Her eyebrows, which at one point that morning she likened to a pair of hairy caterpillars taking up residence over her eyes, were gracefully arched along the browline and matched her hair. As usual, she wore little makeup. The champagne pink dress flowed around her calves like a filmy cloud under the fitted bodice that showed off her figure nicely. Since she came home she wasn't as scrawny and now filled out her clothes with gentle curves, the way she used to. As he smiled with a gleam of love in his eyes, he couldn't wait for the night to be over so he could take her home.
"Mikey? Hello, Mike!"
"Huh?" He shook his head and glanced at Sam and Elsa.
"Maybe you two better skip dinner and go right to the dessert." Sam jabbed him with an elbow. "You were so wrapped up in Fiona, you didn't hear a word anybody said."
"I, uh, guess not. Sorry." Michael took Fiona's hand in his and noticed it was softer, and the nails were shaped and polished in a light shade of pink to match her dress. "You look terrific, Fi."
Fiona beamed and her skin glowed as she said, "Let's go, Michael. I want to feast and dance the night away!"
She spun into his arms, and he held her close. Michael marveled at how different her mood was now, compared to the morning. "I've got a feeling I can dance all night." He kissed her lips, then let her go for a moment, repositioning her so she fit under his arm around her shoulders.
"Alright, then, let's go!" Sam and Elsa led the way to the car.
"You really do look... unbelievable. Fi, it's great to have you back."
Fiona blinked away tears of joy. "That's all I needed to hear."