For June, it was movie night with her buddy Douglas Lee, and even as the presidential motorcade was wending its way back to the White House, she and Doug were crashed on the couch in her sitting room, snacking on popcorn that the kitchen staff had liberally doused with mayonnaise and asiago cheese as the final credits rolled on a silly romantic comedy on June’s massive flat-panel TV.
Doug grinned. “That was a fun little flick.”
“Yeah. I was surprised it was so good,” June replied. “I mean, the previews made it look cute, but it actually had some meat, didn’t it?”
Doug yawned and stretched. “It sure did. I really appreciate you letting me up here to watch it. Now I don’t have to wait for it to come out on DVD.”
“Isn’t it still in the theatres?” June took a sip from her chardonnay.
“It is, but I’d have to go to some other city to watch it. If I tried to go see a chick flick like that in Manhattan, I’d be bombarded by clients. Or women who want to be my clients.”
“I’m thinking about getting out of the hair and make-up biz, or at least, just do it for special occasions or something. May I?” Doug picked up the wine bottle and his glass.
“Help yourself.” June nibbled on a popcorn kernel. “But why?”
“I’m bored.” Doug finished pouring his wine and handed the bottle to June. “I mean, it’s still fun to do a really great cut or get the perfect style or whatever. It’s just that last week, I was going over the finances with my accountant and I realized he was more interesting than ninety-percent of the women I do. And my accountant is not that interesting a guy.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have brought you down if I’d known.”
Doug waved her off. “No. That what’s-her-name…”
“Sharon.” June poured out the rest of the bottle into her glass without thinking about it.
“Sharon. She was great. And your other friend, Karen? I’d love to work on her. She was hysterical. It’s all the spoiled rich dames with more money than taste. And the models.” Doug rolled his eyes. “I still love doing the shows. You can really do some creative stuff. But if I have to listen to another vapid little twit blathering on about nothing.” He shuddered.
June put the popcorn bowl aside. “I guess they can be a bit much. During a show, I’m not really paying attention. So, what are you going to do instead?”
“I don’t know yet,” Doug grinned. “The hard part is going to be getting my client list down. It seems as though as soon as I tell someone I’m dropping her, she throws ridiculous amounts of money at me to keep her on. And the more I insist I don’t want it, the more she throws. You get a couple offers for a hundred thousand dollars a hair cut, and that’s pretty hard to turn down.”
“Yowza. You must be sitting pretty.”
“Pretty enough that I can pretty much do what I want from here on in.”
June’s hand accidentally landed on Doug’s. He flinched. June pulled her hand away as she sighed.
“I’m sorry,” she said softly.
Doug shrugged. “It’s okay.” He took a deep breath. “Look, I gotta get over this touching thing. It’s time. It may be why I want to get away from New York. But I’m gonna do it.”
June’s heart thudded as he slowly took her hand in his.
“Are you sure you’re up to this?” she asked, not at all sure if she was.
“Yeah. I think I am.” Doug smiled at her. “I’ve racked up a couple breakthroughs lately and my therapist said I should try extending myself a little.”
“Oh. That’s great.” Feeling guilty, June looked down at the bowl. “We’ve still got a full bowl of popcorn.”
“Yeah.” Doug laughed. “At least, it wouldn’t take us both a full week to eat that much.”
June grinned back. “We did put a decent dent in this. The problem is, I’m getting full.”
“Me, too.” Doug took a small handful and began nibbling at it. “Say, June, how would you feel if I moved down here to Washington?”
“I’d keep my shop in Manhattan and come up for the shows. But the business can pretty much run itself. And maybe I can do some good here. Maybe put an end to helmet hair.”
June laughed. “That won’t happen.” She looked him over. “You’re not thinking of moving down because of me, are you?”
“Yes and no.” Doug grimaced. “I want to get out of New York because I need to and I’m thinking about here because you’re here. At least, I’d have one friend.”
“You’ve got friends in L.A.”
Doug shook his head. “If I can’t handle models and rich bitches, how far do you think I’d get with the Hollywood crowd?”
“Point taken.” June shrugged. “But do you really want to be a Washington dilletante?”
“I don’t know what I want.” Doug sighed. “I’ve been doing hair since I was eighteen and helping my mom out at the shows since I was five.”
“You got a business degree in there.”
“Yeah. To run my shop and all the other things that were coming along because of that.” Doug shook his head. “It’s time I broadened myself, explored other passions. Who knows? Maybe I want to go back to hair. Maybe I’ll just be a dilletante early retiree. Don’t know yet. But the only way I’ll be able to find out is if I get away from New York for a while. So, do you mind if I hang out down here?”
“No. I’d love it.” June smiled.
Gloryhg: Thought I’d check in. Thanks for giving me your personal address.
Swheatly531: You gave me yours. What’s WLF?
Gloryhg: Worth Living For. To die for is too negative. I had a good time tonight.
Swheatly531: For working, it wasn’t bad.
Gloryhg: I may have overstepped a boundary.
Swheatly531: When? Oh, the kiss.
Gloryhg: I’m told I do that sometimes. Overstep, I mean.
Gloryhg: You okay with it?
Gloryhg: You there?
Swheatly531: Yeah. Just thinking it over.
Gloryhg: <<sigh>> Great. Am I looking at a harassment suit?
Swheatly531: Maybe. 😉 Probably not. I hope you’re not thinking I’m ducking comment because you’re the boss.
Gloryhg: Well, that you might does worry me. I mean, one of the reasons I hired you in the first place was because I was confident you’d tell me what you thought regardless of what I might think.
Swheatly531: I just don’t know what I think right now. The boss part is a little awkward. But it’s more the whole dating thing, in general. It’s not a good time for that, you know.
Gloryhg: I know.
Swheatly531: BTW, Gloryhg???
Gloryhg: An old nickname from my college days. The Coop again. Loved poking fun at my ambitions. I got this address years and years ago and mostly forgot about it until the other one went public last summer.
Swheatly531: Well, gotta go. Want to finish some reading before getting to bed. See you tomorrow.
Gloryhg: See you tomorrow.