Jessica's Salon was a fixture in Lucky Springs. Some had tried to open competing places, but they never lasted. People were just used to coming here. Her great aunt had owned it and passed it down. Every day, Jessica styled hair and listened to all the news. Part therapist, part friend, and part beauty genius--she loved it!
This morning was her favorite client, the one who actually wanted to hear what was going on with Jessica. Her cousin, Cassie. She'd been home for six months straight and showed no sign of going back to her nomadic ways to take pictures. A handsome neighbor had gotten wandering Cassie to stay put.
"Hey, Jess!" Cassie grinned from ear-to-ear as she slipped into the salon before the official opening time. Cassie was always smiling now.
"Hi, Cassie. You look like the cat that got the rat."
"Or three." Cassie hugged her cousin and headed for the shampoo station. "Hi, Andrew!"
Jessica had completely forgotten Andrew was coming in early to help his boyfriend, Stuart, with inventory. Andrew was the best stylist and her best friend in Louisiana. She'd met him in beauty school and hired him as soon as she had her own salon. He brought along Stuart. The cute and serious man managed the office, payroll, ordering and inventory. Most of the women loved having cute, younger men fussing over their hair. Their husbands felt better knowing the pair was gay. It worked out.
"Hey, Cassie!" Andrew winked from the back room.
Jessica caught an extra bounce in Cassie's mood today. "What's up?" she asked automatically as she shampooed Cassie's soft brown locks.
"Nothing new here. Life's great. What about you?" Cassie stared up at Jess.
"Same old here, too. The guys are doing inventory."
"You don't look okay." Cassie toweled off her hair and moved to the big chair.
"I'm fine. When you're about to turn thirty-five, we'll see how you take it." Jessica combed out Cassie's hair and saw the smile in the mirror. "Okay, fine, maybe you're so happy and in love with Dominic that you won't care."
"Sorry. I wish you were this happy. So it's your birthday? Or is the problem that Frank hasn't been around?" They acted like sisters, and the honesty between them was refreshing.
Normally, Jessica had to support and sympathize with clients, whether she agreed or not. But with Cassie, Jessica couldn't hide her real feelings. "Both. Neither. Frank never made any huge promises to come back. But I always thought by now he'd be back." Frank was her high school boyfriend, but he'd wanted college and to take the world by storm with his best friend, Eric.
Jessica just wanted to cut hair and stay in small town Lucky Springs forever. Her family, her friends and life were all right here. Frank planned to make millions and move back to run his business from Lucky Springs. But times had been tough, and now those dreams felt silly and idealistic. "I'm an idiot."
"No, you're not!" Cassie jumped in. "Frank has come back every year, sometimes twice. To see you! He's got it just as bad as you do. The economy is still tough. Lucky Springs is doing okay, but the factory is slowing down. No layoffs but still. Not that that is an excuse. Frank should've moved back years ago. Has he called or anything?"
Jessica shook her head.
Andrew slid out from the back room and hugged Jessica from behind. "No and he's crazy, if you ask me. That man might be hot, but he doesn't know what he's got."
Smiling, Jess let her head rest on Andrew's strong shoulder. He was sexy with blond spiky hair, blue eyes and a winning smile. Stuart was more classically handsome with brown hair, but the pair always teased her, hitting on her as if it were a dare for her to say yes. Some days, she wanted to call their bluff just to see what they'd do. They were so sexy. She loved them, knew them and they were here. To watch them together would be amazing. "What is it about the one that got away?" she asked.
Cassie shrugged. "Until now, I was always the one going away so I can't answer that. But you've dated other guys. It's not as if you've been in a convent for fifteen years. Maybe Frank's pal Eric is the problem? I don't remember him being a jerk in high school, but swinging single men in the big city..."
"No, Eric is a great guy. He always gives Frank and me plenty of time alone in town, but he's great to hang out with. I had a crush on him in junior high. If Frank ever dumped me, I might go after Eric but they're always together so it'd get weird. What am I doing wrong?" Jess hated it. All these hot men, and she slept alone.
"Nothing!" Cassie and Andrew said in unison.
"You're the hottest single woman in Lucky Springs." Andrew pointed her toward the mirror. "Look at that sexy mocha skin, glossy brown hair with those auburn highlights done by yours truly. And you have green eyes that men get lost in. It's not you. What can we do to make you feel better?"
"I don't know. A one-night-stand won't fix it. I want to feel sexy and desired, not cheap and used. I want someone to pay attention to me. I just want to enjoy my birthday and not think about everything. Great sex and to feel beautiful. Is that too much to ask?" Jess stared in the mirror. She wasn't a bad package.
"Stuart and I are always available." Andrew squeezed her waist.
"I wouldn't ask you to sacrifice like that." Jess kissed his cheek.
"We might be able to fix this." Cassie smiled.
Jess held up her hands. "No, not your boyfriend's brother. I don't want charity."
"You're too hot to be labeled charity." Andrew nudged her into the chair.
Cassie looked at Andrew. "Not him. I think we need to tell her."
Andrew lifted an eyebrow. "You're sure?"
"What? Tell me what?" Jess' hopes lifted. Maybe Frank was coming in? She refused to ask out loud. No doubt about it, Jess needed to wean herself off the dream.
Cassie sat in the next chair. "I got mixed up with Dom because of these parties he has. He was my neighbor and attractive, but when I moved back, I heard a lot of noise and went over to check. They're into the group thing--sort of. And I got pulled into it, too. Way hot."
"Parties? Group?" Jessica's brain spun, but her body tingled. "You sleep with just random groups?"
"No, not random. It's not like that." Cassie blushed. "Just Dom and Monty and Alex and sometimes Ham."
"Wow." Jessica swallowed. "Sometimes Ham?"
"He's a little kinkier than I am, but I'm sure he'll find the right girl. You're not right for him, but I think we could arrange something. Plenty of guys at these parties would love to make your birthday memorable."
"Not your guys?" Jessica shook her head. Was she really thinking about this as an option? Cassie was serious. If she were lying, she'd be giggling by now. Cassie wasn't this good at practical jokes.
"No, those are all mine. Ham is unique. But the other three, no other girls for them. But we still do the party thing once a month. It's really hot to watch and be watched."
"You're serious?" Jess looked up at Andrew. "You know about this?"
"Yes. It's not like I go every month. But Stuart and I have been known to go just to show off and watch. There are hot men. We like looking at girls, too."
"Sure. But how is it I don't know about this? I know everything that happens in this town! People spill their guts in these chairs. Why didn't you tell me?" She smacked them both on the arms.
"Stuart and I have offered to help you personally. Repeatedly." Andrew folded his arms.
Cassie gave her cousin a look but let that comment go. "I didn't know until I moved back. It's a big secret so the more conservative of the town don't freak. It's not that big, really. I know it's not normal, but it works for us. Not that I'm suggesting you need that every day. But one time with a group of men just focused on pleasing you... It'd be a birthday you'll want to remember."
"Pleasing me?" Jess pushed away thoughts of porn with demanding men.
Andrew leaned down. "Exactly. There are men who love sex and love to get women off. You deserve it!"
"I couldn't do that at a party with people watching." Jessica rejected the idea on her reputation alone. The grandmothers of Lucky Springs came here to get their hair set. They could ruin her weekly revenue.
"Okay, fine. We can set up a private party. That's how it started for me. I think four men would be good. Three can get the job done, but it's your birthday." Cassie made it sound as if they were ordering enough cake.
Jess took a few deep breaths. "Who are these men? I don't want to know. This isn't about love, Cassie. It's about sex and birthday fun. I don't want to pick men. This is insane. How will I know it's safe? I mean, will they just show up at my house?" Jess got up and grabbed her scissors. "I need to trim your hair before the regulars arrive. Thanks for the offer, but it's too much for me."
"Don't say that. You've had a bit of a dry spell." Andrew leaned on the counter. "What if you're blindfolded? You won't see them. We'll pick the guys. It'll be really safe and mysterious. Super hot."
Cassie smiled wide. "Definitely. And they'll never tell you. These are guys from the party who will keep the secret. They'll play by the rules, always use protection and want to please. We can trust them."
"But I won't know who they are. I'll be blindfolded. This is nuts. That's not safe. What has Dom done to you?" Jess asked.
"So many wonderful things. I'm trying to share the goodness. Just not my men." Cassie shrugged.
"Stuart!" Jessica called.
He stepped out from the office with clipboard in hand. "What do you need?"
"Do you hear this? Do you know about this?" she demanded.
A smile tugged at his lips. "Obviously, I don't let Andrew go to parties alone. I think it'd be good for you. If you're not sure about the safety, have Cassie and Dom chaperone the private party. She can get video just in case you ever want to see it. If you're at all curious, you'll like it more than you think."
"Sure, my cousin wants to watch me in a group sex romp, blindfolded, and she'll record it." Jess tapped the scissors to the back of her hand. The pinch told her it was no dream.
Cassie spun in the chair. "Remember Kitty and Violet from junior high? My friends who sort of drifted away?"
"Sure," Jess replied.
"I've seen them together, with the hubby. They're a three-way since forever. Watching you have a great birthday won't bother me. I'm sure the men will be worth watching. That's what I'm into watching. So quit being a prude and let Andrew and I set this up. Blindfold and lots of condoms and lube. Any other requests?" She winked at Andrew.
"Sure, tie me down so I can't change my mind." She threw her hands up in the air.
"I was going to suggest that." Andrew nodded to Stuart.
"Sounds good to me," Stuart added.
If Stuart thought it was safe, it wouldn't be that extreme...and Jess wasn't a prude. Her brain argued, but her body liked the idea. "Back up a second. Being blindfolded you want some sense of security. How is Cassie safety? Four men. She's no match for them if something goes weird."
"They aren't into force. These aren't BDSM parties. Stop being paranoid." Cassie used her stern voice.
"If Dom and you are there, to make sure it's all safe. And it's in your house. Fine." Jess got busy cutting hair. She needed to focus on reality because what she'd just agreed to felt like someone else's life.
"You'll thank us later." Andrew gave her a kiss on the cheek and followed Stuart into the back. No doubt, they were deciding whom to cast in Jess' birthday orgy. The idea alone aroused her.