Simple Business Transaction


kayla_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title Simple Business Transaction
Synopsis Kayla goes out to get a haircut and discovers someone with whom she has an acquaintance in common.
Date October 26, 2011

Raquelle Salon and Day Spa, Eltingville Blocks

The Raquelle Salon and Day Spa has been relocated and has gone through a downsizing of sorts. There's no more separate spa rooms and a classy front desk or anything like that. Its his E-Ville House's Living room and Bathroom that are being used these days to do what he can to give back to the community. He's managed to get a stool for when his 6'2ness is too tall for whoever is seated in a pink and black padded dining room chair. It has arm rests too, because you need those. He even has his hairstylist cart/tray. Appointments have been by hear-say or random encounter lately.

Raquelle himself however has been having a slower day. His youngest daughter is perched on the edge of the kitchen counter 'helping' her daddy. The blond 5 year old wears an oversized Metallica t-shirt and her blond hair has been braided into a crown with sparkly black ribbon running through it, and she is missing her front teeth as she dries a blue bowl that is probably used for mixing hair dye. "Okay babycakes, only one more time." Raq drawls softly from where he is wearing gloves and cleaning out another bowl in the kitchen sink. He is dressed comfortably, black jeans, fitted black t-shirt, tooled black leather vest and his longer shag of a hairstyle stylishly moussed. It is mid afternoon after he last appointment and apparently the 'one more time' is the herald to him clearing his throat.

"Say your prayers little one. Don't forget my son to include everyone…" He starts singing as Diana wiggles and headbangs and sings along with her babyish lisp.

Kayla Reid is a woman well-accustomed to keeping to herself; she's been holding the world at arm's length for years, and doubly so given the circumstances by which her last good job went under. Even with a steady supply of negation pills to (blessedly) mute her ability, old habits developed in the interest of self-preservation die very hard, and she's kept herself scarce from the growing Eltingville community. But even she has to sometimes go out and engage with people.

Thus it is that this afternoon finds her on the street in front of Raquelle's Salon, dressed in clothes as unremarkable as the affect she prefers to present to the world: a medium-blue shirt, medium-gray knee-length coat, charcoal pants, sensible flats. Also light gray gloves cover her hands, their presence unnecessary but comforting. Especially as she walks up to a stranger's door, knocks sharply on its wooden face.

It's perhaps a bit of a shame to interrupt the singing, indistinct though it is through the door, but, well. She's here now.

The bowl is finished being washed and handed over to little Di who has indeed stolen yet another one of Raquelle's band t-shirts which speaks to her current attire. It falls past her ankles but she kicks her little feet and pretend to be strumming a guitar using the new bowl as the daughter daddy duet continues. "Exxxiiit Liiight. Entteer Niiiight." He's got the pipes to rasp out the sustained notes in harmony with Diana's scream/singing of it.

The knock at the door draws his attention as he snags the little girl from the counter and sets her down on the floor. "Taaake my haaaand." He obliges the mini-him. The door swings open to the sound of giggling and soft laughter through the finish of chorus. "We're off to never Never-laaand!" Flashing a friendly grin to Kayla, Raquelle rests a hand on the head of the 5 year old leaning against his leg. A pause as he looks her over and quirks a well groomed eyebrow, a hint of wariness in those eyeliner rimmed baby blues. "You sellin' girlscout cookies honey or are you here to get your hair did?"

Waiting, Kayla lets her gaze wander down the line of houses rather than stare blankly at the door. She isn't waiting long, however, as music and laughter grow louder and then the threshold is opened before her. The man on the other side is familiar in the way that anyone distinctive in a small community would be: seen around, but really an unknown quantity. Still, Kayla almost smiles back at the grin. Or maybe it's the kid.

She doesn't miss the lurking wariness either; it's too much an echo of her own. And understandable for it. The either-or presented, though, is what really puts her off-balance. Nobody's ever accused her of being a cookie saleswoman. "Hair," Kayla replies succintly, looking askance at Raquelle. She glances briefly to the girl. "I'm not sure if you do appointments or what. It's fine if you want me to come back later."

There's another more accessing once over given by the tall man before he exhales a bit and nods. "Well damn, had me fooled standing there looking like you pop bottles straight from the fountain of youth." Raquelle reaches down to assist the 5 year old with crawling up his side by swinging her up on a hip before stepping aside to allow Kayla to enter the house. "Don't be silly, you are here now. I've been doing so many different types of heads at all times of day and night, Proactive is tryna sue my ass."

Child is shifted to the other hip as he shows Kayla further in and to the living room/salon of the time. "What are you looking for?"

Both eyebrows raise at Raquelle's response. Fountain of… Kayla silently echoes the words, then shakes her head. She really doesn't know what to say to that, so says nothing at all. Fortunately, she's saved from awkward silence by the invitation to enter. Stepping inside, she takes an assessing glance around the living room — though given the circumstances under which many have been relocated, it's an open question to her mind how much the residence really reflects its inhabitants.

"I'd like to have my hair brought up above shoulder-length," she supplies, with a much less helpful wave of her hand at around that level. Business, that's a topic Kayla's eminently comfortable speaking upon. "Aside from that…" Her lips pull sideways in something that isn't quite a grimace. "Honestly, I'm willing to leave specifics to your discretion, as long as it's simple."

"Mm." Raquelle tilts his head as he studies Kayla's hair from where he stands for a moment and then he's setting Diana down and murmuring something to her in Japanese that has her waving to Kayla and running off towards the back of the house where the bedrooms are. "Shoulder length, simple. Got it. You are not here to get a do to help you get done. Totally respectable." A purple cape/smock is shaken out as he nods towards the makeshift stylist chair.

There's a soft snort from Raquelle before he presses a hand to his chest. "Before we get started, my name is Raquelle and I will be your hair consultant for the day. Would you care for a refreshing beverage? We have water, juice, and somethin' that cannot decide if its Koolaid or Tang but its bright pink and you know pink makes the boys wink so it can't be that bad."

Kayla stands still and a bit tense while her hair is studied, more uncomfortable with being in this stranger's house than with the inspection itself. Nodding briefly at Raquelle's direction, she moves towards the strikingly colored chair. Black, pink — and now purple with the smock. Well… he clearly likes color.

Seated, she starts and glances over her shoulder when Raquelle snorts. The sheer and utter incongruity of his words — over-formal service industry patter shading seamlessly into what Kayla can only classify as absurdity — startles loose a nonplussed stare, a brief chuckle, and then a shake of her head, in that order. "I — water, please. Since you're offering. I can't say I care for either Koolaid or Tang."

Kayla falls quiet for a moment, then tries to offer a conversational hand, as it were. "Is the pink drink something your daughter picked out?"

"BJ, my oldest, she picked it out trying to get Diana, the little angel you just met, to drink something other than milk and water." Raquelle explains as he grabs a bottle of water and returns with his black fingerless gloves on and his styling belt in place. Water bottle is offered before he has a rattail comb and is just seemingly measuring the length of the hair, feeling the texture. "I never asked you what your name is honey, feel free to give me a fake one. I know how people value their privacy around here."

The hairstylist combs his fingers through Kayla's hair, running them through to the spot he'd need to stop if getting the hair to shoulder length. "Alright, what type of shampoo and conditioner do you use sugar?"

"I'd say there's nothing wrong with milk and water," Kayla observes. She accepts the bottle of water, then grimaces at the reminder of manners. "Right. Sorry." She'd let herself get distracted. "I'm Kayla." It's given readily enough to be presumed real. She settles back in the chair, only to stifle a reflexive twitch at the sensation of fingers passing through her hair. Fingers a breath away from her skin. She's negated, her awareness dead, and she volunteered for this; it had seemed like a simple thing, a total nonconcern, when she made the decision to get her hair cut. When she walked in the door. Even when she sat down.

Habits shaped by the past five years disagree.

Breathing out slowly, Kayla folds her arms and remains resolutely still, her posture stiff; now held at her side, the water might as well be forgotten. It takes a moment more for her to replay Raquelle's words, to realize there was an unanswered and yes, relevant question there. "Honestly, it depends what's on sale." And, implicitly, on her budget at the time. "Pantene most of the time, though. One of their two that comes in a clear bottle. It used to be 'Purity'; they changed the name to something else not too long ago."

Every touch is deliberate and gentle but he watches her body language carefully as he does his evaluation. His lips part almost reflexively to allow his abilities to work their magic through reassurance but he is supposed to be negated. There is a healthy amount of pills crushed and mixed with the white flour in the 'flour' canister. So, instead he works his magic in the way he had even before his 'ability' was activated. "Now that is truely a lovely name." He leans in as he sections off another section of hair, studying her scalp for a moment before letting the hair drop.

"Alright Cupcake, lets get you washed right in there in the bathroom, and then I'm going to give you deep condition. Then we'll get your hair trimmed all nice and neat for you." He taps the back of the chair and points towards the restroom. There's a chair in there as well. There are a few pictures on the walls. Him and his girls. Him and his parents both the asian and the hispanic sides of his family. Him, his girls, and his boyfriend. Etc. They are moving in. Him and his Boyfriend on New Years. Domestic stuff. Something to make it more home like.

The compliment passes almost unnoticed; the tone of Raquelle's voice does not. Nor does the fact that even when he leans in, when his fingers brush over her scalp, nothing happens. It's almost enough to convince her backbrain, and to take at least the edge off Kayla's stiffness. Progress.

She still abides by Raquelle's instructions readily enough, nodding and moving towards the bathroom — only to stop short just shy of the other chair, gray eyes riveted by a surprisingly familiar photographed face. It's been more than two years, but he made a distinctive impression. Several of them. The hand not holding a water bottle drifts to her ribs, remembering an injury once stolen. "Does he still have his dogs? Nina Lou?" Kayla asks. It should be a light question, simple curiosity, but her voice is flat, opaque. The answer's more important to her than that.

It's another beat before she recollects herself and finishes settling into the new chair, now looking to Raquelle for his reply.

Products are lined up, some balanced on the back of the toilet but Raquelle has ridiculously long limbs so he can get things as he quirks an eyebrow. There's a glance between Kayla and a photo and then back to Kayla. He recognizes that dog's name and his lips twist in a thoughtful expression. "You talking about my Honey drizzled dulche leches up on the wall mean mugging?"

A shrug of a shoulder as he guides the woman's head back if allowed. "Those dogs are his baby girls and are sweet as can be." Attachment to the faucet is tested before he starts wetting down hair. He tries to keep the bit of uncertainty from making his voice waver a bit as he chuckles. "You know him?"

It takes Kayla a bit to puzzle out Raquelle's first reaction — well, everything up through honey is self-evident enough. She still sits stiffly, but accepts having her head pushed back readily enough. It helps that she can see his hand coming this time, not to mention the completely unexpected distraction that has arisen.

"That's good," she says after Raquelle confirms the dogs' well-being. "I'm glad to hear it." And she is, honestly so, although her tone remains reserved. It's only natural for the stylist to follow up asking for context — natural, inevitable, and not really wanted even though she opened herself up to it. That query, Kayla is much, much slower to answer. "It was a long time ago. There was a riot in Thomas Jefferson. I found Nina Lou, after. Took her back to the station."

Which is obviously nothing like the whole story, but it's as much as she wants to give right now, shared acquaintance or no.

"Ahh, that was sweet of you. He definately loves his girls." Raquelle smiles a bit wistfully, gloves left off so he can handle this task. His hands move on automatic, shampoo drizzled, hair soaped up and strong hands occasionally gently massaging the scalp as he is thorough.

"Did you know him pretty well? I mean, you brought his dog back so I am thinking he may have at least liked you a little bit." He sucks his teeth. "Such a feisty little thing and I just eat that fajita plate up every time, I do not even mind the side of grumpy asshole."

Kayla closes her eyes as Raquelle works, because that is far more comfortable than the constant visual awareness of someone so very much within her personal space. It also helps her focus on the tactile contact, gradually relaxing further into the lack of adverse consequences. Everything's fine.

Even if the conversation's still half on her familiarity with Bolivar. "We only met a few times," she says at last. "They were just… memorable." She cracks an eye open to peer sidelong at Raquelle's colorful phrasing… and in her silence seems to weigh something, as well. After a few moments more, Kayla accedes and quietly yields a bit more information. "The riots I mentioned?" She lifts a hand slightly, flexes gloved fingers. "Healer." She lets him fill the blank in between with the obvious… and doesn't mention the other incident.

That one's between him and Bolivar.

Raquelle blinks a few times, trying to put the timeline together in his head. "The most important part, Cupcake, is that you both survived and are here to tell the tale." He is on to the conditioning portion of the evening. "How long then have you been in this shithole of a place."

"Too long" is the superficially glib reply Kayla gives, quick and easy and not at all as light as she fails to make it seem. Underneath is a sour resentment that likely virtually all the rest of Eltingville's residents can empathize with. On that, they can agree. So, too, with Raquelle's observation regarding survival.

In contrast, perhaps the most surprising thing about the rest of the conversation, from Kayla's perspective, is that it continues much as it began: without pushing the buttons and subjects that trigger prickly defensiveness. All in all, she has to admit later — if only to herself, and that quietly — it made for a more pleasant afternoon than one might expect for the simple business transaction of getting a haircut.

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