Please enjoy another snip from Guy Next Door by DL White.
COMING IN JUNE… MAYBE. PROBABLY. LIKELY.
The shop erupted in laughter so loud that, with the background music going, none of us heard the door swing open. It wasn’t until a male voice called out, “Excuse me?” that any of us— Tamera, Leslie or me— noticed someone had come in.
Well, not just someone.
Taj stood at the front of the shop near the door, looking good enough to eat in a thin, long sleeved striped sweater and dark blue jeans slung low on his hips, pooling slightly at the ankles before falling over a pair of spotless white sneakers.
When he said he worked odd hours, he meant it. I hadn’t seen him since I’d moved in. I heard the garage door roll open at various times, mostly well into the evening. He never stopped by to say hello, never popped by for no reason.
Much to my disappointment.
“Hey.” I waved a pair of tweezers at him, catching his attention. “This is a surprise. You want your brows done?”
He smiled, showing off blinding white teeth against cocoa skin. The man must sleep with Crest Strips in. “I heard someone named Tamera gives a great cut. Thought I’d stop in for one.”
Leslie and I pointed at Tamera, whose chair happened to be empty. She propped a hand on her hip and looked him up and down. He didn’t seem disturbed by the scrutiny. “You’re sure you don’t want to be at Guys N’ Dolls, across the lake? They do men’s hair over there.”
“Actually, I went there and the chairs were full and so was the overflow line. The manager said if I wanted a good cut to come over here and ask for Tamera. Are you her?”
“Unh huh. That’s me.” Tamera nodded, her frown beginning to disappear. “ She grabbed one of the new black capes with the bright white Curl & Dye logo and motioned Taj toward her chair. He slid into it and sat back, watching the satin float on air and settle onto his form. “You like anything in particular? You want your goatee touched up, too?”
“Keep it simple,” I heard him answer. “I don’t have time to hit the barbershop every week so I want to keep it looking fresh for a minute. You can hit the chin, too. Line me up some, make it nice.”
“I got you.”
With a flick of a finger, the air filled with the sounds of hair clippers and Janelle Monae. Normally, this would signal another round of salon talk, but the shop was suddenly devoid of chatter. It was so unusual, it made me uncomfortable.
Leslie sent Cara over to the hair dryers and got her set up under a hood. Cara pulled a magazine from her bag to flip through. Or pretend to flip through, because Cara had come to love beauty shop gossip as much as any of us.