Training Cassiopeia - Chapter 5
Add: 5 August 2015 / 18:16
We spent the rest of the morning redoing the questionnaire and when it was typed and printed out, we’d compressed seven pages of questions into a single page of open-ended questions that the subject would read over and respond to.
It was up to the interviewer to record the answers and ask follow-up questions. Cassiopeia would collate the responses and reduce them down to something she could work with and incorporate them into her paper.
“I’m really impressed with some of your insights, Bree. I think this new approach will be much more revealing and provocative. I really appreciate your snooping.”
“We’re going shopping and then we’ll find a salon and get you a mani-pedi and a wax… I think a full-Brazilian will do nicely. While you’re there, I’ll go through my phone contacts and try to set up a series of interviews.”
“A – a full-Brazilian? What’s that entail?” Cassiopeia's voice betrayed her hesitation.
I just smiled and said, “You’ll see. Just relax, Cassiopeia, and enjoy the pampering.” I smiled again, more in anticipation of her reaction than anything else.
“That’s another thing, Bree. Cassiopeia is so formal and considering our project, Cass or Cassie is more appropriate, don’t you think?”
“What did the girl in the picture call you?” I was digging but never expected Cassiopeia’s reaction to be so…bitter.
“Unimaginative, sloppy, selfish, inadequate…” Her voice was shaking as were her hands and I reached across the kitchen table and grabbed her nearest one and gave it a squeeze.
“What happened between you two?” I could see unshed tears glistening in her eyes.
“I loved her. I wanted to be with her forever. I – I couldn’t satisfy her sexually. She said making love with me was boring, unsatisfying and choreographed – a totally uncomfortable experience. Once she even fell asleep while I was eat…erm…she left me five months ago.”
“How long were the two of you together?” I asked, softly, not wanting to cause any more pain but needing the information to satisfy my own insatiable curiosity.
“We lived together for three months after dating for almost as long. She was... I suppose, I was her ‘rebound girl’. She said someone had really torn her up emotionally thrown her out with just the clothes on her back! I didn’t care about being second. To know Saphie was to love her.”
“Saphie?” I choked out the name. God must be laughing His ass off right now. “As in ‘Sapphire’?” I asked, dreading the answer but needing to know.
“Yes, Sapphire…why?” Cassie looked like she was about to cry so I segued the conversation in another direction after giving her a glib response.
“I thought you really meant Sophie.”
I understood so much now and wished I didn’t. Yes, ‘to know her was to love her’. Eventually, if you were lucky, you saw through her façade. Sapphire Reynolds was a narcissistic child in a woman’s body – a body she used to manipulate and control people. She was also a disgusting tramp, an undiagnosed sociopath, a two-timing bitch, a cheater, a social climber, a thief, a... well, you get the idea.
I suspected her of cheating and a friend confirmed my suspicions. When I confronted her, she just laughed and said, ‘A girl’s got to look out for Numero Uno, Bree. I’ve met someone who’s successful and well-positioned to help me get ahead.’
I threw her ass out of our apartment and went on a weekend binge. Yes, to know her was to love her – and eventually, hate her. I’d heard she’d upgraded to someone on the University staff but...
“You mentioned shopping and…"
“Yeah, a mani-pedi, a wax and then we’ll hit the grocery store on the way back. I’ll just change clothes and we’ll get started.”
Everything fell into place. All the questions I had about Cassiopeia’s ‘motivation’ were answered. I was training her so that she could win Sapphire back and live happily ever after with the woman I still loved.
We went to a day spa I used that welcomed walk-ins. I told the manager exactly what I wanted done with my client and she gave Cassiopeia some tea and took her back to the salon area. I sat down in the lounge and started making calls to people I knew to arrange interviews.
I laughed, almost spilling my coffee, when I heard a shriek and then another that sounded a lot like Cassiopeia and I imagined just what had prompted those lovely sounds. I smirked and turned back to my tasks, envisioning that forest of hair dangling from the waxing strips.
I was still working the phone when Cassiopeia was escorted into the lounge area. The manager, Larissa, gave her a business card and mentioned that her personal cell number was written on the back and to call her for drinks or ‘whatever’.
I didn’t look up from my lists but said, coldly, “I don’t think Emily would appreciate you soliciting business on her time, Larissa. Besides, Dr. Franklin is doing research for a paper and doesn’t have time to ‘Pay-for-Play.”
Larissa glared at me but turned and walked away without another word. I had a reputation for protecting what was mine and so far as Larissa was concerned, Cassiopeia was mine – at least until we finished my program.
“I wasn’t going to call her, Bree. You didn’t have to be rude.”
I didn’t say anything, just kept going over my contact list in my phone and making notes.
Cassiopeia was sitting in the lounge chair and I checked out the manicure – perfect. Her nails were nicely shaped and lacquered a deep blood red. I noticed how she was squirming in tight jeans and smiled knowingly at her.
I pulled out a small spray can from my purse and handed it to her. “Doc, go into the ladies room, take off your panties and put them in your purse and then spray this liberally everywhere you were waxed. It’s a topical anesthesia for sunburn. I’ll be in the truck.”
She snatched the can and smiled gratefully and was gone in search of the restroom and relief from the burning pain of a first wax job.
I decided I needed to maintain a ‘professional distance’ from my ‘client’ so I called her ‘Doc’ instead of by name. Objectifying her would enable me to maintain some level of professional detachment.
I mentally ticked off another item on my ‘Makeover List’ and smiled when I imagined the Doc dealing with the cantaloupe.
Our next stop was with a stylist and I imagined Raoul’s comments when he saw the Doc’s mop of dishwater blonde hair. Probably something akin to, "Oh my lord, did they use a weed-whacker on your hair? No matter, Raoul is here and we will have you looking so good in no time.”
He would probably make some smart-assed comment about my braid ‘giving split ends split ends’ but I wasn’t the client and he could fuck off for all I cared. I wasn’t his task, she was.
I was sitting out front, paging through a People magazine and reading all about the beautiful people when Raoul pranced up, positively glowing with satisfaction.
“Bree, I want you to know I put my soul into that woman’s hair. Voila!”
Doc walked up, still a little sensitive in the groin area, and asked shyly, “What do you think, Bree? It’s so different!”
I looked at Raoul’s smug face and at Doc’s fearful one and said the first thing that popped into my mind after somehow bypassing any filters.
“You look fucking incredible!”
And she did. The stringy, dishwater-blonde hair was now a subtle shade of blonde and instead of hanging limp and lank, now framed her face in waves and small curls.
Getting back on track and to business, I started for the door and grocery shopping.
“Pay the man, Doc, and let’s get moving. Tempus fugit, y’know?”
Somewhere deep inside me where I keep ‘little Bree’, I wasn’t so smug anymore.