"This," thought Taylor Stuart as she dropped exhausted into the empty salon chair and ran a hand through her long waist length hair, "has got to have been the worst day of my life."
Sitting back with her eyes closed, the twenty four-year-old brunette reviewed the events that caused her to make such a declaration. Her first disaster of the day had actually started the night before with the sudden arrival of her sometimes lover, George Williams, at her apartment.
The relationship between the two was based largely on sex and little else. George had a cock that looked like it should be in a porn film and was, at least in Taylor's opinion, one hell of a fuck. At first she had been a little annoyed at his showing up so unexpectedly at her door.
Then George had started to turn on the charm. Coupled with the lucky absence of her roommate Donna, who had a family emergency and had to spend the night at her parents, one thing had led to another. Before long they were rocking the sheets like a couple of rabbits.
After a night of boisterous lovemaking, they started an encore presentation early this morning. Taylor had her face buried in a pillow as George plowed his cock into her. He was just about to come when he called out her name. Unfortunately, he only thought it was her name.
"God, Donna," he'd yelled, "you are so fucking tight!"
Needless to say, Taylor lost all sexual interest when she heard her roommate's name. In the hour they had argued after that, she'd learned that George had actually come over to get it on with Donna, and had settled for Taylor when he found she wasn't there. Worse yet, the fight had made her late for her job at the Salon.
Her second conflict of the day was with Anna Mugavero, the fifty-two year old owner of the Beauty Salon. This was the third time Taylor had been late this month and Anna spent fifteen long minutes pointing out that if it happened a fourth time, she might as well stay in bed for good.
Taylor suffered in silence as Anna dressed her down in front of everyone else in the shop. She knew that it wasn't just her being late that had set the older woman off. Karen and Sonny, two of the other girls had worse records than she did and didn't have to put up with half this crap. No, Anna had it in for her for a far different reason.
The previous December, the Merchants Association had sponsored a grand Christmas and New Years Party at Roselli's Catering Hall. Every business in the area had contributed to the party and it had been full of good food, good music, and really great booze. Sometime about eleven, when the party was really rocking, Taylor had gone looking for the ladies room.
After two wrong turns, Taylor thought she'd found the right door. Unfortunately, it had been Roselli's private office instead. Even more unfortunate was the fact that it wasn't empty. There, kneeling on the carpeted floor, was a very drunk and semi-naked Anna Mugavero. She was in the process of blowing the 69-year-old Tony Roselli.
Giddy as she was, Taylor had taken one look at Roselli's cock sliding in and out of Anna's mouth and burst out laughing. In her intoxicated state she couldn't stop giggling, no matter how hard she tried.
The next morning, despite a first class hangover, she had gone over to Anna's apartment to apologize. Considering the things she had done drunk, Anna blowing the old man was kid stuff. Besides, it was only the surprise of having walked in on them that had set her off. For an older man, Mr. Roselli was in pretty good shape. And as for Anna, well she did run a beauty salon and knew how to always bring out her best. She'd seen couples doing it before, and it wasn't if she'd run off and told Mrs. Roselli that Anna was sucking off her husband.
But Anna wanted no part of any apology, no matter how contrite it might have been. Since that night, neither of them had ever mentioned the incident again. Yet Anna never let an opportunity pass to embarrass her as she felt she had been embarrassed.
Problems three and four came in the persons of Mrs. Elizabeth Katts and Miss Evelyn Donacello, two of the Salon's oldest and most demanding clients. Anna Mugavero took a perverse delight in always assigning them to Taylor. Even individually, either woman was enough to try even a Saint's patience. Today, both of them had more than earned their reputations.
It was only after lunch that Taylor thought her day might be changing for the better. She smiled when she saw the name Kathleen Foster in the appointment book. Kathleen was her favorite client, the antitheses of the two women she had to deal with in the morning. Many times Anna had tried to assign Kathleen to one of the other girls, but the twenty-six year old businesswoman would hear nothing of it. It was that way with a lot of Taylor's clients and the reason Anna kept Taylor on despite their mutual antagonism.
Taylor loved working on Kathleen for two reasons. Kathleen was exactly the type of woman Taylor wished she could be more like. Confident, dynamic, successful, all the things she didn't see in herself. Despite all of that and the difference in their backgrounds, Kathleen never looked down at Taylor as some of the other clients did.
If you put the two women side by side, they shared a certain physical similarity as well. Both were brunettes of similar shades and stood five seven. Even their measurements came close, with Taylor having a slightly larger bust.
Taylor and Kathleen chatted while she worked on her hair. Kathleen told Taylor that she was going to a big Halloween Ball tomorrow night and wanted to look her best. Taylor remarked that she was going to a costume party herself, but she was sure the people at the two parties would be quite different.
Kathleen replied with a knowing smile. The sort of grin that said Taylor couldn't image how true her remark really was.
"I'd invite you to my party but I'm not sure you would..." Kathleen started to say, then suddenly gasped for air.
It was that moment that all hell broke loose. Kathleen suddenly turned pale and started to shake uncontrollably. It was immediately obvious to Taylor that her client was having a seizure. A woman in the next chair screamed in shock, an action repeated by several others, including Anna Mugavero. Panic, as always, was contagious.
Or so it seemed. Taylor, however, kept her cool. Back in high school, the beautician had entertained the idea of becoming a nurse for half a semester. She went so far as doing some volunteer work at the local hospital. Work that involved taking some basic emergency aid courses. In a flash, all of those old lessons came back to her.
"Call for an ambulance!" Taylor called out as she reacted to the crisis and made sure that Kathleen didn't choke. "Don't just stand there you stupid bitch!" she yelled at Anna when she saw her just standing there, paralyzed with fear. "Call the paramedics!"
Finally spurred by Taylor's words, Anna reached for the phone. Thankfully, Saint Mary's Hospital was only ten blocks away and help arrived in minutes. As they carried Kathleen away, Taylor could feel Anna's eyes burning into her back. She was sure she could kiss this job goodbye after her outburst.
"I'm going to overlook your impertinence this time," Anna said, ignoring the fact that it was only Taylor's quick action that had helped Kathleen. "Seeing as it was an emergency and so many people were panicking. But I still expect you to stay tonight and clean up, make up that lost time from this morning."
Taylor replied with a nod, afraid if she opened her mouth she would say something that Anna wouldn't like. When she thought about, Taylor realized that Anna wouldn't let her foil go so easily. Silently however, she resolved to find the courage to make some changes in her life. Beginning with finding a better place to work.
Later in the day, before she started to clean up, Taylor called the hospital to check on Kathleen's condition. Normally they wouldn't give out such information to a stranger on the phone. But when she explained to the Nurse that she had been the one to give first aid to the stricken woman, the Nurse felt a little more sympathetic. She told her that Kathleen was doing fine, but that they were going to keep her over the weekend for observation. That pleased Taylor. Anna hadn't even bothered to call before she went home.
Opening her eyes, Taylor happened to spot a silver and gold envelope sticking out from under one of the cabinets. Curious, she bent down and picked it up. To her surprise, the name of Kathleen Foster was on the envelope.
"This must've fell out of her purse when it was knocked off the counter." Taylor thought as she wondered what was in it. "Only one way to find out." she added. It turned out to be the invitation to the Halloween Ball Kathleen had been talking about. The Ball was being given by something called the Sean McMurphy Memorial Fund. Taylor had never heard of before. She had, however, heard of the Grand Astoria Hotel, which the invitation showed as the site of the Ball. Only last week, Taylor had read an article about the multi-million dollar restoration of the old hotel and how it was going to have a big Grand Re-Opening next month. Evidently, it seemed that this Sean McMurphy Fund was able to book the entire Hotel for their Ball before that.
"The ticket for the Ball even comes with a room," Taylor noted as she read the rest of the papers in the envelope.
It seemed Kathleen had been nominated for membership in some sort of professional society and as part of that nomination, the society was picking up the tab for the entire weekend at the Grand Astoria.
.... There is more of this story ...