110 Days Until Dreams And the Uncertain End (part 3)
Heia let Kim twist her hair into a new braid pattern, happy that it wasn’t a pain to work with. Her hair was finally starting to heal from all the damage. She had almost had to cut off her hair because of what she had gone through since meeting Evester. Singed hair, broken ends, tangles, so much debris and the hair loss. Her hair had gone through so much trauma. Trace had done an excellent job working with Heia’s hair and Heia had only let Trace touch her hair for the longest time.
Heia was not surprised to find out that Kim had learned the basics from Rayda. She had taken time to accept the idea of wanting Kim to touch her hair and to ask. When she had, Kim had known how important it was to Heia. This was greater intimacy to Heia than sex was. This was true trust she was giving to Kim, and Heia’s heart was racing in her chest.
“You okay?” Kim asked her.
“You aren’t hurting?”
“I’m good.” Heia watched herself in her reflection as Kim continued to braid her hair. They were silent. There was no need for words as Kim continued to handle Heia’s hair with such care. Heia had never let anyone but her sisters and mother touch her hair. Layla, Trace, and her mother. Layla was always calloused, especially after the Catastrophe. She did the most basic, the best to move with, and easiest to protect hairstyles. Things that were good for survival. Trace had liked to be more elaborate but she had always been practical as well. Heia had long dreamed of putting her hair up in intricate designs on her head as she once had before the catastrophe.
Before that Heia’s hair had been her personality. Her family didn’t have the money for fancy clothes, or expensive things and so her hair had been her expression, an expression aided with her mother. She remembered when she and Layla first learned to do hair. She remembered Trace, and Kori looking like a mess until their mother fixed it. She remembered learning beautiful styles that were unique and beautiful. There had been stories associated with the styles her mother had passed down. There had been meanings said to bless her and her being. Her hair had always been special to her. She remembered the days in their Catastrophe home doing the hair of all the other girls, teaching Kori, Karla, and Trace intricate twists, and being yelled at Layla about practicality.
Kim wasn’t amazing, but she cared, and she listened. She had heard Heia when Heia told her how to do it better, to do it in the way that Heia liked. She had soft hands, light and delicate, and the way that she handled Heia’s hair was with such care that Heia was caught off guard. Even now the box braids were not elaborate, but they were made with such tender love that Heia felt safe.
“Good?” Kim asked her.
Heia looked to the reflection. It could use some work to be more Heia, but it would not become a detriment to the fight. The only way to practice was by doing an Heia was certain that Kim would become even better in time. “Looks good enough. Thanks.”
“What’s wrong? What can I fix?”
“Too much time.” Heia wove her off. “We can try again in a few weeks.”
“I don’t want you having a hair style you hate because it takes too much time to fix it. I’ll do it.” Kim glared at her.
Heia sighed and pointed out what could be better and what was just not good. Kim nodded and started to pull apart Heia’s hair when Kori walked in.
“Oh.” Kori stopped. “I thought you’d be done.”
“What’s up?” Heia asked ignoring Kim as Kim reworked the minor issues, feeling more powerful with each second. She was finding a part of herself she had lost in the Catastrophe and in that she was gaining power. Heia was gaining a confidence in herself by remembering who she used to be.
“I wanted you to do my hair.” Kori answered.
“I can do yours.” Heia answered her.
“Sure you can.” Kori sighed. “Just not now. Later. I’m going to go work with the soldiers for now.”
“Any update?” Kim asked working slowly.
“On? X stuff? No. However cities are requesting a conference of Under Cities, stuff like that. They still don’t trust the Circles.” Kori said with a look that said she expected it.
“No surprise.” Kim sighed to herself.
“Come back later. I’ll do your hair then.” Heia wove her off and looked back to Kim who focused on her hair again. They needed real small talk now that Kim was too focused on being fixed, a reason for Heia to speak outside of correction. “Have you contacted your family?”
“My family?” Kim’s hands froze. “Yeah. They are safe.”
“In Ovaria?” Heia knew little about Kim’s family.
“Makan.” She began to work again. “Valaria is being fixed so hopefully people can go back.”
“And the bombs on the other Towers?”
“We have to hope the Superiors wouldn’t risk it again, but Zeydar is going to have to dismantle them.”
Or control the Superiors. Heia had a feeling Zeydar would go for the latter. “Have you heard anything else?”
“You want to know about my family?” Kim leaned forward and whispered to Heia.
“You know about mine.”
Kim laughed, kissed Heia’s cheek, and began to speak about her younger sister. She had a little sister and her mother was a single mother. Her father had run off with an actress with Kim was young. She talked about how her sister had gone to the best schools thanks to the money that Kim had gotten from EverDanger, and that Kim used to see them all the time when they visited Ovaria for holidays. She told Heia that while she loved her family, Evester’s family had always been more of a family to her, in a way.
Heia smiled as she listened, wanting to know everything and happy that Kim too was opening up to trust her.