Gen was both gorgeous and friendly, something Alina felt was rare. She had beautiful bronze skin that looked like the perfect amount of dewey, lots of tattoos, and long wavy blonde hair. She was short so when she put her arms around Noah's neck in a friendly hug, Noah had to bend down and even then, she was on her tippy toes.
"Gen thank you so much for squeezing us in, this is my friend Alina," Noah gestured to Alina after their embrace ended.
"No problem baby! Hi Alina, it's nice to meet you," Gen said with a warm smile.
"Nice to meet you too, thank you so much for doing this. I didn't realize how bad my hair looked until this guy kept pointing it out," Alina jerked her thumb in Noah's direction playfully. Gen gave an exaggerated eye roll.
"Noah! Have you been picking on this poor girl?!" She punched him in the arm.
"Ow! Someone had to! Plus I thought she would benefit from the Gen Treatment." Gen nodded approvingly then started to take in Alina's hair. "Well, I'm going to leave you ladies to it, I'll be back in, what thirty or forty minutes Gen?"
"Sounds good babe, see you soon," she said, still looking at Alina's hair and then looking her completely up and down.
"So can you fix it?"
"Oh girl, I can fix anything. Trust me, you're in good hands."
Twenty short minutes later, Alina had received a relaxing scalp and shoulder massage as well as a shampoo and conditioner with products that smelled like toasted coconuts. She practically fell asleep as Gen massaged her head with her long, electric blue fingernails. Now she was trimming up Alina's hair and evening out the length. When Noah walked back in, Alina's chestnut brown hair was styled into a gorgeous shaggy bob that perfectly framed her face. As Gen finished blow drying it, Alina gave Noah a wide smile.
"Wow...you look...amazing," Noah said.
"She looked amazing before Noah, I just helped amplify it," Gen said matter-of-factly as she turned the blow dryer off and placed it back in the holder. Gen took the smock off of Alina and spun her around so she could get up.
"I mean, no argument here," Noah said, still staring. Alina smiled at him again.
Alina noticed a small, white gift bag in Noah's hand. As if he could read her mind, he held it up with one finger for Gen to see. She squealed in delight.
"My favorite?! Thank you!" Gen snatched the bag out of his hand and pulled a fresh, salty, buttery pretzel out. Alina could suddenly smell it wafting through the salon. As Noah and Gen chatted, Alina made her way over to the register to check out with a very skinny, young man dressed in all black with short, black hair.
"How much for a cut and dry with Gen please?" Alina asked.
The man looked up and used his nail file to point in Noah and Gen's direction.
"That guy already paid for you," he said then went back to filing his nails.
Alina stopped fishing around in her purse and looked in the direction the nail file pointed. Noah had paid for her? She was stunned. Sure, he bought her a mango juice and paid for her way into the pool but this place looked nice, she estimated a cut and blow out to be $60-$70.
"Um, excuse me, but no."
The man stopped filing, looked up at her and sighed like she was more boring than the task she pulled him away from.
"Could you please cancel his payment and accept mine? I must pay," Alina added.
"Yeah...he said you'd try to do that. No, the transaction has been complete, I can't undo it."
Alina approached Noah as Gen shoved the last of her pretzel into her mouth and licked the salt off her electric blue clad fingers.
"You didn't have to pay for my hair cut!" Alina exclaimed, both touched and accusatory.
"I know I didn't but I wanted to. Like I said, I figured you could use the Gen Treatment," Noah said as he gently put an arm around Alina's shoulders and gave her a friendly squeeze before quickly dropping it. "It's awesome right?"
"It was great, Gen thank you so much," Alina gushed while gently touching her hair.
"No problem babes, now you two skidaddle, my 3pm is here," Gen said as she blew them a kiss and then began cleaning and preparing her station.
"Seriously, that was great, thank you so much," Alina said.
"I'm glad you enjoyed it, I was a little nervous she'd give you pink hair or something and you'd hate me forever."
Alina laughed and was about to ask if he'd ever gotten pink hair from Gen when her phone started to buzz in her purse. She pulled it out to see her mom's face flash on the screen.
"Hi Mom," Alina said brightly.
"Hi sweetie, the tour at American Airlines Arena is ready, do you two want to meet us there?" Alina heard her mom emphasize the name of the arena for Josie's benefit.
Alina looked up at Noah who lifted one shoulder up like he didn't care either way.
"Actually Ma, we're having a good time. Would it be okay if we skipped the tour and met up with you after?"
Alina's mom paused.
"Yeah of course, Noah has just been showing me around the mall and whatnot."
"Okay, be safe and keep your phone on, we'll be in touch in a few hours."
"Ok, have fun, love you."
"Love you too."
Alina hung up.
"Sorry if you wanted to go, I wasn't super enthused about that tour anyway," Alina said.
"Nah, I've been on it many, many times. My dad loves to take out-of-town friends there," Noah sighed, then looked at Alina. "So what would you like to do now?"
He grabbed her hand and led her away.