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Me, My Hair, and I



Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7


“So, I’ve been looking through the photos from the shoot.” Aunt Tanya swept into the room. A smile covered her face as she passed her iPhone to me. “We must look into something more distinct. This is your senior year of high school. You need that senior swag.”

Keylisa followed Aunt Tanya into the room and plopped down on the oversized pillows across from my bed. Big puffs, elbows, and knees were all I saw. “She’s right, JeShaun. You’re almost a woman.”

“Don’t get carried away, Keylisa.” Aunt Tanya picked the iPhone up and chose an image three years old. “She just turned seventeen.”

My insides cringed as I bit back the urge to scream. Screaming and tantrums were for children. “I’m sure the pictures you have work fine for your product pics. We’ve had like a gazillion photoshoots.”

Aunt Tanya dropped down on my bed across from me. Her slender fingers traced the pattern on my duvet cover. I’d picked the pink, salmon, and stripes to match my walls when Uncle Corey took me shopping a few weeks before school started. Accessories on the end of her locs clinked together as she turned her head around to face me. “We haven’t built a business by settling. Our pictures have to be styles that were done using my products.”

“You’ve been using your products in our hair for the last three years.” I hand her back her phone, unable to force myself to smile to soften the no. “I don’t want to be in your little photo spread or Instagram Lookbook. This is not something that is gonna benefit me in the long run. I’m not going into cosmetology.”

Keylisa stopped bouncing her knees up and down and turned to stare at me. “JeShaun, don’t be like that. You never wanna do anything fun anymore.”

“Fun for who?” I walked over to the mirror in my closet. My edges were laying down today, after twenty minutes. I’d never tell Aunt Tanya her cream is the only one that works in under five minutes. I’d planned to ask for some more before she barged in to rope me into another free photoshoot.

Aunt Tanya sighed. “I’ll be happy to compensate you for your time and the use of your likeness.”

“I see you and Uncle Corey have been talking, about what I told him in confidence, again.” I made a mental note to pretend to be upset. I knew the only way Aunt Tanya ever listened to my feelings was when I told them to Uncle Corey.

Keylisa stood up. She tiptoed over to my side and wrapped her arms around my waist. As long as I didn’t look into her eyes, I’d be able to keep my word to myself. No more hair modeling. When people search for me online, I want them to take me serious. “Please, Jeje.”

Don’t look down. Don’t look down. “I don’t want to do this after I graduate high school. You have to get used to doing the shoots alone at some point, Keylisa.”

“But you’re here now. You told me not to borrow worries for tomorrow. Why can you do it, but I can’t? That makes you a hypnotist.” Keylisa squeezed me.

I looked down into those big beautiful brown eyes that made me miss our mother. She pulled on every edge of my heart. I ached. “Hypocrite. Not hypnotist.”

“You’re the one doing it, not me.” Keylisa let out a long breath and rested her head on me. I felt the sadness under her skin. The same way she felt when we first moved in with Aunt Tanya and Uncle Corey.

“I’ll think about it.” My arms returned her hug. I kissed the top of her head on her perfect part. The sweet scent of Aunt Tanya’s moisturizer mocking me.

Aunt Tanya clapped her hands as she tapped her feet on the carpet. “You can even pick the outfits you wear. I just want to style your hair.”

“Oh, me too. Me too!” Keylisa gave me a happy squeeze before she released me. I didn’t care what she wore as long as it came with her three dimpled smiles. “I have to keep my colors the same for my brand.”

Aunt Tanya nodded.

My side hurt from laughing by the time I caught my breath to respond. “Let’s get this done sooner than later, so I can schedule an appointment with Peaches to get my hair straightened.”

“Unh-unh” Keylisa shook her head as she sat back down on the pillows.

Aunt Tanya froze. “Excuse me. You know no one else can silken your hair the way I do.”

“True, but you don’t do relaxers,” I pretended to mess with my hair in the mirror to avoid looking at her.

“Keylisa, go to your room.” Aunt Tanya rose from my bed. She crossed her arms.

Keylisa looked at me and shook her head. “Man.”

“Don’t talk back to Aunt Tanya.” I cleared my throat.

Aunt Tanya chuckled. “Not working, Missy. Give me a moment to calm down cause I know you didn’t just say what I think you said.”

“I’m not sure I want an actual relaxer, maybe a texturizer or keratin straightening treatment. Just need to do something different. Like you said, I’m a senior.” My breath caught in my chest as I eased onto the pile of pillows Keylisa left warm.

Keylisa popped her head back into the doorway. “Can I record a video at your channel station?”

“Go play video games or do anything that doesn’t involve going in the salon or coming back in here. You can’t distract me with your cuteness.” Aunt Tanya never took her eyes off me. “I’m not a little girl.”

My eyes met with Keylisa’s as I heard her swallow to buy some time. Her second oldest stall tactic. “Go ahead. I’m sure Auntie isn’t in the mood for drama from both of us. I’ll come play with you when we’re done.”


I nodded with a reassuring smile. “Air pinky

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