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Nov. 5th, 2016 11:28 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
[personal profile] smackenzie
So Sadie told her. Gigi leaned into the window of the cab and kissed Sadie on the cheek before stepping back and letting the cabbie drive away.

Sadie had been in her room just long enough to take off her hat and shoes and put on her slippers when there was a knock on the door. She opened it to reveal Rose and Ida, both in their dressing-gowns, looking annoyed. Their nightclothes were different, but their identical scowls made them look more like twins than anything else.

“Where did you go?” Ida demanded. “Why weren't you at dinner? We have news!”

“I met a friend,” Sadie said. She'd told Rose she wasn't going to be eating dinner at the residential hotel with the rest of the girls, so why were they so annoyed? Was she not allowed to have her own friends? But she couldn't really be mad at them. “What news? Come in and tell me.”

The twins sat on the bed and Sadie sat in the desk chair, and both their expressions changed instantly as they told her that Mr Rockland the law partner had asked Rose to dinner.

“No!” Sadie exclaimed. “He did? I'm so happy for you!”

“It's just dinner,” Rose said, feigning nonchalance. “Thursday night. He'll pick me up at seven.” She beamed, then looked more serious. “What am I going to wear?”

“We'll go shopping tomorrow after work,” Ida told her. She looked at Sadie. “Right?”

“Of course,” Sadie said. “We'll find you a gorgeous dress.”

“One I can afford,” Rose added. “I can't ask for an advance on my pay for a dress.”

“I can loan you some money if you need it.” After all, someone else had just bought her dinner, and she hadn't bought anything other than meals, drinks, and taxi rides since they arrived. She hadn't bought clothes or shoes or stockings or gloves or anything. She needed to save up for a sewing machine and rent so she could move in with Gigi, but Rose was so excited about going out to dinner with her lawyer that Sadie could pinch pennies for her if necessary.

She'd have to tell the twins about Gigi, though, before she actually moved out of the residential hotel.

“You don't have anything I could borrow,” Rose was saying to her sister. Sadie realized she must have drifted off for a minute and lost part of the conversation.

“Do you want to look in my wardrobe?” she asked Rose. “I think my clothes should fit you. You're about Frances' size, you could ask her too.”

“I want something new. It's too bad you can't make me something.”

“I know.” Sadie sighed. “I miss my sewing machine.” Technically it wasn't even hers – it belonged to her mother and it belonged in the house – but she still missed it.

“Tomorrow night let's see a movie,” Ida said. “After work we'll buy Rose a dress, and then we'll see a film. We can make it a night out.”

“Frances already said I could borrow something of hers,” Rose told Sadie. “I looked in her wardrobe and didn't see anything I liked. Besides, she's too tall. Her dresses will all be too short on me.”

Sadie didn't think Frances was significantly taller than Rose was, but Rose didn't like her skirts quite as short as a lot of other girls, so “too tall” could just be “two inches”.

“Come back here after work,” Rose went on. “We'll go to Macy's.”

The next afternoon, when Gigi and Victor came to the import/export office to pick up Sadie for lunch, she asked them where would be a good place for Rose to find a nice dress.

“Victor,” Gigi said, gesturing for him to answer the question. “We all know you have opinions.”

“They are legion,” he agreed. “What does your friend like?” he asked Sadie. “Is she tall? Short? Thin? Large bosom? Big feet?”

“What does her shoe size have to do with anything?” Sadie asked, puzzled.

“Will she need shoes with her dress?”

“Oh, I don't know. We'll find out.”

“Victor doesn't know a thing about women's shoes,” Gigi said, grinning. “Just clothes. But he does have a lot of opinions. He won't steer you wrong.”

They went to the Automat and sat by the window and Victor gave Sadie advice on where to look for dresses, what would be appropriate for a city dinner with a law partner, and when Rose should ask her date to bring her home.

“She won't stay out all night,” Sadie said. “She isn't that kind of girl.”

“Oh, honey,” Gigi said, putting her hand on Sadie's, “we're all that kind of girl. You weren't either when you got here, were you, and now look at you, going dancing with strange women and their strange men friends, getting half-cut and going home at dawn.”

“I did that once.”

“So far,” Victor said, hiding a smile in his coffeecup.

Sadie ate her sandwich and said nothing more. She was arguing for its own sake, and she didn't like to do that.

“You didn't tell her last night, did you,” Victor said to Gigi.

“I didn't know,” Gigi said. “Pamela is leaving in a week,” she told Sadie. “Come see the apartment before you move in. Tomorrow night. Tonight I have a party.” She rolled her eyes. “It's your fault I have to go,” she said to Victor, before turning back to Sadie. “It's a theater – you should come with me! It's formal, but if you don't have anything that works I can find you an outfit in time. Be my date!” She grabbed both of Sadie's hands, even though one of those hands was holding a fork. “I think I can bring a date, can't I?” This question was addressed to Victor.

"I'm going shopping with my friends," Sadie said. Didn't they just have this conversation?

"Oh. Of course." Gigi looked disappointed. "Tomorrow, then. Any time after seven. I have rehearsal and then I promised Layla I would come look at her painting. She's very good." Victor rolled his eyes. "Stop that. I think she is. You're just cranky because she didn't want to paint you."

"She paints women," Victor said to Sadie. "I would have thought she told you that at Lucy's."

"How could she? You danced with Sadie half the night Poor Layla couldn't get a word in. I'll have a dinner party after you move in" - she turned to Sadie - "and you can talk about it. She'll love you. She likes beautiful women."

Victor snorted. "Pity the beautiful women don't like her."

"She's a lesbian," Gigi confided. Sadie didn't know how to respond to that. She'd never met a lesbian, couldn't even begin to imagine what one might look like. Did they all look like Layla? The night Sadie met her, Layla was wearing a sleeveless green and blue dress and gold t-strap shoes, with bangle bracelets all up and down her arms. She had a fluffy light brown bob and, like Gigi, perfect red lipstick. She was pretty, but no more so than a lot of girls Sadie knew. Layla hadn't done or said anything to lead Sadie to believe that she didn't like men.

"We're about to start talking about people you don't know," Victor said to Sadie, "and that's rude. You told Gigi all about yourself last night, so tell me now. All I learned about you at Lucy's was that you're a good dancer and you laugh at me when I'm deliberately trying to be funny. And you want to be a dressmaker. I can get you fabric at cost, when you'r ready."

"I still need to buy a sewing machine," Sadie said, "but thank you. I might take you up on your offer."

"No 'might'. Do. So tell me, Sadie the dressmaker, where are you from? How long have you been in New York? What do you do for the importers and exporters? Why are you not working for a designer, or at least a tailor?"

"I needed a job and office work is easy. The great fashion houses are in Paris and I don't have the money or the language skills to try and find work there, but I don't yet know where I should look here or who I should ask."

"You can ask me. Where do you want to work?"

Sadie picked at her piece of pie, scraping the cherry filling out from under the top crust. Being asked seriously about her plans by someone who seemed to genuinely want to help - someone who she could easily imagine becoming a friend - made her a little shy. But that was absurd. She'd had no problem talking to Gigi last night, so why should she have a problem talking to Victor now?

"I want is to own my own shop," she said, "where I can sell my own designs. I don't want to have to make everything by hand, though. I'd need to hire seamstresses for the actual production."

"What do you want to design? Daily wear, formal wear, men's clothes?"

"Your suit is beautiful, by the way. I want to do everything. I don't have much experience with men's clothes, but I'd love to make more suits. There's no reason women should have all the pretty patterns."

"I knew I liked you." He turned to Gigi. "You're very smart, Geraldine."

"I know," Gigi said, popping a last piece of roll in her mouth and smiling a particularly self-satisfied smile. "So tomorrow night you'll come by my place and in a week you'll be living in it. We'll get you a sewing machine, I'll introduce you to some patrons, you can quit your office job, and start designing your own things. Yes?"

"Yes," Victor agreed.

"I can't quit yet," Sadie said.

"Why not?"

"I need the money. I'm not independently wealthy like you are."

Victor laughed. "Is that what she told you? That either one of us is independently wealthy?"

"Well," Gigi said, "I am. In a manner of speaking."

"I work for my money."

"I work for mine too! I act and introduce people who can help each other. You'll see," she told Sadie. "In a month you'll be making clothes for people. I promise."



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