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Nov. 8th, 2016 08:53 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
[personal profile] smackenzie
On Saturday she packed her bags and took a taxi to Gigi's apartment - now her apartment - and officially moved in.

Frances came with her, more out of curiosity than for any other reason. Ida and Rose both declined, presumably to make their feelings even more clear about Sadie moving downtown away from them and into the apartment of a stranger. Frances hadn't quite made up her mind how she felt - she'd heard wild stories about the Village, but she'd also met Gigi and Victor and Layla and Carroll, when they went to the Cotton Club, and she'd had a good time. She'd mentioned the move to Emmy, who was jealous of Sadie, but the Village was where Emmy thought she wanted to be, and Sadie getting there first - and Sadie wasn't even an actress! and hadn't even been in New York that long! - was incredibly frustrating for her.

(Emmy was failing miserably to get cast in a play, and was now considering moving to LA and trying to break into the pictures instead.)

"Emmy is going to be furiously jealous," Frances commented, as the taxi pulled up in front of Gigi's building. There was no one standing on the stoop, but it was only a little past ten, and maybe it was too early for Gigi's neighbors to be awake. Sadie knew how late they liked to stay up.

She paid the cab driver, took her bags out of the car, and rang the bell for Gigi's apartment. She waited a minute, then rang it again.

"Is she home?" Frances asked.

"She should be," Sadie said. "She asked me to come in the morning."

Another ring and then the door opened to admit a barely-awake Gigi, her hair sticking up in several directions and her dressing gown hanging open.

"Sadie," she said blearily, and then "Sadie! I'm so sorry! I was asleep! Come in, come in!" She ushered the girls into the building and then into her apartment.

"I brought Frances," Sadie said, gesturing. "She wanted to see your apartment."

"Well then! I'll give you the tour. This is the foyer." She waved at the gold-painted walls and the tiny chandelier hanging from the ceiling. Frances stared. "In there is the parlor, and this is Sadie's room."

Sadie took her bags into the bedroom that was now hers and dropped them on the bed. Frances stared at the silver and black checkerboard winding around the tops of the walls, in a band three feet wide down from the ceiling.

"That's... interesting," she commented.

"You should see my room," Gigi said, leading her down the hallway to the other bedroom, and even though Sadie stayed in her room to start to unpack, she knew Frances was gawping at Gigi's dark blue ceiling, at the silver stars painted across it, and at the abstract murals around the walls that made the room look as it if was underwater and populated with barely-dressed mermaids.

Tonight, when Ida and Rose came over for the dinner party that Gigi was going to throw, Sadie would have to give them the house tour. She'd save the mermaid bedroom for last.

Sadie left her room and went down the hall to Gigi's room, arriving just in time to hear Gigi tell Frances "Marianna and Addy painted the murals", as if Frances knew who they were. Frances was indeed gawping, and from the direction of her stare Sadie determined that she was stunned by the mostly-naked mermaids.

"My mother paid me a surprise visit halfway through the work," Gigi went on, as if she could hear Frances' no doubt scandalized thoughts. "She browbeat poor Marianna into covering the mermaids she'd already done. Otherwise you'd see more flesh. And this from a woman who once courted her own scandal as an artist's model. Ah, but I do have these." She opened her closet door and on the inside of the wood were hung several photos, apparently showing several naked body parts. Frances peered at them, and Sadie walked all the way into the room to get a good look as well. Gigi stepped out of the way to give them both a better view.

Sadie could see the backs of heads, naked backs and shoulders and behinds, arms, thighs, breasts, and....

"That's obscene," Frances said, sounding almost impressed.

"That's Alistair," Gigi said. By contrast, she sounded almost proud. Sadie tried not to stare. Alistair's skin in the photo was very white, the hair around his cock only marginally darker than the blond on his head. Gigi pointed to another naked man, this one seen from the back, his gender evident by his narrow hips. "That's Victor," she told Sadie. "Carroll promised him a print of Alistair's photo for that pose."

"Is he coming tonight?" Sadie asked.

"Victor? Of course. He likes you."

"No. Alistair."

"I think so. I asked him."

Sadie wasn't sure she'd be able to look him in the eye now, not without thinking of what he looked like under his clothes.

"I was thinking about putting some of them out," Gigi said. "I'd get some nice simple frames. I could display all of them. Carroll would be so pleased."

"Why are you hiding them in the closet?" Sadie asked.

"Have you looked at them?" Frances demanded.

"They used to be pinned to the wall in the parlor," Gigi said, "until Carroll's girlfriend at the time came over, saw them, and threw a fit because none of them were her. She knew he used naked models. All artists do. Then she threw a fit because some of them were men." Gigi rolled her eyes. "I don't know why she thought Carroll was sleeping with all his models, just because he slept with her. I modeled for him and he never slept with me. Oh, once, he did. But I know he never slept with Victor. He's not Victor's type, anyway."

"What is Victor's type?" Sadie asked curiously.

"Patrician." Gigi winked, shut the door, and led the girls out of the bedroom. "Bohemian photographers don't excite him, I think because he could have one if he wanted. I love him dearly, but he needs to set his sights on someone who will want him back."

Sadie thought, quite incongruously, of Rose and Mr Rockland. It wasn't the same thing - Mr Rockland was apparently interested in Rose, although it was anyone's guess if he was as desperate for her as she was for him - but if Rose wasn't her good friend, Sadie would have said that he was out of her league.

But looked what had happened anyway. Maybe there was hope for Victor too.

"I hate to kick you out," Gigi said to Frances, "but I went to bed very late and I need more sleep. You're invited to my party tonight, though, to welcome Sadie to the neighborhood. Drinks and hors d'oeuvres at eight, dinner at nine, dancing at eleven."

"I have to be back at the residential hotel by midnight," Frances said, "but thank you."

"Ida and Rose are coming," Sadie said.

"They are?"

"They said they would."

"Hm. No, I still can't." She shook her head. "Come back uptown and see us sometime."

"Do you know how to get back?" Gigi asked.

"Yes, thank you." By now they'd reached the front door. Frances opened it, went outside, and pointed down the street, towards Sheridan Square and beyond it Sixth Avenue and the El. "Goodbye." She waved, Sadie waved, Gigi went back inside.

Sadie unpacked while Gigi slept. She put her clothes and shoes away, hung up her few hats, put her photos on the dresser. She only had three - one of her parents and siblings at her baby brother Jonathan's bar mitzvah, one of her and Ida and Rose and their friend Henny Markofsky at the lake, taken the summer after they graduated from high school, before Sadie and the twins went to secretarial school, and one of Henry in his flight jacket and leather helmet, goggles on his head, standing by the nose of his plane parked on the tarmac in France. He was smiling. It was the last picture anyone had ever taken of him.

Later that afternoon, after Gigi had woken up and bathed and gotten dressed, she made Sadie put the photos on the mantel in the parlor, next to a framed wedding photo of a couple that turned out to be Gigi's grandparents, a very prim photo of Gigi as a little girl holding a very fluffy white cat, and a very artistic photo of Gigi lounging naked on a tufted sofa.

"Carroll is going to ask you to pose for him," she told Sadie. "You can say no."

"I don't think I will."

Gigi just beamed. "I was right about you. I knew it."

"What do you mean?"

"I knew you were one of us. I knew you weren't as buttoned-up as that residential hotel would suggest. I knew you were adventurous and brave." She impulsively kissed Sadie on the lips. Sadie was too stunned to react. "Let's go get some food, and then we need to pick up a bunch of things for tonight."

They took a taxi uptown, where they had lunch at an automat and then Sadie followed Gigi around for an hour, collecting cheese from here and bread from there and little pastries from yet a third place. At a delicatessen Gigi paid the counterman and repeated instructions that she had evidently already given him - 64 Barrow Street at seven-thirty, ring the bell for #1.

They picked up flowers and took another taxi home - Sadie grinned to herself at the thought of this place being "home" now - Gigi took another nap and Sadie arranged the flowers on the dining room table.

Carroll and Victor came over early and wrestled the dining room table out the back door and down the stairs to the yard, where Gigi covered it with a yellow tablecloth with a red and blue geometric print and then set out plates and silverware and glasses. Marianna and Addy showed up just before eight bearing a pot of spaghetti and red sauce.

"Marianna made it," Addy explained. "Be careful - it stains."



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