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Nov. 4th, 2016 11:53 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
[personal profile] smackenzie
Sadie took her advice and ordered the ham, even though it felt wrong to her to let another girl buy her dinner, and not even an inexpensive dinner at that. She wasn't even sure she'd let a man buy her dinner if they were on a date.

The shrimp cocktail, when it arrived, was a dozen pink and white boiled shrimp, peeled and de-tailed, surrounding a small cup of red sauce that tasted like tomato ketchup and horseradish. Gigi swept a shrimp through the sauce, bit it in half, chewed, swallowed, and sighed.

"I love shrimp," she said. "Boiled is the best way to eat them. They taste much fresher than if you fry them." She speared one with her fork, dipped it in the sauce, and held it out to Sadie. "I'm not going to eat them all myself. I can, but that would be rude."

Sadie took Gigi's fork and pushed the shrimp off it onto her plate. Gigi ate another one and watched as Sadie picked hers up and bit into it. It was chewy but not unpleasantly so, and mostly what she tasted was cocktail sauce. But under the ketchup and horseradish and tang she could make out something chilled and fresh and very vaguely sweet.

The second bite didn't have any sauce, so she got the full flavor of shrimp. She liked it. She wasn't sure how she felt about the consistency, but the taste was pleasant.

They shared the shrimp and, just as Gigi promised, got to know each other a little better. Sadie learned that Gigi's real name was Geraldine, that she was originally from Great Neck, on Long Island, that her father was an architect and her mother had once courted scandal for being an artist's model as a young woman, and that she herself was an actress. Sadie already knew that last part, but now she learned that Gigi had taken singing and dancing lessons as a little girl, and one of her friends was rewriting Hamlet as an avant-garde all-female opera, and when it was finished he wanted Gigi to star in it.

"I can't imagine Hamlet as a woman," Sadie commented. By now their dinners had arrived and she was enjoying her ham. It came with raisin gravy, which she thought would be good on stuffed cabbage as well. If Gigi's roommate did indeed move out and Sadie did indeed move in - if she could afford it - once she had a kitchen she would have to try and replicate the raisin gravy so she could make it with stuffed cabbage.

"I can't either," Gigi admitted, "but I'd love to play her. I'd wear all black, I'd be very tragic. Much more interesting than Ophelia, I think. Ophelia sees the truth, goes mad, and drowns."

"Hamlet goes mad too, and he dies."

"True." Gigi forked up some omelette and chewed thoughtfully. "But it's his story. I'd rather play the hero than the suicidal girl who loves him. Where's the fun in dying halfway through the play?"

Sadie had never been much of a fan of Shakespeare, but she liked movies more than plays anyway. But if this odd production of Hamlet ever saw the light of day, she'd have to go see it, out of curiosity if for no other reason. She wondered if she'd be able to get Ida and Rose to come with her.

"I've done all the talking," Gigi said. "Your turn."

So Sadie told her about her parents and her little brother and sister, about Henry, about growing up in a small upstate town, about Albany and the secretarial school, about Rose and Ida, about the tailor she worked for during the summers when she was in high school, about the fact that she never had a bedroom to herself until she came to New York and moved into the residential hotel.

"I miss my sewing machine," she said. "I think of everything and everyone I left back home, that's what I really miss."

"You don't miss your family?"

"I miss my little sister. We're only three years apart but we shared a room and I'm so used to having her in the other bed. I write home a lot. They write me. I've called once or twice, but my father hates talking on the telephone and Edith is never home anyway, so I haven't been able to talk to her."

"You could go visit."

"But I work all week, and it's a little far to go for just a weekend. Besides, I'm trying to save my money. I was thinking I could open my own shop for my own clothing designs, rather than try to design for someone else's line or even to produce my own. If I have a shop to sell my own clothes, I don't have to rely on anyone else's taste for my career."

"You have to rely on shoppers' tastes," Gigi pointed out.

"But I won't need to go through a buyer for Macy's."

"I'll introduce you to my friend Julia. She can help you. And Victor! You have to talk to him about fabrics. He wanted to see you again, did I tell you that? He really liked you. He thought you were so lovely and such a good dancer."

Sadie could feel herself blush. "I'm surprised I could dance at all, I'd had so much to drink." Gigi waved that off with an airy gesture of the hand holding her fork. Omelette fell off the fork onto her plate. "I liked him too. He was very chatty but very nice."

"Tomorrow we'll meet you for lunch. I have a read-through in the morning and then we'll come get you and go to the Automat and you and he can talk about clothes and I'll sit on the other side of the table and start memorizing my lines until you're finished." She beamed.

Sadie had never had another girl try so hard to be her friend, and be so charming about it. She was learning that Gigi was hard to say no to, because Gigi seemed so insistent that what she wanted was what you wanted, and that it had already come to pass anyway. The New Yorkers that Sadie had met so far were a generally pushy, aggressive lot of people, but they weren't cruel and they weren't even always rude, they just knew what they wanted and they wanted it now. And that was Gigi, but married to overwhelming affection and what felt to Sadie like a genuine desire to have you in her life.

Gigi represented the kind of person that Sadie was beginning to realize that she wanted to be - stylish and friendly and generous and creative and independent and modern. And she was fun to be around and she didn't seem too concerned with what people thought of her. As evidence, she now pulled a cigarette case out of her little beaded purse and offered it to Sadie. Sadie shook her head.

"You don't smoke?" Gigi said, surprised. "I thought everyone in New York smoked."

"I don't."

"Hm. I could teach you." She took a cigarette out of the case and lit it off the candle in the middle of the table.

"No, but thank you. I should probably refrain from at least one vice."

"What vices have you committed?" Gigi asked, sounding delighted at the idea that Sadie had any vices at all. "Oh, I know you drink and dance with strange men - and a strange girl - " she grinned " - but other than that? You stayed out past your curfew."

"I did. I had to sneak back to my room, or at least I tried to. One of the matrons caught us."

"This is why you need to move in with me. I don't care when you come home, or even if you come home." Gigi blew a smoke ring across the table. Sadie waved it out of her face, breaking it up in the process. The entire place was smoky now, dim with candlelight and noisy from all the people. She could just hear music from upstairs. "There are two dance floors upstairs," Gigi said, catching her look. "Do you want to go dancing after dinner?"

"I shouldn't."

"But do you want to?"

"I do, but I can't."

"Of course you can. It's barely eight. When is your curfew?"

"Ten during the week and midnight on the weekends."

"Ten," Gigi snorted. "That's absurd."

"I know, but I don't want to be kicked out, and I don't want them to call my parents." She remembered something. "You were going to show me your apartment."

"I was! You're right! You should see it first. I'll pay and then we'll go." She waved over a waitress, who then vanished to presumably write up the check. Gigi stubbed her cigarette out on her empty plate.

They discovered that Gigi's roommate was not only home but was entertaining friends, including the boy she was interested in, so Gigi put Sadie in a cab and said she'd meet her at her office tomorrow at noon, and they'd have lunch.

"You don't know where I work," Sadie pointed out.

"Where do you work?"

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.

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