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Nov. 14th, 2016 10:21 pm
smackenzie: (faye)
[personal profile] smackenzie
Gigi, unsurprisingly, was much more excited and much more supportive than either Rose or Ida. Sadie was sitting at the dining room table having a late-night snack and trying to figure out how much money she'd have to make and how much she'd have to save when Gigi blew in after her play, rushed into her room to change her clothes, and rushed out, stopping short in the dining room to ask Sadie what she was doing.

"Making plans," Sadie said. "I need to buy a sewing machine but I can pay it off in installments." She waved a Singer ad in Gigi's direction. Gigi dropped her tiny beaded purse on the table and took the piece of paper.

"Hm," she said. "I'll let you slide on the rent until it's paid off."

"You don't have to do that."

"Yes I do. I wanted to help you, didn't I? I can't just introduce you to Victor and his wholesale fabric prices and leave it at that. I own the place, my darling. I can do what I want with it, and if that means letting you live here rent-free, so be it. You'll make me a beautiful beaded party dress to pay me back." She grinned brightly and dropped the sewing machine ad on the table. "Change your clothes and come out with me. Put on something pretty. I'll buy you a drink and we'll dance with cute boys."

"Tomorrow's my last day as a secretary," Sadie said, looking up. Gigi looked so hopeful that it was hard to say no, but it was late and Sadie had to go to bed eventually. "I don't want to show up with an hour's sleep. Tomorrow night, after your play, I'll go out with you. I don't have to be anywhere on Saturday. I'll have the whole day to sleep it off." Now it was her turn to grin. Gigi scooted around the table, kissed Sadie on the forehead, and zipped out.

She accidentally woke Sadie up when she came in, but Sadie cracked her bedroom door open to find out what the noise was and discovered not just Gigi but Roman and Frederika and three other people she didn't know. They tiptoed through the house with exaggerated care and (she assumed) went out into the back yard. She went back to sleep.

By Friday night Gigi had told everyone they knew, and apparently a lot of people Sadie didn't, that Sadie had quit her office job to make clothes in Brooklyn. Sadie was surprised as anything when Victor showed up at the apartment around seven, bearing five yards of dark green chiffon, four of lighter green silk, a spool of gold thread, and a bag of tiny yellow satin rosettes.

"What's this for?" she asked.

"Your first dress as a city dressmaker," he said. "Enough for an overdress, an underdress, and some decorative embroidery. Gigi bought you a handbag but don't tell her I told you. It's supposed to be a surprise."

Sadie fingered the bolt of silk. It was soft and filmy and would look beautiful under the darker green chiffon. She'd sew the rosettes to the shoulders, or maybe around the hem of the skirt. Or she could make a headband with whatever fabric was left. She was sure she could find some feathers to match.

She suddenly threw her arms around Victor's neck and kissed him on both cheeks, crushing the fabric between them. When she finally let him go he was laughing.

"Thank me by designing something gorgeous and making a name for yourself. I can say I knew you when were a mere tailor's assistant in Flatbush." He wrinkled his nose. "Brooklyn, though? You may as well have slogged through the Lower East Side and found a little old Russian to work for."

"I did find a little old Russian." She took the fabric and thread and rosettes out of Victor's arms and put them in her bedroom. "I did the right thing, didn't I?"

"Of course you did. Now get dressed so I can take you out for dinner."

So Sadie shooed him out of her room, changed out of her office skirt set and into a party dress, and let him take her to dinner.

They appeared at the theater just as the audience was emptying out, and waited by the backstage door for Gigi and the rest of the cast to leave. Gigi wanted to go home and change, so Victor and Sadie trailed after her as she did so, and then they collected Addy, who was spending all of her time at her and Marianna's studio, and Alistair and a friend of his who was apparently staying in his tiny apartment while visiting. They went to a speakeasy and then a jazz club, picking up people as they went - Roman and a different lady friend, Lyman Peralta who was in the one play Sadie had understood, Layla, even Julia Godwin Chase, who owned the theater and who was trying to organize the actors and directors and playwrights and backstage people who had worked on or in productions at her theater.

"I want to form a collective," she explained to Sadie, the two of them crammed into a booth at a random jazz club that Roman's lady friend took them to. "Everyone collaborates. I can have playwrights writing for the actors, and actors giving the directors notes, and the directors talking to the playwrights. Everyone can lend a hand with the design of the sets and costumes. I want to develop a group of artists all working together, playing to each other's strengths and making up for each other's weaknesses. As it is now, I produce a play, hire a director, he casts it, everyone has an assigned role. What if an actor wants to write? Or a playwright wants to direct? Or a director wants to design the production? They do it anyway, half the time, but now I can formalize it so they're not always fighting with the designers. I want to make a space for people to create amazing things with each other. Am I making sense?"

Sadie nodded. It sounded a little Communist, from what she knew of Communism - from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. But it was the kind of thing she wanted to do with Addy, although in her case Addy would create designs for the fabric and Sadie would sew it into clothes. When she learned how to bead, and she would learn how to bead, she could execute someone else's designs, put both their names on the label, and get her artist friends some exposure in a different market.

"My brother tells me I'm being silly," Julia went on. "No one wants to work for the greater good." She drained her glass. "I think he's wrong." She put her hand over Sadie's. "Gigi tells me you make clothes. Have you considered costuming?"

"No," Sadie said. "I'm just getting started."

It was an idea, though. An hour later she found herself somehow dragged into a conversation with with Gigi and Roman and Layla, about Roman's idea for an all-female Hamlet.

"Not an opera," he was saying. "A straightforward production, with an all-female cast. Horatia. Polonia. Rose and Gilda."

"Ophelia should be a man," Layla said. "Let a man go crazy and kill himself out of grief for once."

"No, no." Roman waved his arm emphatically. Layla ducked to avoid getting smacked in the face. "Don't you see? Hamlet can be made universal - it's not just men who struggle with a father's death and a mother's remarriage, and a lover who's lost her mind - or his mind - it's not just men who question existence and their place in the world. Women do it too. Don't they?" He looked around at the girls, directing his question to each one of them. Sadie nodded. "Sadie understands. Will you be in it?"

"Me?" she asked. "Oh, no. I can't act. I get stage fright."

"You can be one of the witches. I'll write a chorus."

"You said a straightforward retelling," Layla reminded him.

"I know what it is!" Gigi said. "You'll tell the story as if Hamlet is mourning the death of her mother, and looking suspiciously at her other mother, now married to her aunt, her girlfriend is losing her mind - you'll point out how universal the story is by making it transgressive." She grabbed Roman's hands with both of hers, making him spill his drink. "That's brilliant!"

Layla looked unconvinced. Sadie had read Hamlet in high school but couldn't imagine every role played by a woman.

"I'll have to rewrite some of it, I think," Roman said. "I'll direct. I already talked to Julia. You can make the costumes!" he said to Sadie. He really was invested in getting her involved in the theater group, wasn't he.

Sadie mentioned it to Victor later, during a pause in the dancing, and he commented that in Shakespeare's day, all the parts were played by men, so why not put on a production in which all the parts were played by women?

"People keep asking me to make the costumes," Sadie said. "No one's even seen most of my clothes. Why are they being so pushy?"

"They like you. They want you to be part of their world."

"I am part of their world."

Victor kissed her on the cheek. "You say that now. Do you remember the cast party?"

Sadie did.

"They want to bring you into this world. You want to be here, don't you?" She nodded. "Then let them."

Now it was Sadie's turn to kiss him on the cheek. "You're a good friend," she said. "What would I do without you?"

"Pay retail." And they both laughed.

Four o'clock found a group of them running through Washington Square Park, theoretically as a shortcut to someone's apartment. Sadie had no idea where they were going and didn't care. They were passing the fountain, which was still spouting, when Gigi grabbed her hand and pulled her up onto the rim, kicked off her shoes, and then jumped in the water.

"What are you doing!" cried Roman's lady friend, whose name Sadie had eventually learned was Beatrice.

"Splashing!" was Gigi's answer. She pulled on Sadie's hand. "Take your shoes off and join me! It will feel good on your feet."

And since Sadie had been standing, walking, and mostly dancing for the past several hours, she shook off her shoes and jumped in as well. The water was cold and felt amazing on her feet and ankles. Gigi kicked water at her, laughing, and Sadie kicked back.

Two minutes later Roman had taken off his shoes and socks to join them, while Gigi tried valiantly to get Victor in the water as well. Alistair toed off his shoes, rolled up the hems of his pants, and climbed in.

"Come on, Victor," Sadie called, holding out her arms and beckoning. "The water's cold!"

Layla, who had been trailing behind, caught up to them, stared, and started laughing. Victor made an annoyed face at her. He seemed oddly sober to Sadie, and she was just wondering if everyone else was more sober than she thought when Alistair took her hands and swung her around.

Clearly he wasn't.

They crashed into Roman, lost their balance, and brought him down with them into the water.

Sadie's shock gave way almost immediately to delight, and she was laughing and spluttering as Alistair pulled her upright. She stumbled into him and grabbed at his arms to steady herself. When, still laughing but a little embarrassed, she looked up at him to apologize, he kissed her.

She was too stunned, the angle was too awkward - he had a good seven or eight inches on her - and they were both too drunk for it to be a good kiss, but when they separated, Sadie still laughing a little, this time in surprise, it hung between them. She found herself remembering the photo hanging inside Gigi's closet again.

And then Victor splashed into the fountain, accidentally elbowing Sadie out of the way, and the spell broke.

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total words: 24,933


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