“Hold still!” Leaf demanded.
“I am being still.” Faye said.
“My eyes say otherwise.”
“How long will it take to take my measurements?”
Leaf tightened the measuring tape around Faye’s waist. “Ten minutes if you keep moving.”
Faye just huffed. The two were standing in Leaf’s bedroom, half of which was also a seamstress’ workshop, complete with an ancient but functional sewing machine, mannequins donning half-finished garments, and one very large floor-to-ceiling mirror. Leaf’s room was probably the biggest in the manor, but only because it wasn’t actually a bedroom; it was really once a seamstress’ workshop. The manual Singer sewing machine was bolted to the floor, and while the one that stood there now is new, the floor to ceiling mirror was present when the girls moved in. No one knew for sure, but Leaf liked to imagine the house once owned to a rich banker or something and his dressmaker wife. Leaf imagined herself as both the rich banker and the dressmaker.
“What are you making, anyway?” Faye asked.
“Gee, miss librarian,” Leaf joked, rolling her eyes, “is your head full of nothing but books? I told you I was making that dress I showed you.” The dress Leaf showed Faye earlier in the day was a dark green backless bodycon dress with deep slits on the side.
“I told you I’d never wear that.”
“You haven’t even tried it on yet!” Leaf whined, “You might fall in love with it when you see it.”
“You haven’t even made it yet.”
“Uh yeah, that stuff takes time.”
Faye rolled her eyes and pinched the bridge of her nose. “I really wouldn’t want you to waste your time; I’m sure you have many other pieces you want to make for me that I’d never wear.”
“You wear some of them,” Leaf said, measuring Faye’s hips. She’d made Faye a gorgeous pair of faux-emerald earrings last year, which she was wearing now.
“O likes my clothes,” Leaf insisted. In fact, most of the things Oxalia wore were made by Leaf.
“Oxalia likes everything and everyone.”
“Well geez, just go on and diss our friend.”
“That’s not a diss, it’s the truth.” O did like everything and everyone, but it was because she was a kind person, not because she was naïve like Faye implied.
“Well, you don’t have a very good sense of style anyways; you’d look super cute in this!”
“My style is things that are practical, not things I wear once for a picture and never see again.”
“If I’m wearing something for a picture, then I’m probably gonna sell it. If you’d spend some quality time up here with me, you’d know that.”
Faye said nothing, just crossed her arms and waited for Leaf to be done. That’s how most of their conversations went—the two going back and forth for a while until Faye got tired of speaking and left Leaf in silence.
“I know you’re not doing anything today,” Leaf said, trying to change the subject.
“I have to go to the post office and ship a few things.”
“Oh! Let me go with you, I need to ship some stuff too.”
“I thought you were supposed to go yesterday.”
Leaf winced. “I forgot.” She was supposed to ship off some orders yesterday but had a very late nap and slept until after the post office was closed. She ended up having to write a very awkward apology to her customers who expected their items to ship that day.
“That sounds like you,” Faye joked, and Leaf thought she might’ve seen her smile.
“Well, that’s the last one,” Leaf said, scribbling the measurements onto her note pad, “I’ll meet you downstairs.”
Faye stepped down from the platform in front of the mirror and sauntered out of the room. “I don’t want to be waiting for you,” she said before leaving, without looking behind her. Leaf stuck out her tongue but Faye didn’t notice.
She sat her note pad down on the table next to to the sewing machine and walked over to the stack of packages next to her unmade bed. They all had the postage affixed to them with cute patterned tape, so all that was left was to get them in a mail carrier’s hand.
Leaf went downstairs to see Faye with a couple packages under her arm, looking impatient, but she realized Faye always looked impatient. “See? You didn’t wait at all,” Leaf teased. She put on her shoes that were near the door and the two made their way to the post office.
It would only take ten minutes to walk to there, but apparently Faye wanted to have a leisurely stroll. “I thought you were in a hurry,” Leaf said.
“Well, you sure made it seem like you were…”
“If I said I wasn’t in a hurry, you wouldn’t have come down as fast.”
“You know me well,” Leaf shrugged.
“Apparently not so well,” Faye said, turning to look at Leaf, “Why do you act so weird around Annika?”
Leaf stopped in her tracks. “What are you talking about?”
Faye put a hand on her hip, saying nothing. She didn’t have to. She already knew.
For a while, and possibly even a little bit now, Leaf had a crush on Faye. She would never admit it, but it was pretty obvious. It started off with her more or less avoiding Faye, and evolved into playful pestering. She still pesters Faye all the time, but the feelings faded once Leaf realized she probably didn’t feel the same way.
“You won’t tell her, will you?”
Faye continued walking. “No, but it would be nice if you stopped avoiding her. I think you’re starting to make her feel a little alienated.”
Leaf’s face reddened. The last thing she wanted was to make Annika feel unwanted in any way, especially given her previous situation.
“I know you didn’t mean to,” Faye said, somehow reading Leaf’s mind, “Just try not to do it anymore.”
The rest of their walk to and from the post office was silent, which was certainly a first for Leaf. She didn’t realize her feelings for another person were so obvious again, and it made her a little embarrassed. She knew she probably couldn’t have a relationship with Annika anyway; Leaf couldn’t date someone who lived with her, and Anni probably wasn’t ready for one. It would take a while for her to stop feeling this way, but she knew she had to.