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Yardsticks: Chapter 7

Friedman — another Friedman. One out of ten gowns I sewed was for a Friedman

 

Yelena

S

omething was up with these sisters.

Maria burst through the door of the sewing room. “Yocheved…” She balled her palm in a fist and pulled a sour face, miming Yocheved’s scowl. “O Bozhe. Who started up with her?”

Kate and Olga sniggered, but I didn’t find the storm cloud on Yocheved’s face amusing. I had a pit in my stomach. If Mina had told Yocheved that I’d complained about Yocheved’s attitude, that would be awful. But no, Mina wouldn’t have told her anything. She couldn’t have.

Still, something was going on in the showroom. The sisters hadn’t exchanged a word all morning, they’d drunk their coffees standing instead of sitting down together for their regular morning chitchat. And their faces… Mina’s eyes were hooded and she looked uneasy. And Yocheved looked like a dragon on a mission.

My phone shuddered to life on my table. My son’s face appeared on the screen, waving a spatula.

“Da, Benish?”

“I’m on my way home. Do we have smetana?”

“Smetana? Benish, I’m sitting at work, I have hammers in my head, and you want to know if we have smetana?”

“Never mind,” Benish mumbled. “I thought it would be nice to bake some medovik — you know, for Moriz. We’d serve it when he comes to visit Babushka. And whipped sour cream makes it really special.”

I dropped my seam ripper into the heap of satin in my lap. “Moriz is visiting Mama?”

“Oh, I didn’t say that,” said Benish mildly. “I’m saying, when he comes, it would be nice to serve medovik. It freezes well, and I have the time now.”

The phone was hot in my palm. I grabbed a bunch of satin and clenched it in my fist. “You… You…” My eyes darted around the room. Olga was looking at me oddly. “Don’t make a mess in my kitchen,” I snapped. I hit the off key and plunked my phone back onto my table.

Dumping the satin on the corner of my table, I reached for my reading glasses. Friedman — another Friedman. One out of ten gowns I sewed was for a Friedman. I peered at the sketch, then at my pattern drafts, forcing Benish and his smetana and his overgrown hair off my mind as I focused on cutting.

When all the pattern pieces were laid out in front of me, I had to get muslin fabric from the fabric room. But to get to the fabric room, I’d need to pass the showroom, and I couldn’t face Yocheved now. If Mina had told her — if Yocheved had forced her to tell her — would she fire me? No, Yocheved wouldn’t fire me for complaining about her. Would she?

She couldn’t. I couldn’t lose my job. Not now, not after we’d hired Anna.

I considered dropping Friedman and working on Neumann’s sleeves instead. But no, if I did that I was asking for more trouble. Yocheved was obsessed with her schedule chart, and I was slotted to finish Friedman’s muslin before preparing for Neumann’s next fitting.

Taking a deep breath, I pulled the sewing room door open a crack and scanned the showroom.

Ah, there was no need to worry. Yocheved’s scowl had vanished, replaced by her disarming smile.

A smile reserved for the royal Kohlman Family.

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 651)

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