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House of Mirrors: Chapter 7

Rachael Lavon

Sarah says their siblings are jealous of Gavi’s and Laylee’s prominent community roles, which makes Laylee see Elmway in a different light

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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"T hey want to use Katz.” Gavi said, sinking into the couch opposite Laylee and Sarah.

“Who?” Laylee asked.

“Katz. Tall guy, lives on Laurel, couple of little kids? He’s an architect. The guy doesn’t look a day over 18. Has practically no experience... But he’s a community member.”

“I thought someone had died,” Sarah said drily. “Literally, your face was pasty.”

Laylee shot her sister a look. “Gavi’s been working really hard on this. He’s changing the face of this community. If the board wants someone subpar we may end up with a structure that doesn’t represent the community we’re trying to develop. We want something... breathtaking.”

Gavi stared.

Laylee glanced down at her nails. Her sudden enthusiasm for the project must strike him as nothing short of miraculous.

“Well, obviously.” Sarah rolled her eyes. “But breathtaking costs money.... Dollars. Moola. Scratch. Benjamins…”

“We’re familiar with the word.” Gavi said curtly.

“Maybe they want to use Katz because he’s cheaper than whatever insanely overpriced firm you two want to use,” Sarah said smugly.

Gavi and Laylee glanced at each other.

“No.” Laylee shook her head. “They probably just don’t want to hurt his feelings. Completely ridiculous. Rome wasn’t built on feelings.”

“They’re not seeing the bigger picture here,” Gavi mumbled, rubbing his temples. This isn’t some temporary building... this is it.”

Sarah suddenly snapped her fingers. “‘Zeh keili v’anveihu.’”

Gavi’s face lit up. “‘Zeh keili v’anveihu,’” he repeated. “Genius.” He stood up and began pacing the room. “I’ll start the first official board meeting with a little vort, impressing upon the members the chashivus of beautifying a mitzvah.”

“Then do a closed bid,” Laylee cut in. “That way there won’t be any biases and the hiddur mitzvah will be completely lishmah. No way anyone’s going to vote in Katz’s design after they see Ricardo’s. He’s done shuls in the Five Towns, Lakewood...”

“Ugh.” Sarah stood up. “You people... is there a library near here?” she asked, heading for the front door.

“Wait.” Laylee shot Gavi a frantic look. “You’re basically in pajamas... there’s a hole in the bottom of your skirt!” Laylee said, following Sarah.

“Your powers of observation are truly astonishing.”

“You can’t go out like that! There are live… seeing... people outside!” Laylee said, her voice rising.

“Watch me.”

The front door slammed behind her.

“Gavi!”

“Just leave it, Lay,” Gavi said, grabbing his jacket. “You’re not in a position to be telling her what to do — you haven’t even found out why she’s here. A straight-A student with everything going for her... You need to get to the bottom of what happened before giving her mussar. A nice long chat should be your number-one priority.”

Laylee followed him outside. “I don’t do mushy talks or DMC’s, Gavi.”

“Yeah. I’ve noticed.” The way he said it made Laylee’s stomach fall to her knees.

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