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House of Mirrors: Chapter 9

Rachael Lavon

After another girl in the park calls Cookie fat, Laylee returns home shaken — only to have Gavi berate her for running away from the problem

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

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"W e need to start fundraising.” Gavi’s words landed with a thud in the middle of the room. It was too late at night for demands; Laylee yawned.

“Whyyyy is it so bright in here?” Sarah walked in squinting and headed toward the fridge. “Because your sister went a little overboard on the lighting,” Gavi answered.

“Course she did.” Sarah muttered.

Laylee shrugged. “I like chandeliers. They’re transformative. And I like light. I like Coco Chanel, and the Hamptons in the summer and Cancun in the winter. And I’m not going to stop liking those things, no matter how much you mock me.”

Sarah gave a long, slow clap. “Bravo. You’re spoiled and proud of it.”

Gavi cleared his throat. “Let’s try this again. We need to start fundraising. I have a photographer lined up to take some photos of Elmway families, ours included, and I’m putting together some literature for the campaign.” He took out a pen. “Describe Elmway in a sentence.”

“Elmway — over two hours from anywhere that matters,” Laylee said, sipping her tea.

“Let’s try for something a bit more positive,” Gavi said with a frown.

“Elmway — we have Costco but no Bloomingdales.” Laylee flipped a page of the magazine she was perusing.

Gavi put the pen down and looked at her. Laylee sighed and thought for a minute. “How about this: Elmway — where out-of-town charm meets in-town sophistication.” A proud little smile played on her lips.

Gavi scribbled the line on a pad of paper.

Sarah grabbed a banana and began peeling it. “Why is that a good thing?” she asked, taking a bite. Gavi and Laylee stared at her blankly.

“I mean, these people right? These Costco people… they don’t need sophistication. They need stable jobs, affordable housing, food — some money left over to pay tuition. That’s why they live in ELMWAY, Laylee. They live here to get away from the circus you call sophistication. They live here so they can dress their kids like kids, they live here so they can breathe. You’re building this shul to up the sophistication, how did you refer to it… to change the face of this community. But honestly? No one wants any more Beloffs moving in. You people raise the bar that no one wants raised. Literally… no one.”

Laylee shifted uncomfortably and threw Gavi a look.

“By the way, Baila’s coming over tomorrow morning so I can help her with her with the siddur thingie.”

“Tzadeikes.” Laylee’s comment dripped with acid.

Gavi stood up. “I have to drop off some paperwork at Friedman. Be back soon.”

Laylee jumped up and followed him. “Oh um… didn’t you want me to come with you for that?” Don’t leave me here with her! Please. One more sarcastic comment and I’m going to explode.

“Uh… yeah. Sure.”

Laylee grabbed her purse. “We’ll be back soon, Cassandra’s here, I’ll text her to listen for the girls.”

Sarah just shrugged.

Outside, the cold air hit her hard and Laylee laughed as the door closed behind them. “My savior. I couldn’t take another minute of that.”

Gavi smiled at her. “Anytime.”

“She was such a pleasure as a kid. So easygoing, refined. I just don’t get it!”

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