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House of Mirrors: Chapter 13

Rachael Lavon

Laylee’s mother offhandedly accuses her of not doing enough about Cookie’s weight problem. Laylee is photographed on Fifth Avenue wearing her new Chanel bag

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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L aylee tiptoed out of the girls' room as if the carpet was booby-trapped. She eased the door closed, sighing in relief when no one called her back. The only sound in the house was the distant rumble of Gavi’s voice downstairs.

“That was the dietician’s office, they canceled Cookie’s appointment for tomorrow,” Gavi said as Laylee walked into the living room, not bothering to glance up from the spreadsheets on his laptop.

“It took me three weeks to get that appointment!” Laylee fumed. “And now it’s canceled because of possible flurries?”

“Not flurries, Lay. Feet.”

Laylee plopped down on the sofa. “Well, that’s not the worst of it. Cassandra went to Queens this morning to visit her sister and she just texted that she’s not going to make it back before the snow starts.”

“’Kay.” Gavi typed in a row of numbers.

“’Kay? The parlor meeting is this Motzaei Shabbos! I need her here!”

“Who?” Sarah sauntered in, an apple in hand.

“Cassandra. She’s stuck in Queens.”

Sarah stopped short; her eyes rolled back dramatically. “Woe unto ye! Where will thee find the strength to stick thy spoon in thy dishwasher all by thyself?”

Gavi and Laylee stared at her for a moment, then continued talking. “She’ll be back as soon as they clear the roads, Laylee. The real problem is the shul — I’m worried about so much snow at the site. This storm is going to set us back.”

“Well, we’re ahead of schedule, aren’t we? I didn’t think we’d be this far already. Things are happening quickly.”

Gavi looked up from his computer. “We’re only this far along because I know how to work the system,” he said, unable to keep the hint of pride from his voice.

“What do you mean, work the system?”

“What I mean is that I’ve spent the past seven years cultivating connections in all the right places. You remember how strongly I campaigned for Mayor Albert when he was running for office? I got the frum voter turnout up to 85%, and I’m on great terms with most of the members on the local zoning board. A few favors between friends and boom, the whole process goes faster.”

“Wow. That doesn’t sound shady at all,” Sarah said, biting into her apple loudly.

Laylee shot her a look.

Sarah held up her hands in surrender. “Fine. I’ll go.” She wandered out of the room.

Laylee waited until Sarah was out of earshot. “She has a point, Gavi. I hope you’re being careful.”

Gavi let out a little laugh. “Efficiency isn’t illegal, Lay. You just work on that parlor meeting so we have some way of paying for all of this.”

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