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House of Mirrors: Chapter 14

Rachael Lavon

Baila opens up about how difficult it is to adjust to small-town life. Cookie asks Laylee why she never calls her by her nickname

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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T he snowbanks had grown dingy in the days since the blizzard, their once pristine presence now a blight. Laylee inhaled as she entered The Coffee House, the smell of roasted coffee beans infusing irresistible cheer into the bleak winter morning.

“Can I get a large non-fat vanilla latte with almond milk, no sugar. And—” Laylee turned to Sarah.

Sarah rubbed her hands together for warmth. “Just hot water.”

“Just hot water?” Laylee asked incredulously.

“I’m not a coffee person.”

“But... we’re out for coffee.”

The barista raised her eyebrows. “Ma’am?”

“Um. And one hot water, please.”

They grabbed their cups and made their way to an empty table. Sarah opened the top, releasing ribbons of steam into the air. After one blessedly silent moment, Laylee began talking. “I had no answer for her... There was nothing to say.”

Sarah covered her ears. “If I have to hear about the Cataclysmic Cookie Comment one more time my head is literally going to explode.”

“What would you have said?”

“And then The Coffee House will sue you,” Sarah continued. “A head explosion isn’t pretty. Plus, think of the other patrons — simple bystanders who will need years of therapy after witnessing such a gory mess... You’re going to be responsible for paying for all that...”

Laylee’s just stared at her.

“I call her Cookie,” Sarah finally said with a shrug.

“I know you do! But I don’t! I call her Perla, because I don’t think it’s fair to call someone her size… I mean, what was I supposed to say?!” Laylee took a sip of coffee and noticed Reena and Shayna walk through the front door.

She consciously slid away the stress and smoothed out her face. Smiling broadly, she offered them a little wave.

“Laylee Beloff. You. Are. Famous.” Reena said, walking over.

“Literally. My cousin in L.A. said someone sent her a link to your blog and now she’s obsessed,” Shayna added.

“Oh, please...” Laylee said modestly.

“The fashion tips are amazing, but the writing is absolutely hilarious! I mean, it’s totally out of nowhere! So witty and smart — no offense, I just never saw you as the writer type,” Reena said.

“Oh! Thanks! Um… actually, my sister—”

Laylee felt Sarah kick her hard under the table.

“Uh, my sister is the one who... urged me to do it.”

“Sisters, actually,” Sarah chimed in. “We didn’t think it was fair that Laylee was keeping all this fashion knowledge locked away in her brain and not sharing it with the masses.” Only Laylee sensed the sarcasm.

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