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House of Mirrors: Chapter 15

Rachael Lavon

“Are you actually upset that she didn’t come? Or just sad she didn’t see your overpriced centerpieces and new dress? A missed opportunity to impress...”

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

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"W e feel very grateful that the Rosh Yeshivah was able to address the kehillah tonight,” Gavi said.

With a flutter of pride, Laylee watched the Rosh Yeshivah take Gavi’s hand in his own and shake it warmly. He spoke softly, leaning in so as not to be overheard. Gavi blinked hard in response, then gave a little smile, though his expression looked pinched. He joined the small entourage of people accompanying the Rosh Yeshivah out the door.

Strange... what was he whispering about? Laylee wondered. Though the parlor meeting was still winding down, she already knew it had been a success. A few couples admired the intricate model of the shul positioned on a table in the center of the room.

“Stunning, Laylee. Absolutely magnificent,” Shayna said.

“Thanks so much for coming, Shayna.”

“Of course! I wish we could give more...”

The two women walked toward the door, where Shayna’s husband, Shlomo, was speaking to Gavi.

“How’s the learning going with Neil?” Gavi asked.

“Pretty good, actually. We upped it to three times a week.”

“Unbelievable... you just never know what can come from an over-the-top mishloach manos and a couple of Shabbos meals.”

Neil? Who... Oh, right. The Jewish flooring magnate Gavi was trying to woo. He sits on some city board. We had him and his wife for Shabbos meals a few times.

“What’s amazing is that you actually did it. There are plenty of unaffiliated Jews in Elmway. How many of us actually reach out to them?” Shlomo said.

Gavi shrugged him off modestly.

My husband the tzaddik.

Laylee wondered why Gavi’s smile seemed so forced.

*

Laylee directed the cleanup crew and caterer alone while Gavi mumbled about some urgent paperwork. When the house had at last assumed some semblance of normality, she walked into the kitchen, where she found him poring over the checks that had come in that night.

“We did better than I thought we would.” He sounded tired, despite the good news.

“You know what’s weird?” Laylee said, opening the cabinet and reaching for a mug. “Malky didn’t come.”

Gavi looked up, his jaw tightening. “Malky didn’t come,” he repeated.

She filled the mug with hot water. “Strange, no? She and Yitz are usually so involved.”

“That’s all you have to say about the whole night? That the cupcake lady didn’t come?”

Laylee turned around, surprised.

“I mean, are you actually upset that she didn’t come? Or just sad that she didn’t see your overpriced centerpieces and new dress? A missed opportunity to impress...”

Laylee wrapped her hands around her mug, stung by his words. I’m not taking the bait.

“Clearly you’re tired. I’ll bid you and your pile of checks a good night,” Laylee said, stalking out of the kitchen.

Gavi let out a sigh. “Wait... Laylee. She didn’t come because her husband, who I used to consider a good friend, excused himself from the project.”

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