Tailored to Your Needs [Part 1]
"How many properties do you own?" I ask as my shoes hit the concrete stairs.
"Just two, this one is mainly for when I'm designing clothes. My other place is my home. You'll notice I too have a bag."
"Yes, I noticed." I swing her duffle, touching her calf. Mae laughs, glancing over her shoulder.
"Don't be so childish." She smiles at me. "We are here."
Mae kneels down on the floor feeling around the iron door for something, she slides a part of the metal aside, reaching her hand in and pulling out a silver key.
"You don't keep the keys on you," I can't help my shocked tone. Mae however, does not seem bothered at all and dusts her knees as she slots it into the lock.
"No, I'd most definitely lose it that way. Besides, I have cameras." She points in several different directions before continuing, "so no one has successfully broken in." She pushes open the door, not explaining her choice of words for what I can only is because while nobody has successfully broken in, they do try.
"Hopefully if Klaus did his job, someone should've come over dusted and filled the fridge." Mae pushes the door further to let me in.
This place is way better than her other loft. It is a sanctuary.
The kitchen is directly to my right, all that is near the high table is a few bar stools and a fruit bowl with glistening fruit on top. To my left is a small two-seater sofa, there is no TV just a fireplace and two tall bookcases—one had three shelves filled with books the rest had small ornaments while the other bookshelf is devoid of anything.
The stairs are behind the sofa and lead up towards what seems to be some sort of greenhouse. There are only three windows in this room two at the back wall nearest the kitchen while the other is a skylight directly above the glass room. I can make out mannequins in a corner. That's her designing room.
"Do you want to continue staring, or should I show you around?" I laugh taking my eyes off the glass room and to Mae, who is standing near the windows.
I carry our stuff heading towards her pass the stairs. It is there I notice there is another room, her bedroom.
It is simple. A kings sized bed covered in muted pinks and off whites with the exposed brickwork the room is elegant yet straightforward. Mae doesn't have a bedside lamp like her other place but instead a tall floor lamp in a corner.
The entire loft has wooden laminated floorings that Mae had to have a rug here and there to keep the place warm. The large carpet extends from one end of the bedroom to the other a fluffy coffee-brown colour which is probably the worst colour to use, it painfully stands out.
"You hate the rug, don't you?" Mae takes the bags from out my hand and chucks them on the bed. "So do I, it forces me out of bed because I hate the sight of it."
"That seems rather extreme, Mae. I'm sure an alarm could do the same job."
"Not in the slightest. The bathroom is through there." She pointed to an open archway to our left. "Feel free to shower whenever." Mae checked her watch, biting her lip. "However, I have to do your suit and design some outfits for the event before the weekend is up." Mae kicked off her shoes and pulled off her dress, she pulled out a pair of socks from behind her pillow on the bed and slips them on.
"Take off your shoes, relax. We will be here for a while."
"You work like this?" I ask.
Mae peered down at underwear a matching set of lavender.
"Usually I wear nothing. This is a compromise, I need you to stay focus. I can't have you attacking me every time I bend over."
"Who said I won't do that regardless?" I reply, causing Mae to roll her eyes a hint of a smile playing on her lips.
"Come on, Dominic." Mae leaves me to the room. I shrug off my jacket and takes off my shoes. As I leave the room, the floor felt cold. However, I felt the vibrations of the indoor heating kicking in.
I head up the stairs to the glass room. It has just gone past midday, and the light streams in through the room. No wonder she wants me to hurry up, she's working against the sun. Once it sets, she's done, and that'll be in a few hours.
I walk through the exposed entrance. Mae is already flustered, she has tied her hair up using an array of fabrics to keep every strand out of her face. She is mumbling to herself,, looking over a small booklet of diagrams.
"Please stand in front of the mirror." She wiggles her finger at the full height, curved mirror near the centre of the room. There is a small raised platform, and I move to stand on it. Before both feet rest of the platform Mae is behind him tape measure in hand, she strokes my back before sliding the tape measure across one shoulder to the other.
"Talk to me, Mae. You seem stressed, tell me what you are doing."
"20 inches, shoulder to shoulder." I hear a screech as Mae drags a small stool round to the front between me and the mirror. She stands up now several inches taller than before crouching slightly. She places the tape measure somewhat under my adam's apple ad wraps it around.
"14.5 inches, you have a small neck."
"And your breasts are uncomfortably close to me, I have this unnerving urge to attack you." I smirk at Mae who in turn raises a brow before going to measure my chest.
Her overall measuring is rather efficient, it doesn't take longer than ten minutes before she moves the stall to her desk, one overlooking the rest of the loft.
Mae pats the stool next to her signalling for me to sit. I sit down and gaze at her roughly drawn figure my measurements in the appropriate places.
"A suit is a suit, I can't add much creative flair to it in the shape but I can in the colours, patterns and so on. When's the event?"
"Late next year, I'll need to talk to my father. The colder seasons though for sure."
"Then a three-piece suit would be the best direction, it has the additional layer from the vest, and I think it's more formal than a standard two-piece. Any particular material, I was thinking velvet providing it doesn't rain. I think it'll look quite nice."
"Isn't that very high school prom?" I ask. Mae bites the end of her pen, thinking.
"Yeah, you're right. However, wool will be far too warm when you get inside and... well... I fucking hate corduroy."
"Because she's a bitch to sew, which is ironic because I think we will have to go with tweed. I say black, you can't go wrong with that. Now the inner lining, I was thinking that's when we could add some colour." Mae gets up from her stool hurrying to a floor to ceiling shelf each with rolls of fabric.
They aren't large rolls but tiny sample rolls. About a hundred all separated by colour then organised by shade—dark to light.
"I was thinking an emerald colour, but it stands out so much I don't think I could make the vest emerald in good conscious. So I might just do the inner lining, a small pocket square and tie to go. What do you think?"
My lips slide to the side before I say, "I think it sounds tiring." Mae huffs which makes me smile.
What I am looking at was Miss Mae Geoffries the designer, a very good one at that, she seems to know what she wanted and what she was doing, and her passion and excitement made her even more alluring I don't want to slow her process down with my own inexperience.
"Time, Dominic?" I am shocked momentarily that I have been called upon and glance at my watch.
"Just gone past 1." Mae zipped past me running down the stairs, I could hear shuffling in the bedroom before she is back up the stairs, her dress was on, and she was wearing pink sandals.
She pulls one of the green coloured tubes down before pulling out a pair of scissors from thin air and cuts the fabric haphazardly.
"I'll be back in twenty minutes." She zips out again before coming back in suddenly. "You don't have any money, do you...actually, nevermind." And like that, she was gone a small breeze left in her wake, and the slam of the door.
I'm not exactly sure what happened, but it makes me smile. She's oddly chaotic. It's cute.
I rest on my hand, propped up by my elbow on the table. The sun is warm in here, with the glass everywhere it structurally could be raised this room's temperature. I pull off my sweater and chuck it into a corner of the room. I think I will take her up on that offer of a shower.
My hand slides over to her sketchbook, flipping the pages to one end of the book. It is decorated with similar drawings, pieces of fabric cut off and stuck. Incomplete sentences orbiting the drawing and then a digital photo of the completed piece. Taken in this room on the same platform I had stood on with Mae standing smiling next to it.
Each page was a different version of Mae, sometimes her hair was shorter, other times it was straight, and in all of them, the woman was stark naked proud as a newborn baby without a care in the world, in the most revealing of poses. As I peruse through her work, I notice that Mae seems younger and had finally put on her clothes.
As I reach near the end—or rather the beginning—the background changes from this loft to another room. It was significantly smaller I can see the corners of a bed and the light streaming in is muted as through it layered through many buildings before it reached her.
I continue flicking through, the background changes again, and there I noticed it was the first piece.
A woman was being held up by two other men. Her wedding dress flowed down her body and pooled on the floor in white elegance. The woman had her back to the camera, but her salt and pepper curls were no different from the photo I had seen in the newspaper. A Mrs Geoffries on her wedding day, Mae was in a pale purple flowy dress, and she had her thumbs up to the camera. Her first piece was for her mother.
I stroke my hand over the page noticing patches of rougher paper, small little blotches near the bottom of the page. She cried? When she made it? Or when she stapled the picture in? Both?
The door slams and I scramble to put the book back where I found it. Mae is as quick as ever aside from the crashes and bangs followed by a string of curses. It isn't long before she is running up the stairs.
I swivel on my chair as Mae huffs, holding her chest.
"You okay?" she asks as she chucks me the plastic bag. I catch it dropping it on the table.
"I should be asking you that, did you run to raise awareness or something?"
"No, there's a fabric store one block down, and the woman comes from Spain and still Siestas."
"For a guy who travels a lot, I'm surprised you don't know. She closes shop between two and five PM, I mean by 5:30 she'll open for about an hour, but I'm racing against the sun. Anyway, I got the fabric. We can go there tomorrow to pick up the buttons and zippers."
Mae seems to glide over unloading the folding streams of fabric one black the other emerald, and she was right to only do the lining green because I couldn't in good conscious wear that colour as a vest. Subtly is my thing.
She lays the black fabric out before heading to a filing cabinet next to her bookshelf of fabrics and pulls one of the draws out. She takes out a few sheets of thinly crumpled paper and smooths them out on top of the material.
"This is the construction pieces. I'll have to cut them out, taking into account your measurements, and then I can sew. Do you know when the sun is setting?"
I pull out my phone, ignoring the hoard of emails and open the weather app.
"3:30. It's not a lot of t-"
"Shush, I can at least do one half today." I purse my lips a smile growing. I can only imagine this is how I am at work, highly motivated and scarcely deterred.
Mae pulls out a small chalk piece from a small flower pot on the table and began tracing.
A.N. I wanna thank you guys who've stuck by the story and watched it progress it means a lot to me, and I can't thank you enough your support is greatly appreciated.
This is another three parters (which was initially a two-parter) I hope you enjoy the coming chapters as much as I enjoyed writing them. Let me know what you think and most importantly, thanks for reading.