|Summary:||Orsino measures Sal for Ser Loryn's play.|
|Related:||To Make a Dragon-Taming Princess|
The weather being fine, the door and the windows at the front of the shop are all open to let in the light and the gaze of potential customers. Three seamstresses are at work in one corner of the room, near the back wall of curtain that conceals the messier parts of the workspace. One is drawing up a long ruffle that is at the hem of the dress, the other holding the garment up by the shoulders to make it easier. The third is doing some fine embroidery on the cuff of a gentleman's jacket. Orsino is just coming by to evaluate this work, and he looks approving, saying something quietly to the girl and pointing out a yet-unworked section of cuff.
The next customer is not exactly a customer, but her face is recently familiar. She slips in through the open door, keeping close to the frame as if to make herself less noticed by those inside. Sal doesn't look like a customer, besides, and she doesn't even quite look presentable enough to be an errand-girl of the well-off, either; not with her too worn trousers, torn apart leather gambeson and something only vaguely resembling a skirt. Daily wear, less fine than her performing garb, which was already plain, so clearly pieced together out of need and happenstance. She carries a leather pack, slung over one shoulder. She sorts out Orsino quickly from the array of seamstresses and strides his way. "Dummy, stuffed 'n' ready for duty," she reports to him with an off-kilter grin.
The women only glance up, but Orsino's gaze lasts longer. He steps back from the embroiderer and moves toward the door. "Mistress Sal, wasn't it?" he asks, smiling. "You're welcome, please come in. I'm so glad you've agreed to help me."
"Just Sal," she replies, doing away with the polite title. The same grin well in place, she gives the tailor a lackadaisical one-shouldered shrug as she approaches, ready to follow. "Can't rightly refuse an easy job." She tugs a tied roll of parchements — Orsino's sketches — from her pack and cocks it at him. "Seems our Lord Fancy's made up his mind," she says. "I haven't peeked. Let's hope he's picked the most complicated, yeah? Longer I'm here, I figure the longer I can milk it," she adds with an amused twinkle in her eye.
"Just Sal," Orsino repeats, nodding. "He's paying you properly for your time here, then?" he asks. "Good." A smile, and he reaches for the sketches. He heads over toward one side of the room to set up a folding screen. "Now, do you mind if I measure you, or would you prefer one of the women? You can keep on anything that's not bulky, since Ser Loryn wants a forgiving cut. Do you think he'll have you do the role after all?" Only then does he look to see what Loryn has chosen.
Sal follows, wandering behind the screen without hesitation. "Whoever gets the job done," she answers indifferently. There's a dull scrape of metal and creak of leather as she undoes the clasps at her side that let her shed the bulky leather, which she tosses onto the floor of the shop with a thud, followed by that of her belt. Beneath, she's wearing two layers of thin white shirts which, separate, are thin, but combined provide some level of modesty; they're billowy, not bulky, and her peasant's trousers are fairly trim. She pushes a dismissive puff of air through her teeth and says, "I'm just a juggler." There's an amused gleam in her eye when she pokes her head around the screen. "He'd 'ave to lose his mind before he put the likes of me out on stage."
Orsino gets a cloth tape from a drawer in a table, and a piece of chalk. He steps behind the screen to join Sal. "Hm," he replies. "How do the girls who play princesses get started, then? Hold your arms a bit away from your body and stand as straight as you can," he adds, moving to slip the tape around her to get a bust measurement first.
"I reckon they start out wanting to be princesses." Sal holds her arms out and adjusts her posture just as Orsino instructs — before he fully gets his words out, in fact — and keeps good and steady. "Not me, though." She watches him measure, inelegantly tucking her chin down until it multiplies, though she seems unbothered by his process.
Orsino marks the number down directly on the wood frame of the folding screen. Then he moves the tape down to get the waist measurement. "What is it you want, then? What you already have?"
The measuring tape devours a good deal of billowing fabric to reach her waist. "Nobody wants that." Sal smacks her lips with an extended pop sound, lifting her dark brows high. Balancing the line between joking and annoyed, she queries blatantly, "Are ya measurin' my body or my bloody mind?"
Orsino smiles. "I don't mean to intrude," he says, turning to mark the measurement down. "Some people like to be asked about themselves." He takes a hip measurement. "And on certain rare occasions, a tailor can be a help to someone."
Sal shifts her feet, restlessly throwing off the measurement of her hips a for second before her posture steadies properly. "Oh yeah?" Even as she's purposefully contrary, her voice growing barbs, there's a smile at the far corners of her thin lips. "Ya fancy yourself a mender of heads 'n' not just doublets 'n' dresses, is that it? What's your story, then?"
Orsino is patient about getting the hip measurement. He marks it, then measures from shoulder to wrist, from collarbone to bust, then to waist, as he talks. "Not heads necessarily," he replies. "Maybe sometimes. But there are things clothes can do, too…" He grins. "Oh, my story is very, very long I'm afraid. As you might have gathered, my mother was a noblewoman, and in a sense I became the reason for her reversal of fortunes. She is the one who began this shop that I have now inherited."
"I knew there had t' be some dirt after ya introduced yourself as a Flowers," Sal replies, more pleased with her own concise summary than Orsino's. She gestures to the shop at large with one arm — thoughtfully, she uses the side that isn't presently being measured. "Not bad for a bastard," she says, a rather cheery accolade despite her brazen way of saying so. "Bet my story's longer than yours, but that doesn't mean I wanna take it out 'n' compare lengths."
Orsino smiles at Sal. "You're right," he agrees, "Flowers grow from dirt." He marks down another measurement, then measures waist to floor and floor to shoulder. "I suppose we were lucky to have some support," he agrees. "My mother's former friends condescended to patronize her as a seamstress if not to save her from her fall. And she was clever." He lifts his eyebrows at Sal. "I'm only here to measure bodies, not stories."
Sal smirks in response. It's not all sardonic; there's a hint of warmth in her eyes, amid the hazy green. She follows Orsino's movements with the measure from here to there. "Fucking nobles," she complains with the weight of a long-standing opinion. "Good on yer mum."
"Yes," Orsino agrees, to one or both of those sentiments. And he marks a last measurement down. "There," he says. "I think that's all I need for now. You can put your things back on. And then will you have a cup of wine? Since Ser Loryn is paying for your time."
Sal immediately lets go of all the tension that was keeping her posture in place, easily slouching her shoulders. She swings her arms at her sides triumphantly. "On Ser Loryn," she agrees, beaming, with a sly lift of her brows for added effect. She swoops down to heft the rest of her garb from the floor, swinging an arm through the armhole where a sleeve must have been attached in its former life. "Will I have'ta come back for a proper fitting?"
Orsino steps out from behind the screen. "Yes," he says. "Probably. Unless Ser Loryn decides on who he wants to do the part. But since you're helping me as much as him, I could do a little work for you as compensation. I noticed a tear in your jacket. I could repair it." There is perhaps more than one.
It is perhaps made of tears. Some of them have been repaired already several times over with a less skilled hand than that of Orsino. "This thing?" Sal squints at the garment as she shuffles her way into it and clasps in. "Fixin' it now'd be like tryin' to bail out a boat that's already sunk." An overstatement; it may not be pretty, but it does its job sturdily enough for her. "But…" She grimaces wide, as though it pains her to think through the tailor's offer of compensation. "What about…lettin' out clothes, like— y'know, to make 'em bigger? Is that somethin' you do?"
"It depends," Orsino admits. "I can only let out when there's fabric to let out. It doesn't come from nowhere. But there are other things that can be done, too. A panel put in, length added…It depends on the location to be made larger and the way the garment is made. But I could look at something and tell you what I can do."
"Yeah," Sal replies through a bit of a sigh. "I'll bring somethin' by another time for you to look at then, if you're sure it's… y'know… if it's not too much work." She scrunches her nose, uncomfortable with what feels, to her, like too charitable an offer in exchange for her simply standing around being measured. "I'm sure Ser Loryn will fall head over heels for whatever you cook up," she encourages, instead.
"I can do that," Orsino says. "I'll let you know if what you ask is too much. Some things are easy, some take more labor than you'd think." He leads the way to a table near the fireplace and one of the women brings over a bottle of wine and some wooden cups. "You were helpful," he says. "When I spoke to Ser Loryn. Instead of hindering me. I appreciated that. It is always a tremendous benefit to continue with a helpful rather than a hostile model." He pours two cups of wine.
Sal snorts in amusement, although it's hard to say whether it's over 'hostile' or 'model'. "Stop," she says through a scoff and a jokey, toothy grin, "you'll ruin my image as a hostile, good-for-nothin' hindrance to society." She grabs a cup of wine, which she takes a swallow of without pause.
Orsino waggles his brows once. "No one needs to know," he promises. The shop women notwithstanding. He drinks, too, after a toasting gesture.
"Ah, see, now I know what you were on about, tailors helpin' people. It's the wine, right? It's the wine." Sal winks over the brim of her cup, lifted in a replying toast.
Orsino laughs warmly. "What do you mean?" he wants to know, looking interested. "What's the wine?"
"Come for the fancy clothes," Sal explains in good humour, tipping her cup toward Orsino (she's gulped enough already that it doesn't spill). "Stay for the wine. Noble ladies must love this place, eh?"
"I hope they do!" Orsino returns. "If they don't, I'm in terrible trouble. Asking a lady to trust you with her measurements requires no small level of comfort!" He winks. "But I do like to have a cup with a customer. Gives me a moment off my feet, as well."
Sal laughs with easy mirth. She just nods, agreeing, and takes her time between gulps of wine — savouring the time — Loryn's time — more than the wine, though it's undoubtedly better than the swill she can usually get her hands on.