Miss Lee re entered the shop to collect her order. Katrina had cleverly hung her creation so that it looked its finest. Miss Lee put her gloved hand to her mouth and gasped slightly.
“Why it’s simply wonderful! Far better than I had originally imagined! What a talent you have!” She exclaimed.
Katrina was once again flattered by her kind compliments. She always aimed to please. Katrina carefully wrapped the dress neatly in tissue paper and tied it with a simple piece of white string, doing up the ends into a careful bow. Miss Lee payed her.
“You have done a splendid job! Thank you and good day.”
Miss Lee seemed to dance for joy as she exited the shop with the package carefully tucked under one arm for safety.
Once she had gone, Katrina’s thoughts turned to the wedding dress which she had promised to create. Where on earth would she find the appropriate material?
Thursday was market day. Katrina would often use that day to visit the keen sellers. Many of them were travellers. More often than not they offered affordable materials for her dress making business. It was not long before she noticed a seller whom she had never laid eyes upon before. Katrina walked closer, keen to investigate. One woman in particular caught her eye. She was haggard, ‘probably a Romany traveller’ Katrina thought. She had deep olive skin and jet black shiny hair which had been carefully tied off her face. The silk scarf around her head was twisted and stitched to create a neat headband. Sensing Katrina’s presence she looked up.
“Hello, what you looking for today?” she questioned in her slightly unusual accent. Katrina felt nervous in her company, her eyes were shifty.
“I-I was just looking for some suitable fabrics.”
“For what occasion you buy them for?”
“A wedding, erm it’s actually for a wedding gown”
“Ah yes I see” The woman wasn’t making much eye contact. How odd Katrina thought. Maybe she was lacking in self-confidence.
“You want white yes?” She ran her long tanned fingers over the pile of pure white material which was unevenly balanced on top of her stall.
The woman nodded. “I think you’ll be needing this one”
Katrina eyed her. She smelt smoky. Not of cigarette smoke, but of a woody fire scent. The woman did not directly touch the fabric and covered it in brown paper.
“Yes that looks ideal, how much will you be charging?”
The traveler thought before she produced her answer.
“If the couple are suited then you owe me nothing. If the relationship shows cracks they have to pay.”
Katrina felt confused by her answer. She exited with the carefully wrapped parcel tucked under her arm.
Later that day Isabella appeared in the shop. This time she was not alone. With her stood a man. He wasn’t very tall and he had a carefully trimmed mustache and side-parted shiny hair. He was dressed in an expensive grey tweed suit. A handkerchief edge escaped from one pocket. Isabella beamed at Katrina and turned to face her fiancée.
“Darling this is the woman who is going to be making my wedding dress.” She sounded so overjoyed.
“Really is that so?” the man said in a patronising tone. She nodded happily, completely oblivious of this. Katrina felt the urge to enlighten the cold atmosphere.
“I managed to get the material, would you like to see?”
“Ooh yes please!” She squealed. Her partner rolled his eyes.
“Richard please turn your back. I don’t want you to see the roll of material. It might bring us bad luck.”
“Must I? Now you’re just being silly”
“Richard you must!” She protested. Katrina wondered why Isabella had allowed him to accompany her, but said nothing. It wasn’t her place to comment. With that Richard turned his back to them, sighing with deep disapproval. Katrina gently unwrapped the parcel taking extra care not to ruffle the material.
“Ooooh it’s just so perfect!” Isabella squealed with delight. “So unusual! Wherever did you get it you clever thing?!”
Katrina smiled “It was by pure chance, I think it was fate.”
“Well I can’t wait to see the finished masterpiece, I’m most intrigued”
Katrina re-wrapped the material once more taking great care not to touch it.
“I bet it cost a small fortune, but no matter.” Isabella grinned.
Katrina shook her head “It was actually reasonable.”
Isabella looked surprised. “I am glad. What a splendid piece of fabric, I’m sensing great things already. We really must go now, we have a train to catch. Thank-you again.”
Katrina nodded. “Would you be able to come back in 3 days so that I can take measurements?”
Isabella nodded “Of course. Would 11am suit?”
That was suitable and the appointment was set. Richard said nothing and the couple left the shop arm in arm.
To be continued….