Greatly worrying about the tear in your pocket, you take a quick trip to the tailors. Although the walk is quite a way: over a couple of the stone bridges to avoid trailing through the winding river, along a combination of dirt tracks and also the smart cobblestones, and finally into the district of your town where the shops are situated.
The twin seamstresses who run the tidy shop greet you with words of friendship and ask how you are. Once the pleasantries are over, you pass them your coat and explain the situation, adding:
”I hope it won’t cost much. Friends’ discount and all that?”
One of the seamstresses, Mable, tilts back her head of sharp perm curls, whilst her snuffly cackle echoes around the store.
“Oh, we’re sorry, but of course we can’t give discounts. We have friends all over the town and as soon as we give you a discount, the rest of them will be wanting one. On the other hand, if you’re looking for discounts, sign up for the Cooke’s membership account.”
You boggle at Mable’s cheek.
“But then one has to buy a least a thousand items before gaining significant discount, and that shop doesn’t hold nearly enough for a thousand things.”
“Oh, I don’t know.” Mable’s eyes twinkle.
“What?” you ask, but she will say no more.
Then you spot the boy in the corner, leaning over to examine a fine piece of grey fabric
“Drew!” you exclaim, startling him.
“Oh, it’s you,” he replies, putting a hand to his heart slightly, “I thought maybe Mr. Bathers had come to ask me why I wasn’t manning the coffee shop. To be honest we’ve haven't had that many customers recently, only on those nights when that local singer, Takatee (or something), comes round.”
You can instantly tell that Drew is a rather naïve youth; he has a slightly pockmarked face, and a crooked grin, whilst greasy cold brown hair that hangs over one eye. His pointed nose gives him the impression of a pigeon!
“What are you doing here? I thought we were meeting up.”
"Yeah, by the river, but that wasn't till a bit later. I was going to buy you a dress; you deserve it after all the sets of two pounds you’ve spent on my coffee and the many donations that you’ve made to the museum. That fossil exhibition has never looked grander.”
You blush, “Well, thank you. I’d forgotten where you told me to meet…”
“And you came to find me?” laughed Drew.
“Actually, my coat needed mending. You were just extra bit on the side!”
He laughs, but you hear a tense strain in his voice.
“So, shall we go now?”
“Sure…” But you hesitate under the pretence of checking your coat with Mable.
You are wary of where to take Drew; you don’t want to him encourage him too much, especially as you are not serious about a relationship with him.