Chapter Twelve

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"If you stop moving, I'll stop stabbing you with the pins. This is a two-way scenario, Rosie and I'm going to need some co-operation, or you'll become my personal pin cushion," James said as he stabbed with the pin for the nineteenth time.

"I'm already your personal pin cushion. If I knew the fitting would involve being stabbed with a pin more times, I wouldn't have agreed to the blasted thing."

"Just keep still, we'll get this done a lot sooner that way."

I huffed loudly and stood with my arms outstretched so James could continue to pin (and stab) me into the dress. With Christmas approaching faster than any of us would have liked, James felt determined to finish my dress for the party, even it meant I got stabbed repeatedly. He had forced me to put the dress on the moment we had walked through the front door and I'd been wearing it ever since.

Every time he said he was finished, he wasn't, and I ended up being stabbed again when I went to step off the podium. Kitty had resorted to dealing with the other customers who came through the door and even she seemed sick of James and his desire to have the alterations pinned and ready for re-stitching. James often tended to lose his mind over the smallest of things, and this happened to be one of them.

The dress he had been making started as a bolt of emerald green fabric he picked up in a market on one of his adventures. Since acquiring it, James had used most of it to create the dress, decorating it with gold embodiment along the skirt, bodice and sleeves. It all felt rather extravagant seeing as I had been used to the same drab grey dress for seven years, but James wouldn't hear of it. He had added the embellishments despite my asking for him not to and it only appeared to get worse as time went on.

"Are we almost done?" I asked. My arms had started to hurt, and my knee didn't appear to like being stood on for a prolonged period of time.

"Almost."

I sighed and looked straight ahead at the door in front of me. Anyone walking past who happened to peer in through the window would have been a little surprised to see me standing there being poked and prodded with a pin. From the outside looking in it must have been a strange situation to witness, it felt even stranger to be the one on the receiving end of James and his repeated need to stab me.

Through the glass, I watched people walk past the shop. Some were in a hurry, clutching scarves or coats close against their skin to fight the bitter chill that still failed to bring any snow. Most people walked past the shop without paying it any mind, most likely in a hurry to get home and out of the cold. I watched them go about their day and none of them were any the wiser to my presence, that is until the bell above the door opened and the Ealing's once again graced us with their arrival.

"Ouch!" I exclaimed when James stabbed with a pin, again. He had been startled by the door, but I didn't think that to be a decent excuse for stabbing me.

"Sorry, that was an accident," James said.

"And the other times weren't?"

"I'm saying nothing." He grinned. "You're done. Go and take that off, knock any of the pins and you'll have to go through the whole thing all over again."

"I'll help, the last thing I want is for the two of you to be at each other's throats over whether or not the pin stabbing is deliberate," Kitty said.

She gestured her hand to James' office, and I jumped off the pedestal and walked into the office to change out of the dress and into my other one. Kitty followed and closed the door behind her. We could hear the low hum of conversations between James and the Ealing's as Kitty helped to remove the dress without disturbing any of the pins James had put in place. Once the dress was off, Kitty hung it on a clothing hanger whilst I changed back into my other dress, glad to be in something a little less extravagant.

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