It didn’t take long for Soapies to become the center of daily life in Freedom. Visitors to the town were shocked at the difference that seemingly come overnight. No longer were dirty water and chamberpots emptied into the streets. As the lovely soap that Kelley and Theodora made and taught others to create became popular among all the women, they (the women) started caring more about their surroundings. Hovels became homes. Husbands were now greeted at the end of each day with a freshly groomed wife with shining hair and smooth skin that smelled of summer and flowers. In short, cleanliness had come to Freedom and as the word spread, there were more frequent out of town visitors and the economy boomed.
As the town grew, so to did Soapies. It didn’t take any “fairy persuasion” this time to coerce, I mean, talk the City Hall woman into allowing them to expand. In fact, she was entirely unrecognizable as the same dour faced employee they had first met a few months earlier. In her place was a smiling, clean woman who did her job with pride and compassion. She entered the shop one day and attempted to make her way to the back counter, pushing through the throngs of people that crowded the small space.
“Girls!” she exclaimed in exasperation. “Ye have far too many townsfolk in here to be safely going about your business. The merchant next door has moved and we at City Hall have come to a decision — his space shall now be yers.”
Kelley and Theodora were overjoyed! Their tiny space was indeed, far too small to contain them. With the space next door they could actually hold classes inside. No longer would the noise of the town nor the weather interfere with their teaching… oh, the excitement and joy. As they closed up shop that night, they were both nearly bursting with excitement as they flung open the door to their new home. It was huge. Gigantic. Enormous! Easily 5 times the size of their current shop. The previous tenant had sold cloth and other sewing materials and with the boon of the growing town, had moved to a larger location nearer to the mercantile. Left behind were various wooden tables that were perfect for teaching and for preparing the numerous toiletry products that Soapies now produced.
After a night of excited discussion, it was decided that Soapies would close the following evening and would remain closed for a week while they did the necessary work to get the new space ready. Thedora rose early and went immediately to City Hall to verify that they would be able to keep their current location and merge the two into one super-size Soapies. She skipped merrily back and nodded happily to Kelley. Yes!
The day flew by and word spread through the town of the pending changes. As they closed the shop for the night, Theodora looked intently outside for a few moments and summoned help. Within a few minutes, several strapping elves stood in the doorway. Kelley’s heart beat wildly inside her chest as she gazed upon their handsome faces and amazing… (erm, my apologies. The gorgeousness of the elves is neither here nor there. The chests like mighty oaks, their arms like… and there I go again. Ok, no more elvish fantasies!) Anyway, Kelley blushed as they smiled at her before heading off under Theodora’s direction to hang large pieces of canvas over the front of both shop doors and windows. Soapies and the new location were now hidden away and would remain so until the re-opening the following week.
With a wink, the elves were off and Kelley swooned and fell to the floor. Theodora looked at her for a moment and began to laugh and laugh. “Dear Princess,” she managed to gasp, “if you could just see yourself right now. You need to learn immunity from elvish charm. It’s a bit like being hit by a ton of bricks, is it not?”
Kelley weakly nodded as her head began to clear. And to her shock, her first clear thought was of Bronson. At this she blushed even more violently and hid her face from Theodora. What WAS her problem with that gnome! He was not handsome. He was not glorious. He was not even tall. He was… oh he was sweet. And kind. And she did love him!