"Here we are," the tailor said. She brushed dust off a folded red gown.
Ikki sneezed and flew backwards several feet, knocking over a rack of dresses. "It's so dusty in here," she complained, rubbing the back of her head. "I guess the economic problems are worse than my teacher said."
Jinora finally looked up from her book. "Chairman Tarrlok is improving the city's economy by creating jobs and protecting us from radical Equalist terrorists," she recited blandly for the third time in as many days. "Also, you'd better not let him catch you airbending in public, Ikki."
"I won't," Ikki said, righting a mannequin clad in a purple qipao. "Do I really have to call him 'chairman' even after I marry him?"
"As long as we're in front of anyone but the servants," Jinora replied. "You don't have to call him that in bed, if that's what you're asking."
The tailor made a choking noise, and Ikki giggled nervously as she climbed back on the pedestal.
"Is it even legal to marry two girls at the same time?" Ikki asked. Her tongue was itching to say everything on her mind; nervousness always seemed to drive her finishing school manners right out of her mind. "I feel like it's not legal, so it's kind of setting a bad example for everyone if Chairman Tarrlok breaks the law. But even if it is allowed, it seems really stupid and kind of morally wrong to me, especially if the other person is your sister, because at least if the other person wasn't your sister you could pretend like you're married to them too but I don't even get that and when we have kids it's going to be really awkward to explain our family to them and-" she paused for breath and realized she didn't have anything else to say.
"Are you finished?" Jinora asked.
"I think so."
"Chairman Tarrlok makes the laws, so he can have two wives if he wants," Jinora said. "I read that men used to marry their wife's sisters all the time. And it could be a lot worse. At least we're together again."
Ikki smiled at that. "I know, isn't it great? I missed you so much after you left finishing school and got married, but thinking about seeing you again got me through most of Miss Chan's history classes."
"I liked Miss Chan's classes," Jinora said. "She always assigned interesting books."
Ikki made a face at the mirror. "Her books had too much fighting and war in them. I only like books with beautiful, happy romances in them."
"Chairman Tarrlok has some of those in his library." Jinora opened her book and started reading again. "I'll try to find some for you when we get home."
"Thanks, Jinora!" Ikki beamed. "You're the best sister a girl could ask for."
"Stop fidgeting," the tailor said, stabbing a pin into the dress she'd pulled over Ikki's head. "Your wedding is next week."
Ikki sighed heavily and went into book-on-head mode, standing still and straight as a statue. If there was one thing she'd learned in finishing school, it was how to act like an obedient little housewife.