“Lydia,” Countess Eleanor whined, “why can’t you take better care of your hair?”
One, two, three. Her mother always brushed her hair in three succinct strokes before taking a breath. This meticulousness always unnerved Lydia: for one, because her mother never seemed to notice that she was doing it, and two, because she couldn’t stand to sit still for so long. On and on, one two three, pause, one two three. She stared straight ahead at her reflection in the ornate mirror, her soft brown eyes burning, willing her tangled raven hair to spontaneously combust.
“Lydia. I am serious,” Eleanor hissed, tugging roughly against a tight knot of hair. “I know that you do not use these brushes; there’s not even a strand of your hair left in here!”
“I brush it. I just clean off the brushes.”
“That’s a funny lie, girl. You best learn to take care of yourself, otherwise I will not allow you to go riding in the afternoons.”
“And what shall I do all day instead?”
“You can work on your embroidery skills, for one. Your governess gave you an assignment about a week ago, didn’t she?”
“I misplaced it.”