Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Penelope gets date-ready

Across from the tub was the vanity in question, an exquisite Rococo dressing table with a triptych of mirrors and compartments within compartments within drawers within cupboards. It even had a built-in jewelry music box with a Marie Antoinette type figure pirouetting to Mozart’s Eine Kleine Nacthmusic. Stella quickly found Zara’s makeup cache and prepared for her assault of Penelope’s face.

“Sit,” she said brusquely. “And face me.”

“I don’t know, Stella.”

“Well fortunately, I do.”

“Those dark smoky eyes look really quite fetching on you, but I wouldn’t—”

“Enough yapping. I’m not going to do you up like me …”

“You’re not?”

Stella shook her head. “Of course not. You still need to look like you! Zara told me exactly what to do—a little kohl around the eyes, some Vaseline on the lashes to make them stand out, and a little pink rouge on your lips.”

“Rouge on my lips? What about my cheeks?”

“She said not to do your cheeks cuz you’ll probably be blushing the whole time anyway.”

Penelope felt her face flush as if on command.

“Just like that. Now you sit still and don’t move a facial muscle and we may actually have you ready on time.”

Penelope nodded.

“No moving!”

“Okay,” Penelope said without moving her lips.

* * * * 

Penelope was transfixed with her reflection, staring at herself in the mirror and wondering at whom she was gazing. The face seemed so familiar, but far too glamorous to believe it was actually her own.

“Okay, now really suck it in this time,” she heard Stella say as if from far away in another room.

Without thinking, Penelope inhaled and pulled her stomach in as Stella strained the limits of the corset strings, bracing her foot against Penelope’s back.

“There, that should do it! Wow. Zara was right. Some chassis.”
Penelope’s face flushed again and she took her eyes off the mirror to look at the floor, too embarrassed to allow her glance to rest anywhere else.

[Excerpt from Reading Between the Leaves - book 2 in the Tea Cozy Mysteries series]