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Summer Sketch

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“Stay still,” Beatrice commanded, the tip of her pencil etching at the canvas as she sketched the lady in front of her.

Rosalia winced as another ray of sunlight slipped through the leaves and went directly into her eyes. The sun felt itchy against her dark clothes, which were perhaps not suited for a summer’s day like this one. Beatrice sat in front of her, a canvas on her lap being the borderline between them. 

The enthusiastic Beatrice insisted that she paint Rosalia. Her little summer project, she told her. They had attempted to bring one of Rosalia’s kittens into the portrait, but the poor thing refused to stay still and scurried back to the lair. 

“I do not understand the point of this,” Rosalia said, before being scolded once again by Beatrice.

“All this time the Lord Condulmer’s wife was hidden in a lair to herself, surely, she must have been lonely, I thought.” She swept her pencil from one corner to another in a swift motion, “So, I decided to sketch you.” 

Beatrice was a funny girl, though Rosalia hardly ever laughed. Earlier that day, a bored Beatrice pulled her by the ends of her shawl and dragged her to the garden where the heat was blazing and Rosalia could hardly see whatever was in front of her. No stools, no chairs. Beatrice sat on the grass, her skirt under her, as she sketched. 

“You are a handful,” Rosalia sighed, trying to keep perfectly still. (Though she had to admit that the face Beatrice makes while scolding her was adorable. She should try that later.) 

“And you will soon appreciate my work if only you stayed still, Lady Condulmer,” she said. Then she paused for a moment, scrutinizing the canvas while she tapped her chin with her pencil. She glanced at Rosalia, then back to the canvas, nonplussed.

“Is there something the matter?” The other woman asked, before surveying herself for any bugs or dirt that might have come to cling on her dress. Beatrice kept shaking her head, unable to find the answers to her unspoken questions.

The younger girl moved closer to her, pouting, hands on her sides as her fingers pressed through the newly cut grass. Rosalia’s eyebrows perked up, perplexed. She wrapped the shawl around herself, a little defensively.

“What is it?” 

“There’s something...” 

Beatrice drew closer to her until there was only the space of a rose petal between the tips of their noses. The younger girl seemed to be staring right into her soul, Rosalia felt like her heart would burst. She picked a small stray piece of grass from her face.

“There!” Beatrice leaned back, grinning at her success.

Rosalia, taken aback, then blinked to make sense of everything. Then, without meaning to, she gave Beatrice a small, shy smile. 

The other girl gasped, hands to her mouth. “Perfection!”

She quickly scurried back to her canvas to capture the moment, as Rosalia smiled a bit wider.