Watching

Disclaimer: Lucy and Susan Pevensie, and all the characters and places in the Chronicles of Narnia are the creation of C. S. Lewis. I own only the plot.

Lucy lay on her bed reading, looking up every so often to watch as Susan got ready for yet another night out. The sight of her seventeen-year-old sister burying her real personality under layer upon layer of cosmetics was not one she found all that appealing. But there was a certain fascination in observing the construction of such an elaborate fa├žade, a painted mask that hid the few surviving traces of the Gentle Queen of Narnia.

Susan finished applying her lipstick and standing up she turned towards Lucy.

"There!" she exclaimed. "How do I look, Lu?"

It was at this point Lucy normally said "fine" or made some other noncommittal remark. Perhaps tonight she was too tired to be diplomatic. Whatever the reason Lucy found herself being brutally honest.

"You're wearing far too much make up," she said. "And that red lipstick is too vivid. You would look better with a softer colour, something less bold."

Susan scowled at the unexpected criticism. When she replied her voice was cold.

"It's supposed to be bold. Make up should be dramatic, make a statement about you!" Recovering her composure, she gave Lucy a condescending smile. "You're only fourteen Lucy. You don't understand these things."

Susan went back to her dressing table to spray on some perfume, not noticing Lucy grit her teeth at the patronising tone.

"I understand you're trying to look older than you are," Lucy thought, "and making a fool of yourself because of it!"

Lucy wasn't sure she would even bother with cosmetics when she was Susan's age. It all seemed rather a nuisance and she had no desire at all to mimic the artificial glamour of her older sister. Still, she recalled having used make up in Narnia so supposed she would wear some, although hopefully with much more subtlety than Susan did. The word 'restraint' was not one that featured much in her sister's vocabulary.

"Good night, Lucy!" Susan called as she left their room. "Don't wait up for me!"

"Why would I bother waiting up?" Lucy whispered sadly. "You're never back until nearly dawn!"

Lucy returned to her book, trying to lose herself in the story and not worry about what her sister was doing, or torment herself by imagining what always kept her out until the early hours of the morning.

She really preferred not to know.