Marius insisted that she did not have to do any of this, but Eponine disagreed. One of his high-esteemed student friends was getting married, and she had to look her best.
"If you don't want to, you don't have to. I promise they won't think any less of you. Remember what they—we—fought for?"
"All the more reason for me to do this, it is," said Eponine. "I want to look good. I want to look pretty."
"But you already do!"
Eponine smiled at her lover's poor attempt to reassure her. "You know what I mean, Monsieur Marius."
And so she scrubbed the dirt off every inch of her body until her skin was raw, she gave Marius' friend Courfeyrac all the money she earned to buy her a nice dress, and she stole a bourgeois woman's hairbrush and was certain she would pull all her hair out before she managed to untangle it.
Finally, on the day of the wedding, her skin was no longer brown from dirt or red from the rough cleaning, her hair was nice and straight, and she wore a dress that Marius was certain cost at least twice as much as Eponine gave Courfeyrac the money for. He mentally noted to pay Courfeyrac back the difference; charity was one of the things Eponine hated most.
"There," said Eponine as she examined herself in the mirror, a bright smile on her face that made her look more radiant than clean skin, perfect hair, and a beautiful dress ever could. "I look respectable enough for your friend's wedding, I do!"
She frowned as she leaned forward to examine her mouth closer. "If I had more money, I could have gotten fake teeth!"
"No one will notice."
"But they will!"
"No one will care."
"But I will!"
Then Marius wrapped his arms around her waist, pressing a kiss on the top of her head. "But I don't. You are beautiful, my 'Ponine, and you are the most beautiful when you smile. You should do it more often."
Eponine grinned and turned to kiss Marius fully on the mouth. "Then let us go, Monsieur Marius, to see your student friend get wed!"