"You're so pretty, Mummy." The little girl beamed at her mother from her place on the bed. Sibella smiled at her in the vanity mirror.
"Thank you, darling." Sibella placed the last pin in her hair, blonde curls all piled up on top of one another, and reached for the necklace laid out on the vanity. Diamonds complimented the pink gown, with matching pink shoes. Her makeup was already done, and Rose had watched attentively while she had applied it. The little girl seemed to so enjoy watching her mother get ready for parties and evenings out, and so Sibella allowed her daughter to join her in her room each time.
Perfume was next; rose-scented, the flower that was her daughter's namesake. Sibella picked up the ornate bottle with the pink label and removed its stopper, swiping it on each side of her neck.
"Can I have some, Mummy?" the girl asked hopefully. Sibella turned in her chair to look at her daughter, all blonde curls and pleading eyes, and found that she could not refuse.
"Alright, come here then."
Rose jumped off the bed and bounded across the room to her mother. Sibella took her hand, turning it over so that her palm faced the ceiling. Very lightly, she brushed the stopper against her daughter's wrist.
"Now rub your wrists together just a touch." The girl did as she was instructed before lifting both wrists to her nose and inhaling deeply. A wide smile spread across her face.
"Thank you Mummy, I love it! Now I smell like you!"
"You do indeed," Sibella laughed. "Now be a good girl and run along. Miss Shingle will get you ready for bed and I'll come up in a little while to tuck you in, alright?"
"Yes, Mummy!" And she dashed off, blonde curls bouncing behind her.
True to her word, Sibella excused herself from the party downstairs. As she moved towards the door, she crossed paths with Phoebe.
"Tell her goodnight from me, would you?" The brunette asked.
"Yes, of course I will. She'll be glad to hear it, I know." Phoebe caught Sibella's hand and pressed it gently for a moment before releasing her to go upstairs.
Sibella gently pushed open the door, a sliver of light falling on the rug and across Rose's face. The girl was asleep in bed, looking positively angelic. But as the light hit them, her eyes drifted open. Realising that Sibella was there, she smiled sleepily.
"Mummy!" Rose mumbled. "I tried to stay awake for you, I told Teddy to keep watch, but I guess he fell asleep too."
Sibella always thought it was adorable that Rose referred to her stuffed bear as though he were an animate being, so she always played along.
"I'm sure Teddy did his best." She crossed to sit on the edge of the bed. "Phoebe says goodnight as well, she wanted me to tell you." Rose's smile grew wider; she was very fond of Phoebe.
"Will you tell her I said goodnight to her?"
"Yes. Now go on back to sleep." Sibella tucked the blankets around the girl and made sure her bear was close at hand.
"Mummy? Will you sing?"
Sibella smiled and in response began to hum a melody that she knew was Rose's favourite. She remembered hearing her mother sing it when she was a child, and it felt very fitting that she now sang it to her own child. It was a melody by Brahms, soft and simple, and before Sibella had even finished humming, Rose was fast asleep.
She leaned down to press a kiss to her daughter's forehead. Rose truly was a beautiful little girl, she thought as she lingered on the bed. A beautiful little girl that would someday grow into a beautiful young woman. But Sibella wished sometimes that she could keep Rose just as she was in this moment, young and unencumbered by the world and its ways.
"Goodnight, darling," she whispered. Lightly brushing the backs of her fingers across Rose's cheek, Sibella stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind her.