Chapter 18

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*Elizabeth's P.O.V*

I sit down at my vanity, taking my bonnet off as I look at myself in the mirror. I reach over and take a small jar that was resting against the vanity mirror, screwing the lid off before I dip my fingers into it. I start to rake my fingers through my hair. I notice that Zelene is messing around with some parchment and seems to be adding stuff to it. I tilt my head curiously but don't bother to ask as I just decide to focus on my hair.

By the time I finish with my hair, Zelene is done messing with the parchment. I raise an eyebrow when she sets it down in front of me and I look down at it in confusion. It's a list of all of my daily tasks, some of it clearly having been written by Richard before he had so childishly quit, and the rest of it in her handwriting.

I find that her handwriting is very elegant and smooth, the cursive words flowing together in such a way that I can't help but admire them. I snap myself out of admiring the words as I look up at Zelene with a frown. This list was much longer than my usual one, I didn't know if I liked that. I mean it was almost seven times the normal length. It quite literally rolled off of my lap and hit the floor, still rolling.

"Why is it so long?" I ask with a frown on my lips.

"I have added everything that you need to accomplish for the week. I put the most urgent things at the top and the least urgent ones at the bottom. I find this system works quite well most of the time," Zelene says.

"I do not like it. It is too long, it makes me feel...overwhelmed," I answer as I give the list a dirty look and ignore Zelene's chuckle at the face I make.

"I can isolate the lists out again but I thought the long list would really show you how much you have left to do," Zelene states and I roll my eyes.

"I know that I still have a lot of stuff to do this week Zelene, I do not need you to remind me of that fact," I state as I shake my head slightly, moving to stand up when the maids come in. They sort of pause when they see me already up but they quickly and quietly greet me before going about their daily tasks.

"So you do not need me to remind you of the fact that you have a meeting with Lady Lorenhale today? One you are very close to being late for?" Zelene asks and I freeze, noticing that several maids freeze at her words as well.

"The meeting with Lady Lorenahle is today?" I ask before not even listening to her answer, going back behind my divider as I quickly start to strip myself of my dress. I had dressed lazily since I had not thought I was going to be around anyone of importance but I could not do that if I was meeting a noble.

I grab a pair of stockings, freezing when Zelene grabs my hand and gently pries them from my fingers. I stare at her, realizing that the stockings are mismatched as she goes to grab a matching pair. She brings the matching pair back to me and I snatch them, sitting down to put them on as quickly as I can.

My hands are shaking and I struggle as I try to pull them all the way up. Zelene crouches down in front of me, pushing my hands away as she gently fixes the one I had put on before taking the other one from my hand and slipping it onto my other foot, carefully sliding it up my leg.

"My heels..." I start to say, pausing when she raises an eyebrow and glances down. I flush when I realize that she had set them next to the bed. I start to bend down to pick them up and pause when she takes them, putting them on for me.

"Thank you," is all I manage to get out as I smile slightly before standing up. Or at least I start to before I realize that Zelene is still crouched in front of me and I don't really want to trip over her.

"You should still have time to have a quick breakfast if you would like," Zelene straightens up, smiling softly at me. I return the smile after a moment before getting up and hurrying out of my room, hearing Zelene walk calmly behind me. She hums softly, the sound fading out of my thoughts as I hurry down the hall.

"You know, for someone that was the one who was trying to hurry me, you're walking awfully slow," I turn back and call to her. I hear her laugh, the sound of it ringing in my ears.

"Well I am so sorry that I choose to walk instead of nearly running," Zelene rolls her eyes as she shakes her head slightly. I huff slightly as I cross my arms over my chest, turning my back to her as I keep walking. How dare she say that? I was simply trying to be on time. She was the one being slow.

I enter the dining hall, pausing when I see my mother already seated. Why does she always have to beat me to the dining hall? It wasn't fair. I had even been woken up early, early for me that is, and she had still beat me here. It just wasn't fair.

The look I give her probably tells exactly how I feel based on the way she raises one of her eyebrows. I go over to my seat, sitting down as I refuse to even speak to her now that she had beaten me into the dining hall.

"What has gotten into you this morning?" Mother asks and I want to snap a retort back, that I was tired and wanted to sleep and I had forgotten about a meeting but I just shake my head instead, resting my head in my hands.

"Nothing," I mutter from behind my hands, refusing to look at her until she reaches over and grabs my arm, pulling my hand away from my face. I give her an exasperated look, huffing when she gives me a look that screams that I need to stop behaving this way.

"What is wrong dearest?" Mother questions, making my face heat up. She hadn't called me that in forever. Why was she calling me that now? There was no point in her calling me cute names anymore, I was far too old to be influenced by her calling me things like dearest. 

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