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Brianna couldn’t decide whether painting Angelina Brumby was more like trying to catch a butterfly without a net, or lying in wait all night by a waterhole, waiting for some shy wild beast to appear for a few seconds, during which you might—if lucky—snap its photo.
“And what I wouldn’t give for my Nikon right now…” she muttered under her breath. Today was the first hair day. Angelina had spent nearly two hours in the hands of Savannah’s most popular hairdresser, emerging at last under a cloud of painstakingly engineered curls and ringlets, these powdered to a fare-thee-well and further decorated by a dozen or so brilliants stabbed in at random. The whole construction was so vast that it gave the impression that Angelina was carrying about her own personal thunderstorm, complete with lightning flashes.
The notion made Brianna smile, and Angelina, who had been looking rather apprehensive, perked up in response.
“Do you like it?” she asked hopefully, poking gingerly at her head.
“I do,” Bree said. “Here, let me…” For Angelina, unable or unwilling to bend her bedizened head enough to look down, was about to collide with the little platform on which the sitter’s chair was perched.
Once settled, Angelina became her usual self, chatty and distractible—and always in movement, with waving hands, turning head, widening eyes, constant questions and speculations. But if she was difficult to capture on canvas, she was also charming to watch, and Bree was constantly torn between exasperation and fascination, trying to catch something of the blithe butterfly without having to drive a hat-pin through her thorax to make her be still for five minutes.
She had had a few days of dealing with Angelina, though, and now set a vase of late sunflowers on the table, with firm instructions that Angelina should fix her eyes upon this and count the petals. She then turned over a two-minute sand-glass and urged her employer not to speak or move until the glass ran out.
Diana first posted this excerpt on her official Facebook page on Thursday, June 8, 2017. This page was last updated on Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 12:14 a.m. (PT) by Diana’s Webmistress.