In this snippet, Maire has been sent inside to help in the kitchen after she beat up her hands working outside the day before. I hope you enjoy it - Maire is starting to be an easier character to write, now that she's got some friends (well, she wouldn't admit they were friends, but anyway) to force her into being taken care of, and into hating the world and everything in it a little bit less.
They had almost finished when Maire, who was across the room and wiping up spilt tea on a tabletop, heard Elizabeth gasp, and looked up, frowning. Elizabeth was holding up one of the last plates that Maire had stacked for her, examining something red on the edge.
“Maire, are your hands bleeding?”
Maire stared across the room at Elizabeth, not moving for a moment. Then she dropped the rag she had been using and, sure enough, there were spatters of blood from the newly reopened cuts on her hands. She looked down at her cracked palms, silently cursing them for betraying her foolishness of the day before, for betraying her weakness for the second time that morning.
“Here, let me see.”
Elizabeth had appeared at her side, and Maire jumped, flinching away from the other girl, but she was not quick enough to escape when Elizabeth reached out and grasped her wrists. The girl’s grip was surprisingly firm, and for an instant Maire considered struggling against her, but the damage had been done. Elizabeth had seen the mess of her hands – the enormous blisters on her fingers, the torn and cracked skin of her palms, the indents her fingernails had made and the places where the cuts had reopened earlier that morning.
“Why did you not tell me?”
The soft concern in her voice actually made Maire look up in surprise. She sounded like Brigid. The look on Elizabeth’s face, that worried, saddened, not-quite-pitying look, was one that she had seen on her sister’s face a thousand times before, every time Maire would storm away from a fight with their mother, or would come home railing against the day’s failures, or with her knuckles skinned from another brawl over scraps. The resemblance was so striking that Maire felt like crying.