Chapter 2: Bye By, Ambrose

49.4K 2.4K 1.6K

"Don't you miss having someone to love?" "It's not the same when there's no growing old together. Without that love is just heartbreak." - The Age of Adaline, in theaters April 24

 ***

The late 1920s

Lilly hesitated at the door. Finally, she took a deep breath, raised her hand and knocked, once. Twice, he had told her often enough, would be an extravagant waste of time.

“Enter,” came a cold voice from inside.

She stepped into the office. It wasn’t the one in which they had started out, of course. It had been about eighty years since that one. But this office clearly belonged to the same man. The lack of paint on the bare concrete walls, the lack of anything but the simplest furniture, and the general chill emanating from the intimidating space, all attested to that. So did the tall, dark figure sitting behind the desk.

“Yes, Mr Linton?” he asked without looking up.

He still called her that, still insisted on her wearing trousers to work. According to him, just because the rest of the world had gone insane over the last few decades and granted equal rights to women, that was no reason for him to become infected with the same mental illness.

Well, he was going to get a surprise!

“It’s Miss Linton, Mr Ambrose.”

He looked up. For the first time, he noticed the skirt she was wearing.

“What is this?” he asked, his voice dangerously low. His dark eyes were doing their best to nail her to the wall with the pure force of their gaze.

Lilly swallowed. Suddenly, she found it very difficult to go on.

“I… I’ve come to give you something,” she managed.

“I hope it is that outrageous female garment you’re wearing. Though I must warn you, I will not allow you to walk around the office displaying your bare underpinnings. I hope for your sake that you have a pair of trousers with you.”

“I didn’t come here to give you my skirt!” she snapped.

“Indeed?” His sea-coloured eyes darkened even more.

“No! I came here to give you my notice!” Marching forward, she slammed a piece of paper onto his desk. “My resignation! As of this moment, I am no longer your employee!”

He sat there for a few moments, frozen still. Then, slowly, he reached out and picked up her resignation. He studied it carefully, even turned it, to see whether there was anything on the back. Finally, he lowered it back to the desk and raised his eyes to meet hers. She took a step back.

“Impossible.”

“What?” she raised an eyebrow. “That I should wear a skirt?”

“No. That is merely improper. It is impossible that you should wish to leave my employ. Who else would take you on?”

“In case you hadn’t noticed, this isn’t the Victorian Age any more. There are plenty of women working at plenty of companies. I could find another job without difficulty. But as it happens, I don’t even want to.”

“What?”

“I’m not going to need a job. I’ll be busy enough as it is.” She swallowed. “I’m going to start my own company.”

“What did you say?”

Lilly met his eyes. “I said I’m going to start my own company.”

“That’s what I thought you said.” Mr Ambrose leaned forward. “I thought I’d just check to give you the benefit of the doubt. I thought there might be a slight chance that I had misheard and you had not gone completely insane.”

Up and DownWhere stories live. Discover now