Chapter Six

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For the first time in as long as I could remember, I slept a full night. I didn't wake up once for the entire night, not even when Esther finally emerged from the kitchen to come to bed. I didn't have to contend with the blanket being pulled off, or being kicked in the night, I didn't even have to put up with the constant noises that plagued my sleep back at the factory. It was quiet, peaceful. I had forgotten what peace was like, what silence actually sounded like. Although I liked being able to sleep a full night, I missed the noise. I missed Isabel.

When I woke the next morning, it took me a few seconds to understand where I was. Sunlight was just starting to peek through the window at the top of the room and I could hear Esther breathing softly beside me. She moved slightly as she slept, and I found myself, for just a second, thinking I was back in that factory with Isabel lying beside me. Esther was older than Isabel, but they were so alike, even as they slept, it was almost surreal. They both slept with their mouth slightly open, one hand dangling off the edge of the bed. It took Miss Jenkins yelling up the stairs to wake us for me to realise where I was.

"Girls? We have work to do, time to get up!"

"Coming," Esther mumbled, though I don't think it was loud enough for Miss Jenkins to hear. She rolled over and stretched her arms out, careful not to hit me across the face in the process. "Good morning, how did you sleep?"

"Better then I have in a long time," I said, rubbing my eyes.

"Good. We should get going, Miss Jenkins won't be happy if we're late, we have to get breakfast ready."

Esther rolled herself out of bed, stretched and then crossed the room to the chest of drawers where she had left her clothes the night before. I followed suit and rolled across the bed and onto the floor before grabbing up my clothes from the chair. The two of us quickly changed out of our nightdresses and into our work clothes. Once dressed, I pinned my hair up in a knot at the base off my neck before jamming my bonnet on my head. I then crossed the room to the chest of drawers and grabbed the small jar of paste from on top and smothered it onto the burn, just like Robert had told me to.

When the two of us were dressed, and my burn had enough paste on it, we left our small attic room and descend to the kitchen. Before we had even entered the kitchen, we could hear the clattering of the pots and pans as Miss Jenkins prepared breakfast for the household, and for us. I had no idea what a normal breakfast would entail, for both the Ealing family and for myself, as I had never had breakfast. Back in the factory it was always two meals, no more no less, eating in the morning was a dream for all of us. Though I wasn't entirely sure I could stomach anything after the meal I had eaten the night before. Eating barely anything to suddenly eating a lot was more than my stomach could handle.

Entering the kitchen, Esther and I were met with the site of Miss Jenkins running around the kitchen, throwing things into the oven or on top of the stove, she barely glanced up when we entered. I glanced at Esther who shrugged her shoulders and set about with the jobs I expected she did every single day. Having no idea what I was supposed to be doing in terms of helping with breakfast, I stood awkwardly in the corner, watching Miss Jenkins and Esther do all of the jobs that I should have been helping with. My mind was telling me that I should be doing something, but I didn't know what to do.

"Right, Rosie, this morning, you will be taking tea to Master Robert and Miss Matilda, Esther will prepare the tray for you and give you instructions on how to get to their rooms. I would suggest going to see Master Robert first, so he can help you with anything you might need before you see Miss Matilda. It's better to know what you're doing before going to see her," Miss Jenkins said.

"Okay," I replied, nodding my head. I was glad Miss Jenkins had a system in place for my first day, I didn't like the idea of the first person in the household I see being Matilda, especially as I had little knowledge of her other than what I was told. If I messed up with Robert, it would not be as bad, but I was certain that Matilda would have wanted my trial terminated if I did anything wrong, even on my first day.

The Factory Girl // Book 1 in the Rosie Grey seriesWhere stories live. Discover now