Chapter Twenty

918 49 28

"It was my fault, Father. I started it," Robert said, his hands pressed tightly together behind his back. His head was high, his back straight, his eyes narrow and almost glaring at Dr Ealing who was staring back with so much force it looked as though he was going to burn a whole in the wall. I had never seen them look so tense before and I didn't like being caught in the middle of it.

"And what, may I ask, were you doing in the garden when I specifically told you to stay in the house and study?" Dr Ealing asked, cocking an eyebrow and peering over the top of his glasses. His elbows pressed deeply into the wood on the desk in front of him, the top of his pen tapping lightly against the paper.

After being caught throwing sponges at each other in the garden, Robert and I had been summoned to Dr Ealing's office to explain ourselves. Were he on his own, I'm more than certain he would have given us a short warning that rarely meant anything there and then. However, he was not on his own. Despite the events that occurred on Matilda's birthday, it seemed as though Mr Warrington's actions weren't enough for him to be banished from the house. He was the one who had spotted Robert and I laughing sponges across the grass at the side of the house and thought it worthy of a good telling off. Although it had been his idea, Dr Ealing had made him wait outside.

When we had entered the office, Dr Ealing said that he was to deal with Robert first and me second, something that put me a little on edge. It was never a good sign if you had to stand in a room and listen to someone else being told off, just waiting for your moment. It had happened a lot back at the factory. A group of us would get in trouble for some reason or another and we would all be forced to stand in front of Mr Thompson and the foreman watching as the person before us was punished, just waiting for our turn. The type of punishment, if any, I was likely to receive was never going to compare but I couldn't help but feel like something was going to go wrong. It always did.

"I needed a break, that's all. I offered my services to Rosie and got a little carried away, that's all."

"That's all? I asked you to do something and you failed to do it. Not only that, but you are soaked, and your shirt is going to have to be washed if that mud will even come out. You already know how much Mr Warrington loves to berate me and your mother about you and your siblings are being raised and this certainly hasn't helped. I understand that you were trying to help, and I appreciate the sentiment, but the sponge fight was not a good idea."

"I didn't know Mr Warrington was going to be here if I had I would have hidden in the library."

"None of us knew he was coming. He thought he would surprise us. Alexander is here too, most likely looking for trouble. Go and change your shirt, dry yourself off and then keep him occupied, we cannot have any more trouble, at least not at the moment."

"Yes, Father." Robert looked at me, gave me a reassuring smile and left the room, leaving myself and Dr Ealing alone.

Dr Ealing waited for several seconds, readjusting sheets of paper, screwing the lid on his ink bottle and just doing whatever he could to not speak. I was glad for this, whether or not he was going to use this as a cover, to convince Mr Warrington he had told me off, was a mystery to me, but if that were the case, I liked his way of thinking. After several minutes of nothing but shuffling papers, Dr Ealing removed his glasses and placed them down on the table in front of him. He looked exhausted and I couldn't blame him, it had been a chaotic few days for everyone and this latest incident probably wasn't helping. In a way, I felt guilty.

I know I shouldn't have, that all of them were just unfortunate incidents out of everyone's control, no more so than my own. Yet, everything that had happened over the past few days, had been caused by me. It was as though my arrival had set off a chain of events that were going to continue to spiral until it was bigger than I ever thought it would be. As though someone was telling me that things were only going to get worse until I told the truth. Until I admitted everything. Maybe it would have slowed things down, bought it all to a standstill long enough for the damage to have been repaired. Although I knew I needed to admit everything, there were somethings a person just couldn't admit, and I was not ready to tell the truth. I had tried to tell Robert, but that had failed, and I wasn't going to try again any time soon.

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