Chapter Twenty-Three

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The next day, I made a promise to myself that by the time the sun had set beyond the trees, Dr Ealing would know the truth about me and the factory.

Of course, that was far easier said than done, especially as Miss Jenkins was determined to make me pay for the trouble I had caused the day before. Even before I was given my chores in the garden, something I was looking forward to immensely, she had me complete the breakfast washing up for both us and the main household. I did the task with no complaints, knowing I deserved the punishment that was being given to me, especially after all the trouble I had caused the previous day. I would have cleaned out the privy if it meant Miss Jenkins no longer looked at me with disappointment, I hated seeing how much I had upset her.

As I finished up my task for that morning, continuously having to brush the back of my hand across my forehead to keep my hair out of my eyes, a set of footsteps travelled down the stairs to the kitchen. Drying my hands on a cloth, I turned towards the doorway, as did Miss Jenkins who was transferring flour into from a bag into a container. Dr Ealing appeared in the doorway, adjusting his suit jacket and tie, a briefcase in hand. Since I had started working for the family, he had never been down to the kitchen, I had rarely seen him outside of his office. Miss Jenkins glanced at me, as though she thought I might have had something to do with his visit. I just shrugged my shoulders and dropped the cloth onto the side, hoping it was a social visit and that I wasn't in trouble.

"Dr Ealing! How can we help you?" Miss Jenkins said, still giving me the side-eye.

"I was wondering if I could borrow Rosie for the day. I know she has chores in the garden to complete, but I'm heading into my office today and it has become a bit of a mess. She'll be busy all day, but I could really do with a hand or I won't be able to find any of my paperwork," Dr Ealing said, fiddling with his as though he couldn't get it to sit straight.

"If you need her, I'm sure we'll be able to manage for one day, especially if she would have been in the garden and of no help in the house itself."

"Excellent. Rosie? Are you up for a day in London sorting through paperwork?"

"If you need me, I'm there," I said, shrugging my shoulders.

"Great, the carriage is waiting for us outside."

Sending a small wave towards Miss Jenkins, I followed Dr Ealing out of the kitchen and up the stairs, following close behind him as we entered out onto the hall and headed towards the front door. The idea of spending the day in London was a welcomed relief, it meant I was away from Matilda and, with any luck, away from Mr Warrington and Alexander. It meant I didn't have to watch Miss Jenkins eyes follow me around the kitchen, watching my every move to make sure I didn't do anything wrong. I would take organising paperwork over spending another day under Miss Jenkins watchful eye any day of the week.

I followed Dr Ealing out of the house and into the bright sunlight, somewhat surprised that it was so warm after the weather we had had the day before. Following Dr Ealing, he led me towards the carriage I had cleaned the previous day, the door left wide open. Dr Ealing gestured me inside and I scrambled up the small step and into the carriage, where I was greeted by Robert's smiling face. I knew, even after I had agreed to go, that Robert was going to be there. He was, after all, following in his father's footsteps and attending work with him only made sense, but I wished he wasn't. All I wanted was one day without the possibility of something going wrong and leading to me getting in trouble. As much as I hated to admit it, Robert was always around when something happened.

Taking a seat across from Robert, I tucked my skirts around my legs, watching as Dr Ealing climbed in after me and took a seat beside Robert. He placed his hands on his knees and gave the call to the carriage driver, the carriage suddenly lunging forward in motion. I sat with my hands knotted in my lap, my eyes drawn to the window as the wheels were put into motion and we wound our way up the gravel path and towards London. Watching the trees go past the windows, I was reminded of my first journey up to the Ealing house. It had only been a week, but it felt like much longer, as though I had been with the family for far longer. I had hoped that would become real, I just had to get through the week.

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