Chapter Twenty-Five

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I kept my pact with Mathias and didn't tell Doctor Ealing or Robert about the factory, or what really happened to both myself and Mathias. The temptation was there, I wanted to say it and get it out in the open once and for all, but I had to keep my promise. Mathias had been right, no one was going to believe us without proof and that was something we needed to get, though how we were going to get it was difficult. How could we prove what was really happening behind those gates if we were no longer within them? We had no contact with those we had left behind, no way of asking them to smuggle out some paperwork that confessed everything. Getting proof was going to be impossible.

The longer I thought about the sort of proof we could get, the more I wished I could get in contact with the other girls. With Isabel. If I could get in contact with them, find a way to get them a message, I could ask them to smuggle us something that could be used against the foreman. If they knew Mathias and I were still alive, that we had people we could trust to help us, they would help. I knew they would. Everyone wanted out of that factory, but we never knew if anyone had survived their dismissal. If we had known, we might have gotten out of there sooner, and without injury.

Still, my work at the Ealing's had to go on, even if I wanted to stop it in order to get a letter or some form of communication to the other girls. Even if it was just to let them know I was okay, I wished I could talk to them. Just once, to tell them I was alive, they needed that much at least.

"How did you get on yesterday?" Esther asked as we both worked in Doctor Ealing and Mrs Ealing's room the next morning. I had never stepped foot in their room and was surprised by how plain it seemed in comparison to the rest of the house.

"It was good, quite fun actually," I said, retying the rope that secured the curtains away from the window.

"I heard you ran into a friend from the workhouse whilst you were there."

"Not really a friend, we only saw each other once or twice as girls and boys were kept separately. It was good to see him, considering what had happened."

"Hm, Doctor Ealing mentioned he had lost part of his arm." She looked at my confused face. "They were talking about it during supper and I overheard. Master Robert didn't seem too pleased to have met him, though."

"He didn't seem to like him when they met, seems to think Mathias is hiding something, completely ridiculous if you ask me."

"I don't think that's the case, it seemed to me that he was jealous that you two knew each other," she said, a smirk tugging on the corner of her lips.

"He's not jealous," I said, heat creeping up my cheeks as Esther suppressed her laughter.

"Hm, you keep thinking that. Just be careful, Rosie."

I didn't respond, just kept my head down and continued the work we were supposed to be doing. Although I wasn't entirely sure what Esther was implying, I knew it was wrong. Mathias and I were friends, two people with shared experiences and both holding onto a secret that could ruin everything if it were to come out too soon. There was nothing to be jealous of, especially as our exchanges had been brief, one of which Robert had witnessed. The idea of being jealous of Mathias and I for any reason was ludicrous. I trusted Robert because he helped me when I thought no one else would, he was a friend and I couldn't see him as anything more than that. Even if I did, we could never be more than friends.

Finishing up in Doctor Ealing's room, Esther and I went our sperate ways, but her comment kept swirling through my head. Whilst I headed towards Charlotte's room to make her bed, Esther returned to the kitchens in order to help Miss Jenkins prepare luncheon. There was no way she was right on Robert. He mistrusted Mathias because he had never met him before because he didn't know that we had known each other before, that was all. It was never going to be more than a case of mistrust between the two of them, and Robert had every right not to trust Mathias. He also had every right not to trust me, but he didn't. At least I hoped he trusted me.

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