Chapter Twenty-Eight

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That evening, Robert inspected the cut on my cheek and came to the same conclusion as Samuel; that it wasn't deep and might leave a scar. Other than inspecting the injury, he didn't say anything about what had happened. He barely spoke at all. Neither of us really knew what to say about it, we were both still processing the scale of the incident and for me, I was questioning whether or not it would happen again. No amount of reassurance from Miss Jenkins or Esther could settle the torrent of possibilities that circled my brain.

Sleeping felt like a distant memory and after several hours of tossing and turning, trying not to kick Esther in the process, I crawled out of the bed and made my way across the room. Although it was still dark, I dressed and pinned my hair up in its usual knot. On my way out of the room, I caught sight of my face in the mirror that rested on top of the chest of drawers that leant against the wall. My cheek was a dark purple, the mark of Doctor Ealing's ring prominent on my skin, the cut itself had bled slightly during my countless hours of movement causing dry blood to sit a top of the bruise.

I sighed to myself and crept silently from the room, climbing the stairs and heading to the kitchen which was bathed in the early morning light that was slipping through the darkness. At the sink, I lightly scrubbed the dried blood off my face and watched as it mixed with the water and washed away. In my head, I was washing away everything that had happened the previous day, the idea that by removing the blood I was removing any trace of what had happened, but that was never going to be the case.

I was never going to be able to remove any trace of the previous day's events. They were always going to be there, forever marking my face and reminding me how far someone would go to hold up appearances. The bruise would fade, maybe the scar would become nothing more than a thin line against my pale skin, but the memory would still be there. Somethings are easier to forget, like the things I did as a child, but the memory of someone you trusted hurting you in some way never really fades. Not really.

"What are you doing up so earlier? It's barely even daybreak," Miss Jenkins said, stepping into the kitchen and dumping a brown bag loaded with bread on the table.

"I couldn't sleep," I muttered, turning around.

"Your face looks worse than it did yesterday."

"Thank you, I appreciate the compliment." I rolled my eyes and dried my wet hands on a cloth.

"You know what I mean, Rosie. I knew it would bruise, but not that bad, even Doctor Ealing's ring is noticeable."

"It'll be gone within a few days."

"Hmm, still. I don't think it'll be good for the twins to see it, though I doubt Doctor Ealing would tell them what really happened."

"We could just tell them I fell, my boots are several sizes too big and they're falling apart, a perfect excuse for how I would have fallen and hit my face." I shrugged as if it was the simplest of solutions.

"It could work. You've put a lot of thought into that excuse." Miss Jenkins regarded me with a small tilt of her head, as though not entirely sure what to make of my comment or how quickly I had come up with the excuse in question.

"I said I couldn't sleep, gives someone a lot of thinking time."

"Right, well, as your awake, can you take these loaves into the pantry and bring me the one from yesterday?"

"Yes, of course."

Leaving Miss Jenkins in the kitchen, I grabbed the brown bag off the table and took it into the pantry, emptying it of the bread and swapping the new loaves out for the old. The old loaf had been cut in half, the other half having been eaten the previous day, most likely for breakfast. The smell of the bread and the other food types in the pantry was so overwhelming that I had to quickly leave the room to stop myself from eating it all in one go. Despite Miss Jenkins making me a sandwich the previous day, I had hardly eaten it and the next morning I was starving.

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