Chapter Twenty-Nine

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Miss Jenkins spent the rest of the day and the next morning running around trying to find a way to get me out of the trip to London, it didn't work. According to Esther, the family rarely went on day trips out because they didn't have the staff necessary to control the twins, now they did. Not only that, but both twins had taken a liking to me and would be more likely to follow what I said rather than what Esther or anyone else said. There was no way of backing out of the day trip and, despite the implications, I didn't mind all that much. I was just excited to get out of the house for a day and go back to London. 

Although I had made a promise to Mathias not to say anything about the factory, being back in London would give me the chance to see it, to make sure it was still standing. Maybe, just maybe, I would be able to sneak away from the family long enough to get to the back gate and see if I could spot Isabel and the others on their luncheon break. It seemed unlikely since we had never seen anyone near the back gate during our time there, but I needed them to know I was okay, and I needed to see that they were okay. Being on the outside was good in a lot of aspects, but it meant I was unable to see how my friends were getting on. I just had to find a way to break away from the family, something that seemed like an impossible task.

"Remember to do exactly as you're told, Rosie. We want to limit what Doctor Ealing has the power to do. He can't punish you if you do nothing wrong," Miss Jenkins said, straightening my dress out for the fifth time since I had put it on.

"I think you're overreacting. Doctor Ealing only slapped me because of Alexander and Mr Warrington, neither of them are going to be there and I highly doubt he will do anything in front of the twins. Just relax, your worrying about this more than I am," I said, taking a step back.

"Sometimes it's better to overreact. You need to be careful, Rosie, you're still on trial."

"I know I am, everything is going to be fine.

"Hm, if you say so. Well, I'm going to give your dress another scrub this morning since I'm on my own, with any luck I can get the blood out of it. If not, you'll be stuck with that one for a little while longer."

"This one's fine, it might be a bit big, but it's better than being covered in my own blood."

Any attempt to remove the blood from my dress the previous day had failed, and Miss Jenkins looked as though she was fighting a losing battle against it. I didn't mind all that much. Doctor Ealing had told me that if I passed the trial I would be getting a new set of clothes since most of what I wore came from Esther and she needed the spares. If I failed the trial and didn't get the new clothes, then at least I had a dress that I could grow into. I didn't want to think about failing the trial, but the longer time went on, the more I started to think it was possible. Ever since I arrived at the Ealing household, I had caused nothing but trouble and it's possible that the events of the previous few days might have tipped the decision over the edge.

With Miss Jenkins well and truly distracted with my old dress, I took the opportunity of her leaving me alone to stuff a piece of toast in my mouth. Having spent most of the morning dealing with Miss Jenkins' fussing, I hadn't had the chance to eat the breakfast she had made. Although the toast had gone cold, I ate it in one sitting and wiped my hands off on a cloth, knowing what would happen if I left jam stains all over my dress. I had never seen Miss Jenkins this nervous before, not even the day of Matilda's party. She was terrified about what Doctor Ealing would do, even more so then I was. Though her fear wasn't without merit.

Despite the idea of Doctor Ealing doing anything in public seemed impossible, the threat was still there. None of us could come up with any reason as to why he would decide to have this trip two days after he had cut and bruised my face. With the bruise more prominent than the previous day, and the cut still tending to bleed, the idea of it being a warning was starting to sit at the front of my mind more and more. I didn't want to admit that Doctor Ealing was capable of doing worse, capable of going beyond a backhand and a bruised face, it was possible. Not even the foreman wanted people to see the bruises and marks he had left us, he often kept those with visible injuries out of sight of visitors, and we had a fair few of those.

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