Chapter Six

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Sunday rolled around at its usual pace and James once again found me curled up in the fabric scraps in the art room. Although I had a room to myself with a real bed, I enjoyed sleeping on the floor a little too much. I suppose old habits die hard and despite having a mattress at the Ealing's, it certainly wasn't as comfortable as the bed I had James had. Maybe I'll get used to it, but until then, James would have to deal with finding me on the floor.

I stretched my arms behind me as James closed the door. My shoulders cracked slightly, and I flexed my neck to release the stiffness that had set in overnight. I pushed the pile of cloth off my body and stood up, my knee screaming at me as I stretched it out. My knee had been injured so many times that Doctor Lucas said it would never return to normal and no amount of rest would stop the pain from flaring up again. All I could do was work around it and deal with the pain when it happened. I had hoped it would get me out of attending church, but James would never allow it.

The low hum of conversation from the living room below filled the upstairs hallway as I walked from the art room to my bedroom. James had left the door partial ajar and had opened the window ever so slightly to let some air in. Still no snow. I crossed to the wardrobe on the other side of the room and grabbed my pale purple dress that James made specifically for church wear. The dress Matilda had allowed me to borrow lay folded on the floor of the wardrobe, along with my two old work dresses and the nightdress. I didn't know what to do with them seeing as they were no longer needed, James thought I should throw them away.

"Rosie, hurry up!" James called up the stairs.

"I'm coming!"

After putting the dress on, I quickly ran a brush through my hair and plaited it down my back before closing the window and limping down the hallway and the stairs. James and Kitty were standing at the bottom of the stairs when I made my way down, but Christopher was nowhere in sight. I pulled my coat off the stand just as Christopher came running down the hallway from the steps that led down to the kitchen and almost knocked us over as though we were skittles. He stopped short of James and grinned like a child who had been caught doing something they shouldn't.

"We can go, I've sorted it," Christopher said.

"Sorted what?" I asked.

"The handle for the water pump in the kitchen broke, so I've made a temporary fix until Matthew can repair it."

"You're both useless."

"Why should we learn how to fix something, if Matthew can do it for us?"

"Because you live here, not Matthew."

"Alright, let's not go through this again. Come on, let's go."

James gestured to the front door and Christopher offered one final grin as he passed me and shuffled through the door. I followed him through the door and out onto the bitter cold London streets so we could sit through a stupidly long church service. Upon noticing my limp, Christopher held out his arm and I graciously accepted it. Without his help, I probably wouldn't have made it to the end of the street let alone to the church. If Christopher hadn't wanted to be so chivalrous, I might have been allowed to stay home. No such luck.

We reached the church just minutes before the service was about to begin and took the only available seats right at the back. James, Kitty and Christopher attended a different church to Matthew as it was closer than the one they attended with the Ealing's. It had been because of their choice in church that I had managed to avoid seeing the Ealing's for so long. Matthew didn't have the same luck as us but tried his hardest to ignore them and refrain from making eye contact whenever possible. He had maintained polite conversation when necessary, but if he didn't have to speak to him, then he didn't.

The Apprentice Girl // Book 3 in the Rosie Grey seriesWhere stories live. Discover now