Chapter Twenty-Three

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I stared at Doctor Ealing. It felt as though he had just told me that I would someday go to the moon, a rather impossible goal. There was no way he, or anyone else, would think me worthy of becoming a nurse or even training to be one. Even with my time working at Doctor Ealing's office, I never did enough to warrant a suggestion and I doubted my work during the explosion was of much use. The idea of being a nurse was absurd. Nurses were educated; I was not.

The entire thing was ludicrous, but Doctor Ealing look genuine. He looked at me and there was a gleam in his eye as though he expected me to take the offer there and then, but I couldn't. Since leaving the factory the concept of my future and what it would entail hardly had a second to fill my mind. When working for the Ealing's I thought that would be my future but since leaving I didn't want to think about it. My life as a servant was over because I could never get a reference and I had nothing else to contribute in terms of service.

Despite that, I didn't think being a nurse would be for me. I may not have been bothered by blood or anything that came with working in a Doctor's office, but being a nurse meant having more responsibility then I wanted. It would just end up drawing more attention to me and that was the last thing I wanted since being the centre of attention had never been a comfortable place. I would be happy if I spent the rest of my life doing my art in the small room at home.

"Me? A nurse?" I said, raising an eyebrow.

"Yes, it's not as far-fetched as you might think. You were level-headed and calm during the match factory explosion despite having no formal training. It could be a good thing for you."

"Don't I have to have formal training to qualify? And be able to read and write."

"I might be able to make arrangements for you to train with us and take a practical and written examination at the hospital to prove yourself. Robert and I can help with that and your reading and writing have come on leaps and bounds over the recent months."

"I don't know, I don't think I'll be very good as a nurse."

"You don't have to answer right now, think about it. You are free to say no, I won't take offence."

"I will." I paused. "Think about it, I mean, not take offence.

Doctor Ealing chuckled to himself, took a sip from his glass and wandered off to the sweet table when he took a short-break biscuit and wandered off again. He almost looked to be in a daze, and it was rather amusing to witness. Still, as he went, I couldn't help but wonder why on earth he thought I would make a good nurse. There is far too much studying involved, and nurses were known for their bedside manner as well as being smart. I was neither of those things and I wouldn't even be able to pass the examination required.

I didn't want to think about it yet, especially if I had time to think about it and decide whether it was really something I wanted. My time at the ball was intended for fun, not for deciding what my future might entail if I decided to even think about it beyond the ball. I pushed the thought to the back of my mind and drank the last of made in one gulp, placing the now empty glass on a passing tray.

From across the room, Tommy slowly shuffled his way over to me and once again offered me something from his plate; I took a small biscuit. He asked no question about what Doctor Ealing had spoken to me about, and I expected nothing less from him. Tommy never asked more than he felt he needed to know, and I expect watching the conversation unfold from the wall told him everything and he did not need to ask questions. Anyone else would have, but Tommy knew how to read people better than anyone.

We both turned our attention back to the dace as it came to end and joined in clapping for the orchestra, though Tommy struggled to clap with a plate. The group of dancers dispersed, and Lucy and Mathias stumbled over to us in fits of hysterical laughter whilst Suzanna stepped to the side with the mysterious suitor.

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