Chapter Thirty-Five

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After returning to the house, I immediately went to Lucy and Suzanna who were battling to move the boys away from the sweet table. I told them what had happened with Mrs Ealing, but neither of them seemed all that surprised that she showed up to the party, they were more surprised that I had spoken up than anything else. To be honest, I was a tad surprised I had done so as well. All those years at the factory and I had never said a word to the foreman. I had never spoken back to Matilda and, until recently, had never spoken back to Mrs Ealing.

Mother always said that there was only so much a person could take before they exploded, and I believe I had reached my boiling point when Mrs Ealing decided to show her face where she wasn't wanted. I had put up with far too many people believing they could treat me the way they did, and it had gone too far for me to simply sit back and allow it to happen again. Perhaps I should have spoken out sooner, but I was glad to have done it. It felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I could finally move on from the last seven years.

The soft music from the piano filled the room as James emerged in the door with the twins, Sebastian and Kitty in tow. None of them appeared to have noticed what happened outside, meaning the plan to send to the kitchen had thankfully had the desired effect. The twins had already had to deal with a lot because of Mrs Ealing's actions, they didn't need to witness the continuation of her tirade of abuse. Doctor Ealing had been right, getting them out of the household had been a good idea, at least for their sake.

"Do you reckon she'll show up again after that?" Lucy asked, dropping shortbread crumbs onto the table.

"No idea. If she does, I'm not giving her the time of day. I've said my peace and there is nothing else I can see to her now." I shrugged.

"How do you do that?"

"Do what?"

"You just seem so good at moving on from things, the factory, Mrs Ealing, what your father did, all of it. It just doesn't seem to bother you."

"It does, I just don't see the point in letting it be my focus. I don't want what they did to control the way I live my life; they've been doing that for long enough."

"Mathias and I are going to try and find our parents. Not because we owe them anything, we know we don't, but to prove to them that we can leave our life without them. I don't want to go into married life with them hanging over me. I reckon talking to them will help with that."

"If you think it will help, go for it. We're all going to have different ways of dealing with it, mine just happens to out-right avoiding my father for the rest of my life."

Lucy laughed and went in search of Mathias, most likely to tell him that the plan to find their families would be going ahead. They both seemed so much more willing to meet the person that put them in the factory then I ever would be. Even though it had been on Isabel's list, I had decided that moving back in with my brothers was enough and I didn't need to go the extra mile and talk to my father. He had been the cause of all of my problems over the years and held more responsibility for what had happened than anyone else. If he hadn't sold me to the foreman, I wouldn't have been burned or have to deal with Mrs Ealing.

Although, I also wouldn't have met Robert.

My father had been responsible for most, if not all, of the bad things I had faced over the last seven years and yet he had also caused my chance meeting with Robert. That was purpose been the only good thing he had done through all of it, but it didn't mean I wanted to see him. I didn't feel as though I owed him anything after what I did, and he certainly didn't get to see just how well things had started to work out since the factory. My relationship with him ended the day he left me at the gates of the factory, and I had no desire to rekindle it.

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