The Factory Girls – Episode 25

Jonathan dawdled awkwardly towards the factory. He needed to get a move on there was a committee meeting first thing and Helen might have found something in the contract. But his stupid feet just wouldn’t pick up pace. He felt in his trouser pocket for his phone. It was small and neat but today it felt like a lead weight against his leg.“He won’t ring again,” he told himself crossly. “Not during work hours. He knows that wouldn’t be right.” But did he?“This is a perfectly legitimate procedure, Jonathan,” his mentor, executive Frank Morgan, had insisted when he’d called half an hour ago. But if so, how come he’d called so early? “It’s what you’re entitled to as a Xion employee.”A Xion employee! Imagine if Dana heard him described that way! What had she said so scornfully yesterday? “Frank is the Xion lot, Carol.” Well, so was Jonathan, it seemed, and soon that was going to become abundantly clear. Frank wanted to get together with Jonathan to “look at his options”. He should be pleased, really, and his parents certainly would be pleased, but all he could think was that no-one else at Cardill’s had options, so why should he?“I have a couple of factories I’d like to show you. I think you’ll find them interesting.”The thing was, Jonathan thought guiltily as he turned down Deveroe high street, he probably would find them interesting. He loved factories of all sorts, and until he’d come here he’d always been drawn to the higher technology processes. He was fascinated by multi-function machines and computer-aided production, and he knew that a bit of him had been disappointed to be assigned to a simple cut-and-sew unit. A few months back he’d have grabbed at the chance to move on to somewhere bigger and more challenging! But Cardill’s had got under his skin and it didn’t seem so simple any more.Suddenly the quirky building came into sight, the defunct spire pointing defiantly towards the far-off hills. Jonathan stopped and looked at it. He could see the sewing machines silhouetted in the big windows and the shadows of the girls working them. Soon those machines would be gone. And the girls? They’d be crowding into the job centre in a desperate hunt for the sort of options he was apparently being offered on a plate.“It’s not over yet,” he said, as much to the stately building as to himself. “In the meantime no-one needs to know I’m even considering anything else.” Even so, as he let himself in through the big old door and made for Carol’s office, he felt as guilty as if he had traitor scrawled across his forehead.“Morning, Jonathan. Sleep in?”He flushed.“Sorry, Carol. I was up late working on the Facebook page.”“Fair enough. Don’t look so guilty, tea’s only just been poured.” She gestured to the mugs on the table and Jonathan dived forward to hide his blushes in the steam. He could feel Dana looking curiously at him and did not dare meet her eye. If she got wind of the fact that he was looking for other jobs she’d never come out with him on Saturday, and he was looking forward to spending some proper time with her. Luckily for him, Dana and Helen were bursting with news of their own.“We’ve found it!” Helen said.


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