The Factory Girls – Episode 48

“That’s right,” Jonathan said to two girls moving past him with one of the precious lace-attach machines, “stack them by the warehouse doors. The truck will be here to pick them up later. And remember to watch your lifting technique.”The pair, absorbed in their task, couldn’t even get up the energy to tease Jonathan about his obsession with health and safety, and he realised how much he was going to miss their robust humour.Moonbright would be much the same, he told himself. But he didn’t believe it, somehow. There was much to admire about the Manchester factory, true, but it would never have the intimate, family feel of Cardill’s. It was too big and too driven by technology, and it didn’t have Carol Jenkins at the helm. Mind you, nor did Cardill’s right now! It was gone nine o’clock and the factory manager wasn’t here yet. It felt very unsettling. Jonathan had never made it into the factory before his boss. Technically the factory was now shut, but the staff were all being paid till the end of the month and were meant to be here, if only to empty it of anything worth keeping.“Make sure that cover’s clicked on securely, Shelley,” he said as she tottered past on heels that were way above regulation height. Carol would be on her back about it. If she were here, but she wasn’t, and Jonathan didn’t feel up to a debate about shoes, especially not with Dana’s best friend. He looked nervously around for his girlfriend and saw her dismantling a tricky seaming-machine with Helen Wright. His heart contracted. They were meant to be going out tonight. There was an independent cinema in the next town very nice, with red velvet seats and glasses of wine at the interval. It was showing “Casablanca”, a film Dana apparently loved. He’d been looking forward to surprising her with it all week, yet now he couldn’t find it in himself to be anything but terrified. He’d signed the contract with Moonbright last night after Frank had brought it over to his flat, and he couldn’t work out how to tell her. She would probably be angry that he was bailing out on Deveroe so easily. What scared him even more was if she were just to accept it without caring. He watched her, bent over the machine, spanner in hand, the tip of her tongue between her teeth as she concentrated on her task. She was gorgeous.


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