Now Frank was somewhere in the bar with the rest of the studio audience, and the women were here, on stage. Why on earth had Carol ever agreed to this? She looked around for some sort of escape. There were several windows high up in the blank walls and she could see the sky through them, cloudless blue and so enticing against the white paintwork. A bird flew across one, curving elegantly on the breeze, and she almost reached out to it. She thought of Eddie’s spade, hanging on its hook back home. Suddenly she longed to be in the safety of her back garden, pulling up weeds with only the birds for company. She still cared desperately for Cardill’s, but it was becoming harder to stay motivated. What on earth was she doing sitting in a TV studio, in a too-tight T-shirt, at her age?She glanced longingly to the doors at the back of the studio, but just then they flew open and Perry Frances, the show’s beautiful lead presenter, wafted through in a cloud of hangers-on. One woman was touching up her blusher on the run, a man scuttled at her side with a clip-board, and another was fixing her perfect dark waves with a fine mist of hairspray that hung angelically around her head.“It’s Perry!” Shelley squeaked. “I can’t believe we’re really here with her!”She half stood, tugging at her tiny black skirt, and gave a little wave. Perry spotted them immediately and moved forward, brushing off her followers like flies.“The factory girls!” she proclaimed in warm tones, flinging her arms wide. “How wonderful. And don’t you all look fabulous in your T-shirts? Such a statement!” She beamed at Carol and held out a hand. “You must be Carol Jenkins. What a gorgeous figure you have. And who are these lovelies with you?”Carol dutifully introduced them and Perry drew them all forward, asking more about Deveroe and the factory as she settled them on her couch. Carol felt herself warming to the woman. Maybe this would be OK, after all.“Right,” Perry said. “I’m going to ask you, Carol, to tell me a little about Cardill’s; its history, how long you’ve been there, that sort of thing. Then, Helen, I’d like you to tell me what Cardill’s means to you personally. “Shelley, I’ll be turning to you about the T-shirts, and then to you, Dana, on what you’d like to say to Xion. But keep it polite, OK?”Shelley giggled and Dana nudged her.“Of course,” she agreed swiftly.“Lovely. Any more questions? Great! And don’t worry; you’ll all be wonderful. Now, if you don’t mind, Lucinda will take you back behind the wings whilst we do the boring introductory stuff. Then someone will count you in when I announce you. And do watch the wires we don’t want you tripping up when you walk on!”She winked at them as the make-up people descended on her once again. “Here we go, then,” Helen said, her voice cracking.“Here we go,” Carol agreed. She couldn’t wait until it was all over.