The sound of the twelve o'clock steam engine whistled loudly at a platform in Birmingham, England. The afternoon engine reminding Blythe Davies how quickly the ending of her lunch break was approaching. Blythe scurried down Union Street trying to avoid oncoming passerby's while keeping a tight clutch on her muddled brown pea coat tucked neatly away between her arms and her person. Mr. Addington will never forgive me if I am late again, Blythe chided herself in her head. The pleasant sunny weather, a rare treat in Birmingham, made for a very busy afternoon in the center plaza of the large industrial city. Many folks were out and about to get their errands and honey-do's done before the end of the day, creating a rush of foot-traffic that aided in Blythe's poor timing.
The soft clack of Blythe's heels soon became more hurried as she neared the dress and suit tailor shop that she had worked at for nearly two years. Addington & Co. scrawled in a neat script across the glass front door beamed elegantly at her as she took a few moments to compose her rushed demeanor. The shop catered to the more aristocratic members of society, making it a wonder how Blythe even belonged on the job in the first place. Brilliantly made suits displayed in the large open windows facing the streets for buyers to admire and gawk at before entering the posh shop.
Immediately upon entering she caught the side-eye of Mr. Garrick Addington who was busy tending to a potential buyer. Owner of the small company and entirely too proud to show it, Mr. Addington was a very standoffish older gentleman with a large potbelly. The swanky suits that he had adorned himself with stretched tightly and nearly didn't button properly. "Thin is in, Ms. Davies!" He would always remind her. Putting her head down slightly in an apologetic submission Blythe managed to sneak away into the back room where the inventory and miscellaneous products were kept. It was usual for Mr. Addington to keep Blythe tucked away in the back where members of the higher society couldn't see her. It was not for a lack of beauty. Blythe was blessed with smooth skin the color of ivory accompanied by the most beautiful chocolate brown hair with a slight natural wave that reached the bottom of her shoulder blades. Her soft features gave way to a small button nose, slightly full cheeks with the faintest of pink hues as well as exquisite green eyes that always gave the impression that there was usually something turning in that mind of hers. She had inherited both of her parents' average height, standing at a meager 167 cm tall. Blythe wasn't a particularly petite woman. She managed to keep a healthy lifestyle that kept her body toned with some delicate curves. However, none of this seemed to matter to Mr. Addington because she couldn't afford to dress like the wealthy and therefore could not be treated as such. The shop had a name and an image, and unfortunately, Blythe couldn't identify with either.
She had landed the job due immensely to her mother. Her mother had worked here for over 10 years before she had passed away. Since her passing the position was open and Blythe was fortunate enough that Mr. Addington offered her to take over for her mother. She had always wondered just how her mother got the job all those years ago but was never one to bring up the sensitive memory to her father who became isolated and closed off since the passing. Arthur Davies was an incredible father, always doting on his one and only daughter. He continued to be an amazing father after the sickness had taken Margaret leaving just him and Blythe. However, he had been so emotionally closed off since which made it difficult to exchange feelings whenever Blythe was feeling troubled in her youth. This lead to Blythe being a stubborn, hard-headed woman who valued her independence more than anything. But as much as she would love to tell Mr. Addington to shove his wealth where the sun never shines, she desperately needed this income to provide for her measly, little flat along with the money she sent to her father every month. No other job would continuously allow her to take the weekends off to visit her father as well as feed and tend to the few English thoroughbreds he kept on the family land that gave her joy and peace in her simple life.
Blythe had no more than opened the first package of their newest shipments before Mr. Addington bustled through the entrance to the back room. Pushing her shoulders back, Blythe readied herself for the scolding that was sure to come.
"Do you realize I have a business to run here, Ms. Davies?" He quipped angrily.
"Yes, sir." Blythe nodded quickly. "I'm very sorry. I assure you it will not happen again." She answered quietly. Normally not one to tuck her head and cower, she was completely aware that she had to kiss whoever's arse to keep the job she had; Mr. Addington's included.
"That is what you said last time!" She could see the anger burning behind his pale grey irises as his face became redder and redder by the minute. "Might I remind you," he took a heavy breath trying to right himself to make sure he radiated power, "there are plenty of lower-class citizens in Birmingham that would cherish this job opportunity and I am not above replacing you with one of them if you do not adhere to my rules! You have a 30-minute lunch break. No more, no less. Do you understand?" He finished, looking down the bridge of his stout nose at her.
Blythe nodded once more, trying her damnedest to make eye contact with the repulsive shop owner. She would make sure she did everything she could to keep this job, however, she was not about to let him think she was weak.
"Good." He concluded with a nod. He busied his hands by pulling at his suit jacket, making sure it was night and taut against his waistcoat. Wasting no time, he promptly exited the backroom mumbling something about 'important people to see'. Blythe let out a long, drawn-out breath reeling from yet another close call at losing her job. Shaking off her nerves, she reached back into the package pulling out a beautiful navy suit jacket. The embroidery that held the seams together was stitched with a remarkable silver thread. She stroked the jacket lightly, admiring the high-quality work. Sighing away the thoughts of wealth and luxury, she began to hang it up neatly on the hangers the shop had provided in order to put it in the display room.
After 3 grueling hours of picking out lavish suits and exquisite dresses to hang them up pristinely, Blythe was pleased to hear the chime of the bell adorned the front door of the shop. It was always a relieving feeling when the bell dinged. Every time the bell jingled it meant a potential customer was entering the shop. Potential customers meant a happy Mr. Addington, and that made for a relatively smooth evening all things considered.
Out of pure curiosity, Blythe peeked her head out of the hardwood door leading to the front room. She had no business being in the front, but the day had gone by so tediously since lunch that she needed a minor break to push herself through the rest of her shift. She noted Mr. Addington stop in his tracks at the man that strolled into the shop. To make a man such as him speechless was a feat not many could do. He immediately flew to the man and his company, spewing pleasantries like he had been star-struck by a celebrity. The man that had Mr. Addington so flustered had his back toward the back room, glossing over the suits in the display case of the front room. Blythe couldn't see what the stranger looked like, but she could tell he came from a rank of power and importance. The suit he was already clad in was immaculate and pressed to perfection. The shoulders of the onyx jacket accented the gentleman's already broad shoulders. He had his hands tucked away in his trouser pockets so nonchalantly as if shopping for a 3 piece extravagant suit, like the ones sold in this shop, were an everyday occurrence. The company this man kept consisted of 2 other gentlemen. One was shorter than he, but that wasn't saying much as the man who held the attention of the room stood well over 190 cm. The other chap in his entourage was similarly built, but a few centimeters shorter than he.
Too busy enraptured by the authority exuding from the gentlemen, Blythe hadn't realized how heavy she was leaning on the door. With an awfully loud creeeakk the door pushed itself open just a hair further. Cursing under her breath she flew backward towards the safety of the backroom when all four pairs of eyes swooped in her direction.
She pinched the bridge of her slim nose with her slender fingers. Pushing out a breath between her full lips she made way for the next few boxes of shipments to get back to her task for the evening. Blythe was no idiot. She knew that her little interruption would soon because for Addington to come flying back in to give her a lecture about how she "is always pushing her luck by embarrassing him like that!". Already have been reprimanded once today, she knew that the last 2 hours of her day were sure to be excruciatingly long.