He was doing this for Ivy, Alfred told himself repeatedly. For Ivy, so she wouldn‘t have to put up with Jimmy‘s cruel, aimless flirting any longer … and neither would he.
So Alfred stepped forward and took a deep breath, suppressing the lingering urge to run and therefore avoid such delicate conversation with the underbutler. “Jimmy‘s looking for you, Mr. Barrow. Just so you know.“
“Oh?“ Mr. Barrow gave him a languid glance, cigarette burning away between his lips. “And why would that be?“
Alfred blinked through the blue cloud of smoke. “Because I told him you were, um, ... very friendly with the gardener‘s son.“
He shifted on his feet, watching Mr. Barrow slowly process his words.
“Friendly with … but I didn‘t-“ He narrowed his eyes at Alfred. It was one of those days where Mr. Barrow looked incredibly tired. “As far as I know, the gardener only has one daughter.“
“I know.“ Alfred smiled, nervous. “But Jimmy doesn‘t.“
“I‘m afraid I don‘t understand,“ Mr. Barrow said, furrowing his brow in confusion.
“Oh but you will,“ Alfred muttered, half to himself, and somehow, his heart felt lighter than it had in a long time.
“Merry Christmas, Mr. Barrow.“