Chapter no 5

The Housemaid

By 6:45, dinner is almost ready. There was some chicken breast in the fridge that was already marinated and somebody had printed instructions on the bag, so I just did what the instructions said and threw it in the oven. They must get their food from some sort of service with directions already on it.

The kitchen smells fantastic when the garage door slams. A minute later, Andrew Winchester is strolling into the room, his thumb in the knot of his tie to loosen it. I’m stirring some sauce on the stove top, and I do a bit of a double-take when I see him, having forgotten quite how handsome he is.

He grins at me—he’s even more handsome when he smiles. “Millie, right?”

“That’s right.”

He inhales deeply. “Wow. That smells incredible.” My cheeks flush. “Thank you.”

He looks around the kitchen in approval. “You got everything clean.”

“That’s my job.”

He chuckles. “I suppose it is. Did you have a good first day?”

“I did.” I’m not going to tell him about the peanut butter debacle. He doesn’t need to know, although I suspect Nina

will clue him in. I’m sure he won’t appreciate me almost killing his daughter. “You have a beautiful home.”

“Well, I have Nina to thank for that. She runs the household.”

As if on cue, Nina arrives in the kitchen, wearing another of her white outfits—a different one than only a few hours ago. Once again, she looks impeccable. But while I was cleaning earlier, I took a few minutes to look at the photographs on their mantle. There’s one of Nina and Andrew together from many years ago, and she looked so different then. Her hair wasn’t as blond and she had on less makeup and more casual clothing—and she was at least fifty pounds thinner. I almost didn’t recognize her—but Andrew looked exactly the same.

“Nina.” Andrew’s eyes light up at the sight of his wife. “You look beautiful—as usual.”

He pulls her to him and kisses her deeply on the lips. She melts against him, grabbing his shoulders possessively. When they separate, she gazes up at him. “I missed you today.”

“I missed you more.” “I missed you more.”

Oh my God, how long are they going to debate who misses who more? I turn away, busying myself in the kitchen. It’s awkward to be so close to this display of affection.

“So.” Nina is the first to pull away. “Are you two getting to know each other?”

“Uh-huh,” Andrew says. “And whatever Millie is making smells incredible, doesn’t it?”

I glance behind me. Nina is watching me at the stove with that dark expression in her blue eyes. She doesn’t like her husband complimenting me. I don’t know what the problem is though—he’s obviously nuts about her.

“It does,” she agrees.

“Nina is hopeless in the kitchen,” Andrew laughs, throwing an arm around her waist. “We would starve to death if it were all on her shoulders. My mother used to drop by with meals that she or her personal chef made. But since she and my father retired to Florida, we’ve been subsisting mostly on takeout. So you’re a savior, Millie.”

Nina gives a tight smile. He’s just teasing her, but no woman wants to be compared unfavorably to another. He’s an idiot if he doesn’t know that. Then again, plenty of men are idiots.

“Dinner will be ready in about ten minutes,” I say. “Why don’t you go relax in the living room and I’ll call you when it’s ready?”

He raises his eyebrows. “Do you want to join us for dinner, Millie?”

The sound of Nina inhaling sharply fills the kitchen. Before she can say anything, I shake my head vigorously. “No, I’m just going to go up to my room and relax. Thank you for the invitation though.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

Nina swats her husband in the arm. “Andy, she’s been working all day. She doesn’t want to have dinner with her employers. She just wants to go upstairs and text message her friends. Right, Millie?”

“Right,” I say, even though I don’t have any friends. At least, not on the outside.

Andrew doesn’t seem concerned either way. He was just being polite, oblivious to the fact that Nina didn’t want me at the dinner table. And that’s just fine. I don’t want to do anything to make her feel threatened. I just want to keep my head down and do my job.

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