Chapter no 10

The Housemaid

A week later, I come down to the living room and find Nina holding a full garbage bag. My first thought is: Oh God, what now?

In only a week of living with the Winchesters, I feel like I’ve been here for years. No, centuries. Nina’s moods are wildly unpredictable. At one moment, she’s hugging me and telling me how much she appreciates having me here. In the next, she’s berating me for not completing some task she never even told me about. She’s flighty, to say the least. And Cecelia is a total brat, who clearly resents my presence here. If I had any other options, I would quit.

But I don’t, so I don’t.

The only member of the family who isn’t completely intolerable is Andrew. He is not around much, but my few interactions with him have been… uneventful. And at this point, I’m thrilled with uneventful. Truthfully, I feel sorry for Andrew sometimes. It can’t be easy being married to Nina.

I hover at the entrance to the living room, trying to figure out what Nina could possibly be doing with a garbage bag. Does she want me to sort the garbage from now on, alphabetically and by color and odor? Have I purchased some sort of unacceptable garbage bag and now I need to re-bag the garbage? I can’t even begin to guess.

“Millie!” she calls out.

My stomach clenches. I have a feeling I’m about to figure out what she wants me to do with the garbage. “Yes?”

She waves me over to her—I try to walk over like I’m not being led to my execution. It’s not easy.

“Is there something wrong?” I ask.

Nina picks up the heavy garbage bag and drops it on her gorgeous leather sofa. I grimace, wanting to warn her not to get garbage all over the expensive leather material.

“I just went through my closet,” she says. “And unfortunately, a few of my dresses have gotten a tad too small. So I’ve collected them in this bag. Would you be a dear and take this to a donation bin?”

Is that it? That’s not so bad. “Of course. No problem.”

“Actually…” Nina takes a step back, her eyes raking over me. “What size are you?”

“Um, six?”

Her face lights up. “Oh, that’s perfect! These dresses are all size six or eight.”

Six or eight? Nina looks like she’s at least a size fourteen. She must not have cleared out her closet in a while. “Oh…”

“You should take them,” she says. “You don’t have any nice clothes”

I flinch at her statement, although she’s right. I don’t have any nice clothing. “I’m not sure if I should…”

“Of course you should!” She thrusts the bag in my direction. “They would look amazing on you. I insist!”

I accept the bag from her and nudge it open. There’s a little white dress on top and I pull it out. It looks incredibly expensive and the material is so soft, I want to bathe in it. She’s right. This would look amazing on me—it would look amazing on anyone. If I do decide to get out there and start dating again, it would be nice to have some decent clothing. Even if it is all white.

“Okay,” I agree. “Thank you so much. This is so generous of you.”

“You’re very welcome! I hope you enjoy them!”

“And if you ever decide you want it back, just let me know.”

When she throws back her head and laughs, her double chin wobbles. “I don’t think I’m going to drop any dress sizes anytime soon. Especially since Andy and I are having a baby.”

My mouth falls open. “You’re pregnant?”

I’m not sure if Nina being pregnant is a good or bad thing. Although that would explain her moodiness. But she shakes her head. “Not yet. We’ve been trying for a bit, but no luck. But we’re both really eager to have a baby, and we’ve got an appointment with a specialist soon. So I would guess in the next year or so, there will be another little one in the house.”

I’m not sure how to respond. “Um… congratulations?”

“Thank you.” She beams at me. “Anyway, please enjoy the clothes, Millie. Also, I have something else for you.” She fishes around in her white purse and pulls out a key. “You wanted a key to your room, didn’t you?”

“Thank you.” After that first night, when I woke up in terror thinking I was locked in the room, I haven’t given that much thought to the lock on the door. I have noticed the door sticks a bit, but nobody is sneaking up to my room and locking me in there—not that the key would help if I were inside. But I pocket the key. It might be good to lock the door when I leave the room. Nina seems like somebody who might snoop. Also, this seems like a good time to bring up another of my concerns. “One other thing. The window in the room doesn’t open. It seems like it’s painted shut.”

“Is it?” Nina sounds like she finds this to be a particularly uninteresting piece of information.

“It’s a fire hazard, probably.”

She looks down at her nails and frowns at one where the white paint is chipped. “I don’t think so.”

“Well, I’m not sure, but… I mean, the room should have a window that opens, shouldn’t it? It does get awfully stuffy up there.”

It doesn’t actually get stuffy—the attic is drafty, if anything. But I’ll say what I have to if it means getting the window fixed. I hate the idea of the only window in the room being painted shut.

“I’ll have somebody take a look at it then,” she says in a way that makes me think she is absolutely never going to get somebody to take a look at it and I will never have a window that opens. She glances down at the garbage bag. “Millie, I’m happy to give you my clothes but please don’t leave that garbage bag lying around our living room. It’s bad manners.”

“Oh, sorry,” I mumble.

And then she sighs like she just doesn’t know what to do with me.

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