Chapter no 13

The Housemaid

I’m busy vacuuming the living room when the shadow goes by the window.

I wander over to the window, and sure enough, Enzo is working in the backyard today. As far as I can tell, he alternates houses from day to day, doing various gardening and landscaping tasks. Right now, he is digging at the flower bed in the front yard.

I grab an empty glass from the kitchen and fill it up with cold water. Then I head outside.

I’m not entirely sure what I hope to accomplish here. But ever since those two women talked about Nina being crazy (“literally”), I can’t stop thinking about it. And then I found that antipsychotic medication in her medicine cabinet. Far be it from me to judge Nina for having psychological problems—I met my fair share of women struggling with mental illness in prison—but it would be helpful information for me to know. Maybe I could even help her if I understood her better.

I remember how on my first day, Enzo seemed to be warning me about something. Nina is out of the house, Andrew is at work, and Cecelia is at school, so this seems like a perfect time to interrogate him. The only tiny complication is that he hardly speaks a word of English.

But it can’t hurt. And I’m sure he’s thirsty and will appreciate the water.

When I get outside, Enzo is busy digging a hole in the ground. He seems intensely focused on his task, even after I clear my throat loudly. Twice. Finally, I wave my hand and say, “Hola!”

That may have been Spanish again.

Enzo looks up from the hole he was digging. There’s an amused expression on his lips. “Ciao,” he says.

Ciao,” I correct myself, vowing to get it right next time.

He has a vee of sweat on his T-shirt, which is sticking to his skin and emphasizing every single muscle. And they’re not bodybuilder’s muscles—they are the firm muscles of a man who does manual labor for a living.

So I’m staring. So sue me.

I clear my throat again. “I brought you… um, water. How do you say…?”

Acqua,” he says.

I nod vigorously. “Yes. That.”

See? We’re doing it. We’re communicating. This is going great.

Enzo strides over to me and gratefully takes the water glass. He drains half of it in what looks like a single gulp. He lets out a sigh and wipes his lips with the back of his hand. “Grazie.”

“You’re welcome.” I smile up at him. “So, um, have you worked for the Winchesters for a long time?” He looks at me blankly. “I mean, have you… Do you work here… many years?”

He takes another swig from the water glass. He’s emptied nearly three-quarters of it. When it’s gone, he’s going to go back to work—I don’t have much time. “Tre anni,” he says finally. Then adds in his heavily accented English, “Three year.”

“And, uh…” I squeeze my hands together. “Nina Winchester… Do you…”

He frowns at me. But it’s not a blank look, like he doesn’t understand me. He looks like he’s waiting to hear what I’m going to say. Maybe he understands English better than he can speak it.

“Do you…” I start again. “Do you think that Nina is… I mean, do you like her?”

Enzo narrows his eyes at me. He takes another long drink from the water glass, then shoves it back into my hand. Without another word, he goes back to the hole he was digging, picks up his shovel, and gets back to work.

I open my mouth to try again, but then I shut it. When I first came here, Enzo was trying to warn me about something, but Nina opened the door before he could say anything. And obviously, he’s changed his mind. Whatever Enzo knows or thinks, he isn’t going to tell me. At least not now.

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