Chapter no 22

The Housemaid

I spend the next week avoiding Andrew Winchester.

I can’t even deny anymore that I have feelings for him. Not just feelings. I have a very serious crush on this man. I think about him all the time. I even dream about him kissing me.

And he might have feelings for me, too, even though he claims he loves Nina. But the key point is I don’t want to lose this job. You don’t keep jobs by sleeping with your married boss. So I do my best to stuff all my feelings away. Andrew is at work most of the day anyway. It’s easy enough to stay out of his way.

Tonight, as I’m putting plates of food out for dinner, preparing to dash off before Andrew comes into the room, Nina wanders into the dining area. She bobs her head in approval at the salmon with a side of wild rice. And of course, chicken nuggets for Cecelia.

“That smells wonderful, Millie,” she remarks.

“Thanks.” I hover near the kitchen, ready to call it quits for the evening—our usual routine. “Will that be all?”

“Just one thing.” She pats her blond hair. “Were you able to book those tickets for Showdown?”

“Yes!” I snatched up the last two orchestra seats for Showdown this Sunday night—I was so proud of myself. They cost a small fortune, but the Winchesters can afford it.

“You are in the sixth row from the stage. You could practically touch the actors.”

“Wonderful!” Nina claps her hands together. “And you booked the hotel room?”

“At The Plaza.”

Since it’s a bit of a drive into the city, Nina and Andrew will be staying overnight at The Plaza hotel. Cecelia is going to be staying at a friend’s house, and I’ll get the whole damn house to myself. I can walk around naked if I want. (I’m not planning to walk around naked. But it’s nice to know I could.)

“It will be so lovely,” Nina sighs. “Andy and I really need this.”

I bite my tongue. I’m not going to comment on the state of Nina and Andrew’s relationship, especially since the door slams at that moment, which means Andrew is home. Suffice to say, ever since that doctor’s visit and their subsequent fight, they seem to have been somewhat distant from each other. Not that I’m paying attention, but it’s hard not to notice the awkward politeness they have around each other. And Nina herself seems off her game. Like right now, her white blouse is buttoned wrong. She missed a button, and the whole thing is lopsided. I’m itching to tell her, but she’ll scream at me if I do, so I keep my mouth shut.

“I hope you have a wonderful time,” I say.

“We will!” She beams at me. “I can hardly wait all week!”

I frown. “All week? The show is in three days.”

Andrew strides into the kitchen dining room, pulling off his tie. He stops short when he sees me, but he stifles a reaction. And I stifle my own reaction to how handsome he looks in that suit.

“Three days?” Nina repeats. “Millie, I asked you to book the tickets for a week from Sunday! I distinctly remember.”

“Yes…” I shake my head. “But you told me that over a week ago. So I booked them for this Sunday.”

Nina’s cheeks turn pink. “So you admit I told you to book it for a week from Sunday and you still booked for this Sunday?”

“No, what I’m saying is—”

“I can’t believe you could be so careless.” She folds her arms across her chest. “I can’t make the show this Sunday. I have to drive Cecelia to her summer camp in Massachusetts Sunday and I’m spending the night out there.”

What? I could’ve sworn she told me to book it for this coming Sunday, and that Cecelia would be staying at a friend’s house. There’s no way I got this messed up. “Maybe somebody else could take her? I mean, the tickets are nonrefundable.”

Nina looks affronted. “I’m not letting somebody else take my daughter to summer camp when I’m not going to see her for two weeks!”

Why not? That’s no worse than trying to kill her. But I can’t say that.

“I can’t believe how badly you screwed this up, Millie.” She shakes her head. “The cost of these tickets and the hotel room is coming right out of your paycheck.”

My mouth falls open. The cost of those tickets and a hotel room at The Plaza are more than my paycheck. Hell, it’s more than three paychecks. I’m trying to save up so I can get the hell out of here. I blink back tears at the thought of not getting paid for the foreseeable future.

“Nina,” Andrew breaks in. “Don’t get upset about this. Look, I’m sure there’s a way to refund the tickets. I’ll call the credit card company and I’ll take care of it.”

Nina shoots me a seething look. “Fine. But if we can’t get the money back, I expect you to pay for it. Do you understand?”

I nod wordlessly, and then I dash off to the kitchen before she can catch me crying.

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