Chapter no 32

The Housemaid

I can’t sleep.

It’s been three days since I was nearly apprehended at the grocery store. I don’t know what to do next. Nina has been pleasant enough, so maybe she feels like I’ve learned my lesson about who is boss in this house. Maybe she isn’t trying to send me to jail.

But that’s not the reason I’m tossing and turning.

The truth is, I can’t stop thinking about Andrew. That night we spent together. The way I feel when I’m with him. I’ve never felt this way before. And until Nina dropped the bombshell about my past, he felt the same way. I could tell.

But not anymore. Now he thinks I’m nothing but a common criminal.

I kick the blankets off my legs. It’s stiflingly hot in my room, even at night. If only I could open that stupid window. But I doubt Nina is going to do anything to make me feel more comfortable here.

I finally wander downstairs to the kitchen. I have that mini-fridge in my room, but I don’t have much food in it. It’s too small to fit much. Those three mini water bottles Nina left me are nearly all that’s in there, still untouched.

As I’m walking to the kitchen, I notice the light is on for the back porch. I frown and approach the back door. That’s

when I realize there’s a reason the light is on. Somebody is out there.

It’s Andrew.

Sitting all alone in one of the chairs out there, drinking from a bottle of beer.

I quietly slide open the back door. Andrew blinks up at me in surprise, but he doesn’t say anything. He just takes another swig from his bottle of beer.

“Hey,” I say.

“Hey,” he says.

I squeeze my hands together. “Can I sit here?” “Sure. Knock yourself out.”

I step out onto the cold wooden planks on the porch and lower myself into the seat next to his, wishing I had a beer as well. He doesn’t even look at me. He just keeps drinking from his beer bottle, staring out into the huge backyard.

“I want to explain.” I clear my throat. “I mean, why I didn’t tell you about…”

“You don’t have to explain.” He glances in my direction then back down at his beer. “It’s pretty obvious why you didn’t tell me.”

“I wanted to.” That’s not true. I didn’t want to tell him. I didn’t want him to ever know, even though that was entirely unrealistic. “Anyway, I’m sorry.”

He swishes the beer around in his bottle. “So what were you in prison for?”

I really, really wish I had a beer. I open my mouth, but before I can figure out what to tell him, he says, “Forget it. I don’t want to know. It’s none of my business.”

I chew on my lip. “Look, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I wanted to try to put the past behind me. I didn’t mean any harm.”


“And…” I stare down at my hands in my lap. “I was embarrassed. I didn’t want you to think less of me. Your opinion means a lot to me.”

He rolls his head to look at me, his eyes soft under the dim porch light. “Millie…”

“I also want you to know…” I take a deep breath. “I had a really great time the other night. It was one of the best nights I’ve ever had. Because of you. So whatever else happens, thank you for that. I… I just had to tell you that.”

There’s a crease between his eyebrows. “I had a great time, too. I haven’t felt that happy in…” He pinches the bridge of his nose. “A while. I hadn’t even realized it.”

We stare at each other for a moment. There’s still electricity between us. I can see in his eyes that he feels it, too. He glances at the back door, and before I know what’s happening, his lips are on mine.

He kisses me for what feels like an eternity, but it’s probably more like sixty seconds. When he pulls away, there’s regret in his eyes. “I can’t…”

“I know…”

It’s not meant to be between us. For so many reasons. But if he wanted to go for it, I would do it. Even if it meant making an enemy out of Nina. I would risk it. For him.

But instead, I get up and leave him behind on the porch with his beer.

The wood of the stairs is cold against my bare feet as I walk back up to the second floor. My head is still spinning from that kiss and my lips are tingling. That can’t be the last time. It can’t. I saw the way he was looking at me. He has real feelings for me. Even though he knows my past, he still likes me. The only problem is—

Wait. What’s that?

I freeze at the top of the stairs. There is a shadow in the hallway. I squint at it, trying to make out the image in the darkness.

And then it moves.

I let out a screech and nearly go toppling down the stairs. I grab onto the banister and save myself at the last

second. The shadow shifts closer to me, and now I can see what it is.

It’s Nina.

“Nina,” I gasp.

Why is she standing there in the hallway? Was she downstairs? Did she see me and Andrew kissing?

“Hello, Millie.” It’s dark in the hallway, but the whites of her eyes almost seem to be glowing.

“What… what are you doing here?”

She scowls at me, the light from the moon creating disturbing shadows on her face. “It’s my home. I don’t have to account for my whereabouts.”

Of course, it’s not really her home. Andrew owns the house. And if they weren’t married, she couldn’t live here. If he decided to choose me over her, this would be my house.

These thoughts are insane. Obviously, that isn’t going to happen.

“I’m sorry.”

She folds her arms across her chest. “What are you

doing here?”

“I… I came down to get a glass of water.” “Don’t you have water in your room?”

“I drank it all,” I lie. And I’m sure she knows it’s a lie, considering she snoops in my room.

She’s silent for a moment. “Andy wasn’t in bed. Did you see him downstairs anywhere?”

“I, uh… I think he was out on the back porch.” “I see.”

“But I’m not sure. I didn’t talk to him or anything.”

Nina gives me a look like she doesn’t believe one word I’m saying. Which is fair enough, since it’s all lies. “I’ll go check on him.”

“And I’ll head up to my room.”

She nods and pushes past me, jostling my shoulder. My heart is pounding. I can’t push away the feeling that I’ve

made a terrible mistake crossing Nina Winchester. Yet I can’t seem to stop myself.

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