Chapter no 35

The Housemaid

Andrew told me that I shouldn’t be doing any work for the house, but Monday I usually go grocery shopping, and we’re low on a lot of supplies. And after I flip through a few books I pulled out of the bookcase and watch a little TV, I’m itching for something else to do with myself. Unlike Nina, I like keeping busy.

I have been meticulously avoiding the grocery store where that security guard tried to apprehend me. Instead, I go to a different grocery store in another part of town. They’re all the same anyway.

The best part is pushing my cart around the store and not having to follow Nina’s stupid pretentious grocery list. I can buy whatever I want. If I want to get brioche bread, I’ll get brioche. And if I want to get sourdough, I’ll get that. I don’t have to send her a hundred pictures of every kind of bread. It’s so liberating.

While I am looking through the dairy aisle, my phone rings inside my purse. Again, I get that unsettled feeling. Who could be calling me?

Maybe it’s Andrew.

I reach into my purse and pull out the phone. Again, there’s that blocked number. Whoever called me this morning is trying to call me again.

“Millie, is it?”

I nearly jump out of my skin. I look up and it’s one of those women Nina had over for her PTA meeting—I can’t remember her name. She’s pushing her own shopping cart, and she’s got a phony smile on her plump, painted lips.

“Yes?” I say.

“I’m Patrice,” she says. “You’re Nina’s girl, right?”

I bristle at the label she gave me. Nina’s girl. Wow. Wait till she finds out that Andrew dumped Nina and she’s going to be screwed over in the divorce thanks to the prenup. Wait till she finds out that I am Andrew Winchester’s new girlfriend. Soon maybe I’ll be the one she has to suck up to. “I work for the Winchesters,” I say stiffly. But not for


“Oh, good.” Her smile broadens. “I’ve been trying to get in touch with Nina all morning. She and I were supposed to get together for brunch—we always have brunch Monday and Thursday at Kristen’s Diner—but she never showed up. Is everything okay?”

“Yes,” I lie. “Everything is fine.”

Patrice purses her lips. “I guess she must’ve just forgotten then. You know Nina can be a bit flaky, I’m sure.”

Oh, she’s a lot more than that. But I keep my mouth shut.

Her eyes fall on the phone in my hand. “Is that the phone Nina gave you to use?”

“Uh, yeah. It is.”

She throws her head back and laughs. “I have to say, it’s nice of you to let her keep track of where you are at all times. I don’t know if I would be okay with that if I were you.”

I shrug. “She mostly just texts me. It’s not that bad.”

“That’s not what I mean.” She nods at the phone. “I’m talking about the tracking app she installed. Doesn’t it drive you crazy that she wants to know where you are all the time?”

I feel like I got sucker-punched in the stomach. Nina tracks me on my phone? What the hell?

I’m so stupid. Of course she would do something like that. It makes perfect sense. And now I realize that she didn’t have to go through my purse to find that playbill or call the house the night of the show. She knew exactly where I was.

“Oh!” Patrice clasps a hand over her mouth. “I’m so sorry. Did you not realize…?”

I want to slap her across her Botoxed face. I’m not sure whether she knew that I knew about it or not, but she looks like she’s taking great pleasure in being the one to tell me. A cold sweat breaks out in the back of my neck. “Excuse me,” I say to Patrice.

I push past her, leaving my grocery cart behind. I race out into the parking lot and I can only breathe again when I’m out of the store. I put my hands on my knees and lean forward until my breathing returns to normal.

When I straighten up again, a car is making a quick exit from the parking lot. I recognize the white Lexus.

It looks like Nina’s car.

And then my phone starts to ring again.

I rip it out of my purse. Again, it says blocked number. Fine, if she wants to talk to me, she can go ahead and say what she wants to say. If she wants to threaten me and call me a homewrecker, let her do it.

I jab at the green button. “Hello? Nina?”

“Hello!” a cheerful voice says. “It’s come to our attention that your vehicle warranty may have recently expired!”

I pull the phone away from my ear and stare at it in disbelief. It wasn’t Nina after all. It was a stupid spam caller. I just completely overreacted to the entire thing.

But I still can’t push away the feeling that I’m in danger.

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