Chapter no 40

The Housemaid

Step Three: Discover Your Husband is Pure Evil

It’s midnight. Three hours later.

I pounded at the door and scraped at the wood until I had splinters under my fingernails. I screamed until I lost my voice. I figured even if he wasn’t going to let me out, maybe the neighbors would hear. But after an hour, I gave up hope of that.

Now I’m sitting on the cot in the corner of the room. Springs poke into my butt cheeks as I finally let the tears roll down my cheeks. I don’t know what he plans to do to me, but all I can think about is Cecelia, asleep in her crib. Alone with that psychopath. What will he do to me? What will he do to her?

If I ever get out of here, I’m going to grab Cece and run as far as I can away from this man. I don’t care how much money he has. I don’t care if we’re legally married. I want out.


Andy’s voice. I jump off the bed and sprint over to the door. “Andy,” I choke out with what’s left of my voice.

“You lost your voice,” he acknowledges. I don’t know what to say to that.

“You shouldn’t bother screaming,” he tells me. “Everything is soundproofed below the attic. So nobody will hear you. I could be having a dinner party downstairs and they would never hear you screaming.”

“Please let me out,” I whimper.

I’m willing to do whatever it takes. I’ll agree to whatever he wants if he’ll let me out of here. Of course, once the door’s open, I’m leaving him. I don’t care if the prenup says I’ll get nothing for ending the marriage within the first year. Anything to get the hell out of here.

“Don’t worry, Nina,” he says. “I’m going to let you out. I promise.”

I let out a breath.

“Just not yet,” he adds. “You have to learn the consequences of what you’ve done.”

“What are you talking about? Consequences of what?” “Your hair.” His voice is filled with disgust. “I can’t have

my wife walking around like a slob with dark roots showing.”

My roots. I can’t believe he was that upset over it. I mean, it’s just a few millimeters of hair. “I’m so sorry. I promise, I’ll make an appointment with the hairdresser right away.”

“That’s not enough.”

I press my forehead against the door. “I’ll go first thing tomorrow morning. I swear.”

He yawns on the other side of the door. “I’m going to sleep now. You just hang tight and we’ll talk more in the morning about your punishment.”

His footsteps fade as he walks away. Even though my hands are aching from banging on the doors, I do it again. I slam my fist against the door so hard, I can’t believe I don’t break every bone in my hand. “Andy, don’t you dare leave me here overnight! Come back here! Come back!”

But he ignores me like he did before.

I sleep in that room. Of course I do. What choice do I have?

I didn’t think I would end up drifting off, but somehow I did. Between all the screaming and pounding on the door, the adrenaline gave way to exhaustion and I passed out on that uncomfortable old cot. The cot isn’t that much worse than the bed I used to sleep in back in the tiny apartment I had when it was just me and Cecelia, but I’ve gotten used to Andy’s memory foam mattress.

I think back to when it was just me and Cece. I was always overwhelmed, always on the brink of tears. I had no idea how good I had it before I was married to a psychopath who would lock me in a room overnight just because I missed a hairdresser appointment.

Cece. I hope she’s okay. If that asshole touches even one hair on her head, I swear I will kill him. I don’t care if I go to jail for the rest of my life.

My back is aching when I wake up in the morning. And my head is pounding. But worst of all, my bladder is full. Painfully full. This is the most pressing need of all.

Except what can I do? The bathroom is outside this room.

Then again, if I wait much longer, I’m going to pee in my pants.

I get up and pace the room. I try the doorknob one more time, hoping maybe I just imagined everything that happened last night and it will open magically. No such luck. It’s still locked.

I remember when I looked in the closet, there was only one item in there. A bucket.

Andy set this whole thing up. He tricked me into coming up here. He installed a lock on the outside of the door. And he also put that bucket there for a reason.

I’m really going to have to do this.

I suppose there are worse things than peeing in a bucket. I drag it out of the closet and I do what I have to do. Then I stick it back in there. Hopefully, I won’t have to use it again.

My mouth feels parched and my stomach is growling, even though eating would make me sick. Considering how he set up the bucket, I wonder if he put that same consideration into other parts of the room. I throw open the mini-fridge, hoping for some sort of bounty of food in there.

Instead, there are three mini water bottles. Three beautiful water bottles.

I almost faint from relief. I grab one of the bottles, crack it open, and guzzle it practically in one gulp. My throat still feels dry and raw, but slightly better.

I eye the other two bottles. I would love to have another one, but I’m scared. How long will Andy leave me here? I have no idea. I should conserve my resources.

“Nina? Are you awake?”

Andy’s voice at the door. I stumble over to it, my head pounding with each step. “Andy…”

“Good morning, Nina.”

I shut my eyes against a wave of dizziness. “Is Cecelia okay?”

“She’s fine. I told my mother you went to visit some family and she’s watching Cecelia until you get back.”

I let out a breath. At least my daughter is safe. Evelyn Winchester isn’t my favorite person in the world, but she is a vigilant babysitter. “Andy, please let me out.”

He ignores my request—it doesn’t even surprise me at this point. “Did you find the water in the fridge?”

“Yes.” And even though it kills me, I add, “Thank you.” “You’re going to have to make it last. I can’t give you

any more.”

“Then let me out,” I croak.

“I will,” he says. “But you have to do something for me first.”

“What? Anything.”

He pauses. “You need to understand that hair is a privilege.”

“Okay, I understand that.”

“Do you, Nina? Because I feel like if you did understand it, you wouldn’t walk around like a slob, with your dark roots showing.”

“I… I’m sorry for that.”

“Because you couldn’t take care of your hair, now you will give it to me.”

I have a horrible, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. “What?”

“Not all of it.” He chuckles, because of course that

would be ridiculous. “I want a hundred strands.” “You… you want a hundred strands of my hair?”

“That’s right.” He taps on the door. “Give me one hundred strands of your hair, and I’ll let you out of the room.”

This is the strangest request I’ve ever heard. He wants to punish me for my dark roots by giving him a hundred strands of my hair? There’s that much nestled in my hairbrush. Does he have some sort of hair fetish? Is that what this is about? “If you look in my brush—”

“No,” he interrupts me. “I want it from your scalp. I want to see the root.”

I stand there, stunned. “Are you serious?”

“Does it sound like I’m joking?” he snaps. His voice then softens. “There are a few envelopes in the dresser drawer. You put the hairs in there and slide them under the door. If you do that, you’ll have learned your lesson and I’ll let you out.”

“Okay,” I agree. I run a hand through my blond hair and two strands come loose in my fingers. “I’ll have it for you in five minutes.”

“I have to go to work now, Nina,” he says irritably. “But when I get home, you should have the strands ready for


“But I can do it fast!” I tug at my hair again and another strand comes free.

“I’ll be home by seven,” he says. “And remember, I want fully intact hair. I have to see the root or it doesn’t count!”

“No! Please!” I grasp at my hair more violently this time

—my eyes water but only a few more strands rip loose. “I’ll do it now! Just wait!”

But he’s not going to wait. He’s leaving. His footsteps disappear the way they did earlier.

I’ve learned no amount of screaming or pounding on the door is going to get him to come back. There’s no point in wasting my energy and aggravating my already agonizing headache. I have to focus on getting him what he wants. Then I can get back to my daughter. And I can escape this house forever.

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