Chapter no 51 – MILLIE

The Housemaid

“Andrew?” I call out. “Andrew!” Silence.

I grasp the cold metal of the doorknob once again and twist it with all my strength, hoping it was just a case of the metal sticking. No luck. The door is locked. But how?

The only thing I can think of is that maybe when Andrew left the room to sleep in his own bed (I can’t entirely blame him, given how uncomfortable the cot is for one person, much less two), he locked the door automatically, thinking it was still a closet. If he was half asleep, it’s a reasonable mistake to make, I suppose.

That means I’ll have to call him and wake him up to let me out of the room. I’m not excited to wake him up, but it’s his damn fault I’m locked in here. I’m not staying trapped in here all night, especially since I have to pee.

I flick on the light, and that’s when I see three textbooks that are in the middle of my room, right on the floor. It’s the strangest thing. I bend down beside them, reading off the hardcover titles. A Guide to U.S. PrisonsThe History of Torture. And a copy of the phone book.

These books weren’t here when I went to bed last night. Did Andrew bring them up here and stuff them in the room, thinking I would be moving out of here by the morning and

he could convert this room back into a closet again? That’s the only thing that makes sense.

I kick the heavy books out of the way and search the top of the dresser where I plugged in my phone to charge last night. Or at least, I thought I had. It’s not there anymore.

What the hell?

I grab the blue jeans that I abandoned on the floor and start searching through the pockets. No trace of my phone. Where did it go? I rip apart my dresser drawers, looking for that little rectangle that has become my lifeline. I even strip the sheets and blankets off the bed, wondering if it got lost during our recreational activities last night. Then I get down on my hands and knees and look under the bed.


I must’ve left it downstairs, although I feel like I have a memory of using it up here last night. I guess not. What terrible timing to forget my phone downstairs—when I’m locked up here in this stupid attic and I’ve got to use the bathroom.

I settle back into the bed, trying not to think about my full bladder. I don’t know how I’m ever going to fall asleep though. When Andrew comes to find me here in the morning, I’m going to give him hell for accidentally locking me in here.

“Millie? Are you awake?”

My eyes fly open. I don’t know how I managed to fall asleep, but somehow I did. But it’s still early in the morning. The tiny room is dim, with only a few streaks of sunlight peeking in through my small window.

“Andrew.” I sit up in bed, the tug in my bladder now more than urgent. I scurry off the bed and stumble closer to the door. “You locked me in here last night!”

There’s a long silence on the other side of the door. I expect an apology, a jingle of keys while he tries to locate the one that will let me out. But I don’t hear any of that. He’s completely silent.

“Andrew,” I say. “You have the key, right?” “Oh, I have the key,” he confirms.

And that’s when I get a sick feeling. Last night, I kept telling myself this was an accident. It had to be an accident. But suddenly, I’m not so sure. After all, how do you accidentally lock your girlfriend in a room and not even realize it until hours later? “Andrew, can you please open the door?”

“Millie.” His voice sounds strange. Unfamiliar. “Do you remember yesterday you were reading some of my books from the bookcase?”


“Well, you took out a few books, and then you just left them on the coffee table. Those were my books, and you didn’t treat them very well, did you?”

I don’t know what he’s talking about. Yes, I did take a few books out of the bookcase. Three, at the most. And maybe I got distracted and never put them back. But is it really that big a deal? Why does he sound so upset?

“I… I’m sorry,” I say.

“Hmm.” His voice still sounds strange. “You say you’re sorry, but this is my house. You can’t just do anything you want without any consequences. I thought you would know better, since you’re a maid and all.”

I flinch at the disparaging way he says my job description, but I’ll say anything to get him to calm down. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make a mess. I’ll go clean it up.”

“I already cleaned it up. You’re too late.”

“Listen, can you open the door so we can talk about this?”

“I’ll open the door,” he says. “But you need to do something for me first.”


“Do you see the three books I left you on the floor of the room?”

The textbooks he left in the middle of my room, the ones I almost tripped over last night, are still right where he left them. “Yes…”

“I want you to lie on the floor of your room and balance them on your stomach.”

Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” he says. “I want you to balance those books on your stomach. For three straight hours.”

I stare at the door, imagining the twisted expression on Andrew’s face. “You’re joking, right?”

“Not even a tiny bit.”

I have no idea why he’s doing this. This isn’t the Andrew I fell in love with. It’s like he’s playing some sort of bizarre game with me. I don’t know if he realizes quite how much he’s upsetting me. “Listen, Andrew, whatever you want to do, whatever game you want to play, just let me out of this room and let me go to the bathroom at least.”

“Can I make this any clearer?” He clucks his tongue. “You carelessly left my books in the living room, and I had to put them back for you. So now I want you to take these books and bear their weight.”

“I’m not going to do that.”

“Well, that’s unfortunate. Because you’re not getting out of this room until you do what I tell you to do.”

“Fine. I’m probably going to pee my pants then.”

“There’s a bucket in the closet if you need to relieve yourself.

When I first moved in here, I noticed that blue bucket in the corner of the closet. I just left it there, never giving it a second thought. I look over at the closet and it’s still sitting there. My bladder spasms and I cross my legs.

“Andrew, I mean it. I really have to go to the bathroom.” “I just told you what you can do.”

He isn’t giving in. I don’t understand what’s going on here. Nina was always the crazy one. Andrew was the one who was reasonable, who saved me when Nina was accusing me of stealing her clothes.

Are they both crazy? Are they both in on this?

“Fine.” Let’s just get this over with. I sit down on the ground and pick up one of the books so he can hear it. “All right, I’ve got the books on top of me. Can you let me out now?”

“You don’t have the books on top of you.” “Yes, I do. “

“Don’t lie.”

I let out a huff of exasperation. “How do you know whether I’m lying or not?”

“Because I can see you.”

My spine turns to liquid. He can see me? My gaze darts from wall to wall, searching for a camera. How long has he been watching me? Has he been spying on me the entire time I’ve been here?

“You’re not going to find it,” he says. “It’s well hidden. And don’t worry, I haven’t been watching you all along. Only since a few weeks ago.”

I scramble to my feet. “What the hell is your problem?

You need to let me out right now.”

“Here’s the thing,” Andrew says calmly. “I don’t think you’re in any position to be making demands.”

I lunge at the door. I pound my fists against the wood, hard enough to make my hands red and sore. “I swear to God, you better let me out of here! This isn’t funny!”

“Hey. Hey.” Andrew’s calm voice interrupts my pounding. “Settle down. Look, I’m going to let you out. I promise.”

I let my arms drop to my sides. My fists are throbbing. “Thank you.”

“Just not yet.”

Heat rises in my cheeks. “Andrew…”

“I told you what you need to do to get out,” he says. “This is an extremely fair punishment for what you did.”

I press my lips together, too angry to even respond. “Why don’t I give you a little while to think about it,

Millie? I’ll come back later.”

I swear to God, I still believe he’s got to be joking until his footsteps disappear down the hallway.

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