Chapter no 54 – MILLIE

The Housemaid

Andrew screams when the pepper spray gets him in the eyes.

The nozzle is about three inches away from his eyes, so he gets a good dose of it. And then I press it a second time for good measure. While I do it, I turn my own head away and close my eyes. The last thing I need is to get pepper spray in my eyes, although it’s hard not to get a little bit of residue.

When I look up again, he’s clawing at his face, which has turned bright red. His phone has fallen from his hands onto the floor, and I scoop it up, being very careful not to touch anything else. Everything has to go exactly right in the next twenty seconds. I have spent over six hours planning this while three books were resting on my belly.

My legs are wobbly when I stand up, but they work. Andrew is still writhing on the cot, and before he can get his sight back, I slip out of the room and close the door behind me. Then I take the key Nina gave me and fit it into the lock. I turn the key and pocket it. Then I take a step back.

“Millie!” Andrew screams on the other side of the door. “What the hell?”

I look down at the screen of his phone. My fingers are shaking, but I’m able to get into settings, and I shut off the

Lock Screen setting before the phone locks automatically, so the phone won’t require a password anymore.


I take another step back, as if he could reach through the door and grab me. But he can’t. I’m safe on the other side of the door.

“Millie.” His voice is a low growl now. “Let me out of here right now.”

My heart is beating fast in my chest. It’s the same way I felt when I walked into that bedroom all those years ago and found Kelsey screaming at that asshole football player, Get off of me! And Duncan was laughing drunkenly. I stood there for a second, my body paralyzed as my chest filled with rage. He was so much bigger than either one of us—it wasn’t like I could pull him off of her. The room was dark and I felt around on the desk until my hands made contact with a paperweight and…

I will never forget that day. How good it felt to smash the paperweight against that bastard’s skull until he became still. It was almost worth all those years in prison. After all, who knows how many other girls I saved from him?

“I’ll let you out,” I say. “Just not yet.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.” The outrage in his voice is palpable. “This is my house. You can’t keep me hostage here. And you’re a criminal. All I have to do is call the police and you’re right back in jail.”

“Right,” I say. “But how can you call the police when I have your phone?”

I look down at the screen of his phone. I can see him standing there, in vivid color. I can even see how red his face is from the pepper spray and the tears on his cheeks. He checks his pockets, then scans the floor with his swollen eyes.

“Millie,” he says in a slow, controlled voice. “I want my phone back.”

I let out a hoarse laugh. “I’m sure you do.” “Millie, give me my phone back right now.”

“Hmm. I don’t think you’re in any position to be making

demands.” “Millie.”

“Just a moment.” I slip his phone into my pocket. “I’m going to grab a bite to eat. I’ll be back real soon.”


He’s still calling my name as I walk down the hall and go downstairs. I ignore him. There’s nothing he can do when he’s stuck in that room. And I have to figure out my next move.

The first thing I do is exactly what I said I was going to do—I go to the kitchen, where I drink two heaping glasses of water. Then I make myself a bologna sandwich. No, not abalone. Bologna. With lots of mayonnaise, and white bread. After I’ve got some food in my belly, I feel a lot better. I can finally think straight.

I pick up Andrew’s phone. He is still in the attic room, pacing back and forth. Like a caged animal. If I were to let him out, I can’t even imagine what he would do to me. The thought of it makes a cold sweat break out at the back of my neck. While I’m watching him, a text message pops up on his phone from “Mom.”

Are you going to serve Nina with divorce papers?

I scroll through some of the previous messages. Andrew has told his mother all about his falling-out with Nina. I’ve got to answer her, because if he doesn’t, she might come over here—and then I’m screwed. Nobody can suspect something has happened to Andrew.

Yes. Just speaking with my lawyer right now.

The reply from Andrew’s mother comes back almost instantly:

Good. I never liked her. And I always did the best I could with Cecelia, but Nina was extremely lax on discipline and the little girl became quite a brat.

I get a jab of sympathy in my chest for Nina and Cecelia. It’s bad enough that Andrew’s mother never liked Nina. But to speak that way of her own grandchild? And I wonder what Andrew’s mother had in mind for “discipline.” If it’s anything like Andy’s idea of punishment, I’m glad Nina never went through with it.

My hands are trembling as I type my reply:

Looks like you were right about Nina.

Now I have to deal with that asshole.

I shove his phone back in my pocket, then I climb the stairs to the second floor, then all the way up to the attic. When I get to the top floor, the footsteps in the attic room go silent. He must’ve heard me.

“Millie,” he says.

“I’m here,” I say stiffly.

He clears his throat. “You made your point about the room. I’m sorry about what I did.”

“Are you?”

“Yes. I realize now I was wrong.” “I see. So you’re sorry?”

He clears his throat. “Yes.” “Say it.”

He is silent for a bit. “Say what?”

“Say you’re sorry that you did a terrible thing to me.”

I watch his expression on the screen. He doesn’t want to tell me he’s sorry because he’s not. All he’s sorry for is that

he gave me the chance to get the better of him.

“I’m so sorry,” he finally says. “I was absolutely wrong. I did an awful thing to you, and I will never do it again.” He pauses. “Will you let me out now?”

“Yes. I will.” “Thank you.”

“Just not yet.”

He inhales sharply. “Millie…”

“I’m going to let you out.” My calm voice belies the pounding in my chest. “But before I do, you have to be punished for what you did to me.”

“Don’t play this game,” he growls. “You don’t have the stomach for it.”

He wouldn’t talk to me that way if he knew I beat a man to death with a paperweight. He has no idea. But I’m betting that Nina knows. “I want you to lie down on the floor and put those three books on top of you.”

“Come on. This is ridiculous. “

“I’m not letting you out of this room until you do it.”

Andrew lifts his eyes to look into the camera. I always thought he had nice eyes, but there’s venom in them as he stares at me. Not at me, I remind myself. He’s looking at the camera. “Fine. I’ll humor you.”

He lies down on the floor. One by one, he picks up each book and stacks them on his abdomen, the same way I did only hours earlier. But he’s bigger and stronger than I am, and he only looks mildly uncomfortable with those books on top of him, even when all three are stacked on him.

“Happy?” he calls out. “Lower,” I say.


Move the books lower.” “I don’t know what you—”

I press my forehead against the door as I speak: “You know exactly what I mean.”

Even through the door, I can hear the sharp inhale of his breath. “Millie, I can’t—”

“If you want to get out of that room, you’re going to do it.”

I stare down at the screen of his phone, watching him. He pushes the books down his chest so they are squarely on top of his genitals. He didn’t look very uncomfortable before, but that has changed now. His face is frozen in a grimace.

“Jesus Christ,” he gasps.

“Good,” I say. “Now stay that way for three hours.”

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