Chapter no 60 – NINA

The Housemaid

If I leave this house, it will be in handcuffs. I can’t see any other way around it.

I remain on my leather sofa, clutching my knees, wondering if it will be the last time I sit here, while I wait for the detective to come back downstairs. My purse is sitting on the coffee table, and I grab it impulsively. I probably should just be sitting here quietly, like a good little murder suspect, but I can’t help it. I pull out my phone and bring up my list of recent calls. I select the first number on the list.

“Nina? What is going on?” Enzo’s voice is filled with concern. “What is happening over there?”

“The police are still here,” I choke out. “I… it doesn’t look good. For me. They think…”

I don’t want to say the words out loud. They think I killed Andy. And I didn’t kill him outright. He died of dehydration. But they think I am responsible.

I could end this. I could tell them about Millie. But I won’t.

“I’ll testify for you,” he says. “What he did to you. I saw you locked up there.”

He means it. He’ll do anything he can to help me. But how meaningful will testimony be from a man who will

almost certainly be painted as my secret lover? And I can’t even deny it. I did sleep with Enzo.

“Is Cece okay?” I ask. “She’s fine.”

I close my eyes, trying to steady my breathing. “Is she watching TV?”

“TV? No, no, no. I teach her Italian. She is a natural.” Despite everything, I laugh. Although it’s a weak sound.

“Can I speak to her?”

There’s a pause and Cece comes on the other line. “Ciao, Mama!”

I swallow. “Hello, sweetheart. How are you?” “Bene. When are you coming to pick me up?”

“Soon,” I lie. “Just keep working on your Italian, and I’ll be there as soon as I can.” I take a breath. “I… I love you.”

“I love you too, Mom!”

Detective Connors is descending the stairs, his footsteps like gunshots. I shove my phone back into my purse and drop it back down on the coffee table. Apparently, he’s taken a closer look at Andy’s body. And I’m sure he has a whole new set of questions. I can see it all over his face as he sits down again across from me.

“So,” he says. “Do you know anything about the bruising on your husband’s body?”

“Bruising?” I ask, genuinely confused. I know about the missing teeth, but I didn’t press Millie for further details about what happened in that attic room.

“There are deep purple bruises all over his lower belly,” Connors says. “And all over his… genitals. They’re almost black.”


“How do you think they got there?”

I raise my eyebrows. “Do you think I beat him up?” The idea is laughable. Andy was taller than me by quite a bit, and his body was solid muscle. Mine is not.

“I have no idea what happened up there.” His eyes meet mine, and I try not to look away. “Your story is that your husband must have gotten locked in the attic accidentally, and you somehow didn’t realize he was gone. Is that right?” “I thought he was on a business trip,” I say. “He usually

takes a taxi to the airport.”

“And there were no text messages or calls between the two of you during this time, but that didn’t concern you,” he points out. “Furthermore, in talking to his parents, it sounds like he had asked you to move out last week.”

I can’t deny that part. “Yes, that’s right. That’s why we didn’t talk.”

“And what about this Wilhelmina Calloway?” He pulls a small pad of paper out of his pocket and consults his note. “She was working for you, wasn’t she?”

I lift a shoulder. “I gave her the week off. My daughter was off at camp, so I felt like we didn’t need her. I haven’t seen her all week.”

I’m sure they’re going to try to contact Millie, but I’m trying to take her off the suspect list as best I can. It’s the least I can do after what I did to her.

“So you’re telling me that a grown man managed to get himself locked in a room in the attic—without his phone— even though the room only locks from the outside?” Connors’ eyebrows inch up to his hairline. “And while he was in the room, he randomly decided to pull out four of his teeth?”

When he says it that way…

“Mrs. Winchester,” the detective says. “Do you really believe your husband is the sort of man who would do something like that?”

I lean back against the sofa, trying not to let on how much my body is trembling. “Maybe. You didn’t know him.”

“Actually,” he says, “that isn’t entirely true.” I look up sharply. “Excuse me?”

Oh God. This just gets worse and worse. The detective with his graying hair is the right age to be another of Andy’s father’s golfing buddies. Or some other recipient of the family’s amazing generosity. My wrists start to tingle, anticipating the handcuffs being snapped around them.

“I never knew him personally,” Connors says. “But my daughter did.”

“Your… daughter?”

He nods. “Her name is Kathleen Connors. Actually, small world—she and your husband were engaged a long time ago.”

I blink at him. Kathleen. The fiancée who Andy broke up with before the two of us got together. The one I tried to find so many times, but kept coming up empty-handed. Kathleen is this man’s daughter. But what does that mean?

He lowers his voice several notches until I have to strain to hear. “The breakup was rough on her. She wouldn’t talk about it. Still won’t. She moved far away after that and she even changed her name. She hasn’t been out on a date with a man since.”

My heart speeds up. “Oh. I…”

“I always wondered what exactly Andrew Winchester did to my daughter.” He presses his lips together until they form a straight line. “So when I transferred out here about a year ago and started poking around, I thought it was interesting that you claimed he had been locking you up in the attic, but nobody could verify your story was real. Although truthfully, it looks like nobody did very much to try. The Winchesters used to have a lot of pull out here before they moved down to Florida, especially with some of the cops.” He pauses. “But not me.”

My mouth is too dry to get any words out. I just stare at him, my jaw hanging open.

“If you ask me,” he says, “that attic is a hazard. Seems like it’s far too easy to get locked up there.” He leans back again, his voice returning to a normal volume. “It’s a shame

that happened to your husband. I’m sure my buddy in the coroner’s office will also agree. It’ll have to be a cautionary tale, won’t it?”

“Yes,” I finally manage. “A cautionary tale.”

Detective Connors gives me one last long look. And then he goes back upstairs to join his colleagues. And I realize something incredible.

I’m not going to walk out of here in handcuffs after all.

You'll Also Like