Chapter no 14

The Housemaid's Secret (The Housemaid, Book 2)

An hour later, the police and an ambulance are parked outside our apartment building. It’s not incredibly unusual to see a police car parked on our street, but this time the lights are flashing.

I had hoped they would take Xavier directly to jail, but he had a broken arm, a concussion, and possibly a few broken ribs. By the time the police got here he was starting to become more coherent and even trying to get up. Good thing they arrived, or else I would’ve had to find something else to knock him out with.

I was annoyed none of my neighbors came out to assist me. Whatever Brock said about that incident with Kitty Genovese, I can say with certainty that a man tried to rape me in the hallway of my apartment building, and not one person came to my assistance. What is wrong with people? Seriously.

A policewoman asked me a few questions when they first came, but then they asked me to go wait in my apartment while they took care of things. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I called Brock and told him that a neighbor tried to attack me, although I was vague on the details of how I escaped. He’s on his way, but I’m not going anywhere until I make a formal statement that will get Xavier thrown in jail as soon as they take care of his broken arm. I hope the bastard needs surgery.

From the window, I get a good look at the ambulance driving away. I’ve been watching everything since they told me to go back upstairs. The police have been talking to a few of my neighbors out there, and they were talking to Xavier in the back of the ambulance a long time before they took him away. A few of the police officers are still talking out front. I can’t even

imagine what there is to talk about. A man attacked me seconds away from my own door. It feels pretty cut and dry.

And then one of the officers points up at my window.

A second later, one of the cops enters the building, and I back away from the window. I rub my sweaty hands on my jeans. There’s still a red mark on my arm from where Xavier grabbed me, and the back of my head throbs slightly from where it banged against the wall, but he’s in much worse shape than I am.

That’s what he deserves.

A second after the pounding on my door starts, I yank it open. The officer standing there is in his thirties or so, with too much stubble on his chin and a slightly bored expression. Like this is the fifth guy he’s dealt with tonight who tried to rape a woman on the stairs outside her front door.

“Hello,” he says. “Are you Wilhelmina Calloway?” I wince at the use of my full name. “That’s right.” “I’m Officer Scavo. Can I come in?”

Back when I was in prison, all the women would say that if a policeman asks to come into your house, you have the right to say no. Don’t let those assholes inside. But then again, they’re not here to investigate me. I compromise—I let him inside, but we don’t sit down.

This is a different cop than the one I talked to right after the incident. That one was a female, and she hugged me. I don’t think this guy is going to hug me. I don’t even want him to.

“So I gotta go over what happened tonight,” Scavo says, “between you and Mr. Marin.”

“Fine.” I wrap my arms across my chest, suddenly cold, even though the heat is actually working for a change. “What do you want to know?”

Scavo looks me up and down. “Was that what you were wearing tonight during the incident?”

I don’t know what he’s talking about. He’s saying it like I am dressed inappropriately. I’m wearing a T-shirt and the same blue jeans I had on earlier. The T-shirt is slightly snug, but not anything that would attract attention. As if that would even matter. “Yes, but I was wearing a coat over it.”

“Uh-huh.” Scavo makes a face like he doesn’t quite believe me. Like I was seducing Xavier with my super sexy T-shirt and baggy blue jeans. “So tell me exactly what happened.”

I repeat the story for the third time tonight. It’s easier this time. My voice doesn’t shake when I describe the way he grabbed me. I hold up my wrist as evidence to show Scavo the red marks, although he looks decidedly unimpressed.

“And that’s it?” he says. “He just grabbed your arm?”

“No.” I clench my fists in frustration. “I told you. He grabbed me and he pushed against me.”

“Like, how?”

“Like he shoved his body against mine!”

He frowns. “Is it possible you misread the whole thing? Like maybe he was just being friendly?”

I stare at him.

“Because here’s the thing, Miss Calloway.” Scavo levels his gaze at me. “Mr. Marin is saying he was just making friendly conversation with you, and you freaked out. You sprayed him with mace and then pushed him down the stairs.”

“Are you kidding me?” Right now I want to spray Officer Scavo with mace and push him down the stairs. “That’s not what happened at all! Do you seriously believe that? You’re taking his side?”

“Well, one of your neighbors saw you standing over him, kicking him repeatedly in the ribs. She was afraid to come out.”

I open my mouth, but all that comes out is a squeak.

“We think Mr. Marin has a couple of broken ribs,” the officer continues. “And we have a witness who saw you kicking him in the ribs while he was unconscious on the ground. So tell me what I’m supposed to think.”

I really, really wish I hadn’t kicked Xavier in the ribs. But it was so tempting. And I know how painful rib fractures can be. “I was just upset.”

“Why were you upset? Mr. Marin thinks you were upset because you were flirting with him and he wasn’t responding. He said that’s why you attacked him.”

I feel like somebody just sucker punched me in the gut. Or the ribs. “I attacked him?”

Scavo raises an eyebrow. “And you do have a prison record, don’t you, Miss Calloway? A history of violent behavior?”

“This is bullshit,” I gasp. “That man attacked me. If I hadn’t defended myself…”

“So here’s the thing,” he says, “it’s just your word against his that he attacked you, and a witness saw you kicking him while he was on the floor. And he’s the one with all the broken bones.”

My legs wobble underneath me. I suddenly wish we had decided to sit down for this conversation. “Am I under arrest?”

“Mr. Marin has not yet decided whether to press charges at this time.” Scavo makes a face like he thinks my attacker absolutely should press charges. Like he wishes he could snap a pair of handcuffs on me right now. “So until he makes up his mind, I suggest you stay local.”

I hate this man. What happened to the female officer? The one who hugged me and told me that Xavier would never be able to hurt me again? Where did she go?

With those words, I lead Officer Scavo back to the door. When I open it up, Brock is standing there in his work clothes—a sky-blue dress shirt and tan slacks—his hand poised to knock. Scavo smirks when he sees him, but he doesn’t comment. Brock looks like he wants to ask the officer something, but thankfully, Scavo seems in a hurry to leave.

I manage to keep it together until I have pulled Brock into the apartment and locked the door behind him. It’s only then that the tears jump to my eyes. Except they’re not tears of sadness. They are tears of fury. How dare he speak to me that way? I was attacked in my own building, and somehow my attacker is the victim?

“Millie.” Brock wraps his arms around me. “Jesus Christ, are you okay?

I got here as quickly as I could.”

I nod wordlessly as I pull away. If I speak, I won’t be able to hold back the tears. And for some reason, I don’t want to cry in front of Brock.

“I hope that asshole goes to prison for a long time,” he says.

I should tell him what happened. What that officer said to me. But if I do, I’ll have to explain why. I have to explain my history of violence. About my prison record. About all the reasons why nobody believes me.

If Enzo were here, it would be different. I could tell him everything. And he would get it. There would be a small chance he would rip Xavier Marin limb from limb with his bare hands, but I’d be okay with that—more than okay. When I look at Brock, the thought of him doing something similar makes me almost laugh out loud. But on the plus side, if Xavier does get me charged with assault, Brock could defend me. Yes, that would be super good for our relationship.

“You can’t possibly sleep here,” Brock says. For once, I completely agree with him. “I’ve got my car parked right outside. Let me take you back to my place.”

My shoulders sag. “Okay.”

“And you should stay with me,” he says. When he sees the look on my face, he quickly adds, “I’m not saying you should move in. But take like a week’s worth of clothing. Maybe start looking for another place to live.”

I don’t have it in me to argue with him right now, and he’s right. If Xavier comes back to this building, I can’t live here anymore. I’ll have to find a new place. Although I can barely afford the rent on this apartment, even with the money the Garricks are paying me. Am I going to have to find an even worse neighborhood in the Bronx?

Anyway, I’ll think about it later. Right now, I need to pack.

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