Chapter no 22

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

All I know is that I am going to get to the bottom of this.

Douglas Garrick called me. I remember it so clearly. I picked up the phone and he told me that he was looking for a housekeeper who would do cleaning, laundry, light cooking, and random errands. He didn’t mention the ad, or at least I don’t think he did, but at the time, I just assumed that was why he was calling. After all, there was no other reason.

How did he get my number if it wasn’t from the ad?

The whole thing gives me a sick feeling. I’m still getting that sensation that somebody is watching me, even though Xavier is allegedly in jail. And that black Mazda was parked outside the building that Douglas went into with his mistress. Douglas had my number somehow, even though the ad never went live.

He knew who I was.

I stand there on the street, in front of a pizza parlor. The tantalizing aroma of tomato sauce, grease, and melted cheese invades my nostrils but only makes me feel sick to my stomach. I scan the street in front of me, searching for anything suspicious.

I don’t see Douglas. I don’t see Xavier.

But somebody is out there. Somebody’s watching me. I’m absolutely certain of it.

I pull out my phone again. There’s a message there from Douglas confirming that I will be coming over tonight to clean, even though I was only there two days earlier and I’m sure the house is still nearly spotless. Usually, I text him back, but now I stare at the screen. Before I can second-guess myself, I click on his number to call him.

As the call connects and starts ringing, a phone rings right behind me.

My stomach drops.

I whirl around, but the ringing phone seems to belong to a teenage girl. She takes the call and I can hear her screaming “Oh my God!” into the phone as she walks past me. Geez, I am jumpy.

“Hello? Millie?”

It’s Douglas’s voice on the other line. He’s not standing two feet behind me. Wherever he is, it sounds a lot quieter than the busy street that I’m on. “Oh, hi.”

“Everything okay? Are you still coming tonight to clean?”

“Yes…” I curse to myself for not preparing a story before calling. I was being impulsive. “I was just working on my résumé, and I had a quick question for you.”

“You’re not leaving us, are you?” There’s a touch of humor in his voice, but also something dark lingering beneath the surface. “I sure hope not.”

“No, definitely not. I just wanted to pick up some extra work, and I was wondering, how did you hear about me? Like, how did you get my number when you called me?”

He thinks for a moment. “Actually, it was Wendy who gave me your number.”

“Wendy? Your wife?”

“Do you know another Wendy?” He chuckles. “She told me that a friend gave her your number and said that you were really good.”

“Did she say what friend?”

“No.” Now his voice has taken on a slightly defensive edge. “We’ve given you enough information here. Please don’t bother Wendy about this.”

“Of course not,” I say. “Thank you very much for the information. And I’ll certainly be coming tonight.”

I will be coming tonight. But if he thinks I’m not going to ask Wendy about this, he’s got another thing coming.

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