Chapter no 33

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

“You know,” Brock tells me as he shoves a forkful of pad Thai noodles into his mouth, “a part-time receptionist position opened up at my law firm. Are you interested?”

The two of us are eating dinner at Brock’s apartment, in his tiny dining room. The Garricks have a legit dining room, but most apartments in New York just have a tiny little area off the living room with a table that can be manually extended to accommodate more than four people. And Brock’s apartment is considered large by Manhattan standards. In a small apartment, there wouldn’t be a dining area at all, and the kitchen and the living room and the bedroom and the bathroom would all be one room, like at my place.

That said, he could afford better if he wanted. His parents are wealthy— not insanely rich like Douglas Garrick, but definitively upper class—but he doesn’t want to take any of their money, as much as they try to offer it to him. They taught me to fish, he’s fond of saying. He feels like it’s enough that they paid for his Ivy League college degree and law degree, and now it’s up to him to earn his own living, i.e. fish.

I respect that about him. He really is a great guy. And I appreciate that he hasn’t pressured me to set another specific date to have The Talk, although now it feels like I could just postpone it indefinitely—even though I know I shouldn’t.

I mix a little bit more of my red curry with the white rice. I love the food from this restaurant, because the curries are always super spicy. “A secretarial job, huh?”

Brock nods. “You’re looking, right?”

It’s been three days since I dropped Wendy off in Albany. I told Brock something vague about them not requiring my services anymore, and he had no reason to suspect anything else was going on. Douglas Garrick is supposed to return from his business trip tomorrow, and when I think about it, I get a sick feeling in my stomach. But I still believe it’s all going to work out.

Either way, I’ll have to find a way to leave that cleaning position. Maybe I’ll send Douglas a text message in the next week to let him know my schedule has filled up and I can’t work for him anymore. That will leave me woefully unemployed, and the idea of a job with regular hours and oh my God benefits is amazing.

“That sounds great,” I say. “But would a receptionist job work with my school schedule?”

“Like I said, it’s part-time,” he says. “They’re actually hoping for somebody who could do weekends, so that would be perfect for you.”

It would be perfect. Absolutely perfect. And Brock has told me that everybody at his company is well paid. And then I wouldn’t have to deal with working for all these neurotic Manhattan couples.

Of course, if Brock’s company is considering hiring me, they’re going to do a background check. And when they find out about my past, so will he. I can just imagine someone at his firm ribbing him about it. Hey, Brock, heard your girlfriend has a prison record.

I can almost imagine his reaction. His usual easy smile sliding off his face. What? What do you mean? And then the conversation when he gets home from work… oh God…

This is getting crazy. I have kept this from him long enough. And if I told Enzo that this guy is The Guy, then that means I’m serious about him. That means being completely honest.

“Also,” Brock says, “my parents are coming into town for a wedding next month. And I…” He flashes me a crooked smile. “I’d like us all to have dinner together.”

“Your parents?” I gulp.

“I want them to meet you.” He reaches across the tiny dining table and places his hand on top of mine. “I want them to get to know the woman I love.”

If we were in an “I love you” competition, Brock would be clobbering me by a ratio of like ten to one.

This is getting out of control. I can’t postpone The Talk any longer. I have to tell him everything. Now.

“Hey, Brock.” I put down my fork. “There’s something I need to talk to you about.”

He arches an eyebrow. “Oh?” “Yes…”

“That doesn’t sound good.”

“No, it’s…” I try to swallow, but my throat is too dry. I reach for my glass, but I drank all of my water while eating my spicy curry. “Let me get some more water.”

Brock is staring at me as I grab my water glass and hurry to the kitchen. I stick the glass under the water filter, wishing for once that the water poured out a little slower. While I’m filling up my water, my phone buzzes inside my pocket. Someone is calling me.

Wendy’s name is on my phone screen. I took down her number, in case something went wrong with our escape plan and she needed me to intervene. But she left that phone behind in the penthouse. So why is she calling now?

I take the call, lowering my voice so Brock can’t hear. I’m sure he wouldn’t approve of any of this, and it’s especially important not to say a word to him since he apparently knows Douglas Garrick and thinks he’s a nice guy. “Wendy,” I whisper. “What’s going on?”

For a second, there’s only silence on the other line. Then the sound of quiet sobbing. “I’m back. He brought me back.”

“Oh God…”

“Millie.” Her voice cracks. “Can you please come here?”

Brock’s apartment is only about a fifteen-minute walk from the penthouse. I could be there in twenty minutes. But how can I? I just initiated a serious discussion with my boyfriend that will probably take up the rest of the night.

But he doesn’t need me as badly as Wendy does. “I’ll be there soon,” I promise her.

I leave my glass of water in the kitchen and march back out to the dining area. Brock looks like he has barely touched his pad Thai noodles since I left the kitchen. “So?” he says.

“Listen,” I say, “I had an emergency come up. I… I have to go.” “Now?”

“I’m so sorry,” I say. “We’ll talk tomorrow night—I promise.” Brock’s lower lip juts out. “Millie…”

“I promise.” I plead with him with my eyes. “And… I’d love to meet your parents. I think it will be great.”

That last statement seems to placate him. “I know you’re nervous about meeting my parents,” he says, “but you’ll love my mom. She’s from Brooklyn too. She went to Brooklyn College, and she’s got the same accent as you.”

“I don’t have an accent!”

“You do.” He grins at me. “A slight one. It’s cute.” “Yeah, yeah…”

He stands up from the table and reaches for me. Even though I’m itching to run over to the penthouse, I let him take me in his arms. “I just want you to know,” he says, “that whatever terrible thing you feel like you need to tell me about yourself, it’s okay. I love you no matter what.”

I look into his blue eyes, and I can tell that he means it. “We’ll talk about this soon,” I promise. “And… I love you too.”

It gets easier every time I say it.

He kisses me deeply on the lips, and for a moment, I truly wish I did not have to leave. But I don’t have a choice.

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