Chapter no 35

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

I am still working for the Garrick family.

I couldn’t tell Brock the real reason why I decided to stay with them and turned down the interview at his firm, only that they decided they needed me after all. He didn’t ask any further questions, but mostly because I’ve been avoiding him.

The next time I see him, I have to come clean about my past. It’s time. But that doesn’t mean I’m not dreading it, so I’ve been conveniently “busy” the last couple of days. Even though I promised to explain it all to him “soon,” there is literally never a good time. Maybe there never will be.

But I have to tell him. He has to know the truth before he goes through introducing me to his parents, for God’s sake.

Tonight I’m preparing dinner for the Garricks. I’ve got chicken breasts roasting in the oven and I’m boiling potatoes on the stove, which I will be running through the food processor to make a perfectly silky potato purée, exactly the way Douglas likes it. I’d be tempted to spit in it if I didn’t know that Wendy was eating it too.

While I’m checking the oven, Wendy peeks into the kitchen. Her bruised face looks a lot better and she doesn’t flinch when she walks anymore, so I assume she’s healing.

“Dinner is almost ready,” I tell her.

She lingers in the doorway to the kitchen for a moment. Finally, she says, “I need to talk to you for a moment, Millie. Can you come into the living room?”

The food should be okay to leave for a few minutes, so I immediately follow Wendy into her living room and over to a desk in the corner of the

room. She has a strange expression on her face, and I feel a flash of worry. A couple of days ago, I promised her that I would figure out a way out of her situation, and I have not yet delivered on that promise. But I will.

I’m just trying to figure out a way to do it without involving Enzo.

“I discovered something the other day in Douglas’s bookcase,” she tells me. “Something I’d like you to see.”

I follow her with a mixture of curiosity and anxiety as she limps up the stairs to a bookcase in the hallway. She pulls what appears to be a dictionary out of the bookcase and lowers it down onto an empty shelf. She flips it open and that’s when I realize that the dictionary has been completely hollowed out.

And inside is a gun.

I clasp a hand over my mouth. “Oh my God. That belongs to Douglas?”

She nods. “I knew he had a gun somewhere in the house, but I never knew where he kept it.”

“He doesn’t even lock it up?”

“I guess he wants to be able to get to it quickly if he needs to.” Wendy lifts the gun out of the hollowed book. She holds it like somebody who has never held a gun before. “This is a way out.”

“No. No.” I push back a swell of panic in my chest. “Trust me, no matter how desperate you are, you do not want to do this.”

I don’t have much experience with guns, but I have a lot of experience with doing something drastic out of desperation. I am never, ever going down that road again. And neither should she.

But Wendy isn’t listening. She holds the gun clasped in both hands and points it across the room. Her finger isn’t on the trigger, but her intention is obvious.

“Please don’t do that,” I beg her.

“It’s loaded too,” she says. “I looked up how to check. It’s got five bullets in it.”

I can’t stop shaking my head. “Wendy, you don’t want to do this. I promise you.”

She turns to look at me, her left cheekbone still purple from her husband’s fist, although it’s fading to yellow. “What choice do I have?”

“Do you want to spend the rest of your life in prison?” “I’m already there.”

“Listen to me.” As gently as I can, I tug the gun out of her hands. I lay it back down on the desk. “You don’t want to do this. There’s another way.”

“I don’t believe you anymore.”

I imagine Wendy pointing the gun at Douglas’s face. With the way she was holding the gun just now and how much she was trembling, she would probably miss even at close range. “Do you even have any idea how to fire this thing?”

She shrugs. “You point it at whoever you want to kill, then you pull the trigger. It’s not rocket science.”

“There’s a little more to it than that.”

Her eyes widen. “Have you ever shot a gun before, Millie?”

I hesitate a bit too long. Yes, I do have a little bit of experience shooting a gun. Enzo was convinced it was a good skill to know, so the two of us went to the firing range a few times. We took a gun safety course and we got certificates. But I’ve never shot one except at the firing range. I’m hardly an expert. “Sort of.”

She gives me a meaningful look. “Millie…”

“No.” I pick up the gun and place it back in the fake dictionary. I close it with a snap. “That’s not going to happen.”


Whatever Wendy was about to say gets cut off by the sound of the elevator doors grinding open. I quickly pick up the dictionary and shove it back on the shelf where I found it, while Wendy dashes back into the guest bedroom with shocking speed. I hurry down the stairs, so Douglas won’t realize what I was doing.

Douglas wanders into the living room and looks slightly taken aback to see me coming down the stairs. His thick black eyebrows creep up his forehead. “I thought you would be preparing dinner?”

“I am,” I assure him. “It’s in the oven right now.”

“I see…” His deep-set eyes study my face, carefully enough to make me squirm. “What’s for dinner then?”

“Roasted chicken breast, potato purée, and glazed carrots,” I reply, even though today’s menu was carefully arranged by Douglas himself.

Douglas thinks it over for a moment. “Don’t put any potatoes on my wife’s plate. They upset her stomach.”


“And just a half portion of chicken for her,” he adds. “She hasn’t been well, and I doubt she’ll be able to eat much.”

As I drain the potatoes that Wendy will not be able to partake in, I finally understand why Wendy is so painfully thin. Douglas is the one who brings her food every night. He controls every bite that goes into her mouth.

On top of everything else, he’s systematically starving her. Yet another way to control her, keep her weak, and kill her spirit.

Wendy is right. This needs to come to an end.

On the plus side, now I can safely spit in the potato purée.

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