Chapter no 41

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

I wake up feeling like I got hit by a truck, and my right temple is pounding.

I couldn’t sleep last night. I tossed and turned, and every time I started to drift off, I would see Douglas’s dead body lying on the floor of the penthouse. Finally, I stumbled to the bathroom and took one of the sleeping pills I’ve got stashed there. Then I drifted into a dream-filled sleep, haunted by my former boss’s dead eyes staring at me.

I roll over in bed, touching my rat’s nest of hair. The pounding in my temple intensifies, and it takes a moment to realize that there is also pounding coming from the front door.

Someone is at the front door.

I manage to crawl out of bed and wrap a housecoat around my body. “I’m coming!” I croak, hoping the pounding might stop. But whoever is at the door is persistent.

I peek through the peephole. A man is standing there, wearing a crisp white shirt and black tie under a trench coat. “Who is it?” I call out.

“This is Detective Ramirez of the NYPD,” the man’s muffled voice responds.

Oh no.

But okay, there’s no reason to panic. My boss is dead, so obviously they’re going to want to ask me a few questions. There’s nothing to be worried about.

I unlock the door and crack it open. He can’t come in here without my explicit permission, and I have no intention of giving it to him. Not that I have anything to hide, but you never know.

“Miss Calloway?” he asks in a surprisingly deep voice. I would judge him to be about in his early fifties based on the bags under his eyes and the gray-to-black ratio in his close-cropped hair.

“Hello,” I say tentatively.

“I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions,” he says. I do my best to make my face blank. “About what?”

He hesitates, studying my face. “Do you know a man named Douglas Garrick?”

“Yes…” No harm in admitting that. It would be easy enough to prove that I worked for the Garricks.

“He was murdered last night.”

“Oh!” I clasp a hand over my mouth, trying to look surprised. “That’s awful.”

“I was hoping you could come down to the station and answer a few questions for me.”

Detective Ramirez’s face is a mask. His lips are a straight line, revealing nothing. But coming down to the station? That sounds serious. Then again, he’s not whipping out a pair of handcuffs and reading me my rights. I’m sure they’re just taking the case extra seriously because Douglas was so rich and important.

“When do you want me to come?”

“Now,” he says without hesitation. “I can give you a ride.” “Do… do I have to?”

I am under no obligation to come with him if I’m not under arrest—I know my rights all too well. But I’d like to hear what he says.

“You don’t have to,” he finally replies, “but I would highly recommend it. One way or another, we are going to be having a talk.”

I get a sick feeling in my stomach. This sounds like something more than a few casual questions about my employer. “I’d like to call my lawyer,” I say.

Ramirez keeps his eyes on mine. “I don’t think that’s necessary, but it’s your right to do so.”

I don’t know what kind of questions they’re going to be asking me, but I don’t like the idea of being at the police station without a lawyer present, no matter what he says. Unfortunately, there’s only one lawyer I know well enough to call right now. And this is going to be a difficult conversation.

Ramirez waits while I retrieve my cell phone and select Brock’s number. He’s got to already be at work by now, but he picks up after just a couple of rings. Brock spends most of the day at his desk and is rarely in the courtroom.

“Hey, Millie,” he says. “Are you okay?” “Um,” I say. “Not exactly…”

“Has the stomach bug gotten worse?” “What?”

Brock is quiet for a moment on the other line. “You told me last night you had a stomach bug.”

Oh right. I almost forgot the lie I told him when I didn’t come to his apartment last night. “Yes, that’s better, but I need your help with something else. Something important.”

“Of course. What do you need?”

“So, um…” I lower my voice so Ramirez can’t hear me. “You know my old boss, Douglas Garrick? He was actually… he was murdered last night.”

“Jesus,” Brock gasps. “Millie, that’s awful. Do they know who did it?” “No, but…” I glance over at Ramirez, who is watching me. “They want

to interview me at the police station.”

“Oh wow. Do they think you know something important?”

“I guess so—even though I really don’t. Anyway… I would feel better if I had a lawyer present with me.” I clear my throat. “So, you know, that’s you.”

“Sure, of course.” I want to reach through the phone and hug him. “I can meet you there as soon as I finish up a few things. I’m sure it will be fine, but I’m happy to be there for you.”

As I take down the address of the police station where Detective Ramirez will be questioning me, I can’t help but think to myself that Brock and I are soon going to end up having the conversation I meant to have with him last night, after all.

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