Chapter no 46

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

You must think I’m a terrible person.

Would it help if I said that while Douglas never laid a finger on me, he was a terrible husband? He humiliated me and made my life miserable. And I would have been happy to get a divorce.

This did not need to end in his murder. That’s entirely on him.

And Millie? Well, she is an unfortunate casualty. But she’s not quite as sweet as you might think. If she spends her life behind bars, it’s for the greater good.

But even after you hear my side of the story, you might still think I’m a terrible person. You might think that Douglas didn’t deserve to die. You might think that I am the one who deserves to go to prison for the rest of my life.

And the truth is, I don’t really care.

How to Get Away With Murdering Your Husband – A Guide by Wendy Garrick

Step 1: Meet a Man who is Single, Clueless, and Filthy Rich Four Years Earlier

I don’t understand contemporary art.

My friend Alisa sent me an invitation to this gallery exhibit, but it’s too strange for me. I’m used to admiring paintings as beautiful works of artistic skill. But this? I don’t even know what this is.

The title of the exhibit is simply: Garments. And that is exactly what it is. Clothing, Hanging from the wall, cut to shreds, reconstructed into a patchwork of corduroy, satin, silk, and polyester. It’s absolutely preposterous. When did art become something that looks like a child made it during the arts and crafts class at school?

The work I am looking at right now is titled Socks. It is aptly named. It is a giant frame, at least as tall as I am, and every inch of it is covered in socks of various shapes and sizes.

I just… I simply don’t get it.

“I have a hole in one of my socks,” a male voice says from behind me. “D’you think they would be okay if I borrowed one of these?”

I swivel my head to identify the owner of the voice. Immediately, I recognize Douglas Garrick. Before this event, I studied with great care a rare photo Alisa found me—I memorized his unkempt brown hair, the crinkling around his eyes with an almost smile, a crooked incisor on the left. He’s wearing a cheap white dress shirt that looks like it could have been purchased at Walmart, and he’s missed a button. No wait, he has missed all the buttons. Every single button is off by one. And he needs a shave—badly.

You would never guess this man is one of the wealthiest people in the entire country.

“I don’t see how they could miss it,” I reply, trying to sound cool although my heart is doing jumping jacks in my chest.

He grins at me and sticks out his hand. It was barely noticeable in the photo I saw, but in real life, he has a double chin, although it’s nothing that some diet and exercise wouldn’t take care of. “Doug Garrick.”

I take his hand, which is warm, and swallows mine up like they were designed to fit together. “Wendy Palmer.”

“Very nice to meet you, Wendy Palmer,” he says, as his brown eyes meet mine.

“Likewise, Mr. Garrick.”

“So…” He rolls back onto the heels of his worn loafers. “What do you think of Garments?”

I look around the room at the various clothing-centered artwork. I know a little bit about Douglas Garrick, and I believe him to be a man who appreciates the truth. “Actually,” I say, “I don’t quite understand it. I could create any of these pieces myself with a little bit of Elmer’s glue and a box of clothing from Goodwill.”

Douglas frowns. “But isn’t that the point? The artist is trying to challenge the status quo and provide a critique to traditional art, and demonstrate that even the most ordinary objects can be turned into something that triggers emotions.”

“Oh.” Damn it, now I have to think of something intelligent to say. “Well, I do find that the interplay of texture and color—”

I stop short when I see the smirk on Douglas’s lips. He holds it for a split second, then he bursts out laughing. “Did that nonsense sound like I knew what I was talking about?”

“A bit,” I admit sheepishly.

“You know what I love about this gallery?” he says. “The food. It is…” He kisses the tips of his fingers. “Spectacular. I’m willing to look at a few walls of socks for these hors d’oeuvres.”

“Yes,” I murmur. I haven’t had a bite to eat since I’ve been here. This Donna Karan dress fits me like a glove, hugging my boobs and stomach and ass all equally well, but there could be an unsightly bulge if I start guzzling shrimp with cocktail sauce.

He looks down at my bare hands. “Let me grab a few of my favorites for you. Trust me.”

I smile at him. “I’m intrigued.”

“Don’t move a muscle, Wendy Palmer.”

Douglas winks at me before dashing over to the table of hors d’oeuvres. He picks up a plate and starts stacking a disturbing number of items. Oh Lord. Why is he putting so much food on that plate? I don’t indulge in breakfast or lunch, and I already had a salad before I came here. What is this man doing to me?

I am nearly having a panic attack at all the food he is putting on that plate, but it is a tiny plate, so it will be all right. I’ll just have a smaller dinner tomorrow night.

“Here you go.” He hurries back to me, eager to show me the items he foraged for me. “These are my favorites. Try the mushroom tart first.”

I pick it up and take a bite. It is heavenly. This one bite probably has around five hundred calories in it if I had to guess. No wonder Douglas has a double chin. And he doesn’t care, because he’s not a woman and also so incredibly rich.

“Now,” he says, “there’s a piece over there called Pants. Want to hazard any guesses about what we’re going to be looking at?”

He grins at me, holding my gaze even though my dress is exhibiting an impressive amount of cleavage. When I came here tonight intending to seduce Douglas Garrick, I didn’t anticipate this man.

This will be far easier than I expected.

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