Chapter no 56

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

Step 6: Figure Out How to Turn Your Husband into a Man Who Deserves to Die

Four Months Earlier

“Douglas is threatening to put the penthouse on the market soon,” I tell Russell. “I don’t know what to do.”

We are lying together in the gigantic king-sized bed in the master bedroom. I was panicked about coming back here after I found out about the cameras Douglas installed, so I hired an expert to find them all and dismantle them. Not staying at this apartment was not an option—after all, it’s mine as much as it is Douglas’s. I’m the one who picked out this bed, although I can probably count on my hands the number of times Douglas has slept in it. He never liked this apartment. Russell, on the other hand, is completely enamored with it. He likes it as much as I do.

But even if I got the ten million dollars, I wouldn’t be able to stay here.

And without that money, it’s a ridiculous dream.

“He won’t do it.” Russell runs his fingers over my bare stomach. “If he sells the apartment, you’ll have to go live with him. And he doesn’t want that.”

I want to throw up my hands. “Who knows what he wants? He’s just trying to punish me.” The whole lie about me trying to get pregnant clearly pushed him over the edge. He wants me to suffer for my sins. “But what can I do?”

“You could divorce him anyway,” he says. “And you could be with me.

I’ll leave Marybeth.”

“But we’ll be destitute!”

“No, we won’t.” He looks offended by this suggestion. “I have my store. And you could find something as well. We won’t be destitute.”

Sometimes I feel like Russell and I are made for each other, but other times he says things like that.

For now, I’m waiting it out. Once Douglas and I get divorced, that’s it— I have no claim to his money. So every day, I cross my fingers that while he’s walking down the street, he gets hit by a bus. That happens all the time in the city. Why can’t it happen to my husband for once?

“If only he would die,” I say. “You’d think with the amount of greasy food he eats, he would have dropped dead of a heart attack.”

“He’s only forty-two.”

“Men die from heart attacks all the time in their forties,” I point out. “Douglas even takes medication for his heart. It could happen.”

“Hoping Douglas has a heart attack isn’t a solid plan for the future.”

Russell doesn’t seem to enjoy fantasizing about Douglas’s death the way I do. That’s only because he doesn’t know him like I do.

“There must be a way out of this prenup situation,” I say. “Douglas is being a sadistic asshole, and he needs to pay for the way he’s been treating me. There should be some way to punish husbands who treat their wives this way. Cutting off my money and threatening to take my home away… That’s basically, like, abuse.”

As I say the words, something tugs at the back of my head. A story my friend Audrey was telling me ages ago. About some sort of housekeeper who advocates for women who are treated badly by their husbands.

She’s hardcore, believe me… If she thinks a guy is hurting a woman, she will do pretty much anything to make it stop.

I close my eyes, trying to remember the woman’s name. Then it comes to me:


Douglas isn’t terrible in the same way as Ginger’s husband was—he’s not physically abusive. But he’s evil and manipulative nonetheless. Abuse isn’t necessarily only physical—isn’t my husband throwing me out of my own home and leaving me penniless just as abusive as breaking a bone?

Would this cleaning woman agree? I don’t know. She might need a little persuading.

But… what if she saw a man treating me terribly, and she believed him to be my husband? Of course, it couldn’t actually be Douglas because he’s actively avoiding me. And Douglas would never physically lay a hand on me, even if I provoked him. But this Millie person doesn’t know who my husband is. Douglas has meticulously swept the internet of photographs of himself. If Millie saw a man slapping me around, she would be motivated to help me. If what he does is bad enough, I won’t even be able to stop her.

Slowly, a plan is forming in my head.

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