Chapter no 9

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

I have gotten into the habit of listening every time I pass the guest bedroom door.

It’s snooping. I know it is—I won’t deny it—but I can’t help myself. I have been working for the Garricks for one month, and I still have not officially met Wendy Garrick. But I have heard noises coming from that room. And on at least three occasions, I have noticed the door cracked open. But each time, it swung shut before I could manage to introduce myself.

It would not be an understatement to say my imagination is running wild. I have seen a lot of strange things in my years cleaning houses. A lot of bad things too. For a while, I used to try to fix some of those bad things. But I haven’t done that in a long time.

Not since Enzo took off.

This time as I’m walking down the hall, I definitely hear something coming from the guest bedroom. Usually, it’s pretty quiet in there, so this is something different. I pause, vacuum in my hand, and press my ear against the door. And this time I can hear the sound much more clearly.

It’s crying.

Someone is sobbing in there.

I promised Douglas that I wouldn’t knock on the door. But for some reason, Kitty Genovese pops into my head. Even if Brock says the whole story was an over-exaggeration, I do know that bad things happen when normal people walk on by.

So I rap my knuckles against the door. Instantly, the crying ceases.

“Hello?” I call out. “Mrs. Garrick? Are you all right?” There’s no answer.

“Mrs. Garrick?” I say again. “You okay?” Nothing.

I try a different tactic: “I’m not leaving until I see you’re all right. I’ll stay here all day if I have to.”

And then I stand there and wait.

After a few seconds, I hear soft footsteps behind the door. I take a step back as the door cracks open about two inches until I can see that green eye staring out at me. Sure enough, the white of the eye is marred by red veins and the eyelid is puffy.

“What. Do. You. Want?” the owner of the eye hisses at me. “I’m Millie,” I speak up. “Your cleaner.”

She doesn’t respond to that. “And I heard crying,” I add. “I’m fine,” she says tightly. “Are you sure? Because I—”

“I’m sure my husband told you I’m not feeling well.” Her tone is clipped. “I just want to rest.”

“Yes, but—”

Before I can say another word, Wendy Garrick shuts the door in my face. So much for reaching out to her. At least I tried.

I trudge back down the stairs, lugging the vacuum with me. I’m wasting my time even trying to get involved. Every time I bring it up to Brock these days, he tells me I need to mind my own business.

I’m busy putting away the vacuum cleaner when the elevator doors grind open. Douglas comes into the living room, whistling under his breath, wearing another one of his painfully expensive suits. He’s holding a bouquet of roses in one hand and a blue rectangular box in the other.

“Hi, Millie.” He seems strangely chipper, considering his wife is sobbing upstairs. “What’s going on? Almost finished?”

“Yes…” I’m not sure if I should tell him what I heard upstairs. But if his wife is crying, he would want to know, right? “Your wife seems a little down. I heard her crying in the bedroom.”

Splotches of red appear on his cheekbone. “You didn’t… talk to her, did you?”

I’m not inclined to lie, but at the same time, he did explicitly tell me not to bother Wendy. “No, of course not.”

“Good.” His shoulders relax. “You should just leave her alone. As I said, she’s not well.”

“Yes, you did say that…”

“And…” He holds up the blue rectangular box. “I’ve got a gift for her.” He puts down the flowers so he can open the velvet box, and he holds it up to me so that I can take a peek inside. “I think she’s going to love this.”

I look down at the contents of the box. It is the most beautiful bracelet I’ve ever seen, studded with flawless diamonds.

“It’s inscribed,” he says proudly. “I’m sure she’ll love it.”

Douglas snatches up the flowers and heads up the stairs. I watch him disappear down the hallway, then the sound of a door opening and closing.

I can’t quite figure this one out. Douglas seems like a wonderful and devoted husband. Wendy, on the other hand, never leaves her bedroom. She may come out when I’m not around, but I’ve never even seen her entire face, except in the photographs.

There’s something abnormal about this situation, and I don’t know what it is.

But like Brock says, it’s none of my business. I should just leave it alone.

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