His Witness

By: Vanessa Waltz

Vince gives me a thoughtful smile. “Fine.”

I stop in my tracks.

Fine? Did he just agree with me?

“Anything else you need to bother me with?”

He smiles that dangerous smile that always precludes a bit of pain for me, and then he takes a few steps forward, waving the envelope of cash until it almost touches my face.

“Next time, you pay the full amount. I won’t keep doing this, Melanie. If you don’t smarten up, you’re going to get badly hurt.”

He makes me fucking fume and I hope he can feel the utter contempt rolling off my body, singeing his skin. I wish I could kill him, all of them, with my eyes.

I’ll go to the fucking police, that’s what I’ll do. I’ll sing for them.

I almost fucking say it. I bite down hard on my tongue to keep myself from actually saying it. Then Vincent gives me a sneer and moves from me. Joe follows and I’m stuck in the room with Tommy, who quietly drinks my vodka.

I wheel on him, shaking. “You, too. Get the fuck out of here and out of my life.”

He lifts the glass and raises it in a salute, and then he throws back his head and drains it. It slams loudly on the coffee table. He slowly stands up, pinning together his brown suit, which is completely at odds with those greaseballs. Even that annoys me. It’s as if he’s trying to stand out. Be special.

Then suddenly he’s in my space, his hip bumping against mine. His arm tries to curl around my waist, and I pull away, heart pounding with fear. Breath catches in my throat. What the hell is he doing? I step around him, but Tommy blocks my path with a sly grin.


“When are you going to let me take you out?”

Oh Jesus. Not again!

“Tommy,” I start in a firm voice.

“Tommy,” he mocks. “Oh, come on. Haven’t I always been nice to you?”

It’s true, but that doesn’t change who he is.

His fingers grasp my chin, and I’m infuriated by how brazen this guy is, but then I look into his eyes. They’re warmer than I expected and it takes the wind out of my sails for a moment.

“You called me a piece of ass the first time we met.”

“That’s not a compliment? I’m sorry, hon. I didn’t know that I should have called you a cow.”

The stern look I’m trying to freeze over my face melts a little.

“Some women don’t like to be talked to like they’re objects.”

“I learned my lesson.” His voice drops suddenly. “I call you ‘sweetie’ because I hope you’ll be my sweetheart one day.”

Despite myself, a smile stretches my face, and he grins back, making heat flush my chest.

Okay, fine. I’ll admit to myself that I like him. He seems to genuinely like me. Why else would he be so persistent? I met him six months ago and hated him instantly because he was one of them, but gradually he became one of the few I tolerate. He never let up all that time.

I push his hand away and step back. “It’s never going to happen.”

“Why? You don’t like Italians?”

“No, I don’t.”

I say it in a heated voice and Tommy falls silent. For a moment my cheeks burn and I wonder if I’ve crossed a line, but Tommy cracks a smile and his shoulders shake with laughter.

“What the fuck is this world coming to? You’re prejudiced against Italians?”

Not really. I roll my eyes at him and take a step toward the door.

He catches my arm. “Well, good thing I’m only half.”

“Still too much.”

Sweet Jesus, what part of I’m not interested did you not get?

He backs me against the wall and plants his hands on either side of my head so that I can’t escape. My heart pounds faster, fear churning through my veins, making me sick. He has a violent reputation, and even the other guys seem to stand apart from him as if he’s carrying a contagious disease. I’ve heard things. Nothing specific, but dark hints about his behavior fly out of their mouths sometimes when they have too much to drink.

“Did you see that guy Tommy carved up the other day?”

You don’t forget something like that.

Tommy leans closer and I inhale a wisp of his cologne. Cedar. It feels slightly overpowering and I’m dizzy. He’s never been physical with me, has never shown an iota of aggression toward me, but like I said. I can’t forget the things I’ve heard about him.

“You know, if you were my comare, you wouldn’t have to deal with anyone else again.” His voice sends shivers down my back. “Just me.”

“What the fuck is that?”

He smirks. “My mistress.”

My insides clench horribly. I’ve no interest in him, and it has nothing to do with his attractiveness. Tommy is disarmingly handsome. He kind of takes your breath away, at first, all smiles and charm turned to the max. He’s the kind of guy who knows how good he has it, and he’s not afraid to make the first move. Not at all.

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