Double Blind

By: Vanessa Waltz

“What the fuck happened to keeping a cool head, eh?”

I rip my arm out of his grasp impatiently, keeping my voice low because we’re still in earshot of the restaurant. “In case you didn’t fucking notice, that asshole talked about making a pass to my fiancée.”

“I don’t give a fuck what he said. Tony has a hard on for you, why are you making it so easy for him?”

The pressure builds up in my chest until I can’t take it anymore. “We look like a bunch of fucking assholes! What the fuck is this deal? Bringing my fiancée into this?”

Jack takes my arm again, forcing me to stop. I look around into his eyes, which look glazed over with pain. I remind myself that he just got discharged and that he’s probably still in a lot of pain. It took a lot out of him to meet the Rizzos, but it needed to be done. He couldn’t look weak.

“I realized something when I got shot in that restaurant. I don’t give a fuck about pride or ego—I just want to live. You want her to live, don’t you?”

The brief image of her lifeless body is enough to build pressure behind my eyes. “Of course, I do.”

When I look in Jack’s haunted eyes, I know that I’ll do whatever it takes to keep her safe, even if she hates me for it.

“We came very, very close to dying, Vinny. All of us—the whole family could be wiped out if we go to war with Tony. We need to make sacrifices to survive, or we’ll all die.”

I love her too much to take risks. It doesn’t matter how many times she goes to work for Carmine, as long as she comes home to me.

I’m still not okay with it.

Finally, I nod at him. “All right. I’ll tell her.”

But she’ll never forgive me.


Maria grips my wrist in a vice-like hold as she steers me through the wedding cake store. Our appointment is in ten minutes, and Vince still hasn’t showed up. Her face glows with excitement as she walks through the store, clutching a clipboard of wedding material to her chest. I didn’t expect Maria to take her job as maid of honor so seriously, but she cut out and clipped hundreds of pictures from magazines and we analyzed hundreds of patterns and color themes that I like for over two hours. And this is just for the freaking cake. As far as cakes go—if I can eat it, I’ll like it.

But nothing is ever that simple.

“Did you ever decide if you wanted a traditional fondant or marshmallow fondant?”

I give Maria a blank look. I have no idea what the fuck that is.

She jumps suddenly. “Oh, and there’s also marzipan fondant. I personally prefer the taste of almonds to corn syrup, but that’s just me.”

Where the hell is he?

The glass door suddenly opens and I whirl around to see Vince, looking fresh in his black suit. A dark look weighing on his face brightens slightly when he sees me. He walks inside and gives me a strained smile.

“Hey.” He wraps an arm around my waist and gives me a quick peck on my cheek.

“There’s our angry young man!” Maria gives him a half amused, half exasperated look.

He does look angry. Last night, he came home and didn’t speak a word to me. I know better than to ask questions, but still. I can’t help but wonder if I did something wrong. Then he notices me watching him and his eyebrows lift slightly.

“I’m not angry, just busy.” He straightens his suit. “Where is this broad?”

I elbow Vince’s ribs, but it’s too late.

“I’m right here!” A cheerful voice with a heavy, Jersey accent emerges from behind the counter. The woman belonging to the voice is dressed in a leopard print, skintight one-suit. She wears large, golden hoops for earrings and her face looks like she dived headfirst into a makeup bag.

“Holy shit,” Vince mutters under his breath.

She extends a claw-like hand to Maria, who takes it immediately. “We’re so happy you could fit us in for today. I’ve heard so much about the bakery.”

“Of course! Are you the lucky bride?”

“No, I’m the maid of honor,” Maria blushes slightly as she looks at me.

She gestures to me with very long, fake fingernails. “Hello, how are you? I’m Danielle.”

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