Double Blind

By: Vanessa Waltz


“Vince, you only get married once. If you didn’t want to come here, you could have just said so.”

He looks at me sharply. “I do want to be here.”

Then what’s the problem?

His face strains as he fights to keep whatever it is inside him.

“Well, here we are!”

Danielle returns with a plate of pieces of white and cream colored frosting. I hold one in my hand. It shines under the light.

“That one is regular fondant.”

My first thought is that it’s very gummy and sugary. Vince makes a face and I grab for the less shiny, but sticky fondant.

“That one’s marzipan.”

The sweet, nutty flavor of almonds explodes over my mouth. It reminds me of those Almond Joy chocolate bars.

“I like that one.”

* * *

The door swings open and slams shut so hard that I can feel the vibrations through my feet. We’re finally back from the cake tasting, and Vince seems to be in a shitty mood. I wait for him to walk closer, to give me a beaming smile as his arm wraps around my waist. My skin tingles in anticipation, and then I get a closer look at him. The look on his face makes the blood drain from my limbs.

Vince walks past me without a smile or a hint of happiness in his eyes.

He gets like this sometimes, but I never know why. Since everything that happened, we agreed that the less I know, the better. I don’t particularly want to know everything that he does, anyway.

It still doesn’t stop me from wondering.

Vince takes off his leather shoes and hurls them down the hallway. Then he rips off his jacket and throws it on the floor as if it did him personal harm.

“Fuck.” His lips mouth the word several more times as he paces back and forth, his dark eyes flashing.

Okay. That’s a bit more dramatic than usual.

Then he walks to the freezer, pulls out the bottle of vodka he thinks I don’t know about, and two glasses from the cupboard. He pours two glasses.

His face steams with rage. The olive-skinned face that I know so well is clenched together. I can see him barely holding it in, probably for my sake. His black, fiery gaze meets mine for a moment and I look away, heart beating fast. He grabs both glasses, pounds one after the other, and then he sinks his face into his hands.

Jesus.

Nerves flutter in my stomach as I stand up and walk towards the completely still Vince. I’m almost afraid to touch him, as though he’ll jump violently or snap at me. My hand lifts to his dark hair and I tremulously lower it until the fine strands tickle my palm.

He doesn’t move.

I let it fall down his trim neck, to the slightly wavy bristles, and across his shoulder. I seize his shoulder muscle and I dig in hard with my thumb, trying to loosen him up. He finally responds, letting his hands drop and turning into my body. Still seated, he wraps his arms around my waist and pulls me closer, and his head rests on my chest. My skin tingles when I feel his fingers lightly stroking the exposed skin on my lower back, but it’s not sexual.

For once, Vince seems vulnerable. Scared.

Holy shit.

“What’s wrong?” I ask, hating how reedy my voice sounds.

“I haven’t been telling you the truth.”

I pull myself away from him, starting to feel a sharp, prickling sensation over my skin. He can’t even look at me.

“I need to ask you to do something,” he says finally. “Something that I promised I would never ask you to do again.”

My mind runs, heart beating frantically. I think of gunfire smashing through the thick panes of glass at the restaurant, the loud cracks shattering the air, and blood. Thick pools of dark red.

“What?”

“They want you to work for them. As a dealer in a casino.”

Is that all? My heart still thuds like I’m running a marathon. “Who?”

Vince lifts his head and begs me with his eyes. “The Rizzo family.”

The Rizzo family. The thugs who murdered my father and made my life hell. Heat flushes my face and I step away from Vince.

“How could you ask me that?”

He looks miserable. “Believe me, if I had a choice, you would never see them again.”

“What kind of trouble are you in?” My voice rises sharply, bouncing off the ceilings. “I thought you said that everything was fine!”

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