“Parade of Fools” – Part 1

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First time reading? Start at the beginning here.

The old family lake house was becoming quite the hot scene. The dusty sheets had been taken off the furniture, the refrigerator restocked, and people came and went at all hours. Blueblood, of course, didn’t tell Val who half these people were. He’d taken over the house like a king visiting a noble’s estate, claiming the master bedroom for himself and letting his men make a complete mess of the place. Val wasn’t in a position to stop them anymore, so she watched and brooded and spent a lot of time reading minds. Only the minds of Blueblood’s men, that is. Blueblood himself had mental shields as strong as she’d feared, and her attempts to subtly break in came to nothing.

“I’ll kill him,” Joey had said when he’d seen her blackened, infected hand. “I’ll beat him until he fixes it.”

Val had to grab his arm to stop him. “Not a good idea to hit someone whose touch can kill you.”

“I’ll wear gloves. I’ll use knives and hot irons. Give me half an hour alone in a room with him, and I swear—”

“No,” she’d said firmly. “We play along with him for now.”

So here she was in the dining room, playing along as Blueblood introduced his latest guest.

“This is Leo Sakai, Evelyn’s son.”

Leo was young, early twenties at the latest, his face soft with baby fat. He squeezed Val’s hand much more forcefully than necessary when he shook it, and she winced. She wore a black satin glove over her right hand to hide where Blueblood had touched her, leaving her left bare. The one-glove look wasn’t something she’d choose under normal circumstances, but if Michael Jackson could pull it off, then so could she.

“His mother took over the syndicate when his father died,” Blueblood continued, “ostensibly until Leo here came of age. But she’s gotten greedy and won’t give it up.”

Val didn’t comment. It was an open secret why Evelyn was still in charge of the American branch of the Tsubaki Syndicate. She was as clever as the fox she’d been named for, and her son was an idiot.

The three of them sat around the table, which was set with three plates of linguine with clam sauce and glasses of Pinot Grigio.

“Val, did you cook for us?” Blueblood asked in a teasing tone she would have found much more tolerable a few days ago.


Blueblood put a forkful into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully. “Well, my compliments to the chef. I’m afraid I’m not a fan of white wine, though. Could you take it back and get me a rosé?”

Val’s jaw clenched. He didn’t need new wine, and even if he did, he could have asked any one of his men to get it. Making her play waitress was a power move, plain and simple, either for his own amusement or to show off in front of Leo. She rose with as much grace as she could muster and snatched his glass. Keenly aware of everyone’s eyes on her, she walked measuredly into the hall towards the kitchen.

Eddy was there, cleaning the pots and pans after the creation of another culinary masterpiece. He’d shown up the day before, to Val’s immense relief.

“We could poison him,” he suggested as he poured the glass for her.

“Tempting, but not yet.”

She walked back into the dining room and made herself smile by imagining all the gruesome ways Blueblood could be killed.

“Thank you, my dear,” Blueblood said when she set down his glass, adding a set of pliers and his teeth to her fantasies. “Now let’s talk about Evelyn.”

“Let’s,” Leo agreed.

Val stopped herself from rolling her eyes. Leo was like a snotty kid sitting at the adult table. Then she wondered with a cold feeling if that was how she’d seemed to Blueblood and the Fox Woman at first

“Lucio is taken care of,” Blueblood said. “Or he will be once the trial is over. But we need to move up our timeline for getting rid of Evelyn. Everything afterwards is planned. Leo, the grieving son, will swoop in and rally his troops for revenge. Which is why I want to stage her death to look like a DSA raid gone wrong.”

“And how are you going to do that?” Val asked.

“I’m not.” Blueblood took a sip of wine and smiled. “You are.”



Kristen’s Corner

And so episode 7 begins with Blueblood being a total douche. Can Val get the upper hand back? We’ll have to wait to find out, because next week will be from Dave’s POV.

A comment by reader Bailey reminded me of the property damage tally for each episode, so I went back over “Everything is Perfectly Fine” and found…nothing. There was no damage–unless you count the damage to Dave and Val’s pride. I feel genuinely ashamed! A lot more stuff will get destroyed in this episode–I promise!

Published by Brandedkristen

If Kristen Brand could have any superpower, she'd want telekinesis so she wouldn't have to move from her computer to pour a new cup of tea. She spends far too much time on the internet, and when she's not writing, she's usually reading novels or comic books. Icon by @heckosart.

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