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One Night Sin – Maddy & Declan's Story (Chapter 10)
“Thanks for coming this morning,” Father Patch says with a smile.
I smile back and nod, like, yeah, no problem, Father.
“I didn't want to tell you this in a letter, since it seemed kind of impersonal, but how do you feel about helping me out this summer?” he asks.
“Uh… you did say that in the letter, though?” I remind him.
“I did, I did,” he says, giving me a knowing nod. “I meant the specifics. I wanted to make sure you're on board first.”
“So you're asking me to agree before you tell me what it is?” I ask him.
“I'm asking you to have faith, Declan,” he counters.
“You're saying this is all a part of God's plan?” No offense, but I'm having a real hard time believing that one.
“It definitely could be,” he says with a grin.
“I'm having a lot of doubts right now, Father,” I tell him. “That grin of yours really isn't helping, either.”
“Oh, I'm just teasing you,” he says, laughing. “I know you'll help. You've been a great help over the years, and I know you haven't been around for awhile, but I'm always glad to see your emails. I'm happy you wanted to keep in touch, Declan. That's why I thought I'd offer you the opportunity of a lifetime.”
“I… uh… thanks?” I think I just agreed to something, but I don't remember actually agreeing.
“Great. I've got everything in order. I've been planning this for the past week, so everything should run without a hitch. You can see all of my notes and ideas for this week in the folder I'm leaving you. I tried to keep it simple, but you're welcome to add to it if you want.”
“What am I adding to?” I ask.
“It's just my weekly planner, Declan. All the things that need to be done at the church this week. I'm leaving you in charge. I'm going to Aruba.”
“Wait, what?” I must have misheard him, because there's no fucking way that I can be in charge of a church for the week.
I get that this isn't exactly the biggest church ever, and I'm sure everything would run pretty smoothly no matter what. There's not a lot of ways I can fuck this up. That doesn't change the fact that I'm literally back from my first year at seminary school and I don't think that qualifies me to act in the position of priest.
“It'll be fine. It's like I'm taking a sabbatical, but just for a week,” Father Patch says. “Don't worry about it, Declan.”
“Can you even do that?” I ask.
“Sure, why not?” he counters. “Everyone needs a vacation now and then, right? I thought I might start writing a book. I had this great idea about a religious high school and the coming of the apocalypse. Think of it like Harry Potter, but without the magic, and instead there'll be God and miracles and demons. What do you think?”
“I think I have no idea how I'm supposed to run a church for a week,” I tell him. “Father, I'm not a priest.”
“No one expects you to be me, Declan. Not even God. Be yourself. I've left you plenty of notes, so it shouldn't be too difficult. The only thing you have to do is come up with a sermon for next Sunday. I wrote down a few ideas, though.”
“Wait, Father! I… yeah… I don't, uh…”
“Shh. You're worrying about nothing. Here, come to my office with me. I'll show you the folder and you can sit down and take a look quick. I have to go soon, though. My plane leaves a little after noon and I don't want to miss my flight.”
This is how I end up going to Father Patch's office the morning of my personal apocalypse. There's a lot to it, and I don't know how to explain it all, but I often wonder what would have happened if I showed up late, or if I agreed quicker and never went into his office in the first place. If I'd been sitting on a church pew when she showed up, this all might have turned out completely differently.
Yeah… unfortunately none of that happens.
One Night Sin – Maddy & Declan's Story (Chapter 11)
This never gets easier. It's not like anyone ever wants to go to confession, you know? I completely understand that it should probably feel like a spiritual cleansing more than anything. I get that it's something I should want to do, and also something I need to do every so often in order to become closer to God. We receive grace to resist sin through confession, and we learn humility by confessing our sins to another person.
I mean, there's plenty of reasons! I really do understand, it's just…
I don't know if I want to say this out loud to anyone? That probably means I should definitely do it, though. Why is life so complicated?
It's not a big deal, Maddy. Not a big deal at all. Plenty of people go to confession. Plenty! Alright, yes, maybe plenty of people don't confess this exact sin. This sin might be unique to your personal situation, but I'm sure plenty of people have sins unique to their personal situations, so…
Wait, do they? I don't know. I'm procrastinating by distracting myself. I'm not procrastinating that much because I'm walking into the church right now. I open the doors and step into the foyer before heading down the center aisle to one of the pews.
Sometimes I come here just to think. I like the church. It reminds me of happiness and things that happened in my past, but also things that will happen in the future. Sometimes I think about being married, and I'm sure it'll happen eventually, but I want it to happen here if I can. I know this church isn't exactly glamorous or anything, but I don't necessarily need my wedding to be glamorous. I just want it to be filled wit love and devotion and loyalty.
And also the things I'm missing out on now for being a devout Catholic. Mainly the sexy ones. Look, it's fine if I'm married! That's how this works. Oh, yes, I am intimately familiar with the fact that this is exactly how it works.
I want to be good, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that sometimes I want to be bad, too.
And that's why I'm here, ready to confess my sins to Father Patch.
I sit and wait on one of the pews. The church is quiet, save for the gentle, echoing sounds that always seem to exist here. Even if nothing's going on, even if it's completely quiet inside and out, there's always a soft, rhythmic thrum when you're here. Sometimes I wonder if it's an echo of my heartbeat bouncing through the walls of the church, or maybe it's God's heartbeat meant to sooth his wayward children seeking refuge and sanctuary within these sacred walls.
I'm lost in thought when Father Patch comes into the nave. He walks down a side aisle to the row where I'm sitting and then comes and joins me, sitting beside me.
“Hello, Maddy,” he says. “How are you today?”
I startle a little, confused at first. Oh, um… right! I'm here, at church. He blinks at me, then smiles, amused by my reaction.
“Hello, Father,” I say. “I'm doing well. How are you?”
“Very good, actually,” he says. “Is your visit today for pleasure or strictly business?”
He has a silly twinkle in his eye when he says it. I appreciate his candor and his sympathy. Father Patch has a knack for getting straight to the point, but also not making you feel like he's rushing you or trying to hurry things along.
That's how I usually think, at least. And, I mean, I still do, but, um… well, the pleasure part and all. Not regarding Father Patch or anything, but that's kind of why I'm here, isn't it? I'm confessing to impure thoughts about carnal pleasure, and now I'm just reminded of it all over again. Why am I doing this to myself?
“If, um… if you're not too busy, I was hoping I might confess something to you?” I say, kind of questioning my own reason for being here.
“An official confession, I assume?” he asks me.
“Yes, please,” I say. “I mean, if I can. It's kind of sudden. It just sort of happened.”
“It's good to confess our sins before they get too far ahead of us,” Father Patch says with a knowing smile. “If we let things go on for too long, we may find ourselves with deeper issues. No worries, Maddy. Whatever has you bothered, I'm sure we can get it resolved in no time.”
I smile a little and nod. Yes. Yes, yes. Absolutely yes. I'm sure that's just what this is. It's nothing serious or too bad, it's just a simple, easy problem that needs a decisive resolution. Please disregard the fact that I'm not sure I can ever get a resolution for this. I'm still waiting for it to happen, but I'm just not sure how it will.
I'm trying, though. I really am, God. I hope you realize that. I…
“I need to handle something quickly in my office, but why don't you go wait in the confession booth, Maddy,” Father Patch says. “It won't take long.”
“Alright, Father,” I say. “Thank you for this. I really appreciate it.”
He stands to leave and I do, too. We go our separate ways, him heading to the left and me going to the confession booth on the right. It's a small church, so there's only one. It's a familiar place and I like sitting inside it in the warm darkness. It's not a bad darkness, it's a comforting one. I feel like I can relax and let go of everything that's worrying me.
I can confess. I can tell Father Patch one more time that I'm really sorry and I don't mean to, but for some reason I've been having impure thoughts about Declan again. I don't mean to, especially since he's my stepbrother, except, well…
I mean, he really is attractive. I'm not saying that as an excuse, I'm just saying.
Yup. Just saying…
I probably shouldn't say anything, though.
Just one chapter was kind of short, so I decided to go with two more chapters this week! One from Declan and the other from Maddy. Also things are about to get a little crazy, so watch out for that… oh no…
With Father Patch leaving Declan in charge, that's kind of the first sign of things to come. There's more that happens very shortly after this, and then even more that comes quickly after that. We're kind of going to deal with a lot of problems for these two in a short amount of time, but I think that's going to be fun, haha. Let's see how they handle it!
I'm excited that we got to this point now, though. I've got the story all planned out in my mind, and I know it takes some patience to read it every week, but I'm hoping you'll stick with me for it. It gives me time to work on other projects that I also know you're going to love.
Thanks so much for reading Maddy and Declan's story so far! I hope you're enjoying it a lot. Keep an eye out for a lot of drama coming next week…
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