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One Night Sin – Maddy & Declan's Story (Chapter 21)
Maddy and I are in the grocery store in the city. And when I say that, I mean this grocery store is the smallest one around and it's just on the edge of the city between here and where Maddy and I grew up. It's a nice place, but I've definitely been to bigger grocery stores in my life.
The problem with small towns, and I guess small grocery stores, is that everyone recognizes you. At least a little bit. It's not like they're coming around for dinner all the time or anything, but a lot of these people know who I am.
Maddy and I start out in the produce section, checking out vegetables and fruit and everything. There's juice, too. Don't forget the juice. Maddy pops over to the refrigerated section with a bunch of juice and grabs some green monstrosity of a thing.
“Uh, what the heck is that for?” I ask her. I'd usually say “fuck” but, you know, I'm with Maddy.
“It's juice, Declan,” she says. “It's for drinking.”
“What kind of juice is green?” I counter. “Seriously, Maddy, are you actually going to drink that stuff?”
“We're getting pizza. I need something healthy to add to it, so I'll drink this, too. It'll be like my vegetables for dinner.”
Listen, pizza has plenty of vegetables. There's tomato sauce. That's basically a vegetable. Mushrooms? I mean, fuck it, you can get pineapple on pizza if you really want. I know it's kind of a contentious topic, but you can literally hit all of your major food groups with a pizza. You've got bread, tomato sauce as a vegetable, cheese for some fat, pineapple for fruit, and then get some ham for meat and protein. And, bam! You're all set.
Who needs green juice? I sure don't.
“Let's get spaghetti squash,” Maddy says. “I'm trying to watch what I eat. Too many carbs are bad for you, you know.”
“Do you know how many carbs are in pizza?” I ask her. “It's a ton. How many carbs are in that juice you grabbed?”
As if to prove a point, Maddy hefts the green bottle up high and inspects the nutrition facts. Her face goes pale after she sees how many carbs are in the small bottle of juice.
“So?” I ask.
“Ummm… forty. Forty grams. But it's got less than two hundred calories so that's good, right?”
“I mean, I'm not here to judge, but I don't think it's all that great. I guess it depends what else you're having. In our case, with pizza and brownies…”
“I really like this juice, though,” Maddy says, biting her bottom lip. “Can we get it?”
“Why are you asking me? I didn't say we couldn't get it. I'm just–”
Maddy pops the bottle of juice in our cart and runs off to get a spaghetti squash. I just follow after her, pushing the cart along, admiring the view. Not of Maddy's ass. Yes, I have a great view of it considering she's skipping away from me through the grocery store, bounce bounce bounce, but I'm uh… I'm admiring that finely stacked pile of apples over there. Would you look at that. Huh!
This is when the first person who recognizes me shows up.
“Why, Declan Calhoun!” an elderly lady says, making her way over to me. “I haven't seen you in ages. How've you been?”
“Hey there, Cecilie,” I say, smiling at her. “I'm doing well. I'm back for summer break, so… Maddy and I are here getting groceries. Our parents are helping out at the nursing home tonight.”
“Are they?” she asks. “I go play bingo that way every other week. I'm taking this week off, though. You can only win too much before people start to talk. I don't want to ruin the mood.”
I laugh and she comes in and gives me a hug. Maddy rushes back with her spaghetti squash, plus some other things I'm pretty sure aren't on our grocery list. She puts them neatly in the cart and then comes up next to me.
“Hi, Cecilie,” Maddy says. “How are you?”
“Great, great,” the older woman says. “You two are looking nice today. I've got to go, but I'll see you at church, alright?”
“Declan's doing the sermon this week!” Maddy blurts out, excited.
“Is he now?” Cecilie asks, giving me a once over. “Now that'll be interesting.”
“I'm hoping for the best,” I say with a smile. “Go easy on me, though. It's my first time.”
“Sure, sure, that's what they all say,” she says with a wink, then she heads back to her cart and her own shopping list.
“Is that what they all say?” Maddy asks, perplexed. “Priests and their first sermon? I don't get it.”
Now, I don't want to ruin this for Maddy, but… I have a feeling Cecilie wasn't talking about priests or sermons. Or anything good. In my random experience, old ladies seem to get more perverted with age. Probably old men, too. It's not quite the same as, uh… temptation or whatever. Actually, I have no idea. Am I going to want to have sex when I'm an old man? I feel like I will, and if that's the case the temptation is real.
Fuck. I never even thought about this. I have to avoid this shit for my entire life? Except I might have a wife by then. Except, double fuck, I'll be a priest by then so I definitely won't have a wife.
God works in mysterious ways, Declan. Calm the fuck down. This isn't a big deal. Not even a little one. Don't worry about it.
Thankfully Maddy's off on another grocery store adventure now. She skips through the place like it's a magical forest of wondrousness and unicorns. It's kind of amazing, actually. I've never seen anyone get so excited over grocery shopping before.
Desiree, this woman about my mom's age, comes around the corner and sees the two of us looking at cans of soup.
“Declan!” she says. “Hello! You're back!”
Maddy grins wide like this is all her doing. She's brought me back and she's excited to show me off. To be completely honest with you, I'd probably come back from anywhere for Maddy. Obviously that isn't the case this time, but…
“Hey, Desiree,” I say. “How's your day going?”
“Just dandy,” she says. “I saw your note. You're taking over for Father Patch this week? That'll be an interesting week, for sure.”
“Isn't it exciting?” Maddy asks. “I'm so proud of Declan.”
“I remember when he was a young boy, always causing mischief. Picked all my flowers once. Said he needed to give them to some girl but he never told me who. To this day I still wonder about that…”
Maddy looks at me, expectant. Desiree does, too, but kind of a sideways glance, like she's not expecting too much, but, nah, she is. She wants to know the details. The two woman stare at me, waiting for me to spill everything.
“Yeah, uh… they were just for my mom,” I say.
Did they buy it? The answer is a resounding no.
“I never saw you give your mom flowers,” Maddy says.
“This was before we were living together,” I tell her. “Before she married your dad.”
“Before, eh?” Desiree asks. “Back when you had puppy dog eyes for a certain girl… which is who I would guess, but then I never heard more about it and that's surprising, if I do say so myself.”
“Which girl?” Maddy asks. “Who is it?”
“It was nice seeing you again, Desiree!” I say, grabbing a bunch of cans of soup and tossing them into our cart. “We've got to finish our shopping, so…”
Desiree cackles like a madwoman and wanders away from us. Maddy chases after me, giving me a look. This look isn't any good, either. It's not a good luck. Ugh.
“Who was it?” Maddy asks. “Did you have a crush on someone?”
“Maddy, I don't have a crush on anyone,” I tell her.
“I didn't ask that,” she says, hands on her hips. “I asked if you had a crush.”
“Everyone has crushes sometimes,” I tell her. “Who did you have a crush on when you were younger?”
“Ummmm…” she murmurs, reluctant.
We see a few more people in the store on our journey to satisfy the needs of Maddy's shopping list. We get some chicken from the meat section and say hi to Sal while we're there. Maddy decides we need fish even though it's not on the list, so we take a quick trip to the seafood display cases and talk with Matt at the same time. And a few other people. Roger, Dale, Patty.
“Oh, hey, Maddy!” a girl says. She's standing by the cakes and pies while Maddy and I pick out muffins for breakfast.
“Addison!” Maddy says. “Hi hi! How are you?”
“Great! I just came to get a cake for my little sister's birthday. What are you two up to? Is this your boyfriend? I don't think I've met him before.”
Maddy's about to answer, but when the boyfriend question comes up, she stammers and blushes, her face burning a bright, beet red. She holds our bag of muffins tight in both hands and fidgets with it, rolling and unrolling the top over and over again, then squeezing it and crinkling the wax paper bag.
“Ummm… this is my, he's Declan. He's my brother?”
Is that a question, Maddy? Because I don't think it should be a question.
“Yeah, I'm her brother,” I say. “Uh, stepbrother. She's my stepsister. Er… same difference? You know… we're just getting food and…”
“It's not like that!” Maddy says, quick.
“Not like what?” Addison asks, confused.
“Declan's great, but we can't date or anything.”
“Oh!” Addison says. She starts blushing, too. I don't know who's winning here, her or Maddy, because they're both really red right now. “Sorry, um… I didn't mean it like that, it's just you two look really good together, so I kind of assumed, but if you're family that makes sense.”
“Oh, we do, don't we?” Maddy asks. “Look good together. I mean, not like that. Again, not like that! We're just close. Yup! Right, bro?”
Maddy looks at me and holds out her hand like she's going to fistbump me. It's literally the cutest and most awkward thing in the world. I don't know whether to fawn over her or shake my head and sigh.
“Yeah, sure thing, sis,” I say sarcastically.
I tap my knuckles against hers. We've never fistbumped like this before in our entire lives, but I guess we're doing it now.
“You should come to church this Sunday!” Maddy tells Addison, jumping up and down. “Declan's going to seminary school to become a priest, and Father Patch is away on vacation for a week, so he left Declan in charge, and it's going to be a lot of fun and exciting. Right, Declan?”
“Priests go on vacation?” Addison asks, tilting her head to the side.
“I know, right?” I say. “What's up with that?”
“I think priests deserve vacation time, too,” Maddy says with a shrug. “Anyways, come! It'll be fun. We can sit together.”
“I mean, I guess…” Addison says. “I'm not really, um… you know…”
“Catholic?” I offer.
“You don't have to come if you don't want to,” I tell her. “We're not really preachy or anything, though. It's a small church and we try to have a nice, close community. It's about building people up, not telling everyone all of the things they're doing wrong. Obviously sometimes people need guidance, but that's not the point of Sunday sermons.”
“You can sing, too,” Maddy says to her. “I know you like to. It's different from singing a regular song but it's a lot of fun once you get into it. I bet you'll like it. We can go have brunch afterwards. Ummm… if you can do that, Declan? Is that allowed?”
“I'm sure I can figure something out,” I say. “Or you and Addison can go to brunch on your own, too, you know?”
Maddy shrugs. “I guess so…”
“Maybe I'll come,” Addison says. “We'll see. I'll text you later, alright?”
“Sure! You can text Declan if you want to know more, too. I'll send you his number. That's alright, right, Declan?”
“Uh, sure,” I say. “Yeah, I haven't planned out the sermon yet but I can let you know what it'll be about in advance so if you have any questions you can–”
Except I'm talking to no one right now. Maddy and Addison are exchanging numbers and I just now realized that Maddy gave my number to this cute girl who isn't religious so likely has no hang ups about…
Yeah, no. Temptations are bad. I took a personal vow. Of chastity and all of that. No sex. Or masturbating. Or anything. I'm not even doing it.
And then Addison gives me this curious look like she really wants to test whether I'm godly or not. And, you know, more than a few girls shouted out “Oh my God!” back in the day before I found myself and discovered my calling to the Lord, so…
No. Nope. Not even going to. Not even a little.
Maddy, why are you doing this to me? I'm trying to be good for you and for God and for myself and then you're just handing out my number and telling girls to text me whenever they want. It's just one girl, not girls, plural, but still.
I don't understand life sometimes. Just saying.
Suddenly Maddy's eyes go wide and she looks at something in a nearby aisle. It's small and sweet and probably smells delicious. Not right now, because the box is closed, but…
It's a box of brownie mix.
“Race?” Maddy asks me.
As soon as she says it I'm off. I dash for the box of brownie mix. I'm going to win this race. Maddy runs after me, laughing and whining.
“Declan! You're cheating!”
“How am I cheating? You didn't even say any rules.”
“You started before me, that's how.”
“Fine. I'll wait for you to–” I was going to say catch up, but as soon as I stop for a half a second Maddy's there, so I keep going.
We both run to the brownie mix. I get low, ready to pounce. Before Maddy can get there, I snatch a box off the shelf. Holding it up triumphantly, I declare my victory.
“I win,” I say, sticking my tongue out at her.
“Ugh!” she says, pouting.
Then, quick and easy, she hops up on tiptoes and gives me a kiss on the cheek. I'm, uh… I'm…
My face turns red and I stare at her, confused. She gives me a weird look, kind of a cross between a sweet smile and a wicked grin. She steals the box of brownie mix out of my hand and saunters back to our cart to toss it in.
“Hey, what was that for?” I ask her as she's walking away from me.
She looks back, tossing her hair over her shoulder, laughing. “It's your prize for winning. It's just a kiss on the cheek, Declan. Really now!”
Yeah, I mean, it's just a kiss on the cheek. Of course it is.
I don't know. It felt different to me.
What comes after grocery shopping? I think we're going to find out soon! Actually, they're going to get pizza next, so you have that to look forward to, but what comes after eating pizza?
I don't have too much to add for a note this week, because I think this chapter is pretty easygoing, haha. Nothing too crazy, but we're seeing a little more of how Maddy and Declan interact with the other people who live by where they do. I wonder if they others suspect anything? Oh no…
Just as an advance warning, I'll be away for the last week of the month, so I may not be able to have a chapter of Maddy and Declan available on 7/28. It'll be a busy day and a lot of hectic stuff, but I'll see what I can do. That one might be a week off, but I promise I'll get back to these two as soon as I can!
I hope you're enjoying their story so far ^_^
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