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One Night Sin – Maddy & Declan's Story (Chapter 19)
The brownies are done! They're sitting on the counter, neat, in a nice little baking pan. I'm kind of sad that my dad and stepmom aren't here to try them with us, but maybe Declan and I can save some for them.
If we don't eat them all, that is. This is brownies we're talking about. Um, hello! Brownies are really good, and these ones smell fantastic, so they might be gone by, well… the end of the night?
No. Two brownies max! That's it. I'm going to stick to it, especially since Declan and I are going out to get pizza. We can have more later if we want. Tomorrow, I mean. We can have a brownie for breakfast tomorrow and be a little rebellious. Who said you couldn't have a wild side as a Catholic? It's just not true. Brownies for breakfast proves it.
Other things probably prove it, too. We're not going to talk about those yet. That's a secret for later. It's not too wild or anything. I don't think it is, at least. It's like how I like to sleep in different places all the time. I don't really know why, I just like it. It's different.
I hear Declan at the door and I hurry to the kitchen to hide the brownies from him. I stand in front of them, excited, my back to the counter to keep them away from his prying eyes. Unfortunately nothing can keep them away from his nose, though.
These brownies smell really good, too!
“Maddy,” Declan says, looking at me and practically salivating.
For some reason my mind goes to tempting places. I imagine Declan's salivating over me and not the brownies. It's easy to imagine considering he's looking right at me. I fidget in place, unexpectedly interested in this turn of events. I can't do that, though. I can't. I need to be good. Remember what we talked about earlier? Declan and I are going to deal with this, and it was just a dream, and…
I just can't help but imagine that he's looking at me with lust in his eyes, salivating over my very existence. That sniff he just made? The one where he obviously smelled my brownies? What if it's not brownies Declan's smelling and instead he can smell my arousal?
Wait, am I aroused? That's not supposed to happen…
I squirm even more, because… because I'm excited. For brownies! It's nothing else. I promise.
I'm not lying to myself, God. I swear.
“Can you guess what your surprise is?” I ask Declan, giddy. “It's behind me on the counter.”
“Yeah, I've got a few ideas…” he says with a grin.
“What? You have to guess, Declan. Hurry!”
“Well, if I have to guess, then…” He teases me, letting it ride out, anticipation building. “Brownies?”
“Yup!” I say, clapping for him. “I guess it's pretty easy to guess when you can smell them through the entire house, though.”
“They smell amazing,” Declan says, coming up next to me.
I turn around and show him the results of my baking skills. It's not like it's hard to make brownies from a box, but I think I did a pretty good job if I do say so myself. I flourish my hands in a grand little gesture, displaying the brownie pan for him. Declan leans down and inhales deep, savoring the sweet chocolate smell of them.
“What do you think?” I ask him. “Best surprise ever or what?”
“I think you're amazing,” Declan says to me.
My heart flutters a little and I smile at him. “Thank you, Declan.”
“I… I mean…” he stumbles on his words and I know why and it's alright, Declan. We're going to talk and go back to normal, and everything will be wonderful. Please don't worry. “This is a really great surprise, Maddy.”
“You're very welcome,” I tell him sincerely.
“Can we try one now?” he asks. “Before we go grocery shopping?”
I left a knife next to the pan so we can cut them. I don't tell Declan that I had that very same idea and I nearly caved and ate a brownie before he came home. They aren't done yet, though. They need to cool. And if I can't have patience with brownies then what kind of person am I? Really now, Madelaine!
Declan's fingers edge towards the knife and he gives me a silly, sidelong glance. Sneak sneak sneak, his fingers get closer and closer.
“No!” I say, slapping his hand away from the knife once his fingers wrap around the handle. “The brownies need to cool. We need to go grocery shopping, too. And we have to get our pizza. What movie do you want to watch, Declan? Should we rent one while we're out or be a little wild and risky and see what's on demand when we get back?”
Declan smiles at me. Or he does up until the end when I ask him about how we should rent a movie. He stiffens a little, his smile fading to… to something else. What's that look?
“Is everything alright?” I ask him. “What's wrong? Did something happen at church?”
“No, uh… no, that's not it,” he says. “I was just thinking about a movie. I saw a preview for a horror movie that just came out and it looks scary. When you mentioned renting a movie just now it reminded me of that.”
“Oh,” I say with a nod. That makes perfect sense. “Sorry, Declan. I get scared of horror movies a lot, too. Everyone says it's easier if you have a boyfriend because then you can cuddle close to him during the scary parts and close your eyes and he can tell you when they're over and it's not scary anymore. I… I don't know if that's a good idea, though.”
“Yeah, I'm not sure, either,” he says. “Wait, what? Do you have a boyfriend?”
“No!” I say, maybe a little too quickly. “Um… no… I just meant that that's what I've heard. I don't have a boyfriend, but I don't want one just so I can watch scary movies. That's not a good reason. Anyways, if I wanted to watch one we could watch one together and you could tell me when the scary parts are over, right? I don't need a boyfriend for that if I have you.”
Declan laughs, but I think he also blushes a little. I'm not really sure. It's not the same as when a girl blushes, but his cheeks turns a little red and he looks curiously flattered. Like I've just said, um…
You can cuddle close to your boyfriend during the scary parts.
I didn't mean that, though! I didn't mean that I'd cuddle with Declan. I just meant I could close my eyes. Except, actually, you know what? I'd be worried about cuddling with a boyfriend because I don't want it to lead to thoughts of temptations we shouldn't give in to. For me or him. I don't think that's fair.
I think I could cuddle with Declan, though. It's not the same, but I know he's a good person. He makes me feel like a good person, too. I try really hard, but I want to try even harder because of Declan.
My confession earlier might make things complicated, but it doesn't change the fact that we're family now. Declan is strong, and I'm strong, and really it was just a dream, so…
It's fine. If we watch a horror movie, maybe I'll ask Declan if he can sit close to me and tell me when the scary parts are over, and I can lean against him, and I bet it'll be really nice. It won't be tempting at all.
Declan's hands sneak towards the knife again while I'm not paying attention. Except I see that! I see you, Declan!
“No!” I say, slapping his hands away again. “Be good, you!”
He laughs and shakes his head at me. “Are you ready to go to the grocery store or what? Where's the list?”
“It's right here,” I tell him, grabbing it off the counter beside me. “It's everything we need, unless you want to add something else to it that's weird and manly.”
“Weird and manly?” Declan asks, tossing me a silly smirk.
“Yes, like… deodorant or something. Or chicken nuggets. You know, the weird things you men buy in the store. Salt and vinegar potato chips. That kind of thing.”
“Maddy, I literally have no idea what you're talking about,” Declan says, laughing. “How are chicken nuggets manly?”
“I don't know. That's what my dad used to say when we went shopping when I was younger. He said that the chicken nuggets were for him because he was a man and I shouldn't have any or I'd grow hair on my chest and maybe grow a mustache, too. I know it doesn't actually work like that, but…”
“Sorry to be the one to break this to you, but I think he just wanted to keep all the chicken nuggets for himself,” Declan says.
“What about the salt and vinegar chips?” I ask. “Those have to be–”
“Nah, those aren't manly, either. Probably the same thing.”
“You can't be serious,” I say, giving him a blank look. “Are you joking?”
“Why would I joke about chicken nuggets and salt and vinegar chips?” he asks.
“I… I don't know,” I say, unsure. “Can we get some at the grocery store now? I want to try them.”
“You've seriously never had a chicken nugget or a salt and vinegar chip?” Declan asks, eyes wide in shock.
“I thought they were manly…” I say with a shrug. “I'm a girl, Declan. I don't want to be manly. I want to be girly.”
“You're very girly,” Declan says, smiling brightly at me. “You're girly and feminine and sweet and nice.”
“And beautiful,” I say, lifting my chin. “But not in a vain or sinful way, I mean! Um…”
“You're very beautiful, too,” Declan says, sneaking his fingers closer to the brownie knife. “You're beautiful because of who you are.”
I slap his hand away again. “Stop trying to eat the brownies! You can't distract me like that, Declan. I'm paying attention. I'm watching you.”
“Oh no,” Declan says, a mock look of shock and horror on his face.
“Do you want to drive to the store or do you want me to?” I ask.
“I'll drive,” he says. “You can drive on the way back if you want.”
“Deal,” I say, holding out my hand.
Declan takes my hand in his and shakes it, but not before a spark flies between us. An actual spark. A static shock starts from Declan's fingers, surging towards mine, and we pull back, electric. My eyes find his and I think I see another spark between us, but…
No. I know that's not true. It's just because of my dream and the confession from this morning and I'm glad things aren't awkward between us now, but we need to actively work towards recognizing temptation and avoiding it. It's not even like I'm tempted by Declan or anything. It's more that…
It's like Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. They had everything, and it's not like they even really wanted the apple. They were just told they couldn't have it, and when you know you can't have something sometimes your mind plays tricks on you and makes you think you want it more.
I don't actually want this. I don't. Really, I swear I don't. I mean, maybe the dream was nice, and maybe thinking different thoughts interests me, but it doesn't actually. I have so much and I don't need temptation. I do not need this forbidden fruit.
I really wish we could eat these brownies right about now.
One Night Sin – Maddy & Declan's Story (Chapter 20)
“Declan, you'd tell me if something was wrong, right?”
“Maddy, I'm sure your brownies are fine,” he says to me.
I laugh a little. “I really hope you like them, but that's not what I meant.”
“I'm sure I will,” he says, taking a half second to look over and smile at me. “What did you mean?”
We live in a small town. It's a nice town, but it's small. There's no real way around that. The drive to the grocery store takes awhile because of that. There's a country corner store that me and my dad or stepmom go to sometimes that has most of the essentials. It's big, at least compared to a corner store in the city, but there's nowhere near as many options.
Since we have a while to drive, and I'm all by myself in the passenger seat, I have a lot of time to think. Think and worry and, really, do you think something's wrong? I don't know. I look over at Declan while he drives, his brow knit, focusing on the road. We drive alongside trees with houses here and there. They get sparser and sparser for awhile until everything opens up and blossoms once we reach the city. You can tell you're almost there when you pass by the ice cream shop.
“How did everything go at church?” I ask him. “Are you going to be able to handle everything with Father Patch gone? I'm sure you will, but it must be hard.”
“Everything's fine,” Declan says, curt.
“Did someone come by after I left?” I ask. “You said you were going to stick around just in case. What if someone shows up now while you're gone?”
“Maddy, it's taken care of,” Declan says with a laugh. “Father Patch isn't at church all the time either, you know? He left me his cell phone so if anyone needs anything I'll know right away. I left a note on the front door of the church letting everyone know that Father Patch is away for the week and they can contact me if they need anything. There's other people who work in the church, too. It's not like I have to handle everything by myself.”
“No, that's true,” I say, thoughtful. “The sermon at the end of the week is probably the most important part.”
“Yeah, don't even remind me,” he groans. “I'm going to have to come up with something good for that.”
“You didn't answer my question, by the way.”
“Did anyone come by the church after I left…” I say. “That one.”
Declan hesitates. He takes the next slight turn on the quiet country road we're on and keeps driving until he gets to a rotary. We enter slow and circle around it halfway, exiting out the other side. The ice cream shop is close now. It'll only be about five more minutes until we're at the grocery store.
“Paul came in,” Declan says quietly. “He wanted to talk about some things. Wanted to know my perspective in case it was different from Father Patch's.”
“Oh,” I say.
Does Declan know about Paul? Should I tell him? He's supposed to be acting as a priest, though. I'm not sure it's my place to say anything bad about Paul, and maybe Declan can help him out, too.
“I can't really talk about it,” Declan adds. “I know I haven't taken the oath to become a priest yet, but Father Patch left me in charge and gave me authority over the church, which kind of involves the Sacramental Seal. I can't break the seal of confession.”
We go past the ice cream shop. I look out the window and see a bustling crowd lined up at the checkout counter outside. There's always huge crowds at the beginning of the summer. They make their own ice cream so I think that helps. I like going in the winter sometimes when it's not crowded at all and you can sit inside at a table and enjoy yourself. There's something oddly enticing about having ice cream in the middle of a snowstorm when no one else is there except a couple of people working and cleaning the tables and counters.
“You understand, right?” Declan asks me.
I nod twice. “Kind of. I'm not sure. I mean, I do, but… I just want you to know I'm here if you ever need to talk about anything. If something's wrong, you know? I don't want you to break the seal of confession or go against an oath, but we can still talk, Declan.”
“Yeah,” he says, smiling a little. It's not as bright and nice as before, though. “Of course, Maddy. Don't worry about it. Everything's fine.”
Is it, though? I worry. I worry about Declan and I worry about him becoming a priest. I know he's trying. He wasn't as religious as I was growing up, and I understand that. You can learn, though. Declan's learned. He's tried and he's learned and he's such a good person. I know in my heart that he's wonderful and amazing and he'll be a fantastic priest some day, but…
I don't know. I don't know what I don't know. Declan will be an amazing priest but you know what else? He'd be an amazing father, too. An actual one, I mean. With children of his own. With… a woman. Maybe the woman of his dreams. I hope he can find that some day.
Except, you know, he won't. Priests don't get married. Maybe that's what Declan wants, though. I don't know everything about him, which makes me worry even more sometimes. What happened when he went away to college? I… didn't. I thought about it but then I decided to stay home and help my dad and stepmom and help build the community. I help Father Patch a lot.
Declan would tell me if he did anything bad, right? I don't know how that could even be possible, but…
He couldn't have done anything like what Paul's done. Right? No, I don't think so. I can't even imagine Declan being like that.
He pulls into the grocery store parking lot and parks at the end. I grab our list off the dashboard and hop out of the car. Declan turns the keys, pockets them, and gets out with me.
“Groceries!” I say, skipping to grab a cart from outside. “Are you excited, Declan?”
“Maddy, it's just grocery shopping,” he says with a laugh.
“Can you push me on the cart?” I ask. “Like this.”
I step up onto the front and hold onto the side of the cart while Declan grabs the wheels as it were and pushes it. He pushes me into the store like that. A few people give us amused looks, and I think one old lady glares at me. Um… sorry?
“Do you think I'm strange?” I ask Declan.
“Yes,” he says. “Definitely.”
“What! In a bad way or a good way?”
“Neither,” he says, smiling brightly at me. This is the kind of smile I like. “You are who you are, Maddy. No more and no less. I like you that way.”
“Awwww, thanks, bro.”
“Brother?” I offer.
“No?” he says.
“How about… Declan?” he says.
“I guess…” I say, pouting. “I just thought it'd be nice if I had something nice I could call you that no one else does.”
We're getting to another good part! I think they're all good parts, but I think we probably need a steamy scene soon, don't you think? I've been teasing it up for awhile, and there's obviously some tension between Maddy and Declan, so…
I can't promise it for next week, since I don't want to rush anything, but when Maddy and Declan finally come together I think it'll be worth it. I'm doing it in a kind of different way, and there's going to be some awkward comedy elements to it that are, um…
Well, Maddy's a good girl, so it's going to be extra awkward considering this might accidentally be her fault. Uh oh…
Keep an eye out for more, though! I hope you're enjoying the story so far.
For those who have asked, this will eventually be an e-book that you can download, too! I”m working on that part, but I'm going to wait until the story is all done. Mostly I just wanted to give you the option to read it every week instead of waiting for the final release. It's a different kind of reading experience that way, and I think the tension and build up can be a lot of fun.
Thanks for sticking with me for Maddy and Declan's story, and I hope you love them just as much as the rest of my characters! ❤
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