Mia Clark

Maddy & Declan – Practice what you preach

  • June 23, 2017

(Updates are planned for every Friday afternoon/evening)

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Maddy & Declan's Story – One Night Sin

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One Night Sin – Maddy & Declan's Story (Chapter 18)

*** DECLAN

I walk through the church sanctuary, viewing it in a completely different light. I'm not here as a follower anymore, I'm here as the shepherd, a priest meant to guide all of God's children towards a blessed existence.

Seriously, it's really fucking strange.

Yeah, so, I get that this was my entire plan all along. I didn't expect it to happen so soon. Also, it hasn't happened yet. I'm just doing this until Father Patch gets back. I'm going to act as a priest to help him out and help out everyone in my community, but once that's done, I'm out.

Do I really want to do this? Not now. I mean, obviously I'm doing it now. I'm going to do it until Father Patch gets back. I guess this is putting a lot of my life and my future into perspective, though.

I want to be a good person. What are my reasons, though? I know what they are and I understand them perfectly, but in some ways I thought this would be different. I thought it'd be… I don't want to say easier, but maybe simpler is a better word here. I thought that if I planned things out and then did them that it'd all make sense along the way.

Nothing really makes sense, though. I'm beginning to feel like you can never truly know what does or doesn't make sense until after the fact. Everything's easier to understand when you're looking back on it, but it's hard to figure out when you're living through it.

That's where I'm at right now. Hopefully I can live with that, whatever “living with it” entails.

I sit on one of the wooden benches in the sanctuary and look around. No one's here and it's kind of lonely, but it's also full of life and possibilities. This is my blank slate and whatever happens, uh… I can make anything happen. I look towards the lectern at the front of the sanctuary, a stage and some small steps leading up to the spot where Father Patch preaches every Sunday. I've been here more times than I can remember. I can picture him up there perfectly even though I haven't been here much over the past few years.

He won't be here next Sunday. Instead, it'll be me. I'll plan out my sermon throughout the week, stand up there on Sunday, and pray for the best.

Yeah… uh… fuck.

Someone behind me opens the large double doors and enters the church. A radiant light shines down the aisle, a cascade of sunshine illuminating the church. I look up and bask in the glow of the stained glass high above me, reveling in the warmth of the sunlight shining down the aisle behind me.

I feel light and warm and good. I feel like I can really do this, like I can make a difference in people's lives, like I can…

“Hey,” Paul says, coming down the center aisle to the pew where I'm sitting. “How's it going, Declan?”

“Hey, Paul,” I say, standing to greet him.

I hold out my hand in offering and he takes it. We shake. This is good. We're off to a good start.

“To what do I owe the pleasure?” I ask him, doing my best to portray myself like Father Patch would. “Should we take to the confessional or sit right here?”

I pat the back of the pew in what I hope is a friendly gesture. I'm still kind of getting the hang of this. I don't know if I should be one of those casual, friendly priests who tries to get along with everyone, or maybe a stern and foreboding one. There's other options, too. Mysterious and aloof? Maybe a little crazy sounding but with some really good points?

Are priests allowed to say “fuck,” because I think that would make this a lot easier. I'm guessing they can't. I mean, technically I'm sure they can, but I'm going to assume they shouldn't. I just feel like I could really nail the bad boy priest sort of thing if I were allowed to do it, but…

What do you think, God? Feel free to give me a sign.

I don't get one. Obviously. I've asked for signs before, but I never got one then, either. I mean, sometimes shit happens, but I don't think it's God answering me. If he were answering me, I think I'd know it. God's good like that.

“Are you alright?” Paul asks me. “You look a little off.”

“Yeah, uh… I'm good,” I say. “Sorry, I got distracted for a second. So what are we doing? Booth, pew, or…?”

“This probably isn't the kind of conversation I'd want anyone walking in on, so can we go somewhere more private?” Paul asks.

That sounds like the kind of question you ask right before you do something terrible. I'm a priest, though. Sort of. I need to believe in the goodness of man or something like that. Woman, too. Don't worry, everyone's allowed to be good.

“How about my office?” I ask.

“You have an office?” Paul counters, one eyebrow raised.

“Yeah, you know, Father Patch's office. He's gone, so it's kind of mine for the week.”

“Sure,” Paul says with a shrug. “Lead the way, my man.”

I lead. Paul follows. So far so good. We've got this sheep and shepherd thing down. I will lead you to salvation, Paul. I know the way.

I don't actually know the way yet. I can kind of guess, but I feel like the map is really old and some of the major landmarks have changed over the years. I'm just guessing and working with what I've got. We're going to get somewhere, at least. I'll figure it out.

We walk down the short hall towards Father Patch's office. I open the door, because I didn't bother locking it before I left. Yeah… fuck. I should do that, shouldn't I? I'm sure the keys are somewhere in here.

Seriously, do you know how bad I am at this? Worst priest ever so far or what?

I sit down in Father Patch's chair behind the desk and Paul sits opposite me. We both look at each other for a second, sizing each other up.

“What's going on with you, Paul?” I ask, conversational. “You said you needed insight and a different perspective, right? What kind of situation are we dealing with here?”

“How's seminary school going?” Paul asks, completely ignoring literally everything I just said.

“Uh, pretty good,” I tell him. “Nothing crazy. It's just different, you know? A lot different from when I went to a regular college.”

“I can imagine,” Paul says with a grin. “What about the girls there? Is it true?”

“There's girls,” I say, confused. “Is what true? I have no idea what you're talking about.”

“Dude, the stereotypes. It's always the good girls, you know? That whole Catholic schoolgirl thing. They say they're the kinkiest out of anyone. I figure in seminary school you must see the wildest ones there are, right?”

I don't know what to say. Literally, nothing. I just kind of stare at Paul, mouth open, brow narrowed.

Also, yes. I mean, not all of them. I'm not going to tell Paul this. There's some girls in seminary school that are, uh… let's just say some guys would say they're doing God's work, but not in a literal sense. Unless you think dancing topless on a bar is what God intended for us, and then these girls are practically saints.

It's not all of them, though! It's not like the stereotype or the rumors or whatever the fuck you've heard. It's like… a couple. Maybe a few. I don't think it's more than ten or twenty. Thirty at the most, but there's a lot of girls on campus so that's not actually that many when you think about it.

“It's true, huh?” Paul asks, laughing. “I can tell by the look in your eyes. Have you hooked up with all of them yet?”

Listen, Paul,” I say, snapping back to it. I'm a priest. I just need to keep telling myself that over and over again. I'm a priest, I'm a priest, I'm a– “For the sake of being open, I may have had a sordid past before going to seminary. When I was at college getting my bachelor's degree I made some mistakes. One of the most important things I realized from the experiences back then was that being good is hard. We all think that it's easy, and some parts are. It shouldn't be hard to be a nice person, but then why do we lash out at people when we're angry? It's not easy being good, Paul. It's easy to make mistakes. Being good is one of those things that sounds incredibly simple, but it takes effort to always be good. And sometimes we fuck it up.”

Fuck. I wasn't supposed to say “fuck.” Yeah, the whole bad boy priest thing. I could give that a shot. I don't think it's a good idea, and I don't think I should be giving it a shot right now, though. Like… maybe later, a long time from now, but… well, I did it, so whatever.

Paul just shakes his head at me and chuckles softly. “It's cool, man. I get it. You can't exactly tell me everything. We've got roles to play here, you and I. Maybe after Father Patch is back we can have a real conversation about this.”

“The past has a habit of sneaking up on us,” I tell him, truthful. “We need to accept what we've done and move on to a better and great place. If this is about that, that's my advice for you, Paul.”

“Yeah, sure,” Paul says. “I wonder what Maddy would think about that, though? You know she's still a virgin, right? Not that I haven't tried to get in her pants. That's the thing, though. She can't be as good as she tries to let on. I know she's got to be the wildest girl out there, but she hides it so well, Declan. And it's like… she could just let go, then go to confession afterwards like a normal person. She could even do one of those born again virginity things some girls like to do. That's what Bella did after I hooked up with her.”

Yeah, alright, I'm going to pause for a second here. I need to take a moment to calm the fuck down or else I'll leap over the desk, punch Paul in the face, toss him onto the floor, and strangle the fuck out of him. That's Maddy you're talking about, asshole. She's my stepsister and…

Look, I've had the same thoughts before. I'm not exactly vocal about it. I haven't tried to get in Maddy's pants, either. That ship has sailed, my friend. I know what she said earlier during confession, and I know what I've told Father Patch during confession, but it doesn't matter.

Maddy is Maddy, and she's my stepsister now, and we're not even going to kiss. Unless it's like some chaste and sweet kiss on the cheek or something. We can do that, but that's it. No making out. No grabbing Maddy's shirt, lifting it up over her head while we kiss with a passion neither of us knew was possible, only stopping to finally fully remove her shirt, before I wrap my fingers into the waistband of her pants, pull her to the bed like that, and toss her onto it.

None of that. Calm the fuck down! It's not going to happen.

And… good. I'm good. Somehow I've managed to deflect Paul's words into making myself realize that I'm never going to be with Maddy, that she's way too good for me, and that I don't deserve anything, not even her kindness, unless I can be a good person, too.

That's what this is about. That's why I'm here. That's why–

“Paul,” I say, speaking through grit teeth. “I understand how much temptation there is in the world nowadays. Trust me, I know. It's easy to fall into it, too. It's everywhere and people treat it casually, so maybe it's not wrong anymore. Right? That's what we all tell ourselves. And then we make mistakes. We realize the gravity of our actions, the consequences that can come of them, and how we're not only hurting ourselves but we're hurting other people. I get that, so that's why I'm going to let your last comment slide for now. I want you to think about what I just said, though. Think about the future and how giving in to temptation will lead you away from the path I know you want to be on.”

“Dude, I get it,” Paul says, flippant. “I'm not saying you're wrong, either. I've been to church as much as anyone. I've heard Father Patch talk about this over and over again. It's just… the temptation is there either way. I think it was a good experience for me, though. I understand it better now. I know church is all about blindly trusting in God, but sometimes the experience of knowing is better. That's what I think.”

“Does that make it bad?” Paul asks, continuing. “Ever since the first time I had sex, I understand it. I recognize the potential danger, you know? It's like a see the light, Declan. That's got to be a good thing, right?”

“Sure,” I say with a nod. “Recognizing your mistakes is important.”

I'm not sure we're on the same page yet, but I really feel like I'm getting somewhere with Paul. Or at least I do until he keeps talking. Seriously, just shut up while you're ahead, Paul. Just shut the fuck up, dude. It's in your bests interests, so…

“That's why I'm going to be with Maddy,” Paul tells me, smirking. “Yeah yeah, I'll court her or woo her or whatever. That's what I wanted to talk to you about. I don't think Father Patch would understand. If he ever had wild oats to sow, it was probably forever ago. You and I get it, though. I can tell, Declan. It's like, once I had sex outside of marriage everything changed. I'm not going to do this for myself. I'm doing it for Maddy. How's she going to get it otherwise? She'll just be blindly accepting what we're told. She won't understand it.”

Yeah, not even going to calm the fuck down right now. Pretty sure I'm just going to leap over this desk and kick Paul's ass. I don't even care if it's my first day as a proxy priest or whatever the fuck you want to call it. It's worth it.

“Don't worry, Declan. I know Maddy's going to be wild once I can get her to warm up to the idea. I'll make sure she enjoys every second of it. It'll be worth it. If everything goes according to plan, me and her might need to come to confession soon. I can wait until Father Patch gets back so you don't have to deal with that. I guess it might be awkward since she's your stepsister and all. Don't worry, brother. I've got your back.”

I stand to… to do something. I'm in that weird middle place, a strange kind of limbo, where I'm trapped between blacking out and giving in to blind rage or else getting stuck, frozen in time, unable to speak or act or even think. I'm halfway between both and I'm about to do two things at once, but they're contradicting each other.

I somehow manage to open my mouth and speak.

“That's enough!” I say, low but forceful. “If you're going to make a mockery of God and the church's beliefs then you seriously need to reconsider your dedication and conviction. I don't know what you think you're doing here, but you're in the wrong place, Paul.”

Paul gives me a weird look, lips curled into a twisted rendition of a grin. He scowls, crooked, and pushes his chair away from the desk, standing.

“Well, look at you,” Paul says, shaking his head. “Practice what you preach, Declan. I know a lot about what happened to you in college. I have friends who told me more than a few stories about you and all the girls you hooked up with. I know it's probably the same now that you're in seminary school, too. Don't try to hide it or judge me. I bet Maddy would love to hear what her beloved brother does in his free time, don't you? If you're going to get all high and fucking mighty on me, maybe I'll tell her. I know she'd be interested.”

I don't say anything, I just glare. Paul stares at me for a second more before kicking the chair aside and stomping out of the room. Tempter tantrum much? Yeah, well, go fuck yourself, Paul. If you think you're good enough for Maddy, you're wrong.

That's the problem, too. I don't think anyone's good enough for Maddy. I wish I could be, but…

Once Paul's out of Father Patch's office, I crash into my chair. Slumping, sitting low, I slouch, letting my mind wander to all of the dark and painful places it wants to go.

The problem is… what am I supposed to do? About any of this? About Paul, or Maddy, or… or myself?

Do I go to Maddy and tell her that Paul's planning on taking advantage of her? A part of me realizes that it's not going to be easy for him, and another part recognizes that it's her own mistake to make. As a priest, or something like that, I can guide a person, but I can't make them choose. Also, as a priest I kind of agreed to an oath not to tell anyone else about someone's confession. The Sacramental Seal and all that. Unfortunately it even applies to assholes like Paul, which is really fucking stupid if you ask me.

I didn't make the rules. I'm not saying you're stupid, God, but I feel like there should be more exceptions, you know? I guess I can see why there aren't, but…

Granted, Paul and I weren't exactly in confession at the time. We're in Father Patch's office, not one of the confessional booths. I'm not sure that technicality will fly, though. I'm not technically a priest, either, so I could always try and say that the Sacramental Seal doesn't apply, but there's precedence for others being allowed to act as confessors when given authority by the Catholic Church. Father Patch definitely left me in charge, gave me authority, so…

The cherry on top is that he asked me to take care of Maddy's confession right before he left. There's no technicalities here. I'm not getting out of this. The punishment for breaking the seal of confession is excommunication, which can only be forgiven by the Pope.

There's a little more to it than that, but it's like, how do you think I can explain that to Maddy? I'm doing something for her own good, or I think I am, except by doing so I become excommunicated. I'd be the farthest thing from “good” in her mind after that. Being a priest is good. It is right, it's just, it… it would prove to her that I can do it. I know it's not going to change anything. I still can't be with her afterwards. I especially can't be with her if I'm a priest, but at least I can know that I'm good enough to be with her. I think that'd be enough for me.

Excommunication, though? Yeah, uh… that's kind of the opposite. That's basically showing I'm the worst possible person in the world as far as Maddy should be concerned. Committing a sin and going to confession is one thing. I'm not going to say it's a good thing, but it's something you can work on. Doing something that would get me excommunicated? That's a little different.

I can't tell Maddy I'm doing a bad thing for a good reason. That's not how this works. That's the exact fucking opposite of how this works. It's the same logic that Paul wants to use, too. If he's wrong, obviously I'd be wrong. Right?

Fuck. Fucking hell! I'm so fucking pissed off right now you have no idea. This is insanely frustrating.

I get a text message. My phone beeps and everything. I'm about this fucking close to pulling the thing out without reading the text and messaging the person back to just go fuck off. I don't do that, though. I might have, but the text is from Maddy.


“Grocery list is done whenever you're ready! I have a surprise for you, too. Shh. It's a secret.”


I smile. Maddy always makes me smile. I can't help it. I love her. She's my stepsister, and I love her because of that, but I love her for a million other reasons, too.

I text her back:


“Be home soon. What's the surprise?”


She texts me back, all sassy and cute:


“I said it's a secret! You'll have to wait and see.”


If push came to shove, I'd get excommunicated for this girl in two seconds flat. Probably less than that. Less than a heartbeat. I don't know if she'd understand, and I don't know if I could ever explain it to her, but…

I want to protect her. That's what I'm going to do, too. I'll follow the seal of confession, but that doesn't mean I can't keep an eye on Maddy and keep Paul away from her. I think Paul's greatly overestimating the supposed “wild side” that Maddy has. I've known her for awhile now and I haven't seen it, so…

I mean, it might be there. A guy can dream. That's all that's going to happen, though. Dreams. Ones I shouldn't be having.

And probably confession afterwards. I know you don't have to go to confession for dreams, but I think it's for the best.

Everything's going to work out fine.

Yeah…

(The next chapter is available now!)

~*~

The villain appears!

Maybe. This is going to get complicated. I know there's a lot more involved as far as religion goes, but I didn't want to get too complicated here. Let's just leave it at the fact that Paul is planning on taking Maddy's virginity whether she likes it or not, and Declan can't exactly tell her this or else he risks doing something that would make her hate him. That's what he thinks, at least. I don't know if it's true or not. He hasn't asked her, and Paul hasn't done anything (yet), so…

I just wanted to add some more conflict here. I think it works on multiple levels and makes things interesting in a dramatic sort of way. And… they're going to get worse and worse. I feel bad for Maddy and Declan, but I think they should probably face their demons, as it were. And, well, they will as the story progresses!

I hope you like the story so far. Maddy and Declan are different, but I like the fact that they have interesting sources of conflict and different ways to show they love each other. I think they might show it in a steamy way soon, but you'll just have to wait and see on that one. It might be a few more weeks. I'm not sure yet, but I promise something exciting is coming!

Let me know what you think!

~*~

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