Undercover Groomsman

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Chapter 21

I got to the bakery bright and early the next morning hoping the work would distract the wheels turning over in my head. As much as I hate to admit it, part of me was happy to see Declan on my doorstep yesterday. He caused a lot of pain and hurt, but I also couldn’t forget about every time he made me feel as if I were the most important person to him.

After I got off the phone with Audrey, I couldn’t help but think back to the night at the bar where Declan pretended that we were together. He didn’t have to do that. I was more than capable of handling myself. Yet he stood in. Since Audrey had told me he did it on his own volition, there was a small part of me that wondered just WHY he did it. Was it truly because he knew I didn’t need to have a shittier time than I already had or was there something more behind it?

With soft instrumental music playing through the loudspeakers of the bakery, I busied myself with restocking the bakery cases. I had disappeared into the back to grab the last of the cakes I needed to put out when the door over the bell rang.

“I’ll be with you in the minute!” I yelled out as I reached into the refrigeration unit for the cakes.

“Take your time Mags, it’s just me.” Declan’s calm voice answered back. I couldn’t help but screech, jumping in my spot as I nearly dropped both the cakes. At the last second, I caught myself on one of the racks and managed to straighten myself. One sentence from Declan and I nearly bust my head open. Aren’t I doing great with my life?

I took a few seconds to gather myself before stepping out into the storefront. Declan stood with his back to the counter, admiring the small space around him. He was dressed in a navy suit jacket and pants, the cuffs of a white dress just peeking out past the sleeves of the jacket. This was a far cry from what I had been used to seeing him in before. If only you knew how much he could really rock a suit before.

I shook the thought from my mind as I cleared my throat. “Something I can help you with?”

“I was just admiring the place. You’ve done well for yourself.” I didn’t miss the genuine smile that lit up his face as he turned towards the counter.

“Well thank you. I do try. Now, what can I help you with?” I didn’t want to be rude but the sooner I got him out of the shop, the sooner I could stop thinking about him.

“Just give me a dozen of your best cupcakes. Figured if I bribed the office with some goods from the best baker in the state the next couple of weeks would go a lot smoother for me.” I nodded my head before turning my attention back to the case, perfectly balancing a box in my left hand while I began grabbing cupcakes with the other.

“I never noticed it until now but every time you’re in the kitchen, it’s almost as if you turn into a different person.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked as I placed the last of the cupcakes into the box.

“You seem- more confident. Like you’re at home and not surrounded by industrial-grade kitchen equipment. Not that I don’t think the awkward side of you isn’t adorable but it’s just- different.” Declan paused for a few seconds, mulling over the words in his head. “Confidence is a good look on you, Margaret.”

I found myself frozen in my spot, my cheeks blazing. Declan must have gone senile since yesterday because I’m anything but. I get anxious is a crowd bigger than five.

With my cheeks still pink, I avoided Declan’s gaze as I set the box on the counter before making my way towards the register. “Anything else?”

“No, that’ll be it. Unless you’ve changed since yesterday then I’ll take dinner with you.” I glared at Declan, causing him to chuckle as he fished his wallet out of his jacket pocket. “Figured as much. I’ll be by later tonight after I get off work. I assume you’ll still be at the shop?”

“Yes but- “

“Good, I’ll grab some dinner after I get off and come here.” Declan set a twenty-dollar bill on the counter, far more than what the cost of a dozen cupcakes it. I opened my mouth to speak, but he had already grabbed the box and was on his way towards the door.

“Declan this is too much- “

“Don’t worry about it. You're worth it Mags.” With a blindingly white smile, Declan winked at me, his ocean blue eyes twinkling as he did so. I couldn’t protest any further as he had exited the store, entering a black SUV, and driving off down the small street.

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