Undercover Groomsman

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Chapter 22

To say I was flustered the rest of the day would be an understatement. A series of simple compliments from Declan and I was bursting at the seams. I knew what he was up to and here I was falling for it all over again! Face it, Margaret, you want to fall for it. As much as what Declan did to you makes your blood boil you still want him in your life.

Business was slow, making it exponentially easier for my brain to solely focus on all things related to Declan. By the time I locked up shop and had begun the nightly closing duties my body felt as if it were constantly on a live wire. As evening turned into night, I found myself praying that he had forgotten or worked late being the office’s lackey. I would have just left the bakery, but I know if I do that he’ll just show up at my house and I’ll have to deal with him there. Might as well get it out of the way. All I had to do was hear him out tonight and I would never have to see him again per his words.

I had just finished putting away the cleaning supplies when I heard a soft knock against the glass of the front door. Declan. Of course. Just when I finished everything up. Peeking out from the back, it was indeed Declan as he stood in front of the store, clutching a brown paper bag in one hand while the other was stuffed into his pocket.

Sighing, I walked out the back and made my way towards the front door. I took a step back from the door after unlocking it.

“Was wondering how long you’d keep me waiting out there.” A humorous glint shone in Declan’s eyes as stepped inside, shutting the door softly behind him.

“It wouldn’t be any fun if I didn’t let you sweat at least a little bit. There’s something I have to finish putting away in the bac. You can take a seat at one of the tables.” I heard him mutter a response under his breath as I walked into the back and out of sight.

I turned towards the mirror that hung over the sink to inspect my reflection. My cheeks had already been tinged pink from my short interaction with him. And as much as I wanted to deny it, there was a certain sparkle in my eyes that only came from being around him. You’re an absolute goner Margaret.

I took a deep breath in, steeling myself before I walked out there. In the short time that I was in the back, Declan had laid a small white tablecloth on one of the tables and set out the food on plates that I kept on the front counter.

“Do you carry a tablecloth everywhere you go?” I couldn’t help but chuckle at the quaint table setting that he had created.

“You never know when you’re going to need one. Derek recommended this sandwich shop that’s not too far from his bar. I hope you don’t mind.”

“It’s ok. No worries.” I didn’t say anything else as I cautiously made my way over toward the table. My eyes avoided Declan as I sat down on the table as I carefully unraveled my sandwich from its plastic wrapping.

We sat in silence for a few moments before Declan cleared his throat. “I don’t want you to think that me coming here has something to do with trying to fix us.” He chuckled when I rolled my eyes at his statement. “Ok, it has a little to do with that. But I missed you Mags. I missed being able to just- have a conversation with you.”

I grumbled under my breath as I took an aggressive bite out of my BLT. “Yeah because you’ve always been known for conversations.”

“Have you been talking with Derek recently?”

“Yes, and I’ve ultimately decided he’s the better twin.”

“Ok, ouch.” Declan feigned a look of hurt before turning his attention back to his sandwich. “What makes him so much better?”

“He knows how to mix a good drink plus he’s got the whole honesty thing going for him. That’s a plus.” I winced the second I heard the vindictive bitterness in my voice. That was a below the belt hit, even for you Margaret.

Declan took the comment in stride as he nodded his head, a sad smile causing the corner of his mouth to lift. “You’re right. I wasn’t the most honest person to you in Nashville. Not just about my job but everything. I didn’t even tell you I had a twin.”

“Declan it’s ok- “

“No Margaret, it’s not.” His voice dropped an octave as he set the sandwich down. “Yes, I had my reasons for not telling you but that doesn’t excuse the fact that I still should have told you. If I would have just trusted that you could have kept a secret then we wouldn’t be where we’re at now.”

“I don’t blame you for what happened.” My quiet voice contrasting against his loud and boisterous one. “I mean sure, I was angry as hell when I found out, but I don’t blame you. You had your reasons for not telling me. I may not like them, but I can’t ignore the fact that they are valid.”

Declan’s eyes gleamed with hope as he rested his forearms against the table. “Does that mean- “

I let out a sigh as I crossed my arms over my chest. “I don’t know.”

His normal air of confidence manifested in his eyes as a smirk slid onto his lips. “Considering you were at a hell no just a few days ago, I’ll take it.”

Declan left shortly after the conversation saying he had an early morning at work. As I cleaned up the remnants of our dinner, I thought back to our conversation. I knew when I told him “I don’t know” that I was lying. I knew from the moment I saw the white tablecloth that I was a goner, just as I was in Nashville. Declan made his intentions quite clear in Nashville. Now it’s your turn Margaret.

I pulled out my cellphone and dialed Derek’s number, praying that it wasn’t too late for him to answer. Unfortunately, after only three rings I was sent to his voicemail. Of course, because that would be too easy!

“Hey, it’s Margaret. I’m sorry for calling you this late it’s just- “I sighed as I ran a hand through my hair. “I was wondering if you’d be interested in helping me out with something for Declan.

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