Undercover Groomsman

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Chapter 4

I could not shake Declan’s comment from my mind as we finished the dress fitting and headed back. Did he mean it the way it came out? Probably not. Was it a comment made in absolute ignorance? Absolutely. I was never the girl to fret about my weight or how I looked. It was one of the few things I was fully comfortable with when it came to my body. Hearing that comment come from Declan’s lips really made me question things. If someone as good looking as him noticed, what else is there wrong with me that people are not telling me? I know, it’s crazy but you can’t help but wonder at something like this.

I stay silent on the ride back to the house. Audrey kept glancing at me from the corner of her eye but would not say anything. I didn’t tell her about the Declan thing. It seemed he was already on thin ice with her and I did not want to make things worse for either one of them.

When we arrived back at the house, I climbed out of the car and headed straight to the kitchen. Baking was how I coped with my daily stress and today was no different. It didn’t take long for me to decide that I was going to bake a recipe that my mother handed down to me, Peanut Butter Cupcakes.

As I got the stuff I would need to make the cupcakes out, Audrey walked into the house. She silently watched me gather the supplies for a few moments. When she saw me pull the jar of peanut butter and the cupcake tray, Audrey sighed, climbing the stairs in the process. We have known each other long enough for her to know that it was best not to bother me when I started baking these cupcakes.

After putting my hair up and turning Pandora on, I got to stress baking. The entire time I measured and proportioned the ingredients, the wheels in my brain were turning. One of my biggest flaws was overthinking. My brain’s constantly going to the point where some nights I barely get any sleep because I cannot turn my brain off.

I was so in my own mind that I hadn’t noticed the front door open and close. When I finally glanced up, I saw Declan standing by the front door. His emotionless blue eyes remained on me, watching me from a distance. After a few seconds, he slowly began approaching the kitchen island.

“Can we talk?” When I did not respond, Declan shook his head as he reached the island. “Look, I realize that the comment I made at the tailors was- “His voice stopped as he tried to find the right words. “I could have said it a lot better than I did. I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not an eloquent man when it comes to words.”

I stayed silent as I mixed the dry and wet ingredients together in a bowl. “It’s fine.”

“You look like your about to snap that spoon in half Maggie.” Glancing down, I realized that my right hand had tightened around the wooden spoon so much so that my knuckles were turning white. I shook my head, loosening my grip on the spoon before mixing.

“It’s not your fault, really. Clothes, especially when it comes to girls, can be- difficult.”

“Considering my entire wardrobe consists of clothing ex-girlfriends have purchased for me, I’ll have to take your word for it.” A smile slipped on my lips as I finished mixing the ingredients together.

Declan continued to watch me as I started putting the cupcake holders in the pan. “Anything I can do to help?” I couldn’t help but raise my eyebrow as I focused on him with a confused look on my face.

“Just because I look like this- “Declan used his hand to gesture towards his body, his fingers trailing on his shirt as he did so. “doesn’t mean I don’t know my way around the kitchen. Besides, how hard can cupcakes really be?”

“You do remember I’m a baker, right Declan?” A hearty laugh fell from Declan’s lips as he walked around the island, approaching my left side.

“That’s right. In that case, pretend I didn’t say that.” Declan took a seat in one of the barstools to my left. No other words were exchanged between us as put the batter into the holders. I couldn’t help but feel distracted by his presence as I continued working. The heat radiating off his body was enough to throw me off my rhythm. How was it that just sitting in close proximity to me was enough to distract me?

“Audrey mentioned something about you working private security?” I blurted out, doing my best to sound casual in the process.

“I do.”

“What exactly does that mean?” A curious tone laced my voice as I made sure the batter was even in all of the holders.

“Exactly what it sounds like. I’m an independent contractor in the world of security.” Declan spoke briskly, shaking his head momentarily before continuing. “It’s not that interesting.”

“You telling this to a girl who spends her entire day in the kitchen. Trust me, anything outside of baking is interesting to me.”

“Is this recipe a creation from your business?” Declan changed the subject, standing up from the island to walk back to the other side.

“It’s my mom’s recipe actually. She gave it to me right before she died.” I gazed at the pan with a sad look in my eyes before grasping the pan between my fingers. “I’ve never used it for my bakery. Kind of something I’ve always wanted to keep between my mom and me.”

Declan just simply nodded his head, his eyes lingering on the counter for a few moments before he walked out of the kitchen entirely. Declan’s attention was focused solely on me as he stood at the foot of the stairs, one hand on the railing.

It seemed like hours before he shook his head, mumbling something under his breath before climbing the staircase, leaving me with my cheek’s bright red and a confused look on my face.

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