Author’s Note: Please let me know how I’m doing so far?
Forcing herself to concentrate on her work that day, Madison was too overwhelmed with her project to really think about the gawker…the handsome gawker.
Yet, as she rode the bus home and her mind finally relaxed, she remembered a lot more. The Lincoln Continental was a big car. She remembered her mother had one when she was young. Albeit, it wasn’t as old as this one. The older ones stood out among other cars as a smooth ride.
Had she ever seen him there before?
No, she would have remembered that vehicle. She would have remembered him!
So why now had he been sitting there?
The bus dropped her off at about the same location across the street where the Lincoln had been parked.
An older woman got off the bus with her and started to walk in the opposite direction, until she paused and turned back around.
“Do you know Deacon Cyrus Dowell?” the woman inquired.
Madison judged the woman would’ve been as old as her mother, if her mother was still alive.
“My father is Pastor Cyrus Dowell,” she said.
“I knew it! You’re Madison?” the woman proclaimed. “Oh, my goodness, you have your mother’s eyes. I knew it.”
“You knew my mother?” To find someone who knew her mother was a goldmine. When her parents divorced, her mother had moved to the suburbs and decided not to interact with family, friends or anyone from their former life. She never talked about why she left Cyrus Dowell, and she never talked to anyone else for that matter.
“All too well, but you said your father is a pastor now? Of what?” The woman’s tone sounded insulting.
“Of Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church.”
The woman looked confused. “That church is huge. Who made him pastor of such a large congregation?”
Madison corrected herself, not used to talking about her father. “Well, he’s assistant pastor. He was just appointed.”
“I do newsletters for various churches and maybe I should speak to someone at Mount Zion—”
Madison cut her off. “I don’t mean to make trouble for my father. I live with him now until I get out of school with my master’s.”
The woman looked a little wary. “You moved in with him?”
“I’ve been unable to support myself and go to school full-time.” She didn’t feel all the way comfortable telling this woman all her details of her miserable life. “Her estate paid off the debt from the hospital bills, so I really didn’t have anything.”
The woman seemed a little more disturbed. “Well, Madison Dowell, I never thought I would see you again after everything.”
Feeling some disdain for the way the woman spoke about her father, Madison stiffly corrected her, “My mother changed my last name to Oliver.”
The woman looked regretful. “I guess I can understand, when she found out the truth.”
“What truth? My parents divorced over irreconcilable differences,” Madison said. “I’m sorry, but who are you?”
“Me? I’m Sister Onetta Nate. Your mother never spoke about me?” She looked offended. “I was your godmother. I remember when you were first born. Your mother and I were best friends.” Guilt was heavy on her face. “But once Mattie realized… well, I guess I can understand her not telling you anything. And she most likely told your father never to say anything to you.”
“I’m sorry, child. You should talk to your mother. I shouldn’t be telling business she most likely never wanted you to know.”
Frustrated, Madison said, “My mother is dead. Died of cancer a few years ago, ma’am.”
“Mattie Oliver is dead?” the woman asked in pure disbelief. “Oh, my. She didn’t deserve that. Not after what your father put her through.”
“What did he do? What ‘truth’ did my mother find out?”
The woman looked around as if people were listening in, but there was no one around.
“Well, your mother didn’t find anything out until the church at which he was head deacon accused him of embezzling church funds to support his sex addiction.”
Madison’s mouth dropped open. “His what?”
“I’m sorry, Madison. Maybe you shouldn’t be finding this out from me.”
Madison said defensively, “Maybe you shouldn’t be lying.”
The woman stiffened. “Why would I lie when it was all in the papers? You be blessed little girl, and be careful, because your mother shouldn’t have died penniless.” The woman walked away from her.
Madison didn’t know how to feel as she walked home, forcing herself to forget the lies she had just been told.
By the time she was shedding off her coat in the house, she couldn’t stop thinking about the stranger and what she’d said.
“Dinner’s cold,” her stepmother, Hazel Dowell snipped. “And since you’re the last to eat, clean up the kitchen and don’t run the dishwasher.”
Madison knew Hazel made a point of trying to have everyone eat early, knowing Madison would be home late. Everyone else got to use the dishwasher, except Madison.
“Hazel,” she asked before the woman closed herself away in her bedroom. “When did you meet my father?”
Hazel cut her beady black eyes at Madison. “That’s none of your business.” She walked away.
Madison hurried to eat her dinner and finish cleaning the kitchen, then went up to her attic room to lock herself in for the night. Once she’d turned on her laptop, she realized she had to sit in the far corner in order to pick up a signal, but she was able to use the Internet finally.
Typing in her father’s name, articles came up from around the time she was just being born.
“DEACON ACCUSED OF EMBELLIZING OVER 2.5 MILLION FROM MEGA-CHURCH TO AFFORD HIS SEX ADDICTION.”
She read on, stunned, to see her father trying to cover his face in shame in the pictures, and her mother walking into the church. Her mother was carrying a small baby, whom Madison could only assume was her.
The church had burned down in a fire after a large, cash fundraising function had taken place, and in the melee, over 2.5 million dollars came up missing, at first believed to have been destroyed in the fire.
Yet, assistant secretary Sister Onetta Nate accused Deacon Dowell of admitting he stole to support a sex addiction. “He’s owed some debts to some pimps–more than he has in his bank account–and he needed the money fast. Otherwise, they had threatened to hurt Cyrus’ wife, who is my best friend.”
When asked why she’d come forward with this information, Sister Onetta Nate admitted, “Because I was one of those women he slept with, and it was fine until I caught his diseases, just like all the others.”
Madison looked around for more articles of incrimination, shocked to discover her father was the man Sister Onetta Nate said he was. Unfortunately, the only other article was about charges being dropped by the prosecution for no evidence to pin on Cyrus Dowell. However, he’d been removed from the church after his wife filed for divorce.
Saving the articles on her flash drive, Madison tried to finish the schoolwork she hadn’t gotten to in the lab, and sent her results to the professor.
Going into the bathroom, Madison looked in the mirror at her acne-scarred face. For years, she had tried to remove the scars, but nothing had seemed to work. The chemicals made her itch and the natural soaps weren’t effective.
She’d tried everything, and was always looking right at some kind of pimple about to pop on her face.
After scrubbing her face for her nightly routine, she lay in bed. Madison wondered if the guy in the Lincoln had seen her up close, would he mind the adult acne? Probably. She minded.
Closing her eyes, she tried to wonder if she’d walked up to the car, would he look just as cute. And what if he got out and pulled her in his arms?
Madison could almost imagine his hands on her thighs, moving higher between her legs.
Parting her thighs, she moved her hands between her legs to ply through her already moistened folds.
Biting her lips, she knew this was wrong, and was mortified at the idea of ever being caught, but that didn’t stop her from circling lightly around the tip of her arousal and producing even more essence to dribble down on her bedsheets.
She continued to imagine the stranger’s hands doing what she was doing to herself, and Madison didn’t care if her skirt was hiked up, her ass pressed up against his Lincoln Continental as he whispered in her ear, “Let me bend you over my hood and…”
That was all she needed as she exploded, wetting her sheets and hand, gushing out her release, while using her other hand to cover her mouth so no one would hear.
Finally, sleep came.
Most likely, she’d never see that stranger again, and most likely Madison would forget she ever saw him or that look in his eyes.