The Wrongway LegacyGeneration Five, Part Two: All Things Change
LAST TIME... We saw Maddie travel the premade hoods – Strangetown, Pleasantview,Riverblossom Hills, Belladonna Cove and Veronaville, before she finally arrived inDesiderata Valley. With the help of a friendly jogger she met on the promenade – John Mole – Maddie was able to get things set up in her new town, things like a job and a place to live. Meanwhile, back home, Fiona – Robin and Austins mute daughter – made friends with a shy boy named Garrett Newson. Back inDesiderata, Maddie discovered John was a workaholic, and Lee got in touch. Hed been all over the map looking for Maddie, and he made plans to come to Desiderata to find Maddie. John then wanted Maddie to meet his girlfriend,Sharon Wirth, who took an immediate dislike to Maddie. While complaining about it at the diner to Natasha Una, Maddie met Chester Gieke, who was travelling up to Desiderata on business. The pair hit it off and arranging to go out one night. Sound familiar? If not, I recommend reading the last chapter!
Lavender finished washing the dishes as Hex entered, sighing. Sheraised an eyebrow and pondered what bad news Hex might have toshare.“I just got off the phone from the uni,” Hex said, slowly, “theres neverbeen a pupil named Madeline Wrongway registered with them.”Lavender paused for a moment, “So either she lied to Lee or Lee liedto us?”
“Either of those,” Hex replied, distractedly, “I cant even ask Lee, now.Hes gone, trying to track down Ralph.”“So theyre both gone, the people with the answers,” Lavenderannounced, voice on the verge of breaking into tears.“I have Lees number, well phone him,” Hex promised.
“She could be anywhere,” Lavender said, quietly, as she turned away fromthe sink, “anything could be happening to her.”“Ill phone the police,” Hex added, firmly, “well report her missing.”Lavender looked at Hex, eyes filled with sadness. He pulled her close.
“Well find her,” Hex promised, “well find her before Ralph does.”Lavender hoped he was right, but said nothing, she just hugged himback tighter, and tried to hold back the tears. ***
Maddie had settled in to her new life in Desiderata Valley – sheworked at the diner, she lived with John, and now she helped him runhis martial arts classes.John had mentioned in passing that he ran the classes on a Saturdayafternoon when he was in town, and Maddie had admitted she wasskilled in that area.After seeing what she could do, John had offered her a place as aninstructor at his classes.
They split the teaching fifty-fifty, and Maddie was thrilled to finally havean excuse to use her skills.She also picked up a new thing or two from watching John, thoughshe would never admit it.
The Saturday of Maddies first session with the class was successful,and that pleased her – she felt happier than she had in awhile.That Saturday was also the night she had arranged to go out withChester and his friend, Gilbert. ***
The evening was just beginning to arrive when John leaned back inhis chair. Fading light poured through the windows, and John risked asmile.“I still dont get it,” he said, cheerfully.
“Whats not to get?” Maddie questioned, twisting and turning as shesmiled at her reflection.“Why women take so long to get ready,” John replied, calmly, “this isthe fourth dress youve tried on, and none of them have been awful sofar.”“Just because men are lazy when it comes to trying on clothes,”Maddie teased, before turning to face him, “honest opinion?”
“Maddie, I have no fashion sense whatsoever,” John pointed out,grinning.“I know, but youre guy,” Maddie retorted, “your thoughts?”“I dont know...its a dress...”Maddie gave a dramatic sigh, “I give up, youre useless at this. Imwearing this dress tonight.”
“Well, Im sorted,” Maddie laughed, “now you go and get ready.”“I am ready,”“John, youre not going out like that,” Maddie told him, firmly, “go andput a shirt on.”John rolled his eyes, but got up from his chair, “Fine.” ***
“What do you think girls talk about?” John asked, curious, as hewatched Maddie, Natasha and Sharon talking on the other side of theroom.“Us,” Gilbert Jacquet laughed, “and if theyre not, theres somethingwrong with them.”Both Gilbert and Chester laughed, while John continued watchingthem. He was genuinely interested in the way his friends got on.
“Which one is the girl you met in the diner?” Gilbert asked, studyingthe girls.“Maddie, the one in green,” Chester explained.“Leaves me with the red head,” Gilbert shrugged, “Im notcomplaining.”John snapped out of his daze, and turned away from the girls to stareat Gilbert, “What?!”
“What?” Gilbert shrugged. John crossed over to him, a scowl on hisface.“They dont deserve to be talked about like that,” John said, steadily,“And no one treats my friends like that, ever. Dont even think aboutgoing near them.”“Youre a freak,” Gilbert retorted, “it was just banter.”
“Banter or not, its disrespectful,” John replied. Gilbert turned his backand stalked off.“Talk to me again when you have a sense of humour,” Gilbertsnapped, and wandered away. Chester pulled a face, and went afterhim, leaving John alone at the bar.
He wasnt alone for long. Maddie had crossed the room, and asked,“John? Are you okay?”“You didnt hear the way that Gilbert guy was talking about you and theothers,” John replied, steadily.“I did,” Maddie admitted, “and I heard you stand up for us.”
“Then why are we still out with them?” John questioned, smiling a little.“Because most of the guys Ive met since leaving home have been likethat,” she explained, “not every guy can be nice like you.”John looked at her, “Im nice?”“Yes,” Maddie rolled her eyes, “you didnt know?”
“I dont understand why that makes it okay for them to talk like that,”John said, quietly.“Its not okay,” Maddie answered, “but it happens. Theyre just the typeof guy you avoid in the long run. Sure, well have a laugh tonight, whenwere dancing or drinking or whatever, but we wont meet up later.”“I think I get it,” John stated, “how did I not know that?”Maddie shrugged, “Lets get some beers. Thatll cheer you up.”
John agreed to just the one, and they returned to the others. Maddieheld her bottle up to John, and smiled.“To a night well never remember,” she announced.“To a night well never forget,” John responded, and clinked his bottleagainst hers. ***
By the time the night was winding down, John wished it was a night hecould forget. But hed had one beer, and he didnt plan to drinkanother.“Is that my beer?”
Maddie crouched down next to his table, waiting for his answer.“Youve already got a beer,” he pointed out.“But I thought I ordered two,” Maddie furrowed her brow, “anyway, whyare you unhappy? Arent you having fun?”“Look who is over there, dancing,”
In the corner of the room, by the stairs, Johns girlfriend had her armswrapped around a man he didnt like.John gritted his teeth as he watched Maddies expression change.
“Dont let it get to you,” Maddie advised, “just talk to her about ittomorrow.”“I am so hurt, Maddie...shes cheating on me, in a bar, with a guy shemet four hours ago!”“Maybe theyre just dancing,” Maddie replied, optimistically.
Gilbert and Sharon began passionately smooching in the corner.Maddie sighed, “Okay, so theyre not just dancing.”Johns frown deepened.“Come on, get up,” Maddie commanded, putting her beer on the table,“Youre going to dance with me.”“What?” John blinked.“She already doesnt like me,” Maddie shrugged, “come on! Revenge!”
Moments later, John had taken Maddies hand, and they were movingslowly over the floor like the other couples.“John, shes never going to get jealous if she sees a twenty inch gapbetween us,” Maddie stated.“Good point...” he hesitated. Maddie rolled her eyes, and took a stepcloser to him, hand on his back.
Johns hand hovered at the small of her back, “Are you sure?”“Were just dancing, John,” Maddie reminded him, and he nodded.With a smile, he gently rested his hand on her back, “Ive never tried tomake a girl jealous before.”“I can tell,” Maddie laughed.
Maddie noticed that Sharon was watching her and John with a coldgaze, and Maddie smiled to herself.To John, she asked, “Feeling better?”“Feeling fantastic,” he corrected. Again, he hesitated.Maddie raised an eyebrow, “What?”
John pulled Maddie closer, and went to kiss her. Maddie gave anervous laugh, “You didnt mention this part of the plan.”“This isnt part of the plan,” John murmured.
“Improv. Nice. I dont mind that at all,” Maddie replied, and kissed himback, enjoying the feeling of his lips on hers.Sharon stopped paying them attention, frowning.
The kiss was more than a last minute addition to the plan. John knewthat. And somewhere in her juice-fogged mind, Maddie knew that too.Once the kiss ended, they both smiled, and began their journey home. ***
Sharon Wirth had stormed out of the club the moment her boyfriendhad locked lips with that traveller woman. Natasha was the only onewho followed her.“Where are you planning to go?” Natasha asked.“I dont care. I cant stand it anymore,” Sharon snapped back.
“Sharon, are you not liking a taste of your own medicine?” Natashaquestioned, with an amused smile.“What is that supposed to mean?” Sharon demanded, turning on herheel.“Youre cheating on him,” Natasha replied, calmly, “and hes the onlyone who doesnt know it.”
“Big deal!” Sharon cried, “Johns a different matter! Hes not a cheaterlike everyone else in this valley.”“Which is exactly why you dont deserve him,” Natasha said, simply,“and you cant blame all of these problems on Maddie Wrongway.”“Maddie Wrongway?” A new voice repeated. Both Natasha andSharon looked up, startled.
A man was walking down the promenade, a curious look on his face.Sharon scowled, “Yes, Maddie Wrongway, whats it to you?”
“Ive been looking for her,” Lee said, as he stepped into the light fromthe lamp Sharon was standing by, “Im from her hometown.”“Great,” Sharon replied, sharply, “I dont care. Im going home.”Sharon stormed off down the promenade, her back turned to Lee andNatasha.
“Is she here?” Lee asked, quietly, peering at the doors to the club.Natasha shook her head, “John and her left about an hour ago. Doyou need somewhere to stay?”“How did you...”“Desiderata is so small,” Natasha pointed out, “I know if someone liveshere or not. Come on, I have a pretty comfy sofa.” ***
Maddie was a little drunk or very tipsy by the time she left the bar withJohn, and this was clear because she hadnt stopped talking. It wasntannoying chatter – in fact, John found it quite amusing.“So, you and me,” Maddie said, eventually, “how is this going to work?Are we going to go back to the way things were tomorrow morning orwhat?”“Well, what do you want?” John asked, smiling.
“I have no problems with dating you,” Maddie told him, firmly,“Especially not when you kiss like that.”John chuckled, “Like what?”“I dont know,” Maddie replied, grinning, “but for someone so awkwardyoure a surprisingly good kisser.”“Im awkward?” John repeated, amused.
“A little,” Maddie said, honestly, “like that thing with Gilbert.”“Come on, that was out of line,” John stated, “no one deserves thattreatment.”“True,” Maddie yawned, “I guess Im just used to hearing it.”Maddie let go of his hand and went to sit on the wall.
“We are never going to get home if we keep stopping,” John said, witha smile.“Lets not bother going home, we should just wait here until morning.Were only going to come back here for breakfast anyway.”“Not tomorrow,” John replied, “Natasha doesnt open the diner onSundays.”
“What are we going to do for breakfast now?” Maddie asked, pouting alittle. John laughed again.“If you want grilled cheese for breakfast, I will make grilled cheese,”John promised, “but thatll only happen if we get home.”“Carry me?” Maddie questioned, with a small smile.
John walked over to Maddie and wrapped his arms around her, liftingher off the wall a little.“While I could carry you home,” John began, with a smile, “I think Ishould call us a cab, dont you? Walking just isnt working out.”Maddie just grinned at him. ***
The morning brought with it a fresh set of complications for John Mole,in the form of Sharon Wirth, who had shown up on his doorstep intears.“Im sorry, Sharon,” John continued, “but you betrayed me. This hasnothing to do with my career, or my lodger, or anything.”“Id had alcohol!” Sharon cried, “I wasnt in control of myself!”“Sharon, youd had one. I know youre not a lightweight. Come on, tellme the truth.”
“So this is it, then?” Sharon asked, in a small voice, “youre leavingme, for the Maddie girl, arent you?”“I think it would be for the best,” John stated, with a hint of a smile,“you seem so comfortable with cheating on me that I cant understandwhy Im with you.”“Youre with me because you love me,” Sharon reminded him.
Maddie laid awake in the next room, listening to John and Sharontalking, as their voices carried through the wall.She held her breath.
“Do you love me?” John asked, leaving the coffee maker alone.Sharon looked up at him, “What?”“I dont know much about love,” John said, firmly, “but I know that itcant be one-sided for a relationship to work,”
“If you dont love me,” John continued, “then this cant work out.”Silence fell over the room, and John waited, his gaze locked onSharon as she thought for a moment.
“You dont care whether I love you or not,” Sharon replied, “youvealready made up your mind. Its not me you want.”John went to speak but Sharon cut him off, stepping closer to him.
“Remember, shes left all of her previous boyfriends when shes movedon,” Sharon murmured. With a smile, she added, “youll be nodifferent, to her. Ive always been here for you.”John didnt say anything as Sharon let him go, and took a step back.She offered him another smile.
“Ill see you around, John,” Sharon said, brightly, knowing she hadfirmly settled doubt into his mind.John didnt respond, wondering whether Sharon had a chance ofbeing right. ***
Maddie waited for a few minutes after Sharon left before she enteredthe kitchen. John was stood against the counter, deep in thought.“So are you getting back with Sharon?” Maddie asked, trying to soundcasual. The breaks in her voice gave her away.John looked at her, “Is it true? Would you leave me just because youwere moving away?”
“Its never the reason for leaving any of my guys,” Maddie replied,crossing to room to stand next to John, “Pascal broke up with mebecause he didnt want to be waiting on me and my letters. I dontblame him,”John said nothing, so Maddie continued, “Don made me feel cheap. Imean, he was good looking, we had a laugh, he was easy to talkto...but the sneaking around and being the other woman...I couldnthandle it. Hes probably forgotten about me now, John.”
“The only other guy was Leod,” Maddie went on, “staying with himmeant getting married and living in Riverblossom Hills. He wouldntsettle for anything but that.”“So if, say, we were a couple, and you did get bored of Desiderata,what then?” John asked, steadily.“Id ask you to come with me,” Maddie answered, “and if you said no,wed have a long-distance relationship. If you still said no...then wedfall apart.”
“Why are you travelling? What are you running from?” John asked,turning to face her.“Its...a long story,” Maddie replied, “one I would rather discuss whenIm wearing more than your pyjama shirt. Speaking of which, why am Iwearing your shirt?”“You couldnt find your pyjamas,” John answered, dismissively, “letstalk about this over breakfast.” ***
When they were both dressed, Maddie sat back down in the kitchen,with a smile, “Okay, how much do you want to know?”“Everything,” John replied, firmly, “I dont care how long it takes.”“Alright. But everything is quite a long story, and not always a prettyone,”John closed his eyes, “Maddie, I just want to understand.”“Fine,” Maddie said, “Ill tell you everything.”
And so she did. That morning, John Mole discovered all about therivalry between the two Wrongway brothers that had caused troubleand chaos for five generations.Maddie told him all about her anger problems, her friends abandoningher, the song her Dad wrote, Lee and his friendship, the guy shepunched at that party, meeting Ralph, getting heirship, and all of theother things that had made her leave home.John listened, patiently, nodding occasionally.
“So basically, John, I am a legacy heiress who is refusing to go home,”Maddie concluded, and leaned back in her chair, breathing slowly.“While I disagree with some of the stuff youve done,” John replied,carefully, “I understand why you dont want to home.”“I was warned that the legacy will catch up with me, at some point,”Maddie shrugged, “but to succeed in my line, you just have to have afamily.”
There was a moment of silence, before John cleared his throat, “Doyou want to know what I do? What my job is?”Maddie stared at him, stunned, “Not even Natasha knows what youdo.”“Its only fair,” John mumbled, “you told me everything about you...”
“I was a spy,” John began, “and dont think James Bond style, theresnothing glamorous about the job. The training was hard, the hourswere long, and the pay was dismal. I struggled to make ends meet,most of the time.“Then came the accident. Youve seen the scars on my face...while Iwas working undercover on a case about illegal elixir sales, someoneworked out exactly what I was. Do you know how?”
When Maddie shook her head, John continued, “The girl Id beenseeing at the time. Dated her long enough to trust her with a key to myflat. She was working for them, and she ransacked my things, lookingfor everything Id learnt about them.”Maddie winced.“Yeah. They tried to take me out after that, tried to stop me fromgetting the info back to my bosses. I got away with two breaks in myleft leg, the two deep cuts on my face and a damaged wrist. It wasenough to make me quit the spying job.”
“But you were working in Belladonna only last month,” Maddie replied,confused. John looked at her, intensely.“Yeah, I got a new job,” John smiled a little, “Armand DeBateauneeded a bodyguard for awhile, thats why I was in Belladonna. I workas a bodyguard now, I have been for a year or so.”“That explains why the house is in boxes,”“Im never here for very long,” John replied, distracted.
A moment of silence passed, with both John and Maddiecontemplating the secrets just shared.“This is probably a long shot,” Maddie said, breaking the silence, “butseeing as you know me better than most people, and I know youbetter than most people, how about we give this couple thing a go?”John smiled, “Even though Im awkward? As you keep calling it.”“You have a reason to be awkward!” Maddie replied, enthusiastically.John got off the table, and grinned.
“It sounds like neither of us really understand long-termcommitments,” John noted, “maybe we can change that, seeing aswere on the same wavelength.”“Id like that,” Maddie admitted.John pulled her close, just as the doorbell rang. Maddie rolled hereyes, “Brilliant timing.”
Maddie went to get the door, and was surprised when she found afamiliar face behind it.“Lee? How did you find me?”“You told me Desiderata Valley,” Lee replied, “and luckily, Desiderata isonly small.”
“Right,” Maddie smiled, “I cant believe youre here!”Lee didnt smile back. Instead, he said, “Maddie, were in trouble. Hexand Lavender know youre not at uni.”
Lee ignored the quizzical look on Maddies face and continued, “And Itold Hex that I spiked his morning coffees with elixir.” ***