I woke up in a strange hotel room, feeling the worse for wear. I was badly hung over. I remembered little of the night before; my Uncle Michael’s wake. Looking around I found that I was alone, but on the pillar beside my head was a note. It read:
Sorry but I had to catch an early flight and didn’t want to wake you. The room’s all paid for so you might as well have breakfast on me.
Rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I sighed with relief. I really should cut back on the whiskeys. I continued to read.
Last night was very special for me, and I hope it was for you too. The sex was fantastic, but it was more than that. I felt a connection with you. I know we’re related, but I hope you can see beyond that.
I stopped reading and tried to remember something, anything about the previous night. It was a complete blank. Clearly, I’d slept in my cousin’s bed, and it hadn’t been a plutonic sleepover either.
I’m working away for a few days, but hope to be back in town by this weekend.
Below this was a mobile number.
I stared at the last word, trying to comprehend what it meant. I’d slept with my cousin … Jack … another bloke! Oh sweet Lord above! What had I done? What would my mother say? The whole family had been at the funeral, and it’s a big family. Had I been snogging Jack in a corner of the bar in full view of everyone?
Groaning, I staggered to the bathroom. I needed to take a leak, and perhaps a shower would help to clear my head.
Standing under the luxurious power shower, I scorched my brain in an effort to put a face to the name; Cousin Jack. I had so many cousins it was hard to keep track of them all.
Finally, it came to me. I remembered a Cousin Jack. The memory brought a new bout of nausea and I rushed to the sink and emptied my guts.
Cousin Jack was in his forties. He always wore flash suits with an open shirt beneath to show off his hairy chest. Come summer or winter he would wear an excessive false tan that made him look ridiculous, and on top of that, he had false teeth. He was a notorious philanderer if the rumours were to be believed.
Was that all a front? Was Jack really a homosexual? Were his attempts to chat anything up anything in a skirt just a front to hide who he really was: a closet homosexual? Did this mean that I was gay too?
Don’t get me wrong, I was all for gay rights, but I’d never felt the inclination myself. The thought of snogging another bloke just didn’t do it for me, or at least it hadn’t until now.
Over breakfast I contemplated what to do. I couldn’t just ignore the note, pretend I hadn’t noticed it. I would have to put Jack straight – focus! This was not the time for bad jokes!
It had all been a terrible mistake. I had to make him understand that. Naturally, his secret would be safe with me. I wouldn’t tell a soul … Who could I tell!? This is one secret that I’d take to the grave with me. It would be buried so far in the back of my closet that it would never see the light of day.
I’d slept with my cousin Jack, of all people. I shuddered. The guy had always given me the creeps. How could I have done it? Whatever had possessed me?
I knew the answer to that, of course. It was the daemon drink. I’d been pushing my luck for too long, and now, it had finally come back to haunt me. Well, enough was enough. I was officially on the wagon. I’d start going to A.A. meetings. It was time to sort my life out.
Switching on my mobile, I ignored the many messages and dialled the number on the bottom of the note.
Listening to the dial tone ringing, I tried to think of what to say. It was no use. My mind was a blank. I heard the click as the phone was being answered and panicked. My thumb hit the off button and the line went dead.
I couldn’t do this over the phone. What was I thinking? I’d have to meet him in person. I’d have to man up and face him, let him down gently. Much though I didn’t want to sleep with him again, I didn’t have the heart to break up with him over the phone. It just wasn’t me.
I decided to text him instead.
Good start, I thought.
Thanks for the breakfast. Meet u Saturday 8pm @ the Brown Boar, ok?
Signing the text I hit send and waited apprehensively. There was little chance of any of my relatives ever being seen dead in the Brown Boar, so it was a safe place to meet up.
My phone bleeped and I opened the reply, “Looking forward to it, Mr Loverman, save your strength. You’re gonna need it!
Oh God! I thought. What have I got myself in to this time?
Putting on my best suit, I headed for the local church. Today was the day that my Uncle Michael got buried.
The day passed off in a haze. My mother gave me a few dirty looks and commented about the smell of whiskey on my breath, but thankfully, no one mentioned anything about me shaming the family by snogging Jack in public. I thanked my lucky stars that we had at least been discreet.
The following week dragged by, and I spent most of it in a daze.
I was haunted by visions of snogging Cousin Jack, and it didn’t sit any better in my skull with repetition. I shuddered each time I imagined sticking my tongue into his mouth and rattling his false teeth about.
The highlight of my week was Thursday evening. I went to my first A.A. meeting. I didn’t say a lot, but I don’t think they minded. I sat at the back and watched, only speaking when spoken to, just to say Hi, and I’m new here. As if they hadn’t figured that out for themselves. Still, they made me feel welcome and it was a start.
Now, all I had to do was face my cousin and put this whole sordid incident behind me.
By Saturday evening I was a bag of nerves. I arrived early to the pub and sat there nursing a glass of coke. I’ve never yearned for a stiff drink more in my life, but bravely, I sipped my coke and fought the cravings. Dutch courage was one thing, but I couldn’t risk waking up in another hotel room, especially not with Jack’s false teeth sitting in a jar on the nightstand.
“Hi there, sorry I’m late.”
I looked up in surprise. Standing in front of me was a very sexy looking lady. She was overdressed for the Brown Boar, but then again, a jack ass would be overdressed for this bar. It was seedy with a capital S.
The cat had stolen my tongue and run off with it to the bathroom. I couldn’t speak.
She leaned forward to kiss me lightly on the lips, revealing a glimpse of her ample bosom. A delicate aroma of vanilla infused the air around her. She smelled good.
“Jack?” I finally blurted out. Thankfully, this was not my Cousin Jack in drag.
“Oh dear!” she said, taking the seat beside me. “You don’t remember, do you?”
I blushed, “I’m sorry, I think I’d had too much to drink that night. It was a free bar, after all.”
“Me too,” she admitted shyly. “Maybe we should start over, eh? Shall I get them in?”
“Err, no thanks. I’ve gone tee-total. Let’s go for a walk, and we can chat as we walk. This place is a kip.”
Leaving my drink, we stood and slipped quietly out of the bar. As we strolled around the town, I started the conversation. “Are you really my cousin?” I asked. “I can’t for the life of me remember you.”
She laughed; a sound that was sweet music to my ears. “We only met the once,” she explained, “a long time ago. I was in pigtails at the time. It was in Leeds, at someone’s wedding. I can’t remember who it was, but I remember you. You were wearing a hand-me-down suit, and picking your nose.”
“Oh my God! That must have made a good first impression!” I joked.
“I thought it was kind of cute, actually,” she protested, smiling at me.
“… And we’re really cousins?”
“… Distant,” she admitted. “Sort of second cousins -twice removed. I’m your Auntie Bridget’s husband’s ex-wife’s niece or something like that.”
“And you’re really called Jack?”
She giggled, “I am indeed; Ms Jacqueline Dixon.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you. Listen, there’s a nice bistro around the corner. Do you want to go for a drink and a bite to eat?” I offered. “It’s not every day that you find a long lost cousin.”
“That sounds great, but I thought you were abstaining?” she asked. “I wouldn’t want to be a bad influence.”
“I was, but I’ve changed my mind.” Taking her by the arm, I led her down the street. This evening might not be a complete disaster after all.