(An edited & longer version. Signed book)
✍️ Sha Ron ✍️
“I have to, men who help out in the kitchen are rare, it takes a real man to do that” My aunt said as she carried water to the dining table.
I took the tray pan hurriedly and followed my aunt out, one of the mugs ended up with him.
“Are you saying my uncle is not a real man?” I asked my aunt, hiding my amusement as we set the dining table.
He brought it to the dinning himself, when I stole another glance at him, a mischievous smile played on his lips over my expensive joke with his mother, or maybe about something up on his mind, that I don’t know.
“I never said that, Jennifer. I meant that it isn’t actually bad for a man to help women out in the kitchen, besides, your uncle used to do exactly that until they came along and he became more busy” My aunt replied with a smile.
The ‘they’ must be Chris and Nancy, and they are the source of my uncle being mostly busy these days. Good parenting ethics? But I think he creates time for them as well.
After breakfast that morning, everyone went to work and I stayed home alone. Nancy was dropped off to school by her dad and it’s said he would be the one to bring her home.
The rest of the day was boring, I watched TV, played games alone and even made a play of cleaning the house and dancing around before I got tired and went into my room and locked myself in.
I dozed off to sleep after many minutes of wallowing in fantasy. I was awakened by a knock on the door, I stood up lazily and went to open the door. There was no one there, I looked around surprisingly only to find out that it’s a bang on the front door.
Oh my God!
It’s late already, I saw the wall clock when I ran downstairs to the parlor. I rushed and opened the door to see Chris standing there.
“I was right after all,” he said, walking past me.
“I… I’m sorry, I fell asleep” I apologized for keeping him waiting but he waved it off.
“It’s nothing, you must have been so bored in this big house!” He exclaimed, smiling instead.
“I guess I was, but it isn’t too bad. How’s work today?” I asked sitting down.
He sat next to me and tapped my chin. He seemed not to help touching me, especially my chin. What’s so special about it though? I kept wondering.
“It was as beautiful as you, I made a lot of sales and I’m happy” he said unbuttoning his shirt.
“I don’t even know what you do” I stated flatly, fighting my eyes to stop looking at his hands as it worked on his shirt.
“It must have skipped my mind, I actually import phones and their accessories from across many countries, mostly China and sell them here” he said bluntly.
“Wow! That’s nice…it’s a wonderful business, but isn’t it kinda expensive to start and run smoothly?” I asked curiously wondering how he got so high at such a young age.
Well, my uncle is sort of rich as I can see and he must have started the business for his son, seems that’s what he wants to do instead of going to university.
“I worked and saved up a little money and my father helped me out, and…here I am” he shrugged, slapping his hands together.
“Nice…so, where’s your head office located?” I asked, holding his gaze.
“Jason plaza, it’s a new plaza here in PH” he said
“Oh! I think I remember, I passed it on my way here, it’s located at that Y junction!” I exclaimed, recalling the ash building I admired on the drive here.
Why didn’t my uncle tell me even when I told him that I liked the building? My uncle is a man of few words and he’s too secretive, I don’t really like that.
“Yes! Exactly!!” He confirmed.
“Okay, I’ll be in the kitchen, I have to put something together before Aunt comes back, I don’t want her to stress herself after the day’s work” I told him and tried to stand up.
He drew me back and made me sit on his lap, I was caught by surprise, what’s he doing? He was even looking at me as if he didn’t expect himself to be drawing me close.
He caught himself almost immediately and tried to push me off his lap but my mouth crushed on his own without notice and his tight hold loosened.
His arms pulled me closer to him and my hands fell loosely over his shoulders, we forgot about who we were for moments as our tongues mingled.
His mouth was too possessive when it moved away from my lips to tease my earlobes and hungry when it moved down to my neck.
“Jen…” He whispered my name like a lost man, I shivered, his voice held so much power over me and I couldn’t figure out what I mumbled as an answer to him.
I lifted my left hand off his shoulder and plastered my palm on his chest, I felt the rapid thuds of his heart.
He lifted his face a few inches away from mine and studied me intently “We… we can’t… really do this” he muttered but he didn’t make any move to shove me off his lap as I expected.
Fine! He doesn’t want me, which other form of rejection am I expecting, he’s just being a gentle guy by keeping his cool.
This is exactly the second time and to the best of my knowledge, he’s probably reminding me that we are cousins and there’s no way we are going to…do whatever nonsense he sensed must be running through my stupid mind.
I leaped up to my feet “this shouldn’t have happened, I… I…it’s all my fault. Am sorry” I took the blame and turned to go into the kitchen.
“No! Jen, wait!!” He grabbed my hand before I could escape, I really wanted to because I didn’t want him to see the tears that filled my eyes.
It’s ready to stream down anytime so I looked away from his face “I have to go and cook, everyone will be home soon” I beseeched indirectly, he should better get it.
“Gosh!” He cursed and ran his hand through his hairless head, he spun around as if he wanted to hit something and he ended up hitting his palm since there’s nothing close to him.
Why is he now overreacting? He had ended the kiss and made it clear that we aren’t supposed to be doing that, what is his problem?
I took the opportunity and dashed into the kitchen, he should suit himself!
How’s it that he is able to compose himself and behave in his usual manner as if nothing has ever happened between us, while I on the other hand find it hard to place the plates on the table when I am serving dinner, he was even the hero that caught the plate when it slid off my hand.
“Thanks” I mumbled and went back into the kitchen to bring water.
What is wrong with me? He is my cousin for crying out loud and these feelings…Jesus! This strange feeling is driving me nuts!
“Jenny! We are eating already, where’s the water?!” My aunt’s voice snapped me out of my mystery.
I didn’t know I was standing in the middle of the kitchen, staring at space while my mind wandered.
“I’m coming!” I replied and quickly opened the freezer to bring out two bottles of water.
“Aunty Jen! Can you please feed me, I am sick and my hands are shaking, see…it can’t even hold a spoon properly!” Nancy whined when I entered the dining room.
“Hey! When did you become so sick that you can’t hold a spoon, eat or get out if you aren’t hungry!” Chris doesn’t know how to soothe a child at all, but he will make the best father in the whole world.
“Don’t shout at my baby like that, come honey, let mommy feed you… your aunt needs to eat too” My aunt said carrying her on her lap.
“Jenny, are you okay?” My uncle asked, noticing my actual silence. Of course they know how playful I was when Nancy was concerned, but that day…
“Am okay, I just don’t feel like eating… I…” I trailed off and forced a smile to my lips so they won’t query me further.
“If you don’t like this food, you can go make another one, this is your home too. Don’t feel…” My uncle started.
“No! No!! Uncle, I’m really okay. Yeah! I just don’t feel hungry and that’s probably because I ate earlier this evening” I said quickly rolling my eyes.
Everyone else was busy eating comfortably, Nancy on her mother’s laps eating with giggles and kisses while her mother played along with her.
Chris, well…his spoon is dancing harmoniously on his plate and he is munching on the food in his mouth, whatever is going through his mind now.
“Okay, if you say so, just feel free to tell me if you have any problem, you know” he shrugged and used the napkin to clean his mouth.
He pulled away from the table and stood up “the meal is awesome, thanks” He exclaimed and went inside.
“I…Aunt, I will be… inside, call me when you and your darlings are done eating so I will come clear the table” I said playfully and my Aunt relieved me.
“Don’t worry Jenny, I and my honey pie will do that, go get some rest. Thanks for a wonderful dinner”
She said exactly what I wanted to hear and I didn’t waste time getting myself inside. I locked myself inside my room and turned off the light, maybe I will force some sleep into my eyes and forget everything that happened earlier.
Oh, how stupid I am! It’s 12:39 and I am busy counting the seconds and waiting for a tap on my door instead of going to a goddamn sleep!!
I tumbled over and over on my bed and the sleep was nowhere to be found, how will sleep come while everything in me yawns for the guy next door.
I see him when I close my eyes, I perceive him when I breathe and I feel his hands on me when I remember us on his bed and in the parlor.
I think I will need a mug of milk to clear my head and try going to sleep all over again, yes! That’s a great idea.
I should remember that he is still my cousin and he said that to me, I should get off it and be a good girl.
But how will I do that? How will Jennifer be a good girl while he’s like poison, he slowly moves into my system and breaks all my defenses in a twinkle of an eye.
I jumped out of bed and slipped into the kitchen, careful not to awaken people who were busy enjoying the night.
I made my milk safely and peacefully, I took a sip and turned to walk back to my bedroom in the same way I came only to pour my hard made tea on a bare chest.
“Eeeew! Why didn’t you turn the lights on?” He winced in pain and went to switch the light on.
“Why do you have to choose the wrong time to make an entry, you are going to make another milk for me” I snorted, frowning.
Why am I even angry? I am the one who was making tea in the dark as if I am the only person that lives in the house.
And I just poured hot tea on him, who needs to be blamed? No! It isn’t me, he shouldn’t have come here, who invited him? He should be hurt from the hot milk for all I care!
“Really now?! You are being serious? No problem, I will make you another tea and you will also have to say sorry for the hot tea you poured on me.” he emphasized.
“I’m not apologizing because this isn’t my fault! You are the one who barged into this kitchen, I don’t remember inviting you here!! And it’s milk, not tea” I scoffed.
“Hello, young lady!” He waved a hand to my face as if to wake me up from my slumber “the last time I checked, no one needs an invitation to enter this kitchen!”
“Kitchen belongs to women! How many times have you seen your dad come in here, that…”
“Calm down Jen, you are shouting and you wouldn’t want to wake everyone up” he covered my mouth with his palm making me swallow my words.
“No one intends to do that, just make my milk for me and there will be peace except you don’t want to sleep tonight” I managed to say.