The First Entry
Copyright© 2014 by Cotton Nightie
Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Kate Miller never expected to fall for her cousin John Alderman over Christmas break. When their secret is discovered, it destroys life-long relationships and tears Kate's life apart. But there's another secret she must face or she will lose even more. This story is a novelization (85K words) of two previous Kate's Journal short stories; Cousins at Christmas and A Cousin Alone.
December 17, 2012
"Kate, your cousin's here," Mom said as she opened the front door.
I looked up from my spot at the end of the couch and smiled. He was cuter than I remembered. I got up and crossed the living room to give him a quick hug.
I hated the forced front I had to put on around distant relatives, but I was the dutiful daughter and played my part. Mom loved her sister Susan, but their family wasn't around much growing up.
"John, it's good to see you again," I said.
"Thanks, I really appreciate you guys putting up with me for Christmas."
Mom mussed his hair. "You're welcome to stay here anytime you want. I've been hoping you'd come for a visit ever since you started at Old Dominion."
"Mom's been talking about coming out to see you for years, but I think I torpedoed her plans when I picked an expensive school on the other side of the country."
"Considering the way she brags about how well you're doing, it's been worth it."
John sat his duffel and backpack down near the couch and stretched out his back. "Do you mind if I freshen up and get settled?"
"Of course not! Kate, can you show him to your bathroom? Be sure to get him a towel and washcloth. I'm sorry we don't have a spare room for you. I've converted our third bedroom into a hobby room and office, but the couch is comfortable, I promise."
"That'll be fine. I'm just glad to have someone near school to spend Christmas break with."
"Follow me." I led him to my bathroom and dug out a clean towel from the linen closet. "I've cleaned off some space for your stuff next to the sink. You can hang your towel on the back of the shower, here," I said, and pulled back the curtain to point to the towel rack.
"Thanks, Kate," he replied, then closed the toilet and sat his duffel on the lid.
I considered lingering for a bit, but he didn't seem like he wanted any company. Instead, I left him to go back into the kitchen where Mom was preparing dinner. She stirred the pan with the chicken breasts and mushrooms one last time and turned down the heat.
I'd just grabbed a bowl to mix a simple salad of greens and cucumbers when she turned to me and said, "I need you to be nice to John."
I frowned at her. "Of course I will. Why would you even say that?"
"Susan told me John's been out of sorts all year for some reason. His grades are fine, but he just hasn't been the same. I was hoping you might get him out of the house and introduce him around to your friends. Cheer him up."
I tucked my hair behind my ear and returned to slicing cucumbers. "I wish BF was in town." BF was my best friend, Jules. She had invited me to spend the holidays skiing with her family in Vermont, but Mom hadn't thought it was a good idea and refused to loan me the money to go. I might be an adult, but there was no way I could afford the clothes and rentals without a little help.
"God, that's all I need. Jules isn't what I had in mind. She'd just drag him to that bar she works at and I'd never hear the end of it from Susan. I was thinking you might take him to the mall or maybe the movies."
"I'll ask him, but my classes aren't over until Friday."
"Just do what you can."
John came in just then wearing shorts and a t-shirt, his damp hair hung over his forehead, and his shirt clung to his chest in a way that I found very distracting. I had to force myself to focus on cutting the cucumbers before I cut my fingers.
"John, would you please set the table?" Mom asked, nodding to the cabinet where the plates and glasses were kept.
"Sure thing, Aunt Lisa," he said, before going to do just that.
Mom and I weren't normally talkative people and most tried to fill any silence with small talk. Not John--he seemed content with the quiet while we brought out the food. When we finally sat to eat, it was Mom who led our mealtime discussion, while I found myself unable to keep from glancing in his direction.
"So, how are your classes this term?"
"Hard. The math is getting insane. I mean, I knew structural engineering would be heavy, but between materials science and physics, I'm getting hammered. I hear it gets worse next year, but I can't imagine how."
"What are you planning to do with your degree?" she asked.
"Design and build industrial structures, like bridges." He took a bite of the chicken. "This is really good chicken Marsala, Aunt Lisa."
"Thank you. It's one of our favorites. Do you cook?"
"Yeah, Mom and Dad taught us to cook growing up. We all had to take turns cooking for the family. In the last couple of years, I haven't as much as I used to, though. I'd love the chance to cook for you guys while I'm here, if you'd let me."
I chuckled and sang, "Feed me, Seymour!"
Mom looked at me with a puzzled expression, while John laughed. "Little Shop of Horrors, I love that musical. We did it my last year in high school."
Mom nodded and smiled. "Susan always bragged about you being a musician."
"It's just a hobby. Nothing but a lot of boring recitals, and you can't make a living at it."
That bit piqued my curiosity. "Did you ever play in a band?"
"We had a talent show back in high school, and some friends and I worked up three songs for it. We didn't win, but it was fun. I was busy doing so many other things that I never really had the time for it."
"Like what?" I asked.
"Just normal stuff," he said with a shrug. "I camped out a lot with the Scouts, had a job sacking groceries and one delivering pizza. I also took some advanced classes, which took up a lot of my free time."
I nodded, pretending to be interested. He sounded too much like the squeaky-clean guys Mom always tried to fix me up with. Guys like that were usually great until we were alone and I had to dodge their clumsy advances.
"What about you?" he asked.
"I sang in choir, but nothing serious. I mostly hung out with friends and worked at the mall, which I liked," I replied. It annoyed me that I wished I could impress him.
"What are you studying?"
"General business, but I'll have to transfer after this year if I decide to continue with it. Pellissippi only has programs for associate's degrees."
We ate quietly for a moment until Mom tried to restart the conversation. "So, John, are you seeing anyone special?"
He'd been looking down when she'd asked, but I'd noticed the deep breath he stole. "No, Ma'am."
Sensing his discomfort, I shrugged. "Don't worry, me neither."
He looked up with a surprised expression and exclaimed, "Why not?" His face instantly turned red and Mom chuckled at his outburst.
That earned him a genuine smile. "Mom says it's because my standards are too high. I just want to find someone with a pulse, a little personal ambition, and a good attitude. Doesn't seem that high to me."
Mom looked at me over her glasses. "Let's see, what was wrong with the recent ones?" she said, tapping a finger on her chin. "Oh that's right, the last one had an annoying laugh, the one before him was too clingy, and the other guy took too long to call you back. But then there was Chris, now I liked him."
It was my turn to have a red face. "Chris played video games more hours a week than I work."
"Well, he was nice to me."
"So, I should date guys that you like, instead of guys I like?"
"I just want you to be happy."
"I am happy."
Mom gave me a skeptical look, but didn't say anything else. John seemed relieved she wasn't directing questions or comments his way. I decided to steer things back to safer waters. "John, tell me about your friends."
"I hang with Mike mostly. I got stuck rooming with him freshman year, and we've been friends ever since. He's kinda an adventure junkie, so he keeps things interesting. We met a group of friends a couple summers back while I worked at a movie theater. We hang out at some of the bars around campus, but we try to camp out on the beach whenever we can. Once a month we do these big potlucks."
"At bars, you say?" I said and looked at Mom with raised eyebrows. "How nice it must be to be old enough to get into a bar."
"Don't start with me," said Mom through pinched lips.
"How old are you?" he asked me.
"Twenty. I'll be twenty-one next summer."
"Ah," he said, taking note of Mom's expression. "Did I bring up a sore subject?"
"Kate wants to work with her best friend at a bar, and I'm not very supportive of the idea."
"Mom thinks BF is a bad influence on me."
"BF?" he asked.
"Jules, she's my best friend."
"What does she call you?" he asked, and I realized I'd made a mistake by opening my big mouth. My face grew hot once again.
Mom laughed. "Well, tell him!"
"VV," I said with a sigh, "short for Vestal Virgin, a follower of Vesta, the goddess of hearth and home."
John stifled a laugh. "Sorry."
"It's a long story."
"Let me guess, you guys like Mel Brooks movies?"
I smiled and quoted, "It's good to be the king."
He chuckled and took another bite of his dinner.
When Mom finished her food, she leaned back in her chair and said, "So, what's new at your house?"
John swallowed and took a drink before answering. "Mom's still working for that law firm, and Dad's still doing computer stuff. Nate's playing soccer this year and rockin' it. Little Alex isn't so little anymore and is constantly trying to one-up everything Nate does."
"Did your Dad finish the backyard like he wanted?"
"No, it's still a work in progress. He always plans these big projects, and then has to scale them back bit-by-bit. By the end of summer, we'd only gotten the foundation for the grill done. He was able to get the fire pit finished before the first snow, though."
As the conversation continued, I tuned out a little. It was hard to figure Mom out. One moment she seemed scared I'd go boy crazy and the next she was giving me shit for not dating enough. I couldn't seem to find the words to explain I was just waiting for someone special. I wanted someone who wanted to be with me, the person, not just me, a sex object.
I'd watched my friends treated like walking vaginas over the years. I'd never understood why they cared so much if some Neanderthal sports fanatic or video game warrior liked them. I found my fingers provided more than adequate stress relief and I've had far fewer heartbreaks as a result.
"What do you think, Kate?" Mom asked, giving me a look that said she'd noticed I'd wandered off.
"Sounds good to me," I said, hoping it was a passable answer, but John's grin told me I was wrong.
"Kate!" Mom exclaimed. "Never mind, just do the dishes, since you're not interested in visiting with us. John, would you like a cup of coffee?"
When they'd left for the living room, I cleared the table and rinsed the dishes. John kept glancing at me for some reason, but I ignored them both. Instead I daydreamed about wearing a thick, fluffy ski coat and sipping apple cider next to a roaring fireplace. Jules was so lucky to be rich.
I wasn't in the mood for coffee so close to bedtime, so I made myself a hot chocolate before joining them in the living room. I sat in the corner of the couch, the spot I'd claimed for my own as long as I could remember. I kept my nail bag and favorite nail polishes behind the couch on the sofa table, and on the side table I had my phone charger and current book I was reading behind the lamp. With the hot mug sitting on the coaster next to me, I picked up my phone and noticed that I had a text from Steph, asking me if I was going to her holiday party. I ignored it in favor of browsing around Reddit, my favorite social media site.
"Are you going to join the conversation?" Mom asked me.
"Sure, what's the topic?"
"We were discussing technology. John was describing his tablet to me."
When I glanced over at him, he spun his tablet around by opposite corners. "What, about seven inches?" I asked him.
"As far as you know," he replied.
"John!" Mom's look of horror had me nearly dropping my phone from laughing so hard.
He chuckled and shook his head. "I can't believe I just said that. Sorry, Aunt Lisa, it just slipped out."
"Wow! Look at the time," I said, pretending to look at an invisible watch on my wrist. "Is it hot in here?"
"Oh my God," Mom said, fanning herself.
After we'd calmed down I asked, "Is that an Android tablet?"
"Yeah, it's been really handy during class. There's a cool note taking app that allows me to either type or scribble with my finger. The app website stores my notes. I even get them sent to my laptop while I'm writing papers or doing homework, without having to manually transfer anything."
"John told me they even have movies and TV shows on them now."
He nodded. "Do you guys use a streaming service?"
"No, Mom and I live in the cable-connected stone age."
"Those kinds of things are expensive, Kate." She frowned at me again and I ignored her.
"You should get a tablet, Aunt Lisa. The book reader alone is worth it. I've got close to a thousand books on it now and can even read at night without bothering Mike."
Mom's eyes widened. "How could you afford a thousand books?"
John and I glanced at each other, and then he closed one eye and spoke with a pirate's accent. "I plead the fifth, Matey."
Mom really frowned at him this time. "I'm disappointed in you, John."
He seemed genuinely embarrassed. "I do buy some books for it, but considering how badly the publishing companies are sticking it to us students, you're gonna have to excuse me for not sharing your opinion on the topic."
She shook her head sadly and turned on the television. "You want to watch anything special tonight?"
"No, anything is fine. I don't watch much TV anymore. I'll just read if you don't mind."
I fiddled with my phone and only half paid attention to the program Mom had chosen. Eventually, I got tired and excused myself. As soon as I'd gotten up, John stretched out and took over the whole couch. After I kissed Mom goodnight, I made my way down the hall to my room.
My room contained an odd mix of childish kitsch and cheap college dorm fare. I still had an old stuffed pink cat on my bed and most of the walls had posters for movies or musicians I no longer cared about. I dropped my phone on the desk and grabbed my nightgown off of the hook on the back of my closet door.
Once in the bathroom, I found that John had occupied the space I'd left him with his toothbrush, razor, and a few small bottles and tubes. I resented the intrusion, but at least he'd kept everything on his side of the sink. While I brushed my teeth, I looked for spots and zits on my face, happy to have found none. After I'd spit out the toothpaste, I inspected my teeth, nose and ears, making odd faces at my reflection. Then I took off my clothes and dressed in my short cotton nightie with a yawn. Even though he'd annoyed me and was invading my space, I couldn't stop thinking about John. The memory of his shirt pulled tight across his chest wouldn't leave me alone.
By the time I'd climbed into bed, the television was off and the living room was dark. I kept thinking about him lying out there on the couch, just on the other side of the wall. It took a long time to fall asleep for some reason.