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aunty kathy’s wain

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for as long as she’s known, michelle mallon has LOATHED her stupid fucking arse of a cousin, james. like proper, hot and explosive rage sometimes, and a constant stream of annoyance at the very mention of his name.


she’s eight years old when the dick first comes over to derry. from the second she lays eyes on him as she’s pushed over with a sharp ‘make your cousin feel welcome, michelle, and for gods sake be nice’ whispered in her ear. she does try and make conversation with him, even going as far as to let him look at her new toys.

but he’s just so irritating, from his sickly complexion to his constant snivelling, mouth downturned in a never-ending look of mournfulness. he doesn’t do anything but stare at his shoes, doesn’t even want to play hide and seek with her!

the worst part is that he’s always, always, hanging around HER mammy. it’s not fair! he has aunty kathy to be bothering yet he’s clutching onto her mammy with his grubby little hands. typical english fucker. her mammy doesn’t even seem to pick up on this as she allows him to sit on the counter while she cooks, even lets him have a sweetie from the special jar despite sweeties only being for after dinner.

she hates him, and she couldn’t be more glad when he finally leaves. she almost misses the way her aunty kathy digs her nails into his shoulders as he’s mumbling goodbyes, almost misses the small looks of disgust that kathy has been giving him over the course of the past weekend.



michelle doesn’t seem james again until they’re both twelve. she’s been forced to go on this boring fucking holiday to england of all places, to see her boring fucking cousin and her aunty kathy with whichever new ride she’s found herself. her brother niall attempts to cheer her up on the short journey there, but nothing will lift the glum mood of having to spend a weekend in hell-on-earth. 

she’s made to go play with james in his room, which is somehow more boring than him. its not fair how niall gets to stay and talk with the grown ups downstairs while she’s stuck in the most boring grey room she’s ever been in with her boring grey cousin.

”so dicko? do you have any games for us to play?!” she sighs, throwing herself down on the beige carpet. james’s room seems to be devoid of all colour, just plain bedsheets and an empty desk, save for the lone ‘dr who’ poster on his bedroom wall.

”not really.” james flinches like he’s just been slapped across the face. the useless english bastard has probably never heard swearing before.

”guess we’ll have to play truth or dare then. god knows aunt kathy’s house is too small for a real game, like manhunt or tig or something.” she can’t help but amuse herself with the look of confusion of her cousin’s face as he struggles to comprehend the words she’s just spoken.

”….okay.” he says after a long pause. “how do you play?”

michelle looks at him, completely stunned. “the fuck do you mean, have you not played truth or dare before? do you not have any friends or something?”

”i do! i have chris, and tom and-“ james protests, counting on his fingers every time he lists a new friend. god, this fucker doesn’t half do her head in.

”does your mammy just keep you locked in here or something how have-“ she shouts, so utterly befuddled she completely forgets her mammy’s ‘inside voice’ rules.

”sometimes.” james states.

”what?” for a moment, michelle forgets all about the insanity of her cousin not knowing how to play truth or dare.

”when she has people over. but never for that long just because sometimes people don’t like that she has a-“ james is rambling, in that grating fucking accent, driving michelle up the wall and back yet she can’t even bring herself to insult him. 

she almost feels a little sorry for him.

”y’know what? fuck this. we’re playing pirates instead. i’ll even help you build the fucking boat since apparently you’re that useless!” she yells, tearing back the blankets from his bed to be used as the walls of the boat. next time james came over, she’d make him come play with erin and orla too, they always had the best pirate ideas-

seeing her cousin smiling as he steers the imaginary ship almost takes away that tight feeling in her belly.


michelle doesn’t see him again for another while, which is great because any day without that whiny loser is a great day for her.

until she’s sixteen and right in the middle of getting a can of pop when he turns up on her doorstep, mournful and skinny like nothing’s ever changed, while his mammy invites herself right into their home. she offers him a smile and all he does is stare as his shoelaces; suddenly michelle is brutally reminded of all the reasons she hates him, the english prick.

his mammy takes over niall’s recently vacated room while james has to sleep on the floor of her room, as she finds herself straddled with the bastard like some kind of depressing shadow once again.

”so…how’s school?” his accent is really just the worst thing in the known multiverse.

”why the fuck would you want to know, dicko?” she spits, finding herself angered by the simplest things he says.

”…just trying to make conversation.” he sounds genuine, almost sad, in a way that makes michelle want to boke all over the floor.

”well dont. it’s annoying.” she sighs, turning over so she won’t have to face him. after a long pause, “…it’s fine. how is connor or whoever the fuck your friends are?”

”oh they- yeah they don’t speak to me anymore. mum wanted us to move for work and i guess we just-“ james doesn’t half ramble some times (most being ‘dr who’ related. that boy really is obsessed.)

”fucks sake dicko i don’t want your whole fucking sob story.” she really hopes her hatred is only slightly noticeable in her tone. she couldn’t deal with her stupid fucking cousin getting tears all over her floor.


” why are you even here anyway.” she sighs.

”i don’t even know. mum said it’s best if we ‘are closer to the family’.” something in james’s voice withers making him seem more pathetic than ever.

”are you moving here then?” she asks, bluntly.

”i don’t think so.” his voice trails with uncertainty. 

”why have you brought so much fucking stuff then?” 

he doesn’t have an answer for that. michelle can hear his breath hitch, and he falls silent, killing the conversation yet again. he barely speaks for the rest of the night, leaving her to fall asleep with only the tiniest feeling of guilt.

she pretends she can’t see the dark circles under his eyes the next morning. it’s not her fault her dumb fucking idiot of a cousin stays up all night worrying over nothing.


michelle couldn’t have been more wrong about the so called ‘nothingness’ of james worries. she can’t BELIEVE she’s stuck with her cousin forever as his ma’s apparently fucked off back to england like the true spineless witch she really is, and now it’s officially michelle’s problem that her annoying cousin will be hanging around every day!

she’s at the dinner table the night james’ ma leaves. he’s shaking so badly he can’t even hold his knife and fork, eyes red and swollen. everything is tense and no one wants to speak, so they eat in silence and pray that the atmosphere will have lifted by tomorrow. 

she already hates him being here, he’s using the phone even when mammy said that monday nights were her turn, why can’t he ever follow the rules the stupid fucking english bastard. he’s shut the door to the kitchen like that’ll stop her from bursting in there, and getting the phone back herself.

“mum? mum can you come and get me-“ of course. her stupid slimy bastard of a cousin is hogging the phone just so he can whine to his mum. she’s about to kill this dickhead.

”i know, but mum i promise i’ll be quiet you won’t even know i’m there i just want to-“ james is still snivelling into the phone, it’s not like he’s going to just convince his ma to not-

”…no one here even likes me mum. i want- i want to stay in london.” damn right no one likes him, the audacity he must have to crash into michelle’s house without goddamn warning-

”please mum, i’m really really sorry. for- i’m sorry. can you come and get me now?” james whimpers. the line clicks, and michelle wants to yell at him that it’s her turn to go on the phone, since technically he isn’t even using it anymore.

she stops, hearing muffled sobs from behind the door. god, now she’s going to have to pretend like she cares about why he’s crying if she wants the phone back. how the actual fuck is she meant to console someone who’s own ma just left him?

james wails, something truly childlike and broken, and there’s a clatter that she can only assume is the phone falling to the ground. he’s crying and probably getting snot and tears everywhere, and michelle has half a mind to burst in there and tell him to man up-

her da is suddenly behind her, offering her a lift to the shops in which she can only assume is a tactic to get her to leave the house while james throws himself a little pity party. it’s not fair, why does she have to leave her house when she didn’t even do anything-


michelle mallon has always hated her cousin james, but not as much as she’s hated her aunty kathy.