A week had passed since Lauren's experience with her mystery kisser and it was slowly but surely driving her crazy. She couldn't get that stupid kiss out of her head. She dreamt about that kiss; feeling those lips on her own again but never pictured a face and when she woke up, some nights waking in a hot sweat at the rush of emotions going on in her body. During the day, she couldn't stop thinking about it and looking around to see if she could even come up with some ideas as to who she had kissed.
"Lauren!" The brown eyed girl was brought back to reality as her sister, nearly seventeen year old Abi, entered the kitchen with her boyfriend Jay following behind. Realising she had over poured her drink; she placed the carton down and started cleaning up her mess. "Please don't tell me you're thinking about that stupid kiss again, are you?"
"No, of course not." Abi and Jay had been filled in by Alice about what went down that day after Abi grew concerned of her sister's distracted behaviour. Lauren and Abi were currently living home alone with their Nan, Cora, after their Mum, Tanya, left the square for a while with their younger brother, Oscar, after finding out that their Dad was expecting a baby with his now wife, Kirsty. The news had been difficult for Tanya to cope with and everyone agreed that right now she needed to get away from the square. However, their Nan was known for her comings and goings, meaning the Branning sisters often found themselves with the house to themselves for the night. Not that they usually did much to take advantage of a free house.
"And we totally believe that." Abi sarcastically told her older sibling. "I thought we went over this; Lauren, get over it. If this guy was so special or felt how you did, he knows exactly who you are and where to find you, so don't you think he'd of made himself known by now?"
Nobody knew who the mystery kisser was except for the organisers, Alfie and Roxy but Lauren couldn't find the courage to ask them who it was in case she revealed her feelings, although she wasn't sure if it was possible to have feelings for someone you don't even know, from one silly, paid for, blindfolded kiss, "I can't help it. You think I want to keep thinking about this? I wish that kiss had never happened because then I wouldn't feel this way. I think even just knowing who it was would help; if it's someone I know or I'm repulsed by, maybe it would help me to forget it."
"You need help, sis. We're gonna go upstairs."
Abi was right; she did need help.
Sitting in the cafe with Lucy, Alice, Whitney and Poppy, Lauren had just finished revealing to her friends for the first time that she couldn't stop thinking about the kiss last week. She'd kept it to herself besides Abi and Jay because she knew people wouldn't understand and in all honesty, she did feel like an idiot letting this kiss get under her skin. She'd never let any guy get under her skin this much before.
"I just can't forget the feeling of his lips on mine; I've never felt anything quite as strong nor amazing. I know, it's stupid and I need help, Abi's already told me but I just don't know what to do to forget; even drinking doesn't help this time to forget." The other girls looked at their friend amazed; they had never seen Lauren so helpless over a guy.
"I think it's pretty simple." Whitney started, looking at the other girls who nodded in silent agreement, knowing where their friend was probably going, "We've got to find this mystery man and you need to kiss him again. At least find out if there is a chance and if you still feel the same when you know who it is."
Lauren shook her head in horror at the very thought of confronting her mystery kisser and started protesting, "I can't do that; what if the person hates me or they are married or something? What if I know who it is and it's too weird?"
The others all rolled their eyes at the young woman, "Why would they hate you? You didn't do anything wrong; they knew what they were doing when they took on the role of being in the kissing booth." Alice told her younger cousin, rrassuringly.
"What if this guy turns out to be the hottest guy ever?" Lucy suggested from behind the cafe counter, while serving.
"Well if that's the case, it won't be anyone from round here then." The others laughed knowing Whitney was right; there weren't any guys locally in Walford that would catch the young women's attentions and the few all right guys were already taken.
"I think you should go for it because it could be really romantic; what if he turns out to be your Mr Perfect? You have to find him; be a heroine." Poppy told the young girl, causing Lauren to let out a groan.
"No, I'm not doing it. I just have to stop being so stupid and get over this. I WILL get over this. I just need a distraction. Who's up for R&R tonight? Find someone else to hook up with and take my mind off the last guy I kissed? Maybe go into town later on if R&R is dead." Lauren suggested, determined to move on. She was just fooling herself about this kiss, the same way Disney filled young girls' heads with the idea of finding a guy who would be a girls very own Prince Charming; guys didn't know how to be a girl's very own Prince. Life wasn't a fairytale where people got happy endings.
Lauren had left the cafe as she had to get to college which gave her friend's the opportunity to talk, with Tyler and Fatboy having joined the group at lunchtime.
"Tyler, you have to talk to Alfie and see if you can find out who this guy is. He's driving Lauren insane without knowing it and before we go any further, we need to know if this guy is worth the effort or if he's a complete idiot, help Lauren move on. But she can't know we're doing this; she made us promise before she left that we would drop the subject despite her being the one who brought it up." Whitney informed the boys, explaining what the girls had already been planning to help their friend and cousin.
Tyler sighed before warning, "I'll talk to Alfie later but I've already tried a couple of times to no avail. He said he can't say as he promised to keep the person's identity a secret."
"Maybe try Roxy. She might give more away." Poppy suggested, piping up from her position in Fatboy's arms, who spoke up after her.
"Is Lauren really cut up over all this?" He didn't understand how girls could be affected by something as small as a kiss, especially one with a stranger for a bit of fun. Also, anyone who knew Lauren knew she was a headstrong girl who wasn't easily affected, well not that she ever showed it when or if she was.
"I spoke to Abi earlier and she said Lauren's constantly thinking about it. She's even having nightmares about not knowing who it is and thinking it could be someone she knows but who hates her. Whatever went down in that tent has changed Lauren." Alice told the group, having got to know her cousin well over the last year to know she had never seen her this way.
"Well if we don't have any luck with Alfie or Roxy, maybe she should consider kissing every guy around Walford; if it was that impressionable a kiss, I'm sure she would be able to find them by another kiss." Tyler suggested as Whitney, Alice, Poppy and Fatboy rolled their eyes.
However, Lucy didn't, knowing her best friend the way she did and instead agreed with Tyler's half joking suggestion, "I actually think Lauren might be getting desperate enough to do that, which is very worrying."
The six friends made a pact to find out who the mystery kisser was to save their friend's sanity.
"Oh come on, Alfie, what's the big deal? I just need to know but it won't go any further." Alfie was sticking to his stance of keeping the identity secret as he collected glasses from tables, Tyler practically begging as he followed him around.
"Because Tyler, you and I both know that if I tell you that, you will tell that fiancée of yours and before you know it, one person tells another and it'll be all over this square. I made a deal with this person that if they agreed to this, I'd protect their identity." Alfie explained to the younger Moon, who sighed knowing Alfie was right and wouldn't budge.
"What if I told you it's not for me but for a friend? They're cut up over not knowing who it was." The dark haired youngster took his hat off and leaned against the bar as Roxy joined Alfie, who had moved back behind the bar.
"Who's cut up?" Tyler relayed the information, leaving out names though, hoping Roxy might be more use than Alfie if she knew the story. However, that plan backfired, "If I were you, I'd tell your friend to get a life. They knew that they wouldn't know the identity and if the person wanted people to know it was them, I'm sure they would have made it known. And that's all we have to say on that, Tyler."
Tyler groaned and headed back out to his stall knowing he wasn't getting very far but if anything, it just made him even more determined to find out who this mystery person was.
Alice had just walked back into number twenty three as Joey came bounding out his room.
"You ok?" Alice asked; her older brother flustered as he hurried.
"Yeah, just running late for work. I'll see you in the morning." Joey pecked her cheek and was out of the house quicker than she could blink. Sighing at her brother's mess, she picked up his hoodie from the floor and a few other bits of his and dumped them in his room.
However, as she went to leave, something caught her eye that piqued her interest. Pulling the bag from her brother's jacket hanging on his half open wardrobe door, she opened it and gasped and dropped the small black bag in shock.
"Alice, what's wrong? We got your message; what's the emergency?" Alice had called Lucy the following morning, Saturday, and told her to get Whitney and Poppy while she had called Abi and told them all to come round to hers that afternoon, as soon as possible if they could once she had got rid of Joey from the house.
"Go on through; Abi's waiting to hear this too." Following Lucy, Whitney and Poppy, Alice sighed deeply trying to prepare herself for the news she was about to reveal. It had taken her a while to get her head around everything in the last twelve hours but felt she was finally ready to accept things.
"Alice, is everything ok?" Poppy asked, concerned for her friend having seen the look on her face.
"I know who Lauren's mystery kisser is." The four other girls in the room looked at her to continue. Alice pulled the bag from behind her back and dropped it onto the coffee table. "I found this in Joey's room."
Lucy picked up the bag and opened it and pulled out the small handful of kissing booth tickets as it registered in her. "NO!"
"YES!" Alice nodded at the blonde as Poppy, Whitney and Abi looked at the two confused, having not been able to see the tickets in Lucy's hand.
"What?" Whitney asked, as Lucy turned and opened her hand out with the tickets.
"Eww, Joey is Lauren's mystery kisser!" Abi stated more than asked; horrified at the thought her sister had kissed their cousin.
Whitney spoke up as they all took in the news, unsure on what this meant, "Why would he kiss her when he knew who she was?"
Alice shrugged, unable to explain her brother's behaviour while Lucy shook her head at the oblivion of her friends, "Don't you get it? Joey obviously wanted to kiss Lauren. It makes complete sense now."
"What makes sense?" Poppy asked.
"Joey has feelings for Lauren." Lucy stated, as she thought about how alike and how perfect Joey and Lauren were for each other, despite them being cousins.
"What? He's her cousin." Abi argued, disgusted at the idea of her sister and her cousin getting it on.
Lucy looked at Joey's quiet sister who spoke up while thinking, "He has been acting different, come to think of it. And it started the night of the fair; the day they kissed. He's seemed like he was hurting but I just thought it was nothing."
"So what do we do now then?" Whitney asked, speaking what was on everyone's mind.
What did they do now with this new information?
Tyler, Fatboy and Jay were in the Queen Vic trying to think of who could be the mystery kisser while pestering Alfie with any and every name they came up with.
"Boys, I'm going to kick you out in a minute if you don't stop." Alfie was tiring of the constant questioning and Tyler knew it but it just played to his advantage.
"Fine, we're out of here." Tyler told his relative, confusing everyone.
"Night, Tyler." Tyler waited for Alfie to disappear around the other side of the bar when he nodded to Fatboy and Jay to follow him.
Pushing open the door through to the back, the three males moved out into the cellar.
"What are we doing?" Jay asked, confused.
"Hide behind some barrels. Alfie and Roxy are bound to talk soon enough out here with how frustrated we've got Alfie. Just gotta bide our time." It wasn't the best plan he'd ever come up with but Tyler knew it was the best he could come up with now in desperate times, as too did Jay and Fatboy who didn't have any better suggestions.
"Move." Jay pushed Tyler and Fatboy quickly when he heard Alfie's voice grow louder.
The three young males moved themselves out of view, spreading out behind various barrels.
"Just put it down there, thanks, mate." Alfie opened the door and the three watched as he appeared with a couple of boxes in his arms; Joey Branning following in behind with the same. "You not working today?"
"Nah, got a Saturday night off for once but Alice kicked me out the house for a while; something about some girl time." Joey answered, placing the boxes down next to the ones Alfie had just put down.
"Yeah, don't question it if a girl tells you to give her space; they get angry if you question why. Anyway, gives you a chance to follow up on a few of those ladies from last week then?" Alfie jested as Joey rubbed his neck uncomfortably.
"Yeah, don't think so."
"Surely you enjoyed being the mystery kisser? Get to kiss lots of pretty ladies without them knowing and not being judged." The older male nudged the younger one. Jay, Tyler and Fatboy all exchanged smug looks as they found out what they'd been hoping for quicker than planned. Jay, grimaced a second later when he realised his girlfriend's older sister had kissed her own cousin and was fast becoming obsessed with him, unbeknownst to either of them.
"I guess there were a few interesting kisses and some not so good. The low definitely had to be kissing Mo; it was pretty sloppy and makes me shudder with a cold sweat at the thought, although Kim couldn't seem to get enough and wasn't far behind with her bruising kiss and groping." Joey recalled, thinking back to the previous weekend.
"Surely there were some good kissers?" Alfie saw Joey hesitate instantly, "There were, weren't there? Who was she? You sly dog! Did you get a good feel in too?"Joey rolled his eyes as their audience of three listened carefully.
Joey felt the heat in his cheeks rise, "There was one girl. I didn't expect it but when I kissed her, it felt good; special even."
"Oh come on, Joey, you can't leave me there. Who is she? I know her, don't I?"
"I'm not saying. Yes she's local and all I'll say is she's the most gorgeous brunette I've ever laid eyes on." Tyler and Fatboy exchange smirks knowing instantly he's talking about Lauren; Jay noticing neither seemed to be paying any attention to the fact that they were cousins. In fact, Joey didn't seem to be disgusted about it either so maybe he shouldn't be worrying so much about that detail.
Joey and Alfie walked back out to the bar area as they finished their conversation.
Tyler was the first to speak as the three of them slipped out the back entrance, "So Joey Branning is Lauren's mystery kisser. Her own cousin. Hmm. Should of known it was him with his reputation for the ladies."
"Was it me or did Joey not seem to care? He obviously knew who she was but yet he still kissed her; do you think he actually likes her?" Fatboy was just as confused as the other two about what to do.
"Seems like he does. What do we do now? Should we tell Lauren or not?" Jay asked, neither of the other two speaking as they thought about what they had just discovered.
"Do you really think this is going to work?" Abi asked, placing the tray of drinks down on the table in the Branning living room. Jay had suggested, after the groups had both come together to reveal they knew who Lauren's mystery kisser was, that they should get together for a game night at the Brannings and discussed the plan the boys had come up with.
Jay, Fatboy, Tyler, Whitney, Lucy, Poppy and Alice were all gathered at number five, waiting for Lauren to arrive as they had the house to themselves; Cora, had gone to visit a friend for the night leaving Lauren and Abi home alone. Lauren had been sent by Abi to get some more drinks while the others all snuck into number five to check everything was still a go for their plan.
"Abi, oh Abi, trust me, this will work." Jay reassured his slightly nervous girlfriend, slinging his arm around her shoulder and kissing her head.
"It better do because I'll be the one cleaning up after Lauren otherwise in the morning when she's throwing up with a hangover." Abi hated seeing her sister use drink to escape from all the pain they had both gone through in their lives, thanks to their parents and the loss of their older brother, Bradley. Abi had always been more expressive in talking about her emotions and letting people in, where as her sister was the complete opposite and shut down.
Alice gave her younger cousin a smile, "We won't let Lauren get hurt. She needs to know the truth and this will help her."
"I hope you're right."
"Abi?" Lauren called, the front door slamming shut behind her. "Oh, everyone's already here. Hi." The brown eyed young woman took a seat and grabbed a drink from the pile on the coffee table. "So what's the plan?" She asked, wondering why her friends suddenly wanted to get together tonight.
"Before we all get too wasted, the girls here suggested some game called seven minutes in heaven." Fats answered his friend's question. Lauren looked confused; why did they want to play some game thirteen year olds played?
"Yep, come on, girls in the kitchen and you boys in here. Here's a hat with your name's in; pick a name and then whoever is chosen is to be blindfolded and led into the cupboard under the stairs and the same will happen with us girls. There is to be no talking; just kissing for seven minutes. If not, you forfeit and will have to do a dare; no questions." Lucy explained general instructions. However, what Lucy failed to tell Lauren was that in the girls hat, it in fact only contained one name on every piece of paper; Lauren. But she thought her best friend didn't need to know that and smirked to herself, as did the others.
Lauren looked at her friends shaking her head, feeling as though they were mocking her about her kiss last weekend. Alice had spotted her cousin's reaction and quickly spoke, "Come on, let's get things started." She grabbed Lauren's arm and dragged her into the kitchen; the other girls following suit.
"You guys are pathetic." Lauren moaned; the kitchen door hadn't even been closed before she had started. "You really think I don't realise you're mocking me for being such a loser and getting hung up on some kiss. I'm not an idiot."
"Lauren, we're not. We're trying to help; show its ok and maybe if you kiss someone else blindfolded and know it's a friend then you'll know it was just the excitement that got you so hung up." Whitney received a glare in response.
"No way; I'm not playing. You can play your silly little game but I'm going out; I need a drink." Alice grabbed onto her cousin's arm tightly before she could leave.
"Lauren, please, it's just a game. Come on, you might not even get pulled out." Lucy tried to persuade her best friend. "Please, Lauren. One game and then I'll come with you and we can go out if you still want seeing as we bailed on last night's plan of going out."
"Fine." Lauren crossed her arms over her chest and huffed. "Only because I want to prove a point that I'm dealing with it and by going out and hooking up with some other guy to show it's no longer affecting me."
Poppy handed Lucy the hat, who then held the hat to her best friend, "Why don't you go first?"
The brunette Branning reached into the hat and pulled out a piece of paper, groaning as she read out her name, "Are you kidding me?"
"Sorry." Lucy fake apologised, hiding the hat away before Lauren could pull another while the girl opposite her rolled her eyes.
"Let's just get this over with." Whitney blindfolded Lauren with a black cloth; the girls making sure Lauren couldn't see anything before she went into the cupboard by pulling silly faces in front of her.
Lauren was guided into the cupboard under the stairs by her friends, whilst still blindfolded, when she heard the door open and someone else enter the room she'd been forced into.
"No talking is allowed, nor the removal of blindfolds yet." Tyler instructed, pushing the blindfolded male in. "The rest of us who haven't been chosen will be out here so we'll know if you do. You have seven minutes to make out and if you don't, you will be punished." Tyler placed the male's hand on Lauren's cheek so he knew where her head was roughly. "Time starts now."
The door closed and the two blindfolded young adults stayed completely still for a moment. Lauren bit her bottom lip nervously when she felt whoever was in the small cupboard with her start stroking her cheek. She sensed the person eventually move his head slowly to move down, feeling her heart racing so fast in her chest that she could have sworn it was about to explode from inside, memories of last week creeping into her mind. Lauren, however, knew whoever was about to kiss her would never match up to her own mystery kisser.
Leaning down, the male let his fingers roam, feeling for her lips with his hand, to which she gently kissed his fingers in reply, unsure why she did that the moment she did. Hoping he got the spot accurate, the male finds her lips and captures them with his own. Lauren's eyes flew open under the blindfold the moment she felt the same lips that have haunted her for the past week. Feeling bold as fireworks exploded within her, she wrapped her arms around her mystery guy's neck, not remembering or caring right now that she knew this person, and pulled her mystery kisser closer; although only after smacking him a little round the head first. She could feel herself being pushed back against the closed door as her hands wonder through whoever the mystery kisser's hair is, his hips grinding into hers.
Coming back to reality, Lauren pulled away, whispering the one word she really didn't want to, realising her mystery kisser must be one of her friends and her one of her girlfriends' boyfriends because the only people there were Tyler, Fatboy and Jay, "Stop." She couldn't handle the thought of her mystery kisser being already taken.
She leaned her head back against the door as the mystery person took their hands off her waist. She heard him moving for a second before feeling his hands on her face, her blindfold slowly being slipped from her face. However, she kept her eyes closed for a few moments, wanting to enjoy the taste of his lips on hers before her dreams were shattered. However, upon opening her eyes, she was even more shocked than she expected to be, coming face to face with her very own cousin, Joey Branning!
Her mystery kisser, who she'd dreamed to be her Mr Perfect, was her cousin!
"You?!" Joey nodded, his hand still on her cheek, gently caressing it. "You knew?"
"Guilty." They were both whispering, knowing they didn't want their friends to hear.
"But why didn't you tell me it was you?"
"Because I didn't know if you felt the same as what I felt that day. Lauren, I haven't been able to stop thinking about you; that kiss; the feelings; everything. How was I meant to tell you? You're my cousin." Studying his face, Lauren dropped her head from leaning back against the door to now resting the front on Joey's chest.
"Tell me you freaked out as much as I'm freaking out inside right now." Joey laughed, his laugh vibrating through his chest to her head while his arms wrapped around her.
"I freaked out the moment you stepped inside the tent and stood on the opposite side of the curtain with your eyes closed waiting for me to kiss you. What happened next just freaked me out more." He answered softly, his hand gently stroking the exposed skin on her back at the bottom of her t-shirt.
"I can't believe you were my mystery kisser."
"Is the reality a letdown to your ideal dream mystery kisser?" Joey asked, tilting her head up to look at him.
"No. It's even better." Joey smiled and leaned down to kiss her again, Lauren willingly complying.
"You do realise we've been set up?"
Lauren laughed and nodded, "Oh yeah. I knew the moment you kissed me we'd been set up."
"You know, after they've gone to all this hassle to figure out who I was, it'd be a shame to waste the next," Joey paused and lifted up the phone with the timer on, "four minutes talking, don't you think?"
"I totally agree. We need to talk about us and what we do but right now, that can wait because there is something much more important that needs attending to." Lauren pulled Joey back down and crashed their lips together; her mystery kisser mystery solved.
Outside, the group looked at each other having heard the whispers; despite the couple inside not realising they could hear. The group of young adults smiled at each other knowing they'd done the right thing in continuing to interfere after Lauren told them about her feelings. They knew that even though it was slightly weird two cousin's having feelings for each other, it wasn't illegal and if it made them happy, they were prepared to support the new couple.
Who'd have thought a silly kissing booth dare could turn out to be so important to two people's future happiness?
A/N: Thanks for the reviews for part 1! Hope you liked it; just a random idea I got. Please review and let me know what you thoughts as always. Thanks!
In regards to my new story, it's still going to be a while because I've had writers block and I've got 5 fingers, over both hands, with torn ligaments so I'm all strapped up and barely able to type. I promise, I haven't given up but please bear with me. Anyway, hopefully this two-shot has satisfied you for a little while longer. Hope you see you soon! :)