Letting It Out
In the darkness, she listened to a couple of delicate sniffs, and some furtive and fruitless scrabblings for a tissue. Then Ruth heard a harsher, wetter sneeze, stifled so quickly that she assumed Charlotte was trying not to wake her.
"Bless you, love," she whispered sleepily.
Charlotte turned around in the darkness, relieved to find Ruth still awake. "Hi, honey. Sorry, I didn't wake you, did I? I just can't stop sneezing."
"I was waiting up for you. What do you mean, you can't stop sneezing?"
Charlotte shrugged expressively, unzipping her red satin gown and raising her arms gracefully as she stepped out of it. "Actually, I'm exaggerating a little. I'm just a bit sniffly."
Long black hair streamed down Charlotte's back as she stretched her tall, taut body in the silver shaft of moonlight from the window, which licked her impressive curves like an eager lover.
"Just a few tickles now and then..." Charlotte walked over to the bed in her figure-hugging white silk slip, turned on the bedside light, picked a clean tissue from the box by the bed and blew her nose, not managing to clear it in any way.
She grimaced. "Ugh. Excuse me, hon."
Charlotte was undeniably gorgeous, particularly in that slip which did little to contain the lush, generous curves of her body, but in the harsh yellow light of the bedside reading lamp, she looked wrecked. Charlotte's heavy, exotic makeup was smudged, and dark shadows of mascara were forming liquid trickles beneath her bruised red eyes. Her usually pale ice-queen face was flushed with feverish patches, and the tip of her nose was bright pink. She looked tired, runny-nosed and completely miserable.
"Poor darling." Ruth held out her arms, and Charlotte rolled into them, snuffling softly into Ruth's warm neck. Ruth gently played with a fragrant, bluish-black ringlet that contrasted dramatically with Charlotte's milky skin, then gave Charlotte's delicately curved shoulder a comforting rub.
"You must be starting a cold, Char."
Charlotte shook her head. "It's this new cinnamon perfume. It's been making my nose tickle all night. Actually- it's still a tiny bit tickly." She sniffed experimentally and paused, eyes squeezing shut, "I think- maybe- I've got ah-another sneeze coming on-"
Charlotte sniffed, nostrils widening a little, eyes looking forward in concentration. Ruth watched her close her eyes, sniffle abruptly and take in a sharp, deep breath, her generous, milky breasts rising beneath the delicate bodice of her slip so that they stretched the soft white lace almost to its limits. She rubbed her nose with her index finger a few times, trying to suppress the sneeze. Then she gave up and sighed shakily, rolling clumsily off Ruth's warm, flannelled body.
"In fact, I know I do."
For about three seconds she sat on the edge of the bed like a statue, not moving, except her eyes were closing slowly. Then she gasped in a deep, dramatic breath and her head drew downward sharply with a violent "Huh...ha-TISSSHOO!" She rubbed her nose, screwed her face up almost immediately as two hot, irritated tears traced down her cheeks, took a deeper, shakier breath and "Ha-TISSHHHooo!"
"Dear me," Charlotte said fussily, patting her nose with a tissue. "I'm sorry, honey, I just couldn't help that!" She shook her head, wiping her eyes as though amazed that her dainty nose could produce such explosions.
"How was Clara?" Ruth asked. "Oh, she had a cold. Maybe it was the flu."
"Why does that fail to surprise me?" Ruth ran warm fingers down Charlotte's neck, then tested the glands at her lover's throat as gently as she could.
"Been kissing her again, you little slut?"
She felt Charlotte's throat vibrate beneath her fingers as she laughed. "No. But it was a pretty interesting weekend. She got there with Leo and the girls, and she was a complete state- sneezing, coughing, totally out of it. So I put her to bed..."
Clara slept on the bed by the window, propped up on a heap of pillows, her body slumped in exhaustion. Against the glaringly white hotel bedclothes, her face looked darker than ever, its few premature lines smoothed out with sleep. Clara was snoring lightly through her stuffy nose, which was running a little in thin, watery trails, and from time to time she took a laboured breath in through her parted, fever-cracked lips. Charlotte was lying on her bed, her powerful limbs sprawled like those of a lazy jungle cat, as she watched the Afternoon Movie.
During the commercial break, she looked over at Clara, knowing that she needed to wake her soon. The concert would begin in less than an hour.
"When you're suffering from the misery of a cold..." a matronly voice informed Charlotte.
As Charlotte turned to stare at the commercial, her glazed blue eyes suddenly widened and brightened and her pale cheeks flushed with deep pink warrior-stripes of blood, making her for a moment absolutely gorgeous. The image on the TV was that of a magazine-beautiful young woman with polished, sculpted features, rich, tumbling brown hair, surprisingly full, plushy scarlet lips and a damp, raw-looking red nose, which stood out from her pale face. The girl took a slow-motion breath, her red, delicately fluted nostrils flaring, her well-upholstered upper lip rising and her eyelids flickering. Charlotte sighed with pleasure, feeling an ominous, ever-so-gentle sensation of heat.
"...life can be so much more difficult..." cooed the soothing voice-over, as the beautiful girl on the screen blinked over and over again, taking deep, rasping breaths which built dramatically, obviously in a state of absolute agony which Charlotte couldn't help but find delicious. She reached for the volume button and turned it way up, not wanting to miss a single wavering breath or sniffle.
She hadn't meant to get turned on, but sneezing did this to her- she went from being completely composed, dignified and chilly to a quivering mess the moment she saw or heard a sneeze. She found herself more intensely aroused by other women, which was true of the rest of her sexual interests as well, and when her lover Ruth sneezed she couldn't help immediately jumping her bones regardless of work assignments or dinner plans. But she'd been working a lot recently. It wasn't allergy season. And Charlotte was suddenly warm, wet and open. A hot, slick thread of wetness laced itself against her and her teeth sank into her lip as she forced herself not to slide her hand into her trousers. Clara would be awake soon. There was no way...besides, she knew this must be faked. No- it couldn't be, it was just slowed down. The girl on the screen's face had loosened unselfconsciously in a way that no posing model's would naturally fall, her eyes were squeezed tightly shut, and her mouth had fallen open as she took in one huge, heaving final breath- "Ha-hah-ISSHHHOOO!"
The sneeze, which would have been loud at a normal volume, echoed harshly through the room, and Clara's eyes flew open- before shutting immediately again. Charlotte, punching the off-button on the TV, still flustered, saw her chance.
"Honey, I'm sorry, but..."
Clara groaned softly, protesting.
"It's almost time already." Charlotte reached out and laid her hand on Clara's cheek. Clara stirred against her cool hand, making a little crooning noise.
A slow smile lit Charlotte's face. "There," she whispered gently. "How are you feeling? Any better?"
Clara nodded miserably, taking in her white, flowered, cosy surroundings with washes of pastel pinks and lilacs hanging on the walls- the room had already been taken over by Charlotte, though, with a pile of her books stacked on the night table and her own shampoos and bath oils neatly laid out on the shelf by the en suite bathroom. Clara wondered whether she felt strong enough even to get up and shower. She had never been so ill in her life. She was always healthy. How could she, Clara the Unbeatable, possibly feel this sick?
"You look all flushed." Charlotte felt her forehead, shook her head. "Oh, honey, you're burning up!"
Clara shrugged it off, jerking her head in a disdainful manner that sent a sharp, complaining bolt of agony through her brain. Clara's large dark eyes immediately melted with such pain that Charlotte longed to wrap her up in blankets and feed her something hot. Instead, she bent and kissed her forehead. "You must feel dreadful, you poor little thing." Her friend's dark eyes were beautiful, her reddened nose painfully vulnerable-looking. Then an expression of intense discomfort crossed Clara's animated face as her nostrils started to twitch.
Breath hitching, Clara searched frantically in her pockets.
"Char," she managed desperately. "Tissue?"
Charlotte reached for Alexander's box of Kleenex and passed Clara a handful.
Clara clamped them to her nose, took a deep breath, and let out a gigantic, bellowing sneeze.
Charlotte exclaimed, "Bless you!"
Clara blew her nose dramatically and wiped her dripping eyes. She would never think of owning a handkerchief, as it was too permanent. She was the kind of person who always used tissues and never seemed to have any, but had to snuffle and wipe her nose on her sleeve like a child.
"You're still not well," Charlotte said gently.
Clara shrugged. "I'm a lot better, but for some reason my nose is still a bit tickly. I think I'm even more nervous than you about the concert- I'm gonna have to keep my sneezes in all night, and that's damn near an impossibility, as well as being torture..."
"This might help." Charlotte handed her a cup of something hot which smelt wonderful. Warmth flooded through the aching joints of Clara's hands. "I had kind of taken that into consideration. Remembering what you were like in college and everything. Fortunately, I also remembered the only thing that ever worked. Rosehip tea with zinc."
Clara grinned. "You're a star, Charlotte, but I've never been quite this sneezy. I'm not sure it'll work on this cold."
"It's worth a try. If it doesn't work, my number two plan is probably nose plugs." Charlotte gently caressed Clara's cheek as she sipped her tea. "No offence, darling, but your nose isn't um, socially appropriate when you've got the tickles. When you were in the library- or even in a bar- you used to have to issue one-minute warnings to anyone who happened to be within a metre radius of you."
"If I could," Clara said darkly. "And even when I did manage to warn people, they didn't take it seriously until I'd actually...remember Marcelia Brown?"
"God, that was bad! In Ourania's, you mean?"
"Bloody perfume sprayers in department stores. I did try to warn her. She just patted me on the shoulder and said, "Well, let it out, honey!" I opened my mouth to explain why that was a bad idea, and then..."
"Me and Olivia were just over looking at dresses, when we heard this huge-"
"It wasn't that huge."
"Marcelia thought so. You blew her wig off."
"They were extensions." Clara yawned, rubbing her itchy eyes with the heel of her palm. She could hear running water, and it made her incredibly thirsty.
"I don't care what they were, I nearly died."
"Well, she didn't hang around with us any more after that."
"You had such a crush on her."
"I did not!"
"Please! You blushed for weeks after that!" Charlotte laughed warmly, walking across to the huge, ugly white wardrobe and rummaging meditatively through a clanging knot of coathangers to get to a flaunting streak of red satin hanging on one of them. "And in college when you had colds, trying to keep them from me was always such a production! You'd sit there holding your breath, pinching your nose, running into the bathroom and flushing the toilet..."
Clara blushed deeply. "Can't help it. I was kind of embarrassed, Char. I mean, for the first couple of months you seemed so unbelievably cool, I felt really self-conscious. I used to wonder if you'd put in for a room transfer the first time anyone in the cafeteria was too liberal with the pepper."
Not much chance of that, Charlotte thought. "Why would I have done that? You were my-"
Clara smiled up at her. "Lover? Didn't think you'd have a problem with that word, Miss Political."
It had taken Clara a long time to relax about sneezing in front of her roommate- ironic, really. Clara's sneezes were incredibly strong, but she had the nasty habit of stifling them in front of Charlotte, so while Charlotte had been startled out of sleep by several of Clara's great roaring sneezes, she had rarely had the pleasure of actually witnessing one. She'd imagined it over and over again on the occasions when Clara made love to her, to push herself over the edge of conscious pleasure completely- the very idea of one of her tortured and heaving build-ups pleasured Charlotte beyond belief. Recently, though, on the rare occasions, usually during business meetings, that Clara had got a tickle, Charlotte noticed that she either stifled it, hid her face in her hands and muffled it, or ducked into another room to let rip.
"He didn't seem to mind about my sneezes either," Clara remarked. "And they are incredible, I know that. When I was a kid my sisters used to hide under items of furniture every time my nose twitched."
"I don't blame them."
Charlotte took off her gorgeous blue silk shirt, and stood in front of the wardrobe in a pair of criminally tight black suede trousers and a light, delicate cream-coloured bra, which smoothly cupped and contained her ample breasts. Charlotte was an amazing-looking woman, with waist-length, spiralling black ringlets and full, sensual lips which she painted a screaming scarlet. Her skin was milky-white, almost bluish, and paler than the satin of her bra.
"Do you know you've got the water on?" Clara asked, still dozy but undisturbed by Charlotte's state of undress- when they were roommates, they'd seen pretty much everything.
"Of course. I'm gonna give you a hot bath."
Clara suddenly realised how chilly she felt, how her bones ached and complained. "Oh, God, Charlotte, thanks."
Charlotte looked at a dark brown plastic bottle that had been discarded on the other bed in a Medicentre plastic bag. "You get the Invalid Special. Extra eucalyptus and wintergreen."
Clara made a grotesque face.
"It'll clear you up."
"I know." Charlotte remembered Clara's noisy nasal reactions to other particularly pungent bath oils. "In this case, though, it might really do the trick. Get those sneezes all out there."
Clara groaned. "My nose is itching like crazy. Believe me, you don't have to induce anything."
"Don't I?" Charlotte poured a tiny puddle of pale golden oil into the palm of her hand and sniffed it calmly, experimentally. She raised her head with a totally different expression on her face- one of total discomfort, eyes scrunched up into tightly crimped black lines, fragile nostrils flared immensely. Her glossy, screaming-red lips dropped slackly open and then she was flung forward, bending dramatically at the waist, "HAISSHHOOOO!"
"Charlotte!" Clara exclaimed, eyes wide with concern as she unbuttoned her soft flannel comfort-shirt. "Am I giving you this godawful thing, honey?"
Charlotte shook her head vehemently, rubbing the delicate area beneath her nostrils with one beautifully manicured finger. "Please! Your germs, horrendous though they are, don't work that fast. You're just right about the oil." She examined the label. "Ah. Sandalwood. Ruth's got this sandalwood body lotion that she sometimes uses for massages, and-"
"Too much information, Char-"
"I was just going to say that it makes my nose itch unbelievably. So I think it should be quite good for you."
"How so?" Clara yawned lazily, slowly undoing the button-fly of her jeans and sliding out of them. "All it's going to do is ruin my sinuses."
"Clara, stop protesting so bloody much and get in the bath."
"Oh, Char, do you actually think I'm buying this crap for a second?" Clara grinned, lazy brown eyes sliding towards her friend. "I know I've got a fever, but can you be slightly less unsubtle about this?"
Two ferocious patches of red welled violently up on Charlotte's high ice-white cheekbones.
"I mean- give me some credit," her friend grumbled sleepily. "You did tell me."
"Um- tell you what?"
"I knew you wouldn't remember." Clara yawned, unconcerned." You were reading that fetish book of Mahalia's and we'd drank damn near a whole bottle of..."
"Clara. I didn't."
"I don't mind," Clara said. "You're probably the only person who's ever put up with my reaction to curry. And I do love to eat hot peppery food." She smiled cheekily at Charlotte. "Isn't it a real bitch how everyone has an ulterior motive?"
Charlotte, her cheeks blazing hotly, went into the bathroom and turned off the taps. "All yours," she said shortly, coming out and wiping her damp hands on her thighs. "Don't take too long. I've got to go in after you."
"What? We always used to bathe together. Save water."
"That was in our student bedsit. We don't need to save water now, do we?"
"But that bath's about the size of a swimming pool."
"Then have a nice swim." Charlotte flopped down dramatically on her bed and aggressively cracked open a book. "You're holding that upside down," Clara said, getting up.
"Go have a bath," Charlotte said smoothly, turning a page.
Clara stood there in the centre of the room in her underwear, a look of intense concentration crossing her face, scrunching it comically. She was feeling something deeply ominous in the very back of her nose. Not an itch, not a twitch, not a tickle. Something that could only be described as tension- a feeling of pressure building, agonisingly slowly, to a head. She hated these kinds of sneezes. They could build for hours. She stood there rubbing her nostrils with the heel of her palm like a frustrated little girl, feeling the sneeze in her nose, stuck there but unable to come out.
"Clara, honey, what is it?" Charlotte asked.
Clara forcefully rubbed her nose. "Nothing. I'm just feeling a bit funny."
"My nose," Clara whispered.
"What about it?"
Clara rubbed it again. "It's tickly."
"What is it, love?" Charlotte's cheeks, which had been fading, reddened again as she cleared her throat to ask, "Are you going to..."
Clara groaned softly. "I wish."
"Oh. Don't you just hate those?" Charlotte sighed, and then got up from the bed. "Maybe it would help if you breathed in some steam, hon. You're still all stuffy. Perhaps if we could get that cute nose of yours to run a little, you could get rid of what's bothering you. Get in the bath. And yes, I'll scrub your back."
As well as liberally applying her usual perfume to her hair, face, neck and breasts, Charlotte had liberally spiced the bath with the eucalyptus bath oil which was making her feel a little sneezy. It worked perfectly on her friend as Clara slid into the bath.
"I- I- I think I'm about to..." Clara inhaled deeply. Her lips helplessly dropped open, her eyes were squinting and watering as her quivering nostrils trembled uncontrollably. Then the sneezy feeling completely left her and she sighed, frustrated. She rubbed her nose, trying to clear it of the urge, hoping that if she couldn't sneeze, at least she could do away with the tickle.
"Don't do that," Charlotte said calmly, reaching for her hand. "You'll draw this out for hours and we're due downstairs in about forty minutes."
Clara groaned. "But I can feel it. It's gonna be the biggest sneeze ever and I'm kind of embarrassed...I mean, it's not gonna be pretty..."
"So this is your problem."
"You can't relax enough to let it out, honey."
"Do you blame me?" Clara groaned, rubbing her nose again. "Ever since I was little I've been able to break the sound barrier with my nose. It's embarrassing."
"Please, Clara. You should know I don't mind."
Clara leaned forward and took in a very deep breath through her congested nose. The tickling started again, playing with the sensitive, swollen membranes of her nasal passages, making the very back of her nose burn like kernels of pepper were lodged up there, her poor nostrils flaring in and out with every quivery breath she managed to take in, her vocal cords beginning to slowly get involved with the buildup as her lips shaped the hushed, airy beginnings of "Ahhhhh.....aaahhhhh..."
And then it was gone, just before she could take the final breath in, the final breath that might just turn this burning pressure into a full-blown sneeze.
"Hauuhh...Ahhhhh..." she tried to gently force it out, "Ahh...Ahhhhhh..."
No. It was gone.
"Is it coming yet, hon?" Charlotte asked, raising her arms gracefully to rub strong lemony curds of shampoo into her hair.
"No, it-it tickles like crazy..." Clara whispered, her eyes closed in concentration, "But it won't...it's...it's not gonna..." She froze, the urge suddenly coming upon her again. Her eyes were still slitted, her mouth open a little, her left eyebrow raised and her upper lip curving delicately upwards to the right. She breathed in sharply, then paused, eyes closed...then she let out a long, defeated sigh.
Charlotte gently kissed her on the nose. Even with all the perfume she was wearing, the only reaction she got was a wet sniff from Clara. "We should stop, it's not helping."
"That's the last thing I want. Just- just please help me get rid of this tickle!" Clara opened her eyes a little to see Charlotte looking at her with enormous, fascinated eyes.
"You're loving this," she said softly.
"No, I...I just had an idea," Charlotte said.
"Really?" her friend groaned, her dark eyelids as black as aubergine flesh with tiredness. "I'd love to hear it."
Charlotte poured another pool of the ticklish golden bath oil into her hand and held it out to Clara, gently wafting it under her quivering, receptive nose. Clara deeply inhaled its peppery fragrance, and smiled with anticipation as she felt the great, airy buildup of the sneeze starting to form in her chest, rising inexorably towards her throat, and then- yes- the unreachable inner core of her nose began to itch unbearably. She could actually feel the skin inside her nose crawling and protesting with the pleasure, flaring, the itch broadening, spreading out into her abused throat...just one more breath and she could... and then nothing.
She groaned and threw herself dramatically back against the ceramic edge of the bath.
"All right," Charlotte said. "Plan C, then. Fairly basic."
She grabbed a tissue from the box which she'd brought in with her, and slowly began twisting the end into a devilishly sharp little point.
"Okay," Clara said, her voice rushed and breathy. "It's coming back. Char- I'm really gonna sneeze!"
She froze, face scrunching, and finding once again that she wasn't actually going to get this one out. Charlotte reached forward with the tissue and stroked her nose gently, the edge of the tissue lightly tickling Clara's nostrils, making them flare wildly.
"Hahh... haahh..." she began again... "Char, that feels...so damn...aahhh...."
Her nostrils were enormous by now, their edges trembling a little, her mouth fully open, her eyes tightly squinched and watering terribly. The slight twitches in the bridge of her nose and the delicate raising of her eyebrows turned into a defined, contorted grimace as Clara realised that there was no way she could resist the slow uprushing of the uge.
Charlotte stuck the point of the tissue right up Clara's left nostril and slowly began to twist it. Clara quickly breathed in, feeling a sudden itch that was worse than all the other itches she'd ever had in her nose, an itch that couldn't be ignored, which had to be responded to. She mentally begged whichever muscles were responsible for this supposedly involuntary function to do their work, to explode that tickle right out of her poor nose.
And then...it was really coming! The pressure reached its height and suddenly Charlotte, screwing the tissue around in Clara's nose, discovered the perfect momentum- moving the tissue so fast that it was almost like a vibration, Clara's tremendously irritated nasal passages had no chance whatsoever.
"ahhh... ahhh... AAhhhh... AHHH... AHHH-ASHOOOO! Oh my God, what a-ah-ahh-aahh-aaahhhh- AHHH- AAASSHHOOO! Uhh...there's one more...I can...I can feel it coming...HAAAH- HASHOOOOOOO!"
Amazed by the volume, Charlotte stroked her friend's back. "Better?"
Clara laughed. "Oh my God, that was such a relief!
Reluctantly, Charlotte got out of the bath. "Well, we'd better get dressed now. I'm just gonna take my makeup off, OK? I'm ready to drop."
Charlotte sat down on the edge of the bed in her lacy white silk slip and began to anoint her face with various costly anti-aging creams. She took extra care rubbing the moisturiser she needed into her sore, chapped nose, but almost as soon as she'd touched one inflamed, itchy nostril she knew it was a bad idea. Almost immediately, her nostrils began to flare uncontrollably. Charlotte struggled with what was left of her strength to hold back the growing explosion as she massaged cream into her high, aristocratic cheekbones.
Ruth kissed Charlotte's bare neck, letting her lips linger there. "I was lonely without you."
"Oh, honey, me too. But I had to pretend I was dating Alexander."
"Alexander!" Ruth howled with laughter.
"It wasn't actually that bad," Charlotte grinned, rubbing her tickly nose violently from the outside, trying to quench the urge. "Until, get this, he scored."
Ruth lay back on the bed, laughing uncontrollably.
"Oh my God!" Ruth gasped. "Char, how did you cope with that?"
"It was OK. But wait until I see him on Monday." Charlotte's eyes began to stream as the burning itch spread into the top of her throat, filling her lungs. "I'm really-" she paused for a moment, sniffing experimentally- "gonna sneeze!"
"Well," said Ruth, passing her a fresh handful of Kleenex, "that should frighten him."
Charlotte clamped a Kleenex firmly over her nose, trying to hold the sneeze back. Ruth watched her face contort in the mirror, a line of face cream standing out whitely on one cheek. Her beautiful electric-blue eyes shut tightly as they began to itch and burn with the slowly-intensifying tickle, her mouth opened and her tiny nostrils twitched.
"Ruth," she choked out. "Y-you better- get out of the way-this- this is gonna be really big..." Even as she said it, she was pinching her nostrils harshly, making little gulping sounds. Ruth smiled, getting in even closer to her. "I don't mind, Char. Just let it out."
"I can't," Charlotte groaned. "It's way- way too..." She held the tissues to her nose, closed her eyes tightly, gulped back her breath, and, after a short struggle, forced the sneeze to stay down.
"Char, I hate it when you do that!" Ruth snapped. "It's not good for you."
Charlotte swallowed hard. "You say that now, hon, but I think my whole head would have exploded."
"You're OK now?" Ruth's pale, strong-boned face softened a little in concern.
"It doesn't look like it."
"I'm-" Suddenly, the fierce little tickle returned full force, barrelling through her nose before she could reach for a tissue. Her body convulsed with each breath, breasts trembling with the force that filled her chest and throat. Ruth always made fun of her lover whenever she sneezed like this, always when she was coming down with a heavy cold- it seemed so unlike her delicate china-doll Charlotte to have such a forceful, bellowing sneeze.
Charlotte's nostrils flared. "I...ahhhh...I have...have to...ahhhhhhh...honey-"
Experimentally, Ruth leant forward and stroked the tip of Charlotte's nose with a soft finger, trying to ease away the fit and failing. Charlotte winced at the agonisingly ticklish touch, and when the hotly inflamed passages of her sinuses registered the strong cinnamon-and-sandalwood scent of lotion on Ruth's finger, the gigantic urge to sneeze burned up a few notches towards unbearable. Usually, Charlotte loved sneezing, but it was the cathartic explosion she relished, not the hot, inevitable, eye-watering buildups, which flared and ahhed until she felt about to burst. While the abrupt introduction of Ruth's irritating perfume tweaked the twitching membranes of Charlotte's nasal passages into a burning, desperate urge, the sneeze didn't even come. In short, it tickled unbearably and Charlotte choked out, "You're making it worse!"
She took in a huge breath, then Ruth's finger pressed against her nostrils, removing the forceful urge completely for a moment. "Sorry. That better?"
"Aahhh-" Charlotte breathed out gently, and then suddenly her big blue eyes widened in panic as Ruth took away her finger and the tickle returned, even stronger than before, building until she didn't care about anything but sneezing and sneezing until that dreadful itch was finally gone! Normally they weren't this loud, but with her body already tired from a whole night networking, drinking and dancing...
"Ha-hah-TISSHHHOOO! HEAAHTSHOOO! HA-TISSHHOOO!"
She felt another one coming and fumbled for a tissue. This explosion was followed by three equally huge sneezes, all the more violent for having been suppressed. The last one was so intense that it bent her double, causing tears to stream down her cheeks again.
Charlotte suddenly seemed tired and frail. Her soft body leant back against Ruth's and she sniffled to herself, feeling truly miserable.
"I've got a cold," she said stuffily.
"Once again, Charlotte Katz, you shock me rigid." Very gently, Ruth patted her creamy shoulder and kissed her perfumed neck again, knowing that comforted her, passing her the tissue which she obviously needed. Charlotte blew her nose, balled up the tissue and threw it into the wastebasket. Ruth raised the covers and tucked her sniffly girlfriend in next to her.
"You're staying right here, Char. I'll look after you."
Charlotte yawned. "The whole chicken soup bit?"
Ruth stroked Charlotte's jet hair away from her face. "You love it."
Charlotte snuggled into her, lacing one arm around her lover's back and drawing her closer as she dozed off. "I know."
"Feeling any better, love?"
"Mmm." Charlotte stretched, her long, expressive arms arching against the plump white pillows, only a fraction creamier than the pillowslips, black curls frothing over her soft pale skin. "I don't have anywhere near as much of a fever." She was the picture of peace, a beautiful young woman with well-upholstered, naturally red lips, startling blue eyes and a gorgeous, curvy body which flowed with a strong, pure grace that seemed more natural to water.
She had spent the day in bed relaxing, getting over a bad cold. A half-finished book reposed on the chest of drawers by the bed by an almost empty box of tissues, the wastebasket was overflowing with screwed-up flowers of Kleenex and Billie Holiday was moaning and groaning on the stereo. Ruth scrutinised her lover.
"Your nose is bright red, honey!" she exclaimed.
"Over-use, I suppose." Charlotte rubbed harshly at her sore nose. "I haven't stopped sneezing all day."
"Poor thing." Ruth stood up, took off her jade-green jacket and hung it over the delicately arched wooden chair, using the back of the chair for balance as she stepped out of her suede high-heeled shoes one at a time. She realised, looking at Charlotte's bare white shoulders, that her lover wasn't wearing a thing, and felt the slight itch of anticipation that had been playing with her during that afternoon's tedious meetings to develop into a full, burning need, even though she reminded herself that her lover- afflicted with a miserable cold in the nose- would not be in the mood for love.
"I don't know what's making my nose itch so much. Probably this bright sun." Charlotte sniffled.
Ruth kissed her on the forehead. "You always get the tickles really badly when you've got a cold, Char."
She looked particularly beautiful that burning afternoon, a slight flush beginning to glow on the high strong blades of her cheekbones. Ruth was the kind of woman that everyone in a bar turned round to stare at, Charlotte's jealously guarded girlfriend. But when Ruth looked like this- like she was absolutely radiating lust- then the power was Charlotte's, and, watching Ruth's precious breasts billow out of her precarious neckline, nipples hard and tempting against the thin green wool of Charlotte's favourite dress, Charlotte knew just how lucky she was to have this woman as her lover.
Already growing hot in anticipation, Charlotte was suddenly distracted by her quivering nose as her raw nasal passages registered an all-too-familiar scent emanating from the pulse points at her lover's neck.
"Oh God, you're wearing that sandalwood perfume again, aren't you?"
Ruth nodded, mystified. "Why?"
"Ruth, you know what that damn perfume does to me!" Already overcome, Charlotte screwed up her face and gulped harshly, her teary blue eyes squeezing tightly shut and her strong dark eyebrows arching dramatically up her marble-white forehead. Her full lips parted slightly, her nostrils flared and she waited- for just a moment- to see if the slight tickle brought on by Ruth's perfume would grow in intensity.
Charlotte's sneezes, as a rule, were profound in their violence and volume. This one was no exception, shaking her body dramatically and resounding in the small, bright, yellow-walled room. "AHHH-ISHOOO! Uh, excuse me, hon, I- I- AASHOOOO!" Charlotte opened her red, streaming eyes wearily and rubbed her sore nose with the back of her hand, looking miserable and exhausted.
"Bless you, babe."
Ruth sat on the bed and straddled her lover's body, secretly hoping to get another sneeze out of her- they implicitly understood that they shared the same fetish, but had never really discussed it openly.
Charlotte sniffled wetly and reached to kiss Ruth's neck, still drowning in her strong smell. The scent was both perfumed and private- a smell of sweat, perfume and sweet, dry talcum powder. Something primitive in Charlotte associated the smell with nakedness, closeness, her lover's smooth, tight skin against hers. No barriers of leather, denim or lace. Just flesh.
For the last two days she'd felt too drowsy and pathetic to make love to Ruth, and she wanted to make up for the lost time now. Charlotte made a valiant attempt at staving off a slowly building urge to sneeze again as she gently tongued the downy, bitterly perfumed curve of Ruth's stretched white neck, reaching slowly to cup the warm weight of her lover's right breast.
Ruth shivered in response, shaking her head wildly and causing her long, silky, blondish-brown hair to flow from its loose businesswoman knot at the nape of her neck. Her strongly scented hair trailed over Charlotte's nose, which twitched uncontrollably as she licked the tender, downy spot just below Ruth's ear. Charlotte felt the silvery vibration of her lover's pleasured shivers judder through her own body as Ruth's pelvis jammed tightly into hers.
Charlotte, her nostrils trembling, shivered too- from the chill, her fever, and the gently-but-firmly approaching arousal that had begun to lap at her. Slowly, she felt a gentle, pulsing pressure building in her, her muscles slowly relaxing as she began to grow slick and wet...even though she knew losing a modicum of her usual iron self-control would result in an explosive sneeze or several. But she couldn't help it. She felt it coming as she closed her eyes against the window's hot, urgently bright light, which was slowly urging the tension in the back of her nose into a really terrible tickle.
Ruth pushed a stray lock of hair behind her ear and grinned teasingly at Charlotte, whispering, "We could just lie here together for a while...be close..."
"Or, we could have hot, wild, passionate sex," Charlotte suggested politely, swallowing hard. "Just a thought." Her gorgeous face screwed up into a mask of discomfort as she allowed one finger to drift under her nose in a last-ditch attempt at holding it off, breathing deeply and irregularly.
"You OK, honey?" Ruth asked huskily, her voice a few octaves deeper than usual as she watched Charlotte's face contort helplessly.
"Yeah," Charlotte managed, "I'm just-" then her face froze as she waited, deep blue eyes turning up to the ceiling. Charlotte scrunched her face delicately, making desperate little holding-back grunts, and then took a deep, gusty breath in. "HuhAHSHOOO! HA-ACSHOOOO!" Ruth felt her lover's lower body buck and tremble with the force of Charlotte's incredible sneezes.
Gently, she stroked her lover's flat, porcelain-white stomach, allowing her hand to drift a little lower than she'd intended as she whispered, "Bless you," into Charlotte's ear, feeling a sudden thread of wetness lace itself against her.
Almost in response to her growing arousal, Charlotte jerked off the bed again with a huge, wet, "AAAAHH-AHHISHOOOO!"
Charlotte sniffed, reaching for the box of tissues on the bedside table. She covered her nose with a soft tissue and blew it mightily, her long, sooty-lashed eyes closing in an expression close to ecstasy. "God, I needed that," she muttered indistinctly. "Sorry about that, hon. Now, where were we?"
"About...here," Ruth said mischievously, allowing one finger to gently slide into her lover's moist folds. It had been a long, hard, hot day, and she had been aching to be touched by Charlotte's strong, experienced fingers all afternoon.
Charlotte moaned softly, her smile spreading deliciously slowly on her face as she felt her sensitive clitoris slowly stiffening. "Ummm. I take it this is going to be slow and torturous?"
Ruth smiled, slipping out of her tight green dress with admirable speed. "I know that's how you like it." She smiled slowly and seductively, feeling a gentle heat gather within her. "And given that we've finally got time to enjoy this..."
Charlotte's face lit up like a neon sign, but her whole body shuddered as Ruth eased the duvet from her.
"Sorry, love. Cold?"
"Burning up." Charlotte rolled into the centre of the bed with her usual panther-like grace. "You're just driving me crazy, that's all..."
She was so hot and wet that Ruth felt like she had plunged her hard fingers into a pulped fruit. Gently, Ruth allowed her lips to brush the hard dark knobs of Charlotte's engorged, erect nipples, then teasingly licked them with her pointed tongue. Then, working slowly down, she enveloped them in the delicious liquid warmth of her mouth so that she moaned while Ruth gently played with her, occasionally accidentally-on-purpose allowing her thumb to brush briefly against Charlotte's swollen, hyper-sensitive clitoris.
Wet, waiting, smiling like the Mona Lisa, Charlotte reached down and positioned her right hand between her hot, damp right thigh and Ruth's, feeling sweat immediately break out across her lover's thighs and belly. Knowing how Ruth would respond, Charlotte's hand cupped her gently as she moaned, rocked her slender hips, shivered with pleasure.
"Char-" Ruth managed. "Just let me make love to you. You know I can never-" she shivered again, biting her thumb to stop a cry, "concentrate on you when you're doing that..."
"I know...but it gets you so hot." Charlotte's free hand trickled gracefully over Ruth's hard, dry nipples. "Don't worry...I can wait till you're done..."
Charlotte's already flushed cheeks grew scarlet and her heavy breathing slowly deepened into gasps. Ruth thought that she was actually about to reach orgasm before her when she realised that the faces her lover was making had more to do with agony than ecstasy. A patina of sweat glistened on her forehead as she struggled.
"Char? Are you..." her fingers slid out of her lover a fraction.
"Please..." Charlotte breathed, her own fingers sliding more deeply into Ruth. "Don't stop. I'm just...just..." Wrinkles were appearing in the usually statuesque bridge of her nose and her ample breasts were shaking helplessly. Ruth swallowed hard, realising that there was absolutely no moisture in her throat, as she felt her own juices ready to flow out of her onto her lover's lush thighs.
"I think I'm going to..."
Charlotte's voice was thinner and higher than usual, a thin silver string about to snap. Sweat poured down Ruth's brow and cheeks as she took the swollen mound of Charlotte's clit between her fingers, determined to finish her off before the inevitable happened.
"Ahhh...I....I'm....going to....ahhhh....to sneeze...."
She felt herself sliding up and down as Ruth made love to her, thrusting upwards on the rumpled white sheets. Charlotte closed her eyes against the window's treacherous light, knowing already that the damage was done. Great, rippling waves of pleasure shook her plush, generously proportioned body as the dark slashes of her eyebrows dramatically arched into the centre of her forehead, her nostrils quivering, a patchy red sex-flush breaking out on her whiter-than-white chest.
"....Ruth, I'm...I'm really gonna...."
Charlotte sighed, or tried to between moans of pleasure and gasps from the oncoming sneeze. Ruth's mouth fell limply open as she reached a new extreme of pleasure, while Charlotte whimpered passionately from the conflicting jolts of pleasure and pain that felt as though they were about to rip her in two.
"...it's gonna be...a...a big one..."
She slid the forefinger of her free hand under her nose. Charlotte made quite a picture, naked, flushed, full, expectant, her neck and back arched, and totally unselfconscious of her voluptuous, responsive body in the burning early summer light of the window, humping Ruth's skilled fingers and screwing up her face in an attempt to hold back the urge to explode which filled her, from her nose to the place where Ruth's fingers massaged.
"Hold it back," Ruth whispered, her face flushed and shining, vibrant with longing. "Please. I need you to...to finish me..."
Ruth gently moved her hips, rubbing herself up and down Charlotte's slender, smooth thigh as Charlotte's fingers brought her closer to an incredible orgasm. Ruth used the hand which wasn't making love to Charlotte to tickle her own engorged clitoris as she watched Charlotte squirm and make little agonised noises as she tried valiantly to suppress the sneeze, her lips parting, squinting in the dreadful, bright light of the window as she shuddered with the need to give in and explode.
"I can't....I...I can't, aahhh....AAHHHH..."
Even though the tickles in her nose were torturing her unbearably, Charlotte continued to massage Ruth's soaking pussy as her body shook from the force of the oncoming sneeze. Hot, tortured tears slid from her open, upturned eyes down to her ears. Ruth realised that she had never been quite this turned on in her life and resolved to prolong the delicious pleasure. Ruth removed her fingers from her clit and used one to hold under Charlotte's quivering nostrils, attempting to dam back the onslaught of the tickles which were making her lover's eyes water. Charlotte breathed in cautiously, and then her face seized up again.
"Ruth, that's not...not really helping....it just...huh-aahhh...it just tickles so much!"
Gently, Ruth scratched Charlotte's scrunching nose. "Better?"
She screwed up her face, obviously struggling. "Could you, um, rub just under my nose a little?" She took a deep, trembling breath. "Quickly!"
In spite of the dreadful itch in her nose, she felt the muscles in her thighs and buttocks tightening and contracting- she was fast approaching an orgasm, and even if by some miracle she did manage to stop the sneeze exploding from her, there was no way she could stop that.
Ruth gently lowered her head to Charlotte's ear, her long, herb-scented blonde hair trailing over Charlotte's protesting nose as she whispered, "You wouldn't believe how wet this is getting me, Char."
"I think...ahhh...I think I do,"
Charlotte scrambled out, totally aware of the growing, delicious pressure in her crotch and knowing that if she came, everything else would come too.
"Please, honey," she begged, dark ripples of delight shaking her. "Please...please let me sneeze!"
Ruth, all her attentions focused on the one part of her body, groaned unashamedly as she felt the oh-so-closeness of her orgasm, knowing that Charlotte wouldn't be able to get her there if she gave in and sneezed. "Oh, hon, please...hold it...I'm almost there..."
"I can't....I can't hold it back!" Charlotte cried. "I'm gonna... gonna... ahhhh... AHHH.... HAHSHOOOOO!"
With the force of the sneeze her body thrust and her hand shot forward, embracing Ruth entirely and causing the detonation of the explosion which had slowly been building inside her. Ruth screamed with a final shudder, overtaken by a mindless, bone-shaking orgasm as she fell, sweaty and exhausted, onto her lover's still-trembling body.
Charlotte took a deep breath, Ruth recovered a little, and then they resumed. Charlotte, knowing that the tickles were by no means over with, screwed her face up again. Ruth- all business now- felt hot wetness coating her fingers, sliding down to her wrist, flooding down her own hot thighs as she began to seriously work on Charlotte, pounding her thumb hard against her clit. Usually, she was dazed, drained and happy after making love, but this time she had a purpose.
"That's what you get for making me wait," she whispered in Charlotte's ear, then pressed her highly scented neck to Charlotte's nose as she violently massaged her clit.
Charlotte hissed back, "If you really want to do something...then why don't you eat me?" she begged, through her shuddering moans and the returning feeling of a huge, wrenching sneeze coming on. "I need you there, Ruth."
Always one to accept any challenge given, Ruth slithered down the bed, positioned her tangled head between Charlotte's pale thighs and applied her rough tongue to Charlotte's clit, watching through lust-blurred eyes as it grew harder, stood out more prominently.
"AHHH-HEAHSHOOO!" Charlotte moaned at the intensity of the pleasure she felt. "AHEESHOOOOO!" She allowed her sneezes to escape from her unselfconsciously as she felt her orgasm slowly kick and pound its way through her body. "Oh honey...huhAH-AHHHSHOOOO! I'm...I'm...AHHHH-AHISHOOOOO! AH....AHHHHHHHH... AHHHHHSHOOOOOO!" She sneezed again and again, her body washed with sensations of sweet relief, as sacred to her as her lover's beloved tongue. "Oh my God, I'm gonna...."
Charlotte, who was incredibly close to the edge already, almost levitated off the bed as her own orgasm hotly engulfed her like a great warm mouth. Eyes squeezed shut, back taut, Charlotte lifted from the bed and let out a howl which vibrated in the thick, still summer air as she slammed back down on the mattress. Ruth furiously licked and sucked, and as she go of herself completely, Charlotte's poor, abused nose quivered with the tickles which exploded again and again as her body heaved and sighed in glorious relief.
"HASHOOO! Ahhhh....ASHOOOOO! AH-AH-AHISHOOO! AH... AAAAHHHH... AAAHHHH... AHHHHHHHSSSSHHOOOO!"
She collapsed back on the bed, sighing with pleasure. "Ahhh...ahhhhhh. Damn."
Gently, Ruth kissed her on the nose. "Looked like you needed that, love."
Warm, rich laughter flooded from Charlotte as the two finally relaxed together, Ruth lying heavily on her, her head tucked into Charlotte's shoulder.
"Oh, God, that almost killed me!" Charlotte exclaimed, as the two women kissed their way back to normal consciousness.
Ruth, contented and satisfied at last, laughed richly. "Me too."