Out of Character


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Joanne opens her eyes.

She focuses on me through a blur of shortsightedness, tiredness and fever, and smiles up at my face with such potent, trusting happiness that I know-even if I'm not in love with her- I want to be.

Before I can think of anything to say, Joanne asks, "Did we just...do that?"


She grins, pushing herself up on her pillows, careful to pull the edge of the leopard-print duvet up so it covers the awe-inspiring rise of her breasts, and folds her sleek dark arms over her chest to keep the heavy material in place.

Once again, I marvel at how beautiful she suddenly is, especially like this. She looks strangely indolent and satisfied, the pungent, rich scent of sex lingering solidly and emphatically as though her soft cinnamon skin is radiating it like a dubious halo.

"I never thought we'd do that," I tell her, my throat dry from orgasm after orgasm.

"I never hoped."

I touch her cheek gently, finding it hard to believe that she's naked under the duvet in spite of her bare shoulders, the smooth slopes of her breasts. The usual lines of anxiety on her face are smoothed out- amazing, what sex does for you- and the absence of her glasses, makeup and, well, clothes, render her wonderfully vulnerable.

I can't help but feel relieved at the absence of the polished, perfectionist Counsellor. She's covered up quite decently, her folded arms creating a sublimely fleshy cleavage above the duvet. What happened less than five minutes ago seems like a feverish dream to me but I struggle to remain neutral, calm. My eyes drift to the powerful fingers gently cupping her duvet-covered breasts. It's all I can do not to lean over and smell them for proof of what she just did to me.

"It... it wasn't a good idea, though..." I whisper, expecting her to agree.

She just grins. "Oh... and why's that, C?"

"Well, bad timing..." I almost become Helen's strange, maternal dominatrix for a fraction of a second. "After all, you're not well, honey."

"Feeling guilty about tiring me out?"

"In a way."

"Ah. Feeling guilty about all of it."

I shrug. She looks at me and sighs, stroking my arm with warm fingers.

"You Catholics... so, we had sex. It doesn't mean we have to get married, you know."

Suddenly and unexpectedly she pauses, her hand held up in her usual, polite "excuse me" gesture, the other hand going to her nose. Before I can think of a polite way of suggesting this might not be the right time, particularly because the unsupported duvet is looking a little too precarious, Joanne's whole body seizes and expels a rich, wet, partially smothered, "AHCHEEOOO!" her cheeks flushing violently, a little of her old embarrassment returning at this inappropriately-timed nasal intervention.

"Bless you," I say. Already my body aches with a deep, intense wanting.

She turns to me, grinning a little shakily, as the edge of the leopard-print fabric slips down her chest a fraction. I try to tear my eyes away, but can't stop staring at the twin attractions of her twitching nose and her breasts, threatening to escape their cotton confines.

"Sorry about that! I really hahhhh....haahhhhh-"

I groan softly. Still, I have no choice but to watch her.

She pauses, her face looking stretched and distracted, as she lifts her head and stares into the gold light by the side of the bed, her huge dark eyes now watering violently, turned up in pure, almost reverent-seeming concentration, a great wrinkle distorting the statuesque bridge of her nose as her upper lip, rolling back to mirror her eyes, begins to quiver over the beautiful row of her white teeth.

I bite my own lip, wondering how long I can handle this, as she starts to fumble for a tissue, dislodging the duvet a little more. She draws the last one up from the box, raises it to her nose and her whole body, as though trying to contain a great explosion, hunches forward as she lets loose with a tremendous, messy, "AHCSSSHOOOO!" completely obliterating the thin Kleenex at her still-flaring nostrils.

Joanne looks around fruitlessly for another tissue, still struggling, her face a humorous mask of desperation as she recoils to give yet another gasp, knowing she's going to blow but unable to stop it.

Before I know what I'm doing I reach out and put my finger beneath her trembling nose.

I feel her whole body relax, as a long sigh of relief jets from her nostrils and warms my finger- unfortunately, wetting it a tiny bit too, as Joanne's nose is still running and the last soggy fragments of the tissue have done very little to help.

"Thacks," she mutters, and then her face seizes up again.

She motions urgently for me to take my finger away, but I have no choice but to pretend I don't understand her, knowing that if she gives in to the tickles in her nose and sneezes again I'm either going to jump her bones or start crying.

"C, I..." she tries to talk around the slowly building sneeze, "I...Ihhh deed to..." her face contorts violently as she chokes it down for a moment, enough to get out the strangled, desperate word, "sdeeze-"

I swallow hard, unable to resist the temptation to stare at her.

The cover has now slid down to her waist but she seems too preoccupied with her itching nose to notice. Knowing it's too late to think about stifling, I take my finger away and allow her to apply her own, holding it under her nose.


Joanne's harsh, quavering breathing is interspersed with light sniffles.

Her bleary eyes open for a fraction of a second, then close and she looks as though she's concentrating very hard, but when her eyes open again they crease up in discomfort and she stares upward, her finger still against her expanding nostrils. Her mouth also creases, her fleshy lower lip buckling like she's a little kid about to cry, nostrils ridiculously distended, eyes hot and watery.


Her head slowly tilts back, and one of her large, eloquent hands spreads in front of her face like a shield to catch the sneeze. Her eyes squeeze tightly shut and her eyebrows crash down over them, forming creases in her brow and the bridge of her nose, as she lets out a huge, throaty,


Her head rushes down to meet her hand, but the sneeze comes with a great cloud of spray that she only partially manages to smother with her widely spread fingers.

"Bless you, sweetheart!" I exclaim sympathetically.

Joanne nods her thanks, but she doesn't seem to have quite recovered from the sneeze, as though it's so forceful it needs to be sneezed not once but twice.

Joanne's reddened eyes still have that slitted, watery look about them, and her nostrils, which are almost too wide at the best of times, are stretched outward. A defined wrinkle appears in the bridge of her nose as her mouth falls open.

It happens quickly, this one- her eyes roll up, her head moves back, back, back- I watch her mouth and nostrils grow unbelievably wide, tensing to build and expel the sneeze.


This one- huge, wet and masculine-sounding- seems, thank God, to quench the fit. Joanne leans back against the pillows, eyes closed.

"Jesus, that perfume!" she croaks, her voice hoarse and snuffly. "That was a truly evil thing to do, C."

"You're calling me evil?" I get a fresh tissue to her reddened nose and wipe it gently. "At least I'm honest about what I am. Shit, I never thought you even knew those words."

Joanne laughs richly, pleased with her ability to surprise me. "I might be a little uptight for you, honey, but I'm not exactly untouched."

"I never said you were. I just didn't think you could talk like the Emperor's dirtiest whore. Much less fuck like one."

Joanne dips her head, accepting the compliment. "I had a lover at college who taught me the importance of foreplay." She accepts another tissue to blow with. "But it's never been like that before," she tells me, her poor nose smothered in a Kleenex. "I just wuuuhhh....wish I could- stop-sneehhhh-sneeeeaaAHH-CHOOOO!"

She shakes her head, looking a little dazed, and smiles. "Bless me!"

I kiss her gently on the hot curve of her cheek, handing her a fresh box of tissues- I'm always prepared in situations like this. "Oh, you're blessed, love."

"Thanks." She looks down, watery-eyed, and sees how far the duvet's slipped. She grins up at me, though she doesn't attempt to cover her breasts. "Sorry. None of that was intentional."

"Well, at least it was interesting," I say, trying to drag my eyes away from her deep-brown nipples. "You might want to try that in court, Counsellor."

She rolls her eyes, opening the box of tissues. "That shit only works on Ally McBeal."

"I seriously don't think I can stand this. You mind covering those up?"

"I would," Joanne says teasingly, sniffling and blowing into a wadded-up tissue. "But I really must shower. You've spread that fucking perfume all over me, along with other things, and I still feel like I have to sneeze about a thousand times."

I kiss her lightly on her lips, which are soft and welcoming. "Good idea. You're all stuffy, poor thing." I gently caress Joanne's shoulders. "You need a long, hot bath. Lots of steam and eucalyptus oil to clear up that cold. All you have to do is relax and let me spoil you."

She smiles. "That does sound tempting."

I slip back into my white vest and jeans, and Joanne armours herself in her dressing-gown for a little after-sex modesty, although she looks ridiculously alluring in it. It's a long, floating queenlike red silk robe to match her pyjamas, but not really meant to be worn on its own and a little too small for her exuberant curves.

As she shrugs on this incongruously feminine, sensual garment, the last of my determination that my intoxication with Joanne Johnson is as transient as her office bug melts like sucked sugar. I'm a little disturbed by this, but as ever, with me, the flesh takes precedence over dreams. I'll think about the emotional stuff later.

Right now, all I want is to do what we just did- but longer, harder and better. More languorous. The kind of love you make after a few belts of whisky, a night of jazz and jive, a stuffed paper of Nepalese cream. Beautiful and slow. Almost torturous. She's always so quiet, this woman, so controlled. But I'm going to make her scream. Cry. Curse at me and moan like a hungry child. I've got something she wants. And as far as I'm concerned, she's got everything.

She half-smiles at me, tying the belt of her robe around her softly padded but still indented waist, resplendent and glowing, satiated, but with a slightly dangerous look in her sloeblack eyes.

"What are you thinking about, C? You're wearing the dirtiest smile I've ever seen on you, and that's saying something."

I shrug. "Nothing, just...ever have one of those good days?"

"Oh, I'm having one, honey."

Then we kiss softly, almost shyly, with exaggerated gentleness, our tongues managing little more than a polite greeting before she reluctantly disengages, hands waving in front of her nose to mime urgency with the same dramatic, almost operatic gestures I'd expect more from my extrovert Mediterranean behaviour than her own All-A uptightness. Her eyes squeeze tightly shut and her whole body hunches up as she presses her fingers to her nose. She shudders once as though trying to furiously shake away the sneeze, gives up, tilts her head back and lets loose with a great, wet "HACHSSSHHH!" spraying me lightly and, probably, unavoidably.

I swallow hard, instantly feeling the ribbed crotch of my jeans, still damp from a whole afternoon of Joanne's sneezes, grow slightly wetter.

She grins at me guiltily, with slightly watery eyes. "Look, I know it's not always appropriate, C, but I can't do this to order!"

I reach for her hand and place it on my breast, allowing her to feel its firmness, the nipple pertly erect. "Joanne, that's what I love about it. Especially with you. It's so out of character."

"Oh, you don't like my character?" she asks dryly, gently running a finger around my nipple.

"I like it when you can't control yourself, that's all."

"Well, I'm not used to this, anyway. I don't think I've had a cold since I was a little girl."

"You must have." I get about six colds a year, on average, which I hate. "You're telling me you don't even get the sniffles sometimes?"

She shakes her head. "No. I'm as strong as an ox. Anyway, I think this reaction is mostly the perfume. I'm sure my cold's a lot better today. I don't generally take long to shake things off."

I give up. Joanne's nostrils are twitching, her eyes are streaming, her voice is deeper and huskier than usual and her eyes and nose are both as red as warning lights, but if she says she doesn't have a cold, then of course she doesn't. That's how her logic works, but for some reason I like it this afternoon. I kiss her almost viciously, intensely, breathing in her strong, feverish heat as she kisses me back.

"You'd better get in the tub with me, anyway," she says frankly. "Wash that fucking perfume off."

As she moves, slow and stately, down the hall to the bathroom, I get several tantalising glimpses of soft, luxuriant cinnamon thighs and dark crescents of abundant bush which flaunt between her robe's fragile cascades of scarlet. I notice optimistically, when I can drag my eyes away from her upright bush-woman's butt, that she's taking the tissues in with her.

Running the bath, it's all I can do not to slide my fingers into her own waiting depths, especially as the fragrant bathroom steam causes her to let off four half-stifled sneezes, sharp and powerful as pistol-cracks. Neither of us comment but she smiles at me, her dark eyes dancing with tiny lights.

I know when I'm in trouble.

We prepare the bathroom together, running all the hot water, filling the room with a thick, sauna-like soup of hot steam. Like little girls, we whip up all of our bath products into a creamy foam, mixing Peach Oil, Rose Bubble Bath, Essence of Spice, and several hippy-style oils found in the back of the airing cupboard. Spicing the bubbles with patchouli oil, I wonder optimistically if Joanne's anywhere near as sensitive to other kinds of perfume as she is to Holly's Special Brew.

She certainly seems sniffly as she kneels in front of the mountain of foam I'm creating, her glorious full breasts threatening to spill from their tightly-drawn silk- no wonder she wears such torturous wired, laced, power-uplift minimiser bras. I don't know whether I'd like breasts that big myself, but they certainly look divine on her. I want her to lie on top of me, spill their sumptuous, silky weight into my face. I sweat profusely in the billows of powerfully scented steam, already feeling the fire of arousal in my cunt, my longing for the grate and push of her fingers, the caress of her tongue.

Joanne dips a cautious finger into the water which is sloshing at high-watermark level, some of it splashing to the floor in a spew of bubbles. "C, this is boiling!"

I test it. "What are you talking about? It's fine."

She shakes her head. "It's hot where you come from, right?"

"In summer, yeah. That's why we all use it as an excuse to come home from lunchtime to four o'clock and fuck like bunnies."

"I see you're keeping up the old traditions."

She lets the gown slip to the floor in a puddle of poppy-red like a fifties B-movie starlet, but- ever practical- immediately picks it up and stows it on the towel rack. I snatch another lip-licking look at her, the first time I've seen her standing naked, her breasts, though obviously weighty, fighting to defy gravity, the sculptural brown curves of her Amazonian thighs and ass awe-inspiring.

"I don't hear you complaining," I manage feebly.

She smiles at me, poised with one foot on the rim of the tub, scooping her tumbled braids up in one hand.

"I'm not. Really." She dips her foot into the foaming bubbles and winces dramatically. "Damn, this water is hot!"

"Just cause you're used to cold showers and coffee in the mornings," I babble irrelevantly as she lowers herself cautiously into the water, trying to take my eyes off her still-protruding labia, starkly, darkly inside-out from our brief afternoon delight. "You're so fucking masochistic.

Joanne, practically purring with pleasure, stretches her powerful, magnificent Queen-of-the-Nile body in the thick foam. "Funny, I would never have agreed with you a couple of days ago, but you're really beginning to turn me on to the attractions of calling in sick."

She sinks, sighing peacefully, into the deep, antique, claw-footed tub, the warm, pine-scented water, dark green beneath its wave-crests of bubbles, shrouding her body in mystery apart from her head, nipples and toes, which protrude starkly like dark islands through the white foam, her head thrusting from the water like an exotic flower.

I sweep her sudsy braids up on top of her head, and hold them in place with a yellow terry-towelling band. "Very classy. You should go in to work like that, Counsellor."

Joanne gives an enormous, satisfied yawn and stretches her limbs, as if to get them to wake up. Her toes drip suds as she points a shapely leg out of the water, arms pushing into the thickly scented air.

I exhale sharply and arm sweat from my forehead, pushing back my hair.

"How's that itchy nose of yours, precious?"

She sniffs. "Clearing a little. And the tickle's dying down. This is making me feel so much better, honey, thank you. You treat all your lovers this wonderfully?"

"Of course. But you still sound a little stuffy to me." I pour a tiny dark-green pool of eucalyptus and wintergreen oil into my hands. "This should help you breathe."

As gently as I can I begin to caress Joanne's shoulders, to pinch and knead her tense muscles, hands sliding down her back like slick lizards, dipping occasionally to the smooth flesh of her breasts, tickling and teasing, brushing her nipples, hoping that the heavy, peppery oils in the water will waft their way into Joanne's wide, receptive nostrils soon. I want to see her incredible breasts shake and shiver with the build-up, want to see her naked and struggling to hold back...

I'm getting wet again. I've only just slid back into my damp-crotched jeans, and still the thought of Joanne sneezing is enough to topple me over the edge of conscious pleasure completely. The very idea of her exquisite nostrils flaring pleasures me beyond belief, thinking about how it felt to have that quivering nose against my clitoris. The sweat of steam and desire trickles gently between my breasts, unsupported in their flimsy cotton vest.

The bubbles cover Joanne's nakedness perfectly when she lies down, but when she rises to let me rub her back, her full dark breasts are exposed in the soup-thick water, which has turned into a pretty shade of sea-green owing to an entire bottle of Foaming Fern Oil.

She stretches again, like a big cat. Always one to take an advantage of an opportunity, I begin to lightly tickle Joanne's left nipple with an idle finger. I feel the tension in her body unravel like a pleated paper carnival snake as the soft deep-brown flesh of her aureole sets itself into hard, blood-engorged ridges, the nipple itself growing erect.

"I thought you said this was a bad time," she says huskily.

"I don't know." I gently roll the stiff dark bud of her nipple between my fingertips. "Is it?"

"No... I don't think so..." There's a certain toying tease in her eyes, a crack in her voice that's almost sexual.

But not quite.

I'm just about to dip my tongue to Joanne's breast when I notice that her face is contorting helplessly. The mixture of heady, heavily scented oils is irritating her already inflamed nasal passages, starting a slow-burning tickle right where she can't reach to extinguish it.

"So this really isn't a bad time..."

I watch avidly as her lips part slightly, and her nose wrinkles and expands. Her eyes begin to squint, and she starts taking in one big breath as her mouth opens wider. She's fighting it, scrunching her nose and pinching her nostrils with one hand, eyes reflecting the helpless agony she's going through.

"Yeah- I ah, ah... r-really, RE- AH - AH... really... h-have to... to snee... t-to s-sneeze..." she manages to warn me, holding it back by the thinnest, most fragile thread of control.

Quickly I manage to grab her some tissues from the box on the toilet cistern I'd brought in with me. I feel my eyes widen in concern and desire as Joanne takes them.

"Poor darling. I honestly didn't mean to put you through this!"

Joanne's enormous dark are pouring forth hot, helpless tears as she raises the handful of tissues to her trembling, twitching nostrils.

"I-I-I know...juh...just the perfume..."

Her nose seems to bother her so badly she can barely breathe for fear of letting it go.

She takes another long, shaky breath. "This- this is probably gonna blow the damn windows out-" she manages.

"Jesus, Joanne, do you think I care?"

"Ahhhh- AHHH- HAHTISSSCHHOOO!" she sneezes violently, soaking the tissues into a film-coated paper dumpling in her fingers.

In spite of my ministrations, her cold is getting slowly heavier by the hour, and she looks in despair at the wad of soaked Kleenex in her hand. I know that she desperately needs to blow her tickly, runny, sneezy nose before another incredible sneeze bursts out of her.

I take the sodden tissue from her hand. "Bless you! That was a big sneeze."

Joanne closes her eyes, shutting me out. She usually prefers to be ignored when she has the sneezes, which is rather unfortunate. Often, she flushes bright red if someone offers a blessing or comment after one of her incredible nasal explosions, and it's taken her all week and Holly's revelation about my suddenly convenient fetish to stop blushing and trying surreptitiously to rub her nose in front of me.

Of course, all blessings are mixed, and I feel guilty as hell.

"Joanne, really, I am sorry."

She sniffs heavily. "Only because you got found out."

"Yeah, but I'm still sorry. It was honestly an accident. On top of your cold, I would never have done this to you."

But I'm not telling the whole truth. Delightedly, I take in her twisted expression and judge, correctly, that Joanne's ill-treated nose is obviously still tickling wildly.

She shrugs. "To be fair, I was doing it to... hehhhhh... t-to-to you," she sniffs convulsively.

I love how Joanne usually tries to explain, warn me of her impending sneezes in that deliciously stuffy, vulnerable voice of hers. I wait for a warning, but Joanne is obviously concentrating on the business of supressing it. She's rubbing her nose from side to side, wriggling it lightly as her fingers push against the tip of her nose, pressed hard against her nostrils, which are beginning to stream lightly. She desperately needs a tissue, poor thing, but there's no way she's getting another one until she asks.

Or, maybe, begs.

Hoping to trick Joanne into letting it go, I gently stroke the back of her neck with a light, tickly touch.

"You look," I tell her, unable to keep my voice from dropping an octave into the unmistakable vernacular of pillow-talk, "a little uncomfortable."

"No, I...I'm great."

Joanne's dark eyes blink rapidly, her lips twitch slightly and her nostrils begin to flare. I hear her giving a few more quiet sniffs- I know I'm torturing her, and yet I find it hard to stop. Knowing I must take pity on her, I decide I really should let her blow her nose.

"Need a tissue, honey?"

Joanne shakes her head as she opens her mouth slightly and tries breathing that way. I can tell that her quivering nostrils won't let her do anything but sneeze if she keeps trying to breathe through her nose. She brings up her hand to rub at her nose quickly, sniffing very wetly and wincing a little.

"I- I don't need-" she begins, before breaking off to exhale shakily, then inhale sharply as she starts to lose the battle. She tries to disguise it by clearing her throat.

God, I love it when she's like this, all butch and defensive, but suffering dreadfully from this wonderful, wicked cold. How the mighty are brought low.

"You sure?"

"Positive." Joanne exhales again and gives a larger gasp. She's stubborn, you've got to give her that.

"Oh, I think you do," I tell her softly, trying to sound as concerned as possible although my heart is thumping crazily. Every muscle in my body vibrating, I wait to watch my new lover sneeze. And I'm not disappointed.

I notice just the tiniest shift in the impressive geography of her face, but then a great wrinkle appears in the bridge of her nose as her mouth drops slackly open, and I can tell that the big sneezing fit she's desperately trying to hold back has finally caught up with her for real. Her head's tilting back just a fraction as she frowns like she's trying to solve a complicated equation, lips trembling. She looks unbelievably beautiful as the terrible, wonderful perfume works torturously away in her cold-tickled nose.

Her eyes squeeze tightly shut...

And then she seems to recover.

Joanne's eyes open cautiously, then her nose twitches just once more. She screws her face up tightly again, generous mouth falling open, her big, strong frame heaving from head to toe, really struggling with the size of the build-up now.

She opens her slitted, watery eyes as far as possible as she stares into the strong light above us. Now, that does it. Her open, receptive face crumples in an instant as her hands rush up to her nose.

"Haah-haah-aahhhh-HAAH HAAAH... HHHAAASSSHHHOOO!" Prodigious quantities of spray explode out through the gaps in her fingers. "Ohhh... that wasn't it...my nose is still.. haaahhh... HAHISSHOO!... tickling... hah... ATCHOOO!"

I start to bless her but she cuts me off, holding a hand up to indicate her desire to sneeze again, as her face works and trembles in the raw bathroom light.

One long finger quivers under her nose for a moment.

"Aahhhh...hah... hi thik I've got hhh... adother wod cobig od..." she groans stuffily.

Joanne makes such a wonderful drama out of her sneezes, I can't help but stare hungrily at her.

The build-up courses through her, causing her generous breasts to heave dramatically, "aaahaahhAAH... HAH... ISSSSHHH!" she sneezes mightily with a wet, clogged nasal sound.

Her nose, which has been damp and snuffly ever since she came down with this cold, is beginning to run in a thick, clear stream but whatever's irritating her nostrils refuses to leave them. Her face works as though the urge to sneeze teases her constantly, and even though her huge, expressive sneezes seem to give her a little temporary relief, she's completely helpless when it comes to the tickle in her nose, and that tickle just keeps coming back. I know, just looking at her, that she has to expel whatever's causing the itch before either of us can get any peace.

Not that I have a problem with that, but Joanne obviously does. Even though she's trying as hard as she can to end the fit, her eyes are still tearing and blinking rapidly, narrowing to slits.

Joanne groans softly and rubs her streaming nose, taking soft little breaths that slowly deepen into great, quivering gasps.

"HAHHH-CSSSHOO! huhhh..."

Joanne's full, beautiful body shakes from head to toe with the volcanic force of the sneeze. She snorts and sniffles a couple of times, but it doesn't seem to give her any relief and already her face starts to seize up again.

"Are you all right?" I ask her. (Oh, God, C, that was brilliant. Pure Oscar Wilde).

Joanne nods frantically. Even with her usual willpower, Joanne can't stop the strong build-up which takes control of her entirely. When she speaks to warn me, her throat sounds tight, and her hands are cupped in front of her nose and mouth.

"C, I... huhaahhh... I really deed to... huhhhh... sdeeze aged... ohhhh..."

She doesn't take her hands from her nose, shielding me from most of the blast, but I watch as her mouth falls open, trembles, forms into a shout-

"ACSSHHHHHOOO!... damn..."

Joanne recovers a little. Her face clears, hands still over her nose, but the minute I open my mouth to bless her, her eyes close tightly again, her mouth creases and pouts, upper lip curling back as though in distaste.

"I... Iahhh..." her nostrils quiver and her voice trembles, "I'b gonnaaaah..."

Her breath starts to come in harsh little hitches, "hah-hah-ah-hah-"

Her head rears back, and the sneeze erupts violently into her hands, "HAAHISSSSSHOOOO!"

That last tremendous sneeze seems to have ended the fit, but she keeps her hands tightly cupped over her nose and looks up at me with watery, hangdog eyes. She sniffs, swabs at her streaming nose with her forearm and admits, in a voice so stuffy, depleted and miserable I can't help but kiss her, "I need a tissue..."

I pass her a generous handful and watch hungrily as she sniffles and blows.

"Bless you, babe," I say pleasantly, feeling yet more wetness form around my open, distended lips.

Scowling at me, Joanne gives a large wet sniff. "That kind of took me by surprise."

"It would have to." I kiss the back of her neck. "I don't know why you're so intent on holding back."

Joanne grins. "Oh, I think you like it."

Jesus, she's perceptive.

She laughs at my surprised face. "You give good Nurse Nancy yourself, C. If we're going to role-play, we might as well be really disgraceful about it."

I don't say anything, just wipe Joanne's nose for her with a soft tissue and stroke her fevered forehead. "I know it's probably just the water, but I don't think you've cooled down at all."

"Neither do I." Joanne stretches in the water. "It's lovely and warm in here. Want to come in?"

I pull off my vest, catching a glimpse of my breasts in the mirror. They're almost too big for my slender frame, with a heavy, compact look about them, dense, white, satisfying handfuls with striking dark nipples, their flesh drawn up tight like the hard knots of walnuts.

"You're beautiful," Joanne says reverently, her huge dark eyes consuming my body.

I bow my head deferentially. "Thank you."

She watches me unceremoniously pulling apart the hardy black denim at the crotch of my jeans, metal buttons parting with a dull, jarring sound. I reach up and take great handfuls of my hair, piling it on top of my head in the same style as Joanne's. The jeans slide down my hips as I watch myself in the mirror, revealing more black hair which froths at the rough opening of my jeans in rebellious curls.

Joanne, watching me with undisguised lust in her eyes, violently rubs her nose.

"Feeling sneezy?"

She grins and shakes her head. "Of course not," she says mock-sternly, making fun of herself. "How very... un-me that would be."

"Oh, I think it suits you beautifully."

"Only because you're a particularly bent dominatrix, C." She reaches out, trails her fingernails up from my breasts to my throat.

"Well, considering that you chose to use a perfectly innocent common cold as a sex aid, I wasn't in much of a position to complain. If you had allergies, I'd probably live in your bedroom."

Joanne smiles. "And what a hardship that would be." She shifts forward in the water to let me climb in behind her. "No wonder Holly thought this was so great. How many women in this town want instant control over your libido?"

I slide into the hot bath behind her, drawing my knees up so that they rest against Joanne's back. "It all depends on how many of them I want to have control over, not the other way round. Do your maths, Counsellor."

She freezes for a moment, her back tensing against my knees- oops, I said the C word- but then she replies, "It's ironic really. Here you are, the most randy and sought-after trick on the lesbian scene. And if one of those ugly bulldykes in the Shark so much as broke out the pepper, you'd be hers."

"Hey, I've got taste."

"Oh, thank you."

"What's that supposed to mean? You're a touchy fucker for such a logic-merchant, Joanne. Maybe you really are a lesbian after all."

"What I mean is, C, let's not romanticise this. I know you're Italian, but let's pretend you're not for the next three seconds-"

"Fuck you."

"We just had fucking incredible sex. We may well have yet more sex, and it might be even more incredible. But we would not be having this sex if the photocopy girl hadn't sneezed in my coffee last Thursday. Is that right?"

"In a way, yes. Yes."

"See," she says, as if perversely satisfied.

"But that doesn't mean I don't-"

"Oh, C, shut the hell up. I have nothing against a big scene, but if it's all the same to you I want to have it some time next week when I don't look and sound like an extra from The Stand. Let's concentrate on right now."

"Well, right now, how would you feel about a back rub? Might relax you a little."

"That sounded rather pointed."

"No, this sounds pointed- Joanne, you're so anally retentive you're sucking up the bathwater. Is that pointed enough for you? Stop being such a lawyer for five minutes.

Joanne sighs with pleasure as I begin to knead her back, massage her shoulders, release all the aches and pains that accompany her heavy cold.

I shift my legs so that they're spread wide open, one leg on either side of Joanne's, the open waterflower of my cunt, framed like tentacles by soft curls of hair, resting gently and insistently at the base of Joanne's back. I feel like I'm melting into her.

I feel Joanne's whole body stiffen as my warm, protruding lips make contact with her skin. "God! You're so tense!" I exclaim, planting a kiss on the back of Joanne's neck, and then lean around her to drop a light, soft kiss on her sore, red nose.

She takes a shaky breath in through her nose. Her nose twitches as tickles plague her, she takes a deep breath in, about to sneeze- but I move back, out of range, leaving the sneeze in her nose, stuck there but unable to come out.

"What was that for?" she asks, rubbing the side of her nose. "Damn it, C, I was just about to-"

"What?" I ask, faking innocence. "Pass that eucalyptus oil, would you, sweetie-pie?"

I notice with satisfaction that the tissues are now out of reach of both of us, and that the chilly-scented eucalyptus seems to have a truly incredible effect on Joanne's nose.

Sniffing harshly, Joanne obediently passes me the slim green bottle and, feeling my hands on her back, relaxes a little, though the heavy scent of the oil seems to get to her nose, tickling fiercely. She sniffles and gasps until she hardly seems able to stand it.

I go on rubbing her back. My hands are addicted to her skin and besides, she feels so unbelievably tense. Her muscles feel hard as little rocky sea-creatures, like calcified coils beneath my fingers. We're not talking a day of tension here- we're talking months.

I have, at one point in my life, actually been a professional masseur. True, the massage parlour I was working in specialised in ten-quid hand jobs, for which nearly all of my clients were grateful for, but I'm a diligent worker when I set my mind to something and besides,

I got to like the idea of massage. It's a great way to get women aroused and already I can feel, see, know Joanne's hunger. I like it, the sudden knowledge of this strong, powerful, repressed woman's desires. I want to know what does it for her. Whether red wine, or dope, or chocolate gets her horny. Which parts of her to knead, to lick, to suck, to bite, to kiss. I want to map her out. Work her out. But so far, all she's done is pleasure me. I want to drive my fingers into all the chambers of her cunt, tease her hot, fat lips, force thick cream out of her cunt and swallow it.

And here I am, just rubbing her back. But it's a start. And, something of an achievement, too. I know, as I expertly test the ropy knots of her back with my fingertips, that to get Joanne to relax will be like trying to manipulate stone into clay, but I carry on anyway, and slowly she relaxes. Her breathing, clogged to a snotty snuffle, grows slower and more regular, and when I knead away a particularly hard, tight knot of muscle, she lets out a great sigh of pleasure that comes from some deep, vital part of her. I manipulate the tightness in her neck with my thumbs, gently easing away the aches at her shoulder blades.

Then I hear and feel her give a deep gasp.

"Are you OK?" I ask, unable to keep real fear out of my voice. "Did I hurt you there?"

She shakes her head frantically, hunching up again. She doesn't turn around, but I can see that she's holding a finger under her nose.

I gently run my finger down her spine.

Joanne takes in a long, ragged breath, then snuffles thickly a few times as though trying to dam the sneeze back. She gently goes through her strange, quirky little motions of stifling, which are already becoming familiar to me- pressing one finger to her left nostril, then placing the finger under her nose, rubbing both nostrils, then pressing her finger to the right as though the tickle is spreading from one nostril to the other.

I carry on stroking her seized-up shoulders, feeling, through the tension, the trembling in her great, strong body, what a big sneeze she's fighting. I want to tell her it's fine, that she's going to feel so much better after she lets it come, but she still valiantly tries to hold it back. She's practically shuddering with the effort, but I honestly don't think she has the strength for this particular battle. The moment she lets her guard down, she's going to blow.

Gasping shallowly, shuddering with the intensity of the sneeze, she tries to warn me. "C...I... hah... I need to... hah... need to snuh... snuheeze..."

I reach for a fresh tissue. I'm just about to get it to her nose when I feel her shoulders seize up as she stifles with an expertise that I grudgingly admire, head jolting forward a little, fingers pinching the tip of her nose, making a slight suppressed-hiccup sound.

"Hah... Hah-MMPH!...huhhhhh."

"Joanne! What the hell was that?"

She smiles mischievously at me. "Oh, sorry, that wasn't what you were after?"

I glare at her, but say no more- her nose is really running now, and, little demon that I am, I remember how much sniffing irritates Joanne. I just carry on rubbing her back, feigning calm though I feel as ready to explode as she does. I lightly stroke her neck, as if to soothe her, although I know my delicate, feathery touch mirrors the tickles that plague her nostrils.

"This eucalyptus stuff's great," she says, purposefully defiant, though her voice is stretched tight with the urge to sneeze. "I can really feel my head clearing."

I lean my head forward to give her an innocent little kiss on the cheek, making sure that a few strands of my hair lightly brush her nostrils. As I do, I cheekily let one hand slide down Joanne's seal-slick shoulder and cup a heavy, smooth breast, feeling it tremble with the build-up. I imagine touching her labia with my lips, my tongue. I see it so clearly for a moment, her taste and texture, so briefly glimpsed, smelt, felt, are full and rich in my mouth, the heavy, heady musk of her cunt and mine overlaying the sweet, powdery, pine-scented air-freshener reek of the bath bubbles, knowing even in the cleansing rush of the water that I am swollen and wet.

"But I bet it tickles your nose like crazy," I tease her, feeling my already swollen, sodden cunt moisten into a velvety river. A raw note of desire finds its way into my teasing sing-song as I gently touch the tip of her nose with my free hand, "I bet you still have to sneeze..."

She sniffs, her face contorting a little. Adorable. "Not really..."

She's desperate to rub her nose. I can tell. Accidentally-on-purpose, my finger slips from the tip of her nose to her nostrils, tracing them lightly.

"Not really," I repeat, feeling Joanne tense, register the itch in her nose for real as I kiss her other cheek, burying her twitching, seizing nose in my fragrant hair. "What does 'not really' mean, Ms. Johnson?"

Her breaths come hard, hot and ragged against my neck.

"Trust me." She sniffs, and as I move away, I watch as her beautiful face seizes up, "I know what I... I... ahhhhh.... hahhhhhh..."

I feel her tense up again, and then, rubbing her back, I can almost feel the force of the sneeze barrel through her, rising up from her chest to explode out of her nose. She groans, reaching to pinch her nose again.

I can't bear it. We're both in agony here, so I reach round her and seize her hands with mine just as they're half-way to her ticklish nostrils. She's about twice my size and works out regularly, but I'm strong too, and she's feeling too tired to fight me.

"C, let go!" she yelps.

Usually she'd roll the words out like I was an irritating child, but she's really beginning to heave in breath again and she doesn't have time for that world-weary pose of hers. From what I can see of her profile, her nostrils have grown enormous, and her whole face seems stretched into a drastic, trembling grimace.


"This what?"

Joanne is too strong for me. She frees her hands, swatting my fingers like they're annoying insects, but the damage is definitely done.

"This tuhhhhh... t-tickles..." she groans. "C, I'm... I huh... I'm really... haaah... aahh... gonna-aahhhh...."

She furiously tries to hold it in, really struggling, but suddenly a mischievous impulse seizes me. As she fights to stifle the sneeze, I plant a big sloppy kiss on the back of her neck.

Weakened and surprised, the poor thing doesn't have a chance...


As the mighty sneeze rushes right out of her, her head snaps forward, and I manage to catch her strong nose in my palm. I feel the warm, wet explosive force of her sneeze against my skin, and desperately want her to do it again.

Though, preferably, in somewhere else but my hand.

I smile wickedly, knowing she can't see my face.

I know we've got a wonderful night ahead of us.