'O Christmas Tree
“This is great!” Caitlyn exclaimed. “I've never had a real tree before. My parents always had fake ones. They said the real ones were too messy.”
“You've never had a real tree?” Victoria couldn't believe it. “You poor thing! You were deprived as a child.”
“A little to the right, Nick,” Caitlyn told the teenage boy who was setting the tree up for them.
“Like this?” Nick asked her.
“Here. Let me help.” Caitlyn moved the branches to cover a bald spot on the tree.
Victoria stood back, watching the scene. She was so happy that she would get to spend the holidays with her best friend and now roommate.
“There,” Caitlyn announced. She took a step back and admired the tree. “It's perfect,” she said, sniffing. She felt an intense tickle in her nose.
“Is there anything else I can do?” Nick asked.
“Well we’re short one fairy for the top of the tree!” Victoria replied mischievously. She laughed as Nick’s face turned bright red. “No, seriously that’s fine. Thanks for your help.”
“Yeah, we really appreciate …” Caitlyn paused, trying to hold back her emerging sneeze. When she realised it was out of her control, she turned her head. “Ahchoo!” she sneezed into the crook of her elbow.
“Bless you,” Nick said politely.
Victoria froze. She always became nervous when Caitlyn sneezed. She never knew what to do. ‘Say bless you,’ she thought to herself. ‘No, Nick already said bless you. I don't want to copy … Shit, say something.’
“Are you okay?” Victoria spat out the first thing that came to mind. ‘How stupid!’ she thought. ‘Of course she's okay. She just sneezed, for God's sake.’
Caitlyn smiled. “Thank you, Nick. And I'm fine, Vicki. Thanks for asking.” Caitlyn had often noticed Victoria's awkwardness when she sneezed. She found it rather amusing.
Nick excused himself and went next door.
“Okay, let's get started,” Victoria decided, handing Caitlyn a string of lights. “I already checked these. All the lights are working. I'll untangle this strand while you hang yours on the tree.”
“Sounds good to me.” She began wrapping the lights around the tree only to feel that familiar tickle in her nose. She rubbed her nose, but that just made it worse.
“Ah… ahhhh…” Caitlyn was desperate to sneeze, but frustratingly the feeling left as quickly as it came. ‘Damn!’ she thought to herself. ‘What a disappointment.’
Victoria, still untangling her strand of lights, heard Caitlyn begin to sneeze. She was startled by her build-up and then sighed in relief when the sneeze went away. As much as she loved to hear Caitlyn sneeze, it would be embarrassing to be aroused around her roommate.
Caitlyn rubbed her nose again, irritating the tickle even more. “HARASHOOOOO!” the sneeze finally escaped from Caitlyn's nose before she could even cover up.
“Excuse me!” she exclaimed, embarrassed by the sound of the sneeze. Normally her sneezes were soft and lady-like. This was out of character for her.
Victoria felt a tingle in her crotch when Caitlyn let out that amazing sneeze. “Bless you,” she managed to say softly.
“What was that?” Caitlyn asked cheekily.
Victoria's face turned bright red. “I said bless you.” She always became embarrassed when she blessed someone.
“Well thank you.” Victoria hardly ever blessed her. Caitlyn loved having her sneezes blessed. She thought it was rude when people let a sneeze go un-blessed. She would certainly never do that.
“AHHCHOOOO!” Caitlyn suddenly sneezed again. “God bless me!” she laughed. “I think I'm allergic to the tree. Ever since it came into the house I've had this horrible tickle in my nose.
“Are you serious? I'll go get Nick and ask him to take this thing out of here,” Victoria said, standing up.
“No way!” Caitlyn protested. “I love our tree! It's stay …hmmph … staying.” Caitlyn stifled her sneeze.
Victoria felt a rush of excitement. She hadn’t wanted the tree to go – quite the opposite. And as for the effect it was having on her roommate, well she was growing moist just thinking about all that could happen.
And for a moment, in her mind’s eye, she saw herself completely naked, undressing a helpless Caitlyn who could do nothing more than sneeze repeatedly. Victoria felt every one of Caitlyn’s sneezes as their intensity grew and grew. She could practically eat her up then and there.
“Bless you again,” Victoria finally replied, her face turning red as she tried to cover her lapse into fantasy.
“Thanks!” Caitlyn said. Wow. Two blessings in one day. This must be a record.Victoria continued to unravel her lights. ‘This is going to be one long December,’ she thought to herself. And. secretly, she was smiling.