The first time I ever laid eyes on him, I knew that I was lost. I was late (as I usually was) for the rehearsal of my twin sister Anastacia's wedding. As I raced up the stairs to the church, I could see the wedding party waiting in the lobby for me with Ana (as I call her) standing in the midst of it, laughing at me.
"I am so sorry; the traffic was horrible," I apologized as I flung open the door.
That only made Ana laugh harder. "Ava, I know all about your need to be fashionably late, but can you make me a promise right now? Tomorrow, could you possibly be on time for once?" Ana always gave me a hard time about being late, and there was even a joke in my family that I wasn't even on time for my own birth, considering that Ana was fifteen minutes older than me. "But now that you're here, I think that it's about time that I introduce you Dylan."
Dylan was the best man, and considering that I was the maid of honour, it made sense that we should meet before the actual ceremony.
As Ana led me through the crowd of people, I heard a sound. It was a sound that made me go weak in the knees. Someone, a male someone, sneezed. When we reached the outer edge to where Ana's fiancÚ Michael was standing, I saw the culprit. This man was gorgeous. He was tall, at least 6'2", with broad shoulders. His hair was dark, and cut very short, but what stood out the most about him was his eyes. They were a blue-grey colour, and the glinted like steel in the light.
"This must be the famous Dylan Johnson," I thought to myself.
Dylan was Michael's best friend from elementary school, and now he played hockey for some big team whose name I couldn't remember for the life of me. Now, looking at him, I wished that I had paid more attention to what people had told me about him. Not only was he extremely good looking, but something about the particular pinkish shade of his nose and the semi-permanent, vaguely sneezy look on his face alerted me to the fact that he was battling a nasty cold. This man was definitely going to make the wedding a whole lot more interesting - I could just feel it.
Ana made the introductions:
"Dylan, this is my sister Ava. She will be your partner for the wedding,"
I didn't think that Dylan was paying much attention. Rather, he was still trying to fend off an oncoming sneeze that was baiting him. I watched in anticipation as his nostrils flared and his eyes began to shut in preparation... and was almost as disappointed as he when the sneeze failed to materialize.
"It's a pleasure to meet you," he said in between the shallow breaths that indicated that the explosion we were both waiting for was imminent... And then, it happened. "Ah-Ishoo! Huh-Ishoo! Humpt!"
He managed to catch the sneezes in a tissue he had been holding in his hand, partially blocking my view as he did so. However, I still managed to get a decent look at his face. He continued to hold his hands to his nose and I could see that he still had at least one more sneeze left in him.
I was not disappointed as it finally managed to escape, causing an almost convulsive shudder as the sneeze built for a few seconds before exploding out of him: "Huh-ahhh-... ahhh-... aaahccchooo!!"
Those four explosions made all the trouble and rush I'd been through to get here completely worth it in the ten seconds it had taken them to occur. They were beautiful, incredibly erotic sneezes, delivered by a man that was just as appealing as they were. His eyes squeezed tightly shut every time he sneezed, and Dylan seemed to focus all his energy into letting them go. Their power wasn't lost on me in the least; I'd eagerly taken in every detail of his sneezing and filed it away in my mind, the way a collector will pounce on a beautiful and rare specimen and jubilantly add it to his treasure trove.
With him not knowing what his sneezes were doing to me- and my not wishing to let on- I pretended not to have noticed those four momentous interruptions and simply responded to his greeting with, "No, the pleasure is all mine." And it was.
And that was how I came to be standing across from Dylan at the altar. I was trying to act casual as I studied him from across the way. I pretended that I was looking at the pictures on the wall, the candles, anything that was in close proximity to where he was standing, but not giving away that I was in fact intently watching him. And waiting. And as I pretended to scan the room again, I noticed that look coming over his face and rejoiced: he was going to sneeze again!
At the very thought of getting to see Dylan sneeze again, I felt myself beginning to get wet.
This time though, the sneeze must have caught him off guard, because he only managed to stifle it into the crook of his arm. I watched as his expression went from vaguely sneezy to about-to-explode in all of a second, and then felt my heart racing as it burst uncontrollably out of him. Despite it's muffled sound, it appeared to have been deliciously forceful, for he shook his head afterward as if to clear a fog that the sneeze had created. It actually took him a few seconds to compose himself afterwards, and he shot Michael and Ana a sheepish look.
As I stood there, transfixed by the goings on, I could see that the gorgeous man in front of me was already starting to struggle again not to sneeze. He rubbed a hand over his eyes and then pinched his nose. I watched these small, tightly frustrated motions, and as I watched Dylan's tortured expression, I was secretly overjoyed that that they seemed rather futile.
Without quite realizing that I was doing it, I licked my lips in preparation the way I imagine a hungry wolf would whilst eyeing up a particularly tasty looking lamb. I felt warmth bloom between my thighs and shifted my hips. It was amazing how hot Dylan was unknowingly getting me; I'd barely spoken to him, but he already had me in a state of complete lustful fascination.
Without any sound, but with what seemed to be a great deal of effort, Dylan sneezed six more times throughout the ceremony. Each of these new explosions was so powerful as to cause him to lurch forward in its wake. Looking at him, I was afraid that the best man was going to pass out during the rehearsing of the kissing of the bride. For sure, that would have to be considered a bad omen.
Thankfully though, Dylan made it through, and as Ana kissed Michael, Dylan finally looked up and caught me staring at him. I fervently hoped he wouldn't think it was anything beyond concern at his obvious illness and smiled at him across the way. In turn, he returned my show of teeth with a half grin of his own.
God I wanted him. His good looks combined with his intermittent sneezing were driving me wild!
Then, said grin turned into a bit of a wince.
Having made it through the ceremony, we were halfway through the evening. And yet, I wasn't too sure that Dylan would make it through the rest of the night. Watching Dylan as I walked towards him, I noticed that he was a bit unsteady on his feet. As we came together I whispered with concern,
"That's some cold you have there. Are you going to survive?"
Looking at him up close I could see that he was pale, with black circles under his eyes. Even though he was wearing a heavy, cable knit sweater he seemed to be lightly shivering.
Passing a hand across his forehead he replied "Ask me again in an hour. But right now I feel like hell. All I want to do is curl up in bed and pass out."
As if to punctuate this thought, he started to cough. Without thinking I reached out and started to rub his back. The cough then turned into another sneezing fit.
"Huh-Ishoo! Ishoo! Ishoo! Ah-Ah-Ah-Ishoo!"
He turned way from me, and I could see him rummaging in his pocket for a tissue. By the time he had found one, groaned and blown his nose, I had turned into a puddle of mush. All I knew was that this man would not be in a functional state for much longer and that I wanted to do my share in putting him out of his misery.
"Let me work on that for you," I said with my most fetching smile. "I'm sure that Ana and Michael wouldn't mind if you skipped out early tonight. They'd probably prefer if you went home and rested up for the big event tomorrow. Give me a minute, and I'll go ask them, okay?"
With that, I went hunting for my sister as Dylan headed over to a bench that was located off to the side of the lobby. As he sat down, it looked as though the last of his energy seeped out of him. He rested his head against the wall and closed his eyes. I spotted Michael talking to one of the other groomsmen and headed over towards him.
"Hey Michael, just the man I wanted to see. Dylan's really sick and I think that I should take him back to his hotel, so that he can get some sleep. I just wanted to let you know so that you didn't think that he had deserted you." I explained.
At this point in time Ana came and joined us. Michael filled her in on what I had said, and Ana looked at me. I hoped that she couldn't tell that I was blushing, since she knew of my fetish.
"Well I guess that somebody should make sure that he gets there in one piece." Ana said with a wink. As Michael headed over to say good-bye to Dylan she added, "Have fun. But be nice. He is vulnerable right now, and too sweet to be hurt."
"You know me," I answered, "I'll be on my best behaviour."
"That is what I am afraid of," Ana retorted. "Now go, because Tasha seems to think she should dig her claws into him."
I glanced over to where Dylan was sitting and saw that our sultry older half sister Natasha, the one who took pride in her well-deserved reputation as an irresistible seductress in our hometown, had sat down next to him. Poor guy, I thought. Natasha was probably pulling out all of the stops and he wouldn't have the energy to try and fight her off. Before he knew what had happened, she would have chewed him up and spit it out and he would have no idea how it all happened. I decided to rescue him as quickly and efficiently as I could, and to let Natasha know that this one was already spoken for- several men at the rehearsal had been eyeing her up, and she could have her pick of those. As I walked over to them, I could see that Natasha was rubbing her hand up and down his leg, and Dylan- who was still trying to be polite despite the fact that he was feeling so ill- was slowing inching away.
"Hey Dylan, all clear. Do you want to blow this joint?" I asked as I reached them.
I could see the joy in his eyes, as I gave him the break that he needed. "Definitely."
He stood up, grabbed his jacket, and we made our way out to my jeep. I unlocked his door and he all but crawled into his seat before doing up his seat belt and leaning his head against the window. I got into the jeep and asked which hotel he was at, and as soon as he gave me the name, we were off.
"Hey don't go to sleep now. You're too heavy for me to carry," I joked as I looked over at him. He began to cough again, so I asked, "Do you want me to stop off and get you anything?"
"No, I have drugs at the hotel," he said wanly. "They make me drowsy, though, and I wanted to be alert for the rehearsal. Besides, I'm not going to sleep, I'm just resting my eyes... They feel like they're filled with sand. They hurt so badly; it's like I can't keep them open..."
My heart melted as I glanced his way. I felt so bad for the handsome man reclining in the seat next to mine! The only colour in his face was a spreading flush brought on by fever.
When we finally reached the hotel, surprise, surprise! Dylan had drifted off to sleep. I thanked God that he was easy to wake- his tall, well-muscled body would not have been easy for me to drag inside. He painstakingly drew himself out of the jeep on his own, and then up the short flight of steps leading up to his room. Taking Dylan's keys from a hand so shaky that he couldn't manage to fit the key into the lock, I opened the door for him.
Leading him inside, I sat him down on the bed- where he promptly took his shoes off- and went into the bathroom. While I was in there, I grabbed a roll of toilet paper and a glass of water for him. I was only a minute, but by the time I re-entered his room, he had changed into a pair of sweatpants. He wasn't wearing a shirt though, and the sight of his bare chest grabbed my attention and drew an appreciative sigh out of me before I could hold back. His stomach was flat and muscular, and his shoulders- which had seemed merely broad in the shirt he'd been wearing- were actually massive.
He was lying on the bed, with the TV turned on to the sports channel. I put the stuff I had gathered onto the nightstand, where he could easily reach it, and was trying to think of a polite way to excuse myself despite the fact that it was the last thing in the world I wanted to do, when he spoke up.
"Stay with me for a bit. I'm awake now, though I can't promise for how long. Would you like to watch a movie or something?"
How could I turn down a guy who looked so sweet when asking? I still don't know what it was about Dylan; I never usually responded to a guy in quite this way. Yes, I had had boyfriends but this was different. It was love- or, at the very least, lust- at first sight. An undeniable and irresistable attraction so powerful as to block out any of my common sense or usual cautionary responses when it came to invitations from strange men.
Besides, he was Micheal's best man. Everyone knew where I was and that I'd left with him. If he turned out to be a serial killer- albeit a damn fine looking one- then the authorities would know where to look.
So I went over and sat on the bed next to him. I kicked off my shoes and swung my feet up. Sitting there, I could feel a hot, dry heat radiating out of him, so without thinking I reached over and felt his forehead.
"You have quite a fever, you know. How long have you been sick?"
He reached over to the nightstand and pulled a reel of the tissue off. He blew his nose and the apologized.
"I'm sorry. That was rude of me, but I couldn't breathe. I picked up this bug in Calgary last week, while we were playing there, but it really wasn't this bad until today. I think that it's just that I haven't had any time off to recuperate. You'd think I'd have beaten it by now, though, wouldn't you?"
His voice a bit strained as he answered, and as I looked over at him, I could see that he was anticipating a sneeze. He reached for the roll of toilet paper again, and in a hurry snatched off a wad. Bringing it up to his face he let loose.
"Ha-Ishoo! Huh-Ishoo! Ha-Chooee! Huh-Huh-huh-Ishoo! Ishoo! Ishoo! Ishoo!"
When the sneezing didn't seem to be stopping, he swung his feet over the edge of the bed and sat up straight. He continued to sneeze and, amazed, I began to count, getting more and more excited as I stared at him in total and utter excited fascination.
By the time he started to wander towards the bathroom he was up to twenty. Shutting the bathroom door only muffled the sound, and when he reached thirty, the fit tapered off and he finally ground to a halt. He blew his nose loudly and the door re-opened as he emerged. His eyes were watering, his nose was red, and I thought he'd never looked sexier.
"Bless you," was all that managed to come out of my extremely dry mouth as he padded his way back to the bed. He flopped down, and I stood up to leave.
"Don't go. I know that I must seem really gross right now, but I want your company. It's true what they say about men acting like little boys when they're sick," he tried to joke, but with him looking so suddenly haggard, the attempted humour felt flat and he just looked miserable. "I hate being sick alone, especially in a hotel room where I'm on my own. I'd just love to know that someone is there..."
I couldn't ignore this admission. Coupled with the unmistakeable pleading in his tone, it made my knees go weak. The guy was travelling on his own, probably had no family in these parts (or he wouldn't be staying in a hotel), and had said he'd been ill for the better part of the week. He was running a fever, feeling miserable, and looking incredibly sexy. It was obvious that he needed someone to take care of him- and it would be a pleasure for me to give him the care he needed.
"Don't worry I am not going anywhere," I replied. And I meant it..