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A Change of Scenery - (2 Parts)


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This is basically just a random little story that I am writing for my own enjoyment. I personally have a serious thing for guys speaking with foreign accents :yes:, and as I have recently had a French Exchange lad over, and spent a chunk of time imagining him sneezing (and heard it, although from a distance), I decided I'd write something. The french isn't important, and is probably not that good as I wasn't focusing fully on it :blushing: at the time of writing. Anyway, here we go, and tell me if you want it to be continued.

By the way, a language assistant (in case you don't have quite the same set-up in the States etc) is a young person who generally wants to go to university to do a teaching degree, or one in english, and who comes over for the year to help in a school. My current French assistant (who I said good-bye to today *sob*), does lessons with us once a week in small groups, and generally talks about some aspect of French culture or history or current affairs, in order to prepare us for the oral etc. So that's basically what Mathieu does here. Hope you guys like it!

Mathieu felt dreadful. His allergies were playing up worse than ever, and he had run out of medicine without realising it. Holding his laptop and bag, he headed towards the school where he was working at a language assistant. As he ducked under a low branch, his nose tickled irritatingly, and he gave a wet sniff. This only served to intensify it, and he lifted his arm before stifling two sneezes into his elbow.

“Heh-CHNT! Heh-KNNKT!” Sighing heavily, he sniffed again, and prepared to enter the school buildings. At only 21, he still felt young enough to be intimidated by the environment, where he had only been for about a month. Back home, his English was good, but here he felt hopelessly out of depth in the corridors, and constantly on the spot in the staffroom, where teachers tried to ask him polite questions about his family and home life, which mostly served to make him feel homesick. And then he had the students, most of whom were angry because they were giving up their frees, and all of whom were old enough to be love interests in other circumstances. Mathieu was a good looking young man, with dark, longish hair and large dark brown eyes. Large, red-rimmed eyes, he thought now, pinching his nose to prevent another sneeze.

Reaching the relative sanctuary of the staffroom, Mathieu sorted through the papers in his bag: photocopies of the work that he would be doing that day with the sixth formers. It was the internet today, and he had already done it three times with other small groups. Sniffing again, he searched his pockets for a tissue, and blew his nose. He was glad that the staffroom windows were closed: his hayfever was bad enough at the moment, but if the windows were open he knew it would be ten times as bad. He could feel a persistent twinge at the back of his sinuses, and rubbed his top lip in an attempt to dispel it. No luck.

“Bonjour, Mathieu,” Madame Gespere called out to him as she entered the staffroom. Mathieu looked up, and smiled a little weakly at her.

‘Bonj-“ the speaking vibrations brought the twinge forward irresistibly, and he raised the tissue just in time, “Heh-SHOO!”

‘A tes souhaits,’ she said gently, as several other members of staff called out ‘bless you’ across the staffroom. “Ca va, Mathieu?”

Mathieu nodded, blowing his nose. “I have…je sais pas le mot…” he muttered, mixing languages in frustration, and watching Madame Gespere, “rhume des foins…”

Madame Gespere nodded sympathetically. “Hay fever,” she said clearly, and he nodded, punctuating the statement with two more sneezes: “Heh-CHISH! Heh-SHOO!”

The bell rang soon after, and the teachers made their way mostly to their registrations. Mathieu went to the toilets, and tried to clean himself up a little. He looked a mess all told: red-rimmed watering eyes, and now pink nostrils in a normally pale face. Pushing some toilet roll into his pockets, he headed to his room for first lesson, and to his despair saw that the windows were wide open, and had been, from the way his allergies suddenly reacted, all night. As soon as he walked in his eyes itched horribly, and as he sniffed, he felt the histamines in his system slip into overdrive. Already needing to blow his nose, he pulled out the tissue, and a sneeze crept up on him at once.

“Heh-SHOO! ISHOO! H’ISHH!” the sneezes got wetter and wetter as he felt a fit growing, the tickly feeling in the back of his nose and throat getting stronger rather than weaker. He went over to the windows and shut them quickly, before leaning against the desk, and giving in to the desperate sneezes.

“hah-hah-heh-ISHH! Haah-heh-KSHH! KSHOO! KSHOO-KSHOO! Hah-KSHOO!” The sneezes increased, coming faster and faster as they reacted to the pollen particles. He pulled another tissue out of his pocket before the other one disintegrated, and cupped it over his nose and mouth, grateful that this wasn’t happening when he had a class, and that he had a few minutes before his first class. Hoping to stop the sneezes, he tried to stifle, but could only manage a half-stifle effect as they got stronger.

“Heh-NKT-choo! Heh..heh-heh-CNKT-choo! H’ISHH! KSHOO-KSHOO! Hah-ISHHoo-Hah-ISHHoo-Hah-ISHOOO! Hah-hah-hah-KSHHHHH!!!” Finally the fit subsided, and he was left exhausted. Sniffling into the tissue, he blew his nose and leant back against the desk, trying to clear his sinuses a little. The bell went before he knew it, signifying the start of the first lesson, and he sorted through his papers. The three pupils: Sophie, Emily and Laura traipsed in separately, and he greeted them, his voice congested and stuffy, making his accent stronger. None of them looked particularly pleased to be there. Nor did he, he realised.

“Aujourd’hui, nous allons parler de l’internet en France,” he began, and felt another rebellious twinge from his nose. Trying to ignore it, he continued. “L’internet se devellopait pendant les annees…les aann-” his voice rose into a higher register as he tried desperately to hold back the sneeze, but he had no hope. “Heh-SHOO! Hih’SHOO! H’ISSH!” He cupped his hands over his face as the sneezes shook his body. The girls watched him, a little embarrassed or indifferent, and Laura (the most advanced and also most confident) ventured ‘A tes souhaits’. “Merci,” he acknowledged, wiping his nose and sniffing, before continuing a little longer with the lesson.

He finished explaining a little about the history of the internet, and started to pose some questions. He asked Sophie about what she used her computer and internet for, and listened to her reasonable french, one hand rubbing at his itching, allergic nose. It had been itching non-stop throughout her speech, and he could feel it getting worse and worse now. As she started a new sentence, Mathieu’s eyebrows started to pull together, and his eyes to close. His breath hitched a little, and he raised a hand to stop Sophie’s voice, at the same time pulling out a tissue. He felt ridiculous, but the itch was inexorable, and his breath hitched again and again. “Heh….heh-heh…heh….heh-SHOO! ISHOO! KSHOO-KSHOO!” The sneezes tumbled over one another as his nose tried to expel the allergens from his system, but they weren’t over. Burying his face in the tissue again, the fit continued, “Hah-ISHHoo! Hah-ISHOO-HahISHHOO-HahISHOO-Hah ISHOOO-Heh’SHOOOOO! Hah’SHOOO!”

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Ooooo!! Tres bien!! J'adore l'hommes Anglais. Pardon mon fancais.- *it has been FAR too long*

Anyway... since that was Much more difficult than anticipated- I'll continue in English. lol! Love the setup, the type of character and quite frankly sneezing whilst interrupting speech is a personal fav. of mine. Thanks!!

If more comes to mind- I love to see it. :yes:

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Mon Dieu! C'est magnifique! (Boy, after reading what I just wrote I sure hope my French isn't as bad as I think it is! :blushing: It's been a zillion years since I've written anything in French. ) This was lovely! Thank you so much for sharing it with all of us! I'm with tma on the whole sneezing while interrupting a speech thing! Merci! :yes:

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Ok, THAT was unbelievably hot! :blushing::yes:

Great story! Thank you so much for sharing!

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Sensas! French sneezetalk is so lovely! [thank you, Anonyme]

Plus it reminds me of my time as a French mistress...although the sneezes were on the other foot, as it were.

Il y a quelque chose qui me chatouille le nez.....

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Thanks ever so much for your lovely comments. All your french seems fine to me! And yes, thank you Anonyme :wacko: Here is the next installment, which seemed to be written without any planning whatsoever, but was very fun. Hope you like it!

Sniffling, Mathieu blew his nose into the tissue, trying to hide his embarrassment, but failing. Laura blessed him in French once more, and he nodded acknowledgment, furious with his allergies. He considered trying to pass it off without comment, but considered that Sophie, whom he had interrupted after all, might think it insulting. “Je suis désolée,” he murmured, still sniffing, “continue, s’il te plait.” Sophie carried on with her answer, and Mathieu commented once or twice, correcting the grammar a little. He could feel his head feel fuzzy and uncomfortable, and several times he rubbed his eyes which were hot and itching from his hayfever. But he was determined not to let it show more than necessary, and somehow managed to make it through the rest of the lesson without another sneezing fit, although he had to blow his nose several more times to prevent him sniffing continually.

“Merci. On s’ârrete ici,” he finished as the bell went for the end of class, and the girls stood up to go. As he stood his nose itched again, and he raised an arm quickly, stifling it into his elbow, “Heh-NKKT!” The desperate-sounding sneeze made Laura turn back. “A tes souhaits,” she blessed him cheerfully, glad to find a use for this phrase. He nodded thanks, concentrating on blowing his nose yet again. Finished, he collected his things together, and saw Laura was still there. She frowned, trying to form a question in her mind, and translate it. “Est-ce que tu est…” she started, but then shrugged and, deciding that it was more important that she ask it than that she managed the French, reverted to English. “Are you ok, Mathieu?” She asked with a slight embarrassment.

The embarrassment was nothing to what Mathieu was feeling at being shown concern from someone who was, technically, a pupil. He felt that he had shown himself to be very vulnerable. But he nodded, and answered politely, “Oui, ce n’est pas grave. J’ai…” he paused, wondering if she would understand the phrase, “rhume des foins?” Laura looked blank, and Mathieu gave an internal sigh. He didn’t like to try new words without having a chance to check them first, but Laura’s concerned face forced him into it. “’Ay fever?” he said uncertainly, his voice heavily accented, more so than normally with the congestion, but Laura understood.

“Ah, je suis désolée!” She answered, genuinely sympathetic, but then she saw her friend further down the corridor, and grinned at him. “A bientot, Mathieu!” He nodded, and she left. Once she had gone, Mathieu closed the door and sat down on the nearest desk, closing his eyes, which were itching and getting sore. So was his nose after blowing it so much during the morning. Sniffing again, he was glad that he didn’t have another lesson until third, an hour and ten minutes away. Although to be honest, things were unlikely to get better as the day wore on. As he sniffed, he felt the familiar itching growing behind his nose and throat, and pulled out another tissue just before the sneeze hit, “Heh-KNXT-choo!” The strong sneeze defied his attempt to stifle it, and was followed immediately by an even strong pair. Mathieu’s face flinched with the convulsions, and he rocked forward on the desk, holding the tissue to his face, “Hah’ISHOO! Hah’SHOOO!” Groaning slightly, he blew his nose, which was running again, and felt the skin around his nostrils twinge. Deciding that he wanted a cup of coffee, or something to distract him from the way the day was heading, he left the classroom and fought his way through the busy corridors towards the staffroom.

As he entered, Mathieu smelt the familiar and strangely comforting smell of the coffee pot in the corner. It still reminded him of home, where his family ran a small café. Of course, the school coffee was nothing like the kind his father brewed, which was strong and expensive, but it was something, and it gave Mathieu a warm feeling inside to think of his family.

But as Mathieu approached the coffee pot, finding his mug among the many others surrounding it, he noticed that it wasn’t all he could smell. Someone had brought flowers into the staffroom. Glancing around, he found the culprits: a vase of cuttings from the large buddleia bush just outside the main building. He could see the pollen in the tiny flowers, and felt that he could almost see it in the air around him, just dying for him to inhale it. Quickly, he poured his cup of coffee and retreated to the farthest corner of the room, trying to blend into the background. Not that this was too difficult: he had a book he had been trying to finish for a while, and none of the language teachers (the only ones who really tried to make conversation with him during his free time) were in the room at the moment. Trying to ignore the already growing itch in his sinuses, Mathieu opened the book, which was in English and therefore required his concentration, and tried to give it his attention.

Unfortunately the new student maths teacher, Maria entered only a few minutes later, and noticed the offending buddleia. Heading straight over to it, she picked up the vase and smelt the flowers deeply. Mathieu, who had taken a liking to Maria as another newcomer to the school, groaned inwardly as she picked up one of the sprigs and turned it about in her hands. He wished that he could do this, or even go and start a conversation with her about the flowers, but he could feel his allergies trying to get out, and stayed where he was.

Maria had no such qualms. Mathieu had not yet worked it out, but his feelings of interest and companionship were more than returned. Who wouldn’t fancy such a handsome, unusual young man, especially with that sweet accent and deep, chocolate eyes. Spotting him over in the corner, Maria headed straight on over, gesturing to the empty chair next to him. “Is this taken?”

Mathieu shook his head, and Maria sat down next to him, looking at him. “What are you reading?” She asked, as the most logical start to a conversation. Her hands clasped in her lap, and Mathieu, looking at them so as to avoid making eye-contact, saw that the tips of her fingers were peppered with the yellow pollen from the plant. He turned the book over, trying to form the words, but his mind had gone annoyingly blank.

“It is…err…a book of science fiction?” He stuttered out. It was ‘A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’. Maria beamed at him, and he made eye-contact without meaning to, noticing again how pretty her smile was, and how sweet her blue eyes.

“I love that book! It’s so funny! Do you like the jokes?” Her speech had quickened, and Mathieu rubbed at his itching eyes, deciphering what she had said, buying time. When he had worked it out, he smiled shyly back, nodding.

“Yes. It is very amusing. The characters: Arthur, and Ford. Very British,” he said, still trying to gain his footing in the conversation. He could feel the need to sneeze building again, but tried to suppress it, pressing his lips together. Maria nodded eagerly.

“Yeah, I know. Tea and all that. Oh hang on, you’ve got an eyelash,” and she reached out to sweep it off his cheek. The pollen on her fingertips brushed against Mathieu’s face, and he inhaled without thinking. Immediately the urge to sneeze magnified a hundred-fold, and he raised a hand quickly, pulling a tissue from his pocket and pressing it over his face.

“Hah-ISHOO! Hah-ISHOO! KSHOO-KSHOOO! Hah-ISHoo-hah-ISHooo-Hah-ISHOOOO! KSHEEW!! Hah-hah….hah…Hah-TTTCHOOO!!” The sneezes quickened and quickened until Mathieu gasped for breath, the last one bursting from from him desperately. Once again hiding his embarrassment as he blew his nose, Maria looked on in astonishment.

“Bless you!” she said once had returned the tissue to his pocket. “Have you got a cold?”

Mathieu shook his head, wishing that people would not ask him. He should go around with a huge sign around his neck: ‘J’ai rhume des foins!’ And translations in other languages. But he merely grimaced and said in his accented English, “No, I am fine. I ‘ave ‘ay fever.” He felt a little more secure with the word, and didn’t finish with a question, watching to see if Maria had understood.

“Ooh, poor you!” Looking down at her hands, trying to think of something to say, she noticed the pollen on her fingertips, and looked up at Mathieu in horror. “Oh gosh, did I set it off? I’m so sorry, Mathieu!” She quickly wiped her fingers on her skirt, brushing off the yellow particles.

“It is no problem,” he said graciously. “I am fi-“, with perfect timing, his breath hitched. “Fi-heh…heh…Hah-KNKKT-choo! Ughh…” he moaned a little as the force of the stifle made the blood pound in his head.

“Bless you,” said Maria sympathetically, putting a hand on his arm. “Sorry, I don’t know how to say it in French…” She smiled a little hopelessly, drawing a smile in return from Mathieu.

“It is ‘à tes souhaits’,” he told her, ‘it means….er…to your wishes,” Maria nodded.

“Well then, à tes souhaits,” she replied, smiling, “although I don’t see that it’s very good. Surely your wishes would be to stop sneezing?” Mathieu laughed, glad to be having a good conversation with Maria, and wondering how he could continue it. Suddenly she glanced at her watch.

“Oh gosh, is that the time? Break’s been over five minutes and I’m supposed to be watching Mrs Argyle teach year 9. I’d better go! See you later, Mathieu. Hope you feel better!” And before Mathieu had gathered his thoughts enough to say goodbye, she had swept out of the staffroom.

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  • 5 months later...

Even though this is an old story, I keep it as like my homepage for this forum - I click on it every day. Allergies, sneezing fits... right up my alley!

Got several stories on the board now about cute guys with colds - love those, too! But it's hard to let go of my first love, the allergy... :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
Even though this is an old story, I keep it as like my homepage for this forum - I click on it every day. Allergies, sneezing fits... right up my alley!

WOW thank you for your amazing praise!! I had no idea it was popular - it was just a little drabble that I dreamt up thinking about my old french assistant. Maybe I'll try and continue it some time.

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  • 11 months later...


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