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Sneezing in Church


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I thought of this while I was in church this morning... yeah, I'm going to hell. This isn't really meant to be m/m, though you could see it that way if you want to. Although, since one of the guys is an avid church-goer, perhaps not... (I'm not trying to offend anybody with this! I know religion can be a touchy subject, but that is obviously not the point here. I simply based the story around a Catholic church because that's what I know.) So here you go, hope you like!

The service had already started by the time Jay arrived, soaking wet and shivering, his sandy hair dripping. Despite the frigid temperatures and pouring rain, there were lots of people there, and most of the pews were full. Jay tried to move discretely, finding a place to sit at the edge of a pew near the front. He thought about shrugging off his dripping coat, but decided against it; he was only wearing a t-shirt, and he was cold as it was. Instead he grabbed a hymn book and tried to ignore his sopping wet hair as it flopped into his face. Josh had begged and begged him to come to church, just once, just to see what it was all about, and maybe he would like what he saw. Well, Jay had finally conceded, he was here, and he was going to pay attention, dammit! Part of him hoped that he would be able to figure out why Josh liked this place so much. The opening hymn was sung, a prayer was said, and the congregation took their seats. A man stepped up to a podium and began to read. And that was when everything started to go wrong.

Jay sniffed quietly and rubbed his nose. Walking to church in the rain had definitely been a bad idea. It didn’t help that the entire room was whisper-quiet, every person attentively listening to the man who was reading. Jay felt a familiar tingling sensation in his nose and groaned inwardly. Not here, of all places, for the love of –. Jay pressed two fingers firmly under his nose in a vain attempt to make the tickle go away. It didn’t work. His breathing deepened, then hitched. Finally, when he could no longer keep the sneeze at bay, Jay pinched his nose shut and sneezed, leaning forward with the force of it, letting out absolutely no sound. He sighed as he sat back in the pew and vaguely listened to what the reader was saying.

The second sneeze caught him off guard. It happened only a couple minutes later. He gasped audibly and let out a half stifled “Uhmbkesh!” into his fist. He sniffed lightly, but he wasn’t finished. Jay quickly pinched his nose before another sneeze could escape, this time letting out only the softest of sounds. “Mbkt!” He sniffed again and reached into his pockets, only to discover that he had no tissues of any sort with him. Jay could do no more than sigh in frustration before his nose once again betrayed him. “Ah-NXXT-kssh! Heh...MBNKT! Ahhh...” He sighed; the constant stifling was beginning to take its toll. He wiped his dripping nose on his sleeve and slowly glanced up to see that the old lady sitting next to him was glaring at him. Jay looked away, trying not to blush with embarrassment.

The service continued in the same manner. People talked, prayers were said, hymns were sung, and every few minutes, Jay would stifle a sneeze into his sleeve, his nose growing increasingly red. Once, when he could no longer sit for a minute without wiping his nose on his sleeve, Jay got up to go to the bathroom and blew his nose into some toilet paper. Of course, this set off a small fit of four sneezes that echoed, unstifled, around the small bathroom. “AH-KSSH! Heh...Eh-KSSH! IKSHOO! AKSHOO!”

This is the worst hour of my life, Jay thought miserably, no longer attempting to pay attention to the service. The day before, Jay had sensed the beginnings of a small cold, but the trek in the cold rain must have sped up the process, as Jay was now fairly sure that he was coming down with the mother of all colds. He continued to sneeze every few minutes, stifling each time, and the old lady continued to glare at him every time he sneezed. We’re in a church, you’d think she could manage a ‘bless you’.

Finally it looked like the service was almost over. The priest picked up a large chain with a strange gold container hanging off of it. The container was smoking. It took Jay’s congestion-slowed mind a full minute and a half to realize that the container was full of incense. The congregation stood and began to sing, and the priest walked slowly down the aisle, swinging the gold container, the smoke drifting lazily toward the ceiling.

Jay’s nose began to burn as the priest got closer. He gave it a firm rub and sniffed, which only made it that much worse. Come on, don’t sneeze now, it’s almost over!

The priest was right in front of Jay; he turned and smiled, holding out his hand to shake. “Hello,” he said pleasantly. “It’s always nice to see newcomers, especially young people.”

Jay couldn’t reply. The sweet smelling smoke filled his nose, making it burn and itch. Rather than reach out to shake the priest’s hand, Jay brought his arm up to his nose and stifled yet another sneeze. “MBKT! NXXT-kssh!” But this time, unlike before, the tickle didn’t go away, and worse, stifling seemed to have intensified it. Jay was barely able to take a breath before another sneeze burst out of him. “AH-KSSH! HEH-KSSHOO! IIKSHOO! Hah-ISSHOO! Eh-KESHOO!” Jay sniffled and mumbled and apology before hurriedly exiting the church, leaving a confused priest and an angry old woman staring after him. Once outside, he inhaled as deeply as his congested nose would allow, realizing belatedly that he must be allergic to whatever incense the priest was using. “AH-KSSH! EH-KSSH! HEH-KSSHOO!” Jay sneezed again, relieved that he no longer had to stifle.

It was still raining outside. Jay briefly considered going back inside to blow his nose, but quickly decided against it. The last thing he needed right now was to set his allergies off again. Besides, the walk home wasn’t that long...

Forty-five minutes later, Jay realized that the walk was indeed that long, when you’re walking in the pouring rain with a monster head cold. Thoroughly soaked, coughing and sneezing almost constantly, congested, and miserable, Jay trudged up the stairs to his apartment and fell onto his couch. He didn’t bother to take off his rain-drenched clothes, although he knew he would regret the decision later. He was just sinking into a fitful doze when his cell phone rang.

“Hi, Jay! How was church? You did go today, didn’t you?” Josh asked brightly.

Jay opened his mouth to let Josh know exactly how church was, in no uncertain terms. Instead, he sneezed. “AH-KSSHOO! AHH-KSSH! Heh, ih, IIKSHOO!”

“Whoa, bless you! Are you alright? You sound sick.”

Jay’s temper cooled, but only slightly. “Yeah, why dod’t you go to church with ad awful cold add tell be how you like it?”

“I’m sorry, man. You didn’t have to go.”

“I doe.”

“Do you need anything? You want me to come over?”

“Doe. I’b goigg to take a dap. If you cobe over here add wake be up, I swear to God I’ll kill you. Even if it is agaidst the cobaddbedts.”

“Against the commandments,” Josh murmured, chuckling softly. “See, you’re learning already. Alright, I’ll let you sleep. Call me if you need anything.”

Jay hung up the phone and was asleep in seconds.

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Hehe that was cute! I've been raised Christian basically and I've only been to a Catholic church like 2 times or maybe more Idk..... (I was little when I went) but I didn't know they lit incense. :) poor guy! and no offence but what was with the woman glaring at him? It's not his fault. anyway thanks so much for writing this it was really well written. :innocent:

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You're welcome. To answer your questions - they don't normally light incense. Only on certain occasions, like Christmas. The idea just came to me when I was part way through writing the story :twisted: And as for the woman... you can meet some rude people in churches. ;) Thanks for commenting! I'm glad someone doesn't think I'm completely blasphemous!

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