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"Do You?" (m, original) *Updated July 10, 2013*


tma

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I hope that y'all are not TOO sick of these two. I confess that I rather adore the two of them. wub.png

Do You?

Erik reached into his pocket for what felt like the millionth time today, and carefully rubbed the velvet on the small box waiting in there. God, what am I doing? he thought. It wasn't a matter of not wanting to. That had never been in doubt, not even for a moment. It wasn't a matter of doubting the person, more of doubting himself, of still questioning, wondering if he was what she needed, particularly as she was just starting off and he had just over a decade on her. He ran a hand through his hair. Then he put on some cologne and straightened his tie, making sure that his jacket was fine, before popping out to the car.

Theresa was finishing getting ready. She was a little nervous. She had received a couple of offers today. One was for advanced certification in literacy, which looked amazing, and another was a teaching abroad experience. She wasn't sure what option she should go with. She did enjoy where she was teaching at the moment, and both places could be great experiences, but… well… would she want to be there without him. That was really the question. Sixteen weeks was long enough but a year? She couldn't fathom that. The other question was… well… if she was honest with herself, it was would he wait? Not that she thought that he was anything less than faithful, but sometimes she questioned a little the real depth of his feelings. For instance, she thought about times when she had expressed her love just openly and "bare" "I love you". And there would be an echoing affirmation (like "and I you") but nothing so straightforward. At first she thought that this was just part of his personality, keeping things "close to the vest", but now on occasion she wondered if he stayed out of loyalty and obligation, and not wanting to disappoint. She sighed, threw on a wrap, grabbed her purse and walked toward the door as she heard the doorbell.

Erik automatically greeted her with a gentle smile and a tender kiss on the lips. Then he opened the passenger door and drove to the restaurant. They drove in relative silence, neither really noticing the silence, due to their preoccupied thoughts.

Theresa wondered how she should break her news. It would be important to make sure that he realized that it wasn't decided yet and didn't need to be decided straight away, but that it was something that they should discuss. The key word being "they". She noticed Erik absently scrubbing at his nose, after they ordered. She was going to ask him if anything was the matter, when she noticed a flower arrangement coming toward them. Great! she thought. If he already seemed a bit distant, she highly doubted that an allergy attack in public was going to help matters any. She'd have to ask the waiter to reseat them once she found out where the flowers ended up. Erik coughed slightly and sipped at his water, "I'm sorry." He murmured. "I never even asked you how your day was. I'm sa.. uh… sorry that I'm being suuuh… such a lousy d-da..ei… EiShuh… HeTchuh.. Heishuh…ugh date" he finished congestedly, blushing furiously, then turned and wiped at his nose with a handkerchief. He sniffed, "I'm… I'm sorry." Was the response that automatically sprung to his lips, even though if he would have spent any time thinking about it, he would have realized that it truly wasn't necessary.

Theresa was momentarily distracted from eyeing the path that the flowers were taking. He was so adorable "pressing on" through wavery speech and the way that no matter how he tried to stifle them, the majority of the time they were harsh and forceful. She mouthed a soft "bless" and received a shy smile and a little nod. Suddenly, Erik shook his head, as if in doubt and his eyes began to get hazy again. Theresa opened her mouth to tell him as her eyes looked to spot them but… oh my lord…they were right in front of her.

As Erik's mouth trembled and he began to try to squelch sneezes into his handkerchief, she asked the waiter why that had stopped at this table. "But Miss… this is the correct table- or so I was told. This is you, is it not?" he asked, holding up the small handwritten card that was attached. Her mouth widened in surprise and all that she was able to due was mutely nod. At her nod the waiter put the flowers down on the table and left. As Theresa's hand reached for the note, she saw Erik regarding her questioningly. He sniffed, and muttered, "What the huh… EiTchuch… d-dehh.. devil eiChuh? Who g-gave y-yeehhaTchuh.. .. you th-those?" He finished by stifling three harsh sneezes into his handkerchief and scrubbing viciously at his pinkening nostrils.

She regarded the card with mixed emotions, excitement, embarrassment, worry, and frustration. It was from one of the schools that was "wooing" her. This was an exciting prospect to know that they really wanted her. However, she was already nervous about telling Erik and now this, and on top of it all the poor guy was rapidly descending into a bit of an allergic mess. His eyes were starting to water and he sniffed thickly. He was waiting for her to tell him but from the slight drumming of his fingers of the table, Theresa knew that his patience was wearing thin. "It's… it's not from a person." She started hesitantly.

He raised an eyebrow at that, however the imperious questioning look so dissolved as his other eyebrow arched skyward and his voice trembled on a muttered "D…damn" and then he launched into a series of harsh allergic sneezes that he desperately tried to stifle. His ears and cheeks were a dull red and he felt as if the world was falling out from under him. He couldn't think. Theresa not just automatically telling him, they were a surprise to her as well and just… ugh! He couldn't think with those cursed flowers, and he felt like everyone in the restaurant was looking at him. When there was a break in the sneezes, before she started to speak, he held up a hand, "Excuse me" he said thickly, "I need to step out for a minute. I'm… I'm saa…" he pressed a fist against his nose, swallowing and continued, "sorry." Then he turned and walked off toward the front doors.

Theresa sat very still, not quite knowing what to do. Had he seriously just left her? Yes, she could theoretically understand, but there was the feeling of shame and embarrassment at feeling misunderstood and not given time to process and just left alone. She didn't even know if he was planning on coming back; she guessed that he was, or how long he'd be gone, or anything. Did he expect her to wait or did he expect her to go out to him, and if she went out to him, how was that going to look to have them both leave after having ordered food- even if they were intending on returning. She sat and waited and thought about what to do. She didn't quite know what to do w/ the arrangement. But having it sit around, was most likely not the best idea. Theresa motioned the waiter over and embarrassedly asked if they could keep the arrangement up in front for the time being as it was taking up a bit too much space. The waiter nodded gave her a sympathetic look as he took the flowers away. She was sure that he knew the actual reason, but somehow she felt like baldly stating the reason would be treasonous in a way.

Theresa went to the restroom to compose herself and school her features into her usual cheery smile. When she came back, there was Erik, looking much more himself. "I stopped by a store and got some Benedryl" he offered by way of explanation. She nodded.

"Where are they?" he questioned

."Up front."

"You didn't need to…"

She arched her eyebrow.He ducked his head, and rubbed at his neck. He half stifled a quick pair of sneezes into a hastily pulled out handkerchief. "Well… perhaps." He admitted.

"Bless."They started eating. After they were done and were having coffee he casually said, "So…?"

Theresa flushed. She knew that it was coming, although truth be told she had been hoping to postpone the discussion until he returned her home. "Well… I had a bit of news that I had been hoping to share with you. Well… ideally under different circumstances." She added ruefully.

Erik nodded; his face looked tense. "I… was offered a job. Well… actually one job and one study program." She amended.

"When… where…" he started, not really sure how to respond.

"Well… the study program would be in California, and the job would be in the UK."

"Oh." He said flatly. Then he mentally kicked himself for his response. How supportive. I'm such an arse. He forced a smile and said, "That's great. What are you leaning toward?"

She flushed. "I… I'm not sure. Both are just one year commitments." She added the last, hoping to make it a little easier.

He sniffed and scrubbed at his nose. "Would you be able to able to get the time off from the school?" He tried to keep his voice light, even though his mind was whirling. His teaching abroad had been long enough, but a year? Erik again fingered the box in his pocket, wondering why he had bothered to bring it. He wanted to ask her to stay, or to at the very least make a commitment. Maybe he could try to find a temporary university placement. He knew several universities would participate in year long faculty "trades". But I can't ask that of her. I don't want to make her feel guilty, or tied down, or "beholden".

She nodded. "I should be able to. I haven't told anyone at work. I wanted to discuss it with you first." I want you to have an opinion. To not want me to go. To help me figure out how to keep us and keep me. She couldn't read him at times like this and it frustrated her.

He nodded. "Well… as long as you have a bit of time to think about it." He chuckled, "Boy…. Flowers… I never rated that highly with an employer."

She grinned. "Well… perhaps not an employer, but I haven't gotten to where I can get an entire town to give them to me."

He groaned. "I'd almost forgotten."

Theresa smiled. This was better. At least they could still banter a bit.

When they had finished, they stopped by the front. Theresa bit her lip and whispered, "We don't have to pick them up. I don't mind."

He squeezed her hand and kissed the top of her head. "Yes we do. It is a special occasion and you do deserve it, and no feeling guilty. Alright?" He asked the last, looking her directly in the eye. She nodded. When they went out to the car, and he walked around to open her door, she said, "Here… give me the keys." Erik looked at her as if she had sprouted another head.

She rolled her eyes. "You had a tough enough time in the restaurant. We're going into a closed car."

He stiffened. "I took something. I'm fine." This was stated tersely, putting a closure to any discussion on the topic.

She crossed her arms. "Ok." She said quietly.

He softened. "Really. I'm glad that you are concerned, but I will manage to survive the trip. Besides… you'd get a better view." He said with a sly wink.

She stuck out her tongue at him. "Brat!" Then added. "Just be careful, for me ok?"

He kissed her cheek. "I promise."

They drove back, with the latter part of the trip punctuated by increasingly forceful sneezes which were directed as much into his shoulder as he was able to.

He actually sighed, took off his glasses, and wiped at his eyes when they got back to her house. Theresa came over and rubbed his back. "Hey… come in for a little bit. Please." Erik nodded, then his eyes grew glassy and the nodding slowed. He cupped his hands and started a fit. It occurred to Theresa that he had been really holding back in the car, even though he had taken Benedryl. They started fast and furious, slowing to where he would spend what seemed to be an agonizing time building up in between. Eyes slightly watery, face elongated, breath coming in little, sometimes vocalized pants. Just hovering, before they would pitch him violently forward again. Maybe the flowers weren't all bad, she briefly thought, although she knew that he was feeling miserable, and she did hate that.

Once he finished, and crashed on the lounge chair, she brought him some ibuprofen and a warm washcloth to put over his sinuses. He grabbed for her hand. "Thank you. Really. You are too good to me." He pulled her down onto his lap to kiss her. His lips felt warm, raw, and slightly swollen. She ran her fingers through his hair and just felt her heart both melt and settle at the same time. He was still her Erik. It would be ok. She fingered her necklace as a talisman. Then she gently kissed his forehead, got up, handed him the cloth, and asked if he'd like some tea.

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EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! bounce.gif

So very much definitely not getting sick of them. There can *never* be enough Erik and Theresa stories. :yes: *fangirls incessantly* They're adorable and cute and awwwwwwwwwww! :wub:

They started fast and furious, slowing to where he would spend what seemed to be an agonizing time building up in between. Eyes slightly watery, face elongated, breath coming in little, sometimes vocalized pants. Just hovering, before they would pitch him violently forward again. Maybe the flowers weren’t all bad, she briefly thought,
wub.pngblushing.gif
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SO FRIKIN' ADORABLE!!! That's an engagement ring RIGHT!? AWWWW I WANT IT TO HAPPEN~ (is a sucker for romance) <33333333

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Well, I had a sneak preview of this so you already know that I like it... :)

But I do really like the way the you write! Erik is adorable when he's so sneezy, and I feel like I can picture the characters. I also think you did a great job where Erik and Theresa are talking, but not quite understanding what one wants from the other, and we hear their internal thoughts too.

Here's hoping for more E&T stories in the future! ;)

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Oh wow that was awesome! Your descriptive powers are just fantastic, I'm in awe! And you just capture so much, all the conflicting emotions, little details about the surroundings, everything is vivid, but without slowing things down. You're awesome! Definitely gonna look out for your other stories.

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I absolutely love your stories, and I really can't wait to see where this is going! I can't express how much I love your writing!! :wub: don't keep me waiting :D

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Sweet torturous dramatic irony. And ANGST.

Poor things! I just want to tell them what the other is thinking, so they can relax. Poor sneezy Erik. :twisted: I love this and I hope it continues.

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Beautifully written as always, tma! And no, I don't think I'd ever get sick of these two, they are such a cute couple, I think we all love them dearly!! Write more!! LOL Just teasing, well, sort of, not really. :P

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  • 5 months later...

It's been *ages*... I know... I'm sorry that my inspiration is so fickle blushing.gif. Also, my profound apologies that this is so short on the sf. I hope that those of you who enjoy this couple will enjoy this little addition. Also, I'm crossing my fingers that I have the "gents" sufficiently in character.

He shook his head, “No. Thanks.” Erik rubbed at the back of his neck. “There, umm… there is something that I’d like,” he said, scanning her features. “And… umm… there may possibly be a use for your gift after all.” He couldn’t bring himself to look her in the eye and he knew that at the very least, his ears must be scarlet by now. Despite the embarrassment, at least he knew how to navigate that aspect of their relationship. Far easier to lose himself in her, than to think about the implications of what she had told him at dinner.

Theresa’s mouth went slack and then rounded into a perfect “O”. That had caught her completely off-guard and it took her a minute to regain her senses. Did he just actually suggest that… Her mind automatically went to visualizing the two of them, Erik in particular. The post car-trip fit had nearly done her in. A topless Erik, with his hands on her, and lips on her… trembling lips… She involuntarily shuddered. But… would it be right? Would that be what was best for them, to hide and ignore what they didn’t want to deal with? God, I absolutely loathe having a mind that overanalyzes.

“M-maybe later,” she said, her voice slightly shaky. Erik’s flush deepened, and he nodded.

“D-did you want me to go? I mean… if you are tired or need to think or anything?” God… what just came out of my mouth? Exactly how large of an arse can I possibly be? Erik pondered, watching Theresa’s expression. Do you want to push her away? That is the only explanation that I can think of for using that particular tactic and then pulling that stunt after she doesn’t automatically acquiesce. If he had been thinking clearly, he would have recognized that it was an automatic cover for feeling at a loss, and uncertain of where to go, or what to do next.

Theresa looked at him with a combination of nervousness and embarrassment. “No… I mean… unless… Unless you don’t want to stay. I mean, you don’t have to or anything.”

Erik shook his head and pulled Theresa back onto his lap. “No.” he murmured into her neck. “Absolutely not. I’m sorry. I’m completely mucking things up. Please forgive me.” His blue eyes looking directly into her hazel, pleading for another chance.

She nodded slowly. She wanted to say, “You realize that we do have to discuss this?” but she was still too wary. Glossing over it was an easier way out, and the option that she currently had the energy for. “A movie?” she suggested.

Another nod. Were they destined to communicate half in head movements all evening?

“I’m going to get some water, do you want anything?”

“If it’s not too much trouble, I’ve rethought your suggestion about the tea.”

“No problem at all- be back in a moment.” She gave Erik a smile on her way off to the kitchen. Erik noticed that it was her automatic everything’s fine smile, and mentally kicked himself.

If anyone had observed the two of them watching the movie, they wouldn’t have seen anything amiss. A couple in love, snuggled up, watching a film. She was nestled snugly against his chest, and he had an arm draped over her in a gesture that was both natural and protective. If one knew this particular couple well enough, and observed closely enough, they would see the dullness in their eyes, the slight tightness in their postures. At one point in the film, Erik removed his arm, gave a brief shudder and aimed a rough double into a quickly raised elbow. Heh..Choo… huh… ehh… EiTshoo , sniffed and mumbled an apology, before awkwardly placing his arm back where it was. Theresa meanwhile, almost imperceptibly, stiffened and then murmured a quiet, “Bless” before leaning back with just a hint more reserve.

After the movie, they mutually feigned tiredness, embraced and exchanged an almost perfunctory kiss.

That evening, they were unknowingly more united in their feelings of “apartness” then they might have guessed. Tossing and turning and questioning seemed to be the order of the night.

*******************************************************************************************************************************************************************

Unfortunately instead of resolving itself, the slight feeling of stiffness seemed to have made a more permanent descent into the relationship. While they had always had their own identities and responsibilities that were independent of each other, now those responsibilities seemed to be used more as excuses to avoid the looming and ever-present “elephant in the room”. Theresa found herself with additional meetings and social activities, and Erik found himself holed up in his office more and more.

One of those evenings spent poring over term papers, Erik had an unexpected visitor. It had been a long evening and he was starting to feel a pounding in his temples. He took off his glasses and massaged the bridge of his nose. Then there was a rap at the door, and Erik put on his glasses and cleared his throat which had a dull ache, “Come in.”

Dr. Kennedy entered. “Term papers?” he questioned, sitting in the chair that Erik had gestured to.

Erik nodded.

“They” he cleared his throat, “seem to be taking up a lot more of your time than usual.”

Erik’s right hand automatically went up to massage his neck. “Well… you know, some undergrad classes just seem to have exceptionally horrid writers,” he threw out lightly.

Kennedy nodded. “True. However, that doesn’t seem a full explanation. Do you need to be scaled back a bit?”

Erik automatically shook his head, and protested. “No. No nothing like that. I’m perfectly willing to put in any hours required.”

Kennedy chuckled lightly and held up a hand, “Yes, I know that you are. Trust me, I have never questioned either your dedication or your work ethic.”

Erik flushed and gave a slight nod.

“It’s just a question of knowing one’s limits.” He continued with a pointed look. “You would tell me if this changed?”

“Yes.”

“Good. By the way, Elenor was asking about Theresa the other day.” Kennedy slipped in casually. “She was saying that was hadn’t had you two over in ages.”

Erik stiffened slightly, and Kennedy instantly made note of that. “In fact, I haven’t seen her around the office either.” This was again stated off-handedly.

“She’s been a bit busy as well.” Erik quickly offered, in a tone that didn’t invite further questions. “We will most definitely have to join you both for dinner sometime. Please extend my best wishes to your wife.”

Kennedy nodded solemnly, “And please do the same with Theresa. You made a splendid choice, if I may say so. Good night. Be sure to lock up when you are finished- which had best be within the hour.” He uttered this last with a pointed look and left the office.

Erik nodded.

After Kennedy left, Erik started thinking. Damn- William is far too observant. Have I really been that obvious since “the news”? This is ridiculous! What do I think that I’m accomplishing holing myself in here? Could it really be any worse if we actually talked?

Once he got home, he poured himself a Scotch and let his fingers trace the ever-so familiar pattern.

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I LOVE this!!! Are these OC's? Either way, please continue! (btw, I love your writing and the way you word things :) )

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@ purple *hugs* Awww!! Thank you!

Yes- they are original characters. Actually I have several stories with these two characters. :blushing: Message me if you like these two and want to read prior stories with them. :)

Thanks again. <3

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Yay, update. :D

Awww, they are very very silly and really, *communicate*, honestly. *shakes head and smiles*

I think they are very in character, don't worry. :) Can't wait to see where they get to after this. ^^

(Oh and ... EEEEEEEEEEEE! *fangirls*)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Ok... I know that other than the restaurant scene that there has barely been any "sf"y stuff. :blushing:

Unfortunately this next part doesn't have any- but I *promise* that I am plotting for evil things to happen to Erik have a vision for the next section which I hope will work at least somewhat as I hope. *fingers crossed*

Here is the next section- sorry that it is so short, but it seemed like a good place to pause.

“Hello?”

Just hearing the sound of her voice seemed to twist Erik’s insides into knots. “Hi there.”

Instantly the voice on the other end brightened, he could see the smile in her voice. “Erik! I was just thinking of you. Actually, was wondering if you’d like some cookies.”

He chuckled. She was just too sweet. “Must have been reading my mind.” He teased. He gave a slight cough. “Actually, I was wondering… “

“Yes?” there was a bit of anxiety that he picked up in the way that she said the word.

“W-would you like to have dinner with the Kennedy’s sometime soon?”

“That sounds lovely.” She answered slowly, wondering what he wasn’t saying. “Erik?”

“Yes?”

“Are you alright?”

He cleared his throat… “I’m… I’m fine- just a little tired. Term papers.”

“Oh… ok. I was wondering something too.”

“Oh?” Erik’s eyebrows raised in surprise.

“I don’t want to be pushy or anything…” Her voice was soft and rushed.

“Sweetheart, you aren’t pushy. What do you need?” he took a quick swig of his Scotch just in case.

“Well… I have to have a response into the university about the placement, and I have to respond to the school about the teaching abroad.”

Erik sighed a little and rubbed his temples. “Yes. We really do need to talk, don’t we?”

“Yeah.” Theresa said in a sigh.

“I’m… sorry that I’ve been avoiding it.” Erik began.

“Well, you weren’t the only one.”

He chuckled, and then said slowly, “Well… I think that face to face would be ideal.”

Even though she knew that he couldn’t see her, Theresa instinctively nodded. “Definitely, though tonight is a bit late.”

“That’s true.” Erik cleared his throat, “I ummm… I don’t want to seem like I’m putting this off, but… well…”

“You do have term papers to finish,” Theresa supplied.

He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. “Yes. But… I can adjust things, if you really want.”

She chuckled and sighed, “You mean like surviving on even less sleep than you typically do during this time of year?”

“Ummm…”

“The disadvantage of having dated me long enough that I have your schedule and “survival behaviors” pretty much down,” she said with a hint of amusement.

“Are you sure that it’s alright?”

“Absolutely. Don’t worry about it, ok?”

“Alright.” Erik said with a false air of confidence. “Thursday?”

“You’re giving yourself two days? I don’t think so. Friday.” She stated firmly.

He chuckled and cleared his throat, “Yes ma’am. See you then.”

“I love you.”

“And I you. Good night.”

With that Erik released a slow exhale. There. That went better than I thought. Now I just need to be sure that I have things finished by Thursday night. He had to have them turned in by Monday, and knowing Theresa- since he had fudged a bit when he could have them done, she wouldn’t let him get away with working on them over the weekend, but he didn’t want to be unfair to her. After all- I’ve put this discussion off long enough as it is, and she really does need to be able to get some things decided. For the first time in what felt like a long time, he reached into his dresser drawer and pulled out the box. He let his fingers rub over it as he contemplated. He felt the first small spark of hope since he had first placed it in his pocket.

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I think that there will only be *one* more part and I'll actually be done with this fic.

There *is* some sf-ness in this one. And... *of course* loads o' sap! blushing.gif

Theresa did end up dropping off cookies the next day to Erik’s office. She also made a point of dividing up the batch and dropping off a plate with Dr. Kennedy. She noticed that Erik was looking a bit worn out- which was usual for this time of year. As much as students dreaded writing papers, she knew that professors dreaded grading them as well- particularly if they were as meticulous as Erik was about careful reading, and comments and grading that had a lot of thought put into them. She knew that probably 99% of his students really had no idea of the time that he put in. It made her feel so proud of him- he was so dedicated and thoughtful, and well… she felt very lucky to have him in her life. I suppose that even if he doesn’t ask me to stay- that I’ll still be thankful for the time we’ve had. That had been the thought that she had been afraid of and it still pricked, but she realized now that she was feeling at least a little more secure.

Theresa gave Erik a gentle neck and shoulder massage, and she could feel the knots as she tried to work them out a bit. However, despite wanting to stay longer, she knew that the best help would be to leave and let him get onto what he needed to finish. She wondered at the fact that as she went to leave, Erik gave her a distracted kiss on the forehead- but figured that distraction was all that it was.

Erik, on the other hand, knew only too well that that kiss had been a deliberate choice. His throat felt raw. That sandpapery feeling that always heralded a cold. Which, he thought wryly, would figure. There is absolutely nothing that goes along quite so brilliantly with grading scads of papers and having a crucial, possible make/break relationship discussion like feeling thick and muddled.

The next couple of days were a blur of coffee, papers, ibuprofen, and tissues. Erik always kept a handkerchief in his back pocket, but when he was in his office and was as congested as he was, it made more sense to just go through the box of tissues.

They finally were done- and just in time, Erik noted. I have just enough time to get in a shower and throw on something nice before I head over to Theresa’s. He didn’t know why but he felt compelled to put the small gray box into the pocket of his jacket- along with an extra handkerchief.

She opened the door wearing his favorite dress along with the necklace that he had given her when he’d come home from his semester abroad. Theresa knew that neither the dress nor the necklace would in any way make up for the discussion that they were going to have, but she still felt like they were good luck charms.

The appreciative gleam in his eyes most certainly made her feel that her choices were worth it.

“You,” he cleared his throat roughly, “look stunning.”

She grinned, “You approve?”

“Well, I suppose,” and gave her a wink.

She gave him a hug and invited him in toward the sofa. “Ummm… I was going to grab myself a soda. Do you want anything?”

“Scotch on the rocks?” he said, only half teasing.

She instantly picked up on that fact and poured him one.

“So…” she said slowly, when she had brought the drinks out and they had both sat down.

“So,” Erik concurred and gingerly took a sip of his Scotch and scrubbed at his nose. “Have you thought about what you’d like to do?” He sniffed slightly- hoping both that the medicine’s effects would last and that it wasn’t an utterly stupid idea to have taken the scotch. I’ll just make sure to take it slowly.

Theresa blushed slightly, “Well… I’ve never really been outside the US…” she started.

Erik gasped at her in mock astonishment, “You mean Canada is now part of the US?”

She stuck her tongue out between her teeth. “You know very well what I meant.”

He sniffed. “I may have.” God… there was that vague tickly feeling hovering just lightly at the back of the nostrils. I hate that.

“Anyway… I was just thinking that being able to go somewhere else… “ She trailed off, not wanting to upset him; hoping that he’d jump in and tell her what he was thinking.

Actually his thoughts were only half on what she was actually saying. The other half were concentrating on not sneezing. He wanted to be able to give her his undivided attention- and didn’t her to get focused on him rather than herself.

When he didn’t jump in Theresa timidly continued, “So… I had sort of been thinking about that… but honestly I don’t have to and what ever we figure out will be fine.” The later was said in a bit of a jumbled rush.

Erik grabbed her hands, “Theresa,” he said in a tone that was both calm and firm. “It’s ok. I reh.. really want to know what…” Here he broke off and dropped her hands in favor of his handkerchief. “heh… Heh..Chuh…. ehhh… Chmpt…ahhChmpt… ugh… sorry… excuse me,” He murmured in a slightly congested tone. He had stifled the last two as well as he could, which had clearly not worked very well.

“Bless.” She responded.

“Sorry,” he repeated, “Anyway, sweetheart, I want to know what *you* want, not what you think that I want to hear. Really.”

She nodded, but her eyes started welling up. She turned and quickly ran her hands over her eyes, determined not to be weak. She didn’t want him to feel trapped.

“It’s just for a year?” he questioned.

She nodded and took in a slightly shaky breath.

He scrubbed absently at his nose and after a cough, continued slowly, “I don’t want to pressure you…”

Her heart leapt. He wants me to stay. Theresa did want to go- of course she did, but… she rather know that he wanted her, needed her as much as she needed him. Although… maybe he wants to tell me that he can’t wait that long and even the fact that I’m thinking of that he’s decided to end it. She thought worriedly.

“I do have some contacts…” he cleared his throat and took another sip of Scotch. “And ummm… I might possibly be able to do a swap.” He ran a hand awkwardly through his hair. “It shouldn’t affected your decision, and… if you don’t want me to, I’ll understand… you do have to do what you need to for your own career and…” as he spoke, the words came out in a rush, and with a tinge of descending congestion.

Theresa didn’t respond immediately. She was processing and mentally pinching herself to be sure that she had heard that right. He was not only supporting and encouraging her… but he’d actually be willing to look into a post trade for a year?

He took her silence as not wanting to let him down. “I’m… I’m sorry… you need to make your decision really un… ahh..” he bit down slightly on his tongue and continued, “unaffected by what I would do” this last was said in a wavery voice that went up in pitch, leading into another trio of sneezes that he caught into a hastily raised handkerchief, “Eih…Shoo… huh… ehh… eiTshuh… eiChmpt” These were harsher and pitched him forward slightly. He blinked and shook his head, “God… I’m sorry.” He blushed slightly.

She just couldn’t take it, she threw herself at him, putting her arms around him. “You mean it?”

He looked at her in confusion, “About being sorry?”

She laughed, “No… about… about looking into a trade?”

He nodded, “Absolutely. But…”

She stopped any other words which may have been forthcoming with her lips. Erik was so taken aback that he deepened the kiss, pressing slightly into her. Then he came to his senses.

“Ummm…” he said trying to break it off, without upsetting her.

She stopped and looked at him. The congestion, the tired look, the pink tinge to his nostrils. God… I should have known. She chuckled and shook her head, “Really? You’ve gone and gotten yourself sick? I swear that you honestly are impossible at taking care of yourself. What am I going to do with you?”

He blushed to the tips of his ears, then cocked his head and said, “Well… you could love me, I suppose”

“Done.” She whispered, looking right into his eyes and willing him to see that she loved him with every part of her. Hoping that he truly felt the same way about her.

He had suddenly had a thought- It might not work… but… he could always try. He knew that he wouldn’t have to wait too long.

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“Really? You’ve gone and gotten yourself sick? I swear that you honestly are impossible at taking care of yourself. What am I going to do with you?”

:wub:

Oh, they are absolutely ridiculous sometimes, but then they do something like that and and... D'AWWW! :wub: Such a wonderful update. :blushing: And Yay. :D

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