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"I'm sorry, Miss Jackson, but I'm afraid the school is closed today. Too many staff have been unable to come in due to the snow. There was an announcement on the local radio. You're going to have to take Rosie home," my the headmistress informed me, with an expression that suggested she was expecting to be yelled at. I was irritated, but I held it in - the woman wasn't responsible for the weather, or my failure to check the news, and she'd probably been yelled at more than enough this morning. Since I worked from home, it wasn't that much of an inconvenience anyway. Rosie was scowled at me. "I told you there'd be a snow day. You made me get out of bed for nothing!" she whined dramatically as only a 13-year-old can. "Yes, yes. I'm the most terrible mother on the planet. Now, get back in the car," I said, unmoved.

"Het-chmpff!" My heart fluttered and I turned around sharply at the half-stifled sneeze from behind me. "Bless you!" I said, as casually as I could manage, to the young man standing from whom it had come. "Thangs," he answered hoarsely. He was tall, skinny, with floppy light brown hair, pale skin and prominent cheekbones. Judging by the bright red of his nose, it wasn't his first sneeze of the day. My thoughts started going in all sorts of inappropriate directions. I reminded myself that this man was likely closer in age to my daughter than to me. Standing next to him was a girl I recognised from some of Rosie's school photographs. The young man - boy - must be her brother; there was no way he could be her dad.

"Hi Jessica!" said Rosie, her sullen expression disappearing. "School's closed. They're sending us home." Jessica grinned, but the sniffly young man looked unhappy.

"Jessie, are you okay to walk hobe od your owd? I'll give you by key ad you cad let yourself id. I really cad't be late for work," he said apologetically to the girl, before coughing several times into his cupped hands.

Rosie turned to me with a face that means she's about to ask for something. "Mum, can Jessica come over? Please?"

"Well, I don't mind, but you'll have to check if it's all right with Jessica's parents," I responded. "Mum!" Rosie exclaimed, glaring at me as though I had said something terribly, terribly wrong. Jessica and her older brother both stared awkwardly at the ground.

"We don't have parents anymore. Robert looks after me," said Jessica, in a small voice.

"Oh. I- I'm very sorry," I said, at a loss for any more appropriate words. We stood there in awkward silence for a few seconds until Robert broke it with another sneeze into the crook of his arm.


"Bless you," I said, grateful for the opportunity to change the subject, and reached into my pocket. "You sound like you need this," I said, handing him a white handkerchief.

"Thangs very buch," he said, wiping his rosy nose. "Ad I'd be ve-eh-ry grateful if you could look ah-ah-after Jessie for the day. I fidish work at six so I cad pi-i - Ishoo! Hashoo!" He broke off his sentence, fighting a losing battle with his nose, and blew wetly."Excuse be," he mumbled with embarrassment "I cad pick her up after that. Where do you live?"

"16 Hedgerow lane. It's just off the main road, near the supermarket. I can draw you a map..." I said.

"Doe, it's okay, I've kdow the way," he assured me, before breaking into a volley of soft coughs. "The superbarket's where I work. I'll see you just after six," he said, sounding adorably stuffy. I wanted to bundle him into the car with me, take him home, and feed him chicken soup before doing all manner of unspeakably naughty things to him, but he was far too young for me and we both had jobs to do. "Ad Jessie, you be good for Bissus..."

"Miss," I corrected him, a little too quickly. "Miss Jackson. But please call me Charlie." He nodded, unable to speak as he unsuccessfully tried to fight back another sneeze.

"Hu-uh-huSHOOOO!" he sneezed forcefully into the handkerchief I'd given him.

"Bless. That cold sounds nasty," I said. Nasty for him but nice for me.

"Thangs. See you later," he said, walking off. I opened the car doors and let the girls in, wondering how I was going to concentrate on the rest of the day's work with the memory of handsome, sneezy Robert in my head.

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The girls were hardly any bother that day. Jessica spent the entire car ride thanking me for having her over – it would have been irritating but she was endearingly sweet. I was relieved that Rosie, despite her pretensions of being all grown-up, didn't think she was too cool to spend the morning building snowmen. When they came in from the cold, I gave them hot soup and cocoa for lunch and Jessie thanked me effusively. They were then happy to quietly watch rubbish films in Rosie’s room while I worked in the office. Robert, despite not being there, proved to be far more of a distraction. I kept thinking of him, coughing and sneezing his way through his work day, with a mixture of concern and titillation. Poor thing. Poor sexy, sniffly thing. No doubt I could persuade him to come in for a little while when he came to collect his sister and give him a bit of tender loving care. I found myself looking repeatedly at the clock, willing the end of his work day to come. As evening came, the snow started to fall again, even heavier than the previous night, and lay thicker on the ground.

At five past six, the doorbell rang, and I found myself hurrying excessively to answer it. I opened the door and found Robert, shivering and coughing violently into the crook of his arm. “Oh dear, you sound awful!” I cooed, “Come in. I’ll make you a cup of tea.” “I dod’t wadt to trouble you,” he responded, in a voice that sounded even hoarser than this morning. “I was going to make one for myself, anyway,” I said, “Please, come in from the cold.” He entered the house and took off his shoes, which I could see were rather tatty and soaked through with melted snow. He hung up his jacket, which was also drenched, on the rack by the door, then reached for the handkerchief I’d given him that morning out of the pocket. “Het-chmfff. Hessshtt! EeeChhh!” he half-stifled a triple into the fabric, then blew. “Sorry, I’b disgustig today,” he said, before breaking into coughs again. “Don’t be silly. Everyone gets ill,” I told him. He wasn’t disgusting, he was delightful – but his expression was so miserable and exhausted that I felt guilty for how much I was enjoying myself. I beckoned him through to the kitchen. “The girls are watching a film – are you ok to let them finish it?” I asked, as I filled the kettle. “Of course, if you dod’t bind. Ha-ah-ss Je-eh-essie beha-a-ah-ASHOO! Ha-eh-ESHOO!” His bent at the waist with his powerful sneezes, then groaned. “Bless you! You poor poppet. Have you taken any medicine?” I asked, as he blew his nose again. He shook his head. “I’ll see what I’ve got in my cupboards. You sit down,” I said, happy to play nurse, and returned a little later with lemsip and a box of ibuprofen tablets and found him shivering and coughing in a kitchen chair. “You’re not allergic to any medicines, are you?” I inquired. He shook his head, unable to speak through his coughs. “You ok with lemsip instead of tea?” He nodded and stopped coughing long enough to say “Thangs. You’re very kide.” “I’m just being polite,” I told him, although there was nothing polite about the thoughts running through my head. “You probably have a headache as well, so you might want these,” I added, opening the box of ibuprofen “You shouldn’t take them on an empty stomach, though. What time did you have lunch?” “I didd’t,” he mumbled, sheepishly, “there were a-ah lot of pe-eh-eh-ople off work toda-ah-ah-ay,” he pressed a finger under his nose, determined to get to the end of his sentence “because of ah-ah the sdow, ad I didd’t get a-ah-ah cha-ah-adce to ta-eh-ake by break.” He just about managed to finish speaking before breaking into “A-ashOO! Hush-OOO! E-eh-EhSHOO! Eh-SHOOOOO!” I tutted sympathetically. “Bless. You need to have something to eat, especially since you’re not well,” I said. “I’ll warm you up some soup.” “You dod’t have to,” he said, sounding anxious and apologetic “I don’t wadt to be a duisadce.” “I want to, and you’re not a nuisance. Chicken or leek and potato?” “Chicked, if that’s okay. Ad thangs,” he responded.

Ten minutes later he’d finished his lemsip and soup and looked a little perkier, although I noticed the poor thing was still shivering. I resisted the urge to invite him to warm himself up by snuggling in my bed and instead picked up a blanket that was draped over the back of one of the kitchen chairs and wrapped it around him. “Thag you,” he rasped. “And thags for looking after Jessie. I hope she behaved herself.” “Oh, she did. She’s extremely polite. Takes after her brother,” I informed him with a smile. He averted his eyes and blushed before breaking into coughs again. “Oh, you poor lamb. I hope you feel better soon,” I sighed, and despite how sexy he was all stuffed up, I really did. He seemed so lovely and so thoroughly worn out that I just wanted him to feel ok. “So do I,” he answered.

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Despite the error, it's such a cute story so far! :D This has everything I love about in a sneezy male story! Poor Robert, I'm sure he'll keep up the enjoyment with his suffering. xD

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Thanks so much for all the lovely comments so far!


The girls entered the room; the film had obviously finished. “Hi Robert,” said Jessica, and moved to hug him. “Don’t touch be, you’ll get by gerbs,” he warned, and on cue his breath started hitching “Hiiii-iiii-ischew! IshOOO! HASHOOOO!” The three of us responded “Bless you!” in sync. “Thags. I’b sorry I’b so gross today,” he mumbled, before blowing his nose which looked raw and chapped by now. “Ad I’b sorry I’ve bad your hadky so disgusting, too” he said, turning to me. “Don’t be silly,” I scolded, handing him a box of tissues. He took one and blew again – he sounded horribly congested even after the medicine I’d given him. “Adyway, Jessie ad I had better go. Thags ever so buch,” he said, taking the blanket off him and standing up. “There’s no rush,” I said. I didn’t want him to go. I wanted him to stay here so I could take care of him, both because I was enjoying it and because it sounded like he really needed it. “Well, it’s already quite dark ah-ad the sdow’s only eh-eh godda-ah get thi-ih-cker ah-ad I-eh- ESHOO!” His sneeze was greeted by another three-person “Bless you!”

“I suppose you’re right,” I sighed, “You want to get home before the roads get worse. Where did you park?” I said, determined to at least see him to his car. I was going to watch this lovely, poorly boy for every second I possibly could. “Oh, ub, I dod’t have a car. We’ll walk. We walk everywhere” he said. I looked at him, shivering and pale and pressing his forefinger under his nose to hold back yet another sneeze. “You can’t possibly walk home in this weather. Where do you live? I’ll give you a lift.” “Doe!” he said, surprisingly forcefully. “It’s fine, really,” Jessica said. “We like walking. It’s completely fine.” There was a note of worry in her voice, and she exchanged a meaningful look with her brother – at least, meaningful to both of them, but baffling to me. I put my hand on Robert’s forehead. “Look at you,” I said. “You have a fever. You can’t go out in the snow like this. You should be wrapped up in bed,” I said firmly. Ideally, he’d be wrapped up in my arms in my bed, I thought to myself b efore pulling my mind back to the matter in hand. “Yeah, and you’ll probably get ill too if you go out in the snow, Jessica,” chimed in Rosie. “No I won’t. I’ll be fine,” Jessica insisted. She sounded almost frightened. “We’ll both be fide,” Robbie chimed in and walked towards the door. I weaved around him and stood in the hall, blocking his path. Something weird was going on, and I was concerned. “Please. Please let me take you home. For me. I’ll feel ever so guilty if you have to walk in the snow,” I begged. “I dod’t wa-ah-ant to be a-ah- ashOO! a bother,” he mumbled. He sounded scared, and that made me worry more. “It’s not a bother. Please,” I pleaded. “Let us walk hobe,” he said, pleading back. I relented; it was his own choice if he really wanted to give himself pneumonia, though it didn’t seem very fair on his little sister. “Fine. Just, why?” I snapped, exasperatedly. I wasn’t expecting what came next.

He put his head in his hands and let out a small sob, then another, then began weeping uncontrollably and sank to the floor. His shoulders were shaking and crying made him start coughing violently again. Jessica walked up to him, crouched down so their faces were level and put a hand on his shoulder. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” she said, softly, stroking in small circles around his back until his sobs died away. Then she turned to Rosie, “I think we should maybe, um, go upstairs again for a bit?” she said. Rosie, nervous and perplexed, nodded and walked upstairs with her friend. Robert and I were left in the corridor, each staring at the floor.

“I’m very sorry. I didn’t mean to upset you,” I said, nervously. “Doe, doe, I’b sorry,” he whispered, his voice sounding like he was going to burst into tears again. There were a few moments of awkward silence, then I said “You don’t have tell me anything you don’t want to, but if you want to tell me what’s bothering you…” “It’s pathetic. I’b pathetic,” he said dejectedly. “It can’t be that pathetic,” I said, as soothingly as I could “Come through to the living room. We can talk better on a comfy sofa.” We walked through and sat down. I noticed his hands were trembling; I couldn’t tell if this was through cold or fear or both. He wouldn’t look at me directly. “I, ub, well, the thig is…” he began before being interrupted by a couple of coughs. “Well, you kdow about our paredts. They – it was two years ago, albost exactly.” He paused to take a deep breath and I could tell he was fighting not to cry again. “They – well, we were all in the car, on the way to by gradba’s house aah-ad – aaah-ashOO!” “Bless,” I said, tenderly, then felt bad for interrupting. “Sorry, carry on.” He fidgeted uncomfortably “Well, we – they – there was an accidedt” he said, in a very small voice “Ad that’s how they…” I squeezed his arm lightly while he collected himself. “Jessie ad be, we – we wered’t hurt. Dot badly. But I – I haven’t beed able to be in a car sidce thed. I’b just… I just see it agaid. I see everythig ad I just… cad’t…” Despite his best efforts, he began sobbing again. I put an arm around his shoulder. “That’s just awful. You poor thing. I’m so sorry,” I said, feebly. He buried his head in my shoulder and sobbed harder. I desperately wanted to make him okay, but I didn’t know what to say, didn’t think there was anything I could say, so I just let him cry on me. His sobs became punctuated with coughs and wheezes until he sounded like he was having a hard time breathing, then he reached into his pocket and took out an asthma inhaler and took a couple of puffs on it. He took a couple of deep breaths, then wiped his eyes with the back of his hands.

“God, I cobe to your house ad I sdeeze all over everythig ad thed I burst idto tears like a little kid. What bust you thigk of be?” he said, his voice full of shame. I looked at him, curled up and crumpled in the sofa. “I think you’re amazing,” I said, honestly. He gave me a blank, questioning stare. “I mean you’re what, twenty?” “Twendty-wod,” he corrected me. “You’re twenty-one. And most people your age aren’t thinking about anything but themselves. And you’ve been through something so awful that you have every right to be completely self-absorbed and instead you’re looking after your sister on your own. That’s amazing. Really.” He smiled weakly. “She looks after be, too. She looked after be just dow,” he said. “Well, everyone needs looking after,” I said. As if to prove my point, he responded with “Hu-uh-uh-ushOO! HASHOOO! HA-AH-ACHOO!” into his elbow. “Bless you,” I said. He did need looking after. I didn’t just want to take care of him because he was beautiful and snuffly, although that was a bonus. After what had just happened, taking care of him was just basic human decency. “Look, I know you can’t go back home in the car, but there’s no way I’m letting you walk home in the snow when you’re in this state, especially now I know you have asthma. You’ll make yourself so ill. You and Jessica should stay here tonight.” “Are you sure it’s dot too buch trouble?” he asked croakily. “Of course not,” I said. “Thags so buch,” he said, smiling. “My pleasure,” I said, smiling back.

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Tiny update this time:

I went upstairs to tell the girls about our plans for the night, which pleased them both a lot, and they returned downstairs. “Robert, are you okay now?” Jessica asked, walking up to him and giving his shoulder a comforting squeeze.” “Yeah, I’b really sorry about just dow,” he croaked. “Don’t be sorry. Is there anything I can do for you?” said Rosie, with uncharacteristic politeness. He shook his head but then sneezed loudly three times into the crook of his arm and Jessica rushed into the kitchen and came back with the box of tissues and blankets he’d left there. He thanked her stuffily and blew his nose. “Don’t make him ask for things. He hates asking for things. He’d rather die of thirst than ask for a glass of water,” she informed Rosie, with exasperated affection. “I’ve noticed,” I said, “he’s too polite for his own good.” Robert squirmed a little and looked at the floor. “It’s a good flaw to have,” I said, reassuringly.

“Can Jess and me cook dinner together?” Rosie asked. “Voluntary housework? Who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?” I asked, then smiled. “That would be brilliant. Just clean up after yourselves.” They scuttled off to the kitchen and left us alone again. “Your Jessica’s clearly a good influence,” I told him. He smiled, then his nostrils flared and his face changed to a pre-sneeze expression. “Heh-heh-heshoo! Hishoo! HashOO!” “Bless you! You don’t sound well at all,” I said, using this as an excuse to put my arm around him. “And you’re still shivering,” I said, feeling him trembling under my arm, “Poor you. Do you need to lie down?” “I’b cobfy here, but thags. You’re very kide,” he said and leaned his head against my shoulder. Within a few minutes he was asleep.I went upstairs to tell the girls about our plans for the night, which pleased them both a lot, and they returned downstairs.

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When the girls proudly presented me with their homemade spaghetti bolognaise, he was still asleep and snoring softly. Jessica said it was better to let him sleep, so we did, leaving dinner in the fridge for him in case he woke up. The girls then returned to their bedroom to watch rubbish films again, and I sat next to him because it wouldn’t be nice for him to wake up alone. I fetched my laptop and tried to do some work, but my eyes kept wandering back to him. He looked so lovely while he slept. He lay unconscious on the sofa for a couple of hours – he must have been exhausted and he probably would have slept through until morning if a car hadn’t backfired in the street outside. He awoke coughing harshly and looked around with a befuddled expression. “Was I asleep?” he asked, between coughs “Yes. You looked like you needed it, sweetie,” I said. I must stop calling him pet names. “We saved you some of the dinner the girls made. Are you hungry?” He nodded, as his coughing had become too violent for him to talk. “I’ll warm it up for you. And I’ll get you some water.”

When I came back with a bowl of warm spaghetti he was still coughing. This worried me. I handed him the water “You sound terrible. You should see a doctor – you might have a chest infection,” I told him. He took a few gulps of water, “You’re very kide, but I’b fide. Really. It’s just a cold. You dod’t have to bake a fuss of be.” “I like making a fuss,” I said, hoping he didn’t realise just how much and in what way I liked it. “I cad te-eh-ell. Ad I-eh ah-appre-eh-ciate i-ishOO! HU-HU-HUSHOOO! HAAASHOOO!” He blew his nose, which was looking really sore. “’Scuse be. I appreciate it, but I just feel really guilty for botherig you.” Of course, this made me feel guiltier, “Please don’t. It’s nice to have someone over. Working from home can get really lonely,” I reassured him. “What is it you actually do?” “I’m a translator. I do subtitles, mainly, some medical documents, some legal stuff. It’s interesting work, but I do miss being around people.” “Well, it’s your lucky day, because I’b a persod. Isn’t that a co-idcidedce?” He joked, whilst twirling the spaghetti onto his fork. I smiled and he smiled back, then his breath started hitching again. “Heh-eh-ehshoo! Hashoo! HatchoOO! Dabbit!” His sneezing had made him spill spaghetti on his uniform. He grabbed some tissues and tried to wipe it up. “I deed this for toborrow, what ab I godda do?” he sighed. “You really think you’re in a fit state to go to work tomorrow? You sound like you need a day in bed to get better.” “I deed to do by job. I cad’t take a day off just for a cold,” he said, wearily “Eved if I have to go to work covered id spaghetti.”I swallow. “I have a spare dressing gown that’s not too girly. I could lend you that and we can put your uniform in the wash overnight. I’ll go upstairs and get it.”

I have a gorgeous, sneezing young man in my living room who needs to take his clothes off. Part of me is thrilled; another part is worried that I’ll do something ridiculous. I think I might be shaking. And another part feels guilty for being so excited when he’s clearly so miserable.

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“I’m a translator. I do subtitles, mainly, some medical documents, some legal stuff. It’s interesting work, but I do miss being around people.” “Well, it’s your lucky day, because I’b a persod. Isn’t that a co-idcidedce?”

LOLOLOL XD Yes, you are a person. A person indeed.

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Thanks for all the lovely comments. I've got s longer update for you this time; hope you like it.

I fetched my plain black dressing gown from upstairs after he’s finished his food and handed it to him. “I’ll just, um, wait outside while you get changed,” I said, trying and failing to stop myself blushing. I could feel my heart beat faster. I needed to get myself under control. I stood outside the door and closed it. I heard a muffled “Het-schht! Heshoo! Ha-ah-ashOOO! HACHOOO!” through the door. He was in there, naked and sneezing and beautiful. “Bless you!” I said, torn between wanting to run away from him and wanting to beg him to let me do all kinds of filthy things to him while he sneezed. “You can cobe back id now,” he said, about a minute later. I did. The dressing gown was pretty short on him and I could see he had the most amazing legs. Of course he had amazing legs. He was twenty one. There was no way he’d possibly be interested in 40 year old mum with a bizarre fetish. Frankly, he looked too exhausted to be interested in anyone or anything but sleep and cold medicine. “Do you want to go to bed now?” I asked, then realised what I had said and blushed again, adding quickly “I mean, you probably need a lot of sleep.” He nodded. “Sleep would be lovely.”

He took his phone and his inhaler out his trouser pockets and I took him upstairs to my bed, wishing I wasn’t leading him there to sleep. I could hear the girls talking and giggling across the landing. “Should I tell them to be quiet?” I asked. “Doe, it’s fide. Let theb have their fud. It’s Saturday toborrow, it’s dot like they have school,” he responded, then coughed a few times. I wanted to hold him, stroke him, comfort him and do… other things with him, but I wasn’t going to proposition a 21-year-old, nice as it would be. I opened the door and he flopped onto the bed and pulled the covers over him. The poor thing was shivering again and I had to repress the urge to crawl in next to him and warm him up. “I’ll bring you some Lemsip. You’ll sleep better if you’re not congested,” I told him, stroking his forehead and feeling his fever was still there. “Thangs. You’ve beed so lovely to be. I really ab grateful. Please, if you eh-eh-ever deed eh-eh-anywod to-ah asssshchht! EhhCchhhT! Het-chmpf! HetchoOOO! HASHOOO!” I couldn’t help myself from sitting down on the bed and putting both arms around him. “Bless you. You poor, poor sweetheart. You must be feeling awful,” I said, putting my head close to his ear and whispering tenderly. What was I doing? I got up abruptly. “I’ll get you that Lemsip,” I said, leaving the room before he had time to thank me.

When I came up with it a few minutes later he was having another coughing fit. I handed him the mug and he took a few gulps, which stopped it. “Thags. You’re brilliad,” he said hoarsely. “I’ll be downstairs on the sofa if you need anything,” I told him. “You sure you dod’t bind? I cad take the sofa if you like?” he offered. “No, you’re my guest. And you’re not well,” I said. “Tha- asscht! Ha-chhhmpf! Ha-ah-cchhsst! ah-ashoo! ASHOO! HACHOOOO! HETCHOOO! HU-UH-USHOOOO! HUTCHOOOO! HA-AH-ISHOOO! ICHOOOO!” His sneezes were getting stronger, bending him at the waist and making his eyes stream. “Bless you! That was quite a fit,” I said, hoping he didn’t notice how flushed I was or that my hands were trembling slightly. I handed him and handkerchief from my bedside drawer. “Sorry,” he said sheepishly, wiping his nose. “You don’t need to apologise for, um, for not being well,” I said. I couldn’t bring myself to say the word sneezing aloud. My whole body was tingling with excitement, but the poor guy needed to be left alone to get some sleep. “I’ll see you in the morning,” I said, and impulsively kissed his forehead. Why did I do that? It was stupid. I was probably making him really uncomfortable, but the poor dear was too polite to say anything.

I left the room as quickly as I could and went downstairs. I put his stained uniform in the washing machine with a few other items, turned on the television and tried not to think about going back upstairs and smothering poor sneezy Robert with kisses. This was rather difficult, as every few minutes he’d have another attack of sneezing. He’d start out trying to stifle the first two or three sneezes, then he’d lose control completely and go into a loud, powerful fit. In between sneezes I could hear him coughing and wheezing and I could hear the girls still chatting away. I wondered whether I should go up and check on him, but I didn’t see what I could do to help him, and I didn’t trust myself not to throw myself at him in some ridiculous, undignified way, so I stayed downstairs, put the clothes to dry when they’d finished washing and tried to focus my attention on the TV. Eventually the girls’ chatter was replaced by silence and Robert’s sneezing was replaced by snoring. I pulled the blanket around myself and drifted off to sleep.

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This is brilliant! clap.gif Poor thing is so unwell. The cold you're given him is a thing of beauty. drool.gif And so is he. Love and love all over again.

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I was woken early the next morning by the sound of footsteps and muffled coughing from Robert in the kitchen. I sat up and watched him – he was shivering visibly and moving in a slow, laborious way that suggested he was still exhausted. I watched him pull his clothes out of the tumble dryer then creae his face into a pre-sneeze expression. He pinched his nose between his thumb and forefinger and tried to stifle “Heh-chmpfff! Hechhsssshht! EhhhSHHHT! ESSSSSHT!” “Bless you! And good morning,” I said, sleepily. “Sorry, I did’t bead to wake you,” he croaked. His voice was barely above a whisper. “Don’t worry; I was already awake,” I lied, “and you sound terrible. You really should let yourself have a day off work.” He shook his head before bursting into a fit of harsh, painful-sounding coughs. I walked up to him and put my hand to his forehead. “You’ve got a fever. Sit down and let me take your temperature.” “I’b fide. I ha-ah-ave to work ad-a-ashOOO! HASHOO!HU-UH-USHOOO! ISHOOO! HEH-EH-ESHOOOO!” he sneezed into the crook of his arm, and groaned. He was pretty stubborn, but I was pretty sure he’d met his match in me. “You’re doing a very convincing impression of someone who isn’t at all fine,” I said. He opened his mouth as if he was about to respond, but then started coughing again. I got the digital thermometer out of the cupboard and fixed him with a stern look. He sat down reluctantly. “Hold this in your ear until it beeps” I said. He complied and a minute later I read “103. There’s no way you can go to work. You probably need to see a doctor.” He shook his head. “I deed to go to work. I’ll be okay, I…” his sentence was interrupted by more violent coughing. “Robert, you’re being ridiculous. If I was your boss I’d send you straight home.” He shook his head, continuing to cough into his fist. “You’ll make yourself even worse. Please just call in sick and go back to bed.” He continued to shake his head and cough – he was starting to wheeze as well now, and it sounded like he was having trouble breathing.

At that moment, Jessica entered the kitchen, wearing a smile and blue pyjamas she’d borrowed from Rosie. “Morning,” she said, brightly, then tossed Robert his inhaler. “You left this upstairs. Good thing I heard you.” Robert took a couple of puffs on it and his breathing started to return to normal. “Thags, I’b –cough-sorry I woke you,” he whispered. “You didn’t, your phone alarm did. And you left that upstairs as well” she said, brandishing his mobile. Instead of returning it to him, she started called someone. “Hi, this is Jessica. I’m calling on Rob’s behalf – he’s lost his voice. He can’t come into work today, he’s got flu and it’s making his asthma really bad.” At this point Rob got up and tried to snatch the phone off her, but she quickly moved out of his way. “ Yeah. Yeah, that’s him coughing. Yeah, I’ll tell him. Yeah. OK. Bye.” Jessie smirked in my general direction. I decided I liked this kid a lot. “Your boss says get well soon. She told me she would have sent you home yesterday if they hadn’t been so short-staffed because of the snow.” Robert looked disgruntled. “Jessie, I kdow you bead well, bu-uh-ut I’b ah-absolutely-uh-ushOO! USHOO! HU-UH-USHOOOO!” “Absolutely what?” she said, grinning smugly. “Absolutely stubborn. But not as stubborn as us,” I said, joining in the smirking. “Go back to bed, Robert. I’ll bring you some medicine and some breakfast. Do you like porridge?” He nodded, and crawled back upstairs looking defeated.

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Oh Robert, you and your stubbornness. That's how we know you're juicy. ;) I love it so far and it's cute how Jessica did the right thing. XD Keep it up!

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