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So I know I haven't continued "Self-Interest" in a while (I'll try to update later today, promise!) but I suddenly got inspired to try something a little more angled towards the romance genre. It'll still be sneeze-heavy (not in the first part) but I wanted to do some more character development. Plus, I need to practice my romance writing, I don't have much experience in that! At any rate, this is a lot of exposition in the first part, so sorry if it seems stilted. I hope you enjoy!

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Part 1

Meet and Greet

We met on one of those "roommate dating" websites; ideal for me, as the internet was practically my life, and I was an extreme introvert. If it weren't for the necessity of splitting the rent with someone, I doubt I would have bothered with a roommate. Her profile included no picture, but her name was Scarleta Riviera, she was an aspiring reporter, had majored in journalism, and already had a paid internship set up at the local news station. We were set up to rent a house in the suburbs of a small city in California, and the city news station offered a surprisingly generous payment for interns with degrees in journalism.

As for me, I had one sci-fi novel published already, and it was relatively successful, considering I was an unknown in the writing world and this was my first novel. The royalties would support my half for now, and I was already working on a sequel and a fiction novel as we were making these arrangements, so I'd be fine as long as the books kept selling and my muse kept providing.

We chatted online for a while, exchanging photos when we felt comfortable enough. I sent mine first, weirdly enough; I wasn't particularly attractive, nor was I unattractive, in my own opinion, but as I'd said before, I was an introvert and not particularly open to other people. The picture that I sent through the site's chat client showed a picture only a couple weeks old, from my last day in my dorm room at Stanford; I was wearing my classic graphic-tee-and-jean-shorts combo, my combat boot-clad feet up on the coffee table, my hair tucked into a knit beanie. I'd cropped the picture to show just me, but next to me sat my roommate, ex-boyfriend, and best friend Derrick playing me in co-op Assassin's Creed. Derrick was tall, lanky, black, clean shaven, shaved-head, and dressed rather like a junior professor, which fit his archeology major. He was off on a dig in Egypt now; Valley of the Kings, I thought. So he was unavailable for rooming with.

Exposition aside, Scarleta sent me her picture, and I was instantly intimidated and intrigued. For one, we were opposites in almost every way. Her eyes were blue and uncovered, where mine were hazel and hidden behind thick prescription glasses. Her skin was deep brown where mine was pale peach, only occasionally suntanned. Her hair was short, feathery, and caramel, perfectly styled, while mine was shoulder-length, thick, and chocolate brown, usually just left to its own devices. Her figure was curvaceous and perfectly toned, whereas mine was rather skinny and slender. Her nose was small, slightly upturned, almost impish, where mine was proportional, but larger and more downturned in shape. Her expression was open, sociable, and unguarded, where mine was generally quiet, reserved, and borderline suspicious.

Her style was also intimidating; revealing, but in a way that didn't come across as "slutty" so much as it did "confident," as if she knew exactly what she had and felt no need to hide it. In the photo, she wore a low-cut blouse that came down to just above her belly button, and figure-hugging, see-through tights and a short skirt. Her legs were crossed, her feet covered in stylish boots, and she was caught mid-laugh, a half-empty drink of alcoholic origin in her hand. The entire effect was alluring, confident, all-around attractive. A fun, open, extroverted person who loved to have a good time. The polar opposite of me, yet I found myself somehow still interested. She had seemed sincerely nice from our chats, and I was a difficult person to please. Plus, the deal she was offering me was as-of-yet unmatched, so as a matter of reason it was, well... Reasonable. Not to mention the a snippet of conversation I had found intriguing for more... Personal reasons. Reasons I preferred not to discuss with anyone due to their embarrassing and compromising nature.

Scarleta: oh right! there is one more thing i should mention

Ruth: What's that?

Scarleta: i kinda sorta, uh

Scarleta: sneeze a lot ^.^'

Scarleta: i have reeeeally bad allergies and get sick real easy and

Scarleta: well you get the picture

I'd had to pause there a moment before replying. That was an... Unexpected revelation. And not entirely unwelcome.

Ruth: It's fine, I don't mind. My whole family had allergies, I was the only one who never seemed to be sneezing, so I'm used to it.

Scarleta: oh wow! that's a relief, thanks for being so understanding!

At any rate, we sealed the deal, made arrangements, and met in person for the first time outside the small, two-bedroom, one bathroom house in the suburbs. I arrived first, paying the blissfully un-conversational cabbie and grabbing my suitcases (Derrick had left me the X-Box, which I had every intention of setting up at the first opportunity). I dropped them off in my room (I chose the bedroom down the hall rather than the one that attached to the living/dining room) and stood outside, waiting and trying not to look too awkward.

I didn't have to wait long; Scarleta pulled up in a cab of her own, grabbed her bags, and chatted cheerfully with her cabbie while paying the fee. She waved as the cab pulled away, then turned around to survey the house. She spotted me, grinned broadly, and jogged up the path, leaving her bags in a pile on the sidewalk.

"Hi! You're Ruth, right? I recognize you from the picture!" She greeted cheerfully. Her voice had that attractive, naturally rough quality that I'd always been particularly attracted to. She wore a vest, but no shirt under it, which was in keeping with what I'd perceived as her style; revealing, but confident. She wore skinny jeans and high-heeled boots, and her feathery, caramel hair was styled so that a portion was swept across her face.

I blushed, glancing away as I shook her hand. "Uh, yeah. That's me. You're Scarleta?"

Her grin grew, paradoxically, even wider. "Yup! It's great to finally meet you. So this is the place?"

"Yeah. I, uh, took the bedroom down the hall, hope that's okay." I said, following her inside. She walked into the main room, and spun around, taking it in.

"Minimalistic, but it'll do!" She said, nodding. "And yeah, that's fine! Do you think you could help me grab my ba-ah..."

She raised a finger to rub at her nose, quirking it from side to side. Realizing she couldn't fight off the tickle that way, she pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket. I was surprised, because she didn't seem the type, but I was quickly distracted as she raised the hanky to catch wet-sounding, feminine, beautiful triple. "Hah... Haptchoo! Hah... Haptchoo!! Hah... HapTCHOO!" She sniffled wetly, blinking. "Ugh, sorry. I did warn you!" She smiled ruefully.

"Uh, bless you. It's fine." I said, hoping against hope my blush wasn't obvious. "Did you want help with your bags?"

"Oh, would you? Thanks so much!" She said, smiling broadly. "Come on, I think I may have packed a little too much, you know..."

We moved in, settled into a routine. She started work at the news station the next day, I worked away on my novels, and that was that. That was how I met Scarleta.

---

Again, sorry for the stilted exposition. I hate trying to find a way to describe characters in a flowing manner, it always comes out a bit... Bleargh. At any rate, hopefully someone out there is interested in this!

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I think you did a very good job describing the characters. I feel like i have a perfect picture in my head of what both girls look like, and they feel very life-like and believable! Awesome start!!

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SneezingCosmos

I can't wait for the next installment! The premise for the story is too cute, having both characters meet from an online dating site. It makes them very relatable :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

This story sure has potential. I'm hoping that they might get to share a cold later on. Your stories are great as always.

Edited by Likesn
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  • 2 weeks later...

And after a ridiculously long bout of writers' block, here's part two! Also, sorry for lying on the "Self-Interest" update, it's been posted now! Enjoy, my friends.

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Part Two

Blushes and Pollen Dust

We each settled in quite nicely. Scarleta's internship at the local station went swimmingly, and I continued work on my latest novel; the sequel was finished within the week and I was halfway through the fiction novel, as the rural area our house was placed in was the perfect muse for inspiration. Already, royalties had increased.

Scarleta and I grew close. I learned that she was only the second generation in her family to go to college, and that her grandparents had immigrated here from Costa Rica. I told her about my family; all lawyers or teachers or accountants, with me being the only one with a creative bone in my body. I learned she was gay, and I told her I was bi, and we sort of left it at that. We were good friends, and I was grateful; with Derrick out of the country, and me never leaving the house, save for groceries, I doubt I would have had anyone to really interact with.

About two weeks after we moved in together, Scarleta came home a little later than normal. I glanced up from the TV screen (Skyrim--rogue type character this time) and immediately paused the game.

"HapTCHIOO!" Scarleta exploded. "Haptchoo! Haptchoo-choo-choo! HAaaahEHHTCHOO!" Her handkerchief, held to her nose, was soaked as she blew her streaming nose into it. She snuffled and sneezed again as she finished. "HuuEEETCHOO!"

"Woah, are you okay?" I asked, getting up and guiding her to the couch. Scarleta merely shook her head and launched into another fit. "HaaaITCHOO! Etchoo-choo-atchiiew! HekchIEWW! Huh... HeeeehhhhHETCHIEW!"

She gasped for breath, wiping off her streaming nose. "Sorry. Allerg-ha! ATCHIEWW! HUuuuuhHAPTCHIEW! Allergies! Hah! HapCHOO-choo-chiew!"

"Geez, when you said you had allergies you weren't kidding." I remarked. She let out a hitching laugh, then quickly blew her nose.

"By ride could'd bick be ub." She explained congestedly. Her expression suddenly turned desperate. "Huh-HATCHIEW!" She snuffled and moaned slightly, setting aside her useless handkerchief. "I had do walg hobe--ETCHIEW! Uuugh, snnnnf!" I handed her the box of tissues off the kitchen counter. She glanced up and flashed me a grateful, radiant (no, no, no) smile before grabbing a few tissues and blowing her nose; wet, gurgly, desperate. "Sprig, you dow?" She added, coughing slightly. "Id geds be real bad. Snnnf! Ugh, sorry, I'b disgusdig."

"No, I don't mind." I reassured her. Oh, god, I didn't mind. "Um... Can't you take anything for it?"

"Do, dothig worgs." Scarleta lamented. I took in her full form; her bright blue eyes red and streaming, her cute (no, Ruth) little nose swollen, crimson, trembling, and flooding, her face twitching, slackening and scrunching as the polleny tickle in her nose rose and fell. I could imagine even prescription antihistamines having trouble controlling a reaction that strong. I rubbed her arm comfortingly.

"That's awful. Is there anything I can do?" I offered. Scarleta blew her runny, waterfall nose again and smiled at me wetly.

"Ub-uhh-ETCHIEW! Snnf, ugh, baybe a clodth width wader? Uuugh-aha! Ha! Haah-AKCHIEWW-choo-hatchoo!" She asked, then grabbed another handful of tissues and blew again, sneezing a few more times. I quickly got up and went to the kitchenette to wet a towel, then brought it back and lay it carefully across her swollen, leaking, pretty (stop it!) face.

"Ahhh, thdad's snnf! Uh, bedder already. Thags, Rudth." Scarleta thanked, her perfect (ugh stop no) smile the only part of her face I could see.

"Anytime." I muttered, glancing away even though she couldn't see my blush. "Maybe we should stay in for dinner tonight?"

"Haha-uh... Uh-uh-hahhh-ETCHIEW! HakCHIEW-chieww-chiewww!" She sneezed suddenly, moaning and snuffling before smiling and laughing again. "Yeah, baybe. Uuugh... Bud, seriously, thag you."

"No problem." I muttered again, picking up my controller and hoping against hope she wouldn't notice my blush when she could finally remove the cloth. "GTA, or Smash?"

"How'd you ged Smash od ad X-Box?" Scarleta asked, lifting the cloth off one eye to look at me suspiciously. I smirked.

"I have my methods." She smiled gorgeously (no!) in response.

"You're od. Jusd waid dil-uh... Huh-HETCHIEW! Ugh, snnnnf... Waid dil you see by Zelda boves."

"Your Zelda has nothing on my Kirby." I retorted, passing her an extra controller and opening the game, which may or may not have been illegally transferred to X-Box from GameCube.

"Girby? Snnnf, urgh... Seriously?" She grabbed the controller and we started playing, occasionally pausing for Scarleta to let out a few remaining, gushing sneezes. Which I in no way enjoyed. At all. Seriously.

Shut up.

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Oh haha she's such mess! This was really cute! Not normally into allergies, but you did such a good job with her helpless fits that i was pulled right in! Awesome! Can't wait for more!

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I'm on a few story sites, so I know all about writer's block. I've made up sick girl stories that I never shared with anyone else.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Well, I'm way too hot, don't want to do anything, so I'm just going to write another installment. This is on a whim and I have no idea where it is going, BUT... I am doing it anyway. Be prepared for randomness.

---

That was hardly the last allergy attack Scarleta suffered. Oh, lord, it was not the last.

Scarleta suffered an attack like that at least once, maybe twice a week (apparently, her not suffering anything major when we first moved here had been a fluke), always with the same large, wet, spraying, desperate, wonderful (oh stop it) fits of sneezes, her nose and eyes bright red and enflamed with allergic itch, her face wet with runoff from both of aforementioned features. I always offered to help in any way I could--usually a wet cloth and any sort of distraction, be it reading aloud a passage from my novel or challenging her to a video game--and she was always immensely grateful afterwards. It was a strange experience for me; an obviously popular, attractive (no, no, no), social person actually taking an interest in me, paying attention to me, not being a total--well, bitch. Scarleta may have looked the part a bit--with her revealing clothes, expertly applied makeup, stunning figure (not that I looked or anything), and constantly filled social calendar--but she certainly didn't act like it.

Apparently things do change after school.

A few months after we started living together, the allergies started backing off as fall came to a close, and winter rolled in. It was a strange experience for me; a snowy winter. I was used to California style winter, with the occasional torrential rain storm, and frosty mornings and chilling nights, but never cold enough for snow. This constant cold and change in weather did prompt me to leave the house at least once a day to just experience it; but not for too long. Like I said, it was cold.

One morning, during our morning coffee (Scarleta always had to get up early for work at the news station, and I felt obliged to at least be coherent at the same time she was) Scarleta was telling me about work (blah blah ratings, blah blah blond bimbos, blah blah slow news day, blah blah cold--wait, what?)

"--and Steven came in sneezing like nobody's business, I swear, you'd think someone had a feather up there or something." Scarleta continued, unaware I had been totally zoning out (small talk is small talk, no matter how attractive [stop it] the talker is), "Honestly, the poor guy should have stayed home, I mean, he saw how bad Margaret had gotten, and they do the politics segment together, he should have known better than to try and work through it, but no he just had to come in, and Felicity was starting to sneeze last night, we work together a lot, and with my immune system, I'm bound to catch it at any time now..."

"Felicity?" I asked, suddenly interested in a girl she worked closely with. Not for any particular reason. Or anything.

"Yeah, and her with a newborn, I hope she doesn't have it too bad, Mark had better pick up the slack this time, he was utterly useless while she was pregnant, apparently. That's what I've heard, anyway."

"Oh, definitely." I agreed, suddenly relieved. Also for no apparent reason. "You're pretty sure you're gonna get sick?"

"Oh, probably. Sorry in advance if I get you sick, I'm an absolute nightmare with a cold." Scarleta added, picking up our coffee cups and putting them in the sink. "I should get going, though. Daily grind and all that."

"I wouldn't know." I joked, smirking. Scarleta laughed, her smile radiant (what is it with you today, brain?) as she grabbed her purse and headed for the door.

"Oh, rub it in, why don't you? See you after work!" She called over her shoulder. I smiled slightly as the door swung open, sighed, and got up, heading to my writing desk.

---

When Scarleta said she was an absolute nightmare with a cold, I'm not sure what I had expected; maybe some more sneezes than usual, coughing, something like that. Like her allergies but all the time.

It wasn't like that at all.

I woke up a bit earlier than usual three days later, and was slightly surprised when Scarleta wasn't already up and about. She was usually up at least an hour before me. I sighed and went to her bedroom.

Only to glance through the crack in the door to see Scarleta, clad only in a leopard-print, matching bra and undies set, sitting on the bed, blowing her nose with a long, saturating, juicy gurgle.

I definitely, inexorably did not stare. At all.

Shut up.

I silently backed up and went back to the kitchen the moment my brain had stopped (taking in every detail and--no stop) freezing and started the coffee. She came out five minutes later, snuffling into a tissue and coughing slightly.

"Guess who fidally caught a cold?" She asked with a rueful smile. "Hidt: it's be. I feel like utter crap." She then proceeded to blow her nose on the already used tissue; long, wet, soft, and squelching with shifting mucus.

I looked down, but it wasn't to hide my blush or anything.

"You're up early today." Scarleta commented, sitting down at the table as I handed her a mug of coffee; just a splash of cream and caramel, how I knew she liked it. She smiled at me. "Also, thagks."

"No problem. Also, you're up late." I countered, grabbing my own mug (lots of milk and ungodly amounts of chocolate) and trying not to think too hard about the thick, liquid sniffles coming from Scarleta.

"It took logger to get ready, 'cause I feel like absolute crap. I'd stay hobe but everyode's sick so I feel like I should probably go id if I cad." She replied. Suddenly, her face slackened. Her nostrils flared and twitched for a moment, liquid just on the cusp of dripping out. Her blue, beautiful eyes (no, no, stop) fluttered open and shut, glassy with anticipation. Her breath began to hitch and flutter, her chest rising and falling as her nose wiggled and snuffled sporadically, and...

"Uuugh... Lost it. Dabbit. This always happeds whed I'b sick. I albost prefer allergies." She groused, swiping at her overflowing nose. Her voice was deep and stuffy with congestion, which made it sound very attractive (no!) husky. She coughed lightly again and moaned.

"That sucks. Are you sure you can't stay in?" I asked quietly. I wasn't sure which I wanted her to do; stay, because of... Reasons, or go, also because of... Reasons.

"I wish, but do, I really should--ha!" The sneeze suddenly came back, and her face went through that same transformation; features slackening, eyes fluttering, nose twitching and flaring and dripping, mouth gasping, for about a minute before finally "HuuAHIKschuuh!"

It was nothing like her allergy sneezes; squelched and extremely messy, shooting spray all over her face and her hands, which she hastily brought up to block her exploding nose. Scarleta snuffled deeply a few times and moaned. I came to my senses and got up, grabbing the tissue box from the kitchen counter and handing it to her.

"Uuugh, thagks." She muttered, wiping off the discharge and blowing her nose with an even wetter, squelchier sound than before. "The story of by life, for the dext week to two weeks, depeddigg od how obdoxious by ibbude systeb decides to be. Sddddf, uugh." She downed the rest of her coffee in one go and got up, grabbing a couple handfuls of tissues and stuffing them into the pocket of her skinny jeans. "Wish be luck. Sdddf!"

"Good luck." I murmured, as the door swung closed. I sighed and leaned back. Imagining Scarleta, at work, forced to pause due to that all-stopping build up. Scarleta, having to stop a conversation to blow her flooding nose. Scarleta, sneezing that same, squelching, incredibly wet sneeze.

Scarleta, at home, in that leopard print--

"No." I said out loud, shaking my head. I sighed. I was going to have trouble focussing today.

I was probably going to have trouble focussing every day until I did something about this... I had to admit it: crush.

Huge, undeniable, amazing crush on beautiful, perfect, amazing Scarleta Riviera.

I had to make a move. I was socially inept, a total introvert, a loner, probably the most awkward person alive, and I had to make a move on the sociable, perfect, friendly, amazing, perfect social butterfly that was Scarleta Riviera.

Somehow.

I smiled slightly, grabbing my own purse and pulling on my snow jacket. Maybe this cold would provide an opportunity to push things beyond the "good friends" area...?

---

Caretaking is in their future thumbup1.gif

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Oh.my.god.i love the awkward romance anf the super sneezy scarletta and how ruth finds it hot the tan skin and blue eyes is an iinteresting combo

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Well well well; we've definitely got the 'sexy' bit out of the way now, haven't we!

Which hopefully means my other favorite part...cute comfort romance shit, perhaps???

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  • 2 months later...

Okay, okay, I haven't continued in FOREVER, I know, sorry!

Anyway, here we see how NOT to flirt, by Ruth! Plus, poor, sick Scarleta.

---

By the time Scarleta got home from work, I had gotten next to nothing done, but I had forced myself out of the house to go shopping. The nearest general store was a short walk away, so I bundled myself up against the cold and social interaction and strolled over there. Luckily, it had long since stopped snowing, but the ground was still covered in the stuff. The thought of Scarleta walking to her bus stop, waiting for her ride in this cold, while sniffling, hitching, sneezing... I cut off those thoughts. The last thing I needed to be doing while trying to talk to people was blushing.

I walked through the aisles of the general store, grabbing the essentials--tissues, tea, et cetera--before heading as fast as I could to checkout. I refrained from grabbing any cold meds; I remembered Scarleta mentioning a while ago that they always made her nauseous, and that was the last thing I wanted. I paused on her way to grab some soup fixings. My mother had a relatively good recipe for a simple spiced chicken-broth, and I could add some noodles to it if Scarleta was feeling hungry. While I was piling up my supplies at the checkout, the clerk smiled sympathetically.

"Cold?" He asked, scanning the chicken. I blushed furiously, glancing away.

"My roommate's sick. Wanted to get her some stuff." I muttered.

"That's nice of you." The clerk responded mildly, scanning the last of my items. "That'll be $27.95. Have a nice day!"

I rushed out of the general store and speed-walked all the way home, blushing furiously. I was certain I'd sounded like an idiot, but I couldn't help it; I just don't do well in social situations.

Once back inside the warm, sweet solitude of her home, I set about making soup; Scarleta would be back in about an hour, and I wanted to be ready. I wasn't sure if going above and beyond what was expected of roomies/friends would be construed as flirting, per say, but it was worth a shot. And I definitely hadn't impulse-searched "how to seduce my roommate" on Google that morning or anything. Nope. Not at all.

Shut up.

When the door finally opened and shut, I was just pulling the freshly-made pot of spiced chicken broth off the stove and pouring it into two bowls.

"Sddf... Are you cookigg?" I glanced over my shoulder to see... Oh.

Oh, dear.

Scarleta looked like a beautiful wreck. Her makeup, usually carefully painted across her face, was smudged and tear-streaked. Her cheeks and nose were flushed dark. Her eyes were tired, shadowy, and rimmed with red. Her normally upright, confident form was slumped in exhaustion. A saturated ball of tissue was pressed up against her flowing nose. I felt something in my chest bump.

"Um, yeah." I muttered, suddenly shy as I pushed a bowl down the counter at her. "I figured you'd want something warm when you got back. It was freezing today and you're sick, so... I, um, got more tissues too. And tea."

"You-sdddf! Ugh, I bead, you wedt shoppigg?" Scarleta asked, her rough, congested voice tinged with surprise. I nodded, not meeting her gaze. "Thagk you. You, ah, really didd't have to--hah..." She trailed off, her expression blank. Her nostrils twitched and flared as she pulled the tissue ball away, liquid dripping down to her lip as her eyes fluttered in anticipation, before finally--

"Hahh..." Nothing. "Sddddf... Sorry. You really didd't have to do all this." Scarleta insisted, smiling gratefully. "I appreciate it, but--"

"Yeah, I know." I blurted. "I just wanted to help you feel better."

(Fuck.)

Scarleta blinked in surprise while I mentally cursed myself. I bit my lip, staring down into the depths of my soup bowl.

"Well, that's very sweet of you. I'd love sobe soup." I glanced up to see Scarleta smiling softly. I returned it with a weak smile of my own, grabbing both bowls and heading to the table.

As I was setting our food down, I heard Scarleta's voice hitch again, with more desperation; "Hah! ...AH! Hahh-eh! Sdddf, ahHH!" I set the bowls down and came around the corner, back into the kitchen, just in time to see Scarleta's face, blank with desperate anticipation, her nose dripping and wriggling, her eyes fluttering, and then--"Hiihhh-HIKShchhhuh!"

A wet, spraying, splattering, uncovered sneeze.

Aimed directly at me.

I blinked, raising a sleeve to wipe at the slight dampness about my face as Scarleta watched on in abject horror. "Oh by god, I--sddddf! I'b so sorry! I... I thought you were-sddf! I bead... Id the other roob, I... Oh, do, sorry, I just--!"

"Uh, Scarleta--" I tried to tell her it was okay, I didn't mind (oh lord did I not mind) but suddenly she was right there, and she had grabbed a fresh tissue and was fussing with me and wiping at my face, she looked almost in tears in her embarrassment, I was probably blushing just as much, and she was apologizing over and over, and her skin was so hot on my face, her lips were right there, and I--

"Scarleta!" I finally exclaimed, grabbing her hands. She stopped her streaming babble, staring at me in pure contriteness. I managed a weak smile. "It's, um, i-it's okay. I'm good. You didn't mean to, it's fine."

Scarleta's face crumpled, and for a second I thought she was about to sneeze again, but instead she just burst into tears. Stunned, I stared for a moment as she cried, then quickly pulled her against me in a hug. I didn't know what was happening or how I was supposed to react. Scarleta was strong, confident, sure of herself. She didn't cry just because she accidentally sneezed on someone. That was my job.

For the first time, I noticed I was actually taller than her.

I quickly scanned my memory; what did people do when other people were crying? I deciding running my fingers through her hair, murmuring comforting sounds was probably my best bet. I quietly shushed her, petting her head in a way that I hoped was comforting while she hiccuped and sobbed into my chest. I think she may have sneezed once or twice, too. It was hard to say. For about ten minutes we just stood there in the kitchen doorway; her all but collapsed in my arms, me holding her upright, trying to calm her down, silently panicking all the while. This wasn't how it was supposed to go. But what was I going to do? Leave her there to cry on her own?

I cared about her too much to do that. As a friend, and, yes, as something else as well.

Finally, her sobs faded to a constant, runny sniffle, and slightly hitching breath. When after a minute of this she let out a "Hah-HIKChhuh!" into my chest, I realized that, yes, she had been sneezing a bit in there.

"I-I'b so sorry a-about that." She muttered, not moving away, so I pulled back myself, just enough that I could see her face, but still hold her. "I-I just.. Today just sucked, I felt like crap, add do ode c-cared, a-add I was w-workigg by ass off add b-by supervisor kept b-beigg all creepy w-with be add sh-she tried to c-corder be id ode of the s-staff roobs add whed I told her I w-wasd't idterested, she just r-ripped idto be, sh-she told be I was a-a taledtless s-slut who w-was goigg dowhere add she had beed by b-best bet add I ruided by career, a-add thed I cobe hobe add you're just here b-bakigg fuckigg soup add you g-go add say y-you just w-wadt be to f-feel better, a-add I go add sdeeze od you like a disgustigg idiot, add I ruided everythigg, I just--"

"Scarleta, oh my god, are you okay?" I asked in shock. She'd started crying again, and any lingering thoughts of instigating romantic relations that hadn't fled when she first started crying disappeared. I didn't know from social interaction, but if I'd been in her situation, I'd want a friend, not someone hitting on me. I hurried to try and reassure her; "Look, I don't mind the sneezing, I already told you when we chatted that first time I can handle it. But that supervisor--god, Scarleta, we need to report her, or something, that isn't okay!"

It hit me like a truck the moment I said it; how not okay that was. That was beyond 'not okay.' No one had the right to make gorgeous, confident, perfect Scarleta unsure of herself. No one had the right to treat her like livestock. No one had the right to cut her down in any way, shape, or form. No one had the right to dare call my perfect, beautiful Scarleta a slut. Not Scarleta. Never Scarleta.

I wanted to go straight down to the news station and slap that bitch. I wanted to tell Scarleta she was perfect. I wanted to do anything but stand there and issue stereotypical reactions to a friend's problems.

"I did report her." Scarleta promised, sniffling and wiping at her eyes impatiently. "The guy id badagebedt was really dice about it, he said he'd take care of it right away. Sdddf... Ugh, I'b sorry, I juh-huh! Hah! Hahhh... Just feel like crap, I'b so sorry, your soup is probably coh-oh... Oooh... Ahhh-HIKChhuh!" She clamped her hands over her face that time, even though my shirt was already soaked with tears and (admittedly) mucus. She looked like she was on the verge of apologizing/crying again, so I quickly hugged her again.

"It's okay. You did the right thing, Scarleta." I assured her. She sniffled miserably, then looked back up at me.

"D-did you bead what you-sddf! Ugh, said? About be beigg perfect?" She asked. I froze.

Oh god, I'd been talking out loud, hadn't I? Or had it been when I was murmuring meaningless comfort? Had it not been so meaningless, after all?

"Yes." I blurted through my terror. My heart was racing. I didn't know what she was thinking. I had no idea how she would react.

She was right there.

She gave me a watery smile. "I'b dot actually perfect, you dow."

I gave her a (probably slightly dopey) grin. "Could have fooled me."

Oh god, I actually said that. Why did I choose today to lose my mouth filters?

She collapsed back into my embrace again, and I held her closely as I dared in a hug. Upright snuggle? I wasn't sure.

"I thigk baybe w-weh-ah... Ahh! Ah, sddf. Ah, we should probably eat dow." Scarleta suggested casually. I didn't know how long had passed.

"I'll go heat up the soup again." I replied, also trying for casual. Scarleta's message was clear even to me; we can discuss this later. But right now, we'll just let it be.

And as I stuck the soup bowls in the microwave, listening to Scarleta finally let out a desperate, messy "Hah-AH! AKCHHchuhh!" I thought that was just fine by me.

---

Did that seem... Idk, forced at all, to you? I hope not. I just kinda rolled with it. I hope you enjoyed!

(also sorry if anyone saw the messed-up version first, I have crappy wifi!)

Edited by SpamKey
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That was adorable!! I absolutely loved that part! It was written just perfectly and I can't wait for the next part (and of course, as usual when it comes to me, hoping that Scarleta's cold is catching ;) ).

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  • 2 weeks later...
SneezingCosmos

Things really took a really good turn all of a sudden when Scarleta caught that cold :D Not that I wasn't enjoying the whole story up to that part; the whole premise is very cute ^^ It speaks to a lot of people who are into long-distance relationships, realizing their fantasies and making it work in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. Scarleta and Ruth are a cute couple and I'm looking forward to seeing how their romance develops!

Imagine the shock Scarleta's going to have when Ruth breaks free of his parenthetical self-chiding and tells her of his fetish!

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