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A Blessed Event - Secret Santa for Anatoli


gingerdean

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Here is your Secret Santa gift, Anatoli- just under the wire, whew! Sorry to make you wait so long!

Just a small side note...this is my first time writing an original fic on here, and also my first time writing female sneezing...I am nervous to post this, but I really do hope you like it, Anatoli.

Also, I will be posting this in 2 parts. Part 2 will be following shortly.

A Blessed Event

Part 1

Erin rolled over in bed, squinting at the soft rays of light that were seeping through the wooden blinds. "Mmph," she groaned drowsily. She pulled the covers over her head and tugged herself into a fetal position, hugging at her pillow.

A shiver shot down her spine as she suddenly felt her warm, down-feathered cocoon being ripped from her body. She turned over and shot an angry glare at Lizzie, who was hovering over her with an armful of blankets and a wicked grin on her face. "Rise and shine, sweetie! Better get your ass up now. I'd hate for you to miss one minute of this glorious day!"

Erin shot Lizzie a deathly glare. It certainly was not a glorious day, as far as Erin was concerned, and Lizzie damned well knew it. Today was the day of their friend Katie's wedding, and though Erin loved Katie dearly, there were not many things in life that Erin despised more than weddings.

Today would mark the fifth wedding in the last three years in which Erin had been asked to be a bridesmaid. Having to attend weddings was bad enough, but actually being in them just escalated the torture for Erin even more. The uncomfortable dresses, the awkward stiletto shoes, having to suffer through endless photo sessions...Thanks, but no thanks.

At least this wedding would be a little different from the many church-and-reception-hall events that Erin had attended lately. Katie had chosen to have her wedding outdoors, in a state park, and since the location of the park was a bit secluded, the majority of the wedding party had stayed in the park's hotel lodge the night prior. Lizzie and Erin, who represented the only two single women in the wedding party, had decided to share a room at the lodge.

At this particular moment, though, Erin was starting to regret this decision. She wanted nothing more than to burrow back under her covers and drift back to sleep. She sighed. "Give me my damn covers back, Lizzie."

"Forget it, Erin. You'll end up sleeping through the whole wedding if I let you."

Erin grunted and weakly chucked her pillow at her best friend's head. The pillow missed it's mark entirely, instead plummeting to the floor at Lizzie's feet. Lizzy threw her head back and laughed. "Nice aim, sweetie. Seriously though, you'd better get up. Our hair appointment is in less than an hour."

Erin rubbed her hands over her face and groaned. "Remind me why I'm putting myself through this again?"

Lizzie shrugged. "Because you love Katie? ...And you want her to say 'yes' to you when you ask her to be a bridesmaid in your wedding one day?"

Erin huffed. "If I ever get married- and that's a BIG if- I hereby promise I will not subject you, Katie, or anyone else to any of this pointless torture. We'll fly to Vegas, and I'll get myself hitched by one of those Elvis-impersonator officiates. Your bridesmaid attire will consist of blue jeans, tank tops, and flip flops, and we'll celebrate afterwards with some gambling and Cirque du Soleil."

Lizzie snorted a laugh and sat down on Erin's bed. "Wow, sounds classy. Good luck getting your future husband to agree to that. But come on, though - You have to be a little excited about today, right? I mean, look at who you get to walk down the aisle with." Lizzie raised her eyebrows suggestively. "That has to count for a little something, right?"

Erin felt her cheeks warming up. Why yes, yes it does, she thought to her self. Erin had been paired to walk down the aisle with Chris, who was Katie's brother's best friend. The same Chris whom Erin had a huge crush on in high school. Chris would often hang out at Katie's house during their high school days, as would Erin. And although Erin loved hanging out with Katie, she would be lying if she said there were never any ulterior motives in the matter.

So yes, Chris being a groomsman in the wedding was definitely a silver lining to this day. However, there was no way Erin was going to admit this to anyone else. Especially not to Lizzie, who, God love her, was the biggest gossip queen on the face of the Earth.

Erin waved a dismissive hand in front of her face. "Whatever, it's not like I've even seen the guy in years. For all I know, he's happily married with 2.5 kids by now."

Lizzie smiled. "Shows how little you know. I got the scoop on him for you yesterday, and it turns out that that he just broke up with his fiancé a few months ago." Lizzie shoved Erin's shoulder in excitement. "He's totally available now. He's not flying in until this morning, because of some school commitment or something, so he probably won't get here until a couple hours before the wedding."

Erin rolled her eyes and attempted to appear indifferent, although her heart betrayed her as it skipped a couple beats.

Lizzie grinned at Erin. "Just look at you. You're not fooling anyone." Lizzie jumped off the bed and grabbed Erin's wrists, dragging her into a sitting position. "Now get your ass UP!"

Erin followed the momentum upward and stood drowsily from the bed. The sudden shift in gravity set off a light flutter in her nose, which slowly but surely blossomed into a familiar pair of early morning sneezes. "Atchhhew! ...hi-iiisshew!" Erin stumbled backwards just a bit in the aftermath, as she sleepily attempted to gather her bearings.

"Bless you!" Erin heard Lizzie call from across the room. "Sheesh, allergies bothering you already?"

sniff. "I don't think so...not yet anyway. I do that every muh...morning....huh..." Another light tickle started to invade Erin's nose. Uh oh. A third sneeze was definitely not a part of her usual morning routine. She gasped, and threw her head back. "huh-eetchchew!". Erin sniffed again, then sighed in frustration at the aggravating tickle which was still lingering in her sinuses. Sure enough, a fourth sneeze soon followed suit. Hi....hii...he-eeetchcchew!"

"Wow. Hey, here you go." Lizzie grabbed the complimentary box of tissues from the nightstand, and handed several over to Erin. "Bless you again. So, you were saying?"

sniff. "Okay, you got me. Ugh." Erin rubbed at the underside of her nose with the tissues several times, and groaned. This certainly was not boding well so far. She hadn't even cracked a window open, and already her allergies were starting to flare up. Even knowing she would soon have her allergy medicine on board, Erin wasn't sure if her nose was up for all the excitement today.

Erin suffered from many allergies- dogs, grass and dust, just to name a few- but it was her allergy to pollen that always seemed to hit her the hardest. Fortunately, her prescription allergy medicine usually kept the worst of her symptoms at bay. Erin knew her medicine would be her lifeline today- After all, nobody wants a sneezing, allergic mess of a bridesmaid around on their wedding day. But then, Erin thought to herself, Katie was the one who picked Pollen Central as the location of her wedding, so she figured her friend had little room to complain in the matter.

Erin splashed water on her face in the bathroom, then winced as she took in her reflection. Her eyes had already become slightly puffy and red-rimmed - a surefire sign that the pollen count was going to be sky-high today. Erin coughed lightly then fumbled her way into the shower. The steam and the hot water helped to ease the itching in her nose and throat.

After finishing her shower and throwing on a pair of old jeans and a plaid button-down shirt, Erin started rooting through her purse for her allergy medicine. It was nearly 8:00, and Erin figured now would be the ideal time to dose up. She always felt the most relief for the first six hours after taking her medicine, and if she took it now, the effects should hold out for the better part of the day.

Erin started to panic a bit, as she sifted through her purse some more, and realized her allergy medicine was nowhere to be found. She frowned. "Lizzie, have you been in my purse for anything?"

Lizzie's head poked out from the bathroom. "Huh? No. What're you talking about?"

"My allergy medicine, it's...aw, crap, tell me I didn't...." Erin smacked her forehead audibly. She couldn't believe her stupidity. "I switched out my purse at home before I left, and...dammit... I left my medicine in my other bag."

Erin threw her purse down on the bed in disgust, and logged this away under Reason #296 for Hating Weddings: Having to switch out purses to match one's formal attire, causing one to leave important items at home.

Lizzie shrugged. "There's a gift shop in the lobby downstairs. They looked pretty well stocked. I'm sure they have allergy medicine. "

Erin groaned and pushed her face into her hands. "Yeah, I'm sure they do, but none of that over-the-counter stuff is gonna work as well as my prescription medicine. Trust me, I've tri..tried...hiiii....ki-iiTShhew!". sniff. "I've tried every possible over-the-counter medicine known to man. God, I'm such a moron."

Lizzie watched sympathetically as Erin's slightly reddened nose started twitching again, and her thick brown eyelashes began to flutter. She pulled Erin up from her sitting position, and started pushing her towards the door. Erin suddenly came to an abrupt halt, causing Lizzie to nearly tumble into her, as Erin convulsed forward with yet another sneeze. Lizzie sighed. "Hurry up. Go down to the gift shop and get some medicine before this gets worse. Anything has gotta be better than nothing at this point. I'll go meet up with Katie and the others, tell them you're running a few minutes behind for the hairdresser."

Erin nodded, sniffling into her tissue as she walked out the door.

------

Erin rode the elevator the three floors down to the ground level. Her head felt heavy and full from the increasing congestion in her sinuses, and this, coupled with the minute change in elevation, was making Erin feel a bit lightheaded.

Erin was just starting to gear up for another sneeze as the elevator doors began to open. Distracted by the teasing itch in her nose, she didn't even notice at first that there was now someone standing directly in front of her. She nearly jumped out of her skin when she suddenly heard a deep, familiar voice. "Hey, Erin! Is that you?"

Erin brought her teary eyes upwards and blinked. Standing in front of her was none other than Chris. Erin just stood there for a brief second, stunned. Chris was just as handsome as she had remembered. His hair was a bit longer than she remembered it, and he was sporting a deep, golden tan. He held a black leather suitcase in his left hand, and a black garment bag was slung over his right shoulder.

Erin finally found her voice and smiled. "Chris! Wow, it's been a long time. How have you been?"

Chris flashed Erin a warm smile that made Erin want to swoon. Thankfully, the emerging tickle in her nose had receded into an annoying afterthought for the time being. "I'm doing great! I mean....you know, the usual. School, work, friends getting married... Heck, I feel like every other month I'm running off to another wedding!"

Erin rolled her eyes. "Yeah, tell me about it. Me too. I..fee...hii...feel like..." A sudden tickle suddenly lurched within Erin's nose without warning, and Erin was helpless to ward off the forthcoming sneeze. She managed to hold up a finger towards Chris before twisting to the side and bending forward with a forceful sneeze. "Huh-uSSCHHhoo!" She held her position until she was sure no more sneezes were to going follow, then sheepishly turned back around towards Chris. Ugh, God. Of all the inopportune times to have to do that... "Um, sorry. My allergies are a little..." Erin shrugged, gesturing towards the gift shop. "I was just on my way to pick up some medicine."

Chris nodded. "Yeah...Looks like you're going to need it." Chris grinned. "I'll let you get to it, then. I need to get up to my room anyway. I just flew in to town from school..." Chris nodded towards the elevators, which had closed during the time they had spent talking. "Gotta grab a shower, get ready for the big event. Guess I'll see you there?"

Erin nodded, as she lightly pressed on her irritated nose with her finger, willing herself not to sneeze again. "Of course! I'd better see you there. You're walking me down the aisle, aren't you?"

Erin froze after these words came out of her mouth, wondering if they sounded as weird to Chris as they did to her.

Chris grinned back, seemingly unfazed. "Sure thing. See you there."

Erin gave an awkward wave and headed towards the gift shop with her hand over her face. Her initial interaction with Chris definitely hadn't gone the way she had pictured it. She rubbed hard at her itching eyes, and mentally cursed her nose for betraying her at such an inopportune time. She only hoped that Chris hadn't been too put off by her just now.

Erin was taken aback by the limited selection of allergy medicine in the gift shop. One would think a lodge in the center of an allergen-riddled state park would make a point to stay well-stocked on antihistamines. Surely she wasn't the only fool who had come ill-equipped for the occasion, was she? Erin reluctantly settled on Zyrtec, which unfortunately had never been terribly effective in managing her symptoms in the past. It would have to do.

One formal hairdo, one continental breakfast, and approximately twenty sneezes later, Erin was back in her room at the lodge with Lizzie, taking turns applying each other's makeup. They were due on the wedding grounds in less than an hour, and Erin was finally starting to feel the slightest bit of relief from the Zyrtec.

Lizzie was just putting the final touches on Erin's face with some finishing powder, when the tiny particles from the powder set off a sudden tickle in her already sensitive nose. Erin pulled away from Lizzie suddenly and turned to the side, hands hovering uncertainly over her face. "Hold on Liz, I think I... I have tuh...to sn...suh-hETCchooo! eh'NGtsh'ew! hi....As she geared up for a third sneeze, Erin felt her hands being tugged away from her face. As her breath hitched, she could hear Lizzie's voice somewhere in her periphery. "...Stop rubbing your hands all over your face! You're going to ruin your makeup..."

Erin glanced up at Lizzie just as her breath took one final hitch, then...."he'ETCHhoooo!" A strong sneeze suddenly erupted from her body, spraying both girls in the aftermath.

Lizzie looked up at Erin in shock, then down at her dampened shirt with a slight grimace. Erin cringed. "God, I'm sorry Liz. I couldn't help...it was the powder." Erin shrugged sheepishly.

Lizzie smiled, then started laughing. "Come on, Erin. I have three brothers, you know as well as I do that it takes way more than that to gross me out. Just surprised me is all." Lizzie's smile suddenly turned into a frown. "Seriously though...are you gonna be okay today? I mean, geez, you've been sneezing like crazy all morning."

Erin shrugged and looked at the clock. "Well, allergy medicine's starting to kick in anyway...hopefully that'll help." Erin was counting on it. She certainly didn't want to be an allergic, sneezing mess during the wedding, although at this point, the outlook was getting bleaker. If that little bit of powder was enough to set her off like that, she didn't even want to think what an influx of pollen in the middle of a park might do to her.

Erin and Lizzie got dressed in their respective bridesmaid dresses. When she was done, Erin studied herself in the mirror, and smiled. In contrast to all the other weddings she had been a bridesmaid in, she actually felt rather lovely in her attire today. More than that...she thought that she looked beautiful. The dress was a deep lavender, tea length, satin dress. It flattered Erin's curvy figure, hugging her in all the right places. Erin did a quarter turn in the mirror, and jutted out her rear a bit for emphasis.

Erin did a quick hair check next. She had picked a simple, partial updo, with a cascade of brunette curls flowing down her neck, and soft tendrils of wispy hair delicately framing her face. It looked perfect, if she did say so herself.

Right at that moment, Lizzie entered from the bathroom, clad in her own bridesmaid dress. Her eyebrows sprung up as she looked at Erin. "Wow! Oh, sweetie, you look fantastic. That dress was made for you!"

Erin grinned. "Thanks. You look amazing yourself. Ready to go?"

Lizzie shrugged. "Sure, I guess so. Ready or not..."

Erin nodded in agreement. Ain't that the truth. Erin grabbed some tissues and wiped delicately at her nose one more time. She stuffed some extra kleenex into her purse, grabbed her room key, and the two young women headed out for the ceremony.

I will post the second half of this very soon. It's pretty much finished, I just want to proofread it and add a couple things. It may be tonight, it may be tomorrow, but it WILL be posted before midnight on the 7th. (Well, midnight in my time zone anyway, I'm not sure when midnight is on here.) And yes, if you look up the term 'last minute' in the dictionary, you will find a picture of my face....

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Thank you so much! I like how Lizzie worries about her friend and the part where she pull's Erin's hands away from her face as she's sneezing from makeup powder is amazingly hot. But this whole story is really great and I'm looking forward to what happens next. Thanks again so much for writing this :D

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omg. Sincere apologies...My formatting is getting all screwed up when I copy my fic over from my email, and I don't know what the problem is. I'm trying to get it straightened out, but I also really need to go to bed soon, so if it takes much longer I will not get the 2nd part posted until tomorrow. I'm very sorry. :( It didn't do this when I posted the first part!

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Sorry for the delay! Apparently when I tried to edit this from my phone, I jacked up the text. Anyhoo...fixed now. Here is part two!

Erin and Lizzie exited the lodge, and slowly made their way across the park towards Katie's wedding site. Their stiletto heels occasionally caught in the loose dirt, causing them both to stumble a bit as they walked. Erin lightly dabbed at her nose with a tissue as she gazed around, taking in the beauty of the scenery. To her left was a small creek trickling alongside an old, red saw mill. Along her right, a quiet, thickly wooded area, lined with several hiking trails. Everything seemed so peaceful, so serene.

As lovely as the scenery was, Erin was having a hard time focusing on anything other than the burning and itching sensation that was flaring up in her nose. Her symptoms seemed to have gradually worsened from when she left the lodge. Her throat was itching, her eyes kept tearing up, and her head felt like it was full of thick cotton. But at least on a positive note, the allergy medicine seemed to be keeping a full-blown allergy attack at bay - at least for now.

Soon, Erin and Lizzie were able to make out Katie and several others in the wedding party conglomerating in the distance. About 100 white, pristine folding chairs flanked either side of a marble stone walkway. The backs of each chair were adorned with lavender tulle, tied into a simple bow, and garnished with several daisies. The marble walkway lead up to an open-air, wooden gazebo, also delicately draped with white and lavender tulle.

Erin couldn't help but smile in approval. Even someone with as much disdain for weddings as she did had to admire the elegant, yet simple ambiance of the affair.

Lizzie grinned and elbowed Erin. "Not bad huh? I know it doesn't quite have the feel of a drive-thru Vegas wedding, but..."

Erin elbowed Lizzie back and narrowed her eyes playfully, just before her face went slack, and the incessant tickle that had been teasing her for the past fifteen minutes finally became too much for her. "Hi-hiiiii....Hi’iiitchew! hi'tchoo ...etch-huh. 'hie'tcchchew!" Lizzie convulsed forward with a fit of desperate, rapid sneezes.

Lizzie cringed. "Geez, bless you. You okay?"

Erin raised her head to nod, but instead, one final sneeze caught her off guard. "hi-IIIshhss'huh!" She just barely had time to catch that one against the back of her hand.

"Bless you", Lizzie murmured once again. Lizzie turned away from the crowd and discretely pulled a tissue from the cleavage of her dress, and offered it to her friend. "Good thing I stocked up!" She smiled.

Erin gratefully accepted the tissue and delicately gave her nose a light blow. Her sneezes were starting to come stronger now, and in longer, quicker fits. Definitely not a good sign. How was she going to make it through this wedding without making a spectacle of herself?

As the guests started filling the seats and the string quartet started warming up their instruments beneath the gazebo, Katie's wedding coordinator began milling around and organizing the wedding party. The name "Ms. Stern" was written boldly on her nametag, and it didn't take Erin long to figure out that she was aptly named. She was a short, stubby woman with brown, thinning hair, a tiny, pinched-up nose, and a seemingly permanent grimace etched on her face. Sheesh, where did Katie find this lady? Ms. Stern started barking orders at the wedding party, passing out bouquets, pinning on boutonnieres, and arranging the processional line in a military- style manner, which made Erin wonder if the woman had perhaps been a drill sergeant in another life.

Erin took her place in line and gazed all around the park, looking for Chris. Most of the guests had found their seats, and the wedding was to start in less than twenty minutes. Erin hadn't seen Chris since their run-in by the elevator that morning. As Erin swirled around again, she suddenly found herself face-to-face with Ms. Stern, who was stiffly holding up a bouquet of flowers with one short, flabby arm. She shoved the flowers towards Erin's face. "These will be yours to hold. Be sure to keep them right at waist level as you walk down the aisle."

Erin attempted to reach for the flowers, but the sudden proximity to the sweet, floral scent was enough to set off an explosive tickle in her nose. Erin's face crumpled and her eyes shut, as she tried in vain to contain the onslaught of sneezing that was threatening to escape.

Ms. Stern huffed impatiently. "Well, come on, now. Take them!" Christ, but this woman was one scary broad. Somehow, Erin was able to grab at the flowers as her breath began to hitch. Only a split second later, she found herself bending over to the side, sneezing helplessly into the bend of her elbow. "he'eschchew! ...etcchh! huh...itscshh-huh! hi'iiichhhew!"

Erin raised herself back up when she was finished, gasping for air. She glanced up to see Ms. Stern narrowing her eyes at her with a look of disdain, then shaking her head in disapproval. "You musn't do that during the ceremony, young lady", she hissed sharply. She then turned away abruptly, as she continued distributing bouquets to the rest of the bridesmaids.

Erin felt a hand on her back, and looked up to see Lizzie looking on at her in concern. "God, Erin. Are you gonna be alright?" Before Erin could answer, Lizzie glanced up towards Ms. Stern. "So what was she all hot about?"

Erin rubbed gently at her nose, sniffling. "Um, I think...she didn't approve of my sneezing?" sniff. "She told me I wasn't allowed to sneeze during the ceremony." Erin couldn't help smiling at the absurdity of it all.

Lizzie's eyes widened. "Are you serious?" She shot an unsavory glare in the direction of Ms. Stern. "Geez. What a bitch. How on earth does someone like her become a wedding coordinator? She acts more like a prison warden."

Erin chuckled. "I was thinking the same thing. She scares the hell out of me." Erin glanced down at the bouquet of flowers The Warden had handed to her. It was a beautiful arrangement of roses, daisies and lilies, rich with deep pink, white, and lavender hues. They were so beautiful, so perfectly arranged... and so very chock-full of pollen. Erin groaned inwardly. When was she going to catch a break? She held the bouquet straight down at her side, in attempt to put as much distance as possible between her itchy nose and the pollen-riddled flowers.

Erin brought her face closer to Lizzie's. "Is my makeup holding up okay?"

Lizzie squinted at Erin's face, then reached up and rubbed a small black speckle out of the corner of Erin's eye. Then she smiled. "Perfect."

Erin turned around and made out a tiny figure emerging from the direction of the lodge. She squinted, and recognized the tall, strong build of Chris, who appeared to be sprinting in the direction of the ceremony. Erin looked over at the frantic wedding coordinator, and tapped her shoulder to get her attention. "Here he comes, " she said, nodding in Chris' direction.

Ms. Stern glared towards Chris, pushed her glasses up higher on her nose, and huffed loudly. "It's about time. My goodness, how very rude. The young man probably stayed up all night partying...no manners these days...." The wedding coordinator's voice trailed off, and Erin watched as she approached Chris. Erin was too far away from them to hear the verbal exchange, but she was able to watch Ms. Stern's finger aimed pointedly towards Chris several times, and Chris putting his arms up in the air in defense of whatever accusations she was apparently barking at him. Finally, she haughtily pinned on his boutonniere, then walked off in another direction, shaking her head. Chris approached Erin with his head hanging just a bit.

Erin grinned at Chris as he approached. "You made it! I was starting to think you stood me up."

Chris shook his head, as he panted heavily. "Holy crap, I thought I had missed the whole thing! I made the mistake of trying to grab a quick nap in my room before the wedding. I've had exams all week- only got a few hours sleep the last few nights. I think my body just shut down on me or something. I slept through my phone alarm and everything."

Erin huffed out a laugh. "That sounds like something I would do." Erin winced a little. "Looked like the wedding coordinator really let you have it, huh? What was she saying to you?"

Chris laughed. "She told me I was the rudest son-of-a-biscuit eater she had ever seen, and that I should be ashamed of myself for nearly ruining the wedding." He grinned. "Pretty dramatic stuff, huh?"

Erin threw her head back and laughed. "Son-of-a-biscuit eater? Who even says that?"

"I have no idea. Must be a popular phrase on whatever planet she's from."

Erin started to laugh again, but instead her breath began hitching wildly. Erin turned to her side and smothered two quick sneezes into her forearm.

Chris frowned. "Bless you. Didn't you get your allergy medicine this morning?"

Erin blushed. "Uh, yeah. It helped a little, but, you know...springtime, in a park... lots of pollen." Erin stumbled over her words stupidly. She hated talking about her allergies to Chris.

Chris started to respond, but instead feel silent as a Cello began playing Pachelbel's Canon in D, and soon after, three violins started to follow suit. Erin hesitantly lifted her bouquet to her waist in preparation, and as she did, the strong aroma from the flowers floated lightly into her nostrils. She raised her head a bit higher, as if that small degree of decreased proximity would actually help the matter. She sniffed and gave her nose a gentle rub. Her nose felt a bit tickly, but it was nothing to be concerned about just yet.

The first bridesmaid in line, who was one of Katie's sisters, started the procession, and began to walk down the aisle along side one of the groomsmen. The tickle in Erin's nose continued to flare up, bit by bit, and before too long, Erin was fighting the urge to sneeze with everything she had. As her eyes became teary and her nose began to tremble, Erin considered whether she should just cave in and allow herself to sneeze. At least this would lessen the chance of a fit hitting her as she walked up the aisle. At that very moment, however, Erin's nose made the decision for her, without her consent. "Hi-hiii..." Erin's eyes fluttered, and as her breath hitched, she stepped backward with her left foot involuntarily. As she did, she registered that her stiletto heel had found a soft spot in the ground, and was sinking into the dirt beneath her. This caused her to stumble backward a bit, and she tried to compensate by stepping back with her other foot. She was just beginning to really lose her balance, when she felt someone catching her from behind, as her head reeled back with one final hitch. Erin barely had time to bring one hand halfway to her face as she snapped forward with a tremendous sneeze. "heh-KKKISSSShew!" The spray from the sneeze landed delicately on her satin dress.

Chris suddenly emerged from behind, his hand still resting gently on the small of Erin's back. He raised his eyebrows towards Erin in apparent surprise. "Bless you", he whispered. "Wow, that could have been bad. huh?" he winked. "Are you okay?"

Erin's cheeks were on fire . She could not believe what had just happened. Humiliated, she nodded silently at Chris, then glanced down at her dress, which now was dotted with tiny dark speckles. Chris leaned into Erin's ear. "Don't worry about it. No one will notice." Erin looked up, and her heart melted as he he smiled at her one more time. It took everything she had to keep from swooning in his arms.

But at that moment, it was their turn to walk. Erin hooked her small hand onto Chris' arm, and they made their way up the aisle.

The walk up the aisle progressed without incident, to Erin's infinite relief. Even as a sharp itch shot up the side of her nose about halfway up the aisle, she warded it off like a champion, although she couldn't stop her left eye from twitching slightly, and her nostrils from twitching a bit in response. Still, with all things considered, Erin considered this a major win.

~~~~~

So far, so good, Erin thought to herself. More than half of the ceremony was behind her, and it was proceeding so far without a hitch, literally speaking. Finally, Katie and her soon-to-be husband began to exchange their vows. By this time, unfortunately, Erin was beginning to struggle with her nose, yet again. She reigned herself in best that she could. Just a few more minutes and she would be home free...

Suddenly, a sweet, gentle breeze began to blow through the park, and Erin could feel the pollen-heavy air dusting lightly into her face. Erin fought her body's need to sneeze with everything she had, but the inopportune gust of wind proved to be just enough to tip her over the edge. Erin's breath began to hitch helplessly. Oh God....I'm...I'm going to...nonono, please, not right now...

As the wedding vows continued, Erin finally turned her head away from the audience and sneezed hard into her hand. "het'CHew!"

The flood gates had opened, and Erin was helpless to ward off the uncontrollable fit of sneezing that followed. "He'eEEECHchah! t'ishhhew! t'ishh-t'ishh....hi-kisssshhew!"

"huh-hi! hi."..Erin had one more sneeze that desperately needed to come out, but for some reason, this one felt the need to toy with her. She tried to silence her little high-pitched gasps as much as possible, but the impending sneeze had grown out of her control at this point. Finally, the sneeze reached it's tipping point, and her head reared back ever so slowly, then snapped foreward into her fisted hand a final time. She felt her legs wobbling a bit on her stillettos, and she had to reach her hand out to steady herself. It was a miracle she hadn't fallen over.

She raised her head slowly and sheepishly glanced out to the audience. It was obvious her sneezing had caught the attention of the majority of Katie's guests. Erin's eyes drifted towards Ms. Stern, who was glaring at her with daggers in her eyes, her arms folded stiffly in front of her. Uh oh, looks like I pissed off the warden...

By the time Erin had recovered from her fit, The vows were finished, and the guests were cheering as the happy couple kissed. And just like that, it was over. Erin sighed heavily, wondering why that damn sneezing fit couldn't have held off for a few more measly minutes.

Erin's nose was on fire as she waited her turn to walked back down the aisle. Whatever relief her allergy medicine had given her for that short time frame was now long forgotten. As she headed back down the aisle, she had her eye on the small outdoor bathroom shack that was situated about 100

feet

away. Erin knew she needed to get there immediately. She could tell she was on the throes of another sneeze attack, and she didn't want to humiliate herself any further in front of everyone else, particularly Chris.

As she quickly made her way to the bathroom, she heard Chris' voice calling behind her, but Erin didn't have any time to lose. The urge to sneeze had become so strong, she could almost feel a fine layer of pollen coating the inside of her sensitive nasal passages.

Erin pushed her way into the bathroom, which thankfully was empty of any other wedding guests. She locked herself into one of the two stalls. Alone at last to suffer in peace, Erin finally allowed herself to succumb to her allergies in proper fashion. "Hi-hiiiii....Hi’iiitchew! hi'tchoo . 'hie'tcchchew! ...etch-huh ..hi'ETCH-huh! ha-nggt-chew!! he-nggt-uh.!"

Erin continued to sneeze helplessly for several minutes. She didn't fight it this time. She just allowed her nose to do what it felt it needed to do, until the fit mercifully began to subside. She groaned in the aftermath, and dabbed at the tears that were streaming down her face. Thank god for waterproof mascara.

As she exited the stall, she groaned as she realized the bathroom didn't have any mirrors. She could only imagine what her face looked like right now. She gingerly felt at her hair to make sure it was still in place, and cleaned herself up the best that she could. She would have to trek back to the lodge to fix herself back up properly.

Erin came out of the bathroom and jumped in surprise to see Chris leaning against the stone wall of the bathroom, his eyes knitted in concern.

Erin clamped her hand over her heart. "Oh! Oh, you scared me. What are you doing here?"

Chris smiled, a worried look still etched onto his face. "Well...I saw you running over towards the bathroom, and I was worried. I just wanted to make sure you were alright." Chris motioned his head towards the bathroom. "I heard you sneezing in there. Wow...that sounded pretty bad. Are you okay?"

A wave of embarrassment washed over Erin for the umpteenth time that day, and she felt her cheeks warming up. She waved her hand in the air dismissively. "Oh, I'm fine. Just my allergies, you know...I'll be okay.'

Chris' eyebrows raised, and he nodded. "Yeah, you mentioned that. Wow. Are they always this bad? That really must be miserable for you."

Erin shrugged. "They're not usually this bad. I usually have better medicine that takes care of it. I just forgot it at home, like an idiot..." Ugh. Erin wanted to change the subject to anything other than her allergies. If she ever felt she had a chance with Chris, she knew she had all but blown it now.

Oddly enough, though, Chris looked anything but repulsed by her. He continued to study her carefully as he reached into his chest pocket and presented her with his lavender handkerchief. "Here, you can keep this. You need it more than I do." He smiled.

Erin accepted it tentatively, and at that moment, - as if by some cosmic joke - her body betrayed her yet again, and she turned away and sneezed twice more into Chris' handkerchief.

"Looks like I gave that to you just in the nick of time." Chris grinned. Erin froze as Chris reached up to her face, softly brushing off an allergic tear which had rolled down her cheek. He glanced towards the direction of the lodge. "Let me walk you back over to the lodge. You need to get inside for awhile."

Erin blinked, and glanced back towards the wedding. "I don't think..."

Chris waved his hand. "Ah, they'll be fine. The reception's not for a couple hours, and hell, that wedding coordinator lady hates both our asses anyway." He grinned. "Besides, this is more important. It can't be healthy for you to be out here for so long."

Erin began to feel dizzy with excitement, as Chris slipped his large warm hand over hers, and guided her in the direction of the lodge.

Erin and Chris headed back to the lodge, and as Chris brought his arm around Erin's shoulder, Erin's heart fluttered haphazardly in her chest. She rubbed at her nose, and smiled. As far as she was concerned, this had become best day Erin could remember in a long time. Not even a wedding - or a park full of pollen - could ruin it for her now.

The End

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I wonder if Chris has a certain fetish... Poor Erin, I'm glad it turned out great in the end. No need to apologize gingerdean, this is more than I could have hoped to receive and I love this, thanks again for writing it!

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I wonder if Chris has a certain fetish...

I suspect that he just might...

You are very welcome. I'm glad you liked it smile.png

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Erin finally allowed herself to succumb to her allergies in proper fashion.

:D

Can't believe I missed this story! Absolutely love stories that involve sneezing at wedding ceremony's - something about the combination of plenty of pollen filled flowers and the need to maintain control during the service makes them irresistible :D

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