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"I'm fine"

v a n i l l a

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I've been going through a looooong stretch of writers block. So, I’m trying out a first person POV (hence the strange combination of slang and advanced vocabulary), which is quite different for me, but I wanted to try something new. I might switch back to 3rd person at some point though, idk. Anyways, no sneezing in this part, sorry! I needa set up the backstory first.


LANGUAGE WARNING: I might use a bit of swear words in this fic, so you have been properly warned! Nothing too bad though.


Calix’s POV

Oh, my gosh. The light keeps flickering. Are lights supposed to flicker like that? I swear, these god forsaken, fluorescent overheads will be the death of me. That is, if my teacher’s boring drawl about cluster and stratified sampling doesn’t do it first. Seriously, I can’t imagine a less interesting topic to discuss at such length.

At least Elle’s in this class. Makes my day a bit more interesting. Actually, come to think of it, I haven't seen yet Elle today. I wonder if—

“SORRY!” As I spun around, my eyes followed the source of the flustered cry. Speak of the devil.

I guess she forgot her umbrella, ‘cause she was dripping with rain. Jeez, that girl...

I chuckled as the scatterbrained blonde hustled to her seat, a good ten minutes after the first period bell had rung. “You’re early,” I teased.

“Shut up.” It would seem my humor wasn't appreciated. “Alarm wouldn't go off.”

“Seems to be doing that a lot lately. I’d consider investing in a new alarm clock.” I earned a joking smack on the shoulder for my comment. Eh. Worth it.

“Whatever. Did I miss anything?”

“Uhhh.. I haven't really listened to a word he’s been saying, so…”

“Yeah, forgot who I was talking to.” She flashed her winning, ivory grin again as she laughed. I swear, she could blind a small village with that smile.

“Miss Allen.” Elle rolled her eyes at her teacher’s overly proper diction. She hated being called by her last name. Not that she particularly disliked her last name. She just hated how formal it sounded. ‘Miss Allen.’ Too verbose. Hence why she went by Elle, not Elizabeth. “Are you deathly ill?”

Elle raised an eyebrow. “Uh, not that I'm aware of.”

“In that case, as you’re reasonably healthy and you seem to be able to walk perfectly well without the use of crutches or a wheelchair, I see no reason for you to make a frequent habit of eluding such large portions of my class. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal,” she replied with a plastered on grin, which faded in about three milliseconds. I opened my mouth to defend her, but she waved me off. “Not worth the trouble,” she mumbled to me under her breath.

I dipped my head and attempted to turn my attention back to the lecture. Yeaaah, that didn’t last long. My focus was soon procured by Elle’s mindless origami star making. Or at least they looked like stars. I couldn’t really tell. It’s a wonder either of us maintain decent grades in that class––or any other class, for that matter––considering our apparent attention deficit problems.

I thought I heard Elle sniffling, but that might have just been the sound of water dripping. I couldn’t tell. She didn’t seem upset or crying or anything, so it didn’t make sense for her to be sniffling. “Seriously, Elle. Couldn’t spare thirty seconds to grab an umbrella?”

She shrugged absently. “I dunno. Wasn’t raining that hard when I left my house.”

“Well, that changed, didn't it?” My sarcasm melted a bit as I looked at her drenched exterior. I groaned softly. Damnit. “Here.” I shook off my jacket and tossed it at her. “It's a bit big but—”

“Oh, hell no.” She rolled her eyes, deflecting the incoming jacket with her rain-saturated arm. I looked down in dismay at the puddle of royal blue vinyl that lay dormant on the floor. “No way am I wearing that.”

“Why not?” I was stunned. What issue could anyone possibly have with it. “It's a perfectly good jacket.” I offered it a sympathetic glance before directing my eyes back up to the blonde before me.

She choked back a laugh, which I found slightly more offensive than if she had just simply laughed. “You look like a knockoff smurf in that thing.” I gingerly picked the smurf-jacket off the floor, sweeping off the water that was beaded on it.

“Okay, then continue wearing a tank top with no jacket and let me know how that pans out for you.” Whatever. Class was ending soon, so didn’t really have time to argue with her anyways.

“I don't get cold. I'll be fine.” Her voice sounded passive, yet still firm.

“Mmmmmhmm. You keep telling yourself that.” As soon as the bell sounded, I got swept away the current of bustling teens. Thankfully, my smurf-jacket and backpack both acted as shields against the unrelenting skies that awaited me. I turned to give Elle one last remark, but I was taken aback by what I saw. I didn’t get a good look, since everyone was shoving past on their way to class, but I coulda sworn I saw her rubbing her temples. Oh well. Maybe I saw wrong, or maybe she’s just annoyed or something. Either way, there was nothing I could do about it now.


Sorry again for the lack of sneezing in this part! There will definitely be more soon :) Any constructive criticism or ideas are appreciated!

Edited by v a n i l l a
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  • 4 weeks later...

Ahhhh I'm way too critical of my own writing and it prevents me from actually getting anything written, but, lo and behold, I have an update. Enjoy.


Calix’s POV

Jeez, how do you fill out the stoichiometry formula? Or, is that even what you call it? I dunno, I just spaced out during that whole class. Which is inconvenient, considering I had two worksheets to do that night for homework. Not to mention all my Stats work on stratified sampling. The only stratifying I felt like doing was strategizing which classes would be the easiest for me to take next semester. But… I don't think those words mean the same thing. Sooo, I'm probably not gonna be able to do that homework either. Great. 

To add to the lovely mood, the rain was refusing to let up. Peeeerfect. I slumped through the hallway, my mind racing with all the tasks I needed to complete. That is, until an angry, blonde mound obstructed my path. 

“Uhhf..” I stumbled a bit and caught myself, my sneakers sliding a bit across the oversaturated concrete. “What was that for?”

Elle rolled her eyes in that really overdramatic way that she absolutely loves to do. “Ahhh, so nooow you pay attention to me.” She was trying way too hard to make it seem like she didn't care and was simply making a casual, light hearted joke. Which, of course, she only did when she was being extremely petty and offended and not-at-all casual. 

I was puzzled, genuinely unsure of what she was referring to. I mean, sure, I hadn't been going out of my way to talk to her that day, but I had way more important things on my mind. Like all the homework I was never gonna finish. And besides, the last time I’d seen her, she’d thrown my jacket back at me like a toddler sitting in a high chair, throwing plum-flavored mush.

“I've been in class and focusing on my work, Elle. I have more important things to do than find ways to bother you.” Okay, maybe I didn't word that perfectly. I wasn't sure why I was bickering with her. I usually wasn't this immature. Neither was she, to be frank. But I had a right to be temperamental. I had a whole lot of homework and no clue how to do it.

I wasn't in the mood to hear her response, so I was grateful when her blonde locks spun around and left in a huff. I needed to focus. I took refuge in the library during lunch to get a bit of work done, and tried to stay focused during the remainder of my classes. 

It wasn't until Cross Country that I could finally unwind. I tuned out during most of the stretches and warm ups, but when we got to run, I was all in. The buildings and shapes around me seemed to fade out of my distinguishable peripheral vision until it was just me and the asphalt before me.

That is, until another shape came into focus. My vision was bouncing around, since I was running at a pretty decent pace, but even my shifty sight had no problem making out who it was. 

I had to hand it to her. For a tiny blonde human, not appropriately dressed for the weather, she was keeping a decent pace. But it was still inherently stupid. “What the hell, Elle?”

The line on her forehead creased a bit. “That's a stupid rhyme.”

She was right. It was a stupid rhyme. Ugh, why was she making this so unnecessarily tedious? “Okay, I get that you’re emotional right now--”

I immediately got daggers sent at me, matched with an incredulous expression. Shit. Okay. Wrong choice of words. Back up. Try again. 

“Er, I mean, I know you’re… upset? Even though I'm… not really sure why? But you should seriously not be running today. People practically always get sick when we have to run in the rain, myself included. Last year, the whole team was basically out during winter, since the weather was so lousy. And you aren't… wearing a jacket… Do you see… where I'm coming from…?” My words began to be delivered in choppy fragments, as it was pretty difficult to keep pace while maintaining conversation with this temperamental child. 

“I’m fiiiiiine, Calix. B’sides, s’not like I could do anything about it now.”

“Pretend.. to hurt… your ankle… And coach'll... let you sit out...” Jeez, I was out of shape. Or maybe I just shouldn't talk while running. Why was I doing this again? It's not like she would listen. 

“Whateveh.. hiuh.. hnnk’tchuu.” 


Elle ignored the beautiful irony of the situation, as well as my loud yet accurate depiction of it, and instead decided to storm past me, still without wearing a jacket. I watched the stupid girl run stupidly into the street. And yes, I will use the word stupid twice. Because she’s stupid. And she’s gonna get herself sick and I hate seeing her sick and she doesn't fucking listen. 


Shit. I hit a tree. 

Okay, sooo. That hurt. Shit. 

I held my hand to my head. My vision started to go pinholed for a brief period, but it eventually went back to normal. Sort of. 

Okay, whatever. She could make her own mistakes. Doesn't matter to me anymore. If she doesn't wanna listen, that's her problem. I'm done. 

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Thank you to the people who replied <3 haha. I'm getting the hang of writing again, so I should be able to get the next part up pretty soon! Btw, sorry if I switch from present tense to past tense and vice versa. I'm still getting the hang of first person POV and I'm not sure which route I want to go with it, so it's kinda fluid right now. Aite, enjoy!


Elle’s POV:


You know the best thing about zero period? Me neither. And if anyone does know, please tell me, because I’m currently dying.

At least it was dance class. And, to be honest, it’s usually fairly entertaining and enjoyable. But today, I just wasn’t in the mood.

My eyes kept glancing at the door involuntarily, waiting for Calix’s arrival. Which was pointless, since it wasn’t like I was going to talk to him anyways. At first, I thought he was late, but I realized I was just early. I rested my head against the back wall, my body slumped against it slightly.

When Cal finally arrived, I didn’t know how I wanted to react. I spent most of my time deliberating over whether to glare at him coldly or act aloof and indifferent. My brain seemed to be working a bit slower than usual, as if the cogs were surrounded by cotton and they were being forced to turn extremely slowly. I eventually ran out of time and simply greeted him with my thinking expression, which probably made me look stupid. Oh well.

“New alarm?”

His question caught me off guard, causing me to drop my petty facade for a moment. “What..?”

“You actually showed up to zero period today. ..Normally, you get here halfway through first.” He was slumped slightly to the left, his auburn hair spilling across the side of his face as he tilted. Ugh. He looked cute when he did that and he wasn’t allowed to look cute because I was mad at him.

“Can you stop that?”

He looked genuinely confused. “Stop… what?”

“Tilting like that. It’s distracting. You look like you’re gonna fall over.” I let out a short huff of a breath before continuing. Or, I tried to. I was a bit too forceful with my temperamental huff and it came out as more of an awkward cough. “I came because I don’t want my grades to drop due to absences.”

“And you didn’t care about your grades dropping before?”

His tone annoyed me. He sounded like he thought he was smart. He isn’t smart. “I did. My alarm just wasn’t working.”

“So you got a new alarm?”


He paused for a moment and looked at me, granting me a slight break from his obnoxious voice. It didn’t last long. “So… my tilting is… distracting to you?”

“Shut up.”

The class, uninterested with our trivial squabbling, had already begun emulating the dance moves of our instructor without our being aware. I tried to slip into the routine seamlessly, but my body didn’t seem to react quickly enough to what I told it to do. This was incredibly frustrating. A quick glance at Calix told me that he had followed suit, and was no longer interested with what I was doing. Which was fine. I wasn’t interested in what he was doing either. Except that was probably a lie. I wasn’t sure. My thoughts were a bit all over the place.

I managed to make it work until my nose started feeling odd. I ignored it, as there wasn’t really anything I could do about it. But it didn’t pass. It was weird. It didn’t feel like a normal itch. I just felt a lot of pressure in and around my nose, like someone was pressing down on it. The tickle was still there though, prickling the inside of my nose. My eyelids started drooping a bit, but I figured that might just be because I was so tired.

“Uh’knnsh’iuh.” I stumbled sideways, losing my footing mid-step. I narrowly avoided bumping into the person on my left.

Shit. Okay. Focus. I blinked a couple times, trying to get more alert. It didn’t really do much to help. The next couple steps were very sharp and difficult, so I tried to clear my head. I thought I was handling it well, but my left foot got caught against my right ankle as it pulled around, sending me cascading sideways into Calix.

He managed to stay on his feet, but I didn’t share his great fortune. I caught myself on my right knee and my right hand, which made both sting quite a bit upon impact. Not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

“Careful,” he implored sharply, granting me a brief glance before looking away again. I rolled my eyes. Yes, thank you, Captain Obvious.

“Heh… Eh’ngk’tchu, mngktshoo.” Ow. I tried to stifle them by pinching my nose shut and that was a bad idea.

He blessed me absently, more out of habit than care. I didn’t care either way.

My tempo was pretty off. I was like a buffering video, a couple seconds behind everyone else. Okay. Possibly a good idea to pull back and figure out what’s going on. ‘Cause something was definitely off.

Calix turned to face me after I missed my next step. “El’.” He had a particular way of abbreviating my already abbreviated name. I didn’t like it. “You should take a quick break if you need it.”

My face grew hot. It was one thing for me to tell myself to take a breather. But it just pissed me off to hear him say it.

Fuck. Okay. Focus. I knew what I was doing. I knew this stupid dance. I was just… tired. I wasn’t used to waking up this early. But I was fine. And I didn’t need a break. I focused on making my movements sharp and on time, which made me start getting dizzy fairly quickly. As my frustration grew, so did my unsteadiness, and it was only a matter of time before––



Edited by v a n i l l a
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Thank you for your kind comments <3 They are very much appreciated :) 


Calix’s POV:


“I told you to be careful.”

“I heard you.”

“You sure? ‘Cause if you did, then you didn't listen.” I paused, letting the anger melt off me a bit. Reprimanding her now wouldn't solve anything. I sighed. “Is your ankle okay?”

“S’fine,” she mumbled, gathering her things. I surveyed her for a moment. I figured it would only take a few moments of observation to prove her claim false.

Yep. Knew it. “You’re limping.”

“Cal…” she began, but I didn't let her continue.

“And you still don't have a jacket.”

“And you’re still a smurf!”

“Yup. But at least I'm not the one getting sick.”

She made a large point of rolling her eyes dramatically whilst acting as if she was giving absolutely no thought into this action. Seriously, she put the ‘Elle’ in ‘melledrama.’ ‘Course, if I told her that, she’d tell me that didn't work because it wasn't spelled right. But I didn't care.

“I am not getting sick.”

I spat back a loud, sarcastic laugh. “That's actually hilarious, Elle. Okay, whatever. You’re sick. You should go to the nurse. But--”

“I am not going to the damn nurse.”

But,” I tried for the second time to begin my sentence, “since I know you won't ‘go to the damn nurse,’ I'm not gonna try to make you.

“So what exactly are you trying to accomplish then?” Her voice sounded tired. Not just sleep deprived tired, but just.. Fed up and exhausted, I guess.

And that was a good question. I didn’t really know what I was trying to accomplish. “I just figured I might as well try mothering you, since no one else was else seemed to be.”

I didn’t really think through my statement, but even my poorly thought out response still seemed to agitate her.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” She had started to use her slow, agitated, lower-register, passive aggressive tone. Which was incredibly annoying.

“I dunno, I just… You aren’t taking care of yourself, I guess. So I figured someone might as well––”

“I can take care of myself on my own. I don’t need you to ‘mother’ me.”

“Elle, that wasn’t even an offensive––” I gave up halfway through, as she had stalked off. Well, at least I got some peace and quiet now.

I slipped through the halls and into my next classroom, immediately remembering that Elle was in this class as well. So much for peace and quiet.

I knew better than to try to talk to her. Besides, she said she could take care of herself. So I’d let her do just that. And honestly, I felt bad about thinking it, but it was a bit of a relief. I had too much on my plate right now to worry about her as well. Jeez, that sounded awful––even just saying it in my head.

Nope. Okay. Think about something else. Statistics. What a lovely class I was currently in. And it’s amazing… Fuck, I hate this class. Okay, okay, uh… Maybe it wasn’t enjoyable, but I did need to figure out what the hell was going on in this lesson, ‘cause I’d been lost for the past week.

I paid absolutely no attention to the soft sniffling that resonated next to me. I was completely and utterly entranced by the magical world of… shit, what was it? Stratified sampling? Still? Fuck.


If there were helpless-sounding hitching breaths occurring anywhere nearby, well, gee. I was just stupendously unaware of them.

“eh’kngxxt. hih’ksshiuu.”

“....bless you,” I murmured to her under my breath. Jeez, I wasn’t heartless. I couldn’t just listen to her suffering. Honestly, why did she refuse to help herself with her basic fucking needs?

Aaaand now she’d started coughing.

“I don’t.. H-huh.. D-deed a cough drop,” she muttered. “I’m fine.”

I was initially confused by her statement. I honestly hadn’t even realized what I was doing, but evidently, I had indeed fished a throat lozenge out of my backpack and placed it on her desk. The whole ignoring-Elle-and-focusing-on-school plan was not going… according to plan. Elle would have told me that that sentence was redundant. But I don’t know how to rephrase it, so. Wait, no, it doesn’t matter if it’s redundant. I can think however I want. I’m not the one who’s so anal about grammar.

“Y’know, your grammar’s not perfect either.”

Elle looked puzzled. “Er, okay? I am fine..?”


“You insulted my grammar. So I figured it was because I used a contraction.”

“Wh.. No. I just, I was informing you that sometimes you also don’t use good grammar.”

She let out a controlled sigh. “You don’t use good grammar either,” she corrected.

“Oh my gosh.”

“And it’s ‘your grammar isn’t perfect either.’’”

“Oh my GOSH.”

“What? You were idsulti’g my grammar while usi’g poor grammar. I had every right to correct you.”


“Do you not understand the concept of equality? Or what exactly is it that’s vexing you.”

“No, I don’t understand the word you just said. I was doing what to your grammar?”


“You mean insulting? ELLE. Jesus fucking christ, you can’t even pronounce words right. You’re fucking sick. Go to the nurse.”

“Cal, cool it with the swearing. Honestly...”

She was right. I had been cursing way too much lately. Not that that was an entirely new concept, but like… I dunno. It just seemed excessive today. Not saying that Elle was right or anything. I just didn’t understand why I was so on edge today.

“Whatever. I––”

“Mister Hayes. Miss Allen.”


“If you would be so kind as to pause your undoubtedly incredibly important conversation that I’m sure was entirely related to the course material, and perhaps listen to the lesson for a moment, that would be splendid.”

Every time I try to help Elle out, it bites me in the butt. I dunno why I keep trying. I waited begrudgingly for Elle’s imminent, sarcastic retaliation, but it never came. Huh. That was odd.

I glanced her way and noticed Elle sit with her head rested upon her hands, gradually rubbing her temples with her palms, her fingers burrowed into the baby hairs at her hairline. This was… honestly pretty unusual for her. As if to prove my observation valid, she snapped downwards, her head nestled into her elbow as she broke into a fit of really awful sounding coughs. I winced. It sounded like it hurt. A lot. Shit, how was she already this sick!?

Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Mr. Anderson –– our lovely Stats teacher –– giving Elle an irritated glance. Was he seriously upset with her for coughing? That was honestly ridiculous.

I grit my teeth during the second round of wet coughing. She sounded like she was trying to cough up a broken kazoo. A broken kazoo filled with gravel that was experiencing the effects of 35 years of heavy smoking. By the third fit, I just couldn’t take it anymore.

“Elle. Please. You sound so sick. Please go home and go to the fucking doctor.”

She let out a hoarse laugh, which turned into another bout of coughing. I winced again. “No way am I going to the doctor.”

“Why the hell not.” I was getting pretty fed up with her constant excuses and refusals to get help.

“Parents won’t take me. They’d get mad.” Her voice sounded so freaking tired.

“That’s bullshit, but whatever, at least ask them to pick you up.”

“They have work. Stop cussing.” Her sentences got shorter as her energy dwindled. Her words were starting to blend together, too.

“Can your sister drive you?”

“She’s not at home anymore. Sh’ got into med school.”

“Hey, that’s really good!” I was momentarily distracted from my urgent questioning. “I know she’s been working really hard at that, so––”

“Yeah, whatever.” Huh. Okay Elle must really be feeling lousy if she was being this dismissive. I mean, she was the one who kept telling me what a big deal this was.

“Okay, fine. I’ll drive you then. I’ll take you home, or bring you to urgent care...”

No. I don’t want you missing school and wasting your time––”

“It’s not wasting my time––!”

“MISTER HAYES. MISS ALLEN. Your behavior is––”

“Mr. Anderson, with all due respect, now is not the time, alright?”

He looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his balding head. “Excuse me?” His slow, somewhat controlled anger would normally scare me shitless, but right now, Elle’s coughing scared me way more.

“Look. Elle really isn’t feeling good––”

“I’m fine––!”

“––And she needs to go to the nurse. May I please––”

“Miss Allen seems like she will survive.”

“Are you kidding me?!”

“But since you two lovebirds can’t seem to focus on anything but each other, you can spend some quality time together today after school in detention.”

“I-It's not like that; we are very much platonic––”

“And if you have a single other word to say on the matter, I will gladly discuss terms of suspension with the administration.”

I opened my mouth to shoot something back, but Elle’s feeble, “Cal, don’t,” was enough to silence me. Fuck fuck fuck she sounded so sick how was she already so sick jeeeeez.

“Hmp’mnxch. Huhp’ngxtschh. Ehk’kngxt.”

She tried so hard to stifle her sneezes, her fingers pinching her pink nostrils closed. It sounded like it hurt.

Her next sneeze wasn’t even discernable because, as soon as it sounded, she tumbled into a really harsh coughing fit. And it was a long fit. I dug my nails into the edges of my desk as I waited a few centuries for it to pass. Every time I thought it was over, she’d take a wheezing breath and double back over into another bout, each one thicker and louder than the last. Poor thing. Poor fucking thing. I thought my heart was gonna legitimately break.

I opened my mouth again to say something. But Elle looked at me with such a tired expression. I knew she was just miserable. And I couldn’t make things worse for her. Fuck. This was really hard.

I hated not being able to help her. I felt so useless. Here she was, sitting right next to me, sounding like she was dying, and I couldn’t even speak to her. At the very least, I needed to help stop her incessant wheezing. And maybe that would help her damn cough.

I dug into my backpack. My hands were shaking so much from my overwhelming worry that it took me forever and a half just to locate my rescue inhaler, but I eventually parceled it and lied it atop Elle’s desk. I knew she had a rescue inhaler too, but she was too stubborn to get her own out, and she needed one, so yeah it was kind of illegal for me to give her mine but oh fucking well. Okay, I really did need to stop cussing. I took a deep breath, trying to calm my mind. There was only ten minutes left in this class. And then, it was up to me to help this idiotic girl from getting herself killed.

Edited by v a n i l l a
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Sorry I took a while with the update! I had some personal stuff that got in the way, but I should be able to update more regularly now. Also, I drew a pic of Calix and Elle recently, so I might post it on here at some point. Hope you guys have a good day :) 


Elle's POV


“You couldn't have just kept your mouth shut?”

He looked at me with unwarranted confusion. “What are you talking about?!”

“Calix. I can’t afford.. to get suspended.” My breath caught halfway through my sentence. Even two puffs of Cal’s inhaler wasn’t enough to fix my wheezing, and it was steadily getting worse. Which was admittedly kinda scary but there wasn’t anything I could do to solve it so there wasn’t really any point worrying about it and yes this is a run-on sentence but oh fricken well. I just realized I’d called him Calix. Huh. I usually never use his full name.

His initial response to my statement was a scoff. That was ever so insulting of a response.  “Yeah. Like he was actually gonna suspend us.” And his verbal response was even more infuriating.

“How can you say that? How can you be so irresponsible about your future?”

Excuse me?” He sounded a bit like Mr. Anderson when he said that. I didn’t like that. Ah shit that was redundant.

“I can’t afford to be so reckless. I’m already screwed as it is––”

“Oh, shut up. Your grades are fine.” I didn’t like when he cut me off. And I didn’t like it when he assumed knowledge that he didn’t actually have. And I used ‘didn’t’ three times but I can’t think of another word so whatever fuck.

“Look. You don't get it. So I'm not gonna explain it tih… h-hih..!” Ugh. I had gotten such a nice cessation from my nose’s perpetual itching. I wasn’t eager to be out of remission.

I hovered my fist at the base of my nose, waiting for the inevitable. “h-heih..! huah’EHKtschu, EHKtscu. AHKSCchuu.” I clamped my hand to my chest, grimacing in pain as subtly as I could manage. I opened my mouth to speak again, but the act of inhaling caused my lungs to freak out like a fish out of water or a jaguar in the middle of the Atlantic. The coughing hurt more than the sneezing.

“Calm down. Breathe slowly. If you get too worked up, it's gonna get worse.” Normally, I would at least appreciate that he was trying to help, but right now, his advice just made me more anxious. I don't know why, it just did, and I wanted him to stop.

I squinted my eyes closed, frustration overwhelming me. I felt tears bead against my eyelids and I really didn’t want to cry. Especially not now. I gave myself a second to compose myself, trying to pretend like closed eyes were the equivalent to Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility or Frodo’s ring and he couldn’t see me being so overwhelmed and my gosh those were such nerdy references. Yikes. My thoughts were really rambling. And my grammar was atrocious. But I had too much to worry about for me to be OCD with my thoughts it wasn’t important. I had enough to stress over. Okay. Okay I need to open my eyes and respond to him because I know he actually can see me and I need to go back to addressing the real world.

Shit. As soon as I opened my eyes, I stumbled sideways. My center of gravity was fairly thrown off and I didn’t know why. I guess I’d been closing my eyes harder than I thought and it had messed everything up. Shit I felt really dizzy. Why was I so dizzy.

I didn’t remember moving, but I ended up with my hand against the popcorn texture of the beige hallway walls, my nails digging into the tiny paint bumps. I felt like everything was really far away and my vision was pretty dark and I didn’t feel like I was swaying but I felt like the world around me was swaying and the ground felt like it kept sliding in different directions. It was like I was in a snowglobe and some obnoxious little kid wouldn’t stop shaking it.

It was only then that I realized Cal had been talking to me. He sounded really far away. And quiet. Shit I didn’t feel very good.

“Elle. Elle please tell me how to help you.”

I didn’t have time for this. I didn’t have time to be creating problems. I needed to get to class. I was probably gonna be late and I was gonna get in trouble again and I really, really didn’t wanna get in trouble again.

“‘Ts fine,” I slurred, stamping my hand to my head as I tried to walk past him.

Emphasis on ‘tried.’

I stumbled backwards and this time it wasn’t my fault. I looked up in confusion and realized Calix had shoved me. But I didn’t understand why.

“Fuck this. I’m done. I’m done trying to help you. Because you just don’t want to be helped.”

I realized I’d been staring at him with really big, sad, vulnerable eyes and I made a noteworthy effort to stop doing that at once.

“Okay, okay, fine. I’m sorry. I––”

“That’s so fucking dismissive and passive aggressive.” He usually didn’t get this upset. I didn’t understand why he was responding this way.

“‘M not being passive aggressive. I know I normally am passive aggressive, but I’m not right now. I’m just… frustrated.” I felt myself tearing up again and I wanted to scream. I felt like my body had been steamrolled a couple times and then trampled by a couple herds of cattle. My head was literally throbbing. My hand was practically stapled to my temples because I was convinced that otherwise, its brittle, fragmented frame would buckle and implode. And that hand was feeling a lot of weird throbbing and pulsing under its fingers. Wait that sounds really weird. Never mind. I don’t know. I just wanted all this to go away and I wanted Cal to stop being mad at me.

“Look, honestly Elle? I don’t care.” I blinked. Maybe I didn’t hear him right. My head was really spinning so maybe I misheard. Yes. That seems highly probable.

“W-What?” Jeez, I sounded pathetic.

“I know that’s a shitty thing to say––”

“Stop cussing.” I didn’t recognize my voice. It sounded really low and subdued and almost like a growl? Which didn’t really add up.

“––But I don’t care how it sounds anymore. I’ve been wasting so much time trying to fix you. It’s my junior year. I have three APs and I don’t know what the hell is going on in any of them. Like, yeah, you have college apps. But comparatively that is far less work. So I don't have time to deal with your shit on top of all my shit.”

I broke off coughing at the end of his sentence. I’d been trying to stay quiet and attempt to process what he was saying, but my lungs did not share my resilience. I thought I saw him roll his eyes a bit. I wasn't sure. Maybe it was just my imagination. Because.. Cal wouldn't do that.

“I gotta go to class.”

He shoved past me, causing me to stumble sideways a bit. I blinked, my chest tight with emotions. And then he was gone.


tbc ^_^

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  • 4 weeks later...

Sorry for taking so long to update! I’ve been starting college, it’s been a hectic time, to say the least. But here’s the next part!

Elle’s POV:

I did my best to pay attention during my next few classes, but it was inexpedient. My mind was hardly functioning at this point. I heard words. Lots of words. Some sounded like gibberish. And trying to focus on the words prevented me from actually listening to the sentence. Like, I would process each individual word, but forget it by the time the speaker would get to the next one, and this created a vicious cycle. I ended up surrendering in my attempt to absorb knowledge from any of my teachers, simply doing the worksheets with my most educated guess of what was applicable. 

The day slothed by like a sea anemone crawling across a rock. Moving so slowly that you don’t even realize that it’s moving or that it is even capable of movement until you notice that its location has changed from before. And then it was lunch.

I drifted into the dance room with hollow hopes of seeing Cal. I wasn't surprised when he wasn't there. He hadn't been sitting with us at lunch for a while now, always hidden away in some study group or swimming in textbooks — most of which he likely can't even understand — in the library. Which was fine. I had my group. Well. Sort of. It was Tuesday, so most of them had club meetings. But that was also fine. Eeeeverything was fine.

My cheek pressed up against the mirror wall, creating a slight cloud of fog from my breath. The mirror was cool, which felt nice against my clammy skin. I didn’t know why my skin was clammy, but it was, and the mirror helped. 


A pool of dark chocolate curls filled my vision. I let out a soft moan to indicate that I was indeed alive, contrary to how I appeared.

“Wake up, ragazza.”

That was enough to peak my interest. “Did you just call me a bad word?”

Confusion filled the other girl’s hazel eyes. “What? No. It means ‘girl’ in Italian. At least… I think it does.”

I let out a dramatic groan as I wilted to the floor for dramatic effect. It helped that I was already sitting and flopped against the wall. “Nooo. Madora. No more learning random languages.” My voice was a bit strained from my exaggerated reply, which caused me to break off coughing a bit.

She flicked my ear. “You’re discouraging learning. At school. I don’t even think that’s legal.”

“I’m discouraging lost causes,” I countered simply. My tone was a lot more neutral than usual. But I was tired. I hadn’t gotten enough sleep last night. And my asthma was acting up. But I used Cal’s inhaler. And it helped. And I was feeling better. Because it was just random asthma. And the inability to breathe properly is what made me dizzy all of a sudden. That was it.

“Elle. Earth to Elle. Hellooo?”

I blinked up at her in confusion. It suddenly occurred to me that I’d never gotten up after my theatrical collapse. But the floor was actually quite comfortable, surprisingly enough. My eyelids started feeling heavy and I remembered how congested I was. I suppose I just wasn’t really paying attention to all that. I had other things to worry about. Like figuring out how to properly ignore Cal during detention in a manner that made it seem like I was entirely indifferent towards him. And my grades. Yikes, okay. Yeah. That was another thing to fret over. Maybe I could try to study in detention? Jeez, just saying the word detention makes me sad. Wait. Madora had said something to me. Heh. Madora. It sounded like ‘Mad Door.’ What a weird name. Mad Door. 

“Your name is weird.”

Madora lifted a slightly bushy eyebrow. “Thanks? It’s Greek.”

“Then why aren’t you learning Italian instead of Greek? Er, Greek ‘nstead ‘f Italian.” My words were starting to slur again.

“Uh, ‘cause I'm not Greek. My name’s just Greek.”

“I thought your name was Mad Door.”

“Elle, what’s going on? What’s up with you today?”

I scrunched my eyes closed fairly tightly as I tried to clear my head and be more alert. “Noth’n.”

“Elizabeth.” I recoiled at my full name, my lazy yet displeased expression indicating my… displeasure? Yeah, that sounds about right.

She stamped her chestnut-colored hand across my forehead. “You’re really warm. And you sound drunk, so either you have a fever or you’re on some special new line of drugs.” 

Crap. I shouldn't have let my guard down and acted so loosely. Couldn't afford to miss any school. Needed to leave. Locating exit. 

I pulled myself to my feet, praying my knees wouldn't buckle. My glazed-over eyes blinked rapidly in an attempt to wake myself up. 

Madora continued to spout objections, but I had already stumbled out the door. I held onto the doorframe to steady myself, my nose suddenly stinging at the change of temperature. 

I held my hand under my nose, trying to abate the sensation. My body had a very particular response to illnesses. Specifically, in regards to these sort of symptoms. I would be blessed with grand intermissions that only really left me with headaches and general malaise. But when they ended, it was hell.

My breath began to hitch, which apparently was too great of a burden for my lungs, because it immediately caused me to start wheezing. I was usually better at staving off sneezes, but asthma had a particular talent in washing out such capabilities. Thus, I was rendered defenseless against my vexed nostrils. 

“H-Heih..! Hu.. hu.. hua.. Hua.. HEA…! HEAAH..!” My hand hovered in front of my nose. Despite my reluctance to be taken over by yet another fit, the exhausting, rapid buildups made me feel quite like an inflating balloon. And it was not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

“Huh’EHSHUU. H-Hea..! Hih’EHKtschu, EHKtschoo. ...ow.”

The fit was smaller than I anticipated, but the sneezes were pretty strong, which I supposed made up for their small quantity. 

My head reluctantly panned upward, accepting with resignation that Madora would surely be leering at me in a puddle of self righteousness. But I had predicted incorrectly. For she had not left the dance room at all. Which… Made sense, of course. I left. Why should she follow me. 

I glanced briefly at her as she sat giggling with some of our mutual friends. Splendid. I’m quite glad she’s had an enjoyable lunch. 



tbc! hopefully gonna have the next part up today or tomorrow, if possible!

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  • 1 month later...

Dude... you need to continue this 0_0 

I absolutely love this characters, especially calix! really want to know what will happen next!                                          




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Aw! I'm glad there are still people interested in this fic lol. Here's the next installment! I'll try to get the next one up soon.


Elle’s POV:


I don’t remember any more of the events from lunch. It was all sort of a daze until fifth period.

I tried to tune out the obnoxious, nasally voice next to me. See, though my voice was also currently nasally, I had an excuse. I was… Well, I wasn’t quite sure what was wrong with me. But something was creating issues and that something was making me sound nasally.

The repugnant voice belonged to Philip. His name sounded like it fell out of a King Arthur fanfiction. Not that those should exist. Because it would be rather weird if they did.

He constantly sounded like he was complaining about something, even if he wasn’t. Or perhaps that’s simply because he complains so often.

“Philip, take your hood off. You’re indoors.”

Oh, for the love of God, do not engage in conversation with him.

“But, Ms. Blake, it’s supposed to start raining soon!”

“Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that our ancestors created the roof to solve this precise problem. So, I can assure you, you will be safe in this classroom without a hood.”

I heard some students snickering quietly to themselves. Unlike those of my dreadful Stats teacher, Ms. Blake’s sarcastic quips were actually appreciated.

“hh.. Hah’tshoo! Aih… Ahk’TSHIOO!”

I punctuated with a wet sniff. Ugh. I’d almost forgotten about the sneezing. I wasn’t in the mood for another fit.


My groggy head turned to face Philip. “I thigk what you beant to say was blegss you.”

His curved nose crinkled upwards in annoyance. He looked so rat-like naturally, so now, the resemblance was uncanny. “Uh, no. I meant ew.

He was always an ass, but this time, even I was taken aback. “Dude, I cahd’t help it if I sdeeze. There’s do use baking be feel bad about idt.” Yiiikes, I was pretty congested. I could barely understand myself, so I wasn’t sure how anyone else could. Then again, my head was pretty cloudy. Pretty clouds. Preeeetty clouds. Oh wait shit he was saying things what did he say. “Wait… Uhh, sorry. Uhhmb. What did you say?”

“I was saying that I said ‘ew’ because you fricken sneezed on me.”

My face went scarlet. “O-Oh. Sorry.” I punctuated my sentence with another wet sniffle, which was so thick that it actually stung my sinuses a bit.

“If you’re sick, why’d you come to school today?” His voice didn’t sound as attacking and irritable as usual, but his question still perturbed me.

“I’b dot sihh.. h-hieh.. Huh’ngkkt’chu. Hih’pnxch’iuhhh.” A shudder took over my body for a moment, the itchiness of the sneeze surpassing what I had anticipated. And it still wasn’t done.

“Then maybe I’ll start sneezing soon too, ‘cause I’m allergic to bullshit.”

I tried to scowl at him, but my nose kept twitching and this proved a much more challenging task than it appeared.

“I’b fide. Now cad yih.. h-huh… HIH.. l-leave be.. heih..! heeiih! HUAAAKtshaoo! ...ow.” I felt like someone had tried to wax the inside of my throat.

“Mmmhm. Whatever you say.”

I opted to remain silent for the remainder of the period, trying to complete my class work despite the heavy sinus headache that made a challenge out of the mere act of raising my head from my desk. I would have given anything for some Dayquil. Unless it were administered in Calix’s presence, in which case I would give a firm decline.

My head seemed to be a bit clearer than before, enabling me to actually think in complete sentences with some basic grammatical structure. Likely due to my resting-esque behavior for the past hour or so, but regardless of the cause, I was grateful for the effect.

By the time class finally ended, it seemed like an eternity had leisurely inched by. On my way out the door, I procured my graded research paper. Jeez, that assignment was basically death incarnate. It took me two weeks of nonstop work, and I still—


I disposed of the paper inside my backpack. I neglected to put inside a folder, so it would likely get wrinkled. But that was fine.

Next class. Alright.

I heard Phillip calling after me, but I ignored him. He was probably just trying to brag about his research paper’s grade, and I had heard enough renditions of this sonatina.

I brushed past the surrounding adolescents as I paved a path towards the locker room. Numbness proliferated throughout my body. My breath became rapid again.

Uuhff. The hell.. Watch where you’re––”

“Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sorry. Sih.. Hnxt’gh.” My already unhealthily high heart rate seemed to double. Of course I’d bumped into someone. I should have expected that to happen. Why should anything go right. The only rule the world seemed to be respecting today was Murphy’s.

I couldn’t see whom I’d bumped into, but they appeared to have grabbed me by the shoulders. I didn’t like this. I didn’t understand.

I compressed my square footage by tucking my arms in tight and burrowing my head into my shoulders like a mix between a flightless bat and a scared turtle. And I started to shake. Hard.


My nose detected a familiar scent. Sort of like tea, but without the pungent tang of sharp herbs. More of a placid, warm rose milk tea. Mixed with a physical manifestation of comfort. Which didn’t exactly make sense but it also did. The scent was sufficiently customary to me that it managed to break through the heavy smell of rain on pavement, which was a remarkable feat.

My vision slowly settled. A pair of worried, hazel eyes locked with mine. I looked away.


Edited by v a n i l l a
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  • 9 months later...
  • 1 month later...

I’m so glad people are still interested in this story! I’ve actually been thinking about it a lot and trying to see where I want to go with it, especially now that I’ve introduced a new character on a sort-of-cliffhanger. I still sort of have an idea of where I want to take this, but I’d really love to hear any ideas you guys might have! 

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Hmm...well, eventually, you're probably going to have to have Cal succumb to the cold he's been holding back since the first chapter, it seems.  And I would like to see Cal and Elle reconcile pretty soon, as well as the reason why Elle's been a little peeved with him since before she started getting sick (you hinted at something with the "now you're paying attention to me" line).  I'm...guessing Cal forgot Elle's birthday or something?  It might be more fun if he just forgot something completely trite that Elle feels is important.

Nolan...could be a brother, could be a boyfriend, I'm not sure what you've got planned here.  I would like to see Madora get sick (or maybe she could be the one who gave them both the cold in a flashback?).  As well as their mean statistics teacher at the end of the story, if only for some symmetry and a punch line of sorts.  He's so tough on sick people, it'd be karmic for him to get sick at the end.  No idea what to do with Philip...maybe he's the one that gets the stats teacher sick, I dunno.

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...
On 11/26/2018 at 12:28 AM, macrotwentytwo said:


I hope so soon.. it’s been a long while!

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