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Not just a cold


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Freddie came home to find Jamie in the kitchen, making supper.    “I have a surprise for you.” He announced, grabbing her hands.  “Come with me.”     He led her to the entry, where there was a litter box, a bag of cat foot, a bag of cat things and a carrier which she could only presume held a cat.   


“You got a cat.”  She sighed.


“We got a cat.”  He corrected.  “I always wanted one, but my mom was allergic…”


“Freddie, you can’t just bring a cat home.   There’s things to consider.” She sighed.


“Like what?”


“Like Pace?”  She referenced her dog.  “Do you know if he gets along with cats?   Do you know if the cat gets along with dogs?”


“I asked if they had one that would.   Does Pace?”


“Yes, but that’s not the point!   There’s factors that go into this decision, like asking me.”


“Well, you like cats, don’t you?  You mentioned once you wished you could have one.”


She smiled.  “Yes, I wish I could have one, but I can’t.  Sweetie, I’m allergic to cats.”


He looked at her.  “But I’ve seen you around cats.  You’ve been fine.”


“For short exposure, sure.   But after a few days, they set off my asthma.  Or at least they used to.  It’s been awhile since I’ve been in that situation.”


“So it might not?”


She shrugged.  “Maybe.  I don’t know anymore.   Do we really want to chance it?”


He gave her a pleading look.  “Maybe you’ve outgrown it.  Can we see?”


She relented.  “Any issues, and its back to the humane society.” She told him.   “And you keep him out of the bedroom.”


Freddie nodded in agreement.   “I’m sorry I didn’t ask.”


She groaned inwardly.  She was going to be sorry when they couldn’t keep her.  The little tan creature pawing at her leg was pretty cute.   She’d had one when she was 8 and after multiple trips to the doctor,  it was determined the cat was setting off her asthma, and he had to go.   She still missed that bugger.   But after cat sitting had nearly sent her to the ER in college, she’d steered clear of them.   


Freddie set a dish up and placed the litter box in the laundry room.   “You’re taking care of him.” She informed him.    


“Of course.” Freddie nodded, sitting down for dinner.



After work on the show the next day, Freddie brought Alex home with him.    Jamie came in an hour later to see them sitting in the living room, playing video games.  They grunted a greeting at her, and she sat down to watch.     


Huhhhchuhh.”  Alex sneezed and lost control of the car he was racing, crashing it.   


“You lose again.” Freddie laughed.  


Alex rubbed his eyes and shook his head.   “Second time that’s happened.   Can’t even remember the last time I’ve sneezed before today.”


“Yeah, you were fine all day.” Freddie shrugged, noticing the cat come in the room and make a beeline for him.   He picked him up and deposited him in his lap.   He looked over at Alex, “meet Cashew.” He said.   


“Yeah,” Jamie laughed.  “He’s named the thing I’m allergic to after another thing I’m allergic to and sounds like a sneeze.”


Alex slid away from Freddie.   “When did you get a cat?” He asked, rubbing a finger under his nose.   


“Last night.”  He offered the cat to Alex who held out his hands to stop him.  


“I’m a bit allergic,” he explained.  “Which explains the itchy eyes and sneezing.”


“Oh.”  Freddie took the cat back.   “Did I know that?”


Alex shrugged. “I don’t think it’s ever come up.”


Jamie interrupted.  “Freddie, go put Cashew in the laundry room.   Alex, do you want a Zyrtec?”


Alex shook his head. “I’ll be ok.   It’s just a bit of sneezing.  But maybe we go out for dinner tonight.”



Freddie notice that when he went to bed Sunday evening, his eyes were scratchy and his nose was slightly runny.    ‘Great,’ he thought.  ‘A cold is just what I need.’


He looked over at Jamie next to him.  “How are you doing?”


She shrugged.   “So far, so good.” She told him.   


He leaned over and kissed her.   “You’re the best.”


“This isn’t up to me.” She told him firmly.  “It’s up to my lungs

Freddie woke up in the morning, definitely feeling like he was flirting with a cold.   His nose was kinda stuffy and his eyes were a little irritated.  Hehh-shoo.”  He sneezed.   The sneeze was light, but loud enough to wake the barely asleep Jamie.


“Bless you.” She murmured.   


“Thanks.  I think I’m starting to catch a cold.” He sighed.  


“Cold medicine in the top drawer in the bathroom.” She reminded him, getting up and starting to get ready for work.   “You want breakfast?”


“Yeah.  Why don’t I get started on it while you get ready,” he offered.   Hehh-shush.”  Another quick sneeze escaped him, and this time, he blew his nose.  


Jamie hesitated.  “Just wash your hands a lot.  I’ve got a busy week next week, and I don’t need to be sick.”


He got through breakfast without sneezing, got through the dishes and getting ready, then decided to snuggle with Cashew as he watched TV before leaving.   Huhhhchuhh.”  He sneezed, a little louder than earlier, and startled, Cashew bolted off his lap for the kitchen, peeking timidly from around the door frame.   “Sorry, Cash….guess you’re not used to that.”  Freddie apologized.   He went to pick up the cat again, but Cashew ducked under the kitchen table.   Sniffling, Freddie shrugged.   Cashew’d come around by the time he got home.


Arriving at work, he slipped down at his desk.  “Huhhh-uhhshhh.”   He scrambled for a Kleenex and blew his nose.   


“Bless you.” He heard Alex behind him.  


“Thanks, man.  I think I’m starting to come down with a cold.”


Alex coughed.  “Sorry, that’s probably on me.  My brother had a cold last week when he was here, and I’m getting it. I was probably contagious on Friday.”


Freddie shrugged.  “At least I can avoid being on TV, right?” He joked with a sniffle.


“Just try to write something funny today.”  Alex tried to mock glare but ruined it with a wet “hehh-chuhhh.”    He took tissues from the box Freddie offered.   “Thanks.”


Freddie met up with Alex and Timmy at lunch time, feeling much better.   It was almost like his cold was gone.  ‘Well,’ he thought, ‘it was day one.  Maybe he just needed to be up and moving.’


Alex noted his friend’s improvement but didn’t think too much of it.   He hadn’t been that sick over the weekend, so Freddie was probably still getting sick.



Freddie has been home about an hour when the congestion started up again.    ‘His own fault’ he thought.  He’d felt so good at work he hadn’t taken any cold medicine.   He ducked upstairs and swallowed the two orange pills just as Jamie came home.  


She gave home a quick kiss.  “How are you feeling?”


He shrugged.   “I was feeling better, but I missed the time for more cold medicine,” he paused.  “Ehh-kushhh.   So now everything’s started back up again.”



She nodded, reaching up and feeling his forehead.   “No fever.”


He shook his head.  “I don’t feel that bad.  Just stuffed up, mostly, a little sneezy.   No cough.  Eyes are kinda irritated. Maybe a little headache sometimes. Just a cold.  Alex came down with one over the weekend, so that’s probably where I got it.”


She nodded.  “Probably.  What are you thinking for dinner?”


He brought his elbow up to his nose, turning away from her.  Ehhh-chuhh.   Um, let’s see what we have.”


She followed him to the kitchen where the made dinner, then put in a movie.   She curled up with a book on the couch while he played with Cashew on the floor until bedtime.    



The next two days progressed in the same manner, Freddie’s symptoms worsening at home over the next few days. However, they still almost totally cleared up after he’d been at work a few hours.   


Wednesday night, she reminded him she had taken a half day Thursday and would meet him at the lot for lunch.



Jamie entered into the offices where Alex’s show was written and ran into him first.  “Jamie! Can I ask you a couple questions about Freddie?”   She nodded, following him back to his office.   


“What’s up?”


“His cold.   Does it come and go at home?  Cuz after he’s here for an hour or so, he’s completely fine.    So, I – iii-chuhh.  ‘Scuse me.   I don’t think he has a cold.”


“He’s miserable at home.   Keeps getting wo….” She trailed off and looked at Alex.    


“He’s allergic to cats.” They said in unison, as Tim poked his head in.   


“Who’s allergic to cats?” He asked.  “Freddie?”


Jamie nodded.   “Freddie seems to be.   On the other hand, and I suppose I have to tell him this too, I don’t think I am.”


“You’re not?”  


“My eyes don’t even itch – we’ll not anymore than usual.   I think we can say I’ve outgrown this allergy.”


Alex coughed into his sleeve.   “So what do you do now?”


“Tell him and get rid of the cat, I suppose.”   She sighed.  “It’s gonna devastate him.  I’ll tell him tonight.”


“You need a place for the cat?”  Tim asked?


She and Alex looked at him; neither one had thought of that.  “Um, yeah.” She blinked.  


“It’s been about 6 months since I put Missy down.   I think I’m ready for a new cat.”    He said softly.   “Got a picture?”  Jamie pulled out her phone and began showing him photos of Cashew.   “I think the two of us would get along.” He assured her.


“Thank you so much.” She grinned.   “Any volunteers on telling him?”


Alex laughed.  “I’ll help.  Or at least provide support.   Hehhh-chushhh.”


“Bless you.”  Tim told him and the three of them went to find Freddie for lunch.



Jamie was in the kitchen when Alex and Freddie got home, flipping the steaks in a quick marinade.   She walked into the living to see Freddie make a beeline straight for the cat.    He lay on the floor playing with him while Alex and Jamie sat on the couch, and the three of them talked.    


“Hiihh-ruhhshh.”   The first sneeze came less than 10 minutes after being home and was followed closely by a second.  “Huhhhr-uhhshhhh.   Ub, Jabie, cad I habe the Kleedex?”  He sniffled wetly.  


She sighed as she heard the congestion just flood his voice and slid him the box.   Alex looked at her as Freddie blew his nose.  “He didn’t sneeze once after about 10 am today.”   


Freddie was muffling a third sneeze into the tissues as Cashew curled against his stomach.   “I really don’t get this cold.” He commented, blowing his nose again and swiping at his eyes.  “When I’m not here, I feel fine.  Jamie, you didn’t change any air fresheners or cleaning products, did you?  Heehhehhhshooo…ehhhshuuhh,  shhhooo.  Ugh.”  He shook his head.  


Jamie watched Alex bite his lip.   “I haven’t changed anything, sweetie.    You’re the only one to bring anything new into the house.    And, uh, I have good new and bad news about that.”


Hehhchuhhh.  Bad dews? Uhchuh.”


Uhchuschh.”  Alex broke in with his own sneeze.   “Sorry, feeling left out.” He rubbed his nose as Jamie elbowed him in the ribs.   “Ow!”


“Sweety, um the good news is that I don’t think I’m allergic to cats anymore.”


Freddie looked up and grinned.  “So we can keep him?”  He is voice was tight and stuffy and she could tell he was fighting back more sneezing.  


“The bad news,” she continued, “is you seem to be pretty allergic to him.”


He stared at her.  “I’m not allergic.   It’s just a cold.   Alex-“


Alex cut in.  “I have a cold, and I’m allergic to cats.   And you’re worse off than I am, despite you being fine at work all day.” 


Defensively, or perhaps to prove a point, Freddie wrapped the cat to his chest.   “I just forgot to grab, ehhh-shuhhh, the cold medicine when we came in.  That’s all.  Ahhh-shooo.”


“It hasn’t been helping you much.” Jamie pointed out.  “I think Zyrtec would be a better choice.”


Freddie opened his mouth to protest and sneezed.   And sneezed again.   And continued to sneezed.   “Heh-chuhh, uhh-chuhh,  ihh-schuhh, schuhh, schuhh, uhhschh, uschhh.”   The fit continued for two or three minutes, at times, with him barely getting breath between sneezes, before it finally tapered off enough for him to look up and blow his nose.    


“God bless you.” Jamie told him as Alex chimed in with his own blessings.  


“Thags.  Hittschuhh, iischuhhh, hiiicchhschuu.   Ugh.”   He blew his nose a half dozen times.   “Sorry.   I ihhhtschuhh.   I cand’t stop sdeezing.”


“Go take Zyrtec and Benadryl now.”  Jamie’s voice was firm.  “Then shower and change.”   Freddie looked at her and sneezed again, four times.   ‘Go.” She ordered, standing up to help him up.


She looked at Alex.   “I’m gonna get him taken care of.   I uh, hate to ask, but can you try to put Cashew in the laundry room and call Tim?   If you can’t get the cat, I can when I come back down.”


Alex assured her he’d try and got on the phone to call Tim to come get the cat while she went to medicate Freddie and get him in the shower.


Jamie came down to find Alex holding the cat with both hands sneezing freely to his side.   “Heh-chuh, uhh-chuhh.  Sorry, I got her picked up, then I started sneezing.”   She took the cat from him and set Cashew in the laundry room.   “Uhh-chuhhh.   I know I said ‘kinda allergic to cats’ but when I’ve got a cold, I’m just plain out allergic to them.”   He took the tissue box she handed him and blew his nose, reaching to rub his eyes.  


“Wash your hands first.” She cautioned.   She went into the kitchen and began to make dinner as he scrubbed his hands and forearms.   “Tim eats red meat, right?” She asked Alex.   He nodded, sneezing again.  “Zyrtec?” She offered, going over to purse and pulling out a blister pack of pills.  

He took the proffered pill.   “Thank you.”   He blew his nose again and watched her continue with supper.   


Freddie came down a short bit later in sweats and a t-shirt, clutching a box of tissues and sniffling.   “What’d you do with Cashew?” He asked softly.   


“She’s in the laundry room.”  Jamie said, as they saw Tim turn into the driveway and heard Pace start barking.   “Tim’s here, but I’m inviting him for dinner.”  She smiled gently.  “You can say goodbye when they go, ok.”


“Hehhp-chushhh,  uhh-shushhh.”  He buried his nose in tissues and blew as Alex brought Tim into the room.   “Bless you.”   She looked at Tim.   “Would you like to stay for dinner before you take Cashew?  


Tim shook his head, looking at Freddie.   “Normally, I would, but I think I should just get the cat out of here.  I think you’ll feel a lot better once he’s gone, dude.”


Freddie and Jamie nodded.   “He’s in the laundry room.   I haven’t gotten the stuff together yet.” She apologized.  “Give me two minutes.”


“I’ll help.” Alex chimed in.   “I’ll get the stuff in here while you get the toys.”


She returned a minute later, carrying a shopping bag with toys and treats to see Alex had rinsed the food dishes and had the food bag taped shut for the trip.   She grabbed a garbage bag.   “Let’s go get the litter box and say goodbye to Cashew.”    Alex cautiously opened the laundry room door for her, letting her slip in first.   She scooped up Cashew and handed him to Tim.   “Say goodbye while I empty the litter box.”  She told Freddie, gently, rubbing his shoulder.    


Alex walked over with her and held the garbage bag while she slipped the pan inside it, closed the bag and dumped the pan out in the bag, pulling it out.    And sneezing nine times despite being careful not to stir up the dust.  Alex tied the bag shut and set it by the garbage.     


“Bless you.” Tim called.   “You ok.”


She nodded, pulling a tissue out of her pocket.   “Just the dust.   Knew that was gonna happen.”   She blew her nose as Alex carried the empty litter box over to Tim and Freddie.    “Ready for him to go, Freddie?”


Freddie nodded, eyelashes fluttering as his head dipped forward for yet another sneeze.  Hehhyehhchushh.   Yeah.”     Tim slipped Cashew in the carrier, said goodbye and slipped back out to his truck.   


The trio sat down to dinner, and it was easy to see that the Benadryl was starting to take its toll on Freddie.    “You kept your word about keeping the cat out of the bedroom?”   Jamie asked. 


“Yeah.  He didn’t like the stairs so he didn’t go upstairs at all.”  Freddie sniffled.   The sneezing had started to lessen with the cat out of the house and medication but his growing fatigue made his congestion seem all the more prominent.   


“Hey, that’s a whole level that doesn’t have to be cleaned.” Alex pointed out.    


She nodded.   “I’ll vacuum and mop tonight, but I think we may have to steam clean the living room, furniture included.   I’ll call in the morning.”


“I can help mop.” Alex offered.   “I think you’re gonna be ready for sleep in about 5 minutes.” He said looking at Freddie.   


Hyeehchusshh.”  Freddie tried to glare at him, ruined it by sneezing and yawning.   “You’re dot wrondg.”   He sniffled, pushing his plate away.    


“Go lay on the bed.   I’ll be up after we get this place cleaned up a bit.”    Jamie kissed him gently before he walked upstairs and she and Alex got busy with the mop and the vacuum cleaner.    




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4 hours ago, Privatedancer said:

Just now catching on that these are the characters from the zoo story :)

Yup...Zoo, Responsibility, Helping out, and the drabble thread....all the same crew.  😀.    I’ve never really done original characters before (always been fanfic) and I have to admit, I’m having fun with them.   

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