Lani laughed as Simon spun her around before pulling her into his arms and planting a kiss on her forehead. “You’re such a romantic.” she teased.
“Only when I find someone to be romantic about,” he answered, “And you fit that bill perfectly.”
“Oh, stop,” she said, even as she snuggled further into his chest, “You’ve probably said that to all your other girlfriends.”
“I have not!” Simon said indignantly, “But if you’re questioning my intentions, then I guess I’ll just have to prove it.”
“And how will you do that?”
“By taking you into the bedroom and doing whatever you desire.”
“Mmm, I like the sound of that,” Lani said, “Bring it on.”
Simon smiled, waggling his eyebrows. “I intend to. Now tell me, would you rather use feathers or perfume this time around?”
“Oh, feathers, definitely,” Lani grinned, “And I intend to be very methodical with it.”
“I’d suggest the red one, then. It’s got a particularly pointed tip.”
“How very accommodating of you. Just for that, I’ll wear that mint green piece you like so much.”
Simon’s eyes lit up. Lani just laughed again and pushed him into the bedroom.
“I have a question, Lani.” Simon said an hour later, as they lay cuddled against each other.
“And what’s that?”
“Well, obviously you enjoy it whenever we indulge your little kink, and I know I certainly like the end results. But I was just wondering if you had any, for lack of a better term, deep dark desires that you’ve never had a chance to express in that regard.”
“Meaning…?” Lani said, not quite getting his point.
Simon gave up on being flowery and settled for being blunt. “Do you have any sneezy fantasies that I could help come true? The fact that you admitted your fetish to me is a big sign of trust, and I’d like to pay you back by giving you exactly what you want.”
Lani kissed him, hoping he wouldn’t notice that her eyes had teared up. “You’re sweet, Simon. Really sweet.”
“I try. So how about it?”
Lani blushed. “Well…there is one, but…it would be really hard to do.”
“As long as it doesn’t involve defying physics, I’m willing to give it a shot.”
“It’s…” Lani dropped her gaze to Simon’s chest. “Did you ever read an old comic book, and see those ads for prank items, like nasty tasting cigarettes or soap that made your hands even dirtier?”
“No, but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen those vintage ads before. Go on.”
“Well, one of the ads was for sneezing powder. Ever since I first saw that ad, I always wanted to have some of it for myself. For someone with my particular kink, that was basically pure gold in a bottle. A vial of something that had no other purpose than making people sneeze? It seemed too good to be true.”
“I take it you never got one, though.”
“That’s the problem,” Lani sighed, “Those comic books were at least 20 years out of date when I read them, so the company had long since gone under. Besides, I did my research, and the really effective stuff was banned long before either of us was born. All the sneezing powders nowadays are just variations of pepper. And maybe that works for some people, but…it’s not the same, you know?”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Simon said, his tone amused but not malicious, “So, what would you do if you ever got your hands on some?”
“I don’t know, actually,” Lani admitted, “I was more focused on getting some than actually using it.”
Simon rubbed her shoulder. “Well, you start thinking about it. I’ll do a little research of my own and see if I can find something close to what you’re looking for.”
“Good luck with that,” Lani said, “But from what I’ve seen, it would take a miracle.”
“So, does this make me God?” Simon said with a grin, as Lani gaped at the packages in her hands.
“It makes you the best boyfriend ever, that’s what it makes you.” Lani answered, “How on earth did you even manage this?”
“Google is a wonderful thing. I looked into vintage sneezing powder ingredients, then searched for those ingredients on places like Ebay or Etsy. The prices were pretty reasonable, all things considered.”
“You are amazing,” Lani said, throwing her arms around him, “I’ll never be able to thank you for this.”
“Don’t thank me just yet,” Simon cautioned, “There’s no guarantee that any of those will actually work. That’s why I bought any of the ones that looked promising. Hopefully at least one of them will work.”
“Well, we’ll just have to find out, won’t we?” Lani said, fiddling with Simon’s collar as she gave him bedroom eyes.
“Oh, I’m looking forward to being your guinea pig, trust me.”
“You’ll be waiting for a while, I’m afraid.” she said, turning away to take a closer look at the different packets.
“What? After all the work I went through?”
“You told me to figure out what I would do with this powder once I got it. And I realized that, while I would normally just use it like I use the feather and perfume, there’s only one way to ‘break it in’; by putting it to its intended use and pranking someone with it. Namely, you.”
“Ah, I see. You want to wait until I’m not expecting it.”
“Exactly,” Lani came back to him and squeezed his hand, “Though unlike most pranks, I’m going to ask in advance to make sure you’re ok with it.”
“Hey, this is your fantasy. As long as you’re careful and don’t spring it on me at a bad time, I’m willing to go along with whatever you say.”
She grinned and kissed him. “Thank you, sweetie. I promise, I’ll make it worth your while.”
Lani surprised even herself at how patient she was. She made it a full four months before she finally decided the time was right to spring the “prank”. In the meantime, she and Simon continued as normal, including a few nights where they indulged her kink in the more conventional way. If Simon was wondering when she was going to use the sneezing powder on him, he never let it show in his face. Lani flattered herself by thinking that he trusted her completely to know when the time was right.
One evening, Simon came over early to keep her company as she finished up an article for work. He was stretched out on the couch, reading a magazine, while Lani remained at her desk, typing on her laptop. There was a comfortable silence between them, one of those little moments when all was right in the world. Too bad she couldn’t enjoy it more; she had work to do.
“Simon?” she said, “I need to fact-check something. Would you mind going over to the bookcase and pulling out my Biographical Dictionary of Film?”
It wasn’t an uncommon request from her, and Simon obligingly got to his feet, hauling out the doorstopper of a book with a soft “Oof!” Lani grinned to herself. “You always forget how heavy that thing is.”
“I should probably try weightlifting with it. What page?”
“I don’t know. I’m looking for Fritz Lang, though.”
There was an oval mirror, elegantly framed, hanging just above her desk, and Lani took full advantage of it to watch as Simon opened the book, fanning the pages carelessly as he looked for the right page. He was so focused on the task that he didn’t notice the small cloud of powder that was rising into the air as he disturbed the pages she’d coated in sneezing powder the night before. She was glad he was absorbed in his task; she didn’t want to give the game away by having him spot the smirk on her face too soon.
“Here we go,” Simon said, “Right about in the middle of the book, actually. What do you…”
His voice stuttered to a halt, and Lani watched in the mirror as he blinked rapidly, nose crinkling as the powder started getting to work. Just before his eyes were forced closed by the oncoming sneeze, he met her gaze in the mirror, and his lip quirked upward in a tiny smile before it opened enough to let his breath catch.
Abandoning all pretense of working (the article wasn’t due until Sunday anyway), Lani turned around to watch him properly. His hands tightened their grip on the book, his shoulders drew inwards and upwards as though bracing themselves, and his head tilted back ever so slightly. Then, at last, he started sneezing.
“Hah-shh! Kashh! Gshhh! Ishh!”
His shoulders bobbed with each sneeze, and he’d somehow managed to press the book to his chest, as if instinctively trying to keep from spraying the pages. Lani watched eagerly, trying to catch every detail. She’d thought this would be enjoyable, but this was turning out far better than she’d expected.
Finally, the sneezing subsided, and Simon relaxed. After squinting at his hand to make sure it didn’t have any powder on it, he rubbed at his nose and grinned at her. “Well done. I didn’t suspect a thing.”
“Well done yourself,” Lani answered, “That was amazing.”
“I think we can safely say that that particular brand of sneezing powder was effective, don’t you?”
“Oh, absolutely,” Lani said, “I’ll have to keep it on hand for later.”
Simon looked down at the book in his hands. “How much powder did you put on this?”
“I don’t know. I pretty much just smeared it all down the front to make sure it flew into the air as you turned the pages.”
“Well, we’d better make sure it all comes off. It wouldn’t do for you to pull it out to fact-check only to get caught by your own prank.”
Before Lani could respond to that, he had taken the book and flipped the pages rapidly, a small white cloud flying into the air. She couldn’t repress an excited gasp at the sight, and he smiled at her, pinching his nose. “Before I’m completely overwhelmed here, is there anything you’d like me to do?”
“Just…talk. I want to see you fight against the sneezes for as long as you can.”
“Your wish is my command.” Simon said, before closing the book with one hand and unpinching his nose, taking a slow, deliberate breath. Even from this distance, Lani thought she could see some of the powder disappear up his nose, and she quivered with anticipation, leaning forward.
The powder started working on him almost immediately. He blinked a few times, his eyes tearing up, before he just shut them, the better to prepare for the sneeze. He set the book down on the end table, perhaps to avoid dropping it on his foot. Lani could see his chest expanding a little more with each breath, getting ready for the sneeze. She noticed most of this peripherally, though, preferring to focus on his mouth and nose. His nose was twitching desperately, and although Simon had put a finger under his nose to help hold the sneezes back, it clearly was only going to delay it for a minute at most. “Wh-what shaahhll I talk about?” he said, his voice quavering.
“I think talking about the powder seems appropriate. What does it feel like, do you smell anything, stuff like that.”
He managed a quick nod, then tried to focus on talking and (not) sneezing. “Th-there ihh-is a smell, b-but I c-can’t really descri—iihhh—describe it. It’s s-sort of d-dusty, and sort of…of…” he stuttered, but a hard press of his finger under his nose stopped the sneeze for the moment. “Of like smoke,” he finished, before continuing “As f-for wh-what it feels like, my lungs st-sting a little, but it’s not t-too bad. And my n-nose keeps ti…ti…”
He pressed his finger even harder against his face, but the tickle would no longer be denied. Perhaps realizing this, Simon dropped his hand a second before the sneeze burst out of him. “TISHH!” His body snapped forward, spray visibly shooting out of his nose and mouth. Lani could see his knees lock to allow him to keep his balance, and saw his eyes screw up a little tighter. She’d never seen a reaction like this from him, and it was amazing to behold.
Even though it was clear his nose wasn’t ready to stop at just one, Simon kept trying to gamely talk through the sneezes, which just made it all the better, in Lani’s opinion. “It tickles, obviishh!ly. I’ve n-never fellshh!t anything like Ishh! in my life. It’s too insishht!ent to be a cold tickle, too soft to beshh! an allergy tickle, and deceptshh!ively strong. I…I…IKSHHH!”
“Bless you,” Lani breathed, “Don’t try to talk anymore. Focus on getting the sneezes out. I don’t want you suffering any more than necessary.”
“I appreshi!ate it.” Simon said, before cupping his hands over his face to try to get things under control. “Kssh! Itshh! Pshh!”
After another minute, he tentatively lowered his hands and sniffled. “I think I’ve sneezed most of it out. My nose still tickles, but I don’t feel like I need to sneeze.”
“Good.” Lani said, getting to her feet, “Let me get you some tissues.”
She popped into the kitchen, grabbed the tissue box she’d set out for just this purpose, then came back and passed over the box, keeping her distance. Simon noticed. “I’d have thought you’d have jumped on me long before now.”
“And risk inhaling the powder myself? No thank you. At least one of us has to keep our wits about us.”
“You mean I went through all of that for nothing?” Simon said, pouting at her before putting the tissues to his face.
“I didn’t say that,” Lani smirked, “It just means I won’t be kissing you right at this moment. Once you’ve cleared out your nose, head into my bathroom and get into the shower to rinse the powder off your skin. I’ll go to the bedroom and get things ready there. When I’m done, I’ll join you, and the second that door is closed, that’s when I’ll pounce on you. And we’ll have the added bonus of not having any clothes in the way.”
His mouth was obscured by the tissues, but his eyes were sparkling. “I like the way you think.”
“So do I.” Lani said, waving him towards the hall, “Now get going. The sooner the powder’s off, the sooner I can thank you for your wonderful gift.”