Jenny closed the door to her hotel room and leaned against it for a moment, exhaling slowly to drain the tension from her body. She’d been delighted when her boss had nominated her to be their representative at the annual Banker’s conference, but that didn’t make giving her reports on her branch’s returns from last year any easier. All those people staring at her, making sure to speak clearly and distinctly for the older crowd, and trying to speak from memory to keep up her professional, always-on-top-of-it demeanor. She’d called it a challenge when she’d accepted the job, but right now, it felt like more of an endurance test.
Kicking off her pumps and quickly hanging up her jacket to prevent wrinkles, she flopped down onto the bed, wondering what to do with herself for the rest of the evening. It was probably in her best interest to go downstairs and network, but she needed a few minutes to herself. Hopefully everyone would excuse her absence as a need to freshen up.
Digging her cell phone out of her pocket, she scrolled through her contacts list and dialed her home phone line. A familiar voice was exactly what she needed right now.
The phone rang twice, and then a warm, elegant British accent said “Hello?”
“Hey baby.” Jenny said, hoping she sounded affectionate rather than tired.
“Jenny!” Anthony sounded delighted, “I honestly didn’t expect to hear from you until the last day of the convention. How has it been going?”
“On the one hand, it’s been going fine. Everyone’s treated me well, and listened to what I’ve had to say. On the other hand…it’s unnerving, having so many people listening to you. It’s not that I’m scared of crowds, but…”
“I understand,” Anthony said, “It’s a bit overwhelming if you’re not used to it. I wouldn’t be much better off if I was in your place.”
“I wish you were here in my place, or at least here to offer some physical support. I miss you.”
“I miss you too. But it’s only for a week. Then it’ll be back to the 9 to 5 routine and whole evenings free to spend as we see fit.”
“Very true,” Jenny sighed and rolled her shoulders, “I just wish there was some way to relieve the lingering tension at the end of the day. Even my evenings are probably going to be taken up with dinners or talks at the bar. I won’t really be able to drop my ‘on the job’ face except when I come upstairs to sleep.”
“Hmm…” The tone in Anthony’s voice made Jenny arch an eyebrow. That was always the tone that signaled he had a plan, one that was almost guaranteed to be unorthodox. “What exactly are you planning, Anthony?”
“You’ll have to wait and see. Listen, on Wednesday night, try to get away by nine. Plead a headache, tiredness, anything. Then I’ll call you and see if I can’t ease the worst of your stress.”
“You’re welcome to try,” Jenny said, “Though I’m not sure what you’ll be able to do for me through a phone line.”
“Just trust me, I think you’ll enjoy this. But I shouldn’t keep you if you’re planning on mingling. Good luck, and I’ll talk to you on Wednesday.”
“All right. Love you.” Jenny made a kissing noise and then hung up. Regretfully setting the phone aside, she got to her feet, stretched, and moved into the bathroom to reapply her makeup for dinner.
Tuesday and Wednesday passed much as Monday had, with speeches, reports, and plans for the future. Jenny threw herself into it as best she was able, though Anthony’s promise kept niggling at the back of her mind. What was he up to? A meditation session? Reading her to sleep via one of her favorite books? Whatever it was, she would certainly appreciate it, especially after a four hour discussion where she’d found herself heatedly debating her boss’ ideas with the secondary vice-president of the entire Western branch.
So on Wednesday night, as everyone rose from the dinner table with the intent of continuing their conversations at the hotel bar, Jenny smiled apologetically at her dinner companions. “I’ll have to pass tonight. I’m going to have to make another long speech tomorrow, and I want to make sure I’m well-rested for it.”
No one batted an eye at her; in fact, they wished her good luck and hoped she’d get a good night’s sleep. She smiled, waved, and left the room, waiting until the ballroom was out of sight before breaking into a jog.
She got to her hotel room at two minutes to Nine. Quickly turning on her phone, she placed it at the edge of her bed for easy access while she started to undress. The least she could do was keep up the pretense of having an early night.
She was down to her shirt and skirt when the phone finally rang. It was in her hand before it could complete the second ring. “Hello?”
“Hello, sweetheart,” Anthony’s tone was loving, but also had just a hint of mischief in it, “How have things been going?”
“Well enough. I’ve been holding my own. But it’s been a long two days. I must admit, I’m looking forward to whatever you’ve got planned.”
“So am I,” he answered, “Are you sitting down?”
“No. Should I be?”
“I think, for the best effect, you should lie down on the bed. It probably wouldn’t hurt to close your eyes, either.”
Intrigued, she did as he suggested. “Ok, I’m lying down, eyes shut tight. Now what?”
She heard a rustle and a clink at the other end of the line, as if Anthony was moving things around. “Now, you just lay there and relax, while I tell you about what I’ve been up to.” Jenny smiled, wondering if he was going to exaggerate things to make her laugh or just be matter of fact about it. The mischief in Anthony’s voice grew more pronounced as he said, “I know I probably shouldn’t spoil the surprise, but I thought you deserved something special for all your hard work. So I went out today and bought the most elegant, colorful, beautiful arrangement of flowers.”
Jenny’s eyes snapped open. “You didn’t.”
“I did. But I’m going to need to inspect it carefully, to make sure the combination of scents works for you.”
“You evil bastard.” Jenny said, even as she felt an excited throb in her stomach.
“What?” She just knew Anthony was smirking at the other end, “I can think of no better way for you to release some tension. Maybe it won’t be as effective as if I were there with you, but that’s why I suggested you close your eyes. Now, shall I get started?”
Jenny closed her eyes and curled her free hand around the bedsheets; she had a feeling she’d need to grip onto something for dear life. “Go ahead.”
“All right, then. This one looks promising, all purples and whites. I’m sure it smells lovely.”
Jenny heard another rustling noise, and she knew he was inhaling the scent. She could almost picture him cupping the flower in his hands, nose practically buried within the petals to breathe in as much of the pollen as possible. Her insides twisted deliciously at the thought, and she could practically feel her temperature jump up a degree or two. And they hadn’t even gotten started yet.
Anthony sniffed softly. “Well…there’s definitely a fair bit of pollen in there…” he said, his voice getting increasingly shaky. Then he gave up speaking entirely, too focused on coaxing out the sneeze with shallow, panting breaths. “Heh…heh-heh…hahh…” Jenny bit her lip and tightened her grip on the phone, hearing a slight squeak as the plastic was compressed.
Finally, after what felt like a solid minute of hitching breaths, Anthony sneezed. “Hah-kshh!” He sniffed again and exhaled slowly. “That felt good.”
“I’m sure.” Jenny said faintly, as her body, which had involuntarily tensed up at the sound, gently sunk back into the mattress.
Anthony’s voice had a grin in it. “But the question is, did it feel good on your end?”
“Of course it did,” Jenny answered, “You know what sneezing does to me, especially yours.”
“I know,” The mischievous tone was back, “But we’re just getting started. I don’t intend to hang this phone up until you’re properly relaxed.”
“And how many sneezes do you think it’ll take?”
“Who knows? Then again, I didn’t exactly plan to rely on just sneezing.”
“Oh? What else do you have up your sleeve?”
“You’ll just have to wait and see. First, though, I have another flower I want to examine. It’s such a beautiful, vibrant red. I almost expect the flower to have a spicy scent to it.”
Jenny was sure her face was a similar “vibrant red” at this point. “Now you’ve piqued my interest. You’ll have to describe the scent to me.”
“Oh, I intend to,” Anthony said, and she heard the rustling sound again, “You need to know what you expect when you smell the bouquet, after all.”
There was a moment’s pause, then Anthony sniffed. “Well…it’s not spicy. But ih…it’s definitely strong. Theehre’s a sharpness that c-cuts through the sweetness, ah-and there’s an odd s-scent of must. I c-can almost f-feel the pollen d-dancing ah-around my n-nose, and…and…ahh…ahhh…”
Jenny bit down on her lip, her toes curling almost involuntarily. Anthony’s breathy gasps were getting to her even more than his sneeze had, if that was somehow possible. She wanted to say something—whether encouragement or snark, she wasn’t sure—but she could hear his breath rising in pitch, and she knew another sneeze was imminent.
She wasn’t disappointed. “Ah…Akshh!” A sniff, and then… “Kitshh!”
There was a soft cracking noise, and Jenny realized she was gripping her phone so hard that there was a risk of her leaving dents in the plastic. She opened her eyes long enough to turn on the speakerphone, then placed it on her chest. The last thing she wanted right now was to cause any sort of damage.
Anthony was sniffling on the other side of the line. “That was a strong one,” he said, “Goodness, I’d hate to think what standing in a field of those would do to me. I’d barely be able to get a word in edgewise through the sneezing.”
“What makes you think I’d want you to be talking?” Jenny answered, grinning.
“True enough,” Anthony said with a chuckle, just before his voice dropped into the register that Jenny called his “seduction” voice, “But then again, I’ve seen the way you squirm when I whisper in your ear. Wouldn’t you prefer the best of both worlds? Murmuring to you about how much my nose was tickling, breath catching desperately, before finally giving in?”
“You make a compelling point.” Jenny said, as another wave of heat shot up her spine.
“Besides, I’d like to have some control of the situation. So maybe it would be better if we brought a vase of them home with us. Then we’d have them in easy reach.” He laughed softly, “I do wish you could see how bright the petals are. They would look absolutely gorgeous against your skin as I trailed the flower down your body, coating you in a thin layer of pollen. That would make kissing you so much more interesting, don’t you agree?”
Jenny’s mouth was dry. She had to swallow before responding “Oh, no doubt.”
“We’ll have to try it out when you get back. In the meantime, I should keep going through these flowers. Let’s see…ah, here we are. An almost radioactive pink tiger lily. I can practically see the pollen dripping off the anthers. What would happen if I tickled my nose directly with those, I wonder…”
“Oh lord…” Jenny said, unsure if she meant it sarcastically or pleadingly. She couldn’t tell if Anthony had heard her or not, because the rustling had started again. “Augh, it’s actually poking the sides of my nose!” he said, which made both of them laugh. By the time Jenny composed herself, he must have found a comfortable place for the anther, because she heard him say “There we go. Now, let’s see what happens when I give it a little shake…”
Jenny had enough time to brace herself, curling her hands and feet to grip onto the sheets for dear life. “Ih…It’s like the entire right side of my nose is t-tickling…” Anthony panted, “This m-may take ah-a while to sneeze out.”
“Take all the time you need,” Jenny said, shifting her weight and noting peripherally that her underwear had gotten distinctly wet, “It won’t do for you to be walking around with a noseful of pollen.”
“You s-say that as ih-if I d-don’t ah-already have ah-a noseful of d-dust.” Even when struggling against a sneezing fit, Anthony managed to sound like he was smirking as he said the word.
“Oh, you…” Jenny’s voice had taken on a hoarse, whispery quality as her mind started going incoherent with lust.
“I…I thought ih-it would be nice f-for you t-to come home to ah-a clean house,” Anthony said, his voice deliberately innocent, “So I d-did some dusting. Ih-it was hell on my n-nose, but ih-it wasn’t enough to make me sn-sneeze. So my nose hah-has been a little ih-itchy all afternoon. Really, this ih-is doing me a f-favor.”
Jenny wanted to say something like “Then go ahead and give your nose relief”, but all that came out of her mouth was a squeak. Anthony must have gotten the point, though, because he shut up and focused on getting the sneezes out. His breath started rising in pitch and increasing in frequency, and Jenny squirmed on the bed, body tense with anticipation, even as her mind shut down to everything except the gasps coming through the phone line.
Finally, mercifully, Anthony started sneezing. Apparently, his nose was less than pleased to having been subjected to two different allergens, because the sneezes came in rapid fire succession, barely allowing him to draw breath in-between. “Uh-tchoo! Hachew! Ah-chh! Chew!”
Jenny gave up on biting her lip and just groaned, arching her back so far off the bed that the top of her head barely touched the pillow. And Anthony still wasn’t finished. “Hehchu! Uh-chih! Ehchew! Heh-kitchew! Heyshoo!”
Jenny wasn’t sure what happened next—either the anther exited Anthony’s nose and left a cloud of pollen in its wake, or Anthony sneezed directly into the bouquet and was overwhelmed by the various pollens—but the fit suddenly went from “endless sneezes” to “breathy, tiny sneezes that allow for absurdly short and hot build-ups.” She clawed desperately at the bedsheets, head lolling back and forth as she listened to the symphony.
“Heh…heh…heh-chh! Heh…hah…hahh…ehtchh! Heh…echh! Ah-etshh! Ah…ahh…ahhh…ah-CHH! Ah…hahh-hihh-ahhtchh! Ekshh! Heh…hahhh…hah-heh-hahh-TCHH!”
Just as suddenly as it started, it started to taper off, as though his nose was getting tired of sneezing and was trying to wind things down. Not that it mattered much to her; no matter how he was sneezing, it had gotten her whole body tingling.
“Hah-hah-hachoo! Heh-huh-huhh…Uh-chh! Hah…ah…ah-chu!”
Just as Jenny though he had sneezed it all out, Anthony let out one last sneeze, the loudest one he’d had yet, one that almost certainly had gotten rid of the last of the irritants. “ESHOO!”
It was the catalyst her body had been waiting for. A wave of pleasure shot up her spine, her back arched momentarily before her legs buckled under her, and she let out some sort of moan-scream that could probably be mistaken for an animal mating call. Falling back on the bed, she panted for air, feeling her clothes sticking to her body, but too euphoric to really care. She couldn’t move her limbs even if she wanted to.
“I heard that,” Anthony said, sounding immensely pleased with himself, “Can I hazard a guess that I successfully relieved you of your stress?”
“Mmm…” Jenny answered, unable to offer up anything more coherent.
“Good. Hopefully that’ll be enough to sustain you through the rest of the convention. And if it doesn’t…just keep in mind, there are four other flowers in this bouquet I haven’t tried out yet. But I’m more than willing to save them for when you get home.”
“Promise?” Jenny managed to say.
“You have my word. And trust me, I’ll do my best to make it even more enjoyable once I’m actually able to see and touch you. Until then, though, you’ll have to use your imagination.”
“Think I can manage that…” Jenny said faintly, opening her eyes slightly; if she kept them closed, she was afraid she’d fall asleep mid-sentence. Anthony must have suspected the same thing, because his voice was full of affection as he said “Take advantage of your relaxed state and get some sleep. Don’t stay up on my account. I’ll see you on Friday night, ok?”
“Right.” She said, reaching over and turning on her alarm. The hell with it, she’d sleep in her clothes. She had another skirt she could use, and as long as she took the clothes to the dry cleaners when she got back, there probably wouldn’t be any lasting damage.
“Have a good sleep. Love you.”
Jenny had enough energy to smirk as her thumb brushed the “end call” button. “Bless you.”