Title: Fairies Hornpipe

Rating: NC-17

Summary: John's turn to show how completely obsessed he is with Nevin (and Nevin's sneezes) during their first date. 
Notes: Sequel to Scotland the Brave


Fairies Hornpipe



I think I caught a cold from being out in the rain at the Celtic Festival yesterday. Yeah, I know that’s not how it works. Colds are viruses; you can’t just catch one from being wet. But I kinda feel like I did this time. I’m all sniffly and just a little sneezy… and I can’t help but wonder if Nevin’s feeling like this too right now. Maybe what he thought was hay fever yesterday was really the beginnings of a bad head cold and after all that kissing, I caught it from him. Maybe he’s at home, sprawled across his giant bed (I’m just assuming it’s at least king-sized; it would have to be big enough to accommodate his large frame), sneezing his head off and wanting to text me but not having the energy to do so?


That would explain why I haven’t heard from him yet. God, why won’t he just text me though? Or call me? That’d be fine, too. That’d be better, actually. If he called, I’d be able to hear his voice. I’d know right away if he really did have a nose stuffed-up with cold. Maybe I’d even get to hear him sneeze again. But my phone’s been quiet all day, which is not for lack of checking.


I knew I should have asked for his number too, just in case. Maybe he put my phone number in wrong. Or maybe I transposed numbers when I gave it to him out loud. Or maybe his phone got wet yesterday and it’s drying out as we speak.


Or maybe… maybe he’s a little weirded out from what happened yesterday and doesn’t want anything to do with me? Maybe he humored me by putting in my number and as soon as he was back home, he deleted that sucker as fast as he could? Maybe his idea of fun doesn’t involve having an allergy attack all over a scrawny, geeky musician?


Keh-HIHschhhhh!” I reach for the tissue box I keep up here and snuffle into a tissue. It feels good and soft against my nostrils, and I close my eyes, savoring the sensation. My own sneezing doesn’t turn me on the way another guy’s does, but it’s not entirely without its own pleasures. It feels good to let a tickly sneeze out.


I’m all wrapped up warm in a nest of blankets on my mattress with a trusty teddy bear, a thermos of OJ, and the remote control. Problem is, I forgot to pull out and angle the television on the far wall the right way before I climbed all the way up to my loft bed, and now, even if the remote control can catch hold of the sensor panel on the television from here, I won’t be able to see the screen. Maybe that’s not the worst idea, though. If this really is a cold, I should probably get some rest. I could close my eyes, listening to the show until I drifted off to sleep. There’s nowhere I have to be and nothing I have to do until tomorrow, so I might as well take advantage and enjoy myself. Leisurely Sundays are underrated, as far as I’m concerned.


And that’s when my phone chimes with a text message alert. I check it immediately. Of course I do. It might be Nevin.


Oh God. I think it is Nevin. It’s an unknown number; who the hell else would it be texting me on a Sunday? My heart jumps up into my throat with panic, and I have to make an actual effort to swallow it back down. My hands are trembling as I try to navigate to the message log. It’s definitely a person texting, not a spammer. Is it Nevin? Like, am I sure it’s Nevin? It reads: Hey.


Just that. Just “Hey.” Just one word. I was waiting all this time, and I just get one word, three little letters?


But then, as I watch, another text appears: It’s Nevin BTW how are you what’s up


And I take that apart a hundred different ways, overanalyzing the shit out of it. Is he a lazy texter and can’t be bothered with punctuation or is this a stream of consciousness straight from his brain? Does he have a cold and suspect he might have given it to me and want to know how I’m doing? Is this a sly way of asking if I’ve got a hard-on? I have absolutely no clue. But I do know for sure it’s Nevin now, so I quickly add his number to my phone.  I type out a response, delete it, try again, delete that, and then sit and stare at the small text box where my clever, charming reply is supposed to go if I can ever figure one out.


This is my chance to make myself sound endearing . This is my chance to impress him. It might be my only chance. He’s out there somewhere, about to judge whatever I type to him, and what’ve I got? Nothing. Absofuckinglutely nothing.


And now it’s getting weird that I haven’t replied yet. In a panic, I type something—anything—and then hit send with my fingers crossed and eyes closed so I don’t have to witness my own action. If I don’t see myself hit send and it turns out to be terrible, I’m not really accountable, right? I end up replying: Hey back atcha. Not too much yet today. I’m getting kind of a slow start. You?


There’s a pause, during which I contemplate opening the small, round window above my bed and tossing the phone out of it so I don’t have to see what he texts back. But I can’t really afford to replace my phone. And, besides, I’m actually sort of desperately curious to see what he writes back.


I wipe a tissue at my nose as I wait, staring at the glowing screen that dims as it starts to fall asleep. My eyes grow tired too, but I force them open. I tap the screen to wake it back up. And, as I do, his reply comes in: Same. Sore from yesterday’s games so taking it easy today


There’s a long pause. I don’t know what to say. He probably doesn’t know what to say either. But there’s apprehensiveness and panic and self-doubt and throwing the phone out of that window is looking like a better and better option with each passing second.


Then I can see he’s typing something and the text comes through: Wanna hang?


I let my breath out, not realizing I’d even been holding it. Does he mean hang out or hang out? It’s not even eleven in the morning, which is pretty early for a booty call, even on a work night. But, either way, there’s only one possible answer I can give, and I type it out and hit send before I can take it back: Hell yeah.


I rub my hand over my face. I’m still in pajamas. I haven’t shaved. And I’m kinda sniffly. Even if I do get myself cleaned up and presentable, I’m hardly a catch. Outside the magical, otherworldly atmosphere of the Celtic Festival, he might take one look at me and throw me back into the ocean. He’s got the strength and muscles to throw me anywhere he wants. I’d just love for that to be onto a bed after ripping my clothes off in a wild, frenzied passion.


I tuck my phone into the pocket of my pajama pants, throw off the covers, and turn on my hands and knees on the mattress. I crawl backward until I hit the ladder leading down from the loft bed. I take the ladder slowly, one rung at a time. I feel tired, weak, unsteady. Going out right now is definitely not the best idea. But then my pocket chimes.


As soon as my sock-covered feet safely hit the floor, I check my messages: Lunch at Odells on 53rd & West


There isn’t a question mark there, but he didn’t get O’Dell’s right either, so I’m going to assume he’s just shit at grammar when texting. That’s a pity.  I think good grammar’s pretty damn sexy. But, then, I also find sneezing sexy, so it’s not like my judgement is the gold standard of normalcy. I text back: See you there at noon. I like that he wants to meet at an Irish restaurant, though. That’s good thinking. Common interest. Common ground. And there’s a city park right across from it if we want to take a walk.


I picture us strolling down a path, holding hands the way we did in the tent last night. I picture him getting too close to the honeysuckle bushes with their strong scent and pressing a couple fat fingers under his nose to keep from sneezing. No one really does that in real life; it’s cartoonish and overly dramatic and doesn’t really help keep back a sneeze anyway. But the image still makes me so hard I have to spank it when I get into the shower.


My bathroom is the size of most people’s coat closet. My coat closet, incidentally, is the size of most people’s dresser drawers. The small size works to my advantage today, though. I turn up the heat in the shower and breathe in the steam as it fills the small space. It clears my sinuses and calms my nerves. I can do this.


By the time I’m dressed and out the door, I don’t even feel sick. I’ve taken cold medicine, which I rarely do even when I’m at my worst, just in case. So if there really is a cold bug in me, this’ll quash it right down. He’ll never know I woke up feeling a little sniffly unless I tell him so, and I don’t know why I would. I put a couple hankies in my pockets, though, just in case he needs one. Call me old fashioned, but I like to be the gentleman offering his date some help if his date’s nose gets all twitchy and ticklish. Fuck, I’m getting hard again already. I’ve really gotta quit thinking about Nevin sneezing.


Problem is, his sneeze is so delicious. Like… if you asked me what my ideal sneeze was, it’d be Nevin’s hands-down. Nevin’s normal sneeze, that is. He’s also got this half-stifled, restrained sneezes that are pretty cute, because he puts a whole lot of effort into trying to hold them back. It’s adorable. But when he just lets loose with a sneeze… holy fucking shit it’s gorgeous. And slow. There are these audible build-ups that get my heart pumping and the sneeze itself is so slow it’s like he actually wants me to experience and admire every sound in it. And his nose… it’s this beautiful, round specimen with lines across the bridge that show just how much he rubs at it because of his allergies. I just want it to kiss and nuzzle and touch and tease and fuck, this is embarrassing! I climb out of my car, walk right back into my house, strip off my pants and briefs, flop down onto the couch, and get myself off again. Then I put on fresh undies, splash some cold water on my face, run a comb through my hair one last time, and leave for a second time.


I still make it to the restaurant early. Habitually early, that’s me. It’s kind of a curse, ‘cause it means I sit or stand around nervously waiting for other people to show up my whole life. And I don’t know if Nevin wanted to eat at the bar or in a booth or on the outdoor patio, so I just hover awkwardly at the front of the restaurant, arms hugging my chest, trying to avoid the hostess’ gaze, wondering if I should go back and sit in my car and, if so, for how long, and if the hostess will think that’s weird if I do that, because she’s already seen me standing here for five minutes.


“John?” His voice is deep and husky, and suddenly I’m very glad I jerked off twice before coming here. I turn, seeing the front door close behind him, seeing his face light up in this unreal way upon recognizing me, seeing a bulge in his pockets that could be his wallet but could also be the handkerchief I leant him yesterday.


“Hi there,” I reply. I want to kiss him hello, but I don’t know how he feels about PDA. I know he likes to put his hefty, uncut cock inside bagpipers. I know the face he makes when he comes and the one he makes when he sneezes. But I don’t know what he thinks about kissing another man hello in public. And I don’t know what it is about my body language that makes him sense we’re on the same page, but he moves close and cups one of his large hands to the side of my head. He kisses my cheek with just a quick peck, but he pauses for a moment, his nose rubbing against my face, right by my eye. He breathes out against my skin, warm and minty, and his beard scratches where I just shaved. How is it possible to be so infatuated after just one afternoon so that when he pulls back a second later, it feels like a shock to my system to be without his touch? “I…” The word comes out in a weak croak, so I clear my throat. “I didn’t know where you wanted to sit, so I haven’t given my name to the hostess yet.”


He nods and strides over, though a little stiffly. I wonder how long it takes him to recover from the physical exertion the games throw at him each festival? And I wonder if a massage would help? I make a mental note to ask later. The restaurant isn’t full, so we’re seated immediately at a small, two-person table on the patio in the shade of the overhang. There’s hardly anyone else out here, so we can talk without being easily overheard. Which is good, because I suspect we’ve both got a few private things to say.


“Thanks for texting,” I say as I slide my menu toward me. I skip the drinks menu, remembering that drinking on top of the cold medicine I took is not recommended. Besides, it’s too early in the day for a beer. According to me, at least. Nevin orders a beer and takes a sip from it the second it arrives. Is he nervous? Nervous around me? That’s absurd. It’s the other way around.


“Uh, sure,” he says. “Thanks for, you know, texting back. And…” He gestures toward the restaurant. “And meeting here for lunch or whatever.” He is nervous! Who’d have thought? He cares enough about me to want to not fuck this up. That means a lot to me.


I reach under the table and stretch my arm out, tempted to go for his lap but finding his hand instead. I take it and squeeze it. He squeezes back, his grip firm and reassuring. “Relax,” I tell him. “Just… think of it as a second one-night stand, if you have to.”


He cracks a smile and looks down at the table. “Is it that obvious?”


I give his hand another squeeze. “It’s okay,” I tell him. “I’m a little nervous, too. But that’s a good thing. Means we both want this to go well. Means we’re on the same page. But it also means we both need to just take a deep breath and relax.”


He nods, and I count down from three. We both take big breaths in then out. We smile at each other afterward.


Then his free hand snaps to his face, pinching his nose and covering his mouth at the same time. “huhh Hnnxxxxtt!” He sniffs and gives me this fucking adorably sheepish look. “Breathed too deeply, I guess. Kinda dangerous this time of year. Too much pollen in the air. Excuse me.”


I want to pull him right under the table and kiss him so hard he gasps for air and sneezes again. But is he teasing me? “Is this the real reason you wanted to sit outside?”


He shrugs. “The thought did cross my mind. Mostly I just wanted to enjoy the warm weather.”


“Mmm,” I nod, though I don’t completely believe him. I feel like he wants to sneeze just to watch how I react. He seemed to like that I was crazy for him yesterday.


When our server comes around, we order off the menu. And then there’s nothing to occupy our time or hands except each other. “So…” he starts out and trails off uncertainly.


“So…” I echo, but that’s as much as he says. I can’t draw anything else out of him. So I decide to fall back into my normal rambling state. I tell him about my freelance copy editing jobs and my family who live nowhere nearby and my friends who are like my family and my dreams. I tell him anything I can think to tell him. And he sits there soaking it all up the way he did yesterday when I was rambling on and on about my band. I watch the way he nods along or leans forward. I watch the way he abandons his food entirely when I’m at an especially interesting part. And I watch the way his eyes twinkle with delight when I share something personal or maybe something he’s been wanting to know and hasn’t asked. He doesn’t really offer much back, but I’m okay with that. He’s nervous. Hell, for all I know, this might be the first time he’s ever gone on an actual date.


“You’ve barely eaten,” he points out when the server comes to take our plates.


“I was busy talking,” I tell him. Besides, I never have much of an appetite when I come down with a cold. I consider telling him this. It feels far too soon to keep secrets from each other. Considering he already knows a secret about me and what I like most when it comes to sex, telling him I think I might be coming down with a little cold should be no big deal. But I don’t want him to freak out and cut the date short. I don’t want to give him any reason to not kiss me again. Or touch me. Or make love to me.




Realizing I haven’t been paying attention, I clear my throat and take a sip of water. “Um… you want to talk a walk?”


He looks at me funny. “That’s what I just said. Are you all right? Something distracting you?” He finds my hand on the table and strokes the back of it with several fingers. “Are you… maybe thinking about all those flowers over there and that my nose practically tickles if I even look at a photo of a flower?”


I look down at the tablecloth, feeling my cheeks go red. “Maybe,” I whisper. “But I don’t want you to be miserable on purpose, not on my account.” I look up at him, wanting to be perfectly clear about this. “That’s not what I find sexy.”


He nods and considers for a minute. “How about if I promise to enjoy myself?” I quirk a quizzical eyebrow at him, and he laughs at the face I make and probably also at the silliness of this all. “No, really, I mean it. I like the exercise. I like the neat, orchestrated beauty of a city park. And I like the way you squirm when I let out a juicy sneeze.”


My stomach somersaults so suddenly I grip the edge of the table with my free hand, rattling the silverware on out plates. “I… should have made it clear before: I don’t like being teased.”


He takes my hand. He throws a few twenties onto the table. He stands and guides me to do the same. Then he steps forward, closing the distance between us. “It’s not a tease if I make good on it.” He twitches his nose on purpose, which is all kinds of cute. More teasing? Or more promising? “Come with me to the park? Please?”


Fuck. There’s absolutely no way I can refuse. This is my dream. A big, handsome guy offering to sneeze for me? Hell yes. Hell yes! “Let’s go,” I whisper.


I’ve been to this park a few times before. It’s nothing a tourist would go out of their way to track down and take a selfie in, but it’s got a lot to admire.  Each walkway leading to the center of the park is lined with honeysuckle. Pines dot the grassy expanse behind them. In the center of the park is a pond with a walking path circling it. Willows stand between the path and the water on one side and flowerbeds in neat, designed plantings fill the other sides. There are a half a dozen benches scattered about and gazeebos on either side of the pond, jetting out over the water. You can barely hear the city traffic once you’re inside; the curated nature blocks it out.


It’s the second time we’ve taken a walk together, and I wonder if that’s going to be our thing now. Every date will have a walking component to it—a time where we walk and I ramble and he sniffles. I could get used to that, if that’s the case. Before we get very far this time around, I see his nostrils flaring just a little. I put a hand on his chest and stop him. “I know you said you’d enjoy this, but you tell me if it gets too much for you, all right? No need to push yourself too far on my account. I’m already having a good time with you, even without whatever happens next. Understand?”


He looks… I don’t know, exactly. With that beard of his, sometimes it’s hard to get a read on his expression. But he nods. “Yeah, of course. And… I’m having a good time with you already, too, John.”


I lean forward and crane my neck just a little. He’s taller than I am, but it’s not too difficult to kiss him. I make it a quick peck, hoping it’s not enough to give him my cold, if I do in fact have one. Then we walk, hand in hand, toward the pond in the center of the park.


I start off talking about what it was like to move to the area after college. I had a three-bedroom apartment with three roommates just so that we could make the rent. There was a cat who visited us on the fire escape every day around six in the evening, but if we opened the window to give it food or water or milk, it would climb up or down and we wouldn’t see it for a week. There was a lesbian couple down the hall who kept trying to give me awful haircuts. And there was nowhere I could practice the bagpipes without the neighbors banging on the walls or floors, so I’d go out to a park near that building and stand barefoot in a field of clover and close my eyes and pretend I was playing out in the hills of Scotland.


“That’s beautiful,” he tells me. “Wish I could’ve seen that.”


“Play your cards right, and maybe one day you will.”


He smiles shyly—this I can pick up on clearly, even with the beard. And, God, he’s so cute when he’s vulnerable like that. Then he lifts his free hand and passes the knuckles under his nose, scrubbing the end of his round nose with the back of his hand. And that makes him look even more vulnerable. His nose is bothering him. It’s starting to tickle. I’d be embarrassed for him, but he wants it to tickle. For me. I’m walking on fucking cloud nine right now and it’s all I can do to keep my voice calm and my pace steady.


Tripping over my own feet right now and cracking my chin on the pavement would put a quick end to all this bliss. Though I can just imagine him scooping me up and carrying me into the ER effortlessly, playing a Celtic music playlist on his phone and splitting earbuds between us to relax us as we wait for a doctor, sitting by my bed and holding my hand as I get stitched up.




I give a start. It’s not that I didn’t expect it, obviously. I just didn’t expect it that very moment. And it’s so loud and out in the open. Everyone in the park probably heard it. Suddenly, I don’t know how I feel about that. To me, it’s as if he’s just stripped naked and showed everyone his dick. I know it’s not really the same, because probably no one here has this fetish except for me and probably no one could even guess what that amazing sound just did to me. But now it’s like my sexuality is exposed and public. It’s my turn to feel vulnerable.


My hand trembles, and I squeeze his to keep him from noticing. “Um… Nevin… could you… maybe… hold your sneezes back a little?”


He cocks his head ever so slightly. “Oh, you mean rubbing my nose and trying to keep from sneezing so that when they h-hit they’ll b-be even bigger?” His nostrils are flaring again already, and I can hear the tickle coming on as his voice catches.


I shake my head quickly. “Honestly that sounds fucking amazing. Do that later, okay? What I mean is… yesterday, when you were out there during the Caber toss, you had those small sneezes, where you restrained them, half-stifled-like.”


He looks confused now. He rubs his nose hard to drive the tickle down. “But I thought you liked it when I let lose like that. Yesterday in the tent, you practically begged—”


“I know,” I moan quietly. I look around to make sure no one’s looking our way and lower my voice to make sure no one is listening in. “But that was in the tent, just the two of us. That was intimate. Private. We’re out in public now.” I don’t know how to explain this. I want him to sneeze but I don’t want him to sneeze and, arg, it’s too early in our relationship for this!


“Ohhh.” He grins. His white teeth flash against the dark of his beard. “I get it.” He tugs my hand, turns, pulls me right up against his front, and puts his hands on my hips. “My biggest sneezes are just for you. You’re the only one who gets to hear them. Like a special song only the two of us know.”


I bury my face in his chest. It’s definitely too soon in our relationship for this. He gets me. My thoughts and words are so jumbled and imprecise, but he totally, effortlessly understands. How is he doing this? I nod my head up and down. “Yes,” I whisper. “That’s it exactly. Thank you. I… thank you.”


I feel one of his hands slide to my back and rub. “Hey, I guh g-gotcha.” He lowers his head and presses his nose to my shoulder. “huh HUH Hxxxxch!” He lifts his head, sniffling. “Sorry. That tickle snuck up on me. Sniff!” He steps back and rubs his nose. Then he takes my hand again. “Look, I’m new to this dating thing. Like, I’m brand new to this dating thing. But I think it only works if we talk to each other. We’ve had each other once or, well, twice in your case.” I blushed. “But we still barely know each other. If there’s something you want from me, just tell me. If there’s something you don’t want from me, tell me. It’s no big deal.”


“Feels like it to me. I’ve never talked to anyone about this before.”


“Wait.” He stopped in his tracks. “You’ve never told anyone you like sneezes?”


My eyes widen and cheeks grow hotter, and I look around again, making absolutely sure no one overheard. There are others in the park, but none of them seem close enough to have overheard. At least, none of them are looking at me like I’m crazy or depraved. “That’s right. I’ve never been close enough to one of my boyfriends to tell him. Yesterday was… special circumstances. Unique.” I hadn’t meant to tell him yesterday, but I’d been so carried away and his sneeze was just so damn perfect, it had just slipped out.


hah huh” He pinches his beautiful, round nose between thumb and forefinger. I can see it struggling against him. “Get ready. I’ve-uhh huhhh gotta… hah Hihtchxxxt! H’Kxxxxtt! Huhhh… huhh-HIKxxxxx!


“Bless—” I begin, but he flashes me a look and steps closer. I can hear his breath hitching uncontrollably.


hihh hihhhh! These flow… flow-fl-hih hihh flowers huhhhh m-make my nuhhh nose hihhh ihhhh!” Keeping his hand firmly at his nose, he hunches over a little and buries his face against my shoulder. “hihh-Ixxxittt! Hihhtchtttt! hihhKIHxxxxt! Hixxxt! Huhhh hihh-HIXxxxtttt!” He pauses, and I think he’s done, but there’s one more left in him. “HIHtchttttt!


I wait, but it seems like that’s it for now. I rub his back a few times until he snuffles and takes a step back. He fishes around in his pocket and pulls out my handkerchief. I knew it was in there. Instead of wiping his nose with it, though, he hands it to me. “Rub my sniff! Rub my nose for me, John?” I go weak at the knees, but I do my best to help him out without my hand shaking too much.


“Bless you,” I whisper as I sense his nose is as dry as it’s going to get without a good, strong blow. “And thank you.”  


“You like?”


“I love. You’re driving me crazy.”




“Oh yeah.”


“I’m honored, you know. Sniff! Thanks for trusting me.”


I didn’t really have a choice. His sneeze was just so amazing. “Don’t make me regret it,” I whispere into his neck, nuzzling a little. My own nose feels just the slightest bit ticklish and I am starting to feel the pressure of a headache settling right between my eyes as well. Damn it, I am definitely getting sick; there’s no question about it. But I still feel compelled to say, “I’d like to return the favor and get you a little crazy with desire. Should I… play for you?”


He chews on his bottom lip, his bearded chin making tiny movements. “Actually… I was thinking about… about…”


“About what?”


And then I realize his eyelids are fluttering closed, and he feels another sneeze coming on. “hahh! HAH…” Maybe even more than one. He pinches his nose between thumb and forefinger. “hah-Kkxxxxt! H’Ershxxxxxx!


“Bless you,” I say again. I certainly don’t need to say it, but I like saying it. It’s stupid, but it makes me feel more involved in the process, more close to those fantastic sounds and sights he’s giving me. I motion for us to walk along again. We’re on our second tour around the pond now, and most everything is the same this time around, except that his nose seems more ticklish and my whole body is more eager. “What were you saying before? Something you were thinking about?”


He looks at me, confused. “I don’t know…” he says at last, shaking his head. “Forgot where I was going with that. Must not have been important.”


I laugh. I’m always doing that, too.


“Oh! Wait, no! I remember now. Sniff! Sniff! You mentioned repaying the favor. And I was thinking that I wanted to go back to your place after this.”


A tiny wave of panic washes through me. “My place?”


“Yeah. I want you to play for me.”


My place… that isn’t such a good idea. I can’t really see him being comfortable at my place. I’m not so sure exactly how best to put it, either. “Um…”


“Unless, of course, you’ve got neighbors who’ll complain about the noise.”


“I can honestly say that that is one thing that my house has going for it. I can practice the bagpipes whenever I want.”


“Then let’s go.”


Damn it! Why hadn’t I just lied and told him I had neighbors? Sure, if we kept dating, he would have found out the truth eventually. But I could have put this off so much longer with a little white lie. Now there is nothing to be done but try to be as tactful as possible and hope he doesn’t get upset. “The thing is… my place is… well… I’m not exactly sure you’ll fit.”


The incredulous look he gives me makes me a little self-conscious.


“What, in your house?”


I nod. “My house. My bed. All that. You’re a big guy, and—“


“I’m not that big.”


Okay. Touchy subject. Dually noted. “I’m just saying…” I take a deep breath. “I’ve got a tiny house.”


He smiles. “That’s cool. I really just want to hear you play again, and the walls between the townhouses in my development are shit. So would you? P-pluh please? Huhhh! Hehhh-Ihhkxxxxx!


I go weak. What I really want is to stay right here and have him sneeze for me some more. But he sneezed for me yesterday and again today. I really should return the favor and play for him. And it’s not like I don’t love playing.


“Of course,” I tell him. “You are cordially invited to a bagpipe concert for one.” I stick my elbow out.


“I accept.” He links his elbow in mine and moves close to me. “Hey,” he whispers to me. Then he sniffs loudly in my ear. “I th-think I’m gonna HUH! HUH! HEHH!” He grabs my free hand with his own and holds it up to his face, moving it into place so I’m pinching his gorgeous, round nose for him. I can feel his nostrils fighting against my fingertips, and I’m tempted to let go and see how big this sneeze will be. But I also know that if it’s this strong, it’s coming out whether I pinch his nose tight or not. “HEH-HPTxxxxxxt!


I feel some hot breath against my palm, and just a light, gentle spray. And in that moment, I realize I’d do anything for this guy—including take him back to my too-small place and playing every song I know on the bagpipes straight through as many times as it’ll take him to get tired of coming to orgasm. I also realize that we need to get going right now before I lose my composure right here in the middle of the park.


“My car’s over in the Eighth Street parking deck,” I tell him. I loosen my grip then remove my hand from his face. “Let’s hurry.”


He doesn’t disagree. In fact, he starts humming something that I recognize immediately as the Skye Boat Song, which is one of my favorite songs to play. I spend half the drive home wondering how he knows it’s a favorite and the other half trying not to come in my pants when he sneezes.


All that time in the park has done a number to his poor sinuses. “J-John hahhh… I have to sn-snee-hehhhh!


I bite my lip. “You have to sneeze?”


“Yeah. Cuh-can I let it out? Hahhh! Ahhh! We’re hahh-alone, right?”


I smile to myself and tighten my grip on the steering wheel. “That’s right.”


“Guh-good ‘cause I hahh I hahhhhhh! I hah-have to… HAH-IHSHHOOO!” he sneezes unrestrainedly, just like we agreed he could when we’re alone.


I’ve got a box of tissues here in the car, and he makes his way through it, using one after another. He’s snuffling and wiping and snorting and blowing and sneezing so much still in recovery. At one point, he throws a balled-up tissue at me, laughing, and then reaches into my lap to retrieve it. His hand brushes my crotch, and he can’t possibly miss the hardness pressing into the front of my jeans. I can see his own with just a glance as well. I wonder if he’ll come before I even get warmed up on the bagpipes. That’s something I’d like to see.


We drive out of the city, past the suburbs, and beyond. I don’t live in the countryside… not exactly. But it is far enough out there that Nevin starts getting restless, impatient. “Not long now,” I promise. “Almost there.”


“Good,” he replies. “’Cause I’b albost out of tihhhh tissues here.” He gets this amazing look on his face that lets me know he feels a sneeze coming on and doesn’t plan on stopping it. Then he’s unable to speak because of his quiet, hitching breaths. Then out come two lovely, unrestrained sneezes. “Hahhshhooo! Huh-HUHSHOO!” The sound does all sorts of things to my insides, making me hard in some spots and wibbly soft in others. I want him so badly now my foot becomes heavy on the gas pedal. It’s a miracle I don’t get stopped by a cop for speeding or reckless driving. There’s no way I’d be able to talk myself out of a ticket in this state he’s got me in.


Whatever else I’m feeling, it’s nerves that overwhelm me when we pull up to my house. We sit in the car, staring at it through the front windshield of the car. He doesn’t say anything. I don’t say anything. He sniffs once. We still don’t say anything.


Finally, he looks away from the house and directly at me. “When you said you had a tiny house… you actually meant you had a tiny house.


I nod, my cheeks red. My house’s one and a half stories takes up only about three hundred square feet. It sits out in the middle of a large field, nothing but grass and sky and a far off line of trees as far as the eye can see, which makes it look even smaller in comparison. I love it, but it’s not ideal for entertaining, and it’s certainly not made for someone like Nevin. His shoulders are so broad he might have to angle himself sideways to even get in the door. “So, uh, do you have time for a tour? I should be able to show you around the entire place in, oh, about twenty-five seconds.”


A few more seconds of silence pass between us, and then he bursts out laughing. The deep, rumbling laughter is kindhearted, reassuring, and not at all mean-spirited. It takes the edge off my nerves a little bit. Then he reaches over and squeezes my upper arm, chasing away even more of my nervousness. “Of course I do. I’d love a tour. In fact, I probably have time for two whole tours.”


And so that’s what we do. Just inside the door, which he does have to enter sort of sideways by leading with a shoulder and then straightening out, is my living room. “Here’s my living room couch, with storage under the cushions for out of season clothes. I’ve got a television on the wall that can be angled so I can see it from here or the kitchen, if I’m cooking, or even my loft bed up there.” I point.


There’s a ladder leading up to the top portion of my house, a loft that’s really only big enough for the built-in set of drawers for my clothes and a mattress that sits freely on the floor. The ladder is narrow, and I am sure Nevin’s thinking the same thing I thought: that even if he could get up there and be comfortable up on the mattress without banging his head on the ceiling, getting down would be somewhat problematic. I don’t want to be responsible for the great Highland Games athlete breaking his back. Falling out of bed after or even during sex would be a pretty embarrassing story to tell his buddies.


But, it turns out, he wasn’t thinking the same thing I was at all. “Can we pull that mattress and blanket down and put them outside?”


I consider this, thinking of the chore of washing the items, but I have a tarp we could put beneath the mattress that would keep it relatively clean, and my washer and dryer are big enough for a load of sheets. What I’m most worried about is the weight. “The mattress is pretty heavy. Down wouldn’t be so much of a problem, but getting it back up there again would take some effort. And my blanket’s a gravity blanket, so it’s a third of my body weight. Hauling that back up isn’t something I want to do again.


He smiles though and slides an arm around my waist. He speaks into the back of my head and my ear, his breath warm and ticklish, making my skin tingle. “Not sure you remember from yesterday, but I happen to be pretty strong. I’ll help you get it back up there.” Then he pauses, considering his words, and kisses the back of my ear. “After I’ll help you get it up.”


“You really are a tease.”


“No.” He kisses me again, his beard brushing the back of my neck. “Just making a promise.”


I finish the tour, showing him the bathroom with the composting toilet and where the instructions for that are located in case he has to use it. I show him the cabinet with the plexiglass front door where I both store and display my bagpipes. I show him the little wood stove I use to heat the whole house in the colder months. I show him little hidden storage areas where things can be securely tucked away in case I hitch the house up to something big to tow it to a new location someday. I drop the used hanky he returned into one of the bins where I keep dirty clothes I need to hand wash. When I first got my tiny house, the freedom of mobility really appealed to me. But once I found this spot and fell in love with the meadow, I haven’t had the urge to move. Besides, there aren’t a lot of places in this world zoned for tiny houses yet. This place suits me just fine, and whatever I’ve got going on with Nevin right now is just about all the adventure I need in my life.


When I’m done with the tour, I take a deep breath and start all over again. “Here’s my living room. There’s a couch with under-cushion storage for my out of season clothes—“


“I got it!” he laughs. “But… can you show me again where you keep your bagpipes?”


“Right there on the wall.” Instead of merely gesturing to the cabinet, I go over there now. I haven’t had time to wash my socks or dress shirt from yesterday, but my kilt is folded up there and the bagpipes are sitting and waiting to be played. I wonder if they at all suspect what’s about to happen. Probably not. I don’t really even know how this is a fetish. I mean, sneezing is so logical. It’s a little, wet explosion, not unlike an orgasm, really. But bagpipe music? I’m not sure I really understand how anyone finds it anything but beautiful. Irresistibly sexy is just not how I normally describe the instrument. But he’s looking at it with lust in his eyes, and I’m dead curious to see how this all plays out.  


And that’s how I end up wearing nothing but a kilt, standing barefoot outside in the grass, playing to a man lying out in the open on my mattress and sheets. I left the blanket up there for now, as it’s pretty warm out. If things go as I assume they will, we’ll be getting all hot and sweaty together and won’t need it anyway. I push some air through the pipes and warm up with a few notes then a few bars of nothing in particular.


hahh… EHSHOOO!” He sneezes into his cupped hand, looking up at me over it. I can tell he’s smiling even before he drops his hand. “Another bonus of doing this outdoors, I guess.” He sniffles. “Unless my sneezing will be distracting. Should I hold ‘em back for you while you play?”


My heart is racing so fast it seems like it might fly right out of my chest. I find myself nodding. I don’t really want him to stop sneezing, of course, but I don’t know how I’m going to get through a song if he keeps doing this to me. Every time he sneezes, my knees go weak and something wiggles deep down in my stomach. I go hot all over, like someone’s placed a hot water bottle down my pants. Above all, I lose my breath for a moment. And a piper without a breath is just someone holding a weird-looking instrument. So I nod and tell him to hold back if he can and just enjoy this treat. And I honestly hope I can make him as happy as he makes me and also hope make it through this without embarrassing myself.


My hands tremble with nerves. I still don’t quite understand what it is that turns him on about bagpipes, but I’m nervous that if I mess a song up, it’ll have the opposite effect and the date will end with an unsatisfying, awkward, silent car ride back into the city. So I take a deep breath, wiggle my toes in the grass and dig in a little to steady myself, and I play The Skye Boat Song he’s been humming all afternoon. It’s wonderfully comforting and familiar, so it’s a good one to start with.


He lies on his back, one arm—bent at the elbow—resting under his head as he gazes up at me. He’s watching all of me, not just my hands, so maybe he doesn’t notice their tiny trembles. I see his gaze travel from my fingering to my cheeks to my bare knees to my chest to my biceps. The bagpipes brush my bare nipples and my cock rubs against my kilt, twitching at the sight of his tongue moistening his lips. I may not understand why he loves this, but it’s no surprise that he does.


After a little while, he takes his eyes off me only to look around, as if to make sure that we’re still alone out here. Then he unzips his pants, slides them down, and strokes his hard-on. He touches himself slowly, savoring the sensations he’s feeling, almost in time to the music. Then he strips off the rest of his clothes, presenting himself to me almost as if he’s on display. He’s naked and exposed and standing straight up he’s so hard. I’m never, ever going to be able to hear this song again and not think of this moment. It’s ruined for me in the best way possible.


I want to finish the song and then throw myself at him. But as soon as I end that song, he insists on more, waving his hand to indicate I should keep playing. I decide something fast and frenzied is in order—a reel or a jig or a hornpipe. And when I think hornpipe, a dozen or so spring to mind. I settle on the Fairy’s Hornpipe, as it somehow seems appropriate. I start it up and he moans immediately with pleasure, increasing the speed of his strokes. The melody is repetitive, light, bouncy. It matches the grin spreading across his face and the rocking of his hips. I want to join him on my mattress, but I won’t stop playing for the world, not if it’s doing this to him. I wonder if he would come if I just kept playing. I wonder if that’s what he wants from me.


When the song comes to an end, he moans again, turning his head into the loose bottom sheet and biting it. “John…” he pleads, his voice hoarse, deep, and breathy. “Just one more chorus?”


I backtrack a little and start The Fairy’s Hornpipe again from the middle. I watch as his body stiffens, his head thrashes from one side then the other and then his eyes lock on me. And he comes. It’s like I’ve had a fountain installed in my front yard, only far sexier. The face he makes when he comes is exquisite, like he can’t possibly contain as much pleasure as he feels. I want to preserve it somehow, remember that that bliss is what my playing did to him.


But that’s when something catches in my throat and I start coughing. It was inevitable. In fact, I am even a little surprised I made it this far. I fight to control the coughs, but they leave my throat raw and scratchy, leave my head feeling light and dizzy, and they leave the rest of me feeling just plain embarrassed. I sit down on my mattress, setting the bagpipes to my side, carefully. I lean forward, head between my knees, until my head feels more like it’s supposed to feel and less like a balloon bobbing on ocean waves.


I feel his hand on my back. “Hey. You all right?”


I bob my head up and down. I don’t want to tell him I think I might be coming down sick, but I don’t know what choice I have now. “I’ve got a tickle in my throat. Cough! Not completely sure what it is. Took some cold medicine this morning, but…” I can’t look at him. I want to play more for him and not see the disappointment in his eyes.


“Ohhhhh. You caught cold because we got caught in the rain yesterday.”


I shake my head. That isn’t how colds work, but this isn’t the time to talk about that. I’m having trouble saying anything right now, anyway. I’m ruining this. It feels like I might burst into tears if I try to say anything right now, and I definitely don’t want that.


He puts an arm around me and kisses my cheek not just once but repeatedly. He holds me and kisses me an insanely silly number of times until I finally turn my head and look at him. “That’s it,” he says and kisses my lips.


I’m confused and concerned. I pull my head back. “Probably contagious,” I manage to whisper.  


“Don’t care,” he whispers back. Then he dips his head, nuzzling his face into my neck. “I can’t keep my hands off you. Your playing is magical… and so are you. You’re like no one I’ve ever met before. I can’t get enough of you, and I don’t understand it. I could hardly wait to text you, but I didn’t want to look too eager. I’ve never done this before, never felt like this before.” He lifts his head. “I don’t care if you’ve got a little head cold or if you’ve got the plague. I want you.”


Hard and soft—that’s what I am. Hard and soft. I embrace the contradictions in my body and kiss him back. We lie back on my bed together. And it feels strange. This is my bed, which should be tucked up there in my cozy loft, but instead it’s outside, in the open. Instead of the skylight, there’s the actual sky. Instead of my blanket, there’s a man I only just met yesterday who can’t stop touching me. And I don’t want him to. It’s strange, because none of this is normal, and yet it feels so right. Is this infatuation? Or is it something more? Is this what it feels like to have found the right person? Is this love?


kehh-Hehshhhh!” I get my hand up in time, but now it’s wet. I wish I had a hanky or a tissue or something. I love seeing a guy sneezing freely, spray droplets glistening, but my own leave my nose feeling wet and annoyingly sniffly and I don’t like that. I don’t know how I’d forgotten to bring a tissue box out with me; I’d had one right by me just a few minutes ago.


“Tissues?” he reads my mind. “I used up the ones you had in your car. Do you have another box that’s easy to get to?”


I sniffle wetly and shake my head no. I have my kilt on, but my sporran’s still back in the house, so the small pack in there does me no good.


He looks around, finds some of his clothes he threw off, and lunges for them. At first, I assume he’s got a tissue in his pocket. But instead he offers me his white, cotton undershirt. “It’s not that different from a handkerchief,” he insists. “Go on. I don’t mind. I do this all the time when my nose is drippy and sneezy and I don’t have anything nearby.” Those words! Can he even guess what they do to my insides? They weaken me so I can’t even think. Automatically, I take the t-shirt from him and snuffle into it, drying both my nose and my hand.  I’m not sure if I should hand it back or not; I don’t really think that I should, but I’m embarrassed to be holding it. Though I’m also embarrassed at how soft and comforting the worn cotton was against my nose.


I’m spared the decision of what to do next by him standing up. “I’ll go get your tissues. Where do you keep them?”


I haul myself to my feet with a little groan. “No, it’s all right. I’ll grab them.”


“I don’t mind,” he insists.


“They’re up at the back of my loft,” I explain.


He nods. “Oh. Well, in that case, I’ll just keep you company as you get them.”


I don’t need company. It’s only going to take me a minute to scramble up the ladder, get the box, and get back down again. I should tell him he doesn’t have to come along. But the thing is, I want him to. I want him with me in case I get dizzy on the ladder or in case I just need to kiss him again. “I’d like that,” I tell him, and I start for the house.


He follows me silently. When we get to the kitchen, I pause. “Hey, do you want a drink? I’ve got some beers in the fridge. If I’d known we’d be coming back here, I would have stocked up on Guinness, but I’ve got some stuff from local breweries that is actually pretty good.


He checks the small fridge, studying, and closes the door without taking one. “They look good. Maybe later?” He touches my back with reassurance. “Let’s get you what you need first.”


I make my way up the ladder and hear a low, bearish growl from below. I look down, over my shoulder, to see him grinning up at me. “Nice view.”


“What, out the cough out the window? Yeah, I can see the whole meadow from up here.”


Nevin shakes his head at this. “No, I meant it’s a nice view from down here. There’s nothing under your kilt, lad, but you.”


I grin back. I’m not sure how I feel about him calling me lad. He can’t be all that much older than me, after all. But no one’s ever called me that before, apart from my first bagpipe instructor, and coming from Nevin it just sounds so right. I’m his lad. I’m his lad. I like that.


I climb the rest of the way up the ladder and push aside the balled-up tissues from that morning to get to the almost-full box that’s there against the far wall. Then I spot the blanket, shoved aside from earlier. I toss down the box of tissues to Nevin. “Would you mind if I brought my blanket out after all?”


He shakes his head. “It’ll probably be chilly tonight anyway. Go for it.” He lifts his arms, getting ready to catch it, even though he’s probably never held a gravity blanket and has no idea what it’ll feel like for fifty pounds to come at him from above. The thing is, he’s expecting to need it tonight. He wants to sleep here tonight, to stay the night maybe even. And I realize I want him to do that, too.


So we get the blanket down, and I manage not to injure him in the process. And before I know it, I’m outside on my bed with Nevin spooning me from behind and my heavy, gray gravity blanket lying heavy over both of us. It feels so good, so amazing, I find myself tearing up. Thank goodness for those tissues. As I wipe my eyes and try not to cry, he squeezes me tighter to his chest. The way he’s holding me is one of the best things I’ve ever experienced in my life.


“I’ve had a lot of boyfriends,” I say. It makes sense in my head, but it comes out of nowhere, so I feel him tense up. Quickly, I continue in order to put him at ease, “But I’ve never been held so tight. Never felt so safe before.”


He relaxes and rubs his thumb over a bare bit of my chest, the rest of his large hand busy covering mine. “I know what you mean,” he says. “We fit, don’t we?”


I nod. And then I sneeze again. Yeah. I’m definitely coming down with something. I never sneeze this much in a day. And he sneezes again, which might mean he’s caught this from me or it could be the fact that we’re outside and the outside doesn’t seem to like Nevin all that much. In any case, I feel it against the back of my neck, and it makes me hard again in an instant. “Fuck!” I whisper. “You’re amazing when you do that.” I take his hand and guide it down under my kilt where he instantly curls his fingers around my cock as if it’s the most natural thing in the world for him to touch.


He pulls slowly for a while, just making it feel so good, and we both lie there enjoying ourselves, seeing if it will go further. I realize it’s not going to unless I ask for it. He may look like a big, tough guy and he may be all about the one night stands, but he’s a gentleman through and though. “Please tell me you have a condom,” I say. “Because I want you to take me, right here, right now.”


It takes some shifting and stretching for him to get to his pants, but he finally produces one he’d had in his pocket. He rips open the package and slides it on expertly. “It’s lubricated,” he tells me. “But let me know if you need more, and I’ll stop right away.” I fight the urge to tense up. I remind myself I want this. And I remind myself I don’t need to poop. I refuse to embarrass myself further in front of this man. I’m about to suggest he get me ready with a finger or two, but then I feel the head of his cock tease my hole. And when he slides in, it’s a whole lot easier than I’m expecting it to be. This isn’t my first time bottoming, by any means. But it’s my first time with him, so I hadn’t known what to expect exactly. Every cock is different. “You okay?” he asks, when he’s made it all the way in. He’s kissing the back of my head and hugging me close and fighting the instinct to thrust until I tell him I’m okay.


“Very okay,” I say. “You’re amazing… when you do this, too.”


“Oh, just you wait,” he chuckles. “But tell me if you need me to slow down or if anything hurts too much for you. Promise?”


I cough and nod. “Promise.” Just talking about him fucking me respectfully while he’s already balls-deep inside me is turning me on so much. This man, I swear…


He switches hands, so I’m lying on my side on the arm he’s using for my cock. His other one wraps tight around me, making me feel like we’re solidly together, like we’re really one person. I reach back with one hand and put it on his hip, not so much to guide him as to feel the motions and rhythms of his thrusts. He starts slowly then, once he’s sure I can take it, speeds up to a steady tempo, pounding my prostate perfectly nearly every time. My whole body’s singing, tingling, shaking. I start humming the fucking Fairies Hornpipe, which is still stuck in my head, the tune racing ahead of me in double-time, but my breaths are so quick and shallow I’m not sure he can tell what song it is.


I whimper, and he slows back down again. “Hey…” He pants but kisses my ear. “You… okay?”


“I…” I nod, almost unable to speak. “I’m gonna come. I can’t… can’t hold on… careful how you… touch… if you don’t …” If he doesn’t want me to go off, he shouldn’t keep stroking me. It’s obvious, right? I tried to warn him. But he does keep stroking. He thrusts deep and fast again. He strokes just as fast, and a second later, I’m shooting. And it’s long and satisfying, like the orgasm is coming from every cell of my body, gathering together inside me, and blasting outward with my spunk. I can’t ever remember feeling so completely satisfied.


“Can I?” he pants in my ear, and if I hadn’t just come, I probably would have done it again at those words.


I don’t give him permission right away. I listen to his desperate panting. I feel him squeezing my arm. This is so hot, I almost don’t want it to end.


“John!” he begs, and it’s the best sound in the world. This big, bruiser of a guy depends on just one little word from me.  “Please, John! Please!


My fingers dig into his hip. My cheeks clench around his cock. “Yes. Come for me, Nevin.” At my command, he does so immediately, without hesitation.


When he’s done, even before he catches his breath, he grabs for the tissues. He wipes us both off, unfastens my kilt, scoots us over to a cleaner part of the mattress, and pulls the blanket back over us. He’s panting with exhaustion now, but he still holds me tight. And I know I could get used to this. Hell, it’s only been a few minutes, and I’ve already gotten used to it.


I hear his breath catch, and I think I know what’s about to happen. “Hahh!” I close my eyes and enjoy every single bit of it. “HEY-EHTTTCHOOO!


“Bless you.” I pass a tissue back to him, and he wipes his nose on my neck before wiping his nose on the tissue.


“Sorry that didn’t happen when we were having sex,” he says. “Honestly, I did feel a sneeze coming on near the start, but it wasn’t big enough to turn into anything. For a second there in the middle I thought I might have to sneeze. But then the feeling went away as quick as it came.”


I hug his forearm and hand to my chest. “You don’t need to sneeze to turn me on.” I turn my head and look at him out of the corner of my eye. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m never going to say no to it. I find it hotter than anything. But you did a fantastic job just now anyway.”




“Oh yeah.”  


“You were pretty amazing yourself. I was dying there at the end, and the way you were rocking back against me with that extra pressure… I was going out of my mind trying not to come. Wasn’t sure I’d be able to last another second.” He pauses a moment and then lowers his voice. He sounds timid, uncertain. “Do you think it’s always going to be that good between us?”


It takes me a few moments to realize what he is asking. This just might have been the first time he’d ever had sex with the same person on two separate occasions. He is in uncharted waters and looking for a lighthouse to show him the way. I’m not sure I am that lighthouse, but I am willing to try to be. “I don’t know,” I reply honestly. “I hope it will be. But there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there?”


He hugs me tighter.