- Octavia coughed as the urge to sneeze disappeared. Vinyl noticed and smiled as she humorously sipped her drink, as if trying to be proper.
- “Good to have you back, Tavi. Your friend here bought you a new drink.” Vinyl smirked as she looked towards, Music Stream.
- “Well, I didn't really . . . the waitress said she would get the drink on the house since you spilled it.” Music Stream said with a nervous, but honest smile.
- “It is the thought that counts.” Octavia said with a slight twitch of her nose and a light blush.
- “So where did we leave off?” Music Stream thought a moment, “So you are both single, roommates, and love music.”
- Octavia nodded and continued. “Tell us about your music career.”
- “I play mainly along the west coast here from Seaddle down to Los Pegasus. I sometimes head inland to the interior, but not as much. I usually stick in and around here though. Lots of clubs and bars to play music in.”
- “Haaappsschew!” Octavia released a sneeze into her napkin. She sniffed and tried to respond, “I am terribly sorry . . . I don't know what has come . . . co . . . heh . . . heh . . . “ Her face contorted and raised up as her nostrils flared, chest puffed out, and jaw became slack. She was at the point of breaking.
- “HAAASSSCCHHPPMMFF!” Octavia exploded into her napkin with mighty force. Wind form the sneeze ruffled the napkin in all directions and her head shook from left to right as she blasted her nostrils into the fibers of the napkin. A few strands of nasal debris escaped from her grasp.
- “Wow! Bless you! That was a big one.” Music Stream said in surprise.
- Vinyl's lower lip was quivering as she then burst out laughing. Patrons of the restaurant again fixated their attention at the table with the laughing and sneezing mare.
- “Goodness. This is so embarrassing.” Octavia finally said, trying to hold back more sneezes and tears of frustration. She sniffed and quivered as her lower lip puckered out. “I think I need to go outside.”
- Octavia put her napkin down and pushed herself away from the table. Her eyes began to tear up as she got up and walked for the door. She sneezed thrice more before exiting the restaurant.
- Music Stream seemed rather confused as he got up and followed after her. Vinyl instead stayed seated and shoved another loaf of bread with butter into her mouth.
- Octavia stepped outside the restaurant and walked up to the edge of the dock, placing her hooves on the railings, and looking out at the harbor. The moonlight shown and danced in the water below as the sound of gulls above could be heard. The faint playful chatter of sea lions could be heard echoing in the distance. City lights reflected as they fought for space with the moonlight on the water below.
- Music Stream slid up beside Octavia, not placing a hoof on her, but being fairly close.
- “Is everything okay?”
- Octavia wiped her wet eyes with the back of her hoof as she sniffed.
- “This is going to sound silly.” She said, “But I was trying to impress you by being the best Octavia I could be. Instead all you saw was a klutz, and a mare who can't stop being disgusting because I keep sneezing all over the place.” Octavia didn't look up at Music Stream as she paused, then continued. “Now I am feeling sorry for myself and am extremely embarrassed because I made the wrong impression to you. I was so excited to meet you, but . . . now I wish I never even saw you.”
- Music Stream was taken a back, but then he realized what she meant. She wished she didn't meet him so that she didn't look like a fool in front of him.
- “You don't have to impress me. I already know how talented and amazing you are. I love your music. Why do you feel you need to impress me?”
- “I don't know.” Octavia said rather dully.
- “Besides, I don't think you are disgusting because you sneeze, or that you are a klutz. The fact that I get to meet somepony I truly respect is awesome enough as is. You don't need to change just to meet me.” Music Stream smiled as he looked at Octavia. She was still just staring off into the water.
- “Look as me.” Music Stream said softly.
- Octavia turned to look at him.
- “I like you for who you are. You don't need to be ashamed of that.” With a genuine warmth, Music Stream put his hoof on Octavia's back.
- Octavia's ears perked up. “Thank you.” She lifted her head from her hooves and smiled turning her head to one side.
- “What do you say we go finish our dinner, pay our tabs, and just have fun tonight?” Music Stream's eyes sparkled seeing the innocent, natural beauty of Octavia in the moonlight. Her mane flowed from her head, and gently moved in the breeze. Her eyes dazzled like diamonds in the various colors of the city lights and moon above.
- “One more thing, Music Stream.” Octavia cleared her throat. “I think I am catching a cold. I probably shouldn't be out late.”
- Music Stream didn't hesitate. “I understand if you need rest for tomorrow. I don't want to push you.”
- “I would be pleased . . .” Octavia hesitated and gulped. “I would be pleased if you came back to the hotel with me and we spent a little more time together before I go to bed.”
- “Of course. But what about your friend, Vinyl?”
- “Oh please, I can keep her entertained by watching the hotel menu channel on the television.” Octavia cracked a smile.
- Music Stream laughed and patted Octavia's back.
- “Sounds like a dream night to me. Lets go.”
- Octavia and Music Stream walked back into the restaurant together smiling.
- * * *
- The morning sunlight shined between the blinds and into the room. The light peaked onto a messy bed with an off-white mare stretched over it. The rays finally were directly positioned on her eyelids. She scrunched her nose and opened eyes weakly before shutting them again. Her nostrils flared as she began building up to a sneeze.
- “Heeehhhh Heh EEH-SCCHHOOO!” Vinyl's head snapped forward as spray misted her chest and glasses which were resting on her. Her mouth still open and shaking, her eyelids squeezed shut as her head tilted back once more. “Ehhh heh ehhhhh-Shooo!” Vinyl sneezed again, and again. “Ehh-Chooo!” Vigorously, Vinyl rubbed her nose and moaned as she turned away from the sunlight and placed a pillow over her head. She turned onto her belly and raised her rump into the air and within seconds fell asleep again.
- Beside Vinyl, Octavia's bed in the suite was empty. Outside the suite's bedroom, Octavia had fallen asleep on the couch in the arms of Music Stream. Both were cuddled together on the couch. Octavia opened her eyes first. It took her a moment to realize where she was. She was a bit startled as she felt the warmth of somepony holding her. The night before she had stayed up late with Music Stream. They talked about everything under the sun. She sniffled again as her nose twitched and nostrils flared. She was still sick, but felt way better then she had earlier. Today was the day. It was the jam session time.
- “Heeecchtteew!” Octavia tried to stifle as she violently shook, waking Music Stream.
- “Good morning.” Music Stream yawned as he let go of Octavia. “Did I really fall asleep here?” He rubbed his eyes smiling.
- Dabbing her nose with a tissue she grabbed from a box, Octavia expressed some concern.
- “Tonight is our big jam session together. I don't want to be seen on stage sick and sneezing. It is simply uncouth.” Octavia cleared her throat and waited for Music Stream to finish stretching and yawning.
- “Just wait and see how you feel till then.” Music Stream got up and stretched his legs. “You have all day to rest and relax.”
- “But I want to spend the day with . . . “ Octavia stopped.
- “It would probably be best if you rested. I have a lot I need to do before our concert tonight anyways. I'll stop by two hours before to see how you are doing.”
- Octavia looked down, face slightly disappointed.
- “Don't worry. If you don't feel well, I'm not going to be disappointed in you not being able to jam with me. I still think your pretty awesome.” He placed his hoof on her chin and made her look up at him. Octavia smiled.
- “Thanks again for last night.” Music Stream started as he picked up his wallet from the table. “I had a lot of fun talking to you. Take it easy and see you soon.”
- And like that he was out the door. Octavia was alone in the room. The sound of Vinyl snoring from the bedroom could be heard faintly, but now it was just her and her thoughts.
- The morning was quiet, the sound of coffee dripping from the coffee machine made one of the few noises heard in the room. Octavia thought about the cafe and her big chance to play with famous jazz musicians and how great an experience it would be. But she couldn't risk ruining a perfect melody because she had to sneeze, or missed a chord due to a sneeze. She didn't want to mess it up, and she really didn't want to mess it up in front of Music Stream.
- Why did it matter? Why did it matter that Music Stream was there? She never worried about playing on stage before. She played in front of large audiences. This was just a small cafe in Seaddle, not the Grand Hall in Canterlot.
- Octavia's chest began to puff out as she began to suck in more air to her lungs. Her nose was playing something wild, and tickling non stop. The urge finally was too much and Octavia raised her head back, then shot it forward as the release expelled from her nostrils and lips.
- “Heeeettssshhhh! Haaaasssssttccchhhhhhoooo!” She reared her head back again, her rump pressed deep into the chair, and both hooves locked on the table as if preparing for a rocket of a sneeze. “HHHHAAAAAAAA-EEEESSSSCCCHOOOOO!!!”
- She shook, her coffee shook, the table shook. Mucus exploded onto the table and a fine mist rained down. Quickly, Octavia grabbed a tissue and blew hard into it. The cheap hotel tissue disintegrated within seconds, and rubbed Octavia's nose raw, actually causing it to tickle more. She scrunched her nose and held another tissue up as her breath began to hitch, and her chest puffed out. Her nostrils expanded as her eyes shut tight. “Huh . . . Huhhh . . . . HAAASSHHHHHIIIEE!” She sneezed a mighty wet sneeze into her tissue, the force causing her chair to jump.
- “Haaaattsscchhhhoooo! Huhh . . . Huh . . . HAAASSHHHHOOO!” Her bum pressed deeper into the seat cushions as the chair lifted up onto the back two legs, then slammed back on all fours. Octavia pressed a wad of tissues to her nose as she sneezed thrice more.
- “Haaasscchhhh! Hettssscchhhhee! Heh . . . Hhaaattssscchhhheeew!”
- Octavia blew her nose very hard, ignoring all delicate intricacies of being proper. Globs of mucus gushed onto her tissues. How on earth could she play in this state of disrepair?
- Octavia moaned and leaned back in the chair. Why did she have to be sick on vacation? Might as well admit it now. Yes, she was sick.
The Sound of Sneezing Part 2
Grapefoot May 13th, 2015 444 Never
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