A Second Chance

(by AZ-Man, 19 January 1998)


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    A Second Chance

    Diane gently closed her eyes and tilted her head back. He was almost done
with her. After more than a year of this routine, she could tell. Once their
lovemaking reached this stage, Ron did not last long. Diane dutifully raised
her nearly half smoked Virginia Slims Menthol 120 cigarette to her lips for
the eighth time. She was on top now straddling him and sitting upright. Her
black see-through gown was twisted and pushed up over her breasts. Her medium
length blond hair was mussed and covered part of her face. Ron was on his back
only partially inside her.
    "Longer this time," he commanded.
    Diane drew for almost 5 seconds on her long, slender cigarette. The taste
had faded and was becoming less enjoyable. As she took the VS120 from her lips
and began a deep inhale she heard the familiar moan from Ron as he quickly
climaxed inside her. She relaxed, turned her head to the side and exhaled the
smoke. A little bit came out of her nose as she breathed out several times
through pursed lips to clear her lungs. Almost on cue, she reached over to the
nightstand, stubbed out the cigarette, rolled off Ron and snuggled up beside
him under the covers. His last word to her was a mumbled thanks before he
dozed off. Diane could still see traces of smoke coming out of her mouth as
she switched off the tiny bedroom light. It was a longer puff than she
remembered.

    Ron was fast asleep. Due to the general gloominess of her mood and a major
dose of nicotine, Diane laid awake for several hours. At 25, and after two
years of marriage to Ron, she found herself in a very unsettled position.
    "What's gone wrong?" she asked herself.
    She couldn't really discern if anything was wrong in the first place.
There was just this general feeling of malaise that seemed to hang in the air.
Diane pulled the pillow over her head and begin to retrace the significant
events that defined their marriage and sex life.

    Their lovemaking began in the usual way this evening. They had been doing
it about every other night recently. Diane always looked forward to these
sessions initially. She loved the intimacy, the closeness. This evening she
had lit her Virginia Slims Menthol 120 on time just as Ron liked. First, they
had embraced under the bed covers; Ron with nothing on, Diane with just her
black top. After kissing for nearly 10 minutes, he needed some help. Without
asking, Diane rolled over on her side, flipped the lid on her almost full pack
of VS120s, slid one out and lit it quickly with her Bic lighter. She could
feel Ron getting hard now. She rolled onto her back and took two long, deep
puffs. Even though it was now 10:30pm, this was Diane's first cigarette of the
day. She always welcomed the initial taste and sensation of smoking after
doing without for a day or two. These two puffs gave her almost as much
pleasure as it did Ron. As she was watching the smoke from her second puff
rise from her mouth and move gently towards the ceiling, she felt Ron enter
her. Diane instinctively took another long puff just as she was supposed to.
Her chest began to expand as she inhaled and her breasts pushed up against Ron
causing him to get harder still. At this point, Diane knew this was about as
good as it was going to get for her tonight. She savored it. Rocking back and
forth, she pushed even closer to Ron allowing their stomachs to rub together.
They were on their sides facing each other. Diane turned her head to take one
last, full puff before being asked to get on top. She drew for about four
seconds, inhaled and held her breath for nearly half a minute. Sometimes this
could bring her to orgasm as Ron worked in and out. Even though the cigarette
tasted wonderful to her as she exhaled her puff entirely through her nose,
their would be no orgasm tonight. Diane maneuvered carefully, tipping her ash
into the nightstand tray, then changed position to sitting on top. Ron
re-entered her. This was his favorite way to finish off. He had an excellent
view of Diane as he laid back; his head almost buried in the pillows. Diane
put on her show as best she could. She started with an almost perfect French
inhale followed immediately by another. She held the smoke from these two
puffs inside before starting the long exhale away from the bed. As much as a
turn-on it was for Ron to watch and experience all this, he made sure she
never blew smoke directly at him. It seemed strange to Diane that he loved to
watch women smoke but detested the smell.

    Lying in bed with Ron now sound asleep next to her, the house was almost
deafeningly silent. A trace of smoke still lingered in the air. In the
distance, the air conditioner kicked in and offered a comforting white noise
to the background. Diane breathed in deeply and sighed. She was already
beginning to feel trapped in the marriage. The sex had started out so
wonderfully. She felt loved and climaxed fairly regularly, most times before
him. That was before the smoking. She was beginning to remember her sex life
in two distinct parts: before the smoking and after the smoking. Diane
couldn't remember the last time she had made love without smoking.

    How strange it was when Ron came home with a pack of Virginia Slims
Menthol Lights one night after being out at the convenience store to pick up
'a few things'. They had shared a bottle of wine with dinner before Ron headed
out. He came back and announced casually that he thought she might like to try
one of these, gesturing at the light green and gray striped pack.
    Shocked, Diane said, "What makes you think that? I don't smoke."
    "Oh, well, you used to," he said.
    "No I didn't. You're confusing me with some previous girlfriend," she said
slightly grinning.
    Ron did his best to look confused then continued, "Well, maybe you'd like
to try one. I think it'd be sexy."
    This did not compute with Diane. She had never smoked in her life. Both
her parents were non-smokers and so was her older sister. And here was Ron
telling her that it would be sexy? The VSMLs never got opened that night.
Diane just couldn't imagine smoking one. Ron's reaction was kind of a
'fine-okay-hey-don't-worry-about-it' but there was disappointment and
embarrassment all over his face.

    Diane was still wide awake as she heard the clock in the living room
strike midnight with its familiar Westminister chime. She rubbed her temples
and brushed the hair away from her face.
    "Shit, " she muttered in a soft, low voice thinking back to that period
about 18 months ago.
    She and Ron seemed so happy....still practically newlyweds all the while
Diane was enjoying the best sex she would probably ever have with him. She was
a virgin up until her wedding night. Ron had been so thoughtful and caring
that first time. He was 28 to her 23. He'd had sex on more than several
occasions before meeting her and seemed to be fairly above board when sharing
this fact before the wedding. It didn't matter to Diane. It only served to
make Ron seem more 'worldly', more mature, experienced. She loved him and
respected him. He received total devotion almost blindly from her yet this was
what would eventually lead to their undoing.

    Ron was lucky. Diane was no prude when it came to most things. If the
truth be known, she would've gladly tried a cigarette if offered one if they'd
all been out with friends and just a little tipsy. Completely sober, smoking
was not something that seemed to make a lot of sense to Diane. There was
definitely a vague intimidation factor lurking somewhere inside her. She
sensed the warning signals about what cigarette smoke could do to you - both
good and bad. On the other hand, alcohol could take away that intimidation she
thought. Ron had the same idea. He felt confident that the VSMLs he bought
would not go to waste.
    As they dressed for the Dunne's open house Christmas party, she could tell
Ron seemed more excited than usual. It had been two weeks since he bought that
pack of Virginia Slims and it remained unopened in one of the kitchen cabinet
drawers. He walked into the kitchen to open a bottle of wine to get Diane
'started' before the party. He also slid the pack of VSMLs into his pants
pocket while she was upstairs. Diane liked to drink wine on the weekends and
thanked him when he set a glass next to her as she continued to dress under
the bright lights of the bathroom vanity.
    It was always fun to go to Linda and Keith's annual party. This was the
third year in a row and the guest list had swelled considerably from the first
to the second. Linda had confided to Diane that Keith had invited even more
people this year -- mostly from his work. Keith worked on the city's morning
newspaper staff as an editor and knew people from all walks of life. Diane
knew this would be fine with Ron but she always took some warming up to get
into big social gatherings. Ron was one of those people that liked to pout and
act moody in private but put him in with a crowd of people and watch out. He
was like the proverbial kid in a candy store. At these past parties, Ron would
make the rounds and talk like old friends to people he never met. Diane would
find one of the other quiet neighbors and sit off to the side and visit until
Ron said it was time to leave. This evening she decided to drink a little more
than her usual glass or two of wine. It would not loosen her up enough to
become the life of the party but it should make her fit in easier. Besides,
Linda made her nervous. She was too much like Ron at these social gatherings.

    The party quickly segregated into two crowds. The more behaved and quieter
group gathered in the living room to sample the buffet and make polite talk.
The kitchen / family room was much louder. The drinkers and smokers were in
full swing. Linda would alternate between the kitchen and the living room with
cigarette in hand and briefly visit with the introverts as she replenished the
food. She would then dart back into the kitchen so she could continue to smoke
and chatter as she pleased. Linda was just finishing up a fairly long
conversation with Ron as she lit another one of her Marlboro Lights 100s. It
was around 11pm when Diane wandered into the kitchen to see about joining the
'real' party when she spotted Ron and Linda sitting on the edge of the sofa in
the crowded family room. Ron seemed to be almost touching her as she tilted
her head back and softly exhaled a puff from her cigarette towards the vaulted
ceiling. Linda motioned Diane to come over and join them but Ron whispered
something quickly to Linda then headed to the kitchen to pour another drink.
Diane had a fairly good buzz going from the wine but was far from drunk. She
sat down in the spot that Ron had just vacated.
    "That's funny that Ron would sit so close to you while you smoke. He
really can't stand the smell you know," Diane uttered as she settled back on
the plush sofa.
    "Diane, Diane," said Linda very slowly, "that's what I want to talk to you
about."
    Linda played her part very well. She started to summarize after some very
effective coaching, "...so you see, if you really love him...."
    "I do, I do," said Diane.
    "...so, if you really love him you'll put this cigarette between your lips
right now and please him."
    Linda had already lit the Virginia Slims Menthol Light from the pack that
Ron had given her. It had been a long time since she tried a menthol
cigarette. It was sweeter and cooler than she'd anticipated and she took
another long puff just for the pleasure of it. Now it was Diane's turn.
    "Diane, there's nothing to be afraid of....here, take the cigarette, it
tastes heavenly, trust me." Linda knew that there'd be a 'getting used to the
taste' period but decided to skip the explanation. She handed the cigarette to
Diane.
    Ron was watching all this from the kitchen with a big hard-on. Diane
slowly raised the VSML towards her lips. She hesitated.
    "Do it Diane, just do it," Linda said forcefully, then smiled for effect.
    Diane moved the cigarette closer. She opened her mouth and let her lips
settle around the filter. Instinctively, she began to draw slowly. She
immediately felt the smoke filling her mouth. After no more than a second of
this, she removed the cigarette. Most of the smoke escaped from her mouth into
the air but she did manage to inhale a slight amount. On exhale, she purposely
watched to see how much smoke came out.
    "Again, do it again only make sure to inhale all of it this time," Linda
commanded.
    Diane hesitated again. With mock exasperation, Linda took the cigarette
and said, "like this." She placed the cigarette between her lips directly in
the middle of her mouth and started a four second puff. She removed the now
half smoked VSML, opened her mouth so Diane could briefly see the smoke then
quickly made it disappear deep into her lungs. For further effect, she sighed
softly with pleasure before exhaling the puff in alternate bursts between
mouth and nose. Watching this show, Diane thought she was beginning to
see...hoping to see... the allure of smoking. She almost felt she _had_ to
understand.
    Linda decided to keep the first cigarette for herself so she quickly lit
another one and handed it to Diane. Although she took it without resistance,
Diane still needed some coaxing before taking another puff.
    "Come on, that one's for you. You'd better not waste it," urged Linda.
    Diane shifted uneasily on the couch. Linda switched to a softer tack.
"Come on sweetie, just another small puff. This time remember to exhale
through your nose as you begin to draw."
    Diane held the cigarette in her left hand and brushed her hair back from
her face. Ron was still watching from the kitchen and gave Linda an approving
wink. Diane did not see this as she settled deeper into the sofa. Screw it she
thought. I'll do it for Linda. At this point, she had no idea of the level of
conspiracy between them. In almost a half lying down position, Diane brought
the cigarette to her lips again and started the puff carefully remembering to
exhale gently through her nose as instructed. In her effort to please, she
took a longer puff than the first time and managed to inhale every bit thanks
to Linda's coaching. Diane felt the smoke enter her lungs. It felt foreign but
pleasant. She decided to hold it for a few seconds. A warm sensation griped
her as her heart started to beat faster. Exhale, exhale she thought. Linda
gently stroked her hair. Diane unconsciously exhaled all the smoke through her
nose as she smiled back at Linda. The menthol flavor coated her throat and
sinuses.
    "Not bad, not bad at all hon,". Linda said in a settling voice.
    Without talking back, Diane duplicated her last puff. This time she held
it in a little longer. She seemed to be floating. These combined sensations
were something completely new to her. "Another," a voice inside her said.
Diane started yet a third puff while wisps of smoke from her second were still
trailing from her nose. Both Linda and Ron couldn't believe it. Ron was so hot
from watching this he was about to burst right there at the kitchen sink.
After exhaling her smoke, Diane felt as if the room were spinning. Now the
voice inside was saying "enough." She wasn't quite nauseous but getting very
close. Diane handed her cigarette to Linda even though Linda still had one
then straightened herself on the sofa.
    Linda gave her a hug and said, "Nice going sweetie, I knew you could do
it."
    Ron seemed to appear out of nowhere as Diane's buzz subsided. He announced
that it was time for he and Diane to leave.
    Diane and Linda once again hugged at the front door. Ron also hugged and
kissed Linda on the cheek then whispered, "thanks, I owe you," in her ear.
    The couple made it to their car and took the short ride home. In bed, Ron
was all over her. It took him approximately two minutes of foreplay to get
hard and another three minutes to have his orgasm. It was over before Diane
knew what was going on. Afterwards, Ron laid beside her and quizzed her on her
smoking. At first Diane thought she was in trouble, then she realized that it
was Ron who brought those cigarettes in the first place. She wasn't sure what
to make of all this as she fell asleep.

    It wasn't until Wednesday morning that Diane got a call from Linda.
Normally, Linda worked weekdays from 9:00 - 4:30 and she hardly ever called
just to chat. They were not that close of friends. Diane had been feeling a
little strange about the party. Since then, Ron had seemed more affectionate
towards her and they had had sex every night usually at his urging. She knew
there was a connection between her smoking that night and Ron's general
horniness but they had not openly discussed it. Now Linda was asking her over
to talk. Diane sensed it was about Saturday night and was tempted to say she
was too busy. However, there was some curiosity that needed settling within
her. Also, even though she couldn't remember how the cigarette had tasted that
night, she certainly remembered the sensations....and they were pleasurable.
"I'll see you at 11," Diane had said, then hung up.
    Diane dressed herself very causally for the visit to Linda's but was
fastidious about her makeup and hair. She put on some jeans and a purple short
sleeve blouse. One last look in the mirror, shoulder length blond hair
arranged perfectly....yeah, she looked good. Driving over to Linda's house
took only 5 minutes or so. When she passed through the front door, Linda had a
newly lit cigarette in one hand and the walkaround phone in the other. She
smiled, motioned Diane into the kitchen and continued to talk to whoever it
was on the other end. Diane could overhear Linda's big laugh followed by
punctuations of mild profanity. "Free and easy..." Diane said under her
breath.
    Still on the phone, Linda stopped to ask Diane, "coffee or ice tea?"
    Diane was still chilly so she said coffee. Linda walked over to the coffee
maker on the counter and poured two cups as she suspended the phone between
her head and shoulder. She held the cigarette in her free hand. She then
placed the coffee in front of Diane and silently mouthed the words, "cream or
sugar?"
    "Just cream," Diane answered.
    As Diane sipped her coffee, she studied Linda standing against the kitchen
counter talking on the phone and taking puff after puff on her now almost
finished cigarette. Just as she was thinking about Linda's rude manners for
remaining on the phone so long, she hung up.
    "Christmas vacation's great," she said looking at Diane while placing
another long white cigarette in her mouth. It was only December 16th.
    "What do you mean? Are you off work already?" asked Diane.
    "Yeah. I have so much vacation on the books at the bank that I'm off till
New Year's." Linda lit her cigarette and continued to talk between exhales.
"After 10 years there, I earn more vacation than I use and they just started a
'use it or lose it' policy...so here I am. I've been off since Monday and it's
been fuckin' great."
    Diane winced at the profanity.
    "I've spent most of my mornings sitting in bed smoking and drinking coffee
and talking on the phone. Keith's so jealous."
    Ten years at the bank Diane thought. She must be nearly 30 years old.
    "Yeah, and just in case you're trying to do the math," Linda continued,
"I'm 30 years old."
    Linda was so confident, so...forceful thought Diane. But she didn't go to
college like me. With this thought, Diane was almost feeling comfortable again
in her presence despite the 5 year age difference. Casually, she just sort of
blurted out, "So, why am I here Linda?" thinking this would catch her off
guard. No such luck.
    "You're here because I asked you and you're here because I want to teach
you to smoke.....that is, if you're willing."
    "What is this fascination you, and Ron for that matter, have with smoking;
my smoking?"
    Linda rolled her eyes. "Girl, you've got some learning about life to do.
It's really up to you if you want to smoke or not but there are things you
need to understand, especially about Ron."
    Linda became very patient and understanding as she talked to Diane. She
had backed off of her forward, in-your-face style and reverted to a woman to
woman sincerity that Diane completely surrendered to. They sat back sipping
coffee on the same sofa that Diane had smoked on only four nights ago. This
time only Linda was smoking and she was being very careful to do it in a way
that might look very seductive to Diane. Linda had long ago perfected her
smoking style. She in fact had many different styles and mannerisms she'd use
when the mood suited her. Many years of being married to Keith had assured
this. Linda suspected anytime now Diane would ask to try her cigarette. As she
talked, Linda was enjoying the situation immensely. She felt in control and
talked endlessly. She was almost but not quite blowing her long exhales at
Diane.
    "This is absolutely fascinating," Diane finally replied. "And it certainly
explains a lot. You say almost _half_ of all men are wired this way?"
    "Well Ron and Keith certainly are and so are about a dozen other men I
know," stated Linda matter-of-factly.
    Diane leaned back into the soft cushions of the sofa and was silent for
several minutes. Linda thought it best to let her soak up all the things she'd
told her by also remaining silent. She lit another cigarette and let Diane
watch her smoke. As usual, the coffee mixed the smooth tobacco flavor from the
Marlboro Light 100 tasted exquisite. She alternated between sips of coffee and
long puffs with gentle exhales. How could this not look pleasurable Linda
thought to herself.
    "Okay, I'm ready to try again," Diane blurted out. She was in a difficult
situation and still slightly intimidated but was drawn in by two things. First
was the experience the other night. She still could freshly recall that
dreamy, albeit temporary, feeling from holding smoke in her lungs. She'd like
to try that again. Second was the added attractiveness and sexuality she'd
supposedly radiate to men - especially Ron. In fact, that's how she finally
justified it before taking that first cigarette. "I'm doing this for us, for
Ron and I."
    "And believe me, Ron will love it," added Linda.
    Linda presented Diane with two options. "You're welcome to try one of mine
or stick with the Virginia Slims Menthol you tried the other night. I have a
new pack."
    "What's the difference?"
    "Menthol, non-menthol. You know, the cool taste you probably noticed last
time, that's the menthol. To tell you the truth, when I shared that one with
you at the party, I really enjoyed it. Virginia Slims have a very sweet but
light taste. Couple that with the cool minty sensation and I think it's an
excellent cigarette to begin with. I've been sticking to these Marlboro's
'cause I've got two cartons in the house. They're richer. You can actually
'feel' the smoke and that's what I love."
    Now Diane wasn't sure. She seemed to think a slightly lighter cigarette
should be the way to go but she admitted that the Marlboro 'feel' seemed to
excite her.
    "I'll try the Virginia Slims I guess."
    "Good choice".
    Diane's heart started to beat faster before even taking her first puff as
Linda lit both cigarettes together. Linda also decided to try the Virginia
Slims.
    "Here you go, I know you'll enjoy it. In fact, I'm envious."
    "Of what?"
    "After smoking for 14 years, I'll never feel the nicotine rush the way
you're about to experience it."
    "You mean like the other night? I felt it then I think. It was, well,
pretty neat."
    "Enough talk. Let's go for it. Remember to exhale slightly through your
nose when you start your puff."
    Diane did as instructed. She also remembered her own idea to hold the
smoke in her lungs for a while. Everything went perfectly. The cigarette
tasted even better than at the party. She exhaled slowly through her mouth and
nose together. Not much smoke came out. Disappointed, she asked Linda how
come.
    "Well, it was a short puff. Try like this." Linda had been observing
Diane's style and emulated it but took a much longer puff (about 3 - 4
seconds). She held the smoke inside for about 10 seconds just like Diane did
but let it out in a series of exhales through only her mouth. A lot of smoke
came out. In fact, her second exhale had more smoke than the first. But after
four pushes, the smoke became considerably less dense.
    "Cool," exclaimed Diane as she raised her cigarette to her lips.
    Diane let the large puff enter her lungs slowly. She was already learning
how to savor the taste both going in and coming out. As she held the smoke
inside, she reclined almost horizontally on the sofa with her feet still on
the carpet and closed her eyes. This was heaven she thought. I can't believe
this is legal, it's so wonderful. Interested in seeing the smoke leave her
body, she opened her eyes and exhaled in a similar manner to Linda. She was
mesmerized by the smoke as it made its way towards the ceiling. Diane repeated
this effort a few more times before feeling beginner's saturation.
    The women finished their cigarettes together. Diane had taken about 5 or 6
puffs. Not bad for a first cigarette thought Linda. Then she had an idea.
    "Hey, am I rude or what? It's almost 1 o'clock and we haven't even had
lunch yet. You interested in going out to Chilis with me? Maybe sit in the
smoking section?"
    Diane had to admit that she was hungry. The prospect of public smoking
scared her though. "Well, we can sit in the smoking section but I'm not so
sure I can do it or not."
    "Do what?" Linda instantly shot back.
    "You know....smoke."
    "Diane, smoking in public adds an entirely new dimension to this whole
thing. Remember what I told you about how it enhances your appearance and
sexual attraction to men? You should see those guys in there for their
business lunches stop to take notice when some pretty woman within eye shot
lights a long white cigarette."
    "But I'm not going to start smoking for 'those guys'. I'm doing it for
Ron." She cocked her head, "Aren't I?"
    "Sure you are dear. But don't you want to have a little fun?"

    Linda prevailed and they soon found themselves sitting in the smoking
section (the bar area actually) at the Chilis near the regional airport. Diane
looked around from their booth and thought Linda was right, there were a lot
of business stiffs in here. As the waitress stopped at their table, Linda
looked up with an unlit Virginia Slims Menthol Light dangling from her mouth
and said, "Two glass of your house cabernet". The cigarette bounced up and
down in her lips. She then proceeded to light it and smoke very slowly and
deliberately. This was all part of her show Diane thought. Linda would take
long puffs, turn her head just slightly away from the table and intentionally
concentrate on the smooth, long-lasting exhales. She'd also slowly lick her
lips or take a sip of her wine as she held the smoke inside her.
    "Okay, you've made your point," Linda said softly while leaning across the
table and grinning. "That one guy in the middle over at the bar can't keep his
eyes off you when you're not looking."
    "I've seen him," Linda deadpanned. "Are you ready to smoke now?"
    "Sure, I'll try one I guess."
    As Linda passed the nearly full pack of Virginia Slims Menthol Lights to
Diane, she realized she'd never lit one herself. Linda had lit the one on the
couch then handed it to her. Great, she thought...lighting a cigarette looks
awkward and I don't have a clue. Nonetheless, she put the VSML in her mouth.
Instantly, Linda produced her lighter and reached across the table. Diane's
eyes made contact with the guy at the bar as Linda's flame touched her
cigarette. Things went downhill quickly. She started to drag on the cigarette
but lost track of how long. She'd been looking at the guy at the bar when she
realized her mouth was full of about a 5 second puff. She quickly withdrew the
cigarette and lost about half the smoke from her mouth. The rest was still
enough to trigger her cough reflex as she inhaled. Smoke came out from her
mouth and nose as she coughed about 4 times and waved the smoke away from her
face. Linda tried to suppress a laugh but couldn't.
    "Good grief honey, I'd have given you some help if you'd asked," she said.
    "Thanks, thanks a lot. What'd I do wrong?"
    "You need to drag just long enough to get it going. Don't inhale any of
this first puff. Remove the cigarette from your mouth. Casually notice if it's
lit correctly then begin with your first inhale. I like to make mine long. The
first inhale tastes the best."
    The game was through for Diane. And it hadn't even had a chance to begin.
She managed to take only a few puffs from her cigarette before putting it out.
She was clearly embarrassed and not having any fun. Linda continued to smoke
through lunch. She recognized Diane's embarrassment and did not push the
smoking issue until they were sipping coffee at the end of the meal.
    "Diane, you shouldn't let this bother you. Here, take this pack of
cigarettes." Linda pushed the VSMLs across the table. "All you need is
practice. Go home. Practice in front of a large mirror. You'll get more
comfortable with it, honest."
    Diane actually had a tear coming from one of her eyes. "I thought I was
doing the right thing," she said in a quivering voice. "I thought I could do
it, I wanted to do it but..." Her voice trailed off.
    "Listen to me. You can do it. You did it. You did it a my house this
morning. That was good wasn't it? You enjoyed it then."
    She had to admit that smoking with Linda earlier on her couch was fun.
    "Can we go back to your house and try it some more there?" Diane asked.
    Linda pondered the question. If the truth be known, she really wanted
Diane out of her hair. She was growing bored with the teaching and Diane
needed to go off and practice herself. Linda would speak to Ron later.
    "Diane, I want you to try something. I want you to take two puffs on my
cigarette just like you did this morning. Between puffs, take a sip of your
coffee. Here, we go. Do it now." She handed her the freshly lit cigarette.
    Diane did as she was told. She drew slowly and inhaled. The familiar
euphoria and energetic rush returned that she had eagerly looked forward to
earlier. It also tasted pleasant unlike her first try here. Diane then took a
sip of coffee as smoke floated out from her nose. After her second puff, she
gave the cigarette back to Linda and said thanks. She realized that Linda was
only trying to rebuild her confidence. As she held the smoke inside her lungs
not wanting to release just yet, she knew she'd want to continue the
experiment and get better at this new-found...hobby? Ron would probably
require it of her.

    Linda dropped Diane at her car in front of the house. She didn't ask her
inside nor did Diane act as if she expected it. However, Diane did not head
straight home. She stopped at a park near their neighborhood and just sat in
the car with the radio playing softly in the background. It was 3:45 and Ron
would be home in less than two hours. She didn't feel really great about how
she spent her day. It was a gray, cool day in December. She could see across
the grass and noticed a few young mothers pushing their toddlers on the
swings. They were all bundled up in warm clothing yet enjoying the fresh air
and exercise. One woman was sitting alone on a bench privately smoking a
cigarette. Ordinarily Diane wouldn't've take notice. She judged this woman to
be about Linda's age, maybe a bit younger. She observed that she was taking
many puffs in a row managing to barely finish an exhale before starting
another puff. The woman would quickly scan the swing area, presumably to watch
her child, then go back to smoking. The whole cigarette was gone in about 3
minutes. The woman then slowly walked back to the rest of the group after
stepping on her finished cigarette. Even as inexperienced as Diane was, she
could easily see this was a clear example of addiction. This was the penalty
you paid for enjoying the pleasant and seductive offerings of cigarette
smoking.
    She sat in the car a while longer. Tears gently started crossing her
cheeks. This didn't really bother her...she cried easily and most times it
would make her feel better. The young mothers were gone. An hour had passed
and there was already signs of the early winter sunset. This was so damn
confusing. Deep in her heart she knew she didn't want to become a smoker. She
was being pushed, pushed by some plan of Linda's, Ron's or both. She had
agreed to try it and now she felt that to truly please Ron (even in bed) she
would have to smoke for him.
    Diane turned the keys in the ignition and wondered if she had the
necessary $2.50 in her purse to pick up a pack of cigarettes at the
convenience store. She had forgotten to take the pack Linda offered to her at
the restaurant. What was the brand name? Virginia Slims something, something.
Menthol. She remembered the menthol.
    "What the fuck am I doing?" she found herself asking under her breath as
she walked into the On The Run gas station and mini-mart.
    Luck was with her this afternoon. She didn't have to ask for any brand
name to the clerk. A convenient counter display was near the register
featuring all the Virginia Slims brands except the SuperSlims. Diane quickly
recognized the light green and white pack. As she picked it up, she briefly
noticed the taller pack next to it. 'Luxury Lights' it said. Studying the
120mm box, the clerk started to ring up Diane's purchase.
    "Anything else?" asked the middle aged, slightly overweight woman.
    "Uhhh, yes, this." Diane slid a single light blue Bic lighter closer to
the lady.
    Beep, beep, be-beep. "That'll be three dollars and fifty four cents."
    Diane handed her a five and made for the door. She dropped the lighter and
cigarettes into her purse and was halfway home before she realized she forgot
to even wait for her change.

    "I can't smoke in the house. Ron would kill me." Diane said aloud as she
sat on the kitchen bar stool starring at her freshly opened pack of Virginia
Slims. Ron had yet to come home and it was almost 6 o'clock. Rather than
smoke, Diane figured she'd just leave the pack on the kitchen counter for him
to see. Then she started dinner.
    When Ron finally got in, he immediately noticed the cigarettes sitting in
plain view on the tiled counter. Initially he smiled then quickly asked, "Did
you smoke any of these yet, in the house I mean?"
    Diane took a sip of her wine. "No, honey. Welcome home."
    Ron made his way over to where she was standing. "I'm sorry, thanks." Then
he kissed her on the lips.
    "When did you get 'em, just today?" Ron asked as he flipped open the top
and saw all twenty cigarettes firmly in place.
    "Yeah, I went out to lunch with Linda and picked them up on the way home."
    Happy? she almost added with slight sarcasm.
    "You went out to lunch with Linda?" he asked with slight surprise.
    "Yup, and I smoked too." She knew he would ask anyway.
    Ron came back over and kissed her again and said "That's okay, you know
that's okay."
    She felt relieved. She was acting a bit flip since he got home and began
to regret it. He didn't seem to pick up on it though.

    Ron was going nuts inside himself all through dinner. He wanted her to
smoke but had no real idea on how to ask her without looking too obvious.
Diane, on the other hand, had no real urge to smoke but felt she would if he
asked her. Finally, as they were getting ready for bed, Ron couldn't wait any
longer. He knew that if he didn't ask now, nothing would happen tonight. And
that couldn't be...not since he was enjoying his biggest hard-on since being a
teenager.
    "Diane, will you please try one of your cigarettes before bed?"
    Well, that was straight forward she thought. She finished brushing her
hair and walked into the sitting area in the master bedroom. Ron was standing
across the room.
    Trying to maintain utter confidence, Diane picked up the pack she had
brought with her, extracted the first long cigarette and placed it very
adroitly between her lips. Careful to not repeat this afternoon's performance,
she flicked the lighter to life and drew just a small amount of smoke before
puffing it out with no inhale. It was actually perfect. The cigarette was
evenly lit and ready for her. This gave her confidence to continue.
    Ron was getting even harder. Diane flopped into the big reading chair near
their bed and began to take the first in a series of puffs that she held deep
in her lungs with no discernible exhale. Ron watched for a moment then came up
next to her. They both sat in the chair with feet up on the ottoman as Diane
carefully continued measured puffs on her cigarette. The whole time, Ron
nibbled at her neck and massaged her breasts under her nightshirt. Diane had
to admit, this was starting to become very pleasant. The sexual attention tied
with the nicotine high she was getting was a very potent combination. About
halfway through her cigarette, Ron got on top of her while partially standing.
Somehow he had gotten both his and her underwear off without her noticing. He
entered her without any resistance. Mildly shocked by this, Diane froze. As he
started to slide in and out, he pleaded, "keep smoking, please, just keep on
smoking, it's okay, it's okay....."
    Diane resumed smoking as he worked back and forth. She was slightly
disappointed with herself. If she hadn't acted so shocked earlier, she knew
she'd be on her way to an orgasm herself. Ron was definitely on the way to
his. He came in the middle of Diane's eighth puff. She inhaled the smoke
deeply and just held it again. Ron was all over her. She was envious.
    After he was through, he asked her to please put out the cigarette. Before
getting into bed, he slid open the master bedroom window even though it was
right at 40 degrees outside.

    Diane found herself slowly warming up to this nightly routine. Although it
was not coming every night, she and Ron had almost perfected the art of mixing
smoking with sex. This was turning out to be a good time in their marriage and
sex life. It was odd but Diane found that she enjoyed the taste and sensations
of smoking on some nights then found it fairly unpleasant on others. She
definitely was not getting addicted as far as she could tell. She only smoked
when they had sex, never during the day when she was on her own even though
the thought had crept in once or twice. The highlight of this 'good' period
came several months after they started this game. Ron had taken her out to a
very expensive restaurant and they had split several bottles of wine. Because
they were both feeling very at ease, he allowed her to smoke after dinner.
Diane was prepared and actually looked forward to it. Ron's eyes about came
out of his head when he saw Diane take the pack of Virginia Slims Menthol 120s
out of her small purse. She had picked them up at the store when her 'monthly'
pack ran out. Even Diane was amazed at this new length as she held the unlit
cigarette between her two fingers. Her smoking style showed marked improvement
from that first day in Chilis. She lit the cigarette with a very soft pull and
no inhale. Then, without taking it from her mouth, she started a very long
drag while she put the lighter back in her purse. After about 4 seconds, she
removed the cigarette, held her lips puckered briefly, then opened her mouth
for the inhale. Ron could see the smoke disappear down her throat and quickly
became very aroused. Diane thought this was marvelous. The large meal she had
just consumed made this cigarette taste delicious. She leaned back in her
chair and took several more puffs in a similar manner almost forgetting about
Ron. She could tell this was having a favorable effect when she finally tapped
her ash and looked back at him during a luxurious exhale.
    "I'm ready to leave," Ron said with a big smile on his face.
    "But I'm not done smoking".
    "Come on Diane, put it out and let's go."
    "Seriously, I want to finish, besides I've still got some coffee here
too."
    Despite his eagerness to get home Ron patiently waited while Diane smoked
a second VS120.
    "Mmmm....I could get used to this," Diane said into her coffee cup as she
finished a sip and exhaled a puff through her nose.

    This is the best so far Diane thought to herself. She was lying on her
back in bed enjoying one of her new 120s while Ron was waiting to get hard
again. The first time had been nearly perfect for her even though Ron came
rather quickly. Despite Ron, she too had managed an orgasm (her first while
smoking) and felt she found the trick. She knew that this second time would be
even better.
    "I came that time," she said as smoke mixed with her words.
    "I know, think can you do it again?" Ron said indicating that he was ready
to go.
    "Yeah, it's neat. If I inhale a long puff and hold it while you pick up
the tempo, I'm almost certain I'll come after about 20 seconds."
    "Then let's try it," he said as he slid inside her with his pre-lubricated
member.
    "Wait, let me light a fresh one."
    Ron took her current cigarette and put it out in the ashtray near the bed
while Diane skillfully lit another as he remained inside her the entire time.
She was eager this time. She kept taking long puffs and alternated exhaling
between her nose and mouth. It wasn't until Diane felt the familiar tingle
indicating climax approaching did she hold her smoke deep inside her. She
literally started bouncing on the bed as her orgasm gripped her and kept
shaking her in waves. Nothing had ever felt like this before. In her mind, Ron
was not even in the room. When she finally settled down, he casually
announced, "Hey, I'm here too y'know."
    "Yes, I know. God, if you only knew what that felt like," she said taking
a much slower puff.
    She allowed him to go about screwing her in anyway he pleased until he
finally got off. As she laid there letting him go, she concentrated on smoking
and remembering her wonderful climax.
  
    The clock in the living room now chimed one o'clock in the morning. It had
been nearly five months since that wonderful evening of love making and
everything had been downhill since. Her orgasms stopped when he demanded she
concentrate on him. He was having difficulties even getting hard lately let
alone having his own climax. Diane did the best she could. She would allow him
any position he wanted and she'd smoke in any manner he desired. Anything to
satisfy him. He found he liked her on top of him sitting upright the best.
This would be so he could see her and feel her at the same time. Diane had
perfected the French inhale for this very reason. Tonight it had taken him
only 10 minutes to get hard. This was a good night. Sometimes he couldn't
manage at all.
    "So this is the state of affairs," she said to herself.
    They needed to talk and it had to be soon. She could now see that sex no
longer offered the love and security she needed. It certainly didn't offer the
pleasure she was used to earlier this year either. It was all for Ron. And now
Ron was losing it.

    Diane had made up her mind that today was the day. No more trying to
appease him in bed. The more she thought, the madder she got. The stress was
becoming unbearable. As she sat in the leather chair in the living room
deciding how she would confront him, a slight craving for a cigarette crept
into her body. This was not surprising but in the past, she'd always put her
day cravings out of her mind rationalizing that she'd be in bed smoking
tonight or tomorrow night depending on Ron's needs.
    "I won't be smoking in bed tonight," she said aloud to the empty room.
    She wanted a cigarette now, she _needed_ one.
    "Ron wouldn't mind. I've been smoking inside the house for him for a long
time now." This was true but it was always in their bedroom and always with
him. She knew deep down that he'd probably resent her for smoking in the day,
inside the house.
    "Screw it," Diane uttered as she headed for the bedroom to pick up her
pack of VS120s.
    Sitting back down in the leather chair, she gently blew on her coffee to
cool it a bit before lighting the VS120 dangling from her lips.
    "Happy Ron?" she said to no one as she exhaled a long stream of smoke and
casually looked down at the long cigarette in her hand. She sat back in the
chair puffing clouds of smoke towards the vaulted ceiling and she loved it.
Part of the attraction today was doing it without Ron and part of it was the
pure pleasure she derived from simply inhaling the smoke. Each time she
inhaled, she made a loud 'whooshing' sound sending the smoke as deep inside
her as she could.
    "God, does this finally mean I'm a smoker now?" she again said aloud. Part
of her supposed that if you smoked in private for your own pleasure (and this
was certainly pleasurable), then you were a smoker. She sort of liked that
thought that, yes, I'm a smoker. I'm not addicted but I'm a smoker. Satisfied
that that was settled, Diane reached into her pack for another cigarette.
    "I'm going to enjoy just one more of these before Ron comes home..." her
voice trailed off, "then we'll talk."
    One more turned into three when Ron finally came through the door from
work. "Who's been smoking in here?!" he demanded.
    A lump formed in Diane's throat, "I'm in here honey."
    Ron walked into the living room and saw Diane turn around in the leather
chair holding a half-smoked VS120 in her left hand.
    "What's going on, you know the rules," he said mildly flustered.
    "What rules?" she asked just before starting a long puff.
    Ron exploded. "Take that cigarette out of your mouth this instant!" He'd
clearly lost control of himself.
    Surprisingly, Diane did what she was told. "I was hoping to excite you,"
she said. "I was doing it for you." Not really the truth but well intended.
    The cigarette was out now but smoke permeated the living room. "I'd open a
window if it wasn't so damn hot outside," Ron said angrily.
    Diane walked over to the window and slid it open with a bang. "There,
how's that?"
    He closed it behind her and said, "What's wrong with you, why are you
acting so crazy? Smoking in the middle of the day? You don't even like it."
    "You're right, I don't. I don't know what's come over me," she said
defiantly.
    He gave her a long stare, "All right, you win, let's talk this thing out."
    He really didn't want to talk 'this thing' out. In fact he had been
dreading this day but he also felt he owed it to her to let her speak. "What's
up?" he said as he leaned over and kissed her forehead.
    Diane was already starting to regret this situation but deep down, she
knew they had to talk it out, at least she did. "I just felt like a
cigarette."
    "But you know the rules...."
    "Fuck the rules! You got me here, you got me smoking in the first place
and now I'm addicted. Are you happy?" Addicted. It was the first time she
admitted it and it slightly scared her. She was addicted and was only now
fully facing it unlike earlier when she only admitted that she was a 'smoker'.
    "How do you know you're addicted?"
    "Because....."
    "How because?"
    "Because when you're gone to work or where ever you go, it's all I think
about. It's all I want to do but I'm a good girl and I don't smoke because
it's the 'rules'. I busy myself with housework, I busy myself with TV just
waiting for you to come home and fuck me so I can smoke. I've come to feel
that all I'm good at anymore is smoking and sex. Those are my hobbies. Well,
you can't get it up anymore so I'm going to smoke without you."
    She didn't see or barely even feel the blow Ron delivered to her with his
right hand. She was already in shock for what she had just said to him. It
wasn't that much of a slap really but it was enough to change things between
them forever. Diane looked up at him very sadly as tears started down her
face. He turned on his heels and headed for his car.

    Rules were rules. Diane continued her smoking during the days while Ron
was at work only she either did it on their front porch or out back in the
garden. They had entered marriage counseling. The sad thing about her smoking
now was how she was using it. It was a mood elevator, an antidepressant. It no
longer tasted good and smoking outside was not nearly as much fun.
Nonetheless, Diane needed her cigarettes. Smoking was practically the only
thing that gave her pleasure in life now. And she was getting good at it;
confidently so.
    Her sessions at the counselor were not going much in any solid direction.
She had been seeing Stacy for about five weeks now; the same as Ron, albeit
separately. He would usually go after work. Diane would go right before lunch.
She found herself looking forward to these weekly appointments but lately it
had been for the smoking opportunities at the coffee shop afterwards. She'd
always eat a light lunch and chain smoke about 4 cigarettes. She'd also
switched her brand to something a little stronger, the full flavor Virginia
Slims Menthol. These not only brought back the euphoric, high-energy focused
feeling she craved but they tasted good. Smoking the VSMs made her keenly
aware of the 'feel' of smoking that Linda had talked about more than a year
ago.

    "Diane, I really don't like playing the 'he said, she said' game. It's
unprofessional on my part but I agree, we're not making the progress that I'd
hoped. I need information. Ron says that you're marriage started to break up
when you started smoking, do you feel that that's a fair statement?"
    Diane rolled her eyes, "I knew we'd get into this sooner or later. What
else did he say?"
    "Well, let's not get into that just yet. You do smoke?"
    "Yes."
    "When did you start?"
    "About a year and a half ago, I guess."
    "A year and a half? I got the impression that it was just recently."
    "It was a year and a half ago," Diane repeated slightly angered by
thoughts of other lies Ron might have told her.
    "Does smoking bother him? For health reasons? Maybe he's concerned about
your health?"
    Diane rolled her eyes again. "I don't know what he's been telling you but
I'll bet it's a far cry from what I could tell you."
    "All I know is that he says your smoking is breaking up the marriage. Have
you considered quitting?"
    "You think that's the solution? Just get Diane to quit smoking and she and
Ron will be lovey-dovey again?"
    "I didn't say that. Nothing is that easy." Stacy paused for about 10
seconds before continuing. "It just might be a good faith gesture that he
would recognize. It could be something that you could work on together."
    "Yeah...," Diane answered rather hopelessly.
    "Diane, I want you to do something for me," Stacy said glancing at the
clock on her wall realizing that they only had a couple more minutes. "Before
you come back next week, I want you to write down five reasons stating why you
should continue to smoke and five reasons why you should quit. Will you do
that?"
    Diane nodded silently then got up and headed for the door.
    "I'll see you same time next Thursday."
    They shook hands. "Oh, and bring your cigarettes," Stacy added hastily.

    Bring my cigarettes indeed, Diane thought as she reached for her fourth
Virginia Slims Menthol from the soft green striped pack and lit it. She took
an extra long puff after getting it going and exhaled towards the restaurant
ceiling. The waitress came over and filled her coffee cup and placed the check
on the table with two little candy mints. Diane smiled and said thanks.
Reflecting on the session, she didn't quite know what to make of Stacy's last
instruction nor did she feel motivated to make a 'list' for her. All she knew
was that she and Ron needed to talk again tonight after he got home.
    She took a final long puff on her cigarette, inhaled deeply and held it as
she left the table and headed for her car. Once in the parking lot, she
exhaled all the breath she had through her nose. Only a little smoke came out
but the menthol flavor coated her sinuses. The satisfaction she took from this
reminded her she probably would never be able to quit smoking.

    It was pleasantly warm outside when Diane stepped out onto the front porch
for her late afternoon cigarette. Now that she was smoking fairly regularly,
she no longer had to wait for Ron and their smoky, sexual interludes. In fact,
there was no more sex with Ron, period. This was never openly discussed
between them but just sort of understood as they went through counseling.
Diane leaned against one of the large rounded columns that supported the porch
and lit her Virginia Slims Menthol -- her ninth of the day. As she started a
second drag, a male jogger went by the front of their house. Their eyes just
briefly met as she was in mid-puff. Immediately Diane looked away, then he was
gone. No harm done she thought as she softly exhaled. But she had clearly been
embarrassed. Smokers and joggers don't mix she suspected. She didn't recognize
him but figured he must live nearby. His colorful little running shorts and
tee shirt looked fresh and free of sweat. She carefully walked out near the
sidewalk and secretly watched his backside as it disappeared around a bend in
the street. Traversing the walkway back up to the porch, she thought how
uncharacteristic that was of her. She guessed the guy was about 32 or 34. He
had a full head of dark hair and great legs. The legs had to be from years of
running.
    Diane looked down at her cigarette. All of a sudden it seemed so foreign
to her. This object of her recent pleasure had changed her life. Everything
she did during the day felt like it was linked in some way to smoking. A year
ago, this was not even a distant possibility. I never wanted to smoke she
thought. Again, that trapped feeling washed over her. Trapped in a bad
marriage, dependent on her husband for food, shelter and clothing. Trapped by
her own weakness of not being able to leave him and now trapped by her
addiction to cigarettes.
    She took a series of long puffs and the depression that was beginning to
set in gradually lifted. This was good. She picked up her pack and took out
another cigarette as she finished her first. Her spirits had lifted
considerably. She'd been on the porch for about half an hour just enjoying the
sun when she noticed the jogger head by in the other direction. Part of the
house hid his approach so he never saw her sitting on the porch as he went by.
He also didn't see her starring long and hard from behind as headed back the
way he'd come.

    It was about 7 pm when Ron's car pulled into the garage. He's been at the
counselors she remembered. Their appointments had been arranged to fall on the
same day of the week. As she heard the door from the garage open, Diane had an
urge to go meet him, to hug him. They made eye contact in the hallway then he
did an abrupt turn away from her and headed up the stairs towards their
bedroom. About 10 minutes later, Ron came down into the kitchen and started
rummaging through the refrigerator looking for his 'dinner'. Diane watched
with a doe-eyed expression from the family room sofa. God I need a cigarette
she thought. Then she broke the silence.
    "So, Stacy tells me that I should quit smoking in order to please you and
make our marriage better," she said to him knowing how absurd it sounded.
    No answer from Ron.
    "That's the most bullshit I've ever heard," she continued after the
silence.
    "Diane, it was your smoking in the house that afternoon that started all
this you know," Ron reminded her.
    "Smoking in the house?! Jesus, I've been smoking in this house for more
than a year! You didn't seem to mind all those times _before_ THAT afternoon."
    A long pause.
    "Did you tell her?" Ron finally asked meekly.
    At this point, Diane felt mildly sorry for him. She softened. "No, no I
didn't. I couldn't figure out how to begin."
    "What happened then?"
    Diane smiled. "She told me I needed to write down five reasons why I
should quit smoking." Then she started to laugh gently hoping he'd join in.
She was really a good kid.
    Ron changed his tack considerably. "Well, you can do whatever you want,"
he said icily. "I'm going back out!"
    Diane was stunned. She felt she'd just been kicked in the solar plexus.
Her speech was repressed and she just began sobbing as the door slammed to the
garage. She remained in such a state of shock from this awful treatment
(especially since she tried to reach out to him) that she hardly moved from
the sofa the entire time he was gone. Her urge to smoke was also repressed.

    Diane turned off the downstairs lights and headed for the master bedroom.
It was getting late and she was tired of waiting. Waiting for what she asked
herself. She sat down in the big reading chair next to the bed and started to
scan the morning paper...maybe there's some jobs in here she thought.
Gradually the desire for a cigarette crept into her thoughts. She lowered the
paper and leaned her head back to stare at the ceiling. Memories of one of her
first cigarettes came to her. It was in this exact chair. It was with Ron. She
was just about ready to retrieve her pack from downstairs when she heard the
automatic garage door opener kick in. He was coming home again.
    "Hi, I missed you." she said halfheartedly from the bed as he entered the
room.
    "Let's not argue. I just want to go to sleep....I'm really tired."
    As he flopped next to her, she thought she detected a trace of cigarette
smoke on him. She assumed he'd been at a bar or something.
    "Where'd you go?" she said, testing the waters.
    "I was just out driving around," he answered after a brief pause.
    "Did you pick up a hitchhiker that was smoking?" The second absurd
question of the evening.
    "What are you talking about? I was just out driving."
    "Look Ron, I don't care where you went, just don't lie to me. I can smell
smoke on you, okay?"
    "All right, where do you think I went? It doesn't matter what I tell you
anyway."
    The whole conversation was beginning to take on an eerie complexion.
    "I think you went out and were around someone that was smoking, unless
you've started smoking yourself." She almost felt hopeful for that thought.
    "I was over at Linda's," he said with no pause this time.
    Whoa, hold on. Collect your thoughts she told herself. What's he trying to
say here? But before she knew it, she blurted out, "And did you fuck her?"
    Oh God! Well, it's on the table now girl, no turning back.
    "You're not going suck me into this, not again. I'm going back over
there." He turned and looked at her, "She's a friend, nothing more. She gives
me a lot more than you do." And down the stairs he went.
    Even though it was almost midnight, Diane decided she had to know if he
was telling the truth. She slipped on her jeans and a light sweater and
started walking the neighborhood streets towards Keith and Linda's. After
about twenty minutes, she turned the corner onto their cul-de-sac and was
taken aghast. Sure enough, there was Ron's black Infiniti illuminated by the
sodium vapor lights, sitting square in front of the Dunne's two story home.
The lights were out downstairs but several windows had a soft glow on the
second level. Where was Keith, Diane wondered. Home? Gone? There was no way
she was going to the door to confront this mess head on. She saw what she came
for and now it was time to go home; time to plan her next move. A knot settled
in her stomach. She knew very well that she was not a good planner.
    After three cigarettes in the bedroom chair, Diane was beginning to feel
better. She took one final puff, inhaled then slid between the sheets and
reached for the walkaround phone. After much soul searching, the only
resolution she could come to was that she needed an 'emergency session' with
Stacy in the morning. She left a message on her office voice mail requesting
an appointment, then switched off the light and went to sleep.

    The receptionist from Stacy's office called back around 9:30 the next
morning as Diane was pouring her second cup of coffee. Ron had not shown up
until around 6 am. He grabbed a quick shower, shaved and headed for work
without disturbing her in bed. Diane had heard him come in all right but just
hid under the bedspread pretending to be asleep. She was still afraid to
confront him head on. She'd been hurt.
    The nice woman on the phone had just checked with Stacy and said she was
not available until after her last appointment of the day. "At 5:30 this
afternoon. I just asked her. She said she'd make a special time for you. Would
that be okay?"
    Diane had moved out on the front porch using the walkaround. She was
lighting her first cigarette of the day. "5:30's late," she said. "Are there
any regular appointments?"
    "Not unless you'd like a 10:30am on Friday." said the woman.
    "Okay, 5:30 today," she exhaled smoke as she spoke. "I'll see her then."
    Diane pushed the hang up button on the phone. "Shit," she said to herself.
"Ron could be home when I get back." She wanted to be done with her
appointment and waiting for him when (and if) he got home tonight.

    Diane decided she'd seriously peruse the help wanted classified section of
the morning paper today. She walked out into the garage and even pulled the
Sunday paper from the recycling bin to aid her search.
    She was now sitting on the backyard patio in her robe with the paper laid
out in front of her. She took a sip of coffee followed by two long puffs on
her cigarette. She shook her head as she exhaled her smoke onto the newspaper.
The task of assimilating the myriad of job opportunities was very intimidating
to a first-timer. Diane had finished college with a BA in Elementary Education
then almost immediately got married to Ron. She just kept putting off starting
a career because she was 'supposed' to get pregnant. Besides, he made a very
comfortable living for both of them on his income.
    Comfortable was the word, she thought. She'd gotten lazy. And because of
this, he didn't respect her. Sure, he respected her enough to get sex when he
wanted it but that's about where the depth of their relationship trailed off.
It was all becoming clear to her. Her hobbies, her only activities, were
smoking and having sex with Ron. She began studying the want ads with new
resolve. Independence and a new career were no longer just options.

    Things were becoming clearer to her as the afternoon wore on. She had
circled several job prospects and was becoming very confident on how she was
going to recommend to Ron that they split up. She was almost feeling like
canceling her appointment with Stacy. No, I'd like to at least get an opinion
on my decisions she reasoned.
    It was about 4 o'clock when Diane stepped out on the front porch for her
first cigarette in almost 3 hours. She still needed to get cleaned up for her
5:30 appointment so this would have to be a short break. Long puffs in quick
succession would be necessary. She didn't like to smoke this way but it was
better than foregoing it altogether. A vision of the young mom smoking in the
park last winter entered her head briefly.
    The afternoon sunlight streaming onto the porch illuminated Diane's
beautiful, long exhales in a way she'd not taken notice of before. It was
perhaps a brighter, less humid day and the air was dead still. She found
herself enjoying the sight of the smoke exiting her mouth in such large
volumes. After several puffs, she began to play with the smoke a bit. She was
thinking that this was just one of the many pleasures of smoking when all of a
sudden she looked up and there was the runner from yesterday. He was running
close to the sidewalk and approaching to pass by her house. Their eyes met
again. Diane was tempted to look down. He knows that I smoke she thought and
expected a sneer. Instead, just as she was about to break contact, he raised
his hand a waved while striding along. The slight smile on his face was
sincere. She waved back with her right hand and also managed a smile. Her
cigarette was in her left hand but in very plain view. Damn she thought. Why
do I care if this guy sees me smoking? She did care though. Just like
yesterday as she watched him from behind, she felt a... a what?..a connection?
Something like that, maybe.
    He had passed and was half way down the block when Diane took her last
puff and turned to head back inside. She felt good. She was momentarily made
happy. This brief incident of male - female contact, even though it was just
eye contact, a wave, a warm smile, had brightened her spirits considerably.
She recognized that things like this had been rare in her life lately.

    The phone was ringing from inside the house. She quickened her pace from
the front door to the kitchen and caught it on the fourth ring just before the
answering machine picked up.
    "Hello?"
    "Diane, hi."
    Long pause.
    "Hello?" Diane answered in a softer, more suspicious tone.
    "Yeah, hi Diane, it's Linda."
    "Linda...?"
    "Yeah, Linda." Always direct and not one to make small talk she said, "In
case you were wondering, Ron did spend the night here last night."
    "I know....I saw his...," she stopped in mid-sentence. "What do you want?"
Is that why called?"
    "Well, sort of. I feel bad but when he was here last night he told me he'd
said some things to you about us. I want you to know that we didn't 'do it'
last night."
    "So.....?"
    "So, I think he told you that we were, uh, well, close. He talks, I
listen, you know, that sort of thing. We just talked last night."
    "Where was Keith?" Diane said raising her voice slightly. Despite this
phone call out of the blue, she found confidence in herself. She'd made some
important decisions today.
    "Keith's out of town. He doesn't mind though," Linda added quickly.
    "Keith's out of town? And Ron just _happened_ to know this, huh?" A
million questions flashed through her head. "So, how long have you and Ron had
this 'close' relationship?"
    "That's not an easy one to answer," Linda replied. "It's kind of been off
and on for several years."
    This was starting to get difficult for Diane. What's 'off and on' she
wondered. Her conscience demanded the truth but her ego wanted to turn tail
and run. Intuition told her that Linda's 'off and on' comment was part of a
cryptic message intended to let her in on a secret of which she'd been
clueless. A sexual affair? A love affair? A friendship at least. Linda was
ready to confess if Diane would only ask the right questions.
    "Off and on sounds like hot and cold, like sex then no sex, like friends
then lovers. Is that about it?"
    "That's about it," Linda said flatly.
    Diane closed her eyes. She couldn't speak. A numbness started to envelop
her extremities. Her legs gradually slid out from under her as her back moved
slowly down the wall. She stopped sliding as her butt hit the tile floor. She
was hearing the truth she thought; the absolute truth and she had been
completely naive to it all for, what?...for years! There was nothing more to
say. She began to cry silently at first.
    "Diane, answer. Come on," Linda spoke again.
    "Answer what?!" she sniffled.
    "We tried. I was honestly routing for you two. Ron wanted you to smoke
like me so he could give you more. More love, more sex, more attention. I
showed you how, remember? I encouraged you. Not for me. For you...for you and
Ron." Linda was pleased with how this sounded.
    "Yeah, and where'd it get me? I've smoked my lungs out for him." Diane was
crying openly now. "He's gotten me hooked and now I can't possibly quit. And
just when I thought I could accept my addiction, he says I can't smoke
anymore. Well, that's bullshit! Do you know he can't get it up now whether I
smoke for him during foreplay or not?"
    "Yes...and we're working on that," Linda said calmly.
    "Working on that?!!" She slammed the phone down and ran upstairs.

    Diane's tires screeched as she turned her tiny Mazda Miata into the office
building's parking lot. She was running late to her appointment with Stacy and
had been crying in spurts the whole way. She also didn't have time to get
herself cleaned up like she'd wanted. The long phone conversation with Linda
had taken care of that.
    The reception room was dark when she opened the door. God, she thought,
I've missed her. Glancing at her watch, it was now 10 minutes to six.
    "Stacy?" she called out through the receptionist's glass window.
    "Yeah, I'm back her, just a moment. Diane?"
    "Yes, it's me. Sorry I'm late."
    Stacy came out front to let her in. She could see that Diane had been
crying. In her practice, she was used to seeing patients in this state. She
smiled professionally then led Diane back to her office.
    "Thank you for seeing me on such short notice." Diane said as she sat down
in the big, overstuffed chair. "Again, sorry I'm late. I just...." The crying
started again.
    Stacy watched with a look of genuine concern then handed Diane a box of
Kleenex's. She took it and dabbed her eyes.
    Stacy let the crying go on for another minute or so then said, "You can
smoke in here if you want...if it'll make you feel better. It's after hours,
'they' won't mind."
    This got Diane to stop her crying just a bit and look up. "No thank you. I
mean thanks. That's all right, I can wait." Diane didn't know what she wanted.
    "No, really. It's okay. I smoke a little bit myself. It won't bother me,"
Stacy offered again.
    "Well, okay. Just one. I need something to calm down. Just look at me."
Despite her crying and not being able to get 'cleaned up' before her
appointment, Diane still looked great. Her natural good looks combined with
her perfect blond hair and figure always made her attractive to people....even
if she was dressed in faded jeans and a baggy sweatshirt.
    She pulled out one of her long cigarettes and quickly lit it with her Bic
lighter. She blew the smoke away from Stacy still feeling slightly
uncomfortable doing it in front of her.
    "Ron and I are through." she said after taking a long puff and showing
Stacy a text book exhale.
    Stacy was suspicious that the session would start this way. "What happened
yesterday Diane? I was puzzled when he canceled his appointment at the last
minute."
    "He _canceled_ his appointment with you?"
    "Yes. He was my 4:30 yesterday and he called Claudia around 4 saying he
wouldn't be able to make it."
    This was news to Diane. When he got home last night, she just assumed he'd
been with Stacy. "Well, that figures. To make a long story short, he spent the
night with a woman in our neighborhood, Linda."
    Stacy knew about Linda all right. Ron had confessed his affair with her
almost from the start of their appointments. "Did he say he slept with her?"
    "Well, no, in fact he went out of his way to say they didn't. But then I
got this phone call from Linda just before I left to come here and....." her
words trailed off. Another tear ran down her face as she started a long puff
on her cigarette to steady herself.
    Stacy had been watching Diane smoke all along. Her mannerisms were
enticing Stacy to want one herself. Finally, after watching Diane silently
smoke through three leisurely puffs, she broke the trance and said, "Diane,
can I have one of your cigarettes? I'd like to join you if I may."
    Diane looked surprised. She then eagerly reached into her purse and handed
Stacy the opened pack of Virginia Slims Menthol and her Bic lighter. I'd love
her to join me Diane thought.
    Stacy very easily lit her cigarette and handed Diane back the lighter as
she began a long puff of her own. "God this tastes good," she said on exhale.
"I never smoke in the office, I can't. It was just watching you, I guess, that
made me want one." She started another puff only slower this time.
    "They are nice," said Diane. "It's hard to believe they center around so
much of Ron's and my problems."
    "Yes, it's strange actually. He said that your smoking was beginning to
cause problems but that didn't compute when you said you'd been smoking for a
year and a half. He made it sound like you just started last month or
something."
    "Apparently it just became a problem last month." She then followed a new
lead. "He and Linda got me started you know."
    "What?"
    "Oh brother, I was afraid of this. Ron's told you nothing. First _he_
brings up the smoking issue in counseling then leaves me to tell the story."
Diane lit another cigarette. "This all may sound very strange."
    "Try me," answered Stacy with a don't-worry-I've-heard-it-all-before tone
in her voice.
    "Well, first let me ask a question. Do you find watching a woman smoke
sexually attractive?" Diane had phrased it this way only to insinuate that it
was Ron (and maybe other men) that were hooked up this way - not Stacy.
    Stacy paused, then said slowly, "I can see the allure, the logic behind
it. Smoking is very oral - a Freudian fixation. In that regard, yes, smoking
can be very sexual. Just watching you smoke aroused me enough to want to join
you."
    Diane had a quizzical look on her face.
    "It's okay really." Stacy reached over to Diane's pack of Virginia Slims
on the glass table and carefully lit another. "You do smoke rather
seductively."
    Diane sensed some sort of barrier was coming down between them. Rather
than relax, she felt slightly intimidated. Nonetheless she continued. "Well,
I've got lots of practice. For the first year, I only smoked when Ron fucked
me. I was playing a role. At first I hated it; all I did was care about how I
looked. I even practiced in front of the mirror to perfect certain techniques.
God, I can't believe I did all that for him."
    Stacy was mildly affected by this. "You used to smoke for him during
intercourse?"
    Diane exhaled smoke through her nose before speaking. "Yeah, as I said, it
was the only time I smoked."
    "But now you smoke all the time?"
    "More or less. I probably go through a pack every two days." She didn't
add that she only smoked on the porch still in deference to Ron.
    "You have the look of a much more experienced smoker, Diane."
    "I'm still getting comfortable with it in public."
    "Do you get sexual urges when you smoke? I mean, since it was initially
tied to intercourse?"
    "You mean, do I masturbate?"
    Stacy's professional interest was waning although her personal side was
getting very attentive. "Yes."
    "I have, yeah. When Ron was out of town for a few days, I was missing what
I thought was sex. I had these 'cravings'. I thought I was just getting horny
so I started to rub myself and instantly found I was searching for my
cigarettes. I had several satisfying orgasms while lying on the bed smoking
that first time. That's when I probably first made the connection that my
urgings were more nicotine related than pure sexual related."
    "Do you do this often?"
    "Not really. I probably will now that I'm going to leave Ron."
    "Diane, you really do smoke sensually. I'm sure you get all kinds of
people watching you in public."
    Diane recognized the subtle change in the mood here. She had expected
Stacy to focus on the 'leaving Ron' part of the statement, not the 'smoking
and masturbating'.
    "You think so?" she said as she looked Stacy straight in the eyes and
demonstrated a perfect French inhale.
    Stacy pulled her third cigarette out of Diane's pack keeping her eyes
fixed on Diane the whole time. She moved from her chair into the big one Diane
was sitting in. "Show me how you do that."
    "It's easy." Diane's face was only about 12 inches from Stacy's. She
started a long puff and mirrored her previous inhale. As she began her exhale,
Stacy moved even closer and breathed in all of Diane's smoke. Their lips
brushed each other then Stacy exhaled back towards Diane.
    As Stacy had counted on, Diane leaned back into the chair's cushions
--just like it was for Ron, she marveled. Diane was starring at the ceiling,
smoking and rubbing herself through her jeans. Stacy moved next to her and
took over the job of rubbing. Gradually, she got Diane's fly open and the
jeans down to her thighs. Diane moaned softly and continued to smoke while
Stacy stroked her moist vagina. It only took several minutes of this before
she was shaking uncontrollably in a passionate, deeply satisfying orgasm.
    When Diane had settled down, Stacy pulled her to the floor, lifted her own
top off and nearly pleaded, "Do it to me now." Stacy was on her back lying on
the rug. She quickly lit the cigarette she'd been holding and sustained the
puff for almost six seconds. Diane came down right on top of her and took
Stacy's entire exhale while finding her crotch with her right hand. She rubbed
and rubbed as Stacy pushed exhale after exhale deep into Diane's lungs. Both
women were on the verge of orgasm. Stacy handed her cigarette to Diane and
they switched roles. Suddenly, simultaneously, they both climaxed in nerve
shattering orgasms that left them completely exhausted and speechless.
    They were both quite for a time. Diane spoke first. Softly with a smile
she said "I don't think I'll be coming here for counseling anymore."
    "Diane, I know. God, this is completely unprofessional! I don't know what
came over me."
    Recognizing Stacy's panic she said, "No, don't worry about it. I think I
seduced you, not the other way around."
    "Really, this was just...I don't know."
    "No, come on. I'm fine. All I know is I feel a heck of a lot better than
when I came in here."
    Both women laughed in unison. Stacy was safe.

    ***************
     
    Diane turned the brass handle that opened the heavy front door. She
thought for a moment that she was going to miss this old house. It was another
gorgeous afternoon out and she wanted to enjoy it while she waited for him on
the porch. She'd be leaving in just a few days.
    In the months that followed the separation and subsequent divorce from
Ron, Diane had started to blossom. Steve had been there for her and had
obviously helped in the transformation but she had truly shown courage and
initiative in handling her affairs. Her confidence in herself had not been
stronger since her college days. Rising from the depths of nearly a year of
depression, she felt that a door had swung open and given her a second chance.
    Steve would be here in a few minutes. She flipped back the top on her pack
of Virginia Slims (she was back on the Lights) and slid out one of the long
white cigarettes. She looked truly lovely sitting on the porch smoking. Her
straight blond hair was tied in a loose pony tail. She was wearing a black
short sleeve turtleneck sweater and a new pair of bluejeans. Diane took a long
puff, inhaled then let the smoke go one of her perfect trademark exhales.
Smoke trailed from her nose just as she finished.
    Leaning against the porch railing, Diane scanned the road hoping to see
his approaching car. Despite handling most of the details of the divorce
herself, she pondered just how lucky she'd been to find Steve when she did. It
all started on this porch several months ago the day after her last
appointment with Stacy. She thought back....

    Diane had nearly run to her car from Stacy's office. She turned the key
and began the drive back to her empty house. She didn't care if Ron showed up
or not. The session with Stacy had left her with a hopeless feeling once she
got beyond the sexual gratification. She recalled a brief, similar affair in
college but without the smoking. It was no big deal. Diane felt she was on
firm ground concerning her heterosexuality. She'd just been helping a close
friend.
    The automatic garage door began to rise as she approached the house. It
was almost 8 pm and the first thing she noticed was the absence of Ron's car.
"So what," she said aloud. "I don't care if I ever see him again."
    The next day she woke up with even further resolve to find a job. Today's
the day she thought. Before noon, she had managed to set up two interviews for
Monday the following week. Pleased with her progress, she decided to enjoy a
cigarette; her third of the day. She was still smoking on the porch mostly out
of habit....also, maybe because if he came home....? No she thought, it's my
choice.
    Diane was again in mid-puff when all of a sudden, here he came. Strange
she thought, it's the middle of the day, doesn't he have a job? She waved
first this time right in the middle of her exhale. She was no longer
embarrassed about her smoking. However, this time something different
happened. He changed his running path and angled right up to her porch. He
stopped about four feet from her.
    "Hi," he said, slightly out of breath. "My name's Steve McConnell. I just
moved in to the neighborhood a couple of weeks ago." He extended his hand.
    Diane quickly moved her cigarette to her left hand and reached back.
"Hello," she said with slight caution in her voice. "Diane Fitzpatrick."
    "Oh, Irish." he said smiling.
    "No, my husband's name." She somehow found herself resenting bringing up
Ron.
    After an awkward second or two, Steve said, "Well, I've seen you several
times now. Thought I'd say hello, I live just around the corner."
    He turned to leave almost ready to say something when Diane interjected
"I'm Norwegian, from way back though. My maiden name's Jorgensen."
    Recognizing the friendly gesture, Steve said, "Nice to meet you Jorgy. I
knew a Jorgensen in high school...a brother perhaps?"
    'Jorgy' Diane thought. That's what they called her dad. "Not unless you
went to high school in Minnesota," she said.
    "No, California."
    Another awkward pause settled in then he said, "Better get going, my
stopwatch is running. Nice meeting you Diane....sure I'll see you again."
    She watched his cute behind disappear around the corner and began another
puff.

    Diane and Steve met again several weeks later just after Ron had packed up
most of his things and moved in with Linda at her house. Keith had long since
departed the scene once he discovered their affair. Ron continued to pay the
mortgage until the house was sold. Diane covered most everything else with her
new job as an administrator and part time substitute teacher with the local
school district. She was really doing well despite being right in the middle
of a messy divorce.
    "Diane? Hi," Steve said as he gently touched her shoulder from behind.
    She turned around. A big smile spread across her face that betrayed any
hope of acting just neighborly. "Steve?" Her eyes briefly looked him up and
down. "I almost didn't recognize you without your running shorts." It was all
she could think of.
    He gave her a courtesy laugh. "Yeah, I actually do own some regular
clothes too."
    They were in the supermarket, each pushing their own shopping cart. His
basket was almost full; hers had just a few things in it. They chatted as they
strolled the aisles until Steve entered one of the checkout lines.
    "Looks like I get off here," he said.
    "I'll join you. I'm pretty much done." She maneuvered her cart in front of
his.
    "But your basket's not very full," he said glancing down. "You must come
down here a lot."
    Diane thought carefully, then decided 'what-the-heck'. "Well, I'm only
shopping for one now."
    He showed a genuine look of concern. "Is your husband all right? Was there
an accident?"
    "Oh, nothing like that. Just your simple, basic separation and divorce."
    "You're divorced now?"
    "Almost. I've got the house until it sells. The final divorce decree will
probably come through about a month after that."
    "Okay. That explains the 'for sale' sign I saw on your lawn when I ran by
the other morning. Thought you'd be moving out of town somewhere."
    "No. It's been up for sale for two weeks. Where have you been lately?" She
hadn't seen him from her porch for about that long.
    "Traveling, flying actually."
    "Flying? You a businessman or something?"
    "No. I fly for Delta Airlines."
    "Really?" she said sounding impressed. "Are you a pilot?"
    "Uh huh."
    Diane really was impressed. What a perfect job she thought. She had just
finished putting her groceries on the conveyor belt and had to stop the
conversation briefly. As she slid her debit card through the machine, she said
softly to the checkout lady, "...and a carton of Virginia Slims Menthol
Lights." She was hoping Steve wouldn't hear her.
    She turned her head towards him and smiled. He smiled back. Shit, she
thought. He heard. "I'm really trying to cut down. The divorce's making it
hard," she offered almost pointlessly.
    He shrugged his shoulders in a quick motion and smiled again.
    After getting through check out herself, Diane waited for him as he put
his food on the belt. They continued to talk. In fact, by the time they had
stopped in the parking lot next to her Miata, she had a date with him for
tomorrow night.
    This was the best Diane had felt in months, make that years she thought as
she drove home. She grinned and took a long puff on her freshly lit cigarette.
Smoke flowed from her mouth and nose as she exhaled towards the car window.

    "Are you sure you want me to?" Diane asked again just to hear it one more
time. She had been hoping for this but didn't want to appear too eager.
    "Boy, you love a love scene, don't you?" Steve said laughing back at her.
It was a laugh that showed sincerity and tenderness. "Of course I do. You can
pack tonight," he said.
    She leaned over the table and their lips met. They had been dating for
more than two months and he had taken her out special this evening just to ask
her if she'd consider living with him.
    Ron and Diane's house had taken a bit longer to sell than anticipated. She
had spent the night at Steve's a few times once their relationship got serious
but hadn't started 'living' with him. She thought she'd wait until the divorce
was final but now saw no real reason for it. They had had sex four or five
times since they started dating. Diane found herself quite nervous until about
the third time. As they started the foreplay that would inevitably lead to
intercourse, Diane became very concerned that she may have a problem due to
Ron. When was the last time I made love without smoking she thought. Even once
Steve had entered her, she was tenuous. She caught herself turning her head
slightly away from him as he moved in and out and exhaling imaginary smoke. It
seemed to help but she had faked her orgasm that first time. Just some of the
baggage that I bring into this relationship she said to herself lying beside
him afterwards.
    Diane was also concerned about her smoking in his house. She hadn't smoked
there yet but living with him and smoking may create a new problem. A new
problem was the last thing she wanted. They had yet to discuss her smoking
openly until tonight. She was curious if he had this 'men's smoking fetish'
thing.
    She got serious. "Steve, one thing we've yet to discuss is, well, my
smoking. Does it bother you?"
    He remained silent for a few seconds acting as if he was giving it
considerable thought. "No, not at all. I smoked in college but gave it up once
I started flight training. I was told it can hinder your night vision and my
eyes were barely 20/20 to start with."
    Diane wanted to offer some concession. "Well, I won't smoke in the house.
I'll even try to quit." The latter was something she could never do. Why'd I
say that she thought.
    "No, it's okay really. I doesn't bother me."
    Diane was starting to think he may be like Ron, or Keith for that matter.
She just had to ask: "Do you like to watch me smoke?" Her heart started to
beat faster. She really wanted a cigarette right now.
    "I like to watch you do anything Diane. Smoking's only part of the package
but not really necessary. I can tell though from watching you that you really
enjoy it. Someday you'll have to tell me how you started."
    "I can tell you now," she said confidently as she pulled out her first
Virginia Slims of the evening.

    They sat at the table in the restaurant for more than an hour after he'd
paid the check as Diane told her story. Eventually all the details came out.
At first she was afraid to tell but felt if their lives were to go on from
here, Steve had to know all about her past with Ron. He sat completely
enthralled by her description of what it felt like to smoke while having sex
and why she started. Diane found herself chain smoking as she shared her
entire story with him.
    "I've got to admit, I can see the connection of smoking and sexuality but
I never thought of carrying it into bed," he said after listening to Diane go
on for the better part of an hour.
    "I know. It sounds kinky. I never thought I'd do it again until we were
making love the other night.
    "Wha'd'ya mean?"
    "Well, I felt like I kind of missed smoking when we 'doing it'. It's an
enhancer for me I guess."
    "Hey, I'm game for anything. I'll tell you a secret. When I first saw you
when I was running that day, it was your smoking that made me take notice of
you. After what you just told me, I can finally admit that to myself."
    Diane looked him square in the eye. She drew for a long time on her
cigarette and gave him a French inhale that seemed to last forever. Once the
smoke was inside her, she licked her lips, cocked her head back slightly and
let her exhale gently sail over the top of his head. Judging from the
expression on his face, he's comfortable with my smoking she thought.

    Later that night at his place, Diane put on a show for him that left them
both completely exhausted. Her orgasms showered her in waves of pleasure as
she kept a steady stream of smoke flowing in and out of her lungs. Steve was
in awe of her sexual intensity as she lay moaning underneath him on the bed
with smoke coming from her nose and mouth simultaneously. He had long since
come and was working on his second when Diane began to shudder uncontrollably.
Their final orgasms arrived together. When it was over, they both marveled at
the pleasure they took from this lovemaking session. Smoking and sex were so
much a part of Diane that she knew she'd never be able to stop it altogether.
She was glad to be back doing it...especially with the man she now truly
loved.
    Afterwards, she laid curled up next to him, both of them spent, as they
shared a final cigarette. Steve hadn't smoked in years and became a little
dizzy but was happy to please her. He loved her in a way that Ron never could.
He never took her for granted and showed her everyday that she was a valued
person, a true partner. In turn, Diane responded to this affection in ways she
hadn't recognized in herself since her early days before Ron. She was always
willing to give of herself in a manner that went well beyond the norm in most
people; to strangers and friends alike. This was her special gift and Steve
brought it back to life. It was like a second chance. Diane was stronger, more
independent and deeply in love with him. She was special and he knew it.

    Epilogue: Diane and Steve were married shortly after Diane's divorce was
final. They sold his house and moved back to Atlanta to be nearer to Steve's
work. He'd finally gotten assigned to an overseas route as a first officer on
an MD-11. His schedule was still jumbled but Diane adjusted well.
    As for her smoking, well, she didn't quit but had almost cut back to five
cigarettes a day. She initially experimented with different brands but came
back to her sweet and cool Virginia Slims Menthol Lights.
    She and Steve started to run together after they'd settled into their new
house. When he was traveling, she would go out on her own. She'd made it up to
almost five miles a day and felt this was a good offset to her smoking. Even
though she felt guilty, she found that there was nothing like a cigarette
after coming back in the house from a long run. The way it hit her lungs, it
was reminiscent of her first cigarette sitting on Linda's couch many years
ago. A lifetime ago she thought.


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