Election Night, Part 1

(by an4@anon.lelnet.com, 13 November 2000)


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Election Night
Part 1
an4@anon.lelnet.com

    Samantha looked at the long line leading into the retirement day care 
centre where she was about to vote for the third time. A volunteer had come 
out just as she'd gotten in line and told those of them in the back of the 
line that it would be at least half an hour before they were processed, and 
that the wait to actually vote would be a bit longer.
    She reached into the front pocket of her baggy jeans and pulled out a 
pack of Marlboro Lights 100. There were other people in the line who were 
smoking, and they were all adults, so she didn't feel at all self-conscious 
about lighting up. She drew a cigarette from the pack, returned it to her 
pocket, and pulled out her lighter. As she thumbed the wheel of the lighter, 
the flame lit the damp night air. She touched that flame to the tip of the 
cigarette and drew on it. 
    Why this cigarette tasted and felt better than all the others she'd 
smoked on the long drive back to Bennington was a question she couldn't 
answer for sure. The drive had taken over five hours because of several spots 
of construction and she'd smoked an entire pack, more than her usual daily 
allotment, during the drive. Considering she'd been driving a convertible, it 
couldn't just be that she was out in the clean night air.
    It was probably because she finally wasn't driving, because there was no 
stress just standing in line.   
    She drew deeply on the cigarette, lifted her head, and blew the smoke 
into the wind so that it wouldn't carry into the face of the man behind her.
    'You must be a Bush supporter,' the man behind her said, a smile in her 
voice.
    'No, I'm voting for Gore. Why would you think I was voting for Bush ?'
    'You're a smoker.'
    She looked at him quizzically, inhaled, blew smoke away from his general 
direction. 'Yes, I am a smoker. That has to be pretty obvious. But why would 
that make me want to vote for a man who can't form coherent sentences ?'
    'Well, if Gore wins it's bad news for tobacco companies and their 
consumers.'
    'I don't think the cost of the pack of cigarettes has much of an effect. 
Not on me, at least. I wouldn't care if cigarettes were five dollars a pack. 
I'll still smoke.'
    'Well, that's encouraging, at least. If I'd known that the line was 
going to be so long I'd have brought my cigarettes with me.'
    'Would you like one ?' she asked, fishing her cigarettes and lighter out 
again.
    'You'd share with a Bush supporter ?'
    'You're still an human being, and a smoker. So yes.'
    He took the proffered cigarettes, lit one, and returned them to her. The 
look on his face as he took that first drag on his cigarette made it worth 
the gift. He was actually cute, about Sam's age, although it was hard to be 
sure. At least she had to be legal. 
    'Thanks. So tell me, what made you decide to vote for Gore ?'
    Samantha trimmed her ash, drew on the cigarette again, and smiled. 'I 
like the things he supports. I don't like the idea of a tax cut for the rich. 
I don't think turning everything over to private companies and trusting on 
the goodwill of the american people is the right way to run a country this 
size. And I certainly don't think Al Gore is going to take away my right to 
smoke.'
    He laughed deprecatingly, smoked, and smiled. 'Don't be so sure about 
that. I'm not. How long have you been smoking ?'
    'That's an interesting change of conversation.'
    She arched her head back and blew a long cloud of spreading smoke onto 
the damp night air.
    'Well, when I meet an attractive woman, I prefer to keep the conversation 
flowing in a direction we can agree on.'
    'I guess I can agree that I'm attractive. I started smoking when I was 
fourteen. I have very permissive parents.'
    'You mean,' he said as they moved forward a bit, 'that you started 
smoking at fourteen and you had your parents permission to do it ?'
    'That's exactly what I mean.' She took a long draw on the cigarette, and 
finished with it, crushed it under her sneaker. She picked it up, walked over 
to a trash can, and tossed it out. Reggie watched her walking back and forth 
and it was a very pleasing site. As she settled back into the line, she lit 
another one. Exhaling a long stream of milky smoke, she looked at him 
closely, watched as he inhaled. He was certainly a smoker, but he hadn't been 
doing it as long as she had, that was for sure.
    'How about you ? I'll guess you've been smoking around 18 months, give 
or take.'
    'I started in February of my senior year.' He watched her exhale and 
found himself not really caring about who she voted for. 'Almost two years.'
    'Because of a girl you were dating.'
    'Yes-' he said, stubbing his cigarette out on the pavement. They moved 
forward and he was able to toss his into the trash. 'Go on-'
    'Like another ?' Samantha asked. He nodded, and she took another 
cigarette from the pack, put it between her lips, and lit it for him, after 
which she turned it, brought her hand to his mouth, and waited until he took 
it between his lips. The tip of the filter was still moist from her and her 
liked that very much. The soft touch of her hand on his face was also quite 
welcome.
    'She would only put out if you smoked for her, and by the time you broke 
up, you were hooked.'
    'Psychic much ?'
    Samantha exhaled and laughed. 'Well, I am impressed. I didn't think that 
republicans were subject to sexual fetishes,' she dug sarcastically but with 
some good nature.
    'Fetish is an interesting word.'
    She tapped ash from her cigarette, brought it to her mouth slowly, and 
drew on it in a way which was entirely sexual.
    'Oh, I know all about it. There is nothing better in this world that 
having a man's head between your legs and a cigarette between your lips.'
    As he smiled, having been in exactly that position more than once, the 
woman in front of them turned around, a look of indignant defiance on her 
face.
    'Do you two mind. I mean really, such talk is not at all appropriate.'
    'Appropriate to what ?' Samantha asked archly. 'Are there any small 
children in this line ? We're just talking about sex.'
    'Well, I don't like it.'
    Defiant, Samantha drew on the cigarette again, blew smoke that was 
definitely not directed politely away.
    'No, you don't look like you would. I'll bet you have a permanent 
headache.'
    The woman, who was wearing a large Bush/Cheney button, stalked out of the 
line and headed straight for her car.
    Samantha laughed.
    'That was fun.'
    'Hey, don't be scaring away my fellow republicans !' Reggie said, but 
really, he was enjoying himself more than he had imagined possible while 
voting. Samantha increased that enjoyment with another deep inhale and long, 
sensuous exhale.
    'Well, let's make this interesting. Personally, I think this voting is 
hungry work. If you'll agree to a little something, I'll not only invite you 
over for dinner, but give you a chance to take me out on a date.'
    'If I pass ?' Reggie asked.
    'Then I drive back to Wells tomorrow and you miss out on a chance to have 
a fabulous night with an attractive, liberal, open-minded smoker who you are 
so clearly jonesing for.'
    'Egotistical much ?'
    'Come on, you'd love a date, wouldn't you ?'
    He thought about saying no, but that would be just plain crazy.
    'What's the chance ?'
    'If Gore wins, I'll go out with you. If he loses, so do you.'
    'That's not fair.'
    'There's nothing fair about sex.'
    'I think we should at least know each other's name, shouldn't we ?'
    Samantha placed her cigarette between her lips, extended her hand, and 
spoke around the burning brand.
    'Samantha.'
    He took the hand, shook it. 'Reggie. And I accept.'
    
    As soon as they were outside, Samantha lit two cigarettes and handed on 
to Reggie.
    'So, who did you vote for ?'
    'That's between me and the voting machine, isn't it ?'
    She drew on her cigarette, treated him to a nose exhale that him hope the 
results would be announced early, and smiled.
    'Follow me to my house. I'm driving the white Celica over there.'
    'Isn't it a little cold to have the top down ?'
    'I love having my top down. Get that date and you find out just how much.'
    He resisted the urge to run to his car.

    They walked into the house together. Samantha paused inside the door, lit 
a cigarette, and then hugged her mother as she walked out into the hall.
    'I take it you went and voted, pumpkin ?'
    Reggie's eyes nearly popped from his head. Her mother was gorgeous. There 
was no question she must be at least forty, but she looked about thirty. In 
her right hand was a long white cigarette, the same VS 120 that his Erica 
used to smoke. He found himself remembering his ex with a sort of whimsical 
sense of free fall. That feeling he got in his nether regions that was like 
when the bottom dropped out of the roller coaster. They might not have been 
able to see eye to eye, but the sex-
    'Who's this gorgeous young thing ?' Helen asked.
    'Reggie. I think he may have voted for Bush, but not if he knows what's 
good for him.'
    'Speaking of the election, Dad and I were just about to head out to the 
headquarters for the victory party. Want to come ?'
    'No, I promised Reggie some dinner and I may be drive back to Wells 
tomorrow. I have a four pm class, so-'
    'Oh honey, make it a long weekend.'
    That was her dad, he walked down the hall, a cigar in his right hand, a 
beer in his left. They hugged and made small talk while Helen came over to 
meet Reggie.
    'You didn't really vote for Bush, did you ? You look so intelligent.'
    'I'll take my voting preference to the grave, ma'am.'
    Helen reached out, stroked his face in a way that made Reggie think about 
a threesome, which he immediately reminded himself was a bad thing to do on a 
pre date.
    'It's Helen, Reggie. Tell me a little about yourself.'
    She took a sharp inhale on the cigarette and he could see where Samantha 
took her smoking style from. She'd had a wonderful role model. A long, 
passionate inhale, the smoke held before she released it again. She made sure 
to blow that smoke in his direction.
    'I'm a software designer by day.'
    'And by night ?' she asked, rubbing his arm with her hand.
    'Let's just say I keep my day job and my night activies separate. 
Anything more than that-'
    'A man has to have his secrets. I understand. Derek, we have to get 
going.'
    Her dad, a big man who had ex-college football player written all over 
his ruddy face, moved in his direction and Reggie had an involuntary reaction 
akin to fear that he fought down as the man extended his hand.
    'Derek Sanders. You take good care of my girl, and I'll take good care 
of you.' The strength of the grip made him wonder just what would happen if 
he failed his charge.
    'Reggie Salvage, sir.'
    'Relax, son. And call me Derek. There's beer in the fridge, and an 
humidor on the living room table.' He puffed on his cigar, drew close. 'You 
watch that daughter of mine. She's got better hands than a diamond cutter and 
she's faster than a shark in salt water.'
    'Thanks for the warning,' was all he could think to say.

    They were sitting close together. Gore had been given Florida and it 
looked as though he was going to take the election. Samantha reached across 
him, picked up the pack of cigarettes, and rescued the last two from it. She 
put them between her pert lips, lit them, and then placed one between his 
eager lips. 
    She blew smoke in a tight cloud that engulfed them. 'Looks like you're 
going to get that date after all.'
    He smiled at her. 'I don't suppose that we could get an early start on 
that date right now ?'
    The truth was, they were already well along the way. While they had been 
watching the election results fairly closely, they had also been talking, 
about many other things beside politics, and what they had both come to 
realise was that partisan issues aside, they had a lot in common. Samantha 
was more than young and gorgeous. She was terribly bright and so delightful 
to be with that election night had turned into erection night.
    Which was somewhat intimidating. The truth was that after scoring 
regularly in college, Reggie was starting to think that he'd skated by on 
good looks and free beer in college. Working as a software contractor paid 
well, but the downside was that he never got to spend long enough with anyone 
to develop anything. There were plenty of single women he came in contact 
with, but somehow it was much easier closing out projects than opening 
relationships.
    Samantha's had drifted downward and stroked the lump in his pants.
    'Well, a date might be a little premature, but I might be willing to 
explore your smoking fetish with you.'
    She drew on the cigarette, exhaled. 
    'You first,' he said, more a statement than a question.
    And that was when disaster struck. First on ABC, and the on all the other 
stations they checked, the retraction came in. Florida was again to close to 
call. And just like Gore's lead, Reggie's chances with Samantha evaporated 
into confusion and chaos. They watched and they waited, they smoked, but 
there was nothing else between them the rest of that long night.

    Samantha was standing over him, She was lighting her first cigarette of 
the day and she looked impossibly beautiful, the way some women did when they 
first woke up in the morning and their hand was wild and their eyes were 
shining. He'd forgotten what a women on the near edge of waking looked like 
and it made him ache terribly because they'd never gotten off the couch or 
out of their clothes.
    'Hey, sleepyhead.'
    'Did they ?'
    'No. Mom and Dad came home at four. They were not happy.'
    'Oh shit,' Reggie said, but she sat down on his lap and put her arm 
around his neck before offering him a pull from her cigarette which he took 
gladly.
    'Not about you. About the election. I just turned the television off. 
They say it is going to be days before they know what the outcome is. Florida 
will probably go to a recount, so I have to head back to Wells. I wrote my 
number there down and stuck it in your shirt pocket. She rubbed his chest 
through his shirt and he felt the paper there.
    'Call me when they make up their minds.'
    She drew on the cigarette, leaned down and shared a smoky kiss with him. 
    And then she was gone. He got up and followed her but she never looked 
back. She sat down behind the wheel of her convertible and twenty seconds 
later she was gone.
    And then, for Reggie, there was only the waiting.
        


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