The Night to Remember, Part 1

(by SSTORYMAN, 17 January 2004)


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This fictional account contains adult language and sexual themes.  If such
language and themes offend you, please do not read further.  The persons and
events described in this work are purely fictional.  Any similarity to actual
persons or events is strictly coincidental.  Copyright 2004 by SSTORYMAN.
All rights reserved.  Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this story in
any form and for any purpose as long as this notice is reproduced and no
financial remuneration is received, directly or indirectly, by the person
reproducing or using it.

THE NIGHT TO REMEMBER

1.	Missing the Party.

   "Hey, Tom, you should be inside at the party.  What the hell are doing
out here?"

   Tom involuntarily shivered in the chilly night air.  He had a cigarette in
his hand.  "Oh, I dunno, Bill.  I just had to get away for a couple minutes,
I guess."

   Bill sat down beside him.  "Tom, don't give me that bullshit.  I see the
cigarette.  I know you came out here to smoke.  God, I thought you'd have
quit by now.  You promised Tina you'd quit before the wedding, didn't you?"

   Tom smiled guiltily.  "Yeah, I did, but the wedding's not till day after
tomorrow.  I still have time.  I'll quit by then."

   "Tom, I got a non-smoking room at the hotel for your bachelor party since
I just assumed that by now you'd have quit.  All of us want you to quit
smoking, Tom.  Not just Tina.  So put that damn thing out and come back
inside.  It's _your_ bachelor party, for God's sake!"

   Tom let out a sigh.  "Yeah, I know.  But all of a sudden I started to
feel stressed.  I don't know why.  I just had to get away.  It's a great
party and all," he went on insincerely.  "But I'm just not much into
strippers and stuff like that."

   "Then something's wrong with you, buddy," Bill laughed.  "Your little
brother and I, as well as all our old Wharton buddies, we're having a great
time watching those fine ladies dance.  So finish that pathetic cigarette and
come back in and join us."  He winked.  "It gets hotter.  I arranged for
the strippers to cuddle and kiss each other after they get naked!"

   Tom exhaled a stream of smoke into the air.  "Yeah, okay."  He didn't
sound enthused.

   All of a sudden Bill changed his tune.  "Okay, Tom, I admit I knew you
didn't want strippers at your bachelor party.  I only hired `em `cause I
knew the rest of us would like `em.  If it stresses you out, go take a
break.  Tell you what.  Go over to the hotel bar.  Have a drink or two alone
to clear your head.  Put it on my tab.  I'm betting the pressure of tying
the knot with Tina is finally getting to you.  For me, seeing two gorgeous
strippers do their thing would be just the tonic I'd need.  But you're
different.  If it makes you miserable, buddy, take a break."  He frowned.
"You can even smoke in the hotel bar if you have to, you know."

   "Yeah, I can," Tom smiled ruefully.  He hit on his cigarette.  "You
know, Bill, I thought quitting smoking for Tina would be easier than it's
turned out to be.  I still want to do it for her.  I really do."  He paused
to exhale.  "And somehow I will before she and I leave on our honeymoon."
He shook his head and smiled.  "Hey, thanks for understanding that I don't
want to watch strippers tonight.  You're right.  Maybe I should go over to
the bar alone, have a drink and collect my thoughts awhile."  He smiled.
"You're right.  Getting married _is_ a big step!"

   "I'll tell the other guys you suddenly got all misty-eyed about your
lovely fiancée," Bill twinkled.  "They won't care.  They're too busy
enjoying the strippers!  So go on, get out of here.  Come back if and when
you finally feel ready.  And if you decide you want to split instead of
coming back to the party, I understand.  I'll cover for you.  I'm here for
you, man!"

   "Thanks, Bill.  You're a good friend.  There's no one else I'd want
for my best man."

   Shivering in the cold, Tom crossed the courtyard.  He entered the main
building.  The hotel bar was on the other side.  Walking through the lobby he
pondered his situation.  Bill was right on.  He _was_ nervous about getting
married.  It wasn't that he didn't love Tina.  He did.  She was everything
he wanted in a girl, in a wife.  Tina was beautiful, conservative, sensitive,
funny and understanding.  But the angst of making that lifelong commitment
made it a hell of a lot harder to quit smoking!

   The hotel bar was large and ornate.  Being Thursday night at nine
o'clock, it wasn't busy.  Several tables of people sat talking and
drinking.  A handful of individuals sat at the bar alone.  He grabbed a table
on the side of the room.  He didn't need to worry about finding the smoking
section.  Smoking was allowed throughout the room.  A waitress approached and
he ordered a rum and Coke.  Before she returned with his drink he got his
cigarettes from his pocket and put one in his mouth.  "God, in only two days
I'll be a non-smoker," he thought wistfully, lighting up.  "That'll be
weird.  But it'll be good for me," he reassured himself.  "It'll make
Tina happy."

   As he exhaled a stream of smoke upwards he noticed her.  She sat at the
bar alone, a well dressed brunette with her hair up sporting a conservative
dark navy blue suit.  She was gorgeous.  "Undoubtedly traveling alone on
business," he mused.  He looked again.  She _was_ attractive!

   The woman saw him look.  She smiled demurely, almost shyly, and then got
up from her barstool.  She began to walk the thirty feet over to his table.

   Tom felt a lump in his throat.  He panicked.  He hadn't meant to ogle her
or send any subliminal message.  It was only an innocent and innocuous
acknowledgment of her beauty; well, nearly innocent and mostly innocuous,
anyway!

   "Hi," the brunette said pleasantly when she reached Tom's table.  "Are
you the guy from Smith Thompson & Co.?"

   "Uh, no," he answered with a uneasy smile.  "No, I'm not."

   "Oh," she sighed, looking disappointed.  "I'm sorry.  I'm supposed to
meet a guy for dinner named Roger Black from Smith Thompson & Co..  I thought
you might be him.  I was supposed to meet him in the bar at eight.  It's
after nine now."  She smiled uncomfortably.  "I'm sorry.  I didn't mean
to bother you."

   "No, don't worry.  It's all right," Tom said politely.  "But I'm not
your guy, I'm afraid."

   "Actually, I was sort of hoping that you were Roger Black," she went on
with an awkward smile.  "You fit his description.  Six feet tall, early
30's, medium build, brown hair, no glasses, and dressed casually.  But the
reason I hoped you were Mr. Black was because I saw you light up that
cigarette.  I don't know if you noticed or not, but I was smoking myself
when you walked in.  I frantically put it out just as soon as I saw you,"
she giggled nervously.  "I didn't want to be seen smoking by the guy
who'll be interviewing me for a job tomorrow morning."

   "So you're here for a job interview?"

   "Yeah, that's right.  I'm sorry.  I'm Jenny.  Jenny Manning from
Chicago," she said politely, sticking out her hand.  "I flew in this
afternoon to interview with Smith Thompson & Co. tomorrow.  Mr. Black and
another person from the company were supposed to meet me for dinner at eight
before my interview tomorrow.  He called to say he'd be late.  That's why
when I saw you I thought you must be Mr. Black.  And that's why I was so
relieved when I saw you light up, because I figured if Mr. Black was a smoker
it meant I wouldn't have screwed up too badly if he noticed me smoking,
too."

   "Yeah, people are funny about smoking these days," Tom politely
acknowledged.  He was happy for the distraction from thinking about his
upcoming wedding and the bachelor party he was missing at that moment.  "I
totally understand why you hoped I was Mr. Black."  He raised his cigarette
to his mouth for a drag.  "But honestly, I didn't notice you with a
cigarette."

   "Well, obviously you're a smoker.  So you know how it is.  Undoubtedly
you do understand," Jenny went on, smiling but still looking embarrassed.
"I figured I could not smoke till after dinner if I absolutely had to.  But
after waiting over an hour and not having smoked since before eight -."
Suddenly she stopped.  "I'm sorry.  I'm wasting your time.  I'm sorry to
disturb you.  I'll leave you alone."

   "No, actually, I appreciate the company.  Please, don't go.  Why don't
you get your drink and join me till your people get here?  I wouldn't mind
the company, to be honest."

   "Are you sure?"

   "Absolutely.  By the way, I'm Tom.  Tom Reynolds.  Nice to meet you,
Jenny."

   "Nice to meet you, Tom.  Candidly, I'd _love_ to sit with somebody while
I wait for Mr. Black.  I'm nervous about my interview tomorrow and when I'm
nervous I tend to smoke too much."  She flashed another winsome smile.
"But if I sit with you then when Mr. Black gets here I can simply pretend
that the full ashtray on the table is your fault, not mine."

   "Perfect," Tom replied with a smile.

   She returned to the bar to retrieve her purse and her drink.  She sat down
at Tom's table.

   "So, Jenny, what do you do?  What kind of job are you interviewing for?"

   "Public relations," she declared.  "The last two years I've worked for
a bank in Chicago.  I like my job.  But when I saw Smith Thompson's opening
I felt like I just had to give it a shot."  She paused.  "You don't mind
if I smoke with you, do you?"

   "Obviously not," Tom laughed.  "Please, go right ahead."

   "Thanks," Jenny grinned back.  From her purse she deliberately removed a
half empty gold pack of Benson & Hedges 100's.  "It's such a nasty
habit," she said as she put a long white cigarette in her lips.  "But I
just can't seem to give it up."  She delicately shrugged her shoulders.

   Before Tom could get his out Jenny had her own lighter ready.  She clicked
it and united the dancing flame with the tip of her dangling cigarette.  Her
cheeks caved in as she took a long hard opening drag.  "Oh, that's good,"
she groaned happily after pulling smoke in her chest.  "Thanks so much for
letting me join you, Tom," she smiled, exhaling into the air.

   "No problem.  Speaking of giving it up, I'm trying to quit myself.  It
_is_ awful hard to give up, no doubt."

   Jenny seemed more relaxed now.  "I've tried to quit _so_ many times,"
she announced with a shy, embarrassed giggle.  "People tell me that being a
smoker doesn't fit my image.  I'm pretty conservative and old-fashioned.
Smoking's my only real vice.  But try as I might I just can't seem to give
it up."  She drew on her cigarette and snap-inhaled another large deposit of
smoke inside.  "So why are you gonna quit, Tom?"

   "My fiancée made me promise I'd quit before we get married," he said,
manicuring his cigarette in the ashtray.  "Turns out it isn't nearly as
easy as I thought.  But I told Tina I would and I will."  He smiled at his
companion.  "Our wedding's the day after tomorrow so I'm running out of
time."

   "Day after tomorrow?  Holy cow," Jenny let out a surprised laugh,
spurting smoke in the process.  "Well, congratulations, Tom.  But if you're
getting married in two days then what in the world are you doing sitting here
alone tonight in this bar?"

   Tom looked down.  "It's kind of a long story.  Actually, my bachelor
party's tonight.  It's going on right now."  Seeing a look of surprise on
the brunette's face he explained.  "My old friend Bill, my best man, hired
a couple strippers to entertain everyone at the party.  I honestly just
don't go in for that sort of thing.  I was upset so I went outside for a
smoke.  Bill followed me and gave me grief for smoking.  So I decided to come
over here to the bar alone for awhile.  I hope that doesn't seem weird."

   "It's not weird at all.  Do you have a picture of your fiancée?"

   "Sure," Tom smiled, reaching for his wallet.  He opened it and showed
her.

   "My, my, such a pretty face and such beautiful long blond hair.  She's
lovely," Jenny admired.  "What's her name again?"

   "Tina."

   "You must really love her if you're willing to quit smoking for her."

   "Yeah, I do love her," Tom said quietly.  "But you know how it is,
Jenny.  Yeah, sure you do.  You just admitted the same thing.  Whenever I get
nervous, like you are about your job interview and like I am about getting
married, I feel like I just _have_ to have a cigarette.  Nothing else cuts
it.  I don't want Tina to be disappointed in me if I fail."

   "If she really loves you, Tom, and I'm sure she does, she _won't_ be
disappointed in you even if you can't quit."  She hit on her cigarette.
"Have you ever tried to quit smoking before?"

   He smiled.  "A couple times.  But I never had any reason to till now.
How `bout you?"

   Jenny nodded while continuing to drag furiously on her cigarette.
"Bunches of times.  It's stupid but every single time I fell flat on my
face."  She exhaled almost unconsciously, simultaneously from her mouth and
nostrils.  "I've never made it for more than a day."

   Tom smiled.  "I've been trying to cut down, you know, to avoid the cold
turkey thing.  I smoke too much, at least a pack a day.  And that's amazing
considering that I can't smoke at my office or when I'm out on assignment,
which is most of the time anymore."

   "What kind of work do you do, Tom?"

   "Investment banking, for light manufacturing companies mostly.  I've
been with Stephens here in town for three years, ever since I got my MBA from
Wharton.  But for the last year I've spent at least two-thirds of my time on
the road.  It's real hard to smoke when you're at some client's offices."

   "Oh, a Wharton MBA," Jenny whistled.  "Aren't we the smart one?  I bet
you do real well for yourself!"

   "Yeah, I do okay," he admitted shyly.  "It'll be good for me to
quit," he said thoughtfully, manicuring his almost spent cigarette before
putting it out in the ashtray.  "It'll make my life a whole lot easier in a
lot of ways I suppose."

   A cell phone rang.  "Excuse me," Jenny said, hurriedly hitting on her
cigarette.  "It's mine."  She opened her flip phone and effortlessly
exhaled while she talked.  "Hello?  Yes, this is Jenny Manning.  Oh, hi Mr.
Black.  What?  Oh, I see.  Oh, that's too bad.  No, no, don't worry.  I'll
be fine.  No, I'll just go up to my room and watch TV or something.  Okay,
sure, if you insist I'll order room service.  Don't worry.  I totally
understand.  Right.  Then I'll see you tomorrow at ten.  Yeah, I got the
address.  Thanks, Mr. Black.  Seriously, don't worry about it.  I'll just
look forward to meeting you tomorrow at your office.  Okay, thanks.
Goodbye."

   "Not coming?"

   "Yeah, they're not coming," she sighed.  She took a last hard hit on
her cigarette and like Tom stubbed hers out in the ashtray.  At once she
reached for another one.  "Well, I guess there's no reason to worry anymore
about being seen doing this," she said with a lilting laugh as she put her
second cigarette in her mouth.

   Tom smiled.  "Let me do the honors this time," he offered, holding out
his lighter.

   "Oh, thanks," Jenny grinned back.  She leaned forward to catch the
proffered light.  She drew long and hard on her cigarette as Tom got his out
from his pocket and joined her.

   "Oh my Gosh, you smoke my brand," Jenny giggled, releasing rapid-fire
smoky bursts from her initial inhale as she noticed his gold pack of Benson &
Hedges 100's.  "I guess we really _are_ kindred spirits, huh?"

   Tom fired up his cigarette.  "Yeah, I guess so," he admitted, releasing
an exhale.  "I've smoked these since I was a teenager.  Never found
anything that quite compares to them.  I can't stand smoking those damn
lights."

   "Me neither," Jenny enthusiastically concurred.  "You don't see very
many people smoking full flavor cigarettes anymore."  She hit on her B&H.
"It seems everyone I know who's a smoker smokes Marlboro Lights 100's
these days.  I'm like you, Tom.  I like these lots better.  I really do love
`em!"  Exhaled smoke continued unconsciously escaping from her mouth as she
talked.

   Tom found himself enjoying the pleasant company of this lovely fellow
smoker.  Her first name was even familiar, the same as that of his old high
school sweetheart.  But he guessed this Jenny was a little younger than he
was, perhaps mid to late 20's.  But she smoked almost mindlessly, like
someone who'd been a smoker for a long time.  Probably she started as a
young teenager, he thought to himself.  Despite his better judgment he asked
Jenny about it.

   "Yeah, I've been smoking a really long time.  I started at 14," she
confessed with a timid endearing giggle.  "I'm terrible, really," she
continued.  "I smoke all the time; way _way_ too much.  I can't smoke at
work, of course, but there's a break room where smoking's allowed.  So I
take work in there so I can smoke.  I spend a couple hours in there a day,"
she giggled shyly.  She hit again on her cigarette.  "And in the evenings I
smoke constantly.  Like you, Tom, I know I should quit.  But I don't think
I'll ever be able to.  I just can't imagine living without my cigarettes.
You know?"

   "Yeah, I do know," Tom grinned.  "So, how much _do_ you smoke, Jenny?"

   "I shouldn't tell you," she blushed.  "For sure I'd never admit it to
a non-smoker.  I smoke nearly two packs a day."  She giggled.  "You
probably think that's terrible, don't you?"

   "Yeah, I suppose it is.  But don't worry.  I understand.  Once you get
hooked like you and I are there's something nearly mystical about smoking,
isn't there?  It's so pleasant, so relaxing."  He frowned.  "I'm afraid
Tina just doesn't understand."

   Jenny looked at the floor.  "No, of course she doesn't.  She doesn't
get it.  Non-smokers never do," she quietly agreed.  "They're not able to
understand.  They can't because they've never experienced the pleasures of
being a one of us, of being a smoker."  She drew on her B&H.  "And since
they haven't they can never grasp just how hard it is for us to quit."  She
tilted her head slightly and released a lengthy exhale.  "Did Tina used to
smoke, Tom?"

   "You know, I'm not sure.  If she did she's never talked about it.
Look, I want to make sure you understand that I really do love Tina.  She's
an amazing woman and I want to spend the rest of my life with her.  It's
just that -."

   "You're not sure you can do it," Jenny said, finishing the sentence for
him.  "Isn't that it?  You're afraid what happens with Tina if you fail to
meet her expectations, if you can't quit?"

   "Yeah, basically.  I am afraid.  I don't want to disappoint her."  Tom
tapped an ash into the ashtray.  "But I'm gonna give it my best shot," he
said with a brave resolute smile.  "After all, it's the right thing for me
to try and quit, isn't it?"

   "Of course it is," Jenny smiled demurely.  She sipped the last of her
drink.  "Hey, what's next, Tom?  Are you gonna stick around for another
round?  Or are you gonna go back to your bachelor party?"

   Tom sighed.  "I don't know.  I really don't want to go back to the
party.  Oh, what the hell.  If you're gonna have another drink I will, too!"

   "Good," Jenny laughed, raising her hand and hailing the waitress.  She
ordered another daiquiri and Tom another run and Coke.  "I'm kinda glad Mr.
Black never showed up.  This is nicer than chit-chatting all night about his
company and the job.  I can do that tomorrow."

   Tom nodded and smiled.  He was genuinely relishing this unexpected
interlude.  As they kept drinking Jenny continued to smoke heavily.  For a
change he rather liked being the slowpoke when it came to smoking rather than
the leader.  Jenny was always more aggressive than he was in lighting up her
next cigarette.  He liked that.  Part of it stemmed from the fact that she
smoked more than he did; it made him felt less guilty about lighting up
himself.  But some of it was just that she was a smoker.  It'd been too long
since he socialized with another smoker, he realized.  Jenny being a gorgeous
female only made it nicer.

   They talked about many things sharing their second drink.  He was
surprised and pleased to learn that Jenny, too, was a Cubs fan, though that
wasn't shocking since she lived and worked in Chicago.  But unlike his
fiancée, Jenny actually seemed knowledgeable about sports.  And like him she
was a Republican.  Her conservative political philosophy was nearly identical
to his own.  Talking with the lovely brunette was effortless and fun.  At
first she seemed a bit shy, but Jenny had quickly warmed up and now clearly
held up her end of the conversation.

   And she smoked.  With no concern about being seen Jenny lit up repeatedly
and smoked passionately.  At one point she laughed about it.  "Just making
up for lost time," she giggled before lighting up another one.  "After all,
I abstained for over an hour waiting for Mr. Black to show up.  This is just
make-up smoking."  Curiously, Tom found himself smoking more because Jenny
was.  But it was highly enjoyable.

   As she downed the last of her daiquiri she cocked her head.  "So, what
now?  At some point your friends are gonna come looking for you, don't you
think?"

   "Yeah, I suppose they will.  I hadn't thought about that.  Eventually I
guess my best man and the others will come get me."

   "And do you want to go back?"

   "No," Tom admitted.  "I hate loud parties like that.  I'm enjoying
myself a lot more sitting here talking to you."

   "But unless we do something that won't be possible.  When they come back
to get you you're gonna be stuck.  Like I said, unless we do something,"

   "What are thinking about, Jenny?"

   She flashed a pretty smile.  "I'm having a marvelous time hanging out
with you.  But I've got nothing to look forward to up in my room except TV
and a mini-bar.  Are you hungry?"

   "Yeah, a little, I guess.  Why?"

   "Mr. Black insisted that I order myself dinner from room service.  So
here's what I propose.  Let's you and me go up to my room.  That way your
friends can't find you and drag you back to that stupid party.  You'll be
safe.  We'll order dinner off the room service menu and we can keep
talking."  She paused.  "Don't misunderstand, Tom.  I'm not
propositioning you.  Not at all.  You know that, don't you?  It's just that
I'm having a good time talking to you; yeah, and smoking and drinking with
you, too," she giggled.  "I don't want it to end yet.  We can both get
what we want if we retreat to my room.  What do you say?"

   "I don't know," Tom equivocated.  "Someone might get the wrong idea
-."

   "Yeah, but no one will think anything," Jenny patiently explained.
"Nobody will ever know.  We'll just have dinner in my room.  Your friends
will think you went home and we can enjoy each other's company as long as we
want.  So what do you say?  It'd be fun!"

   Tom hesitated.  It was a bad idea and he knew it.  He was about to marry
Tina.  But he nonetheless felt strongly attracted to this gorgeous female.
It sounded innocent.  He sighed.

   "Okay.  I _am_ having a good time with you, Jenny.  Hell, tonight's my
bachelor party.  I'm supposed to have a good time, aren't I?"  She eagerly
nodded.  "I'd rather have dinner with you than rejoin my friends who are
undoubtedly just leering at strippers in a drunken stupor."

   "Great!"  She raised her hand to again signal their waitress.  They
settled their tab, collected their things and walked together to the hotel
lobby elevators.  He looked around nervously to make sure none of his friends
were there to see him in the company of another woman, and a gorgeous one at
that.

   Jenny giggled.  "Relax, Tom.  No one's paying any attention to you.
You're safe."  The elevator doors opened.  "My room's on the fifth
floor," she said, pushing the button.  "That's one of the floors where
they have smoking rooms," she added deviously.  "I assume that you intend
to keep smoking with me when we get to my room?"

   He grinned.  "Of course, Jenny.  I'm not quitting till day after
tomorrow.  In fact, the way I feel right now I probably won't smoke my last
cigarette till right before the ceremony."

   "And who knows?  Maybe even then you won't quit," she added
mysteriously.  "I've been watching you, Tom.  I think you're more addicted
than you realize.  Tina may be in for a big disappointment."

   Tom sighed as the elevator doors opened to the fifth floor.  He'd been
worrying that he might fail.  But Jenny sure didn't sound disappointed by
that possibility.  Of course no smoker ever really wants to see another
smoker quit.  It proves that quitting is possible and that they could quit,
too, if they really wanted to.

   She used her key card to enter her room.  Tom looked around.  The ashtray
on the nightstand by the bed was full.  So was another one on the table
across the room.  "It looks like you loaded up before you went downstairs to
wait for Mr. Black," he teased, pointing at the full ashtrays.  "You
weren't kidding when you told me you smoke too much, were you?"

   She dropped her purse on one of the beds after removing her pack of Benson
& Hedges and lighter.  Pulling up one of the chairs from the table she sat
down.  "I already told you, Tom.  I'm a chimney," she giggled.  "I can't
help it.  Whenever I'm nervous I smoke too much.  But I also smoke too much
when I'm having a good time," she added playfully, putting a cigarette
between her lips.  She quickly lit it up.  "I must say, it's nice to spend
time with a man who understands, someone who doesn't look down on me because
of my smoking."

   He picked up the room service menu and started to peruse it while he sat
down in the other chair.  "Isn't there a saying, let the one who is without
sin cast the first stone?  I'm in no position whatsoever to throw stones,
Jenny.  I'm about to join you again, in fact."

   Without a word she shook another cigarette from her pack.  Instead of
merely handing it to him she put it in her mouth and lit it up.  She then
gave it to him.  "Here you go, Tom.  I'm delighted you want to keep smoking
with me.  This one's on the house!"

   "Thanks, ma'am," he smiled, accepting it with a wink.  "I think this
establishment's service is second to none."  He dragged on his cigarette
and inhaled as she did likewise.  "So what do you want for dinner?"

   "I just want a salad," she said, exhaling.  "But you should order a
main course.  Just get a side salad with it.  You can eat most of it and
I'll just have whatever you don't want."

   "Are you sure?"

   She nodded.  "I'm not a big eater.  That'll be fine."

   He dialed room service and ordered a chicken teriyaki dinner and a side
salad.  "Half an hour," he announced.  "They said it'll be about that
long before it gets here."

   She stood up and took off her suit jacket.  Underneath she wore a
sleeveless white shell.  With her cigarette in her mouth she threw her jacket
onto one of the beds.  Then she kicked off her shoes.  "Just getting
comfortable," she smiled as she sat back down.

   Tom shivered involuntarily.  He loved the sight of a woman's bare
shoulders and Jenny's looked especially nice.  Of course nothing was wrong
with her wanting to feel comfortable.  But it made him nervous.  Anxiously he
dragged on his cigarette.  Sitting across the small table from one another
they were now a mere two feet apart.

   Jenny exhaled a long thin stream of smoke toward him and smiled.  "So,
what shall we do while we wait for dinner to come?"

   "Oh, I don't know.  Just talk, I guess.  What did you have in mind?"

   Suddenly she stood up again.  "Help me take off this necklace," she
asked.  "The clasp is in the back and it's easier if you can unhook it.
Okay?"

   "Uh, okay."  Tom got up and walked behind her.  All the smoke in the air
from their cigarettes formed an ethereal shimmering halo around Jenny's
head.  He reached for the clasp.  "You're right, this is a tough one."  He
fumbled with it.  "There.  I think I got it."  He took the two ends of the
unhooked necklace in his hands and lifted it over her head.  "Here you go."

   Jenny took the necklace and quickly turned around so they stood face to
face.  Smiling at him through the smoky haze she spoke.  "Tom, I lied
before.  Despite what I said I didn't only want you to come up to my room so
we could eat dinner and keep talking.  You're an incredibly sensitive and
attractive man.  I like you and I think you find me attractive, too.  Don't
you?"

   His heart was in his mouth.  His better judgment told him to pull away.
But he didn't.

   "I like you, too, Jenny," he slowly admitted.  He looked down at his
hands.  They were trembling violently.  "I think we've really connected.
I'm glad we happened to meet tonight."

   She lifted her cigarette to her lips and dragged.  Unlike his, Jenny's
fingers weren't shaking.  She inhaled and took the cigarette from her mouth.
"I don't usually do this sort of thing," she whispered, holding her inhale
in her chest.  "But I'd like to give you a wedding present.  I'd like to
kiss you."

   He startled.  "Jenny, I don't think that's a good idea.  After all,
I'm -."

   Before he could finish she planted her mouth on his and kissed him.  He
couldn't bring himself to resist.  Never before had he kissed a woman who
was in the middle of smoking a cigarette.  But far from being unpleasant, the
strong smoky smell of her pungent breath tasted delicious.  The smoky odor
reminded him that they were the same.  They were both smokers.  She was just
like he was.  Unlike Tina who always complained about the stale taste of
smoke in his mouth whenever they kissed, Jenny reeked of it.  She brought an
overpowering scent of smoke all her own to their sudden embrace, and
surprisingly the aroma actually excited him.

   Wisps of smoke dribbled from Jenny's nose as their lips stayed locked.
He realized she was exhaling into him.  He breathed in.  Her smoke felt good
inside his lungs.  As they kept kissing smoke slowly began to drift out of
his nose, too.

   Flushed, he finally pulled back.  "Jenny, I don't think this is very
smart."

   "Smart?  What is smart, Tom?  What does that mean?"  Once more she
dragged hard on her B&H.  "Is it smart to deny yourself something that you
want?"  She tilted her head and exhaled upwards.  "I don't think so.  For
example, if I feel like smoking I light up a cigarette.  Always.  So do you.
And it satisfies you, doesn't it, at least for a little while?  Well, now
both you and I want something else.  We both know what it is.  We both feel
it.  So if we just give in and indulge it'll satisfy us, just like smoking
inevitably satisfies our common nicotine addiction."  She put her hand on
his shoulder and began rubbing his arm.  "Don't you want to, Tom?"

   "But I'm getting married in only two days."

   "So?  So what?  I know that.  But Tina never has to know, Tom.  You said
it yourself a few minutes ago.  Tonight's the night of your bachelor party.
You're supposed to have fun.  But you weren't having any.  Then we met and
we connected.  Now you and I can both have fun."  She quickly tapped an ash
in the ashtray before dragging again on her cigarette.  "Trust me, Tom.
I've never in my life done this.  But never before have I felt quite like I
do right now."  Smoke mixed with her words.  "I'd love to spend the night
with you tonight, Tom Reynolds.  It'll be our own delicious little secret.
Tomorrow I'll go to my job interview and you'll return to planning your
wedding.  We'll never see each other again.  But tonight," she said
temptingly, grinning wickedly.  "Tonight we'll be two smokers who are
sharing lots more than just the same brand of cigarettes!"

   He didn't move.  A million thoughts ran through his brain.  They weren't
about Tina or the wedding.  They were about whether or not he could get away
with the irresponsible act that was sorely tempting him at that moment.

   "I sense your indecision, Tom," Jenny smiled compassionately.  She moved
still closer.  "So let me help you decide what to do."  With that she
kissed him again, this time wrapping her arms around him and pulling him
close up against her body.  "Mm, your body's saying that it likes the idea
of being bad tonight.  Am I right?"

   He nodded breathlessly.  "Oh my God, Jenny.  I'm _so_ attracted to you.
I really shouldn't do this but I don't think it's gonna matter if I should
or not because I'm gonna."  He kissed _her_ this time.  "I want you so
bad."

   "Good boy, Tom," she giggled eagerly, pulling him toward the bed.  "Or
maybe instead I should say, bad boy?"

   Bodies entwined, Tom and Jenny dropped their cigarettes in the ashtray and
slowly moved onto the bed kissing like crazy.  Tom was thinking with his
dick, not his brain.  But he didn't care.  He didn't care that in two days
he'd marry Tina.  He cared about nothing but possessing the beautiful woman
in his arms.  He started to remove her navy blue skirt but Jenny stopped him.

   "Tom, right now I want this every bit as much as you do," she groaned
eagerly.  "But we need protection.  Do you have a condom?"

   "No," he moaned.  "Damn, no.  Of course not."

   She pulled back and picked up her cigarette.  "Well, we need one.  Tell
you what.  Go down to the newsstand on the first floor and buy some.
Meanwhile I'll slip into something more comfortable so I'm ready when you
get back.  But hurry.  Dinner's coming in only 25 minutes!"

   He watched her release a sensual exhale as she smiled at him.  "Yeah,
you're right.  Okay.  I'll be right back."

   "Don't worry.  I'll be waiting!"

   As he walked to the elevator he straightened his hair and his newly
rumpled shirt.  God, what was he thinking?  This was such a mistake.  But he
knew he long since passed the point of restraint.  He was going to do this.
The elevator door opened.  He rode down to the first floor.

   He found the newsstand and stood in line to buy a package of condoms at
the counter.  His turn finally came and he smiled at the girl by the cash
register.  He handed her the condoms.  "I need these, and oh, also a pack of
Benson & Hedges 100's.  The full flavored ones, not lights."

   She held up a familiar gold pack.  "You mean these?"

   "Yeah, perfect."  He smiled politely and handed her a twenty.  The
female clerk slowly counted out his change and finally gave it to him.  Tom
grabbed his purchases and almost ran back to the elevators.  If he was really
gonna stay the night with Jenny then he knew that in addition to needing
these condoms he'd also undoubtedly need more cigarettes to smoke.


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