Pygmalion, Part 1

(by AZ-Man, 30 June 2000)


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   Meet Beth Peterson - a recent divorcee from Albuquerque. She's an
   attractive, intelligent, workaholic career woman that is trying to
   balance a new job and a life of athletics and super-fitness. But
   Beth is also lonely and does not seem to know the meaning of the
   word 'relax'. 

   Enter William Henry "Hank" Graham - a wealthy businessman / playboy
   from Paradise Valley, Arizona. He has surrounded himself with many
   beautiful women and knows exactly how to relax. But Hank is
   searching for something beyond the hedonistic lifestyle he has
   created for himself and others around him. 

Enjoy our story and the turns it takes when Hank meets Beth and, on a bet, 
attempts to impose his pleasure-taking existence on her and create his 
'ultimate woman'.  

Author's note: A caution from the start - the story is long. However, there 
is strong depth of development in all the characters that is essential in 
making the story credible as well as enjoyable. I hope you bear with me - 
it was fun creating the concept and fun watching the characters come to 
life. Enjoy! 

A final thanks - to SSTORYMAN for his support, guidance and friendship. 

Should you have any comments, please feel free to respond to 
azman2k@yahoo.com.  

The following story is fictional and is provided solely for the enjoyment 
of its readers. While there are references to actual establishments such as 
major corporations, smaller companies, restaurants and locations, the 
characters in the story are entirely fictional. Any resemblance to a real 
person either living or dead is completely coincidental. Several 
non-fictional characters (celebrities) make brief cameo appearances. Their 
role is purely fictional and no way linked to their actual lives. This 
fictional account does contain adult language and themes. If such language 
and themes offend you, please read no further. This story is copyrighted by 
AZ-MAN, 2000, all rights reserved. Permission is granted to reproduce it 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 it. 

 

PYGMALION 

Part 1 of 10 
1. New Horizons 

"Hurry up Pam, we're going to be late," Beth called from her driver's 
seat. 

"I'm coming," she answered cheerfully. "Just a couple more things I need to 
check inside." 

It's always just 'a couple more things', Beth muttered softly to herself 
sitting in her late model Mazda Miata as it idled in front of Bill and 
Pam's large house. She watched Pam go back through her front door then 
began to fidget with her sporty but feminine-sized wristwatch. Pam had 
never been on time for anything in the six years that she'd known her. 

Finally Pam reappeared. She came bouncing down the tiled walkway from her 
house fumbling with something in her purse then slid into the passenger 
seat next to Beth. "There, all set. We can go now." 

"Honestly, Pam. Sometimes I think you'll be late to your own funeral." 

"What's the rush? We don't have to be in Phoenix at any set time, do we?" 
Pam asked, still smiling brushing wisps of hair from her face. 

"I'd just like to get there sometime before dark. It's eight hours you 
know," Beth stated as if Pam were unaware of their destination. 

"Relax. This'll be an adventure." She tried to offer Beth a soothing 
smile. 

"More for me than you," Beth snapped. Then she realized that maybe she was 
sounding a little tense. "I'm sorry. Did I mention that I really do 
appreciate your coming along with me?" 

"Yes. About a thousand times already." 

Both women laughed in unison as Pam put her hand on Beth's thigh in a 
comforting, reassuring gesture. 

 

Beth Peterson and Pam Ostrand had been close friends the entire time that 
Beth and her husband Wayne lived in Albuquerque. Now their friendship was 
going to be tested by a long distance relationship as Beth moved to 
Scottsdale, Arizona in the wake of a bitter, drawn out divorce from husband 
Wayne. Pam had been very supportive of Beth during the messy proceedings 
and had agreed to accompany her on her drive to Arizona then fly back home 
the next day. 

Both Beth and Pam were in their late twenties and had married men now in 
their early forties. They also had the commonality of being second wives to 
their husbands - trophy wives as they sometimes sarcastically put it. They 
lived near each other in the exclusive Sandia Heights area of Albuquerque 
for six years and had gotten acquainted at their husbands' country club. 
They played tennis together, jogged together, went to aerobics class 
together and even entered some local 10K races together. They were both 
competitive, outgoing extroverts obsessed with staying in shape yet Pam had 
always teased Beth about being too driven, too competitive and too tense 
for her own good. The usual exchange would go: 

Pam: "You're too intense."  

Beth: "I can't help it. It's just the way I am." 

Pam: "Relax, have a drink." 

Beth: "Are you kidding? The calories in alcohol are just awful. I've been 
down that road before." 

Pam: "You have too much stress going. Just relax." 

Beth: "I am relaxed." 

Pam: "Yeah, right...." 

It would always end in the usual stalemate and neither would touch the 
subject for another month unless Beth had another one of her little fits or 
anxiety attacks. Pam was always tempted to tell Beth that this was probably 
the primary reason for her marital debacle but, out of loyalty and 
friendship, she held her tongue. 

 

They were now about an hour into the drive and passing through endless 
miles of empty high desert that typified western New Mexico along this part 
of Interstate 40. Their cute, sporty red Miata was attracting many of the 
truckers' attention along this route. The drivers would leer down from 
their high cabs when they became aware of the two model-gorgeous blond 
occupants in the car speeding past them doing at least 75. 

Beth yawned and pushed her sunglasses up above her forehead. 

"You know, I'll be glad to drive anytime you'd like," interjected Pam to 
her pretty traveling companion. 

Beth appeared lost in thought. "Huh? What?" 

Pam repeated herself. 

"Oh, no thanks. I'd like to at least make Flagstaff before we stop." 

"You sure? You look like you need a rest." 

"Really Pam, I'm fine. Just thinking, I guess." 

"You're nervous," Pam guessed. "I can always tell when you chew on your 
lower lip that way." 

There was a pause before Beth answered. "What do you think? Of course I'm 
nervous. I'm scared stiff. I've got to close on my new condo tomorrow, 
start living in a strange city all by myself and begin a brand new job on 
Tuesday. Christ. I haven't really seriously worked since college." Another 
pause, then, "How can you ask such a question?" 

Their long friendship was capable of sustaining Beth's harsh response. 
There had been countless outbursts like this between the women during the 
divorce. Pam just rolled with it and offered a simple yet non-condescending 
smile. However, the car remained quiet until they agreed on where to turn 
off for lunch. 

 
2. Smoking or Non? 

Beth was amazed. Well, shocked was more the operative word as she observed 
her best friend exhale a smooth, even stream of cigarette smoke away from 
their table. Pam was aware of Beth's unusual staring but followed up with a 
second puff on her cigarette nonetheless. At the moment, it simply tasted 
too good to stop. 

They were sitting in the smoking section (at Pam's insistence) at the 
Chili's restaurant on the outskirts of Flagstaff and had just ordered their 
food. Beth had heard from Pam's husband Bill that she had started smoking 
recently. Pam even confirmed it over the telephone one day but Beth 
couldn't believe it until she actually observed Pam doing it at this close 
distance. It just looked so odd to see smoke flowing from her pretty lips. 

Beth smiled and shook her head. "I can't believe it," she spoke softly. 

"What?" Pam replied, knowing full well what Beth was referring to. 

"This is unbelievably surreal - that is, seeing you smoking." 

Pam took a long third pull on her cigarette and practically yawned as she 
inhaled. "Yeah, well, it's out in the open now." This time she directed her 
bountiful exhale a bit closer to Beth. 

The two women never really had a chance to openly discuss Pam's smoking 
because she'd only made it known publicly several weeks ago. 

"I didn't think anyone just started smoking these days," commented Beth. 
What's Bill say about all this?" Beth herself was mildly annoyed by the 
recent development and imagined Bill would be too. 

"Oh, this isn't my first time experimenting with smoking. I was probably 
good and addicted before Bill and I met, even before I got married," said 
Pam as she alternated sucking on her soft drink straw and her full-flavor 
menthol cigarette. 

"I didn't know you smoked before." Beth was surprised that this fact hadn't 
surfaced sooner. The two women had been so close during their friendship, 
she surmised that she knew everything about Pam's past. Plus, given the 
recent health-kick regime they'd been following, guessing that Pam had ever 
smoked would've been the farthest thing from her mind. Hell, only two years 
ago they had both competed as age-groupers in a triathlon out in San 
Diego. 

"Yeah, I used to - off and on. I'll tell you something though, something 
that surprised even me." 

"I'm listening," offered Beth. 

Pam leaned forward and lowered her voice as if she were offering Beth a 
secret. "It was so easy to go back. Almost too easy. That's why when I 
started messing around with it again, I knew I wouldn't be able to hide it 
for long. Not that I really planned to hide it," she said while letting out 
another huge volume of smoke that was quickly becoming her trademark. 

Beth again shook her head in amazement. "I still want to know what Bill 
says about this." 

Pam thought for a moment as she savored some residual smoke resting inside 
her. Rather than give Beth the full version, as she told herself she would 
sometime later, she simply offered, "Oh Bill's cool with it. He smokes his 
cigars from the time he steps on, 'til the time he steps off the golf 
course - and other times too. No, he's," she hesitated, "he's really fine 
with it." 

 

Lunch came and went and Beth had to wait while Pam decided to smoke one 
more cigarette before resuming the drive down the mountain from Flagstaff 
and into the Valley of the Sun. As Beth sat and marveled at the 
accomplished smoker across from her, she was feeling a weird sense of 
betrayal. First, for not knowing about Pam's semi-secret habit in the first 
place and now having to sit and watch her without the slightest inclination 
to smoke herself. 

Pam noted Beth staring again. "You want to join me or something?" 

"God, no," Beth immediately responded. 

"Are you sure? You know, you should try it. It's a great way to help keep 
the weight off. It works a lot better than those diet pills." Pam knew she 
was pandering to Beth's obsession with keeping her perfect size six. 

Beth just shook her head. 

"Come on. Just try it," Pam coaxed. 

"Never." 

"Okay. Your loss." Pam took one last puff before the two young blondes rose 
to leave the restaurant. 

 

They made one final stop at a highway rest area before making Phoenix by 
3:30 in the afternoon. Beth was stunned by the furnace heat that hit her in 
the face as she climbed out of the air-conditioned car and headed for the 
restroom. When she returned, Pam was leaning up against the red Miata 
greedily inhaling smoke from her quickly waning cigarette and mindlessly 
releasing it into the hot ambient air. A mild breeze was stirring and 
sending it Beth's way. How could she be so stupid as to start smoking 
(again), Beth wondered? Isn't she the least bit concerned about her health? 
As she got closer, she saw Pam was closing her eyes and smiling to herself 
after each exhale. Beth summarily answered her own question: apparently 
not. 

"You're not planning on smoking in the hotel room, are you?" asked Beth in 
a terse, almost confrontational tone when she got back to the car. 

Pam dropped her cigarette to the ground and stepped on it. "No, I wasn't 
planning on it." She courteously made sure to push all of her smoke out of 
her body before Beth popped the door locks. 

"Good." 

They both got inside the now unmercifully hot car and headed towards the 
freeway onramp with the air-conditioning going full blast. Beth's mind was 
racing. These last few hours had been very hard on her. She again was 
experiencing a betrayal of sorts by her close friend and couldn't 
understand why. She knew it was the smoking but from a rational point of 
view, Pam's smoking (or not smoking) should have nothing to do with this 
feeling. However, Beth also knew that this was the only reason she was 
feeling betrayed. Things were quickly getting very confusing. It was like 
putting in all these long hours with Pam working out at the gym or in the 
pool or on the jogging paths was for nothing. It was all a sham. It was as 
if Pam was making a giant mockery out of their many years of workout 
sessions simply by leaning up against the car and inhaling puff after puff 
on her long, white 100-millimeter cigarette. 

Finally, Beth decided to ask, "Are you going to continue working out? You 
know, after I'm gone?" 

"Sure. Why not?" came Pam's response. 

"Oh, I don't know. Sometimes when people are apart or when people change, 
they forget their routine. They stop doing what they might need to do or 
what they should do or...you know." Beth was intentionally trying to sound 
vague but Pam was having none of it. 

"What? Because I smoke now, I'm going to change entirely who I used to 
be?" 

Beth stared straight out at the road in front of her. "Something like 
that." 

"Beth, I don't think you're qualified to even guess that's what'll happen. 
Especially since you've never smoked," Pam said sternly. 

The car was quiet for several minutes. Then Beth turned to Pam with a look 
of feminine sincerity and offered, "I just don't get it. I feel confused 
and hurt by this." 

Pam looked back and raised an eyebrow. "Hurt?" 

"Yes, goddamn it." A couple of tears were showing on Beth's cheeks. "I do 
feel hurt. Here I am, having just gone through a terrible divorce, getting 
ready to take the biggest step of my life tomorrow and now having to deal 
with a sudden, what I feel, very major change in my best friend. And if 
that isn't enough, I've got to be prepared to say goodbye to her tomorrow 
for God knows how long. And I won't know a soul in Phoenix and the last 
picture I'll remember you by is leaning next to my car in some rest area in 
Arizona blowing smoke out of your mouth. It just doesn't fit at all. It 
just doesn't make any sense to me." More tears were falling, rolling down 
her face onto her blouse. 

Pam was mildly taken aback by this revelation. She recognized that poor 
Beth was experiencing some natural fear brought on by her relocation and 
upcoming new job but seemed to be using the smoking thing as an excuse to 
show it. Pam reached across the console and smiled as she dabbed Beth's 
tears with a tissue. 

Beth took the tissue and continued to wipe. Softly she ventured, "I'm 
sorry. I know. I'm probably making no sense. I admit, I don't understand it 
all and I definitely don't understand your wanting to smoke again." 

"Nor do I," Pam lied, then offered up an imitation smile. 

 
3. The Heat Is On 

When they arrived in the Phoenix metro area, it was 105 degrees in the 
shade. And the locals they had spoken to in the coffee shop at the Sky 
Harbor Airport the next day seemed to think it was cool for late June. What 
have I gotten myself into? Beth asked herself, wiping perspiration from her 
brow in the open airport parking lot.  

Beth thought Pam had behaved admirably concerning her smoking during the 
overnight stay. With the exception of just one cigarette in the coffee shop 
before her departure back to Albuquerque, Pam hadn't smoked since the 
freeway rest stop the day before. Still, Beth winced as she hugged her 
longtime companion at the departure gate and smelled the trace of smoke on 
her breath. But soon they were both dabbing their eyes and crying, making 
promises to visit one another over the Labor Day weekend. Then Pam made the 
walk towards the jetway and waved one final goodbye. 

Despite the tearful departure and the fact she wouldn't see her friend for 
more than two months, a trace of optimism greeted Beth as she started her 
car and headed back toward the hotel where she would be staying through the 
weekend. She had closed on her condo in Scottsdale earlier this morning and 
the movers were scheduled to show up first thing Monday. Her new job at 
Motorola would begin on Tuesday. Everything seemed shipshape. Now, if only 
it weren't 100 degrees outside, she could go for an evening run. That would 
be a nice way to round out what had been a very long Friday. 

 

By the time Sunday night rolled around, Beth felt she was silently going 
stir-crazy. It had been a most miserable weekend. She spent Friday night 
mindlessly staring at the TV when she learned that evening on the Weather 
Channel that Phoenix was going to be seeing "near record temperatures" on 
Saturday and Sunday. She had started a late Saturday morning run along an 
irrigation canal near the hotel when, after about a half-mile along the 
unshaded path, she knew she wouldn't be able to continue. Beth went back to 
her room, confirmed that her air-conditioner was turned up full and just 
lay on the bed staring at the ceiling the rest of the day. The weatherman 
was true to his word as the mercury rose to a record 123 degrees at 3:55 
PM. It was so hot on Saturday that airplanes at Sky Harbor were prohibited 
from taking off because their manuals said the temperature was never 
expected to go that high. Sunday's heat offered little relief over Saturday 
even though the official temperature at the airport 'only' reached 117. 
What in Christ's name am I doing here? Beth wondered aloud. This place is 
hell on earth. She was lonely and decided to spend most of Sunday talking 
on the telephone. She called her parents in California and learned that it 
was 65 degrees in San Francisco - the place she used to call home. Then she 
called her sister and finally, she couldn't resist, she called Pam. They 
had a bizarre talk. 

"So what've you been up to? Hit any of the trendy bars yet?" Pam knew the 
answer. 

"Are you kidding? It's so hot outside, I don't dare leave this hotel 
room." 

"Oh, come on, Beth. I'm sure not everyone was inside today. The locals have 
to deal with it every summer. Life goes on. You know...it's just like 
Minneapolis in the winter. You just bundle up and go ice fishing or 
something." 

"Sure. In Minneapolis you can always find more clothes to put on. Here, you 
can only take off so much 'til you're naked." 

Pam laughed. "See. There's your solution. And I'm sure it'll be a great way 
to meet people too." 

Beth failed to see the humor. "I already hate it. I wish I never moved 
here. I'm a prisoner in this goddamn room. I can't go running, I can't bike 
or go walking or..." She thought she heard Pam on the other end talking to 
someone. "Pam? Are you there? Hello?" 

"Oh yeah. Sorry. I was talking to Bill. He's all sexed up right now." Beth 
heard Pam start to giggle then say, "Nooo. Get away, not now." Then more 
giggling and more apologizing to Beth. "He's trying to nibble on my 
ear....no, down boy," she heard Pam say. 

Their private banter was annoying Beth and making her just a little 
jealous. "Pam, you want to just call me back?" she asked. She was tempted 
to add, "...after you two have fucked?" 

"No, no, no. I'm sorry. He's gone now," Pam laughed. "So, where were we?" 

"You were giving dog commands to your husband," Beth deadpanned. 

Pam laughed again then lowered her voice to almost a whisper. "You know 
Beth, I'm not sure you want to hear this, what with your dour mood and all, 
but lately Bill's been a complete sex animal. All he wants to do is mess 
around. Six months ago we'd probably do it once every other week. Now he 
wants it almost twice a day." 

Beth was growing interested. Both women had always been fairly free in 
sharing information about each other's sex lives at home. It was always 
interesting comparing notes. "That sounds drastic. Why the change? He's not 
going through some sort of mid-life crisis, is he?" 

"I don't know." Pam lowered her voice softer still. "But you want to hear 
something really weird?" 

Pam's whispering further intrigued Beth. "Sure. I guess." 

"I think he gets off watching me smoke." 

"What?" 

"No kidding. I think he likes watching me smoke. It turns him on or 
something." 

Beth was having trouble associating the two acts. She wasn't even sure she 
understood Pam. "What are you saying? That he's horny because you smoke?" 

"Something like that. Listen, you want me to tell you about last night?" 
Pam asked, sounding eager to tell yet nervous at the same time. 

"That depends." Beth was also dubious that they should continue down this 
avenue. 

But just then Pam decided to blurt it out in one quick sentence: "We did it 
in bed last night while I smoked for him." 

"Oh God, Pam," Beth reacted. "Why'd you tell me that?" she asked, sounding 
embarrassed and almost fearful of what would follow. 

"I know. I know. It is so weird. I don't even understand it yet. The thing 
was, he was as hard and big as I've ever felt him. I practically came 
instantly." 

"All the while laying there and smoking?" 

"Yes." 

"Did you enjoy it? The smoking I mean, while having sex? 

She thought for a moment. "I think so. I mean, yes." 

"Yes?!" 

"Yes. It was a titillating combination." 

"God, this sounds so strange Pam. Do you think you'll ever do it that way 
again?" 

"Probably. I'm not sure. That's why he came in a few minutes ago. I had 
just lit a cigarette when I sat down to talk to you. 

Beth thought about things for awhile then said, "Pam, I don't know what to 
tell you but if you ask me, it sounds pretty damn bizarre. Maybe Bill needs 
help, counseling perhaps." 

"You think so?" Pam replied, truly asking. 

"I don't know." Beth continued, "Have you guys discussed this little fetish 
of his?" 

"Fetish?" 

"Yeah. Sexual attraction to an inanimate object. Fetish." 

Pam laughed for the first time since bringing up the topic. "Oh, I don't 
know, Beth. Right now the sex we are having is pleasing us both. I don't 
think there's anything wrong with it or that Bill may need help. Why bring 
it up?" 

Beth felt she was thinking clearly now. "Because, it sounds pretty damn 
psychotic to me," she said sounding pissed off. 

"We should probably just drop the whole thing," Pam suggested after hearing 
the tone of Beth's voice. 

"You're right, we probably should." 

"Okay, goodnight then. Call me again sometime?" Pam asked, regretting 
bringing up her little story. 

"Sure. Goodnight." Beth hung up. 

 

Strange. Strange, strange, strange. That's all Beth could think after 
getting off the phone with Pam. Imagine...having sex twice a day. And doing 
it while you smoke. What the hell's gotten into that couple? She was still 
upset that her best friend had started smoking in the first place. But the 
truth was, Beth was jealous. Despite the odd-sounding ritual that Pam 
described, Beth was envious of Pam gaining her man's attention and getting 
to have sex more regularly. By the time she and Wayne had gotten up the 
nerve to finally separate, the frequency of their sex had dwindled to maybe 
once a month before it stopped altogether. 

Beth went to sleep in her hotel bed on this Sunday night amidst a sea of 
tumultuous emotions and anxiety. She was very tempted to call Pam back as 
she switched out the light but before she knew it, she was making imaginary 
lists in her mind containing a multitude of instructions and reminders of 
what she needed to cover over the next two days. It was time to focus on 
the move into her condo, her new job and then finding a place to work out. 
All this talk about sex and whatever would have to wait. Order and control 
first, pleasure later on. That's my motto, she reminded herself before she 
dozed off. However, Beth Peterson's trouble had always been in finding the 
elusive pleasure later on. 


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