Test for Echo (Thanksgiving '98)

(by an4@anon.lelnet.com, 01 December 1998)

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Test for Echo (Thanksgiving Day '98)

   "Sorry about this, " Debby said as she opened her lips enough to slip the
long white cigarette between them.
   "It's like a twenty second walk to come over here, Deb." He didn't mention
that she was about to light a cigarette and that he had never seen her smoke.
He'd wanted to see her smoke, but had never expected the pleasure in his
wildest dreams. In fact, even as she was apologising, he was fighting down his
urge to become entirely excited about the show.
   "That's not what I mean." He was half afraid that she was going to take the
cigarette from between her pale lips and decide against lighting it, but she
went ahead and caught a light, perhaps not noticing the way he moved to block
the ever present November wind.
   "What do have to apologise for, then ? You are buying me lunch, after all."
   Smoke trailed from her pretty mouth. He'd gotten used to watching the
students smoke, but this was different. There was something about an
attractive woman, a real adult woman, smoking, which was different. Maybe it
had something to do with the subtle difference of an adult committing to the
   Hopefully, she was going to share the epiphany which had led her back to
smoking. She'd mentioned once casually when they'd met in similar fashion and
seen some women standing outside Macin Hall that she'd smoked for a few years
in college. That had been it on the subject- as she didn't smoke, he hadn't
pressed for details as it would have revealed something he kept carefully
hidden about himself.
   "Oh, come on," she said, and although she was obviously uncomfortable smoking
in front of him, there was a flirtatious lilt to her sweet voice.
   "You have to say it, Debby."
   "I feel funny smoking in front of you..."
   "Why ?" he pressed, noticing that they hadn't yet started walking to her car.
   "Come on, Steven. the only reason you're not working out is because I invited
you lunch. I'm sure you have your bike in your car, right ?"
   "Well, you can't be a big fan of smoking."
   He smiled. How little she understood him. Not that it was her fault. How
could he expect her to know what was in his mind. How much he was enjoying
watching her draw on the cigarette right now.
   "Why not ?"
   She began walking towards the parking lot, smoke trailing from her pretty
   "Common sense, maybe ?"
   "Well, you don't know everything about me. Tell me why you started smoking
again and I'll tell you something about myself."
   "Being married, you wouldn't understand this, but my fiancee just left me."
   Steven smiled, as this was going to be one of what he called his `fun jobs.'
   "I'm sorry to hear that."
   They reached her car quickly and Steven watched Debby stop by the driver's
side door of the red Eclipse, taking the sort of deep draw on her cigarette
which it clear she thought it was to be her last, even though it was barely a
third smoked. There was no way that Steven was going to allow that, so he
politely smiled and said "Deb, it's your car. If you want to smoke, you'll get
no complaints from me."
   "I'm starting to think," she said as sweet smoke trailed from her mouth and
nostrils, "that you really don't  mind that I'm smoking."
   "I don't. Now tell me about your idiot fiancee-"
   As they walked into the Sword and Talon, Steven was thinking about how the
two of them had never really had a meaningful discussion before. It was odd,
really. They'd been working together from about day two of his new position,
and they traded upwards of fifteen emails per day, hers with smileys and
winks, his without, but they'd never really talked. Not about life, or rather
their lives.
   And here he was, in a position where he should be thinking sympathetically
asexual thoughts about this beautiful woman. Instead, he was thinking about
how she would look sitting at the linen draped table with a freshly lit
cigarette, how glad he was that the tablecloth would hide the pointed nature
of his interest. Walking to the car had been a challenge.
   "Two ?" the hostess asked, and Deb nodded. "Smoking or non ?"
   "N-" Debby started to say, but Steven cut her off. "Smoking please."
   "Right this way."
   "You really don't mind, do you ?"
   If there was one thing this new phase of their relationship required, it was
some work on her over-polite approach Debby was taking to the return to her
habit. Steven was even more turned on by a woman who was confident in her
smoking nature, and that clearly wasn't there. But his desire to be attracted
to her had blossomed during the ride. It had heightened to a painful pitch
when she'd lit another cigarette at a stop light. A woman smoking and driving-
that was a true treat.
   "No. In fact-"
   He was about to admit that he quite liked it, but they reached the table and
sat down. The hostess asked if she could bring them drinks and Debby ordered a
Sam Adams, so Steven settled on a Bass, and he thought that she would forget
his little in fact.
   She took her cigarettes from the purse and Steven admired the way the box of
Marlboro Lights 100s fit in her hand. She extracted a cigarette, lit it with
precisely the confidence he was hoping to see, and then smiled at him.
   "In fact what, Steven ?"
   Why not be honest ? As far as he knew, the attraction between them was
strictly one way, and quite recent in vintage. If he scared he off, so be it.
   "I like watching you smoke."
   "Really ?" she asked. She moved the cigarette towards the ashtray in such a
nervous way that he was afraid he had scared her, that she was going to stub
it out as she saw right through him. Perhaps even labelled him as a deviant,
which he was, of course. Not to mention that she would undo his attraction to
her and allow him to understand there was no reciprocity.
   But instead she merely performed the necessary trim and then lifted it back
to her eager mouth. The deep draw she took on its white length told him that
she'd missed smoking and he was glad for that.
   "If I'd known that, I'd have picked it up again sooner."
   They both blushed faintly and she rushed in with an apology. "I'm sorry. I
know that you're married."
   This time the hit she took on the cigarette was entirely nervous. And still
worth watching.
   "Yeah. I'm married. I don't live with my wife any longer, we've given up on
the therapist, but I am still legally bound to the relationship, if you want
to call it that."
   "What happened ?" Deb asked as she drew on the cigarette yet again. 
   Steven thought carefully about what to say in response. He was supposed to be
here to give her comfort, not the other way around. And the truth was that
he'd settled in with what had happened quickly. It might not be the way he'd
wanted things to happen, but then again, he'd always had one singular regret
about marrying Helena.
   He'd always expected to marry a woman who'd smoked, since that was one of his
primary reasons for developing an attraction to a woman. When he'd instead
married Helena, he'd felt sure that his attraction to smokers would fade. It
hadn't, and in the end, there'd been the littlest tiny part of him which had
been glad for the way things had worked out because now he had a chance to get
it right.
   "She had an affair. It's pretty simple. We both led busy lives and something
happened. I know I should have a lot more to say about it, but to be honest, I
   Debby managed to have an hurt look on her pretty face. She did him the
service of another sparkling inhale and then asked the obligatory question.
   "Why didn't you say anything ?"
   Steven thought about that. "You know, I don't think it was a conscious
decision, but with the new job and all, I just wanted to focus on that,
develop professional relationships and not worry about my personal life
getting in the way of settling in."
   She reached across the table and patted his hand. "I- don't take this the
wrong way, but I thought we were friends, you know ?"
   "We are," he said, taking the risk of squeezing her hand back just as she
exhaled an ethereal cloud of smoke. The beginning of an hard on formed as she
squeezed back.
   "Well then, friend, what are you doing Thursday ?"
   "Thursday ?"
   "Thanksgiving, silly."
   He smiled. He hadn't thought about that. His first holiday alone again. With
no family of his own, Helena's family had become his and he'd been purposely
not thinking about how much he was going to miss that. He liked her family and
they liked him, but that particular support cell was gone now.
   "I'll be eating stove top vegetarian stuffing and watching football, I
   She hadn't let go of his hand.
   "I don't think so. Why don't you come over to my place and we'll get drunk on
red wine and watch football together ? I love a good Lions game."
   When she saw his hesitation, she added. "Don't worry. I'm not just smoking
today to get over Bob. As soon as I lit my first cigarette last night to
console myself, I knew I'd been stupid to ever quit. When I left college, I
thought it was part of admitting I'd grown up." She drew deeply on the
cigarette and soon smoke filled the air between them.
   "And now ?"
   "I realise I was just being stupid. Tell me, did Helena smoke ?'
   "Well, that was your problem right there."
   They both smiled.
   The phone rang. It was almost nine, and Steven was getting ready to leave to
go over to Debby's. He knew it would be Helena and he didn't want to talk to
her, but he had to.
   "Don't sound so excited, Steven."
   It wasn't Helena. It was Debby, and he regretted the tone of his voice. He
flinched internally. Taking that tone at the beginning of a conversation with
Helena was enough to ruin the whole day, back when they'd been together.
   This isn't Helena.
   "Sorry, Debbie. I thought you were-"
   "Helena ? I already got my call from Bob. The bastard. he wanted me to come
over to his folks for Thanksgiving. He started by saying he hadn't told them
yet, and that to be honest, he was thinking about whether or not he'd done the
right thing."
   Steven swallowed hard. He'd worked- and it hadn't been difficult- to get
himself psyched up for today. The thought of getting drunk and silly with an
attractive smoker like Debby- well, that was exactly what he needed, wasn't it
   "Hey, I don't want to get in the way of-"
   "Don't you dare talk like that, Steven. I've been looking forward to this all
week. Besides, if you didn't already know this from watching television,
that's the way it always goes. The guy dumps the girl, then decides he wants
her back. And we always  say no."
   "I'll remember that. I'll be over in half an hour. Did you need anything ?"
   "Actually, I was wondering if you'd mind stopping by the store on your way
over and picking me up a pack of cigarettes. I forgot- I'm still not entirely
back in the habit, I guess."
   "I wouldn't want you to run out of cigarettes, Debby."
   He could almost hear her smile. 
   "Good, because I've been dying for that first cigarette after s- after a big
   "How big a meal ?" he asked, avoiding the near slip.
   "I can fax you over the menu, if you'd like ?"
   "There's only one thing I'm hoping is on it," it said daringly, but just then
the other line beeped.	
   "Gotta go. See you soon. I'll bring your cigarettes."
   He switched lines and this time it was Helena.
   "Steven ? I just wanted to say that I'm sure the family is going to miss you
today, and- I'm sorry. I wish-"
   "Just enjoy yourself, H. And don't feel bad for me. I'm going out."
   "Out ? And miss the games ?"
   "I didn't say I was going to miss the games."
   Helena processed that. He imagined she would be wondering what out meant.
They hadn't talked about his dating again. She'd assumed he wouldn't, just as
she'd assumed he would be devastated by the news she'd been having an affair.
He had and hadn't. But if he told her, she'd no doubt be jealous.
   "I'm going on a date, H. And I have to run. You have a nice holiday." He then
hung the phone up and walked straight out of the house before she could call
him back.
   Steven pulled into the convenience store parking lot fifteen minutes later
and thought about how sad it was that someone had to work on Thanksgiving.
Then again, if the store hadn't been open, he would have been tempted to toss
on of the three dollar bundles of wood through the front window in anger.
There was now way he was going to show up at Debbie's without her cigarettes.
   There were two other cars in the lot. One was empty, but the other, a white
Celica convertible with Nova Scotia plates, had a girl sitting inside.
   She was probably just sixteen, a luscious redhead with a pouty look. She was
definitely not an happy camper right now. As he got out of his car she did as
well, approaching him just out of sight of the bored looking clerk inside.
   "Excuse me," she said, her pretty blue eyes full of fear and hope. "Could you
do me a big favour ?"
   He smiled his best flirtatious smile, just because he felt so good right now.
"God, I hope so."
   "You know, where I'm from, a seventeen year-old doesn't need to ask someone
to buy cigarettes for them, but-"
   "What's your brand ?" he asked.
   She tossed her red hair and played him with the sort of smile which would
have damn near convinced him to buy her the whole store.
   "Virginia Slims 120's, if they have them."
   "If not ?"
   "You chose. Anything long and white will do."
   He nodded and she stepped right up to him and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"You're great."
   The clerk might have known that he was buying the single pack for the girl,
but he didn't seem to care. He handed over the carton and the pack, took
Steven's money and wished him an happy Thanksgiving in a way which suggested
he'd just as soon see him drawn, quartered, and buried. He walked back outside
and noticed that it had started snowing. The girl was sitting on the hood of
his car, looking absolutely gorgeous with a few white flakes in her hair.
   He handed her the cigarettes and she slowly undid the cellophane. 
   "Let me light that for you."
   He took the lighter from her hand and they cupped their free ones around the
weak flame until the cigarette caught. When it had, she drew deeply on it and
then let smoke trail from her pert, perfectly spaced nostrils.
   "Damn, that's good."
   She leaned forward and said "Thank you," in the most sultry voice he'd ever
heard from a teenager.
   She brought the cigarette back to her mouth, catching it in the right corner
and inhaling. She held the smoke and leaned even closer, then opened her lips
and kissed him again, on the lips. There was no tongue, but the sweet, gentle
kiss made him slightly hard none the less.
   Then she was gone, leaving him to wonder how his luck could have changed so
dramatically in such a short span of time.
   Debby met him at the door and he immediately handed over the carton. He liked
the look of that carton in her hand. Her large smile was also very pleasant.
   "I would have settled for a pack. How much do I owe you ?"
   "It's a Thanksgiving gift."
   "Then I take it you're giving thanks for my smoking ?"
   "You better believe it."
   As they walked into the house, Debby wasted no time opening the carton and
pulling out a single pack, which she efficiently stripped of its cellophane.
She then lit a cigarette and smiled yet another stunning smile.
   "So tell me, have you ever smoked ?"
   "Would it surprise you if I said that yes, I had ?"
   The way Debby's eyes lit up, he assumed the answer was yes.
   "Tell me about it."
   "Well, I was in college, and on break I'd go home and hang out with this girl
Kristen. She was from, my high school, in fact, she was still at my high
school. We started kind of dating, I suppose."
   "You were a junior and you were dating a junior in high school."
   Steven looked mildly embarrassed.
   "Wow. She must have been one lucky junior- I mean, you hope to land a college
freshman when you're that age."
   He couldn't help but be amused. "I didn't think about it that way."
   "How did you think about it ?" Debby asked, drawing so deeply on the
cigarette that Steven's knees went weak even as he felt embarrassment wash
over his face.
   "Well, she had- you know the women in the Victoria Secrets catalogues ? The
ones with the -"
   "Very ample breasts ?"
   "Yeah. Like yours."
   It was a bold thing to say, but it was also true. Debby had spectacular
breasts, the sort that almost made a man wish he woman, just so he would know
what it was like to play with those nipples. to feel them grow erect over
sensual round flesh. He thought back to the first time he'd actually tasted
those breasts and he smiled in spite of himself.
   "If you're a very good boy, you might get the chance to relive that," she
said, arching her pencil thin eyebrows.
   "Well, that's enough about my past. The game is almost ready to start, and-"
   Debby pulled two beers from the fridge and led him by the hand into the
living room. "You didn't tell me about your smoking, silly."
   They settled down on the couch and as soon as Debby had the pre-game on she
nestled close to Steven. As she did she exhaled, bathing them in her smoke.
   "So tell me more, and then I'll tell you how I got started."
   Steven slipped his arm around her and she rested her head against his
shoulder and looked up at him with her warm, friendly eyes.
   "Well, Kristen had been smoking since she was eleven, I guess. You probably
think that means she was trailer trash, but she wasn't. Her family was
actually very well off-"
   Debby pulled on the half-smoked cigarette.
   "I'm sure they were just permissive."
   "Well, there was more to it than that. Kristen's mom was an advertising
executive for Philip Morris and her dad was a major stock holder and board
member. they encouraged her to start smoking when she went into seventh grade,
and I don't think they needed to work at it very much. She- I've never known
anyone who was as committed to smoking as she was. They were very disappointed
that I didn't smoke. But the first time we had sex, that all changed."
   The way Debby smoked reminded him of Kristen. She had that same open way
about her, as though smoking was an honest extension of her personality.
   Her latest exhale coated them in second-hand smoke, and Steven understood
that if she asked, he would smoke for her.
   "Tell me more."
   "Well, she came to visit me at school. Her parents flew her out and I had a
single, so things went pretty much the way you'd expect. I picked her up at
the airport, we went straight back to my room, and all that time I'd invested
making out and cuddling paid off right away. She was lying naked on the bed,
drenched in sweat, and she lit two cigarettes. She handed me one without
asking, and I took it. I just wanted to know what it was like."
   "You liked it, didn't you ?"
   "Of course. As soon as I inhaled, I knew exactly why she smoked, why she
liked it so much."
   "How long did that last ?"
   "About a year. Those long distance relationships- and she was just so
   Debby leant up and pecked him on the cheek.
   "What does that mean ?"
   "Well, the beautiful ones never stay with you- but tell me about how you
   Finishing her cigarette, Debby leaned forward and lit another. The stunning
length of white paper-wrapped tobacco between her lips made Steven faintly
   She lit it with the experienced motions of a smoker and he liked  that. He
hated watching a woman who was unsure of her status as a smoker fumble and
waste a perfectly good cigarette.
   "My roommate was Sasha. You want to talk about perfect breasts- and legs and
butt. And her face- guys would have died for her. We'd been living together
about a week when our first party came up. I had no idea that she smoked. I
mean, I'd smelled smoke on her clothes a few times, but Wells is an all-girls
school, so half your friends are smokers, so I'd never thought anything of it.
Well, just before we left the dorm to drive to Cornell, she lights a
   "You must have been surprised."
   "I was. I had never tried smoking. It's amasing. I mean, it's the same thing
in high school. You have friends who smoke but you don't really think anything
of it, you know. Well, she lights up and I'm like `What are you doing ?' She
looks at me with this knowing smile and says `We're going to a party. You
smoke at parties. It keeps the buzz off. Want one ?'"
   "Just like that ?"
   "Yeah. I was so unprepared that all I could say was yes. And four years
later, we were both pack a day smokers. We had an outdoor graduation- I
remember sitting there in my cap and gown, puffing away as the commencement
speaker droned on about the importance of what we were about to do and it
struck me that I was growing up. Right then, I decided to quit."
   "Did you ?"
   "I spent about a year wrestling with it, but yeah. By the time I was twenty
three, smoking was a distant memory. I thought I'd grown up. But the day
butthead left me, I decided that relaxing was more important than being what I
thought was growing up. I tell you, I never could have gotten through the last
week if I wasn't a smoker."
   "Well, I'm glad that you had that to fall back on. For purely selfish
   "You should try it, Steven. I know that it would do the most important thing
   "Which is ?"
   Debby exhaled and smiled. "Attracting me, silly."
   "Would that really make a difference to someone who didn't smoke for what,
four years ?"
   "Almost five. And yes. It will make all the difference in the world."
   She reached out and handed over the pack and the lighter. He could see the
expectation in her eyes and he wanted to do whatever it would take to make her
happy. And that was precisely what he needed because he knew that was his
catalyst to forget what had happened to him.
   It was easy. Removing the cigarette from the pack, lighting it. When he drew
the first smoke into his lungs, he felt lightheaded, but he remembered that
was fine.
   Before he could exhale, she kissed him until he was entirely breathless.
   "This isn't just going to be rebound sex, is it ?"
   She smiled at him as she broke the kiss.
   "It depends. There's one thing butthead would never do. It's something no
one's ever done for me, and I want you to be the first."
   Steven proceeded to be amased by the way in which Debbie managed to strip
herself while both smoking and kissing him. When she finished with her own
clothes she proceeded to strip him as well, and by the time they were lighting
up again, she was lying on the rug, with Steven inside her, but not anywhere
that he had been before. He was thrusting in and out and she was closing her
cheeks around his penis, making him almost scream with pleasure.
   As he came, he said "I can't believe I never tried this before."
   She smiled at him, lit them each a cigarette, and said "Now I really have
something to be thankful for."
   Her exhale was enough to make them both thankful.

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