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The bridal suite was sumptuous, with a large oak canopy bed dominating the room from atop a short platform. Sheer white curtains hung around the bed frame, blowing slightly in the sea breeze coming in through the balcony doors. There was a small sitting area with a fireplace, and above the mantelpiece hung a large mirror which happened to be directly across from the foot of the bed. Stacy couldn’t help but giggle at the thought of Amber watching herself lose her virginity at last.
Stacy tossed another fistful of rose petals haphazardly onto the plush bedspread. Even as she dutifully prepared her best friend’s honeymoon suite, Stacy still couldn’t believe Amber was getting married straight out of high school. Ever since eighth grade, Stacy had been Amber & Jason’s third wheel. She’d even helped Jason set up an over-the-top proposal on the beach after their junior (his senior) prom. Still, Stacy never thought the idiots would actually go through with it.
But here she was, one hour out from the Blessed Event, preparing the room in which Jason would finally deflower Amber, who swore that she was still a virgin. Stacy (who was not) believed her. When their youth pastor presented them with purity contracts in sixth grade, Amber signed hers with aplomb, and her parents bought her a little silver ring to celebrate. Not that Stacy had never been awkwardly banished from Amber’s bedroom while she and Jason did everything but have sex. More often than not, Stacy spent early evenings watching the waves crash on the shoreline below the wraparound balcony of her childhood friend’s house—even though she had no especially compelling reason to be there anymore. She often used the excuse that Jason was her only ride home, which was partly true. Stacy could call her mother, but her mother would hold the “favor” over her head for months. Either way, even hanging out mostly alone at Amber’s house was better than trying not to step on any toes in the cramped apartment Stacy shared with her mother and two half-brothers. Mr. McCormick had always been cool about her hanging around, but some weeks Stacy felt like she spent more time with Amber’s dad than with Amber.
She had a bit of a crush on him. When the family was out in public together, Mr. McCormick always seemed the picture of a proper wealthy Christian father. He attended purity balls with his only daughter; he attended charity galas with his wife, and every now and then he’d let the men’s worship team prod him into playing guitar at the big Sunday service. And yet, when he and Stacy were alone he knew perfectly well that Amber and Jason were also alone. Mrs. McCormick was usually too busy at the Women in Christ something-or-other to even be home. Stacy didn’t understand how a father so deeply concerned with the preservation of his daughter’s so-called virtue could stand to let her hang out alone in a locked room with her boyfriend, but she never thought to question it. Instead, she let Mr. McCormick become something of a surrogate father, albeit a very attractive one who she occasionally thought about while she touched herself. During evenings together last fall he’d helped Stacy with her college applications, and he even leaned on one of his contacts to get her into USC.
One night not long before graduation, Stacy came back from getting a soda to find Amber’s room locked. She sighed and slipped out onto the balcony. Her eighteenth birthday had been just a week before, and she’d bought a pack of cigarettes mostly as a joke. Stacy hadn’t opened them yet, but now she wondered if what they said about nicotine relieving stress was true. The wedding plans had gone on in earnest even though she’d tried (as gently as she could) to dissuade Amber from going through with the marriage. They’d fought horribly, and she cringed to even think of it now. Even though they made up because it was inconceivable to either one of them to not be involved in the other’s wedding, their lifelong friendship hadn’t been quite the same since the fight. Amber passive aggressively guilt-tripped Stacy for her lack of support, leveraging it to hoist wedding chores and projects upon her until she wondered what exactly the McCormicks were paying their expensive wedding planner to do.
Stacy reached into her purse and felt around for the pack of cigarettes and the free matchbook that had come with it. She slipped around the balcony to an unlit corner of the house, carefully opening the packaging with her hands still hidden in the depths of her giant slouchy purse. The wind was brisk, so Stacy squatted down behind the protection of the thick glass wall to strike a match and attempt to light her first cigarette. It took two matches, but she managed and then puffed experimentally.
A loud cough forced its way out of her assaulted throat, and Stacy struggled for breath while making sure not to toss the burning cigarette into the dry brush on the sloping cliffside below. The sound of a sliding door opening didn’t help. Mr. McCormick stepped out onto the balcony, shut the door behind him, and strode over to Stacy. Crap, she thought.
She was still doubled over when he reached her, and she saw his shoes first. No doubt he’d be furious with her, and probably call her mom. Stacy finally caught her breath. She winced in anticipation of Mr. McCormick’s disappointed face and looked up. To Stacy’s surprise, he didn’t seem furious at all. In fact, one side of his mouth was quirked upward and he looked almost…amused. Stacy straightened herself up and began looking around wildly for a place to put out the cigarette. Her words came out in a rush as she searched.
“Mr. McCormick, I’m so sorry! I don’t know what I was thinking, I—”
He laughed, and Stacy was dumbfounded.
She tilted her head quizzically before she answered.
“Well? How was it?”
“I—I don’t know,” Stacy stammered, finally stabbing the burning cigarette into the soil of a potted cactus, “I didn’t get much more than a puff before I started coughing. Aren’t you angry?”
“You’re an adult now, and at least you had the decency not to fling that thing over into the brush.”
Stacy’s eyebrows shot up as she looked at him incredulously.
A flicker of something flashed across Mr. McCormick’s face.
He cut himself off, pulled his phone out of his pocket and checked the time.
“In fact, have you got another one?”
Stacy was dumbstruck again. Of all the things she’d expected when the door opened, this hadn’t been among them.
“Uh, sure,” she finally replied as she rummaged through her purse again. She withdrew the pack, pulled out a cigarette and proffered it to him along with the matches.
“Give me another one.”
Stacy complied and stared up at him curiously. His hair was a shade of silvery, salt and pepper gray, and his jawline could cut glass. Mr. McCormick had always been a “hot dad,” but something about him behaving so oddly, standing on the balcony at sunset with his sleeves rolled up made Stacy’s stomach fill up with butterflies. She watched in awe as he put both cigarettes between his lips and lit them together with one match cupped behind his hand. He took them from his mouth as he shook out the match and shoved it into the cactus plant alongside Stacy’s cigarette butt. Then he cocked his head and smiled, holding second cigarette out to her.
Stacy’s shorts suddenly felt too short, but she stepped closer to Mr. McCormick and took the cigarette from his hand, trying not to jump when their fingers brushed lightly. While she watched Mr. McCormick take a drag, Stacy crossed her arms and held the cigarette like the models she remembered from overly-scented fashion magazines when she was much younger. She hoped the affectation made her look glamorous and more mature.
“Go on,” he said, exhaling tendrils of smoke from his mouth, “try it. Just don’t suck on it too hard.”
Stacy gulped at the word “suck.” Inadvertently, her eyes dropped for a fraction of a second to the slight bulge at the crotch of his trousers before she obediently put the cigarette to her lips.
“Just breathe normally. Don’t suck it like a straw. Not yet, anyway.”
He looked at her expectantly as he took another drag. Stacy raised the cigarette to her lips and breathed in, feeling nervous as the smoke filled her mouth and throat. She took it away—still posing like a model—and exhaled slowly, pleased when her body wasn’t wracked by another coughing fit. Mr. McCormick began to clap softly, letting his cigarette dangle loosely from his lips as he spoke.
“There she is!”
Stacy beamed brightly. Pleasing Mr. McCormick made her feel warm and nervous, but happy. He was a good guy. And a handsome one at that. Stacy had always thought of him as a bit of a substitute father figure, but she wasn’t blind. Embarrassed, she tried not to ogle him too obviously as he leaned over the balcony and peered out at the sun, which was barely a sliver over the water now. Stacy copied his stance, and they stood there puffing silently until the sun sank below the horizon. Her body felt like it was on fire as she stood next to him, and the spot where their bare forearms kept almost touching was utterly unbearable. They finished their cigarettes as darkness fell and shoved the butts into the cactus plant. After a moment, Mr. McCormick turned to Stacy with a somber expression. He took her by the chin and tilted her face towards his. She wondered if he might kiss her, and then she realized that she desperately wanted him to.
Instead, he spoke as he loomed over her.
“I’m not going to tell your mother about this, but I can’t allow you to do this kind of thing in my house. Amber is very impressionable.”
Gone was the laid back smoker of moments before, and in his place was the stalwart and stern Mr. McCormick. Stacy was too shocked by the sudden change to respond.
“You’re going to bend over the railing.”
“Bend over the railing, Stacy.”
“Because you’ve got to be punished somehow. Mrs. McCormick doesn’t allow smoking anywhere near the house, and not only did you smoke but you made me smoke too. Bend over.”
Even as the absurdity of his accusation hit her, Stacy remembered her mother’s mortified rage the last time she’d received a disciplinary call from Mr. McCormick. Anything was better than one of her mother’s tantrums. She bent over.
Stacy had begun to suspect what was about to happen, and she could only brace herself for impact. Her body began to tremble even though she tried to steady herself, but she was shaking with anticipation rather than fear. Her heart pounded, and she silently begged him to touch her ass gently at least once before he spanked it.
As if he could hear her thoughts, Mr. McCormick placed his hand on her ass, rubbed it gently a few times from one side to the other, and then squeezed each buttock firmly, as if testing them. His fingertips dug the bare skin where her thighs met her bottom just below the hem of her shorts as he squeezed. Stacy’s breaths became shallow, and she had to bite her lip to keep from moaning at the sensation of Mr. McCormick’s fingers touching her in a place they definitely shouldn’t be. When he took his hand away, Stacy whimpered in spite of herself before Mr. McCormick’s hand came back, hard, spanking her so roughly that it stung through her shorts.
Stacy cried out as she soaked her panties.
“Okay, that’s it. Don’t make me do something like that again.”
“Just the one?” she asked, hoping her disappointment wasn’t too apparent.
“Just the one. Smoking isn’t that naughty; I just can’t have you making me do it. And promise me you won’t introduce it to Amber.”
“Uh, okay. I promise.”
The sound of an engine starting in front of the house snapped them both to attention. Mr. McCormick pulled out his phone and checked the time again.
“That must be Jason’s car. Judy’s going to be home soon. You should run and catch him if you don’t want to have to call your mother for a ride,” he said kindly.
“Oh gosh, I’ve got to go!”
“Go on then.”
His eyes were soft again, and being alone with him in the dark while her ass still stung in the place where he had struck it was almost too much to take. Stacy shoved her misgivings to the back of her mind and simpered at Mr. McCormick, flashing her best friend’s father what she hoped was a sultry, flirtatious smile.
Then she grabbed her bag and took off running to catch a ride home with Jason…
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