~ a story ~
It was a simple request.
I was known for my cigar service, my love and care in the role. The time I’d taken to learn about the act, as well as multiple types of cigars and the accoutrement surrounding the ritual.
The Top was respected in our community, though I had little time interacting with him. He was quiet, reserved without being introverted. He listened more than he spoke, but when he did utter words they were always worth hearing.
I found him alluring, enticed by his mystery and beauty. He was handsome. A shock of gray down one side of his hair. Fit firm frame. Always wearing leather boots. Ever meticulous in his appearance. Whenever possible, a cigar in his hand.
So when he approached me at the end of a party, with few else still around, and long past his normal departure time, I stood up straight. I held my hands behind my back. I gave him due deference to his station in our community.
“Kat, nice to see you this evening.”
“You as well. I trust you enjoyed your time tonight.”
“Immensely. Thank you for your attendance during the smoker.”
“It was my pleasure.”
“I could see that. You take great pleasure in cigar service.”
“Yes, I do.”
“Do you teach?”
“On occasion, if the opportunity presents itself.”
“I’m sure you excel at teaching as I’ve seen you excel at most everything.”
“Thank you. Your appreciation of my efforts is quite humbling.”
“I have a girl. She’s pretty, but shy. Would you meet her?”
“Yes, of course. When?”
“I am off tomorrow. Your address?”
“I will text you.”
“I have my own already.”
“7:30pm. Just before sunset.”
“Very well. Last, what honorific would you like?”
“She calls me Daddy. You, Kat, may call me Sir.”
“Thank you, Sir, for your invitation and confidence in my abilities.”
His home was brick, large, in a quiet part of the city with trees lining the lane and no homes less than one hundred feet apart. I parked in his driveway, pulled out my messenger bag, and walked up to his door. Checking my phone, it was 7:15pm.
As soon as I knocked, I heard scurrying footsteps approach the door. As the door opened, I glimpsed a petite woman with short brown hair wearing a pink sundress, glasses, and sandals. She smiled at me for only a moment before darting her eyes to the ground.
“You must Kat. Hi.”
Her words were quick, darting almost as fast as her eyes had.
“Hello. Excuse my early arrival.”
“May I take your bag for you?”
I handed her my messenger bag. She gestured for me to enter, then closed the door behind me.
His home held an air of sophistication without the pomp and circumstance. Shelves housed what seemed like years of knick-knacks from a life well lived. The furniture was a mixed of deep browns and black, all leather. A fireplace to my right as I entered with pictures on the mantel. A tall wide wooden staircase to my left. On the far right, black marble on the kitchen floors and blood red marble for the counter tops. A heavy wooden dining table to my far left.
She led me to the back patio, viewable through the open air arrangement of the home. He sat beneath an awning, donned in full leathers, staring out into the backyard garden and the trees behind his home. The plume from his already half smoked cigar danced up in a curvy line.
She slid the glass door open, waited for me to exit, and then closed the door behind me.
“I expected you’d be early.”
“No pardon necessary. I appreciate your punctuality.”
He waved me over to a chair near his with his cigar hand, drawing a smokey form in the air; I sat.
“Would you like something to drink or eat?”
On the small table was a host of cold finger foods: fresh fruit, raw vegetables, and small slices of cheese. A pitcher of lemonade perspired, a few drops of water kissing the metal table. His girl sat down my bag beside me, picked up a glass, and poured me a drink before my answer. She then sat on a pillow at the foot of her Daddy.
“Thank you for your hospitality.”
“Thank you for your time.”
I sipped the cold beverage and tried to relax in the warm Spring air.
Looking over, I saw how he lazily stroked his girl’s hair. She nuzzled his hand and softly cooed. For a moment, I felt a twinge of envy. She looked so happy, so peaceful, so pleased there at his knee. Their manner was matter-of-fact. This was their life. They fit together so well.
He tapped her on the shoulder. She cupped her hands, one over the other, and held them up as if in supplication. He rolled his ash into her hands. She continued to hold her hands up until he tapped her on the shoulder again. She then licked up the ash from her palm.
My emotions turned from envy to confusion.
“Sir, why am I here?”
“You know cigar service, and this is my Sunday afternoon cigar time.”
“Yes, but she knows cigar service.”
“Why am I here to teach her if she needs no instruction?”
Confusion came into his eyes. And then a moment of understanding.
“No. I should have been more clear. I wanted you here to be next to her, to play with us. Tonight is, for lack of a better word, a date.”
At once my heart jumped into my throat. I felt horrible at my previous moment of envy, yet also joyous at the idea of what the next moment could bring, if I were brave enough to ask the question straining from my lips.
“Sir, might I request a small gesture?”
“Of course. You are our guest. Ask anything.”
“Might I sit at your other knee?”
For the first that evening, and my first time witnessing it, a wide grin burst across his face. His girl peeked up at me, a flash of glee in her eyes. Before he uttered a word, she scurried off and brought back a matching pillow, sitting it on the other side of her Daddy before returning to her spot.
“Well, you have my girl’s answer. Mine is the same.”
I sunk down from my chair, crawled the minuscule distance over, and nestled myself on the pillow. Leaning my head against his knee, he caressed my cheek with his right hand, his cigar hand, as smoke danced around my face.
I could hear her cooing, and his breathing, as I closed my eyes and actually, truly, relaxed.
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