The Pitch

A pitch for an advertisement for Cougr-Lite cigarettes. They'll bring out the cougar in anyone. Mature.

The cloakroom doors swing shut behind him. It's the most important party of the year, and he's young, strapping, and anxious to the point of shivering. He watches the door as he draws a handkerchief from his pocket and drags it across his brow. His nervous breathing fills the room. He tugs at his tie for air.

"You look like you could use a light."

He didn't think there was anyone in the room. He turns, startled, then freezes as he drinks her in. She's a lioness with a heavy gaze and a black velvet dress. Her hips are ready to tear free from her clothes. The way she's perched on her heels, she's ready to pounce. With her hair tucked behind her ears, long and straight, she wouldn't even spoil her hairdo if she did. Some part of him enjoys how intimidating she is, all curves and confidence and sly experience.

"Oh, that's fine, miss," he says, searching for words while his heart hammers. "I've got my own matches."

Her lips glisten, a patronizing smile. "No, not ‘a light'. A Cougr-Lite." She pushes the cigarette pack into his hands. He looks down at the silhouetted cougar, the fine lettering, the silver trim. He raises his head to speak, but she's already at the door.

"Whenever I need a bit more pride," the lioness says, "I reach for a Cougr-Lite."

With a flick of her tail, she slides her magnificent body out of the cloakroom. It's just him and the box of Cougr-Lites. Beyond the door, there's the buzz of conversation. He needs to be out there, but without his courage, that door might as well be a wall.

He opens the pack and taps out a cigarette. For just a moment, he pauses to smell the tobacco. It's wrapped in sweetness like tea leaves and warm nutmeg. He puts the cigarette between his lips and digs a matchbox from his pocket. The smoke from the match flickers into the air. He lights the cigarette. The tip glows, his chest rises. A second goes by as he holds in the smoke, then lets it out.

His shoulders relax. The smoke comes out with a sigh. It spills over his lips and his chin. His lower lip glistens with red lipstick, curls into a pout. White fur prickles down his chin. He raises the cigarette to his lips again and takes another drag.

He breathes in; his chest swells. His tie loosens and the buttons of his coat disappear. A pair of breasts rise, small and soft, parting his shirt. He plucks at the knot of his tie before pulling it off and tossing it to the floor. He blows the smoke out through his nose. The smoke pulls his face longer, stretches his nose wide, flattens the tip. The new whiskers on his white-furred cheeks twitch as he licks his lips.

Another drag. He breathes in deeper and more freely. His black formal coat's lapels sprout fur, so do the cuffs. With the cigarette between his lips, he unbuttons what's now a women's coat and hangs it on one of the hangers. The two sides of his shirt merge into one just above the midline of his chest. Below his bust, his shirt cinches inward, like the cut of a dress. He lets out the smoke. Orange fur spreads along the broad bridge of his nose, white fur back along his cheeks. He blinks; his eyes are green and sharp.

His posture changes: shoulders back, chest puffed, back straight. He draws in another, deeper lungful. His sleeves vanish into the shoulder straps of his top. The tickle of fur against fabric slides down his stomach and his back. His top and pants are one piece of clothing. The hems of his pant legs rise. He puffs the smoke into the air and lets it curl around him. Small, dark stripes dash along the fur on his face. His hair slides free from his pomade, lightening from black to dark brown and curling as it grows. His ears flick. They're higher on his head, round, with black rims, filled with fur.

He holds the cigarette in one raised hand and watches the orange and white fur weaving its way around his fingers. The fur pours out between his paw pads. He turns his hand over once. With a smile, he puts the cigarette to his lips.

The smell of spiced tea flows in. His pants only reach the bottom of his knees now. The two legs slide into one, leaving him in a white dress. Fur tickles over his bellybutton and spreads across his thighs. But now, they're her thighs. A smile crosses her lips. She savors each feeling, even though she wants to see the finished product. Her hips thicken beneath the fabric. She reaches down to straighten the hem of her dress. When she stands, her breasts bounce. She gasps and lays a paw on top of them. With the other, she takes the cigarette in her lips again.

Orange and cream fur covers her. As it slides down onto her feet, the shoes crank up higher. For a moment, she almost falls, but now she's standing in a set of black high heels. A flash of surprise crosses her face. Something squirms beneath her dress. A striped tail flicks out of the tail hole in the dress and sways behind her.

She purrs to herself as she feels the size and shape of her body: soft breasts overflowing her hands, thick thighs for her dress to cling to. She pulls a small hand mirror from her coat. She flashes a fanged smile at her reflection. The stripes on her face accentuate each expression.

One last puff for confidence. Matchbox and cigarettes tucked away in her bosom. She looks squarely at the door and walks back into the party.

"There you are!" a broad-faced man says. "You slipped off in a rush."

"I needed to change," she says. She cocks her hips and pushes her chest out.

His eyes move down her figure and back up. He takes his time; she basks in the attention. "It suits you," he says.

They talk, they drink, they float around the room. She smokes her cigarette down to a nub, then stubs it out in an ashtray.

"That reminds me," the man says, "Have you met Alexander yet?" She recognizes the name. The details don't matter, but he's young, and he's rich. Her hands tremble. She licks at the corners of her whiskers.

She says, "Not yet. If you'll give me just a moment—I need to powder my nose."

In the powder room, she pulls her pack and matchbox from her bust. She taps the pack and plucks a cigarette with her lips. Focus in on striking the match. The cigarette burns and she leans back. She takes a deep breath.

The scent of tea and nutmeg fills her. She holds the smoke in. Her breasts rise; broader, thicker, heavier. Much more than handfuls. They push forward in spite of their weight. Her neckline plunges lower, below the midline of her chest. She tugs at her dress with a finger, like she wants it to go further. She's got a balcony you could do Shakespeare from and it doesn't want to stay cooped up in her dress.

She takes each drag faster. She still savors the taste, but she craves the confidence she gets after smoking. The smoke curls from her lips. Her stripes curl too. They darken and grow. One stripe trails along her cheek and hooks around her cheekbone. Another curls like a finely arched eyebrow. Yet another runs across the bottom of her eye, like a heavy sweep of eyeliner.

The outer corners of her eyes crinkle like she's smiling. Her fur hides the crow's feet beneath dark stripes. She bats her eyes in the mirror and blows smoke toward her reflection. Her eyelids feel heavier. Her bright-eyed look becomes more relaxed, sultry, confident.

She opens her mouth, curls her tongue, puffs a thick ring into the air. Starting from the shoulder straps, her dress darkens to a rich red. Linen becomes silk. The hem rides just above her knees. Her hips are broader with age. Her dress keeps a snug hold on them, wrapping her curves into one tight package.

As she bends over in front of the mirror, she lets out another breath of smoke. It curls across her tight cheeks. She runs the pads of her fingers along her legs. Her tail twitches in delight. Her heels get an extra two inches. She straightens back up and her hair spills over her shoulders. It's brown, rich, warm. With a single motion, she parts her hair, and with another, twists it into a bun. In the mirror, she bats her bangs into place. A streak of grayer brown runs through her hair. She touches it, then smiles. It's a sign of refinement and confidence. She wouldn't wear it so proudly if she wasn't confident.

Silver sparkles around her neck. A beaded silver choker emerges, bead by bead. The lattice wraps around her throat, and then tapers down over her collar bones, coming to a point on her chest with a small pendant. She traces the edge with her fingers, over the pendant, toward her cleavage.

Her courage is a roaring fire again. She takes one more drag from the cigarette. Pearl earrings hang from the edges of her ears. She clears her throat—her voice is new, a rich, mature tone. She gathers her paws under her breasts, then heaves them higher. She smooths the fur on her face so her stripes look crisp. She pats her hair, strokes her dress, holds her chin to check her lipstick.

She walks with a feline roll in her hips. Her eyes flick around as she leaves the powder room. She feels a strong urge, a hunger. A sly flash in her eye says that she's telling herself, 'wait until you meet him.'

"Looks like you certainly freshened up," the broad-faced man tells her. She breathes in a mouthful of smoke and puffs it in his direction.

"I have," she says.

"Mm. Now, come, I'll introduce you," he says. His dark moustache bristles out with whiskers. His nose flattens and spreads. "What's that brand?" he asks. The fur grows in on his face: white on the front of his muzzle, a dark stripe, then soft tan. His lashes lengthen as his eyes turn feline.

"Cougr-Lites," she says. "Makes you feel like you're on the hunt." She fishes her pack from her breasts and offers him one. He takes it, pulls his own lighter from his pocket, and raises the cigarette to his lips for a brief puff.

Alexander turns as she approaches: a young man, handsome, soft face, broad smile. His suit is tailored just for this party. They're introduced. She laughs at his jokes, squinting and flashing her fangs. He smiles at her. She sees the broad-faced man slipping away. He gives her an encouraging nod, raises his cigarette in what's now a paw, and disappears into the crowd.

She presses her cigarette into an ashtray and pouts at Alexander. "Oh dear, my cigarette's burned down," she says. She slowly slides her paw between her breasts. She takes out the pack and plucks one free. With a twist of her fingers, she leans down in front of him, cigarette held out. "Do you have a light?" she asks. Her chest threatens to slide out of her dress.

"Of course, miss," he says. There's a glimmer in her eye as he lights the tip of her cigarette.

She breathes in, savoring the way a fresh cigarette tastes when it starts burning. She blows out through her nose and mouth, wreathing her fur in the scent of spiced tea. "I'm hardly a miss any more," she says. Miss is what you call a girl, and she's no girl.

"Madam, then," he says.

She purrs. The smoke fills her with more predatory eagerness. There's a fire between her thighs that she can't ignore. Another deep puff of the smoke soothes, takes the edge off that need, but it's still there. Her pupils tighten and her tail flicks low behind her.

"Say that again," she says. Her hand is on his back. She's a half-step closer.

"Madam?" he says. He realizes just how tall the tigress is. The top of his head only comes up to her eye level.

"Yes," she purrs. She grips the cigarette with her teeth. Smoke curls between her fangs. She holds the back of his coat. Her chest squeezes against his; her thighs lean against his stomach. She takes the cigarette in her paw. "Now, I think we should find somewhere more private, don't you?" Her stripes curl as she raises her eyebrows.

He's about to say something, but her lips cut him off. She presses down against him. It's a powerful kiss, he's squirming until he relaxes.. She pulls back and curls her tongue back into her mouth.

He stammers. "I-I agree." Her hand on his back, she draws him through the crowd, blowing proud puffs of smoke. She looks over her shoulder and winks before walking out of frame.

Unleash a predator. Cougr-Lite.

End scene.