I followed Caitlyn down the stairs to her room in the basement. The basement was a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house, blessedly cooler; a relief from one of the hottest summers on record. Her room was a slapdash of musician-chic and untidy gamer. Posters of Marley and Dillon were displayed side by side with Samus and Master Chief. A flat screen television, which she'd traded an old keyboard for, dominated one wall surrounded by a bevy of video game and DVD cases. Her unmade bed was wedged into a dim recess that was meant to be a closet.

Though it offended my strict upbringing, I had always liked Caitlyn's room. Her parents allowed her a freedom mine didn't. It's not like they didn't care, like they weren't around. In fact, they were just up in their own bedroom, the AC running high, ready to sleep away the hottest part of the day.

As were we.

I shut the door behind us and looked dubiously at the bed. Though it was cooler in the basement, it wasn't precisely cool enough to cuddle on cotton sheets with a best friend who doubled as a furnace.

"God. I can't believe how fucking hot it is," Caitlyn groused.

She hiked up her dress, hooked her fingers into the waistband of her sweat-soaked panties, and pulled them off even as she walked to the loveseat that faced the television. She tossed the sodden panties to the dirty clothes pile that spread from the foot her bed. It wasn't the first time she'd disrobed in front of me, we'd been seeing each other naked since we were three, but the way her butt peaked out from under that thin, summer dress with the blue and purple flowers made me swallow hard and wipe the summer sweat from my forehead.

She flopped on the loveseat and I joined her. We stayed like that for some time, spread eagle, not particularly interested in moving.

"I'm bored," Caitlyn said after several minutes.

"Put on a movie," I suggested.

After several minutes more, Caitlyn finally got up, selected a DVD, and made it play. When she flopped back down on the couch with me, she held a small glass pipe, a lighter, and a tin of weed. I hadn't seen her take it from the top drawer of her dresser. Perhaps I'd nodded off.

If my parents knew that Caitlyn smoked pot I'd be grounded for months and spanked every night for a week. It wouldn't matter that I never smoked it myself. My parents had very strict views about drug use.

I swallowed hard.

Caitlyn puffed on the little pipe for a while then held it out to me. "I know you don't want it," she said, "but I was raised to share."

I laughed, a nervous edge to it. Because even though she was right, because I always refused, I really wanted to try it. Truth was, sometimes just being in Caitlyn's room while she smoked was enough to get me light-headed. I bit my lip, undecided.

Caitlyn cocked her head to one side and regarded me with full attention.

"You're curious, aren't you?"

I nodded just a little.

Caitlyn walked me through my first toke. I can't really remember what it was like other than that I coughed a lot and she pounded me on the back and then I tried again. That, I decided, was enough for the moment.

The movie was a stupid, raunchy, R-rated comedy, the kind of movie my parents didn't approve of and wouldn't let me watch even though I was surely old enough by now. This too would have been an offense that got me spanked at home had my parents known of it.

Even so, it made me laugh.

After a while, Caitlyn's laughter was louder than warranted and she began to double over with it. By the time we got to the bar scene where the eighty-year-old grandmother was shouting curse words and swigging bourbon in the middle of a bar fight, Caitlyn was doubled over and wheezy with laughter. I rubbed her back while she tried to regain her breath and after a while, she was curled on my lap like a kitten, still giggling at the stupid movie.

But I could only stare at her.

She was on her side now, laying across my lap, her feet tucked up under her thighs, her arms hugging a couch pillow, her dress all twisted and bunched so that I had a perfect view of the right side of her butt. My hands rested one on her waist, the other high on her hip. And all I could think was that if my parents saw me cuddled with another girl like this, my bare bottom would be spanked black and blue.

Caitlyn looked over her shoulder at me, her nut-brown hair mussed and half in her face, a cute grin from under heavy lashes and pouty lips.

"I'm a little high," she said.

"I noticed."

"I could just drift off right here."

"No you don't," I said. "If you're taking a nap, I get to also and I can't do that sitting up. Get up."

But Cailtyn just giggled.

I think the sharp sound of the spank took us both off guard. I have no good explanation for it. I don't even remember doing it. The only thing I can figure is that my constant fears of spanking for being found out with my best friend had lodged the thought in my brain and then my hand acted of its own accord.

Caitlyn squealed, looking shocked, but then the expression faded back to that cute, silly grin and she giggled.

I wanted to spank her again and was horrified by the idea. My whole body tingled, a mixture of smoke and anticipatory terror and my best friend's naked bottom. A spanking was a punishment and Caitlyn was not mine to punish. Touching a girls' naked bottom was sexy, and I wasn't allowed to be sexy. Spanking her would hurt her and I didn't want to hurt her.

Except that I did.

The second spank, sharper than the first, took her off guard, but not me.

"Fuck!" Caitlyn shouted and she got to her feet, her dress slipping down to cover her.

I got to my feet too, my hands out, entreating. "I'm sorry," I said quickly and repeatedly.

Caitlyn wobbled on her feet a little and blinked at me owlishly.

"What'd you do that for?"

"I… I don't know," I lied.

"Well," she said, looking at me with an adorable pout, "I want a nap."

I nodded. An idea was forming, a terrible and wonderful idea. Sometimes, when Caitlyn smoked, she would take a nap and not remember what it was we'd been doing before the nap. Perhaps…

"All right," I said. I took her by the wrist and led her to the bed.

"You're a good friend," Caitlyn said.

I climbed onto the bed and pulled Caitlyn on after me.

"No," I said, "I'm not."

It was simplicity itself to roll Caitly onto her tummy and pull her dress away from her pale, perky bottom. It was quite a bit harder to put my palm over her naked butt. My tongue between my teeth, I banished my fear and spanked her bottom again.

Caitlyn yelped. "Hey! Stop that!"

But I didn't. She couldn't get away and, once started, I couldn't stop. I was mesmerized by her pale bouncing bottom as it turned a vibrant shade of pink. I spanked her quickly and sharply. I held her easily though she squirmed and protested and tried to get away. I spanked her until she cried, until she begged me to stop. I spanked her until my hand became sore and my breathing was hard and my clothes were soaked through with sweat.

When I was done, I held her and she leaned into my embrace.

"Why?" she asked through her tears. "What did I do?"

"I don't know," I responded. I kissed her tears as I cried. "You didn't do anything. I just wanted to."

After a while, when the tears had abated, we sat on the edge of the bed. Caitlyn had retrieved her pipe and we smoked together for a while.

"Well," she said. "Fuck. My ass still hurts. You spank really hard."

I had no response to that. She didn't sound high anymore and I knew she would remember the episode.

"Did I do something to make you mad?" she asked.

I shook my head.

"Your parents spank you, right?"

I nodded.

"Huh." She stood and pulled her dress off. My eyes went immediately to her butt, still splotchy and pink. She rubbed gingerly. "It feels kinda good now. All tingly and warm." She pushed her butt out to me. "Feel."

I felt without a second invitation, rubbing gently. It was, indeed, warm. I patted it gently.

"Well," she said again. "I'm all sweaty. I'm gonna have a shower. You wanna come with?"

It wasn't the first time we showered together in her tiny bathroom, but it seemed like it. The air of awkwardness sent us to bumbling and blushing at every touch, every glance.

"Look," she said. "Let's just forget it."

What I wanted to say was, "Okay." But what I actually said was, "I can't. I loved it, Caitlyn. I don't know why, but I loved spanking you." I was crying again. Perhaps the smoke made me emotional.

"God. I never thought you'd be the kinky one." She fixed me with a fuzzy look. "Nah, you're just high."

We showered in awkward silence and dried off and went to the bed in its dim corner. I turned off the television and the stupid movie. We settled in for our hottest-part-of-the-day nap as we had so often before. Caitlyn turned on her side and I snuggled up, her naked skin a comfort. My hand rested on her thigh.

She took in a deep breath and let it out. "Ya know, now that it's done, it was kinda' sexy. Maybe you'll do it again sometime?"

I pulled her close and nuzzled her neck and patted her thigh firmly.

Caitlyn giggled. "If I'd known letting you spank me would get you all lovey-dovey, I'd have done it a long time ago." She turned over then, pushing me on my back, one knee between my legs, put her hands on my breasts and squeezed as he put her lips on mine and kissed me harder and longer and better than any boy ever had.

If my parents had known what we did next, not only would I have gotten the belt every night for a month, they probably would have disowned me afterward. But that hot, sweaty afternoon, and every hot, sweaty afternoon thereafter, I didn't care. We kissed and pinched and tickled and licked and spanked each other to giggling, groaning ecstasy.