This morning, while writing the incident up for the Spankorama (read about it here), you mentioned that he was trying to convince you that it was no big deal.
Upon going back to bed, that phrase went through your mind again. The youngest son of your friend, David M. Katz uses that phrase a lot, and his most recent use was when he was caught smoking.
That fact made an alarm go off in your head, as some other, previous unconnected facts started linking in your brain.
1) Since you got back from the Arlington trip, about 5 weeks now, Ethan has been spending more time at the apartment his best friend, Bruce, shares with his mom. Mom isn't there during the day.
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2) Ethan doesn't have a gym class this year, but he seems to be using an excessive amount of Axe body spray and sometimes using it at odd times.
3) You bought a bunch of Axe over the summer, when it went on sale, and it seems like there's some that can't be accounted for.
4) When a boy gets defensive, like Ethan did last night, it's often because he wants to hide something, yet Ethan quickly admitted having gone to Bruce's house. That was the final straw that got him a spanking, but if he admitted it that easily, was he trying to hide something else?
Now you have choices to make?
Do you confront Ethan with your suspicions, giving him a warning that you're on the hunt, but also giving him a chance to quit, if you're right?
If you do the last one, do you also remind him of the consequences if you catch him, or does that make it sound too much like a threat?
Do you buy nicotine test strips and make him take a whiz quiz, so there's no question about what's happening?
Do you search his room for evidence?
Do you forbid him from going to Bruce's while Ms. Joyner isn't home?
Do you share your suspicions with Bruce's Mom?
What other options can you think of, or what things do you think should definitely be avoided?
PS - I've noticed the smell of Axe, but not tobacco, and he does chew gum, but he's always done that to some extent.