A Series Of Fortunate Events, Part 12

(by Kalithanatos, 10 February 2010)


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A Series of Fortunate Events
by Kalithanatos

CHAPTER TWELVE

Kat awoke later than her two friends the next day. She crawled out of bed at
11:30 am and made her way downstairs after first visiting the bathroom. She
brushed her teeth furiously as she had her shower but found she could not
remove the unfamiliar, bitter taste from her mouth. Her throat also felt very
scratchy and her body had a dull ache through it, as if muscles that had
never been used before were now suddenly active.

Anne was at the breakfast table, smoking as usual. "So," she asked, smiling,
"how was last night?"

"Last night was...awesome!" Kat replied, giggling. "I think that was the best
day of my life so far - apart from the bit with mum, of course."

"Don't stress it. I'm sure that will work itself out. Coffee?" Anne asked.

"Yes, please. I need something to get rid of this weird itch in my throat."
Kat responded as Anne poured.

"Oh yes, that's what happens when you smoke too much and drink alcohol at the
same time. There's only one cure for that," she said, taking one of her
Marlboros and offering it to Kat. "Smoke this and your throat will feel
better."

Kat pondered this. She was still trying to keep a reign on her smoking and
did not plan on lighting up today.

"Erm, I don't know," she said.

"Go on," Anne prompted. "You'll feel loads better."

Kat accepted the cigarette, doubting that it was going to help her sore
throat, but she was willing to give it a try if it might work. She let Anne
light the Marlboro and inhaled deeply, just as she had been doing with the
menthols.

"Oh, these are strong," she said. It was the first time she had properly
smoked a full flavoured cigarette and could now detect the difference.

"That's why I like them," Anne said, taking another hit of her own cigarette.
"The menthols are nice enough, but they just don't give me the required kick
I need."

Kat absorbed this information as she continued to smoke the Marlboro. She did
not enjoy it as much as the ones Kat had been sharing with her, but it was ok
for a change. However, she did not think she would stick with this brand,
preferring the cool sensation the menthols gave her to the powerful kick of
the full flavoured cigarettes. She did notice, though, that after a few puffs
her throat was back to normal and she was grateful for that, at least.

They ate their breakfast that Gio had prepared before he left to run some
errands and they chatted, not mentioning the events of a few short hours ago.
Eventually Kat announced it was time for her to head home and face the music.
She was not looking forward to seeing her mum as she still could not gauge
what the reaction her smoking would cause when they were alone, away from the
friends from the previous evening.

The two ladies said their farewells and there was an awkward moment deciding
the best way to say goodbye before they finally settled on a hug.

Kat sat on the bus ten minutes later wondering how to approach the inevitable
conversation with her mother. She decided to play it by ear and wait for Rose
to make the first move. 

Kat arrived home to find her mum tidying up the house. "Hi mum," she said
nervously as she walked into the hallway, "I'm just nipping upstairs to dump
my gear. I'll be down soon!"

"Ok," her mother said as Kat bounded upstairs, "see you soon!"

Kat sat in her room for ten minutes gathering the courage to head back before
finally making the journey downstairs. Rose was putting her jacket on and
picking up her car keys.

"I need some things from the supermarket," she said. "Fancy coming along?"

Thinking now was as good a time as any, Rose agreed. The two women got into
the car and Rose pulled out of the driveway. There was an awkward silence in
the air as they drove, no one saying anything. Kat decided to break the
stillness.

"Did you have a good time last night?" she asked.

"What?" Rose said, startled out of her thoughts. "Oh yes, excellent. You?"

"Yeah, pretty good," Kat responded, waiting for the inquisition to begin.
Rose did not disappoint.

"So, did you smoke after I left?" she asked. "I can smell it on you just now,
I think."

Kat flushed. "Yeah, I had a couple last night and one this morning," she
said, not going into any details.

"How did this happen?" Rose asked. "I mean, you of all people. I just never
saw you as someone who would even WANT to smoke!"

Kat decided to simply tell the truth and began to recite the events of the
past few weeks. At the end of the tale she said, "So, as you can see, it was
an accident I ended up smoking."

"But it's not an accident continuing to smoke, surely?" Rose queried. "I
mean, why keep going with it?"

Kat had been wondering this herself. "Honestly? I enjoy it. I don't believe
I'm addicted or anything - I have gone days without smoking - but when I
watch Anne or anyone else light up I think to myself `I wish that was me.'"

Rose looked curiously at her daughter. She had not expected this response.
"So, now that I know, are you going to keep smoking?"

Kat looked back at her mum, a little fearfully. "I know this is not what you
want to hear, but yes, I think I am." She had said it, and there was no going
back now. "I mean, I don't want to upset you or anything, but I would like to
smoke whenever I feel like it, and if it's not too much to ask, I would like
your blessing."

Rose was silent for a few moments.  "I don't know if I can give you my
blessing, but you are a grown woman now and you have to live your own life; I
can't tell you what you should or shouldn't do with it. If you are going to
smoke, so be it - you know the risks involved, but so do millions of others
and they all do it too. But," she continued, "there are certain rules I would
like you to abide by. I don't want you to smoke anywhere in the house except
your own room, or in the car. Is that ok with you?"

Kat couldn't believe her ears. Her mother was giving her permission to smoke
in her room! As rules go, this one was pretty sweet.

"Ok," she said, belying the excitement she felt, "that seems fair. But don't
worry - I don't smoke a lot anyway, so it won't be a big problem. Thanks,
mum!"

Rose half-smiled at this. She wondered if her daughter knew how tight a grip
smoking could have on a person and that a few a day could end up turning into
a lot per day, but said nothing. The conversation ended as they pulled into
the parking lot of the supermarket.

As they made their way around inside, talk turned to other things until Rose
spied something. "Look," she said to Kat, approaching a display of ornate
ashtrays. "There's a 2-for-1 deal on these. You'll need one for your room."
Rose did not wait for an answer and simply put the ashtrays into the shopping
trolley.

"Thanks," Kat said, not knowing how to respond. Yesterday her mother did not
know she smoked and today she was buying her an ashtray. This was too weird!

They continued shopping and as they neared the checkout they passed the
tobacco counter. "Do you have enough cigarettes?" Rose asked Kat.

Kat blushed. She had never bought her own cigarettes. "No," she said,
embarrassed. "Actually, I've never even bought a packet before, believe it or
not. Kate and Anne have been giving me theirs."

"Well," Rose said, forcefully, "that simply will not do! You'll have to repay
them the favour. What brand do they smoke?" she asked.

Kat was a little taken aback by this. "Well, Anne smokes Marlboro's - the red
ones - and Kate smokes Richmond menthol super kings."

"And you?" Rose asked. Not understanding the question, Kat was mute
momentarily. Exasperated, Rose asked, "What brand do you smoke?"

"Oh," Kat responded, "well, I don't really know. Same as Kate, I suppose. I
like the menthol taste."

Rose looked at the display intently. "It looks more cost effective to buy in
bulk," she said. "How much do you owe the twins, exactly?" Kat thought about
it. "About a packet each, I suppose," she said.

"Right," her mother said, turning to the counter assistant, "can I have two
packets of Marlboro's - the red ones, please - and what do you call those
boxes there?" she asked, pointing.

"Carton?" the assistant responded.

"Yes, fine, a carton of Richmond Superking Menthols, please. My daughter here
is paying," Rose said, allowing Kat to step forward with her purse.

"I.D.?" the assistant asked, and Kat found herself blushing for the third
time that day. She had never been carded before! She rummaged in her purse
and found her I.D. card, presenting it to the bored looking assistant. He
accepted it and rang the cigarettes through, putting them in a bag for Kat.

Rose paid for the rest of the shopping and the two women made their way home.


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