A Series Of Fortunate Events, Part 14

(by Kalithanatos, 10 February 2010)


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A Series of Fortunate Events
by Kalithanatos

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

Kat awoke the next day, Monday, to the sound of her alarm. She showered and
dressed and had breakfast with Rose. As she was about to leave the house, her
mother asked if she had remembered to take Anne and Kate's gifts with her.
She had completely forgotten! She ran back upstairs and opened the carton of
cigarettes to withdraw two packets of menthols for Kate and also put the two
packets of Marlboro's into her purse. Almost as an afterthought, she then put
a third packet of menthols in there too - she might smoke today, she decided,
but she wasn't sure - she was still fighting a war inside her head about
smoking too much and becoming truly addicted.

She thanked her mum for reminding her about the gifts as she passed her
downstairs to leave and soon was on the bus to work.

Work was busy that morning, and Kat never had a chance to speak to Anne. Kat
had already decided not to join Anne for the first break of the day - she
knew that when Anne lit up, she would probably want to as well - so for the
first time since Anne had started at the bank, she stayed indoors during a
break.

Anne was taken aback by this but did not show it. Had something gone wrong
with their relationship after Friday night's antics, she wondered? Perhaps
she and Gio had gone too far by inviting Kat into their bedroom and it had
spoiled the friendship for good? She smoked four cigarettes furiously in ten
minutes, pondering ways in which she could somehow make things up with her
friend.

Kat, on the other hand, wasn't even thinking about Friday night or Anne;
instead, she was slightly concerned about the nagging feeling in her head
that she would like nothing more than to be outside, smoking, rather than
stuck in the break room pretending to read. She was even subconsciously
holding her pen like a cigarette, she noticed! Where had this urge come from?
It was not there when she woke up, but as the day had progressed she could
feel something lurking inside her, making her crave a cigarette. It had been
with strong will that she had turned down Anne's invitation to join her
outside, but as soon as she had done so, she regretted it. All it meant was
turning down a few minutes of pleasure just to prove she wasn't addicted. "I
can fight this!" she thought to herself, knowing in her heart of hearts it
was a losing battle - she didn't know if she would be able to resist next
time.

Anne came back inside a little late due to smoking an extra cigarette, and as
she hung her coat up she asked Kat if everything was ok. Kat, still lost in
her own thoughts, murmured a response that it was, and the two girls resumed
their positions serving customers. This part of the day was no quieter than
the first and when lunch finally arrived, it was with some trepidation that
Anne asked if Kat would like to head outside with her.

"Sure, why wouldn't I?" Kat asked, bemused.

"It's just that you didn't come earlier and I thought there might be a
problem. You know, with us being friends after Friday night?" Anne asked.

"What?" Kat responded. "No, of course not! Friday night was AMAZING! But
there is something bothering me," she finished, not wanting to say any more
in front of their co-workers. "Let's go," Kat said, and they headed to their
alleyway.

When they arrived, Kat opened her purse and brought out the four packets of
cigarettes for the Robbins' twins. "Here you go," she said to Anne, "a gift
from me to you and your sister for all the cigarettes you provided me with
over the last few weeks."

"Don't be stupid!" Anne said, smiling despite herself whilst holding up her
hands to refuse. "You don't need to do that."

"I WANT to do it," Kat said. "It's my way of showing appreciation. Please
accept them or you'll hurt my feelings," she warned. Anne, still not knowing
where she stood after the events of the morning, decided to accept the
present.

"That's very kind of you," she said, opening one of her new packets. "Now,
what is this problem you are having?"

"You're holding them," Kat said, gesturing at the cigarettes in Anne's hands.
"After Friday, I told mum everything. She was actually pretty cool about the
whole thing - she even gave me permission to smoke in my room - but I'm
getting very worried about this whole addiction thing. Every time I see you
or someone else smoking, I want one too. That's why I never came out this
morning - I knew I would HAVE to smoke, and I don't want be forced to do
anything."

"But I wouldn't force you!" Anne protested.

"I don't mean `forced' by you or anyone else; what I mean is, the temptation
is becoming too great. This morning I sat in the break room wishing I was out
here with you, smoking. I've thought about little else all morning."

"It sounds like you've started getting cravings, right enough. Listen, I'm
probably not the best person you could go to for advice about this," Anne
said. "I like smoking with you, and I hope you do start smoking regularly.
Not very politically correct, I know, but I absolutely love it and wished
everyone would smoke! But," she warned, "if you want to get rid of these
cravings, there's only one thing for it - stop. Stop NOW. We can stop taking
breaks together, for a while at least, until you get rid of all the nicotine
in your system and the urge to smoke goes away. Do you have cigarettes with
you?" Kat nodded yes. "Then take them out of your purse and throw them away.
It's up to you," Anne finished.

Kat reached into her purse and brought out her still unopened cigarettes.
Anne was right - if she wanted to stop, now was the best time to do it. The
question was: did she? She had already admitted to her mum, her Gran and her
friends how much she loved to smoke, and it was the truth - she loved to
smoke. It was an inevitable part of smoking that she would probably get
addicted, and she knew this from the start, but still she had continued
experimenting. She had tried to control her intake, but why deny herself
pleasure whenever the urge hit her. Look at Anne - she was absolutely
committed to smoking and was the picture of happiness. Kat wasn't ready to
stop just yet. She came to a decision - rather than try to regulate her
smoking, she would indulge herself whenever the urge came upon her. She would
start to carry her cigarettes with her at all times and not restrict herself
to times or days - if she felt like smoking, she would; if not, she wouldn't.
It was simple. She was no longer a social smoker - she was now a smoker, for
better or for worse.

A huge weight suddenly lifted from her shoulders that she was not even aware
was there.

She still had her cigarettes in her hand, but instead of throwing them away,
she began to tear off the cellophane wrapper. "You're absolutely correct,
Anne," Kat began, "I shouldn't let fear drive me. I'm going to smoke - now,
and whenever I feel like it." 

Anne smiled, delighted with her friend's decision.

"This is the first packet of cigarettes I ever bought for myself," Kat
continued, looking at the tops of the twenty all white cigarettes in her
hand, "but it won't be the last. I may want to stop at some point in the
future, but for now consider me a smoker." She extracted a cigarette, put it
between her lips and lit up. The initial taste hit her mouth and she sucked
the smoke into her waiting lungs, revelling in the taste explosion. As she
exhaled she said, "Consider this day one. From now on, I'll be joining you on
all our breaks together, if that's ok with you, Anne?"

Anne was overjoyed. "Oh, absolutely. Welcome to the club!" she said, and they
both smoked their cigarettes.


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