A Series Of Fortunate Events, Part 15

(by Kalithanatos, 10 February 2010)


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A Series of Fortunate Events
by Kalithanatos

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

Kat had two more cigarettes that lunchtime, two more on their afternoon
break, and one on the way home from work. Her newfound freedom let her enjoy
these cigarettes more than ever and with each one she smoked, she felt she
had made the correct decision. However, something unexpected happened when
she arrived home. Despite wanting a cigarette that evening, Kat could not
bring herself to smoke at home. Although her mother had given her consent,
Kat still did not feel comfortable smoking anywhere where her mother might
see her. She abstained that night and went to bed at 8:30 pm to stop from
feeling the cravings she had welcomed during the day.

The next morning she left the house earlier than normal so she could smoke at
the bus stop and also have time for a cigarette in the alleyway where she met
Anne before work. Kat never mentioned what had happened the previous evening
and was content to smoke as she had done on Monday, joining Anne for one
cigarette in the morning, three at lunchtime, two in the afternoon and one as
she left work. She also smoked one more at the bus stop when she got off near
her home, but again did not indulge during the evening. Kat repeated this
exact same pattern the following day, Wednesday, but this time Rose called
her on it.

"Kat," her mother began, "I notice you still haven't used the ashtray in your
room yet. Is there some kind of problem? I know you haven't stopped smoking -
I can smell it on you when you get home - so I was wondering if there was
some kind of issue?"

Kat was mortified and didn't know how to explain to her mum that she did not
feel it was proper to smoke in front of her.

"Erm, yes, I'm still smoking," she began, "but I don't HAVE to do it all the
time," she lied. "I've just not had the urge at home yet." Kat hated being
untruthful to her mum, but did not feel Rose would understand her dilemma.

"Well, I'm glad you're trying to restrict yourself, obviously, but remember
that if you DO want to smoke at home, I won't mind. Honestly." Rose said.

"I appreciate that," Kat said, hating that her mum was more relaxed about the
whole thing than she was. "I promise I will go to my room if I feel like
smoking."

"Good," Rose said, "I don't want to make you feel you can't treat this place
like your own home, or anything. Besides, there's a perfectly good ashtray up
there I bought for you that's still not been used!"

"Thanks, mum," Kat said, and the conversation moved on to other things.

A few hours later, Kat and Rose sat down to watch `Mad Men', a TV series
where everyone seemed to smoke. Kat gazed jealously as the cast indulged
themselves, and there was almost no screen time where someone wasn't smoking.
All this did was make Kat crave a cigarette like no other point in her life.
Halfway through, the temptation became too much. As an advertisement break
started, Kat said, "I'm just going to head up to my room for a few minutes. I
won't be long!"

Kat practically ran up the stairs. She found her purse with her cigarettes
and lighter and was relieved when she was finally able to light up. She
smoked the cigarette quickly and stubbed it out not long after in her new
ashtray, the first time it had been used.

She made her way back downstairs just as the adverts were ending and `Mad
Men' resumed. Rose could immediately smell the smoke on her daughter's
clothes and knew that she had finally lit up at home.

"Did you enjoy that, dear?" she asked.

"What?" Kat responded, then realised her mother meant her cigarette. "Erm,
yeah, it was good, thanks." She still didn't think Rose understood how great
it felt to smoke, so she underplayed it.

Nothing more was said on the subject and as Kat made her way upstairs to go
to bed, she suddenly felt like indulging her slowly growing habit one more
time before she went to sleep. She put her cigarettes, lighter and ashtray on
her bedside cabinet, undressed, and jumped into bed. She lit a cigarette and
then picked up a magazine she had been reading. She smoked and read until she
felt tired enough to sleep, grateful to her mum for her being so
understanding about the whole situation.

Kat awoke the next day and the first thing she spotted was the green packet
sitting on her cabinet. "What the hell?" she thought and automatically
reached for a cigarette, the first time it had not seemed awkward to want to
smoke first thing in the morning. She lit up and savoured the taste. She had
had a frog in her throat that immediately went away as she inhaled her
initial drag.

A moment later, there was a knock at the door. "I made you some coffee. Can I
bring it in?" her mother asked, waiting for an invite. Kat was suddenly very
nervous; her mum had never actually seen her smoking before, but there was no
way round it now. She bit the bullet. "Yes, ok," she said, trembling
slightly.

Rose opened the door and was momentarily taken aback at the site of Kat with
a cigarette in her hand. Of course, she knew her daughter was smoking, but it
was still a shock to see Kat exhaling the remnants of her last puff through
her nose. Quickly regaining her composure, she silently moved to place the
coffee cup on the cabinet.

"Everything ok, mum?" Kat asked, trying to be as casual as possible under the
circumstances.

"Yes, fine," Rose responded. "I just can't believe my eyes. I never imagined
that you would start smoking, and to see you now it's just very strange."

"I know," said Kat, "I feel the same way, too." She hadn't moved a muscle
since the door had opened and Rose noticed that the ash was growing long on
the cigarette.

"You better sort that or you'll make a mess of your duvet," Rose said,
pointing. It took Kat a moment to realise what her mum meant and then
de-ashed the cigarette.

"Are you going to smoke that or just hold it?" Rose asked.

Kat looked at the cigarette. Her mum had to see this sometime, she supposed.
She raised the cigarette to her mouth and wrapped her lips around the white
filter. She sucked on the tip, acutely aware her mother was watching her
every move, and inhaled. She only held the smoke in her lungs for a second
before exhaling it out to the side, away from where Rose stood.

Satisfied, Rose turned and left without saying another word.

Kat did not really enjoy the rest of the cigarette and stubbed it out only
three-fourths done. It was very weird to smoke with her mum watching and she
did not know if she would ever get used to it. She didn't feel like smoking
at the bus stop that morning or when she arrived at work, but by the time the
first break came around she was more than ready to resume her pattern.

The last day and a half of work that week saw Kat maintain her regular
consumption of nicotine. She was now smoking roughly fifteen a day - about
ten between waking up in the morning and finishing work, and another four or
five in the evening when she got home. On Saturday she met her Gran as usual,
and this time instead of waiting to be offered a cigarette she withdrew her
own and handed one to Grandma Lee, explaining her decision to become a full
time smoker. Kat also mentioned she was now smoking at home regularly and
that she thought she might be addicted to nicotine. This was a thought that
had frightened her not a week ago, but now that she had admitted it out loud,
she felt a thrill run throughout her body. "I am a smoker and I am addicted
to nicotine," she thought to herself, "and I don't mind at all!"

She smoked three cigarettes with her grandma and many more when she returned
home; in fact, she realised that night, with no work to get in the way she
had smoked the entire packet of twenty cigarettes that day, the first time
she had done that.

On Sunday, Kat accompanied her mother to the supermarket again and, this time
full of confidence, purchased another carton of cigarettes for herself. As
they left the tobacco counter, Kat started to wonder; only a week ago, one
hundred cigarettes seemed to be an insurmountable amount, and now she thought
these might not even last her a week. Asking her mum to hold up, she made her
way back to the counter and purchased another carton for herself. Two hundred
cigarettes - that should do for a while.

They left the supermarket together and Kat was starting to feel the now
familiar urge to smoke hit her again. She had avoided doing so in the
presence of her mother since that morning during the week, but now she
realised she would need to smoke before making the drive home.

"Mum," she said, as they packed the car full of groceries, "would you mind if
I had five minutes before we head home?" Kat asked.

At first Rose wondered why, then it dawned on her. "You want to smoke, don't
you?" she asked.

"Only if it's ok with you," Kat said, pleading slightly. "You can wait in the
car if you like."

"No, it's fine. I'll come and stand with you," Rose said, locking the car
doors. "Where do you want to go?"

Kat looked around and saw a young female employee of the supermarket smoking
in a sheltered area.

"That looks like a good spot," Kat said, and the two women walked over. As
they were approaching the shelter, Rose said, "Actually, Kat, would you mind
if I got some petrol just now? The car was almost out, I noticed when we were
driving over." Kat was actually relieved at this; the thought of smoking in
front of her mother again was slightly off-putting.

"Fine by me," Kat said. "Get you back here in five?"

"Ok. I'll beep my horn when I see you." Rose turned around and headed back to
the car.

Kat arrived at the shelter and took her cigarettes from her purse, lighting
one. The young employee was just finishing up her own cigarette and she made
eye contact with Kat. The girl froze slightly, then leaned over and said, "I
still have five minutes left of my break and I'm all out. Would you mind if I
borrowed one of your cigarettes?"

"No, not at all," Kat said. She had 198 more, after all!

Kat offered the young girl a light. "Mmm, menthols. It's been a while since I
had one of these!" the girl said, a statement Kat found hard to believe as
the girl couldn't be older than sixteen "My name is Angie, by the way," Angie
said, offering her other hand. Kat shook it and said, "Kat."

Kat looked at the girl more closely. She was beautiful, the cigarette in her
hands only making her seem more alluring. She seemed like a young Angelina
Jolie, with her delicate bone structure and pouting lips.

"I hope you don't mind me saying this, but you look much too young to be
smoking," Kat said.

Angie blushed. "Thank you for saying so," she said, "but I'm eighteen. I'll
be nineteen next month."

Before she could stop herself, Kat blurted out, "You're very pretty, you
know."

Angie giggled and took a hit of her cigarette. "Yet again, thank you."

The two girls smoked in silence for a few moments, neither knowing what to
say next. Angie appeared to be in deep thought, then reached into her pocket
and brought out a piece of paper and a pen. She scribbled something down, and
then turned to Kat.

"Listen, I don't usually do things like this, believe me, but if you would
like to hook up sometime - you know, for a movie or a meal or...something
else, maybe, here's my phone number." She thrust the piece of paper into
Kat's hand. Throwing her cigarette butt into the ashtray, she stood to leave.
Kat was completely flustered and unable to speak. "Call me?" Angie said, and
walked towards the entrance to the supermarket. She turned to Kat as she was
about to walk through the door, smiled, and was gone. Kat took a final drag
of her cigarette to calm herself down just as she heard the beep of her
mother's car horn. She looked at the piece of paper in her hand, stubbed the
cigarette out, and made her way over to where her mother was waiting for her.


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