The Vacation (2002)

(by, 07 November 2002)

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***NOTE:   This is the seventh in a series which follows the lives of a mother
and daughter.  If you'd like to follow the plot, you should begin with
"Caitlin's Smoking Life", then "Liz in Philly", "Caitlin's Education" ,
"Caitlin's Introduction",  then "Caitlin, Michelle, and Kristen", and then
"Aunt Kim"  before reading this story.  Be warned that this story contains
many subjects that may offend certain people.  If the topics of illegal drug
use, as well as underage experimentation with various substances (including
tobacco) offend you, you may not want to read this story.  As this is a story
which follows the subjects through many phases of their lives, it starts while
many of the characters are underage, but is not intended to either condone or
glorify underage substance abuse.  As the story progresses in multiple
chapters, the characters will "mature".  The author does not encourage anyone
to consume alcohol until they are at least 21 years of age, nor does the
author encourage the experimentation with illegal narcotics at any age.***

The Vacation

The next morning, all four women slept late.  Caitlin and Michelle rose around
1130, while Liz and Kim woke at noon.  This was not commonplace, but the night
before was certainly unlike any other Kim and Michelle had ever experienced.
Unbeknownst to both women, they'd each smoked their first cigarettes, as well
as gotten high for the first time.  Michelle had done some coke too.  

Kim wasn't sure if she'd liked the new things she'd tried or not, but Michelle
knew she did.  A major part of her really wanted to continue doing those
things, but she figured that Kim, her mother, would hardly approve.  

That morning, Michelle woke up first.  She was sleeping on a roll-away bed in
Caitlin's large bedroom.  Caitlin still slept in her bed.  On the nightstand
next to Caitlin, was a half full pack of Marlboro Lights 100s, an empty
Newport 100s pack, a partially filled ashtray, and a lighter.

Michelle found herself mesmerized by the sight.  Did she want to smoke one?
Would her cousin mind?  Was her mother awake?  Could she even get away with

Before she could answer any of these questions, Michelle found herself taking
a Marlboro Light 100 from her cousin's gold and white pack.  Picking up the
lighter, she headed for the bathroom off of Caitlin's room.

She closed the door, and locked it behind her.

She put the filter in her mouth, and flicked the lighter as she'd learned to
do last night.  The flame came to life.  As the flame touched the tip of the
cigarette, the young, red-haired teen began to suck smoke into her mouth.

She noticed her reflection in the mirror, and the reality of the moment hit
her.  She was smoking a cigarette!

Surprised at how she looked, she stared at her own reflection while she
brought the cigarette to her mouth.  She parted her lips, and took a long
drag.  The tip glowed brightly as she pulled the smoke into her mouth.
Removing the cigarette, she inhaled slowly and deeply.  The smoke filled her
lungs.  This was the first time she'd ever smoked while sober, and she noticed
how much she really liked it.  She exhaled the cloud towards the mirror, but
half-way through, turned her head sideways to see the profile, from the corner
of her eyes.

After taking four good sized drags, Michelle's head began to spin.  The
dizziness reminded her of the night before, when she'd smoked marijuana.  She
enjoyed the feeling immensely, but she did feel the need to sit.  She sat on
the edge of the bathtub, facing the toilet so she could trim the ash as

"One more puff," she said quietly to herself.

It was as she was taking that drag that there was a knock on the door.

"Hey Michelle," whispered Caitlin.  "It's me.  Let me in!"

At first, Michelle panicked.  Then she realized that Caitlin would hardly give
her a hard time - or worse, tell her mom - that she was smoking.

She unlocked the door, and Caitlin came in smiling.

"So you've decided to smoke, I see," she said.

"I don't know yet.  When I woke up, I saw them on your table, and I just
wanted to have one more, that's all," Michelle explained.

Caitlin smiled as she lit her own cigarette.

"That's how it starts," she said.

"What do you mean?" Michelle asked.  "Do you think I'm hooked already?"

Caitlin laughed as she exhaled.

"No, I don't think you're addicted," she said.  "But I think you like it
enough to continue smoking until you are."

"I don't know if I want to get addicted or not," Michelle started.  "All I
know is that I like it."

"What do you like about it?" asked Caitlin.

"I just like how it makes me feel," explained Michelle.

"How does it make you feel?"  Caitlin asked, taking a puff on her cigarette.

"I don't know how to explain it," Michelle answered.  "I feel sort of popular
when I do it."

"I can understand that," said Caitlin.  "You certainly look amazing when you
smoke.  Have you seen yourself smoke yet?"

"Yeah," Michelle admitted shyly.  "I caught a peek of myself accidentally
before.  It looks weird."

"You'll get used to all of those things in time," Caitlin said, smiling.

While the two young girls smoked their cigarettes in Caitlin's bathroom, Kim
and Liz were waking up downstairs.  

Although the original plan had been for Kim to sleep in the guest room, and
Liz would only smoke in her own room, Kim opted to sleep in Liz's room.  The
two sisters slept in the same bed, much like they used to often do as

Liz woke before Kim.  She wanted to smoke her "morning cigarette", but wasn't
sure if she should, because Kim was still sleeping in the room.  She heard
movement upstairs. 

"Caitlin must be awake," she thought.

Liz took her pack of Marlboro Lights 100s and lighter and exited the room.
She went up the stairs, and opened Caitlin's bedroom door.  She noticed that
neither Michelle nor Caitlin were in the room.  She knew they'd come home,
because the truck was safely in the driveway, but where could they be?

The bathroom door was closed.  What were they doing in there together?

Liz knocked on the door.

"Shit," she heard Michelle whisper.  "Who is that?"

Liz wasn't sure what was going on.

"Who is it?" asked Caitlin.

"It's me, Cait," said Liz.

"She can come in, it's fine," Caitlin said to Michelle.

Liz heard the door unlock moments before the knob slowly turned.

Caitlin opened slowly.

"You alone?" she asked.

"Yeah, I'm alone," Liz laughed.  "What's going on in here?"

"Come in, quickly!"  Caitlin said.

Liz entered the bathroom, which was becoming crowded, and shut the door behind
her.  As she turned around, she noticed her niece, Michelle, sitting on the
edge of the bathtub, holding a cigarette in her right hand.

She looked at Caitlin.

"You did this to her, didn't you?"  she asked.

Michelle spoke up.

"No, Aunt Liz, she didn't.  I'd never smoked before, and I tried it last night
with Caitlin and her friends, but it was my idea."

"I told you not to let her smoke!"  Liz said, lighting her own cigarette.

"No," Caitlin replied.  "You said not to GET her to smoke, there's a

"It really was my idea," added Michelle.  "Please don't tell my mom!"

"I'm not going to tell her anything," assured Liz.  "Don't worry.  Just tell
me about last night."

"What would you like to know?" asked Caitlin.

"Start from the beginning," she said.  

Caitlin proceeded to tell her mother about the night before.  She told her how
Kristen had never smoked anything, and she'd gotten her to smoke pot, as well
as cigarettes, and snort cocaine.  She told her how Amy had done those things
in high school, but had also indulged in the activities.  

"What did you do?" Liz asked Caitlin.

"I smoked a little, and snorted a line or two," Caitlin replied.

Michelle was shocked at her cousin's honesty about the activities.  She
thought for sure Liz would be mad.  To her amazement, she wasn't.

"And you," Liz said, turning to Michelle.  "Do I even want to know what you

Michelle said nothing.   She put the filter of her cigarette in her mouth and
took a hard drag.  She opened her mouth, and inhaled the smoke.

"It looks like you've taken to the smoking thing rather well," Liz said.  She
decided to not push the issue of asking if Michelle had tried anything else.
She didn't want to know.

"Aunt Kim," started Michelle.  "I don't know what to do."

"About what?" asked Liz, exhaling.

"Smoking," Michelle continued.  "I like it.  I like it a lot.  But I know my
mom wouldn't approve, and there's no way she'd let me smoke, but what if I
want to?  It's my body, can't I do to it what I want?"

"Well, if it were up to me," said Liz.  "I'd say that you can smoke if you
want to.  I'd explain the cons of smoking to you, but if you decide to start,
you're going to learn those on your own.  But the truth is, you're not my
child.  There are decisions that only your mother can make when it comes to
raising you."

"I can't tell her though," Michelle said, trying not to cry.

"Don't worry," Liz said.  "You'll be able to tell her eventually.  I'll make
sure of it."

She hugged her niece.  She used to be so small, so young, so innocent.  Now
she was smoking.  She was growing up. 

Downstairs, Kim was waking up.  She opened her eyes, and looked around the
room.  Liz wasn't to be found.

She smelled the faint aroma of cigarette smoke.  She'd had the strangest dream
while she slept.  She dreamt she was smoking cigarettes with her sister.  She
was also getting high with Liz in the dream.  Or maybe it was real?  She
couldn't remember.  All she knew was she'd gotten really, really drunk. 

She noticed the pack of cigarettes on her sister's dresser.  Her uncertainty
of the previous evening's events made her curious.

"There probably aren't any in there anyway," she thought to herself.

She walked over to the dresser, and picked up the pack.  She flipped back the
top, and saw an almost full pack of cigarettes looking back at her.

"Probably no lighter though," she thought again.

Then she noticed the white plastic lighter sitting on top of the clock radio.

"What the hell am I doing?" Kim asked herself, as she removed one cigarette
from the pack, and put it in her mouth.

"I'm not going to smoke it," she said aloud.

She flicked the lighter, and moved the flame closer to the tip.  She watched
herself in the mirror.  She looked so different with the cigarette in her

Kim was so preoccupied with her image with the cigarette, that she hadn't
noticed she'd begun to suck on the filter, as if she was going to pull the
smoke into her mouth.

Even though the lighter was a short distance from the tip of the cigarette,
the suction Kim had been applying to the filter had caused the tip of the
flame to curl towards the tobacco.

Before she noticed what had happened, she noticed the taste of the smoke
filling her mouth.  In the mirror, she noticed the tip of the cigarette
beginning to glow brightly.

She removed the cigarette, and inhaled the smoke.  She coughed, and the smoke
poured out.  Hopefully, wherever her sister was, she hadn't heard the

Kim brought the cigarette to her lips once more, and took another puff.  She
removed the filter, and inhaled again.  This time was easier.  The smoke slid
down her throat and into her lungs easily.

She held the smoke in and exhaled slowly.  Admittedly, it felt nice.

She had smoked about half of the cigarette when the door opened, and Liz came

"Holy fuck!" Kim said quietly.  "You scared the shit out of me.  Shut the

Liz shut the door.  

"When did you get a fucking mouth on you like that?" she asked laughing.

"I think it was always there, it just started coming out when I got here," Kim
said, taking a puff on her cigarette.

"Kind of like your inner smoker?" Liz asked, lighting her own.

"I don't know what's happening to me, Liz," Kim started.  "I've always been
dead set against all of these things.  When I got here, and I saw how close
you and Caitlin have become, I got jealous of your relationship, and for some
stupid ass fucking reason, I thought this would fix it."

"Kim, relax," Liz said.  "You're absolutely right.  Years ago, when Caitlin
was younger, my smoking drove us apart.  But I have to tell you something, and
now that you've smoked yourself, I think you're ready to hear it."

"What's that?" asked Kim nervously.  She took another huge drag on the

"Caitlin has started smoking too," Liz said.

"You're fucking kidding me!" Kim said, stunned.  "She was so anti-smoking!
What happened?"

Liz laughed.

"She went to college," she said.

"So did I, and I didn't start smoking," Kim said.  "I'm just stunned.  Of all
the people in the world, I never would have guessed Caitlin to become a

"What about yourself?" Liz asked.  

"Huh?" said a puzzled Kim.

"Would you have ever guessed you would start smoking?"  Liz asked.

"I don't smoke.  I'm just trying it, that's all," replied Kim defensively.

"Right," said Liz.  "What about Michelle.  What would you do if she started
smoking?  Or as you put it, just tried it, that's all."

Kim took a drag, inhaled, and held it in deep.

"You know, if you'd asked me that 24 hours ago, I'd have said I would kill
her," Kim started. 

"And now?" asked Liz, taking a drag.

"Now I'm not so sure," said Kim.  "I mean, I still don't want my daughter to
smoke, and I don't even think I want to smoke - all the time, anyway?"

Liz cut her sister off.

"Kim, listen to me.  In a minute, I'm going to change your life," she said.

"How?"  Kim asked, stubbing out her cigarette.

"You said you were jealous of the relationship that I have with Caitlin,
right?" asked Liz, who followed her sister to the ashtray.

"Yeah, but?" started Kim.

"Then don't question anything I'm going to say to you.  You've got to know
that there are some things that brought my daughter and I closer than we've
ever been before.  If you want that, you've got to trust me, and do the things
I did, knowing that I wouldn't lead you the wrong way," Liz said cryptically.

"But," Kim tried to say.

"No buts, Kim," interjected Liz.  "This is what I did, and it brought us
closer than we've ever been.  Do you trust me?"

"Of course, you're my big sister," said Kim.

"Then here's what I'm going to do," began Liz.  "I'm going to walk out of this
room.  I'm going to send Michelle in.  You'll know when you can come out."

With that, Liz winked at her younger sister, and exited the room.

"You'll know when you can come out?" repeated Kim to herself.  "What the fuck
does that mean?"

Only about a minute later, Michelle entered the room.

"Hi, Mom," she said.

"Hi sweetie," Kim answered.

Michelle walked over and sat on the bed next to her mother.  She was carrying
a small cigar box Liz had given her. 

"What's in the box?" asked Kim.

"I don't know," Michelle started.  "Aunt Liz gave it to me and said to not
open it until I am with you."

"Well, you're with me now, what do you say we open it?"  Kim said with a
nervous laugh.

"Okay," Michelle replied awkwardly.

Kim took the box from her daughter, and set it on her lap.  She took a deep
breath, then exhaled.  She had no idea what her sister had gotten her into.

She turned so her daughter couldn't see the contents of the box.

She lifted the lid.

Inside, she saw a pack of Marlboro Reds, a lighter, four joints, a plastic
baggie filled with white powder, a mirror, a razor blade, and a small glass

"Ohmigod," Kim said.  "I'm sorry, Michelle, I can't do this."

"Can't do what?" asked Michelle.

"Your aunt thinks that if we do certain things together, we'll get closer,"
Kim explained.

"You don't want to get closer to me?" Michelle asked, sadly.

"No, I do sweetie, of course," started Kim.  "It's just?"

"What is it, Mom?"  asked Michelle.

Kim remembered what her sister had said, just minutes before.

"Then don't question anything I'm going to say to you.  You've got to know
that there are some things that brought my daughter and I closer than we've
ever been before.  If you want that, you've got to trust me, and do the things
I did, knowing that I wouldn't lead you the wrong way."

To Kim, it sounded as though she was there in the room with them.

"Michelle, I've got to ask you something, and I want you to know that no
matter what you say, I won't be mad at you.  I just want you to tell me the
truth, alright?"  she said.

"Sure, Mom," Michelle answered.

"Have you ever smoked a cigarette?"  she asked.

Michelle didn't know what to say.  She started to cry.

"You can tell me, honey.  I won't be mad, I promise," Kim said.

"Yeah, I've tried it before," said Michelle.

"Okay," said Kim.  She couldn't believe what her young daughter was telling
her.  She also couldn't believe what she was about to say herself.

"You know what?" she said.  "So have I."

Michelle's tears seemed to stop in their tracks.  She looked up at her mother.

"Last night," Kim started.  "Aunt Liz and I were drinking last night, and I
smoked a cigarette.  It was the first time I'd ever done it in my life."

"Last night was the first time I ever tried it too," said Michelle with a

"Do you want to smoke one right now?  With me?" asked Kim.

Michelle said nothing.  She just nodded her head.

Kim opened the box again, and removed the pack of Marlboro 100s.  She removed
the cellophane wrapper, then opened the top, exposing the foil insert, which
she also removed.

She slid out a long, cork-tipped cigarette, and put it in her mouth.  She
handed the pack to Michelle with trembling hands.

Michelle nervously took a cigarette out of the pack, and held it in her

"Do you want me to go first?" Kim asked.

Michelle nodded her head again.

Kim picked up the lighter, and flicked the roller.  A yellow-orange flame
appeared on top.  She brought it to the tip of the cigarette, and sucked.
Strong, thick smoke filled her mouth.

She removed the cigarette from her lips and inhaled.  Though it was stronger
than the light cigarettes she'd smoked so far, the taste was equally as

She held the lighter out towards Michelle.

Michelle put the cigarette in her mouth, steadying it with her fingers.  She
sucked slowly to make sure it lit.  Without inhaling, she blew a cloud of
smoke out.

"Do you know how to inhale?" Kim asked.

"Um, yeah," said Michelle.

"Go ahead, let me see," said Kim.

Michelle brought the cigarette to her mouth, and took a measured drag.  She
didn't want to smoke too much, but she wanted to enjoy it at the same time.

She removed the cigarette, and inhaled slowly, her eyes subconsciously
closing.  As she slowly exhaled, her eyes opened.

"That was pretty good," Kim said.  "My turn."

Kim repeated her daughter's actions.

To her amazement, she began to feel closer to her daughter as they sat there,
smoking their cigarettes.  

"This isn't so bad," Kim said.

"I know," said Michelle.  "I thought you'd be mad at me for smoking, and now
we're smoking together!  It's pretty cool!"

"I know," started Kim.  "Do you want to start smoking regularly?"

"I think I really do," said Michelle.  "What about you?"

Kim took a drag.

"I'm still not sure, to be honest," she said.  "I like it a lot more than I
thought I ever would, I'll say that much!"

The two girls finished their cigarettes simultaneously.

"That was really cool mom," said Michelle.  "We should do it again sometime."

"What makes you think we're done already?" asked Kim.

"We're going to have another one?" Michelle asked enthusiastically.

"Not quite," said Kim.

She nervously pulled one of the joints out of the box.  She said nothing as
she put it in her mouth and flicked the lighter to life.

Before the flame reached the end of the joint, Michelle leaned over and blew
it out.

"What are you doing?" asked Kim, who was secretly relieved that her daughter
didn't want to get high with her.

"You lit your cigarette first, so isn't it my turn to go first?"  Michelle

Kim had misread her daughter's intentions.

"Michelle, this is different," she started.  "I should really go first."

"Mom, please?"  asked Michelle.

Kim took the joint out of her mouth and passed it to Michelle, who put it in

Could it be possible that she'd done this before?

Michelle lit the lighter, and moved the flame to the tip of the joint.  As the
flame bent inward, Michelle began to suck, bringing the thick, sweet smoke
into her young lungs.

She inhaled the smoke as deep as she could, and passed the joint to her

Kim was scared.  She was about to cross so many lines.  

"It's not like I've never done it before," she thought to herself.

"Oh, what the fuck?" she said aloud, making Michelle giggle.  She took the
joint from her daughter, and brought it to her lips.  She inhaled the smoke
directly into her lungs, and held her breath.  She felt better almost

She exhaled a thick cloud of pot smoke towards the ceiling, and passed the
joint back to her daughter.  Michelle mimicked her mother's motions exactly.

Kim couldn't help but notice how different her daughter looked.  Perhaps it
was because Kim was stoned that her perception was different, but maybe it's
because Michelle actually looked older smoking.

After passing the joint back to Kim for another hit, Michelle seized the
opportunity to steal the cigar box from her mother's lap.

"No, wait," said Kim.  She didn't want Michelle to know what was in the box.
That way she could decide what they would or would not do.

But she was too slow.

Michelle opened the lid of the box and looked over the contents.  She
nervously pulled out the bag of cocaine.

"I don't think we should do that," Kim said, taking a cigarette from the pack
and lighting it.  

Michelle realized that her mother must not have ever done it before.  She
didn't want to tell her that she had, so she just played along.

"Oh come on, Mom, aren't you the least bit curious about it?"  she asked.

Kim took a puff on her cigarette.  

"Maybe just a little," she said.

Michelle took the mirror out.  She also took the instruction card Liz had
prepared, although she knew she wouldn't need it.  She pretended to be reading
it, to give the illusion that she didn't know how to do it.

A few minutes later, a line was cut, and a bill was rolled.  

"Who wants to go first?" asked Michelle.

Kim's maternal instinct took over.

"I'll go first," she started.  "Take this."  

She handed her half smoked Marlboro 100 to Michelle, who eagerly accepted it.
Kim watched as the young girl of sixteen put the cork-tipped filter in between
her parted lips and wrapped them around.  The tip glowed as Michelle pulled
the smoke into her mouth.  Removing it, she inhaled the smoke and held it in
for around five full seconds before exhaling slowly.

"You really like smoking, don't you?" Kim asked.

"Yeah, Mom," Michelle said.  "I think I do."

Kim said nothing as she took the instruction card from Michelle's lap and
scanned it briefly.

She put the rolled dollar to her right nostril, and pinched her left.  With
the assistance of the mirror on the bed, she was able to look her own
reflection directly in the eye as she snorted the white powder into the back
of her nose.  She repeated the process for the other nostril.

Instantly, she felt the effects of the cocaine.  She also felt an impending
sense of guilt for doing drugs with her daughter.  At the same time, she
pictured her relationship improving to the same level as Caitlin and Liz.  She
passed the bill to Michelle, and took her cigarette back.

After a quick sniff to cure her runny nose, she took a puff on her cigarette.
It tasted?.wonderful.

Michelle put the bill in her left nostril, and slowly snorted a line.  She
wiped her nose, and put the bill in her right nostril.  She snorted this line
back at about the same pace.

"What do you think?" she asked her mom as she reached for the pack of

"It's different," Kim said, not wanting to encourage the habit.

"Yeah, I like it," said Michelle, lighting her cigarette.

"So this is supposed to bring us closer?" asked Kim.

"Don't you think it has?" asked Michelle, exhaling a double drag.

"You know, you might just be right," Kim answered.  "We've got a week here
still ahead of us, too." 

"I know," said Michelle.  "It's going to be fun."

The two stoned girls came out of the room and watched television with Caitlin
and her mother, who were both smoking joints.

"How do you feel?" asked Caitlin.

"Fucking great!" giggled Michelle.

"Good," said Liz.

Kim mouthed "Thank you" to her sister.  

The four women watched television for about three and a half hours.  It was
the closest any of them had ever felt.

When they finished, Caitlin said she was going to go to bed.

"Caitlin, wait," started Kim.

"What's up Aunt Kim?" asked Caitlin.

"Want to get high first?"  Kim asked.

"Sure," said Caitlin.

Liz produced a small bowl, already packed with marijuana.  She lit it, and
passed it to Kim, who took a healthy hit.  She passed the bowl to Michelle,
who took a double hit.  Michelle passed the bowl to Caitlin, who (after
re-lighting it), took an even bigger hit.

This process continued for nearly another hour, before all four smokers
retired for the evening.

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