A Mother And Her Twins, Part 1

(by kalithanatos, 26 October 2008)


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A Mother and Her Twins

CHAPTER 1

Beth Robbins was having the worst day of her life. She knew it had been
coming, but when Jim texted her to arrange lunch, she got a sinking feeling
in her stomach when she realised what it was he wanted to discuss. They had
been on a trial separation for 3 months, with him living in a hotel and Beth
staying at their home with the twins. The hope that some time apart might
bring their old feelings back had slowly dissipated over the next 12 weeks.
The text message had simply read "BETH. TIME TO DISCUSS FUTURE. MEET AT 1PM
AT PANCHOS?" and she knew the time had come.

Jim had arrived, and after a quick peck on the cheek, they took their seats
at the restaurant table. After the waiter had taken their order, Jim just
threw it out there:

"Beth, this isn't working. I think it's time to make the separation
permanent. I'm not going to ask for custody of the kids or anything like
that, as long as I can have some sort of arrangement to see them. You can
have the house. I just think it's just time we moved on with our lives."

After that, there wasn't much to say. They ate their lunch in near silence,
and arranged a time the following week to meet with their lawyers, and that
was that. It didn't, however, stop the hurt inside. Beth returned to her job
in the afternoon like a zombie, and went about her business in a near
catatonic state for the next two hours, until Ellie popped into Beth's office
to ask her about one of the accounts. Ellie and Beth were more acquaintances
than friends, but they knew each other well enough to share problems. 

"My God Beth, what's the matter?" Ellie asked when she saw Beth staring
blankly at her monitor. "Are you okay?"

"Jim asked for a divorce," Beth said quietly. "It's over."

"Shit," said Ellie, "you must be devastated?"

Beth almost laughed. 

"You could say that."

"Listen," Ellie responded, "I'm going outside for my break. Do you want to
come with me and we can talk about it?"

"Anything to get me out of this office," Beth said, the tears beginning at
last. "I can't seem to concentrate on anything right at the moment."

"Come on then, grab your coat," said Ellie, and they both headed outside.

Once they reached parking lot, they found a secluded spot and sat down. Ellie
immediately reached for her cigarettes, then reminded herself she was with a
non-smoker. 

"Beth, do you mind if I smoke?"

"Of course not, Ellie," Beth said. "Go ahead."

"Thanks. We only get fifteen minutes, so I need this," Ellie said, lighting
up and inhaling deeply, "now tell me what happened."

Beth recounted the conversation she had had with Jim, and explained the
situation over the last year and how the marriage had turned sour. It wasn't,
she explained, that they had fallen out or anything; they had simply fallen
out of love. All the while, Ellie smoked in silence and nodded in the right
places. After the story was told, Beth asked Ellie how she had coped when her
fiancÚ had left her a couple of years previous.

"I responded pretty much like you did, right at the start. I took some time
off work, and sat around, thinking `Could I have done anything differently?'
And I smoked. A lot! That really helped me through."

"What do you mean?" asked Beth.

"Well, since I had no one to talk to and nothing to do, I started smoking
again. I didn't mean to. I hadn't smoked since college, and even then it was
only at parties and the occasional one here and there with friends. I gave up
after I met Bob, as he was so against it. I suppose there was some resentment
on my part right from the start, giving up something I loved to do just
because he didn't like it. God knows I never asked him to give up going to
the football every weekend!"

"But why did smoking help?" asked Beth again, "I mean, isn't it disgusting
and bad for you?"

"Well," Ellie laughed, "I suppose it IS disgusting at the start, but once you
start, you grow to love it. I'll certainly never be giving up again!"

Then Beth done something she never thought she would ever do. She asked,
"Ellie, may I try a cigarette?"

Ellie nearly choked on her inhale. "What? No! That's not the answer you're
looking for!"

Beth was now defiant. "Why not?" she asked. "You said smoking is what got you
through your hard times. Maybe it can do the same for me?"

"No, no," Ellie responded. "Smoking works for people who are addicted from a
young age, like me. You are 33 and too old to start smoking!"

"Oh, so now I'm OLD?" Beth said coldly. "Way to make me feel better..."

"I'm sorry, Beth. That came out wrong. What I mean is that you're a young,
beautiful redhead, with great breasts and figure to match. You don't need to
start smoking to get you through this. You'll find another man soon and
things will pick up."

"I don't want another man and I don't intend to start smoking," Beth said,
now sobbing. "I just want something to get me through the day, and if smoking
worked for you, maybe it will work for me, too. Now can I please have a
cigarette?"

"Okay, but you'll have to stop crying." Ellie said, looking around to make
sure no one was staring at them. No one was. "Now, if give you one cigarette,
will you promise me that it will be your first and last? You probably won't
like it much anyway. No one enjoys their first cigarette," Ellie said, trying
to convince herself it was the right thing to do.

"Fair enough," Beth said, regaining her composure. "But can you show me what
to do? I've never done anything like this before."

"No problem, honey. Here, take one of mine, and I'll join you. Now, put the
filter in your mouth and I'll light you."

Beth accepted the cigarette from Ellie. It was the first time she could ever
remember even touching a cigarette. It was lighter than she expected, and
looked strange dangling from her lips. She noticed the writing on the packet:
"Richmond Superkings." She now started feeling like this might not be such a
good idea when Ellie sparked her lighter and lit her own cigarette. Exhaling
quickly, Ellie said, "Now dear, when I touch the flame to the tip, breathe in
gently, but be sure not to inhale. As soon as you get a full light, take the
cigarette out of your mouth and blow out gently. Got that?"

Beth nodded in agreement as the flame approached. Anticipating the flame
touching the tip, Beth opened her eyes in amazement. Was she really doing
this? Then Beth saw the cigarette end light and she removed the cigarette
from her mouth with her index and middle fingers. Not knowing what to do
next, she blew the uninhaled smoke out quickly.

"Guess that wasn't too good?" Ellie asked in amusement, as she watched her
friend smoke for the first time in her life. "Are you finished your little
experiment?"

Beth was a little surprised to hear herself respond, "No, not yet. Can I try
that again? I don't think I did it right."

"Knock yourself out, kid," said Ellie, taking a drag of her own cigarette.

"Okay, but tell me if I'm doing this right," said Beth, as she prepared her
second attempt. She slowly brought the cigarette to her mouth and put the
cork-tipped filter between her bright red lips. Ellie looked on as Beth
closed her lips around the filter and drew the smoke into her mouth for a
second, before blowing it all out quickly with her mouth open wide. She had
actually felt the smoke in her mouth this time, and while it was not
pleasant, it was not entirely unpleasant, just a little bitter.

"You're doing fine," Ellie prompted. "It's not QUITE smoking, but it's close
enough."

"What do you mean?" Beth asked.

"Well, you look like you're blowing bubbles at the moment! You might want to
keep your mouth a little more closed when you blow the smoke out!"

Beth took this advice on board for her third attempt, and thought that it did
look a little more professional this time. However, there was something
missing.

"Ellie," she enquired, "why does it look different when you breathe the smoke
out?"

"Because I INHALE first, darling."

"Can I try that?" Beth asked.

"No way! If you start inhaling, then you might start to like it. I am not
going to be responsible for getting you hooked!"

"But you won't be! After this one, I am never going to smoke again,
remember?"

"Okay," said Ellie, "but only if you promise this is your first and last
cigarette? Hopefully you'll choke and that will be the end of it!"

"What do I do?" Beth asked, ignoring Ellie's last comment.

Ellie then instructed Beth to repeat what she had been doing, only instead of
simply blowing the smoke out, she should hold some of it in her mouth. Ellie
remembered her own first time trying to inhale. She had attempted to breathe
in all the smoke from a large inhale with her mouth closed and nearly puked
her guts out, so she advised Beth only to take a small drag and try to
breathe out of her nose at the same time. "Now, dear, open your mouth and
breathe the smoke gently down into your lungs. You may get the urge to cough.
Fight it, and try to hold the smoke in your lungs for just a second, then
gently exhale."

Beth tried to do as instructed. She raised the filter to her lips for only
the fourth time, breathed in some of the smoke as before while trying to
breathe out her nose, opened her mouth and...

"Wow!" was all she could think. "I'm doing it! I'm REALLY smoking a
cigarette!" The urge to cough came and went almost in the same instant, and
Beth exhaled the smoke that had saturated her virgin lungs for the first
time. Beth was amazed, as was Ellie to see her friend inhaling and exhaling
almost perfectly on her first attempt.

"I want to do that again!" said Beth excitedly.

Oh no, she's enjoying it! thought Ellie to herself. That's not what I
intended at all.

Beth raised the cigarette to her lips again, but this time she inhaled for
about three seconds, which was too much for her. Although she never coughed,
she very quickly became light-headed after she had exhaled and started to
sway from side to side and see spots in her vision. Ellie rushed over and
grabbed her to stop her falling over. She took the cigarette from Beth and
crushed it out, then asked her if she was okay.

"Yeah," said Beth woozily. "What happened?"

"You appeared to have done too much, too soon. Your body wasn't ready for so
much nicotine, and you almost fainted!"

"Jeez, is this what smoking is always like?" Beth enquired.

"No, unfortunately your body gets used to the smoke. The first few cigarettes
are the best, then you are always chasing that initial rush." Ellie replied.

"O,h right," Beth said, not fully understanding what Ellie meant. "Well,
that's enough of that," she said. "I don't think I'll be smoking again. After
all, a promise is a promise! But thanks for letting me try it; now I know I
don't need to smoke to get me through this. Let's go back inside. We've been
out here way over 15 minutes."

The two ladies gathered their things and went back inside.


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