Carol: A Story

(by, 10 August 1997)

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Carol: A Story

I met the woman who was to become my wife in 1976. Carol had just
joined our firm as a trainee computer programmer right out of
technical school. She was just 21 at the time and normally I would not
have paid much attention to her even though she was a young attractive
redhead who still carried freckles on a fresh-looking face. Normally,
because I was 15 years older than her, married in law if not in
spirit, and struggling with the breakup of my marriage along with all
the pressures of a management job. 

For a while I didn't really pay much attention to her. After she had
been with us for a year, and about 6 months after my divorce, she was
assigned by her boss to a project that was in my section. Part of her
job involved reviewing the results of her analysis with me and getting
my approval for the programs she was writing. She would meet with me
several times a week in my office and those sessions were often long
and tedious. A couple of hours into one of our first meetings she
noticed the ashtray on my desk and asked if she might be able to
smoke. Back then smoking was still common in our offices and I had no
objection. In fact since I didn't smoke myself the thing was only
there for use by visitors. So Carol produced a pack of Kool 100s and
lit up. From then on she would smoke whenever we would meet though she
would generally hold out for an hour or so before lighting up. If the
meeting was a long one she would smoke 2 or 3 times and though she
wasn't a chain smoker by any means she obviously had smoked for some
time from the way she seemed to enjoy it.

That was really the first time I paid any attention to her in anything
other than a professional way. I had always found certain types of
smoking women to be especially sexy for some reason. It never was a
big part of my life, but I had always noticed a good-looking woman who
smoked with some style and would give her extra attention. I don't
really know why, but maybe the fact that my mother had smoked when I
was growing up had something to do with it, I don't know. All I knew
was that it could add to the attraction for me, and perhaps the fact
that my ex-wife Linda had never smoked made me subconsciously look for
something different this time. The way Carol smoked was particularly
interesting to me in that she seemed to make it so much a part of the
way she acted, totally integrating it into her behavior without making
a show of it. She simply breathed smoke. By that I mean that when she
was smoking, she would take a puff, inhale without making a show of it
by simply opening her mouth slightly and breathing it in, and then
after holding it in her lungs for a few seconds she would just
continue to breathe normally. So she would slowly exhale smoke from
her nostrils for 4 or 5 breaths unless she was talking, when it would
spill out of her mouth with her speech in little bursts. I found this
fascinating. Most women almost looked like their smoking got in the
way of whatever else they were doing. Not Carol. Like I say, it was
simply a part of her normal behavior. Not only did I like the way she
did that, but I liked a whole lot else about her, so one day near the
end of the project I asked her out for a drink after work. 

We had a good time and we both seemed to sense that there was more
than a professional relationship developing. We opened up and talked
about our personal lives. It was a revelation for me to be with such a
vibrant, vivacious, almost innocent young woman. She was so full of
interest in so many things, so full of life, still unspoiled by the
weight of the world. Yet she also showed a maturity that surprised me,
especially considering she was just 22, and I found myself becoming
more and more intrigued with her. I told her about my situation and
how I hadn't really dated anyone since the divorce, and she told me
how she had broken up with her boyfriend of a couple of years a few
months ago and hadn't been seeing anyone either. That made it a lot
easier for me to ask her if she'd be interested in going out sometime
again, and I was a happy man when she agreed without hesitation.

The project was over now so I only saw her occasionally at the office,
but we began going out a few times a week. It started out as just
friends but it didn't take long for both of us to realize that there
was more to it than just that. We liked doing all sorts of things
together, but one of our favorites was going to a little club she told
me about that had an eclectic lineup of musicians, sitting at our
favorite table in a dark corner, drinking wine and talking while
listening to the music. I discovered that Carol smoked much more when
she was out in an environment like that. Her style didn't change, just
the pace of her smoking. I would light her cigarettes for her and she
seemed to like that. The subject of her smoking came up one night when
she finished the last of her Kools and I went to the bar to get her a
new pack. They were out so I went back to the table and asked her what
she would like instead. "Oh anything that's a menthol 100 will do I
guess" she answered. I found her a pack of Salem 100s and as she
opened them she said "I used to smoke these for a while when I was in
high school. I thought I wanted something different from mom's brand.
They're OK, but I still like the Kools best." 

"So your mom smokes Kools too?"

"Oh yeah, ever since I can remember. Switched to the 100s a few years
ago before I started."

"Which was when?"

"In my last year of junior high. Grade 9. I know, that seems really
young looking back. I guess you had to be there. A whole bunch of my
friends started smoking all at once. It was the thing to do that year.
They showed me how, and I would steal cigarettes from mom's pack and
smoke with them at school. Then I started taking whole packs from her
carton after a little while. I smoked in secret for almost a year
before mom told me she was on to me and I should drop the charade."

"I bet she was pretty upset with you, huh?"

"Not really. I mean, hey, what could she say after all? I think I got
her on a little bit of a guilt trip. Told her it was her influence
that got me started even though that wasn't really it. So she told me
that I could smoke at home if I wanted, just be careful. Warned me
about all the bad things and said if I kept on smoking I'd get hooked
just like her, and not to blame her for it if that happened. All the
usual stuff which sounded pretty bogus to me considering that she was
smoking while she said it. I thought it was really pretty cool of her
to let me smoke. I was only 15 after all and I wasn't even thinking
about asking her since things were OK the way they were. But when she
offered to let me, I knew I liked it, so I told her that I really did
want to smoke as long as she truly didn't mind. She didn't, so I
started sharing her cartons. I began to enjoy it more, being able to
smoke all the time like that, and she seemed to like having another
smoker around. We would have little chats over cigarettes and coffee
and it made me feel different somehow. Not from the smoking itself,
but psychologically. Like an adult somehow, you know? I was smoking a
pack a day by the time I started Grade 11 the next fall. I took to it
pretty quick I guess, and mom was right on, because that's when I got
hooked too just like she said. Being around her all summer and
watching her smoke all the time just seemed to make me want to smoke a
lot more and that's when it happened. But I didn't really mind because
I loved smoking and I understood why mom always said she'd never be
able to quit. I've been smoking about that much ever since. So you
should know that I'm a real addict now, I hate to say," she said with
a throaty laugh.
It certainly didn't bother me even though I had never before heard
anyone say they "loved to smoke", and our relationship continued and
intensified over the next year. We were engaged in the spring of 78,
and got married that July. I was the envy of most of my male friends.
Not too many guys in their late 30s got a second chance with a
gorgeous 23-year-old redhead. I knew exactly how lucky I was, and our
married life was a total contrast to my first marriage. I was
revitalized both personally and professionally by Carol's presence. My
confidence was reborn and my work life saw me back on the rise in the
company. My personal life was the happiest it had ever been. I had
this young, beautiful, sexy woman as my partner and there was a spice
to our private life that had always been missing in my first marriage.
How much of her sexiness was due to her smoking is hard to say. But I
know that it played a role. There were times when I would watch her
smoke and immediately feel aroused. I loved slipping behind her when
she was taking a puff while standing at the sink or counter, putting
my arms around her chest and feeling it expand as she inhaled the
smoke deep into her lungs while I kissed her neck. She would lean her
head back, holding the puff inside her for an eternity, and let me
kiss her first on the cheek, them finally on the lips, before she
slowly released her smoke through her nostrils. More often than not
that move was a signal for us to adjourn to the bedroom. 

In 1980 Carol became pregnant. We had agreed that we would have one
child, no more, since I had 2 boys from my first marriage that were
still with their mother. Carol was advised to quit smoking, and she
tried very hard. By the 4th month she had managed to stop almost
completely, with only an occasional puff being sneaked in a moment of
weakness. On October 21st our daughter Marianne was born. I was there
for the whole thing and it was an amazing experience. The next day
when I went to visit in the morning Carol asked me if I would bring
her a pack of Kool 100s when I returned in the afternoon. She told me
that all she could think about was being able to start smoking once
more. I got her a pack since I didn't mind if she did restart and
watched her smoke her first cigarette in 5 months in the smoking
lounge of the hospital ward. Her face transformed from a anxious,
tired look to a placid, peaceful smile almost within seconds of her
first inhale. That's when I first realized just how much she really
did need her cigarettes. Carol immediately smoked 3 cigarettes and
actually double-pumped a few times, both of which were things I hadn't
seen her do previously. Within a week of coming home her pack a day
habit had returned again. 

After Marianne's birth Carol decided not to return to her job. I was
doing well in my own position and our income was now at a point where
we could live comfortably on my salary alone. So she stayed at home to
raise Marianne and began to develop a talent for pottery in her spare
time. She was remarkably good at that and soon began to enter her work
in craft shows where it was quickly accepted. In fact, it became a
significant source of extra income and proved to be rather lucrative
for us. It was the perfect sideline for her because she could do most
of her work at home while still attending to Marianne's needs. Once
Marianne turned 5 and entered school Carol was able to devote even
more time to her pottery business. We bought more and more equipment
as her business grew and eventually turned a part of the basement into
her studio. 

Carol's continued her smoking during all these years. When she was
working with clay she couldn't smoke, of course, but she would make up
for it by taking frequent cigarette breaks during the day and of
course she could smoke freely at other times. She tried not to smoke
too much around Marianne but once our daughter went to school that
restriction disappeared as well. Slowly her habit grew and she began
to average 30 cigarettes each day. Several times she tried to cut back
or switch to lighter cigarettes but she just couldn't do it. She
complained that the lights were very unsatisfactory and would always
return to her full-flavored favorite Kool 100s. Sometime during this
period she finally accepted that she was unable to reduce her habit
and after a time she gave up even trying to do anything about it. She
conceded to her dependency and simply indulged as much as it took to
satisfy her deep-seated desire to smoke.

I still found Carol as attractive as ever. As she moved through her
30s she retained her attractive features and slim figure. Our personal
lives were still wonderful, and with our income we could afford to
take vacations to far-away places. Sometimes these were related to my
job, sometimes to her craft work, and sometimes just to places we had
never been to previously. We didn't always head for exotic
destinations, either. We found that we could enjoy ourselves just as
much in a small city or town with character as we could in a resort,
and more often than not those were the kind of trips we would take. We
would wander around town and see the sights, shop, and take in the
local attractions. All very low-key, but very enjoyable. During these
vacation trips Carol would smoke incessantly, far more than she
normally would. While walking around town, while shopping, while
eating, while touring, no matter what we did, the one constant was
that she would always be smoking. I never did understand why she
changed her pattern during these trips, but it was consistent. Once we
went on vacation, her smoking would increase dramatically. 

This was a new experience for me too. Carol almost never smoked while
walking down the street or while shopping when we were at home, but
she was never without a cigarette in her hand when we were away. I
found it strangely entrancing to be walking with her while she puffed
frequently on her Kools and breathed smoke endlessly. In fact, we
sometimes had to slow our pace on hills now because she would get
winded during the climb because she had been smoking so heavily. I
remember the first time it happened when we were walking up a hilly
street while shopping for antiques in New Hampshire one summer. I
noticed her breathing hard and she had to slow her pace. Finally she
gasped "Just give me a second... I need to catch my breath," and we
were forced to pause. She took one last puff from the Kool she had lit
at the bottom of the hill before tossing it away, and took several
deep breaths until she had recovered. I was surprised and a little
worried, and when we reached the top of the hill and were looking at a
display of antiques outside the shop, I had to comment when she lit up
again after only a few minutes. "Oh, leave me alone," she protested
half-seriously, "after all, I'm on vacation!" I was concerned about
the toll her smoking had started to take on her since she had now
smoked for 20 years, but despite it all I still loved watching her
have to satisfy her habit. If anything it was now even sexier to me.

As she entered her late 30s Carol's smoking started to approach the 2
pack a day level. It was a gradual process but her intake increased
ever so slowly over time. I don't know if she consciously decided to
smoke more or if it just happened without her realizing it. I know it
must seem strange but I found it incredibly sexy to think about the
way she had given herself over to her need to smoke. It seemed as
though she would always have traces of smoke remaining in her lungs
even when she hadn't smoked for a few minutes, which was about as long
as she could now go without needing a cigarette. She couldn't ever
totally eliminate the smoky smell from her hair and breath either, and
when we would lay next to each other at night in bed I could now
actually hear her breathing due to her congested airways. In the
mornings she would awaken and immediately be forced to cough to clear
her lungs before she would light her first cigarette of the day while
still in bed. Sometimes this was so arousing that we would make love
then and there as soon as she finished her cigarette. We never did do
it while she was smoking though, it just seemed too risky.  

After she turned 40 both of us realized that Carol couldn't go on like
this. A bout with pneumonia that winter made her understand finally
just how weakened her lungs had become and she initially resolved to
quit. Her system would have none of that though after having smoked so
much for so long and she soon realized that for her quitting would be
nearly impossible. She suffered greatly for a while before she decided
to give up trying to quit and instead set a goal to cut back. By using
nicotine gum constantly she was able to reduce her smoking
dramatically. She actually got down to half a pack a day at one point
though once she stopped using the gum that went back up slightly. She
stabilized at just under a pack a day after about a year and is still
at that level. By smoking less she has come to appreciate each of the
cigarettes she does have even more and feels much better too. Her
cough has virtually disappeared and her breathing is greatly improved.
She is still as sexy as ever to me as well. The one physical benefit
of her continuing to smoke is that she has been able to keep her
weight down all these years and her figure is still youthful as ever.
I still get as aroused as I ever did when I watch her smoke, and if
anything seeing her as the mature, seasoned, committed smoker she has
now become is even more exciting to me.

I took early retirement from my job a couple of years ago. Our life
now is as good as it has ever been. I'm enjoying being away from the
day to day pressures of my old job and we have been able to travel
more and generally take things easy. Carol still tends to smoke more
when we travel, but nothing approaching the way she used to be, maybe
25 or 30 a day sometimes, no more. And she always goes back to the gum
when we get home to bring her habit back down to under a pack a day.
Our health is still good and I'm happy that she she seems to have
found a way to balance her need to smoke and her desire to preserve
her health. Hopefully she will be successful. 

There's one more thing about Carol's smoking. As much as I liked
watching her smoke, I always wondered about the effect it had on our
daughter. Last year when we were on vacation in Arizona, we had just
finished having breakfast outside one morning when Carol said to me
"Marianne has something she wants to say to you." I was slightly
puzzled and turned to Marianne. 

She looked at me almost bashfully, then looked at her mom. Carol was
holding what would be her first cigarette of the day in one hand and
her Bic in the other but hadn't yet lit up, and she had a big grin on
her face. I still didn't know what was going on, and said so. 

Marianne finally spoke. "Daddy, while you were out yesterday playing
golf, mom and I had a talk. I had to tell her something. I've started
smoking. I hope you don't mind."

I can't say I was very surprised. Like all kids Marianne had started
to get on her mom's case about smoking once she started school but I
hadn't heard her say anything the last couple of years. I had hoped
that she would be turned off by Carol's heavy smoking during her
preteen years and never take it up but realistically I knew that once
she became a teenager she would be be subjected to peer pressure and
become more likely to want to emulate her mom. I was still a little
disappointed though, knowing the grip it had taken on Carol, and asked
her how long this had been going on.

"Almost a year. I tried it when we were in Paris last spring. I'm
sorry I didn't tell you sooner but I was afraid."

"And what made you finally decide to come clean?"

"Oh, yesterday when mom and I were sitting around the pool after you
left. It was driving me crazy watching her smoke and not being able to
myself. I had to tell her because I really wanted one so I figured I
would take a chance and see if she would let me smoke. She did,"
Marianne said, grinning at her mom. 

"Sorry I was an accomplice," said Carol with a smile. "But I could
appreciate what she was feeling, obviously. We talked about it and she
knows all the risks. And she said that she still wanted to smoke. So I
decided it was OK with me. I let her smoke with me most of the
afternoon yesterday, in return for making her promise to raise it with
you this morning."

"Well, I really wish you wouldn't." I said turning to my daughter.
"But since you're 16 now I suppose you know what you're getting into.
Besides, it seems a little late to do anything about it and I can't do
anything to stop you. If you want to smoke, be my guest," I said.

She smiled broadly and gave me a hug. Returning to her seat she
reached into her shoulder bag and pulled out a pack of Marlboro Light
100s Menthols. She extracted one from the pack and as she looked up
Carol was already offering her a light. After getting it lit Marianne
leaned back in her chair and took a sip of her coffee, then drew on
her cigarette. Not surprisingly, she smoked just like her mother. She
took a long puff and inhaled rather deeply for a beginner -- if you
could still classify her as that -- and after holding it in for a few
seconds she slowly breathed it out via her nostrils, just like Carol
did. There was no doubt in my mind that we now had two smokers in the

We permitted Marianne to smoke without restriction ever since then and
her habit established itself rapidly. By emulating her mother's style
of smoking she was taking in a significant amount of nicotine and it
didn't take long before she found that she needed to keep on smoking
regularly. Now a little more than a year later she's exceeded the pack
a day threshold herself and of late she's become an even heavier
smoker than her mom. The one difference between her and Carol is their
choice of brands, although she will smoke her mom's Kool 100s just as
easily as her Marlboro Menthols these days. More and more often I see
her smoking the Kools and it wouldn't surprise me to see her switch
over soon since I've heard her mention to Carol that she enjoys her
full-flavored ones more now than she did back when she first started
smoking. She seems just as devoted to her cigarettes as her mom and I
have no doubt that now she is every bit as addicted too. It seemed
strange to me to watch her smoke at first, because I never had the
same association of sexiness with her smoking that I did when I
watched Carol smoke. I still don't but at least it no longer seems so
unusual to my eyes. Watching the two of them sitting at the kitchen
table and smoking together almost makes me feel good about their
habits since it seems to have brought them to a new level of
closeness. And judging from the number of boys that have started
hanging around the house lately, I guess I'm not the only one who
admires smoking women!

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