Cherise, Virginia Slims, and Tennis, Part 1

(by, 28 September 2000)

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Cherise, Virginia Slims, and Tennis
Part 1 

Cherise Anderson was always a mysterious girl. She has always been a friendly 
girl, but sometimes seemed to hold back from letting people know too much 
about her. This trait, combined with her good looks, sometimes led her peers 
to think that she was snobby and aloof. However, once approached, she was 
quite friendly, and always ready with a warm smile for anyone. She was at 
once outgoing, yet private. She was quiet, yet adventurous. With her long, 
straight, sandy blonde hair, pretty green eyes, nice small lips, her warm 
smile that revealed perfect teeth, and a nice figure on her 5'6" frame, she 
had always had guys after her. They would flirt with her and sometimes aim 
catcalls her way, but Cherise always took it in stride. She would grin 
sheepishly, sometimes blushing a little, but otherwise seemed oblivious to 
all the courting from the male species. She had the cute, innocent girl next 
door looks, the look that makes people think she must be pure and must not 
have done anything wrong. She drove the guys nuts because she was at once 
pretty, friendly when approached, yet always mysterious and introverted, and 
she had a way of letting those around her sense that her mind was always on 
more important things...
Cherise grew up in a comfortable suburb outside a major Midwestern city. Her 
mother, Courtney, and her father, Tim, divorced when Cherise was 8 years old. 
Tim was a good-looking man, an executive at a young age at a fortune 500 
company. He was what one refers to as a "career man", often working long 
hours and going away for a week here and there on business. Tim prospered at 
his job, and as a result Courtney was able to stay at home in a nice $150,000 
suburban home near a shopping mall to raise Cherise and her younger sister by 
4 years, Carrie. However, Tim had an ego problem, a constant need for 
gratification from different people. This trait served him well at his job, 
as he was always seeking out ways to help the company, and was always being 
patted on the back by his superiors. However, his need for attention also 
included attention from women - other women besides for his wife, Courtney. 
The numerous young women that he worked with, plus the women he met on 
business trips, led to several affairs. Courtney found out about two or three 
different women that Tim was or had been seeing, and their marriage was in 
Courtney and Tim had met in college, where she was a cheerleader and he was 
on the baseball team. They had married shortly after they graduated college. 
When they were both 25, they had Cherise, and then at 29, they had Carrie. 
And at age 33, after undergoing counseling and after Courtney pleading with 
Tim to start spending more time with his family and less with his career, 
they divorced. Tim was not able to change nor did he seemed to want to, and 
seemed to shirk his duties as a father, being uninvolved with his two young 
After the divorce, Tim took a transfer to a different city, and Courtney, 
Cherise, and Carrie remained in their posh suburban house. With Tim's income 
and his child support payments, they were able to live a comfortable life, 
although Courtney began to work a 8-5 job at an advertising firm once Cherise 
and Carrie were both in school. 
The three females had to adjust to their new life. Cherise and Carrie both 
seemed to be fine, doing well in school and being obedient girls. They helped 
their mom with chores and their house was warm and clean. The adjustment for 
Courtney, having to work and take care of two young daughters, on top of the 
stress and emotional pain of the divorce, was a bit more difficult. She had 
always taken care of her body, dating from her days as a cheerleader all 
through high school and college. She had always exercised, ate good meals, 
didn't do drugs, and drank alcohol in moderation at the occasional high 
school or college party. On one particularly stressful Sunday though, she 
went and bought something she had never bought before - a pack of cigarettes. 
Courtney had smoked at parties while drinking during her high school and 
college years, but had never picked up the habit on a daily basis like so 
many do. She took pride in taking care of her looks and body and never felt 
the urge to start on a regular basis. Tim had been a devout non-smoker and 
definitely would not have approved of Courtney smoking around him. So it had 
been a good nine or ten years since the last time Courtney smoked, before she 
picked up a pack of Marlboro Light 100's on that stressful and overcast 
Sunday day. 
What started off as a way to relieve stress for a couple of days soon turned 
out to be a regular habit. Courtney began smoking daily shortly after that 
first Sunday, with her cigarette intake steadily increasing. At first, she 
would only smoke outside on the back deck, mostly after the kids were in bed 
or during lunch break. Then, in addition, she began smoking in her car - on 
the way to work, on the way to lunch, on the way back from lunch, on the way 
home. Little Cherise, then 10 years old, took notice of her mom's newfound 
habit. "Mom, your car smells like smoke!" she proclaimed one day while in the 
car after Courtney arrived home from work and took the girls out to eat. The 
young girls at that point had never seen their mother smoke before, but on 
that day Courtney admitted to little Cherise that she had indeed started 
smoking. "But why mom? You don't need to smoke do you?" Cherise asked. It was 
an important question that Courtney pondered over. The cigarettes were a way 
to help her relax, to relieve stress, and to give her something to look 
forward to. She enjoyed the anticipation of smoking her next cigarette. It 
was an eerily identical feeling to when she would look forward to making love 
and having sex with Tim. The anticipation was just as exciting as the event 
itself in both cases, and always left her wanting more. The adrenaline that 
both smoking and sex gave her, the overall relaxed feelings she had, the same 
feeling of something deep inside her, causing her great pleasure and a 
feeling of euphoria.... Smoking and sex did have a lot in common, she 
decided, and she knew that she was not going to give up her habit just yet...
Now that the girls were aware that their mother was smoking, she began to 
smoke in the house. She now smoked immediately after meals and during the 
evenings while watching television. She rationalized that her daughters, now 
11 and 7 respectively, were older now and the smoke wouldn't affect them as 
much as it would when they were younger. She begins to experiment with 
different brands, preferring long white 100's and gradually developed a 
preference to menthol cigarettes. She enjoyed the Benson & Hedges Menthol 
Lights, Misty Slims Menthol Lights, and Virginia Slims Menthol Lights. She 
began to smoke those brands exclusively. 
At her job at the advertising agency, Courtney had various tasks. When she 
first started there, she worked exclusively in the office. Now that she had 
been there a while, her duties expanded to being out of the office a lot 
going to different businesses. She was able to smoke more, being in her car 
more often, as a result of this change at work. She had never smoked in the 
office, though, but by now her co-workers were aware that she was a smoker. 
At 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., the people in the office would take 15-minute breaks. 
On the days that Courtney was in the office, she would now smoke two 
cigarettes during her 15 minute breaks in the company "smoking room". 
With all of these changes in her life, Courtney was now smoking 15-20 
cigarettes a day, and would definitely have a difficult time quitting. By 
now, her smoking was so much a part of who she was, that she had no strong 
desire to quit. She enjoyed her cigarettes. She enjoyed the feeling of 
sucking something deep inside her chest, enjoyed the mentholated taste of her 
cigarettes, and enjoyed handling them and was fascinated by the smoke 
bellowing from her mouth and nose when she exhaled and from the cigarette 
itself. She smoked in her car, even when the girls were with her. She would 
always crack the window in her car so the smoke could get out, and in order 
to flick the ashes from her cigarettes. Sometimes, when she was by herself 
and it was a nasty day out, she would leave the windows rolled up and use the 
ashtray of her Saturn to flick the ashes from her cigarette. This only seemed 
to enhance the neurotic, yet sensual pleasure she got from smoking. 
Courtney had also begun to date again. Occasionally, on Friday and Saturday 
nights, a girl in the neighborhood would come over and babysit Cherise and 
Carrie while their mother went out. Courtney was a pretty, youthful looking 
37 now, and the men were still hot after her. Sporting the same hair as 
Cherise, long, sandy and straight, often worn in a ponytail to make her 
appear more youthful and fun, Courtney was a catch for any man. Although she 
didn't exercise much these days, she still ate healthy foods and that - plus 
her smoking - helped keep her figure looking good. Eventually, Courtney began 
to get serious with a 41 year old divorced man named John. John ran a 
successful business installing swimming pools, and was an attractive man. The 
two clicked after being introduced by a mutual friend, and they became one 
another's steady. John was also a smoker, and the two would often light one 
another's cigarettes when at a restaurant, nightclub, or at one another's 
Meanwhile, Cherise was now 12 and in junior high. She was really coming of 
age and developing a nice figure. She had always been somewhat athletic, 
playing sports with the kids around the neighborhood. Her favorite sport was 
tennis, and she frequently played at the courts near her house. Sometimes she 
would practice on her own, other times she would play with friends from her 
neighborhood and school. The neighborhood had a large amount of kids around 
her age, and, as pre-teens and teenagers, were beginning to get into more 
adult things, like courting the opposite sex, drugs, alcohol, music, smoking, 
etc. Cherise was one of the "goody-goody" kids - did well in school, obeyed 
her mom, and avoided alcohol, smoking, sex, drugs, etc. She was really 
starting to become a good tennis player, and tried out and made her 7th grade 
team in middle school. She held her own, playing at the number two singles 
spot, and won most of her matches. Sometimes, when the weather was nice, 
Cherise would badger her mom to come out and hit tennis balls with her. 
Courtney would often accompany her, but she was never an avid tennis player, 
and all the smoking she had been doing for the last three years had made her 
get winded quickly while running around chasing the tennis ball. She would 
often have to stop to catch her breath. Cherise would often tease her."C'mon 
Mom what is the matter? Maybe you should quit smoking!" she would badger her 
mom teasingly. 
Cherise had rarely complained to her mom about her smoking. Her mom was a 
full-fledged smoker that smoked pretty much anywhere in the house no matter 
who was around. After a meal, Courtney, Cherise, Carrie, and John (if he was 
there) would sit around the table and talk and tease, and of course Courtney 
and John would be smoking. The four got along great, John treated the girls 
well, and they often went out to the movies or shopping together. Oftentimes 
friends of Cherise and/or Carrie would accompany them. Sometimes Cherise 
would look at her mom's magazines and notice the pretty women in the 
cigarette ads. She always thought that her mom could be in one of those ads. 
She would often watch her mom smoke a cigarette from afar, and wonder to 
herself if she really enjoyed smoking or if she was just hopelessly held 
captive by her habit. Whenever she watched her mom take her deep drags off 
whatever all-white menthol 100 that she was smoking, and flick the ashes into 
the ashtray, and hold her cigarette, she always thought to herself that her 
mom really seemed to enjoy it. It seemed to relax her. Seeing her mom with a 
cigarette became synonymous to Cherise that she was content and relaxed, and 
not stressed out like she sometimes was. That explains why she didn't 
chastise her mom about her smoking. She knew that when she smelled 
cigarettes, her mom was content. Cherise didn't mind the smell of the 
cigarettes, and her mom was always courteous so that the smoke didn't get in 
the girl's eyes or face.
During the summer after Cherise's 7th grade year, she experienced many 
firsts. She shared her first kiss with a boy her age that would often come 
around the neighborhood. His name was Josh. Josh was for the most part a good 
kid, with nice parents that took care of themselves. But Josh had already had 
experience with sex and drinking, two things that Cherise had never 
experienced. One afternoon, while Josh's parents were at work, Josh raided 
his parents liquor cabinet. He mixed some rum and coke and gave some to 
Cherise. Cherise, after some persuading by Josh, drank the whole thing and 
felt quite buzzed. She had taken her first taste of alcohol. They spent the 
afternoon kissing and listening to music. She felt as though she could do 
more while under the influence of the alcohol. Cherise felt a little guilty 
about drinking the rum, though, but she really enjoyed the time she spent 
with Josh. She didn't know whether or not to tell her mom about the drinking. 
She had told her mom when her and Josh first kissed, and while her mom seemed 
cool about the whole thing, she did receive her first lecture on the "birds 
and the bees". Her first sex talk. Cherise thought that if she told her mom 
about drinking with Josh, then she may not have been allowed to see Josh 
There was another thing that Cherise was growing more curious about - 
smoking. Her mom continued to smoke a pack a day, day after day. It was a 
ritual for the family to sit around the table and talk for a bit before going 
their own separate ways, and her mom would now smoke two in a row after 
eating a meal, and smoked first thing in the morning after waking, and last 
thing at night while lying in bed. Cherise knew how bad smoking was - she had 
seen it first-hand watching her mom chase a tennis ball around, and she had 
also notice her mom developing wrinkles that came about from taking her long 
deep drags on her cigarettes - and plus she was devoted to being a good 
tennis player. But she still wanted to try it sometime. She knew that like 
most kids her age, she was going to experiment with things. Lots of kids try 
smoking and don't like it, she thought. Maybe I will be one of those people. 
She looked at herself in the mirror one day. Her hair was pulled back that 
day by a headband. She often wore headbands while playing tennis, and she 
thought she looked cute and innocent in it. Her breasts were developing and 
she was now about 5'4" tall. Her teeth were perfect, and she knew from 
looking at herself that she was cute, but that she didn't have that "wild" 
look that a lot of the other kids had; kids that she sees at the mall, in 
school, in the neighborhood. Kids with piercings, tattoos, wild haircuts or 
colored hair, kids that seem to want to go against the grain. She realized, 
at that time, that almost all of those kids were already smoking. She knew 
that she definitely did not have the "smoker" look. She considered herself 
preppy, dressed conservatively but always modern and in style, the nice, 
friendly girl-next-door type. But then she realized that her mom didn't look 
like a smoker either, and hadn't even started on a regular basis until she 
was 34 years old! She wondered why her mom never started at an earlier age, 
if she felt that she missed out on all the years she could have been smoking. 
She wondered, knowing her father Tim's strong disdain for smoking, if her 
parents would have married had her mom been a regular smoker back then, like 
she was now. Would her mom be with John? John was a pack-a-day smoker just 
like her mom and surely she wouldn't have put up with that had she not 
started, would she have? Would she have even been born or been anything like 
she was now had her mom been a smoker? 
The summer drew on. Cherise was now old enough that Carrie and her could get 
along just fine during the day without a babysitter. They would play with 
friends in the neighborhood, watch television, walk to the mall, listen to 
music, etc. Cherise still played tennis, and now would ride her bike to an 
indoor multi-purpose center and play against other avid tennis players, some 
a good deal older than her. She was starting to get a little reputation, and 
people would watch her play against an older, bigger opponent, and cheer her 
on. Her coach at the middle school would often show up at the center and work 
with her and a few other girls. 

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