The Crusader, Part 1

(by anonauthor02@yahoo.com, 24 October 1996)


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The Crusader (Part 1)


Jenny Davis had been grappling with a dilemma for some time and at age 14 it
wasn't always easy to find the answers to the issues she faced. But she had
just about decided she was ready to try smoking. She had struggled with the
decision of whether or not to even taste a puff for weeks prior. Jenny was a
rare find these days, a teenager who attended church without fail every
Sunday, participated in the church's community activities, and maintained
excellent grades in school. She took pride in her behaviour, reinforced by
persuasion from her mom, and the idea of doing something disobedient like
smoking was totally out of character for her. More importantly, her mother
was adamantly opposed to smoking and had taught Jenny from her earliest
memories that smoking was a bad thing. But her friend Tammy Sommers had
begun to experiment with smoking a few weeks earlier and this had eventually
helped Jenny convince herself to try it. Tammy's parents were both smokers
and it was easy for her to obtain cigarettes by sneaking them out of their
packs when they weren't looking.

Tammy Sommers was a pretty typical teenager, both very sure of herself in
some areas and totally at sea when it came to others. During her 14 years
she had experienced the usual growing-up angst and was increasingly feeling
a sense of separation from her earlier dependency on her parents, and had
begun to express her views in an increasingly vocal fashion. Yet she
realized that despite their differing views on a number of things, she was
far better off than many of her schoolmates when it came to family life. She
was pushing the outside of the envelope a little more these days than they
would have preferred, but by and large everyone respected each other and
they had a good sense of family. She had never done anything that would
disappoint them, but her growing curiosity about life and all it had to
offer was making her feel some internal conflict between what she wanted to
do and her parents' expectations of her. For the last year or so she was
feeling one of those conflicts over the subject of smoking. Ever since she
could recall, both her mom and dad had smoked. They never really talked
about it with her, and though she knew they were aware it was not good for
them they both continued to smoke heavily, with no obvious ill effects that
she could see. In fact, they seemed to quite enjoy it. Now a number of her
school friends had started to smoke, either secretly or, incredibly to
Tammy, with either tacit or outright permission from their parents. Some of
these were people whom Tammy liked, and she began to wonder what it felt
like to smoke. But her sense of self prevented her from asking her friends
outright, and she wanted to do this by herself - if she did it at all.

She pondered her decision for several weeks before finally one day, in a
display of nerve that slightly surprised even her, she slipped a cigarette
out of her mom's pack while she was in the bathroom getting ready for an
evening out. Tammy knew that she would be alone that evening and would be
able to conduct her experiment in secret. After they had been gone for about
a half-hour, she felt safe enough to retrieve the cigarette and spent a
moment examining it. The smell of the unlit tobacco was interesting to her,
reminding her almost of raisins. It seemed pleasant enough, but she was
still nervous when she decided to light up for the first time. The taste of
the smoke as it entered her mouth was bitter and not really that pleasant,
but she didn't mind it all that much and was excited by the experience of
smoking like her mom and dad. She finished her first cigarette without
inhaling any of it, and the taste in her mouth became unusual but not all
that unpleasant by the end. Over the next couple of months, Tammy would
repeat this behavior whenever she had the chance and was starting to like
the sensation of smoking, even if she wasn't inhaling yet. But that didn't
take much longer either. By the time that Jenny decided to try smoking
herself, Tammy had gotten used to cigarettes and now was smoking almost
every day. Tammy had finally attempted to inhale after watching how her
parents smoked, and realized that they were actually breathing in the smoke,
not just blowing it out the way she did. Although it made her choke and
cough that night when she first tried it, she persevered because it was
something she really wanted to master. Eventually she learned to control how
much smoke she breathed in and soon she was able to easily draw a whole puff
of smoke down into her lungs and then blow it out without difficulty. After
only a few more cigarettes it became second nature and soon she actually
began to enjoy the thrill it gave her. Now she was inhaling every puff every
time she smoked. Tammy quickly decided that she really liked the sensations
she felt when she inhaled and exhaled smoke, and thought she would continue
to experiment with smoking for a while longer.

Tammy and Jenny were very close and did most things together. While Tammy's
first few cigarettes were sampled completely in secret, once she had gotten
comfortable with her smoking technique she decided to tell her best friend
about it. Jenny was shocked when Tammy revealed she had been smoking because
she had never heard Tammy say it was something she was considering. She
thought Tammy shared most of the same values as her and never believed that
her friend was predisposed to smoking. Jenny had never even considered
smoking before but now she began to think about it. She remained undecided
about it until Laurie Mahoney arrived after a transfer from a nearby school
that was overcrowded and became friends with the girls. Laurie was a
vivacious, outgoing 15-year-old who was tall and had a slightly chubby but
well-rounded body, much more adult-like than the other girls. She smoked
frequently and openly, telling the girls that her mother knew all about her
habit, and combined with her size and personality, the smoking made her seem
much older. Laurie and Tammy began to smoke together after school each
afternoon and Jenny felt a little left out. They had offered her the chance
to try it a few times previously but she had always turned them down.

Finally one day the three girls were hanging out in the mall after school
and Laurie and Tammy decided to go to the food court so they could smoke.
Tammy had stolen a pack from her mom's carton a few days earlier and she
offered to share these with Laurie, but she had her usual pack of Salem 100s
in her purse and decided to stick with those. Tammy glanced towards Jenny
and saw her staring as she pulled a VS 100 from the pack. Jenny looked up to
see her friend watching her and smiled nervously. "Could I try one of those?
Will you show me how to smoke?" she asked sheepishly. Tammy grinned in reply
and turned to Laurie.

"Should we let her smoke?" she asked sarcastically. Laurie laughed and
nodded, "All right! It's about time, Jen. Just take it easy at first and be
cool. We'll have you smoking just like us in no time at all. C'mon, let's
get you started!". This did little to calm Jenny for she was extremely
nervous about smoking in general and about getting caught by her mom in
particular. But she had opened the door by raising the subject and she now
knew she had to go through with it. Tammy shook another cigarette loose from
her pack and offered it to Jenny. "Just do what I do" she advised and she
lit up Jenny's first cigarette as she shakily held it to her lips and drew
on it tentatively. She blew out a small cloud of smoke as Tammy and Laurie
confidently lit up themselves. Jenny found the taste very strange and not
pleasant. She decided to keep quiet for the moment and see what it was that
her friends found enjoyable about this.

Tammy showed her how to take a few puffs into her mouth and blow them out.
Jenny didn't like the taste but still said nothing because she didn't want
her friends to think she couldn't do it. Laurie finally piped up and asked,
"Do you want us to teach you how to inhale?" Jenny immediately understood
what it meant and remembered Tammy telling her how it made her cough at
first. She was a little apprehensive and knew it was a big step but thought
if they could do it so could she. She decided to give it a try and nervously
agreed to let Tammy and Laurie coach her in the act. They each demonstrated
their technique for her benefit before Jenny had to do it herself. The first
small puff she inhaled seemed to go into her lungs easily enough, much to
her surprise, but blowing it out made her want to cough. She suppressed it
as best she could and didn't like the feeling at all, but Tammy and Laurie
congratulated her on her success and said that now she would be able to do
it all the time. Jenny really didn't think she'd want to but after nearly a
minute tried it again. She was struck by how much better this one felt, and
she detected a tingle run through her body. Her feelings began to change and
after another short pause she decided to try and keep up with her friends.
Following their example, she took a much longer puff this time and for the
first time tried inhaling it deep into her lungs. She was astounded to feel
an intensely pleasant sensation in her chest and was both surprised and
amazed to see herself exhale a long, endless stream of smoke afterwards.
Jenny began to smile with accomplishment as Laurie and Tammy grinned at her.
After recovering she took another long puff and upon drawing the potent
smoke deep into her lungs, she again felt the same wonderful sensation in
her chest and a strong surge of adrenaline coursed through her. "Ohhh..."
she murmured almost involuntarily as she held the smoke inside her and began
to feel the effects of the nicotine on her body for the first time. She had
never experienced anything quite like it before and while it was different,
it wasn't at all unpleasant she realized as her grin widened as she felt
what was happening to her.  A few more puffs delivered the same delightful
thrill before she began to feel somewhat dizzy and light-headed, so she
crushed out her first cigarette and thanked her friends. Her heart was
racing with excitement and her face felt flushed.

Over the next while Jenny began to have a cigarette with Tammy and Laurie
occasionally after school. She continued to adjust to the effects of
inhaling smoke and soon the dizziness disappeared. Within weeks she was able
to smoke every bit as well as her friends. As both Tammy and Jenny became
more confident in their smoking they began to do it more often, while Laurie
continued to amaze them with her ability to smoke freely. Jenny started to
actually enjoy the sensations of smoking despite her earlier beliefs and
after a couple of weeks she secretly began to buy cigarettes from a vending
machine or from a store she discovered where they were not vigilant in
enforcing the law about sales to minors. Her friends were more fortunate in
having a supply of cigarettes available to them at home so they never had a
problem obtaining them. They would even help Jenny maintain her habit when
she was unable to get cigarettes temporarily by keeping her supplied until
she was able to buy a fresh pack for herself, so she never had to do without
for an extended period. The girls' habits continued to grow steadily over
the school year and they would now always smoke together before school and
after class each day. They began to frequent places where they could smoke
and were now both smoking several cigarettes a day and carrying packs with
them wherever they went, just like Laurie always did. Both girls had started
to really enjoy smoking and were starting to feel a subtle urge to smoke
more often as they unwittingly began to develop their initial but almost
imperceptible cravings for cigarettes.

As all three girls lit up one day at the mall after school, just prior to
beginning summer vacation, Tammy revealed that she was about ready to
confess to her mom that she smoked. "It's just too much of a pain in the ass
to run around and hide it anymore," she confessed, blowing out smoke. "There
are times now when I really want to smoke and I can't, and it drives me
half-crazy. Especially when I'm with mom and see her smoking herself. With
vacation coming up I think I'm going to have to tell her if I'm going to be
able to keep smoking over the summer. But geez, I don't know...  how am I
going to find a way to tell her about it without having her go all spastic
on me?", she lamented. "How did you convince your mom to let you smoke,
anyway?" she asked Laurie.

Laurie's response was a throaty chuckle. "It wasn't me who had to convince
her," she said softly with a smile. She looked pensively at her Salem 100
and tapped ash from the end before taking another deep drag.

"I don't get it. What do you mean?" Tammy asked.

Laurie exhaled smoke before answering. "Well, let me tell you. A little over
a year ago I decided I wanted to try smoking because mom seemed to like it
so much. I had always watched her smoke while I was growing up and she
really seemed to like it, so I thought I might too. I really didn't give it
a whole lot of thought, I was just curious. It wasn't hard for me to steal a
few from her and once I started to really watch her smoke I thought I sort
of knew what to do. I almost died the first time I took a puff and inhaled
it because I really had no idea what I was doing. I just did what I had seen
mom do all the time, and it was way too much for me at first. Oh, man, did I
ever gag on that! That kind of put me off inhaling, but I kept doing it a
little without really inhaling, you know, just blowing it out. I got used to
the taste and I guess I thought it was sort of neat, so I'd take one now and
then when I felt like one from mom's pack. Some days I wouldn't feel like
smoking at all, some days I would, but never more than 2 or 3 a day. I was
still just fooling around with it and I never really thought about whether
I'd want to be a real smoker. I just figured she'd never miss them. I don't
know if she did or not, though, because one day after a few months she sat
me down and talked to me. That's when I really started smoking."  Laurie
placed her cigarette in an ashtray and pulled back her long dark hair into a
ponytail as she thought back to the events of a year previous and began to
relate the story of how she became a smoker to her friends.

***

Laurie was an only child. Her mother Katie Mahoney was a single parent
following her divorce when Laurie was just 4 years old. Despite her still
attractive looks - she and Laurie shared the same dark-brown hair, green
eyes and attractive fair-skinned features - she had never remarried and was
now comfortable in her independence. Katie had learned how to smoke when she
was a high school freshman but had never been a regular smoker until shortly
before her marriage at age 21. Her fiance and future husband Ron was a
smoker, and Katie allowed herself to slip into the habit out of wanting to
please him more than anything else. At first, she smoked only a few times
each day with him, but before long she was smoking on her own more and more
as she began to truly enjoy the sensations and effects of smoking, and Katie
slowly became addicted to cigarettes. Around the time of her divorce 5 years
later Katie's relatively light smoking habit had gradually grown to the
point where she smoked well in excess of a pack a day, helped in part by the
strain of the marital breakup, and she had continued at that level or better
ever since, as she came to rely on it to help her cope with the pressures in
her life.

Years ago she had tried to quit smoking and was surprised by how difficult
it was. Katie's first attempt to become a non-smoker lasted only a few
agonizing days and she quickly returned to the comfort of her habit. A year
or so later she tried once more to quit after preparing herself for it now
that she knew how difficult it would be. After about a month she once more
gave in, missing it more than she ever thought possible and finding her
cravings too much to cope with. At the time, it shocked her to finally
realize that she was so heavily addicted that she could not give it up, and
the feeling of helplessness disturbed her at first. But by now she had long
ago abandoned any further thoughts of ever stopping and rationalized that it
was virtually impossible for her to quit, nor did she want to. Over time she
began to let herself simply enjoy smoking without guilt and had ultimately
decided that the pleasure she obtained from her habit made the risks she
took by smoking acceptable to her. Katie no longer had a problem identifying
herself  to the rest of the world as a smoker and now knew she would always
smoke, for she had come to really love smoking over the last few years. She
did her best to offset the risks of her heavy habit by attempting to
exercise regularly, eating well, and generally leading an otherwise healthy
lifestyle aside from her smoking. At age 35, she could still pass for years
younger and loved going out when dressed in some of Laurie's trendy clothes
and being mistaken for her daughter's older sister instead of her mom.

On this day, she had asked Laurie to join her in the living room and as the
14-year-old watched enviously, her mom lit one of her daily ration of
30-plus cigarettes, puffed out a little smoke, and then pulled hard on her
Salem, inhaling with a sound that instantly made Laurie envious of her mom
and wishing she could smoke too. Katie trapped the smoke deep within her
lungs for a few seconds, closing her eyes briefly in response to the
dependable pleasure it delivered, before she slowly exhaled twin streams via
her nostrils for several breaths. Laurie and her mom made small talk for a
few minutes, interspersed by Katie taking a few puffs on her cigarette and
letting her lungs absorb much of the cool smoke each time before exhaling as
she spoke.  It looked so good to Laurie that she began to feel an unfamiliar
but intense desire to have one herself. She actually began to wonder how to
raise the question with her mother but before she reached a conclusion Katie
spoke up.

"Honey, I wanted to talk to you about something important," Katie began,
looking somewhat grave.

"What, mom?," Laurie said, feeling suddenly anxious. She had no idea what
might be wrong and was worried that something bad had happened.

"We always agreed to be honest with each other, didn't we?," Katie asked.
Laurie nodded in response. "Well, then I have to say that I'm very
disappointed in you, Laurie. I know you've been smoking the last little
while. I'd have to be pretty thick not to notice. Why didn't you talk to me
about it?"

Laurie's heart jumped in shock as she realized she'd been found out. A
mixture of anxiety and shame began to fill her as she blushed in
embarrassment. Finally, she responded feebly, " I was afraid you'd be mad at
me" Laurie quietly said with a red face.

"The only thing I'm angry about, Laurie, is that you decided to keep it a
secret from me. I was really disappointed when I realized you were taking
cigarettes from me. I guess I had hoped you would just ask me straight out.
I thought we were at that stage with communicating with each other. Why
didn't you think you could come to me and talk about it if you wanted to
smoke?"

"I guess I thought you'd be mad," Laurie offered. "And I figured there's no
way you'd ever let me smoke, right? So if I wanted to do it, I thought I'd
have to keep it a secret."

"Well, that's where you're mistaken. You should realize that there's no need
to hide things from me. I was your age once too, you know," she said with a
grin. "Even though I wish you weren't smoking, I know what it's like to want
to smoke. I can understand, honey. After all, I was about your age when I
first started myself. So I figured this day would come and I wasn't  too
surprised when it did," Katie said before she took a last long pull on her
Salem and inhaled deeply as she crushed it out in the large ashtray next to
her. She paused for a few seconds and the room fell silent. Finally, Katie
spoke up again. "Do you like smoking, Laurie?," she suddenly asked.

Laurie considered the question for a second as she watched her mom slowly
exhale the last remains of her puff. She still couldn't believe that they
were having this conversation at all, and now she was having a hard time
figuring out where it was heading. Finally, she decided that truth was the
best option and she managed a nod in response.

" OK. Well then, here, honey, have one," Katie said with a smile, shaking a
few loose and offering her pack to her daughter as a shocked look spread
across Laurie's face. "Since you're smoking now I don't want you to have to
hide it from me anymore. If you want to smoke, that's OK. Go ahead."

Laurie's recent experimentations with smoking, despite her secrecy, had not
gone unnoticed. Laurie had not been as careful as she might have in stealing
her mother's cigarettes to try. She had unwittingly allowed herself to be
observed by her mom on several occasions over the last few weeks as she
liberated a few Salems from Katie's pack. The first time she witnessed it
Katie was surprised, somewhat disappointed, and she thought about
immediately challenging her daughter. Then she thought back to her own
experience as a young teenage girl and realized that Laurie was only doing
exactly the same thing that she had. She decided to wait and see, and
several times over the next few weeks observed Laurie slip a few Salems from
her packages while she thought she was alone. Based upon this, Katie had
mistakenly concluded that Laurie was smoking fairly often, and had probably
done so for a while now. Otherwise, she reasoned, why would she be taking
three at a time from her? If it was just an experimentation, surely just one
would satisfy her. Finally, after seeing her daughter repeat the thievery
earlier that very morning, Katie decided to end Laurie's sneaking around and
let her smoke openly. Little did she know that her conclusions were flawed,
and that her actions were to result in Laurie changing from someone merely
curious about smoking into a devoted smoker like herself.

Despite her mom's miscalculation and caught off guard by the offer, her
daughter did little to dissuade her from her views. Laurie was still too
stunned to realize what her mother was actually saying, and had no idea that
Katie believed she was already smoking frequently. "Mom!?! What... uh...
like, you want me to smoke? Are you saying it's OK?"

"I don't see why not. You're 14 now and you look even older so I don't think
it'll be a problem. Like I say that's how old I was when I first started to
smoke. Besides, you've always been mature for your age. You know that
legally you're still too young, right? So don't try to buy them or anything
just yet, I guess I'll have to do that for you. I assume you'll keep wanting
Salem 100s?"

Laurie's face split into a huge smile of both relief and embarrassment. She
nodded positively despite some confusion and disbelief in her mind as Katie
continued. "OK, fine. That makes it easier, then. You can just take them
from my carton when you need some, all right? Now go ahead, have one. If
you're going to smoke, then smoke. It's no big deal. Maybe I can even teach
you a thing or two about it. Do you want to have one or not?"

"Oh, mom, you're just too much... yeah, I guess I do. Thanks, thank you so
much!," Laurie finally responded, reaching for the cigarette. Katie just
smiled and reached for her lighter as Laurie slid one of the long white
cigarettes from Katie's pack. She placed the Salem 100 to her lips and
carefully accepted a light from her mother as she felt her previously dry
mouth moisten as the cool smoke flowed in. Laurie immediately blew out a
cloud of smoke as she watched her mom light up one of her own. It felt a
little bizarre to be smoking openly with Katie but the feeling soon passed
as she took another puff, longer than her usual, and then breathed in though
her nose while keeping her mouth closed. This was the only way Laurie had
been willing to try to inhale, and at that only a small amount of smoke,
after her bad first experience. To her it was something she did only when
she was feeling particularly adventuresome, since most of the time she
didn't inhale at all. She tried it this time in an attempt to impress her
mom, and blew out a large cloud of smoke, followed by a thin, almost
invisible stream as she expelled the small amount that had reached her
lungs. She felt wonderfully mature smoking alongside Katie and was happy she
no longer needed to keep it a secret.

Meanwhile, Katie watched her daughter closely as she smoked openly for the
first time. She saw Laurie's cheeks cave inwards and the tip of her
cigarette glow brightly as her daughter took a long drag and felt her
beliefs about Laurie's smoking were confirmed, since that was hardly the
puff of a beginner, but she was a little surprised when Laurie blew it out
right away. Katie was pleased that Laurie had finally come clean, even
though she didn't realize that Laurie hadn't really developed a regular
habit yet. Despite her error, deep down inside she really didn't mind the
fact that Laurie now smoked though she thought while watching her that she
would really need to give her a few pointers. The large cloud of uninhaled
smoke hung in the air around them and Katie concluded after a moment that
this just wouldn't do.

"Don't you inhale, Laurie?," she asked.

"Yeah, I do, a little," Laurie protested.

"It sure didn't look like it to me," Katie responded. "Have you ever tried it?"

"Once, when I first started. I just about threw up," she confessed. "I just
inhale a little now sometimes."

"I'm surprised," Katie answered. "That's the part I like best about smoking,
and I thought you would be doing it by now." Katie paused for a moment
before she finally decided to ask, "Would you like me to show you how to
inhale like I do, honey? I'm sure you'll enjoy it once you get used to it."

Laurie felt herself jump inside with surprise and a little fear at her mom's
offer. "I don't know... I mean, I know you do it, mom, but... like, I'm a
little afraid. I mean, I think there's a part of me that would like to and
all, but I know it's not supposed to be very good for your lungs or
anything, and I'm not sure..."

"Oh, c'mon, honey, it won't be bad, I promise you," she said with a knowing
smile. "If you're going to smoke, you may as well do it properly. Everybody
inhales. I know you'll like it. Just watch me and do what I do. It's easy
once you've done it a few times.  What do you say?"

Laurie hesitated for a moment. Her first experience with inhaling had almost
put her off smoking permanently, and she had been conditioned not to try it
again. But here was her mom offering to teach her, and Laurie knew that her
mom did it every time she smoked. It must not be all bad, she mused. She
suddenly thought to what had attracted her to try it initially and realized
that it was in part a desire to look like Katie as she slowly exhaled smoke
from her nose and mouth. Laurie knew she hadn't yet achieved that, and she
suddenly decided it was worth a little temporary discomfort.

"Well, I guess... all right, mom, I'll try it if you show me," Laurie
finally said, a nervous smile appearing on her face. "Are you sure it won't
make me sick?"

"Not if you do what I say," Katie answered. "I don't want you to take too
much at first, and you should build up to it gradually. But I think you'll
get used to it fast, because you've inhaled a little bit already. Here's
what I want you to do. Take a puff about this big," she said, drawing on the
cigarette for about 2 seconds. She quickly inhaled before continuing, "then
just take a deep breath through your mouth, all the way down. Hold it in for
a second or two, then just blow out," she concluded, smoke punctuating her
words before blowing out the remains. "Try it and see how it goes."

Laurie was nervous as she brought the Salem to her lips. She took a
moderate-sized puff, then after a second opened her mouth slightly, closed
her eyes, and took a deep breath. She felt the mentholated smoke shoot down
her windpipe and settle into her lungs, and felt the most amazing sensation.
It was totally unlike the first time she had tried it, and it felt
delightful. A flushed sensation began to steal over her as she blew out a
stream of diffused smoke. She was unable to suppress a giggle as she
realized what she had just done and felt very pleased with herself.

"How was that?," Katie asked, grinning. "Like it?"

"Mmm, that was sort of neat," Laurie blushed. She was quiet for a moment,
enjoying her first real nicotine rush. "I feel really... I don't know, sort
of different. Do you always feel that way when you smoke?"

Katie had just taken another deep drag on her cigarette and spoke as she
exhaled. "Sometimes, but probably not the same as what you just felt,
honey," she explained patiently. "After you've smoked for a while it sort of
changes and you get used to it. But it's still very pleasant. Give it
another try, why don't you?"

Laurie had enjoyed her first puff so much that she decided to take a much
longer one this time. She pulled hard on the Salem's filter and the
cigarette crackled as it burned. As she took the puff, she pushed nearly all
the air in her chest out through her nostrils almost by reflex and emptied
her lungs. She finally withdrew the cigarette from between her lips and saw
a dense stream suddenly materialize from the burning tip. Laurie then heard
herself make a whooshing sound as she took a deep breath almost
involuntarily and breathed both smoke and air into her vacated lungs.  When
she inhaled, she first felt a sensation at the back of her throat which
quickly disappeared as the huge puff entered her lungs. As smoke filled her
lungs completely for the first time, she felt a fullness in her chest and
almost breathless for a moment before she felt another surge quickly come
on. The flushed feeling returned, and she felt a little dizzy suddenly as
she detected a tingly feeling in her arms and legs, but neither it nor the
breathless sensation was at all unpleasant. In fact, she felt excited by it
in a way she didn't quite understand. "Ohhh, mom....," she sighed in
enjoyment as she began her exhale and smoke began to exit her nose and
mouth. She slowly, almost weakly, blew out a stream, then took a breath. She
was surprised to see smoke again leave her mouth as the remnants of the puff
were exhausted from her lungs.

Katie watched her daughter's reaction carefully. "Are you feeling OK,
Laurie?," she asked softly.

Laurie nodded and grinned. "Yeah, I guess so... actually, I feel great," she
giggled. "It felt really cool, mom. I mean, cool when I inhaled... I guess
that's the menthol? It's nice. I feel a little bit funny, but not too bad,"
she said giddily.

"That last one was probably a bit too much for you right now, Laurie," Katie
responded. "Eventually you'll be able to take long puffs like that, but for
now just take shorter ones and don't inhale too deeply, OK? I don't want you
to get sick or anything. It'll take you a little while to get used to it, so
you should just go slow for a while, all right? You can work up to that over
time. Don't try to smoke like I do just yet," she said with a wry smile.
"After all, I didn't smoke like this right from the start, you know," she
laughed.

Laurie finished the cigarette by taking four more puffs, inhaling each one.
She immediately loved the sensations of inhaling the mentholated smoke into
her lungs, but her body had a little trouble adapting to the sudden infusion
of nicotine and she began to feel slightly seasick. When her stomach
protested as she exhaled her last puff, she decided she had enough for now
and crushed out the cigarette. As she did, Katie asked Laurie, "So what do
you think? Did you like that?"

Laurie slumped back on the sofa and let out a deep sigh, a dazed smile on
her face. "Oh, yeah... that was great," she said softly. "Oh, man...," she
sighed, taking a deep, deliberate breath as she system raced. "Thanks for
showing me, mom... that was good. I really liked it." She closed her eyes
and tilted her head back on the sofa, enjoying the feelings that were
rushing through her for the first time. Katie meanwhile just watched her
daughter enjoy the sensations caused by smoking her first real cigarette and
felt a strange sense of satisfaction herself. Even though she had
miscalculated in assessing the extent of Laurie's progression as a smoker,
she knew that what had just happened would have occurred regardless; she had
just advanced the timing a little. Katie's motivation was simply wanting
Laurie to feel free to experience the same adult pleasure that gave her so
much enjoyment, without needing to feel guilty about it, and she took
contentment in seeing her daughter take another step in her passage towards
womanhood.


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