A Life of Illusion, Part 1

(by anonauthor02@yahoo.com, 02 January 1996)

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Article 5639 of alt.sex.fetish.smoking:
Message-ID: <035303Z02011996@anon.penet.fi>
Path: cocoa.brown.edu!agate!newsxfer2.itd.umich.edu!
Newsgroups: alt.sex.fetish.smoking
From: an284773@anon.penet.fi
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Organization: Anonymous forwarding service
Reply-To: an284773@anon.penet.fi
Date: Tue,  2 Jan 1996 03:50:13 UTC
Subject: "A Life Of Illusion" 1/6
Lines: 280

Here's a new story for all of you. Some of the parts have mild sexual
references so if you are offended by such things you may not wish to proceed

The story is long and I am splitting it into 6 parts. Hope they all make it.
As always, comments via email are welcomed. Enjoy!



"A Life of Illusion"

Part 1: Up the Ladder, Down the Tubes

Mary Marsden was getting tired of it. Tired of the constant haranguing,
tired of the game-playing, tired of trying to prove to the world that she
was part of the perfect family despite ample evidence to the contrary. It
seemed that just about every time she lit up in front of her husband
Richard, he would give her a disapproving look, like he did just now, if not
actually come right out and voice his displeasure. Ever since he'd quit
smoking himself, six years ago, his disdain for Mary's habit was becoming
more and more obvious. When he was going through the process of quitting,
Mary went along and tried to quit herself. But her heart wasn't really in
it, because she simply loved to smoke, and she knew deep down inside that
she really didn't want to quit. Since she resumed her habit six years ago
she now smoked nearly a pack and a half of Virginia Slims Menthol a day and
never gave it a second thought, unless Richard made some disparaging remark.
At times like this, she felt his nickname of "Dick" was all too appropriate.

Mary started smoking in her early teenage years and being from one of the
tobacco states her parents really didn't provide any resistance since they
both smoked too, as did virtually all their family and friends. To Mary, it
was just something one did when they reached a certain age, and at age 14
her curiosity finally got the better of her one day and she asked her mother
about smoking. To Mary's surprise, her mom began to show her without any
hesitation how to smoke in response to the query, expecting this day would
come eventually just as it had for herself, and believing that knowing how
to smoke was just one of the social skills a young lady should learn. She
began to coach Mary in how to smoke "properly" and in how to behave with a
cigarette. Mary's first few puffs made her think it was something she
couldn't actually believe people did voluntarily, since she was nearly
overcome with the new and somewhat unpleasant sensations when her mom
finally convinced her to try to inhale a small puff for the first time.
However, the uncomfortable feeling soon disappeared, to be replaced by a
strangely unfamiliar but surprisingly pleasing sensation as she became
accustomed to it after she tried it a few more times with additional
encouragement from her mom. It didn't take long before Mary took to the
habit, discovering that she had developed a taste for cigarettes, and before
long she began to enjoy her smoking. Each day she would have one in the
morning with her mom before leaving for school, and several later in the day
with her when she returned home. Still, her consumption at first was minimal
and even though Mary was now beginning to look forward to smoking with her
mom each day she never really thought that she would become a lifelong smoker.

But inevitably, it happened. One of her fondest memories was of the
Christmas holidays the year she turned fifteen, when her folks let her know
it was OK for her to smoke in front of the relatives when they came over for
their visits, or when Mary's family made the rounds to other's homes. She
was a little nervous when she opened her purse at her grandparents house
that year and pulled out her pack of Kool 100s (her mom's brand and Mary's
at the time also), but their silent approval of her smoking - she found out
later that her mom had told them in advance, so they didn't make a big deal
out of it - made her feel like a grown-up for the first time in her life.
She felt her cheeks turn slightly red from self-consciousness as she saw her
relatives watch her extract one of the long cigarettes from her pack and
light up, but as she took a long puff on her Kool and inhaled it deep into
her lungs as had now become her custom, she felt a tingle of accomplishment
run down her spine. She soon noticed that nobody was paying any particular
attention to her as she smoked and before the hour was out she was lighting
up again without a second thought, just like all the others. At the big
family get-together the day after Christmas, when the house was filled with
relatives and friends, Mary found a patch of vacant floor space in the
living room next to two of her cousins and sat down with them to catch up on
news. They retrieved a large ashtray and sat it on the floor between them
and for the rest of the evening the girls smoked, talked, ate and drank just
like they had always seen the grownups do. The next morning, Mary
remembered, her head was a little fuzzy from her first encounter with her
uncle's famous Christmas punch, and her throat felt like sandpaper after
smoking nearly a dozen Kools with her more experienced cousins, but she soon
realized that she was also feeling a nagging urge for a cigarette - her
first real craving, something she hadn't experienced before. The habit began
to take hold of her that Christmas, and as she continued to satisfy her
increasingly frequent urges to smoke over the next year her daily
consumption slowly but steadily increased. By the next Christmas, Mary
needed her mom to give her a fresh pack of Kool 100s every day more often
than not, but nevertheless she was still surprised when she found her first
carton as one of her presents under the tree that year. By the time she went
off to university a few years later she couldn't remember what it was like
to not be a smoker. She had grown to love the feeling of inflating her lungs
with the strong menthol smoke her Kools provided, and knew that as a result
of doing it so often each day for the last few years that there was now no
turning back. She had allowed the habit to succeed in taking a firm grip on
her, but didn't mind since she now enjoyed smoking so much.

It was at university that she met Richard and before long she was deeply in
love. When he finally proposed marriage during their last semester in their
senior year she had begun to wonder why it had taken him so long. They were
married that summer, and by the same time the next year Mary had given birth
to their first and only child, a beautiful blonde they called Lisa. While
Mary stayed at home to take care of their child, Richard rapidly began to
advance up the ladder in the corporation he had gone to work for after
graduation. His success in sales led him to a promotion to headquarters
after several years and while financially they were better off than either
of them ever dreamed, Mary noticed a definite change taking place in Richard
once he began to move upward in the corporate world. He would come home from
work preoccupied and stressed, and often failed to respond to her attempts
to comfort him. Increasingly he began to talk about ideas and concepts that
she didn't understand and felt that he didn't really believe in, but were
instead the corporate theme of the moment that was being espoused by the
management of the day. Whenever she raised this topic he would become
defensive, saying "Well, why not? It might mean another promotion and more
money, so what does it matter if you don't really believe in it? If the boss
says it's white, I'm not going to be the one to tell him it's really black!". 

This was only one of many signs of strain in their relationship. Travel
often meant Richard was away from home for days or even weeks at a time,
something he said he needed to do to get ahead. When he was at home it was
often in the company of a packed briefcase as he worked exceptionally long
hours to try and keep pace with the other high-flyers in the company.
Lately, he would no longer even spend as much time with her as before when
he did take a break from working while at home, often preferring to take a
walk "to clear his head" instead, or using some other excuse not to be with
her. Communication between the two was at an all-time low as Richard no
longer seemed to relate to Mary's life, or even be particularly interested
in it, preferring instead to bore her with tales of corporate intrigue or
some new management theory which she found difficult to understand at those
rare times when they did talk. None of them ever seemed to have heard of
common sense, she once remarked, and as far as she was concerned that was
all anyone ever needed to get ahead, a comment that caused Rich merely to
shake his head in disgust. Even Richard's decision to quit smoking, and his
attempts to influence her to do the same, were not based on anything other
than the fact that he felt that it would help his chances for advancement if
he quit since his boss was an anti-smoker. 

For nearly two weeks after they had both quit Mary hung on valiantly,
despite virtually constant and powerful cravings to smoke. She had never
tried to quit before, not even when she was pregnant, and until now she had
no idea how powerful her habit actually was. Her irritability was
noticeable, and she was having trouble thinking about anything other than
how much she missed her Kools, but she was determined not to give Richard
the satisfaction of seeing her fail. One Friday, however, she met one of her
girlfriends for lunch and after their second glass of wine the sight and
smell of Patti's cigarettes was too much for Mary and she asked her for one.
Patti smiled and offered her Virginia Slims Menthols, and as soon as Mary
tasted the cool smoke in her mouth she knew that she was a goner. Inhaling
deeply on the cigarette, Mary felt extremely guilty but was soon overcome
with an intense wave of enjoyment and satisfaction that she realized she
badly missed. Patti offered her another cigarette after their meal and,
unable to resist the temptation, Mary gave in again, truly enjoying being
able to breathe the cool smoke deep into her lungs once more.  Driving home
she began to experience yet another craving. She knew at that point that she
was going to be unable to quit smoking, so she decided to stop at a
convenience store and buy a pack of Patti's brand. Arriving home, she went
out on the patio to smoke in secret like a schoolgirl, trying to decide how
to tell Richard the news. When Lisa arrived home unexpectedly and caught her
mom smoking outdoors, the look of disapproval on her face was obvious, for
Lisa never approved of her mother's smoking, and Mary felt more than a
little embarrassed. When Mary finally told her husband she had decided to
give in and resume her habit, admitting her failure, it seemed to inspire
Richard even more to prove his superiority by staying quit, and he
succeeded, something he never failed to remind her of. 

The love they once shared when they were first married over 15 years ago had
changed into merely a tolerance of each other and while Mary never really
seriously considered something as extreme as a divorce, she knew that it was
mostly hope that things would get better that was keeping their marriage
together, a promise that one day Richard would get to the point where he
would be content and again have time for her. But more and more it was
becoming difficult for her to conceal her unhappiness, and Mary increasingly
was fearful of Richard's legendary temper and occasional fits of physical
anger. While they were never directed at her or Lisa, she wondered if some
day they might be, and she was secretly afraid of him following these
displays. Fortunately, Lisa had never witnessed these acts so she had no
idea of what her father might be capable. But Mary was convinced that their
marriage was now little more than a charade they played out for appearance's
sake, and she felt more and more often that their life was little more than
an illusion.

Lisa's reaction to all this was disappointing to Mary. At age 14 she was
quickly turning into a stunningly pretty young lady, and she possessed
intelligence that allowed her to succeed in school with little effort. This
year she was on the debating team, and her confidence in public speaking was
something that both Richard and Mary were very impressed by. She was already
taller than Mary, better looking than most of her classmates too, Mary
thought, and with her long, thick golden hair she never failed to impress
the boys she encountered either. Mary realized that they were extremely
lucky to have a daughter like Lisa, smart, pretty, and popular, who seldom
gave them any cause for concern and aside from the usual teenage hijinks
never really did anything they would need to discipline her for. Since she
saw Richard so infrequently it was always a big occasion when they were
together, while in spending time around Mary she often observed her mother's
unhappiness. As a result she tended to take Richard's side on many things
and while she didn't often criticize Mary directly it was often obvious how
she felt. Mary hoped that she would some day be able to win her daughter
over to her side, at least to the point where she would recognize her side
of things, but hadn't really considered how. With Lisa having turned 14 a
few months ago, Mary knew she was running out of time. 

One Sunday afternoon Richard was called away once more on an unexpected
business trip. Mary was disappointed, of course, as she had hoped to at
least maintain their traditional Sunday night family meal, the one thing
they always tried to do together and make an occasion. Richard phoned prior
to the dinner hour and Mary's unhappiness was evident in her voice. Richard,
trying to make the best of a bad situation, said, "Honey, I know it's hard
and I hate having to be away. Look, why don't you open up a bottle of wine,
light some candles, and have a really elegant dinner for yourself and Lisa?
I promise, I'll try not to miss this ever again. What do you say?"

"Oh, what the hell, OK. But I hope you mean it this time, when you say that
you'll try not to have this happen again. I was really looking forward to
this evening. This is happening too often, Richard, and it's got to stop
soon. Do you hear me?", she said in a firm voice. 

Hanging up the phone, she turned and saw her daughter watching her. "Why did
you have to yell at daddy? It's not his fault he had to go away," Lisa said.

"I wasn't yelling, honey, really I wasn't. I just get a little frustrated
sometimes, that's all. I'm sorry. Come on, your dad had a good idea. He said
we should have a really fancy night tonight, with candles and everything,
and we'll even open a bottle of wine and you can have a glass like at
Christmas. Doesn't that sound like fun?," Mary said, trying to conceal her
displeasure. Geez, she thought, he can do nothing wrong in her eyes, can he?

One of the compensations from Richard working so hard and long was that they
were able to afford a nice home, and their dining room was perfectly suited
for elegant entertaining. Mary and Lisa set the table with their best linen,
crystal and china, and Mary lit candles on the table and buffet while Lisa
opened a bottle of wine, something her dad had recently showed her how to
do. Mary and Lisa had cooked themselves a lovely meal and just as she had
promised, Lisa had been allowed a small glass of wine with dinner just as
she had been for the last year or so on special occasions. Still
unaccustomed to it, it made her slightly tipsy but she enjoyed the feeling. 

Both Mary and Lisa enjoyed their meal and perhaps thanks to the wine their
conversation was more lighthearted and friendly than usual. Following
dessert Mary decided to forget about her usual coffee, still having nearly
half a bottle of wine left, and decided to have another glass instead. Since
it had been well over an hour since her last cigarette she was by now
feeling the familiar urge to smoke, and so before refilling her glass she
went to retrieve her pack, lighter and a large cut-glass ashtray from the
living room and returned to the dining table.

Lisa had returned to the dining room after helping to clear some of the
table and as she seated herself again, she emptied the last of the wine from
her glass. Mary was by now filling her own glass and, feeling a little more
relaxed than usual, she saw Lisa place her empty glass on the table and
impulsively asked her, "Sweetie, would you like a little more wine?" Lisa
was a little surprised by her mother's question, but she enjoyed the effect
the wine had on her and so she accepted her mom's offer.

"To us", Mary offered in a toast, and she and Lisa clinked their glasses
together and sipped the golden liquid. Mary felt a warm feeling inside and
wasn't sure if it was the wine causing it or the unusual closeness she was
feeling towards her daughter. It made her smile inside and helped her forget
about her troubles with Richard, at least temporarily. Placing her glass
back on the table, her hand moved to her pack and she retrieved one of the
Slims. Picking up her lighter with the other hand, she flicked it to life
and lit up. As she did so, her glance caught Lisa looking at her intently.
It seemed it wasn't the usual look of disapproval either; to Mary it looked
more like one of fascination. As she took a long puff on her cigarette and
gracefully inhaled the smoke, her mind flashed back to a scene over 20 years
ago and she remembered watching her mother in the same way. She decided to
ask Lisa the question herself, rather than let her daughter summon the
courage to do it on her own.

End of Part 1


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