(by anonymous3, 21 August 1996)

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    "Lanie, I'm going down to the laundry room, I'll be right back." Sara said
walking out the door, a cigarette dangling from her lips.

    " OK Mom" replied Lanie (which was short for Elaine) waiting for this
opportunity. Lanie walked over to the table by the recliner and picked up the
pack of Marlboro 100's, noting it's location in relationship to her mom's
Zippo. "Damn", she said to no one in particular. There was only 2 left in the
pack. Her mom would surely notice if she took one. Lanie put the pack down
exactly where her mom had left it. She knew her mom didn't suspect anything or
she probably would have said something by now and probably killed her. Every
time Lanie took a cigarette out of Sara's pack it made her heart race, just
like it did the first time. Lanie wasn't sure if it was fear or excitement
that got her adrenaline flowing, but she was sure she would be dead meat if
her mom ever found out she had been smoking.

    It was a week ago that 14 year old Lanie had decided that she should try
smoking a cigarette. After all there were girls at school that she knew who
smoked and there was even a girl in her math class whose mom allowed her to
smoke. She had seen her smoking with her mom in a restaurant in the mall just
last week. She had thought about smoking before that day but she never got up
the courage to take cigarettes from her mom or sister. Lanie, one day, decided
she would take a cigarette from her mom's or sister's pack if the opportunity
presented itself.

    She recalled smoking that first one, after school, in the bathroom when
Sara and her 19 year old sister Jennifer were at work. The opportunity had, in
fact presented itself and she had mustered the courage to take one from her
mom the night before and had hidden it in her sock drawer. She got a book of
matches from the junk drawer and went into the bathroom and closed the door.
Standing in the bathroom with the exhaust fan running, she broke out in a cold
sweat. "What if I get caught" she was thinking. Her Grandmother lived in the
apartment next door and had a key to their apartment. But Lanie talked herself
into it. Her heart was pounding so loud she could hear it in her ears. She put
the cigarette in her mouth and let it dangle like she had seen her mom,
grandma and older sister do on countless occasions. She struck the match, held
the cigarette steady with her fingers, put the fire to the tip of the
cigarette and took her first drag. Her senses went into overload as the smoke
hit her taste buds. It was unlike anything she had ever tasted in her life,
but decided it wasn't too bad as she puffed out the smoke. She placed the
cigarette back in her mouth and took another puff. She looked at herself in
the mirror as she continued to puff on her cigarette. She looked so grown up,
so worldly she thought. She eventually finished the cigarette, flushed it down
the toilet and sprayed some air-freshener. Lanie decided on that day, that she
was going to smoke and one day she would do it in front of her mom,
    just like her sister was allowed to do. The problem with that logic, Lanie
was thinking, was that her sister didn't tell her mom she was smoking until
she turned 15. Lanie didn't even know she smoked until that night at dinner
when Jennifer had broken down and told her mom. That means Lanie would have to
wait 1 more year and she didn't want to.

    Lanie was brought back from her reminiscing when she heard her mom come
back in. "Lanie, what are you doing?" Sara inquired.
    "Oh nothing, ma, just thinking about school tomorrow."
    "Well help me fold these clothes, and hand me my cigarettes and lighter"
her mom told her. Lanie grabbed the pack and the Zippo and handed them to her
mom. Lanie watched intently as her mom shook one of the two remaining
cigarettes out of the pack and lit it.
    "I need more smokes already" her mom exclaimed. "Lanie can you please call
Jennifer at work and tell her to pick up another carton of smokes." her mom
said. Jennifer worked at the local Jiffy Mart and Sara relied on her to get a
discount on the smokes.
    Lanie made the call and then helped her mom finish the laundry, all the
while thinking that she would now be able to covertly help herself to her
mom's smokes once Jennifer came home and her Mom's cigarette supply was
replenished. An hour passed and Jennifer came home carrying two cartons of
cigarettes, Marlboro 100's for Sara and a carton of B&H menthols for herself.

    Flopping herself down at the kitchen table, Jennifer pulled a pack of
cigarettes out of her purse, extracted one of the B&H 100's and lit it. "God
what a day" she said dragging deeply on her cigarette. "It seems like I had
every weirdo in the world in the store today" exhaling with an audible sigh.
"I only got one break today and I spent that smoking a cigarette and wolfing
down a hot dog. I wish they hadn't instituted the "No Smoking" policy in the
store. I was dying."
    "Some days are like that" her mom replied. "I hate having to go outside at
work for a smoke myself. But that's the price we pay for being smokers." Sara
looked over at her oldest daughter as she smoked her cigarette and then at
Lanie doing her homework. The two girls were as different as night and day.
Lanie was on the shorter size for her age, like Sara always was, with long
auburn hair and bright green eyes and a generous build. Jennifer on the other
hand was tall and thin, like her Dad, with dark shoulder length brown hair and
brown eyes. Jennifer was the last one Sara would have ever expected to start
smoking. Jen, all the time she was growing up, complained about her mom's
smoking. Then one day just after she had turned 15, Jennifer sheepishly
admitted that she had begun smoking. Sara wasn't upset, in fact she was almost
relieved. Now Jennifer wouldn't be bugging her about her smoking. Sara gave
her permission to smoke in the house and bought her cigarettes until she
turned 18. Now four years later she could barely remember when Jennifer didn't
smoke. She was smoking at least a pack a day, even though work no longer
permitted it. She made up for it by smoking 2 or 3 before work, as many as she
could on breaks (when she got them) and at night, smoking three quarters of a
pack or more after she got home from work. On the weekends, Sara noticed, her
consumption was at least two packs a day.
    Lanie on the other hand, never complained about her or her sister's
smoking. In fact, now that she thought about it, Lanie had recently begun
moving closer to her on the couch when they were watching TV and Sara had lit
a cigarette. "I've got to keep my eye on that girl" Sara thought. The idea of
Lanie smoking never really crossed her mind until then. Sara wouldn't have
ever encouraged either of her daughters' to start smoking, but if they started
on their own, like Jennifer, to that she was basically indifferent. She
couldn't get angry, after all she smoked herself and started smoking when she
was 14 and with her parents permission when she was 15.

    Later that night, when her mom had gone to take a shower and Jennifer was
out with her boyfriend, Lanie was able to take two cigarettes from her mom's
pack. She stashed them in her sock drawer, where she kept her matches. Both
her mom and sister left for work before she left for school, so she'd have an
opportunity to smoke one in the morning and then one before they got home at
night. Lanie slept well that night.

    "Bye sweetie, see you when I get home" her mom said on her way out the
door. Jennifer had left about ten minutes earlier. She was now "home alone".
Lanie ran to her bedroom and got one cigarette out of her drawer and took it
into the bathroom. Following her same ritual, she turned on the fan, put the
cigarette between her lips and lit the match. She touched the flame to the end
of the cigarette and drew heavily on it and threw the match in the toilet.
Just like her Mom she let the puff out of the corner of her mouth before she
took another drag. "I really like this smoking thing" she thought to herself
as she took another puff but the one thing she knew she had to do to become a
"real" smoker was inhale the smoke. The thought of inhaling had always been in
the back of her mind but some of her girlfriends who smoked said that when
they first tried it, that it made them cough and one of her friends said she
got really dizzy and almost threw up. She had watched her grandmother, mom and
sister smoking and they always inhaled and didn't cough or get sick. She
consciously made the decision that she would try and inhale the smoke. Lanie
put the cigarette up to her lips and took a puff, thought to herself "here
goes nuthin' " and breathed in. The smoke immediately got caught in the back
of her throat and she started coughing. Lanie thought she was going to die. "I
can't believe people do this on purpose" she thought. "I must be doing
something wrong". As she was coughing she didn't hear the front door open.
    "Lanie are you still here?" her grandmother shouted.
    "Shit!" Lanie thought. "I'm so busted." "Yeah, grandma, but I was just
leaving." she shouted. The last thing she wanted was her grandmother to come
wandering down the hall toward the bathroom looking for her. Lanie threw the
cigarette in the toilet and flushed it and met her grandmother coming down the
    "What are you coughing from? Are you OK?"
    "Oh I just choked on some water when I was brushing my teeth" Lanie
    "How long ago did your Mom leave?" her grandmother asked as Lanie came up
the hall meeting Lanie halfway.
    "About 10 minutes ago, why?"
    "Oh no reason. I came over because I was out of cigarettes and thought I
would bum a pack from your Mom until I could get to the store."
    "You know where they are grandma, help yourself. Jen has a carton up there
too" Lanie replied pointing to the cupboard.
    "You don't have a pack I can borrow, Lanie?" her grandmother asked.
    Lanie's heart about jumped out of her chest and her face turned bright red
with embarrassment. "She couldn't know I was smoking" Lanie thought.
    "Yeah, right grandma. Smoking's gross" she said with her most convincing
tone. "I gotta run or I'm gonna be late for school" she told her grandmother,
changing the subject.
    "See you later Lanie" she said with a sly, knowing smile on her face.


    Lanie could hardly wait for school to get over because she had that other
cigarette waiting for her at home. She only had an hour after school until her
mom got home, so she rushed home. Sara went to her room and got the cigarette
out of the drawer but the matches weren't there where she was sure she had put
them. She went into the bathroom, thinking she left them in there. No matches.
"Oh no, she thought to herself. I must have left them out when grandma came in
and she found them and took them. If she says anything to me I'll tell her Mom
or Jen must have left them there." She had this sinking feeling in the pit of
her stomach. Lanie retrieved another pack of matches from the junk drawer and
went back into the bathroom and lit up, savoring that first puff. She needed
to continue practicing inhaling. She took another drag and inhaled. This time,
much to her surprise, she only coughed once. This time she took a little
bigger drag and inhaled with no coughing, but she could feel it catching on
the back of her throat. "This is easier than I thought" as she took another
drag and this time inhaled deeply and held it in like she had seen her mom
doing. Lanie couldn't believe that smoke was coming from deep in her lungs as
she watched herself inhale and exhale. She felt a slight buzz from the
nicotine as she took another drag and inhaled it. Then all at once a wave of
dizziness hit her and she felt like she was going to get sick. She slid down
the wall and sat on the bathroom floor for a minute until it subsided. She
threw the cigarette into the toilet, flushed it and went and laid down.

    Lanie woke up to her mom's voice. "Lanie do you feel OK? You never take a
nap after school."
    "I'm fine mom. I was just tired I guess."
    "Do you want dinner?" Sara asked.
    "Sure mom. I feel OK." Lanie thought about what had transpired that
afternoon. She knew from her friends that she would probably get dizzy from
inhaling at first, but that it would go away once her body got used to the
nicotine. She was wondering how long it would take. She did not want a repeat
performance of this afternoon.


    "Sara, I think Lanie has been smoking"
    "What makes you think that?" Sara asked her mother as she was preparing
    "I came over this morning to get a pack of cigarettes from you because I
ran out and Lanie was still home."
    "What's so unusual about that?" Sara asked.
    "The house smelled like fresh cigarette smoke and you had left for work
ten minutes before."
    "I always have a cigarette before I go to work. It was probably my smoke
you smelled."
    "Plus Lanie was coming out of the bathroom, coughing her head off. She
said she choked on water when she was brushing her teeth."
    "Yeah, so" her mom was not convincing her.
    "Do you or Jennifer use matches?"
    "No" Sara replied. "I use that Zippo dad gave me and Jennifer uses that
engraved lighter you gave her on her 18th birthday, you know that."
    "Well, I found a pack of matches sitting on the bathroom counter."
    "Why did you go in the bathroom?" Sara asked.
    "That's where the smell was coming from and that's where you used to smoke
when you were trying to hide it. Logical place with the fan right there."
    "The matches could have come from anywhere, mom. Jennifer could have
picked them up when she was out somewhere and left them on the counter and I
just didn't notice them."
    "Do your old mom a favor Sara. Start counting how many cigarettes you have
left in the pack. I'll bet you find that what you smoke and what you have left
in your pack are different. Tell Jen too."
    "Mom, I don't want to trap Lanie. Besides I don't think there is any need.
If Lanie was smoking I think she would tell me. After all, Jen told me."
    "Jennifer was a very mature 15 year old. Lanie is just barely 14. There is
a difference. If you don't want to trap her as you call it, then just ask her.
She will probably deny it though, just like you did at first, even though I
knew you were smoking because I counted my cigarettes just like I want you to
    "So that's how you knew. Anyway mom, I think I'll just let this situation
work itself out. Even if she is smoking, there's not alot I can do about it.
After all she's grown up around smoking all her life. Even before she was
born. I smoked over a pack a day when I was pregnant with both girls. So it's
only a matter of time before she starts. If I don't allow it and get all
pissed off, she'll only do it behind my back and that won't stop her. But if
she admits it, at least I'll be able to exercise a little control over how
much she smokes. I still think you're wrong about her though. But if you're
right I don't want to hear an 'I told you so.' "
    "We'll see Sara, we'll see"


    "Hey Jen, come here for a second please."
    "What is it mom?"
    "I have kind of a weird question I need to ask you" Sara said. "Do you
think Lanie is smoking?"
    "I don't know. If she is, she hasn't said anything to me. Though that one
day when I came home from work a little early I went to use the bathroom and I
thought I smelled cigarette smoke. I figured maybe grandma had come over for
some reason and used the bathroom while she was here. Lanie said she hadn't
seen her all day. I thought then that maybe I just smelled smoke on me or
something. I really didn't give it another thought."
    "Grandma thinks she's smoking."
    "Why?" asked Jennifer
    "She came over this morning to bum a pack of cigarettes and said she
smelled fresh cigarette smoke. It was coming from the bathroom, she said. Plus
she found a pack of matches on the bathroom counter. She figured Lanie forgot
them there, when she was surprised by her."
    "What if she is? What are you going to do? She's only 14." Jennifer
    "Nothing. Like I told grandma, she'll only do it behind my back if I say
she can't smoke in the house."
    "You'd let her smoke?" Jennifer asked in amazement.
    "I wouldn't be able to stop her. I would have let you smoke when you were
14 if you had been smoking at that age. You just started a little later.
Obviously I'm not anti-smoking. After all I started when I was 14. I don't
think age is really a factor. A person can get just as hooked on cigarettes at
14 as they can at 24. I want her to think that smoking is her idea, not
something that I'm encouraging. I want it to be her decision. The more I think
about it, the more I like grandma's idea." Sara went on to explain about
keeping track of her and Jennifer's cigarette usage to see if Lanie was taking
cigarettes from them.
    "Wouldn't it be easier to just ask her?"
    "Yeah maybe, except she would probably deny it." Sara replied. "This way
we'd have proof. I don't want to accuse her of something she isn't doing."
    "Maybe I could ask her. Lanie and I are getting along better all the time.
Maybe I could just ask her about it in a real casual sense. She might open
    "Not a bad idea Jen. I still want us to keep track of our smokes though."

    "Lanie, I'm going to the mall, do you want to come with?" Jennifer asked.
It was Saturday afternoon.
    "You don't mind?" Jen had never asked her to come to the mall with her
    "No, of course not. It's about time we started doing things together.
Besides, I still owe you a birthday dinner."
    "Oh yeah, that's right. Can we go to Jalisco's? You did promise me that we
could go anywhere."
    "Sure, I've been craving Mexican food"

    As soon as they got in the car, Jen lit her 20th cigarette of the day and
took an immediate double drag and exhaled through her nostrils, hoping to get
Lanie's attention. It worked. Lanie was watching her intently but trying not
to be obvious, wondering what that was like, to be able to inhale that much
smoke and not get dizzy.
    "Would you like a cigarette, Lanie?" her sister asked, taking it upon
herself to bring the subject out in the open, regardless of what her mom
thought. "I noticed you were watching me."
    "No, of course not. I don't smoke."
    "That's not what mom and grandma think. I think you've started to smoke
too. The other day when I came home early, I smelled fresh smoke and you were
the only one in the house."
    "A friend of mine from school had just left and she was smoking."
    "Lanie, don't give me that crap. If you smoke just tell me. I won't tell
mom. I promise."
    "Promise?" Lanie was not sure if she trusted her sister.
    "Yeah, I promise"
    "Okay, I have smoked a couple of cigarettes."
    "Do you like it?" Jennifer asked.
    "Yeah. I do."
    "Do you inhale yet?"
    "Well, I started to a little bit and coughed my head off and then I
thought I was going to get sick." said Lanie.
    Jennifer laughed. "It sounds like me when I first tried inhaling. It was
me and Rachel in her parent's shed. Where did you get the cigarettes from?"
    "I stole them from mom when she wasn't around" answered Lanie.
    "Grandma thought you were" replied Jennifer. "I'm going to tell you a
secret. Mom wanted to trap you by counting her cigarettes to see if you were
stealing them from her and she wanted me to do the same. After she got proof
then she was going to make you 'fess up about it. She said it wouldn't be fair
to accuse you of something that she wasn't sure you were even doing."
    "Really? That's pretty cool. Most moms would go ballistic. Jen, what made
you start smoking? I remember mom saying you were always complaining about mom
and grandma smoking." Lanie asked her sister.
    "I don't know. It was Rachel actually. Rachel and I were such good friends
and did everything together, that when she said she had some cigarettes I
decided that I would try it too. I did hate the smell of smoke. But after I
tried it, it wasn't that bad. It was different smoking cigarettes than just
being around them. After I got to the point where I could inhale, I really
started to like smoking."
    "Where did you get your cigarettes?" Lanie asked her sister.
    "Some from mom, some from Rachel. Some I bought from vending machines."
    "Mom doesn't smoke those" Lanie said pointing to her sisters' B&H.
    "No, Rachel's mom does. I smoked these with Rachel and liked them better
than mom's. After Rachel's mom allowed her to smoke, I got used to these."
    "Were you nervous telling mom that you smoked?" Lanie asked.
    "I thought she was going to kill me. It took alot of nerve to tell her,
after all the times I complained about it. She didn't really have any problem
with it when I told her. She was more surprised than anything. You remember
that night."
    "Yeah, I thought it was cool that I had a big sister who was allowed to
    "At least you had me to sort of be the guinea pig. I was nervous smoking a
cigarette in front of her the first few times. But after awhile, I didn't even
think about it. Mom never commented on my smoking, so I felt comfortable
smoking in front of her. She never said anything when any of my friends came
over either. She let everyone smoke." There was a pause in the conversation.
"Do you want a cigarette now?" Jennifer asked softly, extending the pack out
to her.
    "Okay." Lanie said nervously. She took the pack and pulled a cigarette
out. "I don't have a lighter. Can I use yours?"
    "Oh, sorry. You've been using matches right?"
    "How did you know?"
    "Grandma found some in the bathroom, and mom questioned me about if I
thought you had started smoking." Jennifer told Lanie about the remainder of
the conversation between Sara and herself.
    "So mom doesn't really mind if I started smoking?" Lanie asked. She was
excited at the prospect of being able to smoke all the time. "I thought if mom
found out that she would be really mad, that's why I've tried to hide it from
her. I thought she had told you that you better not start smoking until you
were older, that's why you waited so long."
    "She never told me I couldn't smoke, but she never told me I could. But
today when we were talking about you, she said if I had told her I was smoking
when I was 14 not 15, that she would have let me."

    Jennifer watched as Lanie lit the B&H 100 menthol and puffed out the first
drag. Lanie had never smoked a menthol before. "These taste different than
mom's" Lanie said.
    "That's cause they're menthol. The smoke actually tastes cooler."
    Lanie took another small drag and inhaled. These menthols were actually
easier to inhale than her mom's Marlboro 100's. They didn't hurt her throat as
much and didn't catch in the back of her throat. Jennifer watched her sister
as she took another drag off the cigarette.
    "You do that pretty good for a novice" Jennifer said. "Before long you'll
be doing this" and she showed Lanie another double drag, exhaling through her
nostrils as she took yet another drag.
    "You think so? The way you do that is really cool" Lanie said taking
another deeper drag off the cigarette and inhaling it a little deeper than the
time before. "I like these better than mom's." Lanie started getting that
novice smoker's nicotine buzz again, so she slowed down her drags a little and
didn't inhale as deep. She didn't want to get sick again. "I'm really starting
to like this" she said to Jennifer. "When should I tell mom that I want
permission to smoke at home?"
    "That's something you will have to decide. Whatever feels right to you."

    The girls got to the mall and decided that they were hungry. They went to
Jalisco's and when they were asked if they wanted smoking or non-smoking,
Lanie piped right up and said smoking.
    After they were seated and the waiter had taken their drink order,
Jennifer reached into her purse and pulled out her cigarettes and lighter and
extracted a cigarette from the pack. Lanie gave her a smile and Jennifer
responded by offering the pack to Lanie. Lanie took one out of the pack and
lit it with Jennifer's lighter. The two girls sat smoking, not really saying
anything, but just enjoying each other's presence. Jennifer saw her sister in
a whole different light as she sat there smoking her cigarette. Jennifer
noticed Lanie's drags were getting a little longer and her inhales a little
deeper. "She's not going to be able to go any length of time without a
cigarette" thought Jennifer. At the same time Lanie was thinking the same
thing, enjoying the buzz the cigarettes gave her. "Do you get a buzz anymore
from smoking?" Lanie asked her sister, through a cloud of smoke.
    "No, only sometimes, first thing in the morning when I light up and take
that first deep double drag."
    Their meal came and went and the girls were enjoying an after meal
cigarette when Lanie looked at Jen and said "Jen, would you tell mom that I've
started smoking? I don't think I can do it."
    "You want me to tell? I can't do that. I didn't have anyone to help me
when I told mom. You have to do this on your own" replied Jennifer.
    "How? How can I tell mom?" she asked her sister.
    "Just tell her. She won't be upset or angry at you or anything. The only
thing she'll be upset about is that grandma was right. You know grandma,
there's always an "I told you so."
    "I know, but I just can't come right out and say 'Mom I've been smoking
and want your permission.' "
    "Well then, what if we make it like it was mom's idea. Just keep on taking
cigarettes from her and let her approach you. That was her original plan
anyway. I'll tell mom that cigarettes keep disappearing from my pack too. If
you can't get any from mom, then come and tell me and I'll give you some.
Also, smoke a cigarette just before mom comes home, that way she'll smell it
when she walks in the house."
    "Do you think that will work?" asked Lanie.
    "I'll bet you are allowed to smoke before next weekend."
    The girls finished their cigarettes and walked out of the restaurant into
the mall. They shopped for about a half hour then Jen suggested they sit down
and have a cigarette. "Do you want one, Lanie?" Jen asked.
    "Of course" replied Lanie.
    Jen pulled one out of the pack for herself and handed the pack to Lanie.
Jennifer lit hers then held the lighter for Lanie. "I can't believe I'm
lighting my little sister's cigarette" exclaimed Jen.
    "Well believe it, cause I don't plan on quitting anytime soon" said Lanie,
inhaling confidently.
    "Have you tried exhaling through your nose yet?" Jen asked Lanie watching
her smoke.
    "No. Is it hard?"
    "No, it's just like breathing. Try it. Instead of just exhaling through
your mouth, breathe some out of your nostrils. It'll show people that you are
not just a beginner."
    Lanie took a drag off her cigarette, inhaled it and then watched in
amazement as two streams of thick smoke mixed with the smoke coming from her
mouth. "Wow! That is sooo cool." exclaimed Lanie as she took another drag and
this time exhaled just from her nostrils. "I feel a little dizzy" said Lanie.
    "That's because your body still isn't used to the nicotine. Keep up
smoking the way you are and you won't get a buzz everytime you smoke. When you
get really used to smoking, you can try taking double pumps, like this." Jen
took a drag off her cigarette and started to exhale just a little bit from her
nose then took another drag. "That's the fastest way to get nicotine into your
body. Like I told you before, that's what I do first thing in the morning."
    "I wondered why you did that" said Lanie exhaling a thick cloud of smoke.
    They sat there for a few more minutes, talked about boys and clothes and
finished their cigarettes.

    "Mom, Lanie is smoking" said Jennifer. "When we were driving to the mall,
I asked her if she wanted a cigarette."
    "Jennifer, I didn't want you promoting it. I just wanted you to find out
if she was smoking. What did she say?"
    "She denied it at first." Jennifer described their conversation but
Jennifer left out the part about telling Lanie that Sara probably wouldn't
mind if Lanie smoked. "Then she took one from me."
    "Is she inhaling?"
    "Yeah, she is and I would say that she looks forward to her next
cigarette. She smoked 3 with me this afternoon and enjoyed each one."
    "I guess the ball's in my court now," said Sara.

    For the next few days, Lanie aggressively attacked her Mom's cigarette
stockpile, making sure to take 2 or 3 at a time. She was able to have 2
cigarettes in the morning before she left for school, a couple at school and 2
or 3 on her way home and after school plus ones she could sneak at night in
Jen's room. She now started having a cigarette 15 or 20 minutes before her mom
came home from work, just like Jen suggested. Still no response from her mom.

    "Jen, this isn't working" said Lanie. "Mom hasn't even noticed that her
cigarettes are gone." They were sitting in Jennifer's room having an after
dinner cigarette. Jennifer let Lanie smoke in her room when she was there. It
seemed to be a safe haven for Lanie, until she actually got permission to
    "Yeah it's working. Mom asked me last night if my cigarettes were
disappearing. I told her yes they were. She seemed pleased" not relating the
fact to Lanie that Jen had already told her mother that she was smoking. "I
told her that I had 8 left in my pack last night and when I got out of the
shower, there was only 5. Which was sort of a white lie, because I actually
gave you the 8 that were left."
    "Maybe she's waiting for me to ask her if I can smoke."
    "She didn't really say anything to me either way. Oh, but she did mention
that she thought she smelled fresh cigarette smoke a couple times when she got
home from work" replied Jen.
    "This is driving me nuts!" exclaimed Lanie.

    "Elaine Marie come here!" Lanie's mom never called her Elaine Marie unless
she was in trouble.
    "Yeah mom?" Lanie walked into the living room. In front of her mom was a
Bic lighter and a half a dozen cigarettes. Lanie's heart jumped into her
    "Can you explain these to me?" Sara asked. "They were in your sock
    "Ummm they're cigarettes." replied Lanie.
    "No shit, what were they doing in your drawer? Have you started smoking?"
Sara asked her daughter, knowing full well that she had. Sara was going to
play the part of the upset parent to the hilt.
    "Umm, well yeah sort of" stammered Lanie. Her mom sounded genuinely angry.
Maybe Jennifer was wrong. Maybe Sara wasn't going to condone her smoking.
    "I thought so. Judging from the fact that there are my brand and Jen's
brand here I can guess that you've been taking them from us haven't you?"
    "Here." said Sara not giving Lanie a chance to answer. Sara picked up a
Marlboro 100 and handed it to Lanie. "I want you to smoke a cigarette, right
here and now." Sara thought that right about now Lanie could probably use a
    "Oh no, mom."
    "You think you're such a grown up. I want you smoke a cigarette." she said
to Lanie firing up the Bic. Lanie had no choice. As long as her mom was not
going to let her out of this, Lanie decided she'd show her mom that she really
could smoke. Lanie put the cigarette between her lips and leaned into the
flame. Lanie puffed on the cigarette to get it going. She took a double drag,
inhaled deeply and exhaled the thick and creamy smoke simultaneously from her
mouth and nose. Lanie looked at her mom. The expression on her mom's face was
one of total amazement.
    "My god" Sara said. "You really do smoke! Your sister was right."
    Lanie had a confused look on her face. Sara explained what had transpired
between herself and Jennifer and how she knew that Lanie had started smoking.
    "But you sounded so mad. I was sure if I told you I smoked that you would
be really mad."
    "I wasn't going to let you off the hook that easy." Sara laughingly
    "So does this mean I can smoke?" asked Lanie taking a deep drag off the
    "It looks like you already have. Let me join you." With that her Mom lit
up one of her Marlboros. At that moment, Jennifer walked in with their
grandma, both with lit cigarettes. "Grandma, mom is letting me smoke" said
Lanie taking another drag off her cigarette.
    "So you were smoking. I was right." Grandma looked at Sara and everyone
knew what was coming next. They all blurted out in unison "I told you so!" and
they all laughed until they could laugh no more.

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