Nancy Makes Her Choice, Part 1

(by, 13 November 1995)

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From Sun Nov 12 21:02:28 1995
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 1995 01:48:12 UTC
Subject: Story: Nancy Makes Her Choice (1 of 2)

Nancy Makes Her Choice

Nancy Henderson was always a strong-willed young woman from her youngest
days. It always seemed that she had to steer her own course and that
whatever she decided to do, she would do to the fullest. As a child, she was
an excellent student thanks in large part to her internal drive to excel.
Many hours of studying at home and in the library led her to virtually
straight-A grades all through elementary school, much to the pride of her
parents. As she entered her teens, she discovered she had some talent for
sports and soon became her junior-high school's star female athlete. When
she entered high school she continued to participate in intramural sports
and before long was again winning awards at that school also. Be it track,
field hockey, golf or basketball, Nancy dominated the field and was quickly
hailed as a shoo-in for a large scholarship from a major university. This
made her extremely popular as well, although her social life was limited
somewhat by her intense practice and training schedule.

Like everything else in her life, Nancy's athletic success was achieved by
intense dedication and hard work. She ran 5 to 10 miles a day, maintained a
regular weight-lifting and flexibility routine, and generally kept her body
at the peak of training. While her fellow athletes liked Nancy and found her
not much affected by her growing fame, they also found it hard to get close
to her since she rarely associated with them outside of the gymnasium or
fieldhouse. Because of the time her intense training schedule tended to
consume she seldom dated, and while she felt like she was missing something
her determination to win at athletics helped her overcome any feelings of
loss she may have occasionally felt. Naturally, she maintained a strict diet
as well and avoided alcohol, tobacco, or any other drugs except for a small
amount of caffeine. Her body was hard and smooth, but despite her training
she still had developed a feminine shape during her teenage years and in
fact felt as though she could do even better at sports if she hadn't been
blessed with a body that was more curvaceous than she would have preferred. 

During her senior year the scholarship offers began to come in, and Nancy
began to assess her choices. Following a long period of deliberation, she
accepted an offer from Duke University to attend that school the following
autumn. It meant moving away from home for the first time but Nancy welcomed
the chance to try a new environment and see how she made out on her own.
Besides, the offer was so generous - possibly too generous to be totally
legitimate, Nancy feared secretly - that there was really no way she could
afford to turn it down. That fall, she made the move to the North Carolina
school and began the process of adapting to her new surroundings. She found
it extremely hard to adjust to such a large school at first and began to
feel a few misgivings. Surprisingly, she had few problems with the academic
load, but the other aspects of university life were more difficult for her. 

For one thing, it seemed that everywhere she turned there was another
invitation to a party or other social gathering, and all around her she saw
people just like her who seemed to do little else than go from one party to
the next.This included her new roommate, Darlene Butler, who seemed to
typify the college freshman coed of the early 1980's, having a series of
boyfriends calling on her constantly, always doing something with a large
group of friends, and in general having the time of her life with her
new-found freedom. More than once Nancy awoke early in the morning to begin
her training to find that Darlene had not returned to their dorm room the
previous night, and when she was around it seemed that more often than not
she was suffering from a hangover or other malaise from too much partying
the night before. Nancy didn't really mind this for she truly liked Darlene.
She seemed unlike anyone Nancy had ever known, with a true zest for living
and an uninhibited nature for enjoying herself. Darlene could always make
Nancy smile by telling her of her latest exploits on the social front, and
before long Nancy began to relent a little and would accompany Darlene on
occasion to a party. It was on one of these nights that Nancy learned how to
drink and like most people she overindulged the first time, paying a heavy
price the next day. Darlene had more than a little fun at Nancy's expense
that day, giving her back all of the grief that Nancy had previously sent
her way on the many previous occasions when she herself felt a little worse
for wear. Darlene missed no opportunity that morning to ask Nancy if she
would like some of whatever disgusting thing she was eating, just to see
Nancy react, and lit up several cigarettes more than usual that morning just
to make Nancy feel even worse. Nancy, in her state of the night before, had
actually asked Darlene for a cigarette - her first ever - and, she recalled
with a shudder, had actually smoked most of it with some instruction from
her friend. Darlene was normally pretty considerate towards Nancy when it
came to smoking, and the two girls had reached an arrangement of mutual
understanding once Darlene explained to Nancy one day how she had started
smoking when she was 12, quickly became a heavy smoker just like her folks
once they gave her permission to smoke openly, as she rapidly moved past the
pack a day level by age 14, and really had no choice but to keep on smoking
now. Darlene would normally not smoke in the room when Nancy was around, but
that morning she just couldn't resist the temptation to razz her forlorn
roomie a little more than usual about her newfound party animal status.

Their friendship remained strong over the course of the four years at Duke
as Nancy continued to excel athletically, having found a balance between her
training needs and her enjoyment of her surroundings, while Darlene was able
to maintain passable grades in between one of the most hectic social
schedules on campus. Their classmates marvelled at the friendship between
the two young women since they seemed so utterly different - Nancy, the
quiet and reserved girl from the Northeast, usually dressed in sweats and
sneakers, possessed of a determination to excel at sports, generally
perceived by all but her closest friends as a tomboy and goody-two-shoes;
and Darlene the extrovert, sassy and sexy with a southern drawl, usually in
skintight jeans and a tight sweater, with her long, curly blonde hair and
good looks having the ability to attract guys like honey draws ants, usually
seen at a party with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other, with a
guy on each arm. But each saw in the other qualities that they wished they
had, and their friendship was firmly cemented by the time graduation rolled

Nancy had continued to star at sports during her four years at Duke and was
the basketball team's leading scorer. But unfortunately for her, there was
little market for female basketball players back then and she was faced with
having to decide what to do with her PhysEd degree upon graduation. She
found work with the city rec department almost immediately, though, as a
coach and aerobics instructor, and decided to stay in the area. This would
also let her pursue her goal of joining the ladies pro golf tour since she
had use of the municipal golf course as part of her job, and the climate let
her work on her game for most of the year. Darlene, in turn, had found work
with a pharmaceutical firm nearby as a sales rep, and so the girls were able
to maintain their friendship almost as closely as while they were in college.

Over the next few years Nancy continued to maintain her athletic lifestyle
and was quickly moved up in the rec department's organization as a result of
both her determination to succeed and her sheer athletic ability as a
trainer and coach. Her training schedule was now tied to her career
ambitions and she continued to push her body to its limits. Darlene, on the
other hand, continued her hectic lifestyle as much as her sales job allowed
her to, and now cultivated a series of young doctors on her sales route. The
women didn't see as much of each other as they had earlier but still kept in
regular contact by phone and Darlene would always stop by for dinner when
she was in town. She would always ask Nancy, "Why haven't you found herself
a fella yet?", before rattling off the names of the guys she was involved
with presently, while Nancy would get on her case jokingly about how she was
going to burn in hell for her sinful lifestyle, as Darlene would just laugh
and throw her head back as she took another sip of wine and light up another
B&H 100. Darlene could still make Nancy laugh and do things she wouldn't do
around anyone else, and they developed a ritual when they had dinner
together where Nancy would have a cigarette with Darlene afterwards, a
leftover from their college days even though she never smoked at any other
time. Her consumption was no more than one a month and then only after
sharing a bottle or two of wine with Darlene. She had never been tempted to
start smoking, even though her mom had always smoked as long as she could
remember, and her occasional indulgence was more of a sign of friendship and
bonding with Darlene than any real enjoyment of it.

Nancy was running early one morning as was her custom and was proceeding
down a side street towards an intersection when suddenly a taxicab shot
through the intersection and struck her. She was knocked unconscious briefly
and was quickly rushed to hospital. Thankfully her injuries were not
life-threatening, but she suffered a broken leg and other injuries that
would keep her in hospital for a week and basically immobilized - at least
as far as work and training was concerned - for at least two months after
that. Nancy's parents were in Europe on vacation at the time of the accident
and attempts to reach them were unsuccessful for several days. Aside from a
few co-workers, Darlene was the first person to reach the hospital after
word of the accident was circulated, and after assessing the situation, she
decided to take some time off work to attend to her friend once she was
discharged from hospital in a few days.

After Nancy was released from the hospital, Darlene moved into her apartment
with her to help her in any way she could and perhaps more importantly, to
help buoy her spirits. Nancy became extremely depressed in the days
immediately after the accident at the prospect of being unable to do most of
the things she was accustomed to and at the thought of having to give up her
training routine. Darlene did her best to help Nancy through these first few
days, and she was finally able to reach Nancy's parents in Germany. Their
immediate reaction was to drop everything and return to the USA but after
speaking to both Nancy and Darlene they were convinced that the crisis had
passed and that there was no need to abandon their long planned (and
expensive) trip in mid-stream. It was decided that Darlene would hold the
fort in North Carolina for another week or so until they could get home, and
then Nancy's mom would take over for her.

Despite Darlene's best efforts, there was little she could do to keep Nancy
occupied. Most of Nancy's previous activities were related in some way to
intense physical activity, all of which was now cut off from her. Their days
therefore became a routine where Darlene would take Nancy out in her car
after breakfast to shop, have lunch, and generally take her anywhere she
could given that she was still limited to a wheelchair. In the afternoons
they would return home and Nancy and Darlene would have long talks or just
watch the soaps or talk shows on TV. Nancy appreciated her friend's loyalty
and caring, but still was on the verge of going stir-crazy after a few days
of this.

Of course, Darlene tried to be as accommodating to her friend as she could,
but she found it increasingly difficult to avoid smoking in Nancy's
apartment. After seeing Darlene go outside every half-hour or so to satisfy
her need to smoke on the first day, Nancy told her friend "Go buy a couple
of ashtrays so you can smoke here. I'll get used to it and it won't bother
me that much". Darlene felt relieved as she was feeling guilty about having
to abandon her friend so often, and so their shopping trip the next day
earned them a pair of cut-glass ashtrays - Darlene's sense of style wouldn't
let her settle for anything pedestrian - and a fresh carton of B&H Menthol
100s for her, along with a stock of magazines and puzzle books for Nancy.
Darlene declared that she would whip up a special dinner for the two of them
that night - she called it "one of my guaranteed, I-gotta-get-laid-tonight
dinners" - as Nancy laughed and blushed at her description of her cooking

Whatever the results of Darlene's cooking were on her male friends, Nancy
enjoyed one of the best meals she had eaten in ages, and the women polished
off two bottles of wine before dessert was served. After they relocated to
the apartment's living room, Darlene decided it was time for them to open
the bottle of scotch that had been in Nancy's cupboard for months, and Nancy
was not inclined to disagree. As Darlene gave her her drink after getting
her comfortably seated on the sofa, she sat down herself and reached for her
cigs. Nancy, used to their earlier ritual, said "Dar, let me have one of
them, will you?", and her friend quickly offered her one. They both lit up
and Nancy cautiously blew out a small puff, while Darlene took her usual
long pull and breathed it deep into her lungs. "Jesus, honey, why the hell
don't you *smoke* the damn thing?", Darlene asked sarcastically with a smile
as she watched Nancy's usual tentative style of smoking. Feeling both the
effects of the alcohol and her uncertain state of mind, Nancy responded in a
manner that was unlike her usual response, instead saying in challenge to
her friend, "What... you mean like THIS?", bringing the B&H to her lips with
a flourish and snapping off a long puff, which she then inhaled deeply. She
very nearly gagged as she exhaled the thick smoke, for it was a much more
intense sensation than she had ever experienced, but she was able to
complete the manouver successfully as she blew out a long stream. "There ya
go, honey, that's more like it!" Darlene responded, as she took another deep
drag in reply, "So let's see you keep it up, then, darlin'", she said,
adding, "'cause if you're going to smoke, you might as well do it right!
Just do it the way I do." Nancy felt the combination of the liquor and the
smoke causing her to feel a little dizzy, but wasn't about to back down from
her friend's challenge, and so she mimicked her friend's next move as both
women took long, deep puffs. They continued in this manner for a few minutes
as Nancy slowly became slightly light-headed, but was able to finish the
cigarette as Darlene did. By the last few puffs, she no longer was bothered
by the sensations of inhaling, and to her amazement was actually finding the
act of exhaling a little enjoyable.

Nancy soon recovered from the effects of the nicotine, and continued to
enjoy her drink and more importantly, her friend's companionship. Darlene
smoked a second cigarette before both finished their drinks, and quickly
went into the kitchen for refills as Nancy sat back on the sofa, actually
enjoying the unfamiliar sensations in her body that were now making her
forget about her injuries. Not long into her second drink, Darlene lit up
another cigarette and this time offered one to Nancy, saying, "Here, Nance,
have one with me", which she accepted without really thinking, enjoying her
friend's company too much to really resist. She smoked this one in much the
same style as the first, and by the time it was finished she found herself
actually starting to relish the sensations she felt every time she inhaled.
The pace of the evening slowed down after a time as Darlene placed a rented
video in the VCR and they both settled in to enjoy a movie. About halfway
through, the glasses were refilled one last time and when Darlene shook a
few cigarettes loose from the pack and extended it towards Nancy, she took
one without hesitation and her friend lit her up for the third time that
night. Darlene commented, "Lord, I can't believe it! After all these years,
I've finally become a bad influence on you!", as Nancy laughed at her
friend's words.

End of Part 1

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