Revenge, Part 1

(by SSTORYMAN, 01 March 2000)


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This fictional account contains adult language and themes.  If such language
and themes offend you, please do not read further.  Copyright 2000 by
SSTORYMAN.  All rights reserved.  Permission is granted to reproduce this
story in any form and for any purpose as long as this notice is reproduced
and no financial remuneration is received, directly or indirectly, by the
person reproducing it  Thanks to AZ-MAN and STOGIE-MAN for their help and
encouragement.

REVENGE

1.	Change of Life.

   Hearing Larilyn's revelation, Kate grinned.  There was mocking
satisfaction in her ensuing expression.  "Hell's bells!  You mean Susan threw
you out of her house?"

   Larilyn nodded.  She looked strikingly attractive as she played with her
wine glass.  She'd just turned 44 but easily passed for ten years younger, a
well-dressed professional woman with a svelte figure, beautiful blond hair,
and pretty face.  She sighed and looked at Kate.

   "Yeah, Susan sure did.  She fuckin' threw me out.  I couldn't believe it.
After all, I _am_ her mother, for God's sake.  But she told me she never
wanted to see me, ever again."

   "What did you do?"

   She grinned.  "Shit, you know me.  My temper got the better of me.  I
yelled.  Fine, I said.  I _won't_ come back.  It breaks my heart, though.  My
daughter's such an asshole."

   Kate shook her head.  At 35, she was the younger of the two women.  She,
too, was good-looking, and quite well-endowed.  Her pretty face and curly
dark-brown hair complemented her gorgeous figure.  She smiled involuntarily.
The bar where they met that Monday after work was dark and the air smoky.
But Kate moved naturally in that environment.

   "Larilyn, I've known you a long time.  We weren't always friends, but we
are now.  We understand each other.  I hate to say I told you so, but we both
know why Susan is so mad at you.  I don't blame her.  I'd be furious if you'd
said to me what you told her."

   "I know," Larilyn agreed, with resignation in her voice.  "But I don't
like her smoking around my new granddaughter.  I may not have been
diplomatic, but I'm right.  Don't you agree?"

   Kate opened her purse and removed a cigarette case.  With long fingers she
pulled out a Salem 100 and put it in her mouth.  "I don't agree," she firmly
replied, clicking her lighter.  "Susan's been smoking for five years now.
And you expected her to quit just like that?"  She snapped her fingers for
emphasis.  "God, you're the asshole!  You don't understand smoking."

   "I guess I don't," she admitted glumly.

   Kate tipped her head to blow a thin stream of smoke over her counterpart's
head.  "No, you don't.  You and Susan have been fighting about her smoking
since she was seventeen.  You never stop nagging her.  Andrea says you've
pestered Susan even more since Ashley was born.  I've talked with Susan.
She's totally pissed you won't give it up.  Susan's a smoker, Larilyn, like
me.  The mere fact that's she's also a new mother doesn't change that."

   "But it should change it.  She's hurting my granddaughter, and hurting
herself."

   Kate smiled.  She puffed again on her Salem and inhaled deeply.  "I've
never had a baby, so I wouldn't know.  But my sister tried to quit smoking
when she got pregnant.  She couldn't do it.  That's Susan's situation, too."
She exhaled through her nostrils.  "She's a smoker, Larilyn.  She won't quit;
not for you, not for anybody, including little Ashley, as much as she loves
her."

   Larilyn interrupted.  "But she could if she wanted to.  She admits she
doesn't have to smoke.  She just wants to.  That infuriates me.  She doesn't
care enough to quit.  The bitch!"

   "There, there.  Temper, temper.  Cut Susan some slack.  She doesn't want
to quit.  That just means she gets too much pleasure from smoking to want to
stop.  What's wrong with that?"

   "God, I don't believe you!"  Larilyn was exasperated.  "We're talking
about my granddaughter here!  Susan smokes around Ashley all the time.  It's
terrible."

   "I'm no medical expert," Kate interjected.  "But my sister smoked around
my niece and nephew when they were little.  Both of 'em are fine today.  My
point is, Susan won't change.  Aren't you better off apologizing and mending
fences?  It sounds like otherwise you'll never see your granddaughter.
That'll hurt more than your piddling unhappiness about Susan smoking."

   Larilyn frowned.  "What does Drew, your husband and my ex-husband, think
about this?"

   "You know what?  Drew doesn't care," she laughed matter-of-factly.  "He's
just happy to be a grandfather.  He doesn't want to get between you and Susan
on this issue.  In some ways, he's glad.  We benefit from your feud.  We see
more of Susan and Jim than if you weren't in having a grudge match with her."
She paused for another hit on her Salem.  "Look, Larilyn.  I've been married
to your ex for ten years.  I love your kids, Susan and Andrea, like they were
mine.  But I understand Susan's decision.  She's not changing for you.
Accept it.  Go back and apologize.  Otherwise, you'll be sorry.  I promise."

   Larilyn sipped her wine.  "I suppose you're right," she admitted
reluctantly.  "It's just hard.  I know what's best, but no one listens.  You
won't, Drew won't, and Susan and Jim won't, either.  I've been active in the
lung association for a long time.  I know how bad smoking is, especially to
kids living around second-hand smoke.  That's why it's hard for me to give it
up."

   Kate smiled.  "You know how _bad_ smoking is.  But you don't know how
_good_ it can be.  That's your problem.  I bet you never smoked.  If you had,
you'd know why Susan and I won't quit for anything."  She paused.  "There's
something else you should know.  I don't mean to completely ruin your day.
Brace yourself.  We're pretty sure Andrea's smoking, too."

   Larilyn sat back and shook her head.  "What?"

   Kate smiled across the table.  "You heard me.  We think the reason Andrea
wanted to spend the holidays with us instead of you is because she's smoking
now."

   Larilyn ran her fingers through her blond hair in silent disbelief.  The
unexpected disclosure rubbed salt in an existing wound.  Andrea?  She picked
up her glass of Chablis and took a big sip.  The grim expression on her face
mirrored the darkness in the bar.

   Kate smiled unconcerned in the silence.  "For God's sake, Andrea's
seventeen.  It's no big deal.  I just thought you should know."  She fingered
the green pack of Salem 100's in her cigarette case and shook out another
one.  "It's not like we're in competition over her.  We left that behind ages
ago.  Didn't we?"  Awaiting an answer, she lit up her second cigarette.

   Larilyn sighed.  "You're right.  We're no longer competitors.  It's not
you versus me anymore.  Both my girls like you, and that's as it should be.
You're part of the family.  I've gone out of my way to make them feel good
about you as their step-mother."

   "I know, and I appreciate it," Kate acknowledged, directing a plume of
smoke into the air.  "I don't think we're competing anymore, either.  But if
I were Andrea's mom, I'd want to know what's going on.  That's why I'm
telling you.  Drew and I think her interest in spending more time at our
house is 'cause she's smoking like her older sister."

   "And exactly why do you think so?  What do you base it on?"

   Kate's eyes sparkled as she laughed.  "Honey, I'm a smoker.  I know."
Pleased with herself, she went on.  "She spends lots of time alone, taking
long walks for no reason.  But most important, her guest room, her clothes
and her hair all have the distinctive odor of stale tobacco smoke.  I know
she's smoking, Larilyn.  I'm surprised you haven't noticed.  Don't you smell
it?"

   Larilyn bristled.  She _had_ noticed.  "I assumed the smoky odor on her
clothes and hair was the residue of your evil habit, Kate."  Her tone was not
complementary.

   "Andrea should smell like smoke from being at from my house," she laughed
gleefully.  "But my evil habit, as you call it, dear, has now become Andrea's
evil habit, too.  Your second daughter is also smoking.  Face it."

   Larilyn frowned.  "Well, you'd know," she said pointedly.  "But what the
hell am I supposed to do?  I should blame you for being a bad influence.  You
and her older sister, Susan."

   The accusation failed to dampen Kate's humor.  "Hey, I'm only her
step-mom.  Andrea sees me two weekends a month.  It's not my fault she's
smoking.  Countless girls her age take up the habit every day.  It happens
for lots of reasons."  She paused to manicure her cigarette.  "I do think
it's kind of cute, though," she admitted with a mischievous giggle.

   "Cute?  You think the fact that Andrea is rotting her lungs is cute?  I
suppose you think the fact that Susan's doing the same thing around Ashley is
also cute?"

   Kate took a drag and inhaled deep into her body.  She shrugged.  "I
appreciate why Andrea wants to smoke, and Susan, too.  In some ways, it is a
bad habit.  But it has its good points.  Smoking is just so … I don't know
… so damn pleasant!"  She turned her head and exhaled.  "It's your business
what you do with Andrea.  But if you want my advice, I'll give it."

   "And that would be?"

   "Don't fight it.  Avoid the mistake you made with Susan.  Let Andrea smoke
if she wants.  Don't make it a big deal.  You'll just piss her off, and she
won't quit anyway.  She'll smoke regardless, just like her sister.  Look at
Susan.  You two have been alienated since she started smoking five years ago.
Susan's twenty-two, and she's never forgiven you.  You're about to lose your
granddaughter over it.  For what?  For a stand on an issue you can't win."

   Larilyn took another sip of wine. "Leave Ashley out of it," she whined.
"I was within my rights to give Susan my opinions about her smoking around my
granddaughter."

   "Sure you were," Kate admitted.  "And I'm within _my_ rights to tell you
Susan resents you treating her like a pariah because she smokes.  God,
Larilyn!  She's resented it for years, and now she's told you to get lost."
She took a monstrous drag on her Salem.  "Larilyn, you're the asshole.  You
screwed up with Susan.  You're on the verge of doing the same thing with
Andrea."  She forcefully exhaled into the air.

   Larilyn stood and sighed with resignation.  "Kate, I appreciate the
advice.  I may not take it, but I appreciate it."  She forced a laugh.
"Seriously, I'm grateful you let me know about Andrea.  I don’t know what
I'll do, to be honest.  It _does_ upset me.  I know you can tell."

   "Sure I can.  But think about it.  Andrea's an adult for all practical
purposes.  Let her live her life.  That includes letting her smoke if she
wants.  You're only 44 and damned attractive.  Get out and live a little
instead of trying to run your daughters' lives.  Get a life of your own
before it's too late!  And let Susan and Andrea do the same.  I'm only
thinking of what's best for you.  You know that."

   "Yeah, I do," she agreed reluctantly.  "But I gotta go.  Whatever I
decide, I'm sure you'll hear.  Susan feels free to tell you everything.  So
does Andrea."

   Kate held her cigarette case beside her face and laughed.  "It's because I
smoke, Larilyn.  Don't be the bad guy.  Let the girls smoke in peace.  I'm
trying to help you stop playing the heavy.  Though I married your ex, I like
you.  I count you a friend.  I'm not trying to screw you."

   Larilyn nodded and picked up her purse.  "I know.  Look, I'll give you a
call after I decide what to do about Susan; and Andrea."

   "See ya, kid," Kate said pleasantly.  "Think about what I said."

   Larilyn was upset driving home.  But Kate was right.  Her former nemesis
was now her friend.  They didn't start out that way.  Ten years ago, when she
first learned Drew was fucking his young assistant at work, she hated Kate's
guts.  When Drew moved out and filed for divorce; she'd have killed Kate,
given an opportunity.  And when he married her, it was infuriating.

   But over the years they grew to be friends.  Drew was no fool.  Kate had
good qualities.  She was pretty, smart, compassionate and funny.  Only her
constant smoking irritated Larilyn.  From the start she smoked unashamedly
around Susan and Andrea.  At seventeen Susan announced she wanted to smoke
like her step-mom.  The words drove a stake through Larilyn's heart.  Now if
Kate was right, Andrea was following in Susan's footsteps.  The idea of
Andrea smoking like her sister and step-mom was depressing and frustrating.

   Her handling of Susan's smoking had been a disaster.  None of her
stratagems worked.  Their conflict over smoking had strained the
mother-daughter relationship to the breaking point.  The announcement that
Larilyn was no longer welcome in Susan's home was only the last straw.  Kate
was right.  She should bury the hatchet and apologize, once and for all.  She
had to.  It'd hurt like hell, but she'd swallow her pride and apologize, to
see her lovely new granddaughter.

   But now Andrea was smoking, too.  They'd surely fight about it, she mused.
Andrea was even more independent than Susan.  If she'd decided to smoke, no
one would be able to dissuade her.   Maybe it'd be better to admit defeat
from the start and not fight about it this time.

   For years Larilyn had been on the board of the local lung association.
She believed in her cause, but knew how to pick her battles carefully.  It
was possible these weren't winnable battles.  If so, she could gracefully
admit defeat and wait for another day, to fight a battle she could win.

   She turned her car in the driveway.  Andrea's car was in front of their
large Tudor home.  She sighed.  Tonight she'd deal with Andrea, and tomorrow
think about apologizing to Susan.  As for what she'd say to Andrea, well,
she'd play it by ear.

   "How are things going, Andrea?"  Larilyn began the discussion as a casual
question after a light supper.

   "Fine, Mom," the youngster answered placidly.  "Everything's fine."

   Like her mother, Andrea was stunningly attractive.  She had her dad's red
hair and her mom's tall, thin figure.  Her face was beautifully sculptured.
Larilyn smiled, trying in vain to imagine her with a cigarette in her mouth.
She shuddered.  It was time to learn the truth.

   "I had a drink with Kate today," she said indifferently.  "We talked about
you."

   "You did?"

   "Yes, we did.  Kate says she and your dad think you've started smoking."

   Andrea didn't flinch.  The kid was tough to read.

   "That's interesting," the teenager answered defiantly.  She said no more.

   Larilyn frowned and tried a different tack.  "Listen, honey, I made a mess
with your sister on this smoking thing.  It keeps getting worse.  I don't
want to make the same mistake with you."

   Andrea interrupted.  "You fucked up with Susan, Mom.  You've treated her
like shit, and for no good reason, either."

   Larilyn smiled in amusement.  Andrea often used such language.  Long ago
Larilyn gave up trying to clean up her daughter's mouth.  She understood
where Andrea first learned to use such foul language.  Larilyn was no prude
herself when it came to expressing her emotions.

   "Andrea, you're right.  I did treat Susan like shit.  I made a terrible
mistake."  She took a deep breath.  "I won't make the same mistake twice.  I
was right in many ways, but wrong to forbid Susan to smoke once she'd
decided."  She awaited a reaction.  Andrea looked surprised.  Larilyn went
on.  "I'll treat you like an adult.  If you want to smoke, that's fine."  She
waited.

   Andrea raised her eyebrows.  "What if I want to smoke here in the house?"

   "I guess it'd be okay," she grudgingly agreed.  "As long as you keep it in
your bedroom."

   "How about in the office where the computer is?"

   She frowned.  Andrea was such a negotiator!  "Well, okay.  Your bedroom
and the office.  But that's it.  No smoking anywhere else.  Agreed?"

   "Okay."  Andrea stood up.  "I gotta go, Mom."

   "But we're in the middle of a discussion!"

   "No, Mom, _you_ were in the middle of a discussion.  I was getting ready
to leave.  I'm going to Susan's tonight to see my niece."  There was a hint
of superiority in her voice.

   Larilyn swallowed hard.  "Do you know Susan told me not to come over
anymore?"

   "Yeah, she told me," Andrea said blandly.  "You've treated her bad, Mom.
I'm surprised it took her this long to tell you to go to hell.  If it'd been
me, I'd have done it ages ago."

   Larilyn smiled bravely.  "That's why I want it to be different with us,
honey.  I don't want us to fight about smoking.  You know how I feel.  But if
you're going to do it, I don't want it to come between us like with Susan."
She cleared her throat.  "I'm going to Susan's tomorrow to apologize and bury
the hatchet.  It's insane to fight about something as insignificant as
smoking."

   "God, that's a new one," Andrea said sarcastically.  "I've never heard you
say smoking is 'insignificant.'"  She paused.  "But it might be too late with
Susan.  She's totally pissed.  You've thrown her a ton of self-righteous
bullshit over the years.  All the stupid pamphlets from the lung association,
the stop smoking videos you sent, and so on.  You know?"

   "Yeah, I know."  She was beaten and Andrea was rubbing it in.  "Tell her
I'm coming to apologize at lunchtime tomorrow, once and for all.  That's it.
No more lecturing or nagging.  Susan can be an idiot if she wants.  But I'll
say nothing more about it.  I promise."

   "That's great, Mom.  I hope it works."  She leaned in to give her a
spontaneous kiss.  "I'll be back around midnight."

   She was tempted to remind Andrea her school night curfew was eleven
thirty, but it was a bad idea under the circumstances.  "Fine, dear.  I'll be
in bed when you get home.  I'll see you in the morning."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   "Mom says she'll apologize?"

   "Yes, Susan," Andrea giggled.  "Can you believe it?"

   "I've never heard Mom apologize for anything."  Susan wore a bathrobe over
her nightgown.  Her hair was blond instead of red, but otherwise she was a
spitting image of her little sister.  Susan smiled.  "Mom must be really
upset.  God, this is fuckin' great!"

   "And get this," Andrea added.  "Mom knows I'm smoking, but said she won't
make the same mistake she made with you.  She'll let me smoke in my room.  No
shit!"

   Susan shook her head.  "That's great, just what we hoped for.  God, Kate's
so smart!"

   Andrea frowned.  "What does Kate have to do with it?"

   "I should've told you.  Kate and I concocted a plan to get back at Mom.
The tantrum I threw was part of it.  Kate predicted if I threw a fit Mom
would consult her.  Then Kate told her to apologize to me.  It sounds like
she will.  Mom's playing right into our hands.  She must be frosted not
getting to see Ashley.  She's probably also blown away by learning that
you're a smoker now, which was the second prong of our attack.  This is
great!"

   "I don't get it," Andrea admitted.  "What attack?"

   "I'm fed up with Mom's anti-smoking bullshit," Susan explained.  "I told
Kate I want revenge.  The only way to cure Mom of her self-righteous
moralizing is to get her to smoke."

   "You're crazy," Andrea stammered.  "Mom would never …."

   "Mom will do anything to see Ashley.  The kid's my leverage.  And given
the disastrous nature of our relationship, we guessed Mom wouldn't fight with
you about your smoking."

   "I don't smoke much," Andrea objected.  "Mostly just with my girlfriends.
But why did Kate tell Mom?  That pisses me off."

   Susan smiled.  "I'll explain."  She paused.  "So, Andrea, you _have_ been
smoking?"

   "Yeah.  But not like _you_ do.  I'm not buying cigarettes all the time or
anything."

   Susan smiled deviously at her sister.  "Mom thinks you are.  And we knew
she wouldn't get crossways with you over it.  So take advantage of the
situation.  If I were you, I'd start smoking constantly.  I'm surprised you
never smoke with me!  Don't you want to smoke more?"

   "Yeah," Andrea admitted gingerly.  "My girlfriends smoke all the time.
It's pretty cool."

   The sound of a crying baby was heard in the next room.  Susan sighed.
"Ashley's finished her nap.  Hang on.  Let me get her."

   As Susan left the room, Andrea eyed the pack of cigarettes on the table.
The green label said "Kool 100's."  Picking it up, she examined the surgeon
general's warning.  Obviously no one was deterred by that bullshit!

   Susan came in with Ashley in her arms.  The two month old baby was lazily
looking around, wrapped in a blanket.

   "Thinking about having one?" Susan asked.  Andrea had the pack of Kools in
her hand.

   "Yeah, I am," she admitted casually.  She laid it back on the table.

   "Here, hold Ashley," she said, putting the baby in her arms.  Andrea
leaned her against her shoulder and patted her back, as Susan put a Kool in
her mouth and lit up.  "God, I'm ready for a cigarette," she said with a
throaty, lustful laugh.  "Hold Ashley till I get organized."

   Susan settled in a nearby chair with the cigarette hanging from her lips.
She arranged a blanket, took a hard drag from the dangling Kool, and sucked
the smoke deep into her lungs.  Before exhaling she began a second puff, with
cheeks hollowing.  Her face glowed.  "Oh, yeah," she mumbled contentedly as
smoke escaped from her nostrils.  "I'm almost ready.  Hang on."

   Putting her cigarette in the ashtray on the table, Susan shook another one
from her pack.  With the lit one she ignited the second cigarette from the
tip of the first, and laid the second one in the ashtray.  She held the first
cigarette while exhaling a stream of smoke.  "I'm ready."

   Andrea gave her the baby.  "What's with the two cigarettes?"

   Susan adjusted the blanket around Ashley and opened her robe to begin
nursing.  She smiled.  "One's for you, babe.  You're going to smoke with me
tonight."

   Andrea grinned.  "Cool."

   Susan smiled back.  "I thought so, too.  So, let's smoke!"

   Andrea paused.  "You smoke while you're nursing?"

   "Sure, why not?.  I always smoke while Ashley nurses."  As if to prove it,
Ashley sucked happily at her breast while smoke spurted from Susan's lips and
nostrils.

   Andrea picked up the Kool and took a long drag.  Her performance wasn't
that of a novice.  She inhaled, released a stream of smoke and grinned.  "Why
do you care if I smoke?"

   Susan purred.  "It's part of the plan.  We want to pressure Mom from all
sides.  I'll hold Ashley hostage; you start smoking at home; and Kate'll work
on Mom as her confidant."

   "Pressure?  What are you talking about?"

   She took another drag.  "It's the plan I told you about, stupid.  Before
we're done, Mom will be smoking, too.  And we'll get her to like it," she
added with an evil laugh.

   "That's nuts," Andrea objected.  "You know Mom is a militant anti-smoker."

   "I know," Susan whispered.  "Isn't that delicious?  It'll make the victory
much sweeter.  Trust me, she'll fall like a ton of bricks.  Before the three
of us are done, Mom will be smoking cigarettes like a fuckin' chimney and
loving it, too!"

   "Why do you keep referring to the three of us?"

   Susan grinned.  "You're a key player, along with Kate.  Kate told Mom you
started smoking, to throw Mom off balance.  She knew Mom wouldn't risk
alienating you like she did me.  She also knew she wasn't putting you in
jeopardy.  And she was right.  Mom won't repeat her screw up with me.  It's
perfect, and it's more leverage to get her smoking."

   They smoked together for several minutes.  Andrea had the marks of a
budding smoker.  Her enthusiasm for nicotine overcame any embarrassment over
smoking with her sister.

   Susan nodded with approval as her sister crushed out the Kool.  "You're a
natural smoker, Andrea!  Now let me explain exactly how we're gonna get Mom
to start smoking, too."

   "Yeah, that I've gotta hear," Andrea smiled wryly.  "In the meantime,
would you be willing to let me have another cigarette?"

   "God, I'd love to," Susan grinned, shaking two more Kools from her pack
and handing one to Andrea.  "Believe me, nothing pleases me more than seeing
my baby sister smoke!"

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