School Trip, Part 1

(by Dromedary Joe, 25 May 2008)

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School Trip 
by Dromedary Joe
Part 1

Kimmy was excited when her Home Economics teacher gave her the good news. She
and her best friend, Becky would be going to the National Bake Off in
Washington D.C. It was her first major accomplishment as a high school
student. Of course, she was only a freshman and had three more years to make
her mark. She sure hadn't made her mark this year, though. Everyone said she
was pretty with her long blond hair and blue eyes, but she was really shy.
Plus, Kimmy was a good girl and she noticed it seemed like all the boys in
her school went for the bad girls. She went to her best friend's locker and
told her the good news, but she had already heard. 

"I know! Did you hear that Melinda and Kaleigh have been selected too?  The
four of us are going to stay in the same room for a whole week!" her friend
Becky exclaimed. Becky had curly red hair and  lots of freckles, but she was
cute in her own way.

Kimmy frowned a little bit. Melinda and Kaleigh were the two most popular
girls in school. Melinda was the captain of the cheerleaders, while Kaleigh
was the senior class president. Kimmy and Becky had been chosen because they
were good bakers. Melinda and Kaleigh had been chosen because their daddies
had donated a lot of money to the school. Melinda and Kaleigh were bad girls.
They may have fooled all the teachers and their parents who thought they were
model students, but their exploits were well known among the student body.
Kimmy and Becky were good girls who went to church, played soccer after
school, and basically honored their parents. Becky was always talking about
getting into the "in" crowd, though. She had ambitions of being one of the
popular kids. Kimmy didn't really care most of the time. They were only
fourteen year old freshmen after all. There would be time.

The girls all went to the airport with their home economics teacher Mrs.,
Johnson and Kimmy fell asleep on the plane ride to D.C. They got off the
plane, took a taxi to the Adam's Mark Hotel and went into their room. Through
some reservation glitch, their teacher had been booked into a room a couple
of floors lower than their room. Mrs. Johnson told them was supposed to be in
the room next to them so she could do periodic room checks. She told them
that she knew she could trust them, though. She knew Kimmy and Melinda were
good kids and she told the older girls, Melinda and Kaleigh, that they were
leaders in the school and community and knew they wouldn't get into trouble.
Mrs. Johnson said she would trust them and she told them to be on their best
behavior. After all, they represented their school on this trip. The girls
all talked for a few minutes  after Mrs. Johnson left until Melinda said she
had to go somewhere and left the hotel room.  Kaleigh talked with Kimmy and
Becky for a while about what college she was going to, what guy she was
dating this week, and the usual things. Kimmy might not have had ambitions to
be popular, but she thought it was kind of cool that one of the popular girls
was talking to them as an equal. 

"Hey, can you girls keep a secret?" asked Melinda in a voice which was almost
a whisper.

They both said they could. What secret was she about to tell them?

"You'll see when Kaleigh gets back," Melinda said.

Kaleigh came back an hour later with a paper bag in her hand.

"Did you get it ?" asked Melinda.

Kaleigh reached into the bag and tossed a box on the table.

Kimmy looked at it for a moment. "It" was a carton of cigarettes. Kimmy
looked at the carton for a moment. It was a carton of Virginia Slims Luxury
Lights 120's. Kimmy didn't know what was luxurious or light about them or
what the 120's meant. Neither of her parents smoked and she knew little about
smoking other than it was bad for her and she would never smoke. 

"Smoking is gross," said Becky. 

"You girls should try it sometime. I bought this brand because it's not too
strong and figured it might be a good brand for you freshmen if you decided
you wanted to try smoking," Kaleigh told them as she took a pack out and
started packing it.

Kimmy was starting to get really upset. She didn't want to smell smoke all
week long. "I'm going to tell Mrs. Johnson," Kimmy said and got up and left
the room.

Kimmy started to go down the hallway to the elevator when she saw her friend
running after her. She knew she was going to try and talk her out of this. 

"Look, this is the first time we've had a chance to hang out with any of the
popular kids. Don't blow it," Becky told her.

"Well, I don't want to be in a smoky room all week, and besides I know you.
You want to impress those girls so you're probably going to try smoking at
least once." Kimmy said, looking like she was about to cry. 

"I'm not going to try smoking. Maybe if you tried it, then I would try it,
too. But I know that's not going to happen. It's only for a week. Maybe if we
play  it cool, we can all be friends and we'll be more popular when we get
back home. Okay?"

"Okay," Kimmy said after a brief pause. "You're not going to try it, though?"

"Of course not, I promise," Becky said reassuringly as they walked back to
the room.

"You're not going to tell Mrs. Johnson, are you?" Kaleigh said as she dangled
the unlit cigarette from her mouth. 

"No, I won't tell her," Kimmy said with her eyes looking down as Kaleigh and
Melinda both lit up. 

Kimmy never really got used to the smell of smoke, but after a couple of days
she started to tolerate it a little bit better.  The girls were civil towards
her, if not exactly friendly. It did seem as if they were warming to Becky a
little bit more than Kimmy, though. On the third morning, there was a seminar
on soufflés which Kimmy really wanted to go to. She asked the other girls if
they were going and they all said no. They were all going to sleep in. It was
an interesting seminar and she was proud that she now knew how to bake a
soufflé. She got out her key and opened her hotel room door. She looked
inside and saw her friend Becky exhaling smoke.

Kimmy's heart was beating fast. Her friend had broken the promise they made
to each other not to try smoking. Becky tried to put the cigarette down
quickly, but the damage was done. 

"You're smoking?" Kimmy asked in shock.

"Chill, Kimmy. It's not like I'm going to start smoking. I'm just
experimenting a little."

Over the next couple of days, she saw her friend was experimenting more
often. When they would head for the door to go somewhere, she noticed her
friend would take a pack and put it in her purse. She was becoming a smoker,
Kimmy thought to herself, and she was becoming friends with the popular girls
and forgetting all about their friendship.

"Hey, we're going to get something to eat. Wanna come, Becka ?" It was bad
enough they had starting calling her best friend by her nickname, but tt was
worse that her friend hadn't even asked, "Hey is it okay if Kimmy comes,

Finally, one of the senior girls said as they were headed out the door, "Hey,
if you want, you can come with us, Kimmy."

"No, thanks anyway, though." Kimmy said as she noticed the tone of the
senior's voice was almost one of pity. She was now officially a charity case.

Two nights before they went home,  the three of them came back from somewhere
and Melinda put another carton of cigarettes on the table. These were
Virginia Slims as well, but the color scheme was different. 

"I bought menthol this time. You'll be surprised how different these taste,
Becka," Melinda told her.

Becky took a pack out of the carton, packed it, opened it up, and lit one.
"Ooh, these kinda taste minty," said Becky with a little bit of surprise.

That night the girls sat around the hotel room talking and Kimmy decided to
be sociable and stay there and try to be involved in the conversation. They
were all smoking like chimneys, except for Kimmy, of course when Melinda
said, "Hey Kimmy, why don't you just try it once?" 

She extended the long slender cigarette towards Kimmy and Kimmy instinctively
reached out for it. After a pause took it from Melinda..

She looked at it for a moment and held it, posing with it in her hand for a
few moments. She started to move the already darkened filter towards her
mouth, it was within an inch of her lips when...

She chickened out. She handed the cigarette back to Melinda and they all
laughed at her.

Kimmy said she was going to bed.

Kimmy closed her eyes and tried to go to sleep. After about 30 minutes she
heard the girls all talking. 

"Where did you get such a stick-in-the-mud best friend from?" asked Melinda.

"I don't know. Our parents are friends and we do everything together and
stuff and I don't know," said Becky without really defending her best friend.

"Maybe it's time you found a new best friend," suggested Kaleigh.

"Maybe," said Becky.

Kimmy put her pillow over her head and cried herself to sleep.

The next day was the awards banquet and  Kimmy won the 2nd place award for
best cake. Too bad she had to share it with her ex-best friend Becky, she
thought to herself.

Later that afternoon, the three girls went somewhere, of course without even
bothering to ask Kimmy if she wanted to join them. Kimmy was in the hotel
room, alone. A couple hours later they had not come back yet and Kimmy
figured she'd go for a walk for a few minutes. She went down to the terrace
downstairs and sat there thinking about how much this week had sucked. 

After a while she noticed a guy standing over by the other side of the
terrace smoking a cigarette. He looked a little bit older than her and she
had seen him periodically throughout the week - he seemed to be one of the
few guys in the entire hotel who was of high school age since the hotel was
full of girls there for the National Bake Off.  He was kinda cute, Kimmy said
to herself. Too bad he smokes...

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