Seda, Part 2

(by anonymous, 15 September 2010)

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Part II

They began to go everywhere together.  Bradley was a willing participant and
clearly liked her company.  He liked that he did not have to make many
decisions.  She told him what to do.  He found that so much easier and yet at
the same time he had begun to feel slightly uneasy about their relationship.  

One day at lunch in the cafeteria she told him she had been invited to a
party at the house of a woman who used to work at DigiSystems when she began.
The woman wanted Seda to come and to bring a guest if she wished.  

"You will go with me," Seda  said.  Bradley had told his mother he would
drive to see her this weekend, but when he learned about the party he called
and said he could not make it, that he had to work. The idea of a party
filled him with enthusiasm. He looked forward to being seen with Seda.

When he got to Seda's house to pick her up, he marveled at how terrific she
looked.  She was wearing a black low cut dress. It tightly bound her
substantial rear end, as if to show that off too. On her feet were red high

The shoes made her now more than four inches taller than Bradley.  He
wondered why she would wear them and she quickly read his mind.

"I am comfortable in these shoes.  I love the way they look. Do not you feel
the same?"  Bradley nodded and tried to dismiss his thoughts about her

"I have something to tell you," Seda said.  "I do not like to carry a big
purse to a party.  It is so much trouble, so much a nuisance. If you are
standing with a drink and maybe some food and you want a cigarette you cannot
have one. You have run out of hands. I do not like that feeling."  

Bradley did not understand what this meant.

"Here," Seda said, thrusting two full packs of Ismir at him. "You will carry
these. And this." She handed him her gold lighter.  "Now pay attention to
what I am going to show you," Seda said. She pulled a cigarette out of the
pack and tapped one end of the lighter. "You do it."  Bradley tried to
imitate her, but the cigarette slipped out of his fingers and onto the floor.
Seda laughed. "You have to do that right. Do it again."  When he retrieved
the cigarette, Bradley tapped it satisfactorily and then handed it to Seda.
She stuck it into her mouth.  

"Well?" she said. "Oh," said Bradley. He flicked the lighter and held it to
the tip of the Ismir, which dangled from her lips.

"You will need to practice this, I can see."  With that, the two went out the

As Bradley drove to the party, his packs of cigarettes and lighter in a front
pocket of his pants, Seda said, "With the cigarettes, you will need to be by
my side all the time this night. Every second. So when I want one, you will
give it to me right away. Do you understand?"

"Yes," Bradley said.  He felt OK about that arrangement because he was sure
he would not know anyone at the party and thus have little to say to anyone.
Moreover, he felt proud to be with Seda, his girlfriend. He had begun to
think about introducing her to his mother.

When they got to the house, Wendy, Seda's old friend from DigiSystems let
them in and gave Seda a hug. The two conversed for a minute, getting caught
up.  Bradley stood by and said nothing. Seda did not bother to introduce him
and Wendy left without asking. Her husband had summoned her to the kitchen.

Seda took a spot by herself in the middle of the living room, while guests
talked and drank in small groups.  Many of the people, apparently, were from
Wendy's new company and thus none of them knew Seda or Bradley.  

"Now," Seda said, in a voice loud enough for a woman behind them to look
around and stare.  "You must give me the cigarette right now."

Bradley reached into his pocket and tugged to get one of the packs out.  It
was square and flat and did not come out easily.  When he finally dislodged
it, Bradley opened the pack and gave a cigarette to Seda.  "No," she said
handing it back to him.  "Tap first."

Bradley pressed his lips together, annoyed with himself for forgetting."Oh,
right," he said. He reached into his other front pocket and fished out Seda's
gold lighter. He tapped the end of the cigarette on it and then handed it to
Seda. She nodded. "Now the light."

He flicked the lighter and held it to the Ismir, which Seda held between her
teeth.  She did not raise her hands to steady him. When she inhaled, she kept
her arms at her sides, content to pull on the cigarette without using her
fingers. She inhaled and exhaled about three times, glancing around the room
as she did.  

"Good," she said finally.

Bradley stood by quietly, as if awaiting her next word.  

Her cigarette still in her mouth, Seda cast her eyes about the room  until
she found out what she wanted. "Over there is an ash tray," she said nodding.
"Go get it." Bradley immediately turned and came back with a black plastic
dish.  "You will hold that too," Seda said. "I do not want to have to walk
around looking for an ash tray.  I want it near."  She flicked her ash in the
receptacle that he held up for her.  "Good," she said. "You do not make me
bend down."

Bradley stood there with the cigarettes and lighter in his pockets and the
ash tray in his hands. A waiter that Wendy had hired roamed by with a tray of
gin and tonics.  Seda took one.  Bradley shook his head no. He realized he
would need his free hand to help Seda with her cigarettes. He was not going
to be able to drink at this party.  

"I am very happy now," Seda said. "Being at a party with a drink and a
cigarette.  It is such a wonderful feeling." She continued to smoke and when
she finished a cigarette, Bradley raised the ash tray for her, as instructed.
She dropped the smoking butt of the Ismir in the ash tray without stubbing it
out. Bradley was left to do that for her. 

As he did that task, Bradley looked down at his feet.  He wondered how long
they would stay here.

"Pay attention," Seda said, causing Bradley to look up. "When I do not have a
cigarette in my hand or mouth, that means I am probably wanting one.  You
need to watch me carefully for this. Always you are watching me. Do you
understand? Do you?"

"I'm sorry," Bradley said.  He reached into his pocket with his left hand and
pulled out the pack of cigarettes. It seemed to get stuck. This was a square
pack and his pocket was rectangular. He tugged and tugged with left hand.
"Come on, hurry up, hurry up," Seda said exasperated. "What is taking you so
long a time?"  

"The cigarettes got stuck," Bradley said finally able to free them.  He
managed to pull one out of the pack and he rested it on the ash tray as he
returned the packet of cigarettes and grabbed the lighter.

When he had the lighter, he now had to figure out how to take the cigarette
up and tap since his other hand held the ash tray.

Seda began to laugh.  "You do not know what you are doing, do you? I thought
you were smart. You are an engineer, yes?"

"I need to get better at this."

"Yes, you do," Seda said, still laughing. When another waiter came by, she
picked up two or three small sausages on toothpicks.

Bradley looked contrite.

"You will improve," Seda promised, chewing one of the sausages. "I will make
sure of it."

When Bradley finally managed to tap the cigarette, he had to reach up and
place it into Seda's mouth because her hands were occupied.  He lit the Ismir
for her and the two of them stood for a moment saying nothing.

"What kind of cigarette is that?" The voice belonged to a tall, wavy haired
man in his mid-forties. His dark blue sport coat had trouble fitting across
his broad shoulders. Beneath the coat he had on a light blue dress shirt open
at the collar.  His face was tan, his eyes brown.

"It is Turkish," Seda, said smiling widely.  "The brand is Ismir."

"The tobacco has a sweet aroma to it," the man said. "I haven't smelled that
before. I knew it was different than American."

"Yes, it is very different," Seda said, continuing to smile. "These are much
stronger. Very strong. See, there is no filter."

"Oh, yeah. That's gotta be a challenge. What is the taste like?"

"It is very good. Marvelous, in fact. But then I am used to it for many
years.  Would you like one?"

"Yeah, why not?" the man said.

Seda turned to look at Bradley, who was doing nothing. "Come on, come on, get
a cigarette for this man." 

Seda turned back to the stranger. "I hope you do not have trouble with it,"
she said.  "He" - and Seda nodded toward Bradley - "could not take one. A
single small puff and he got very, very sick." She started laughing. "I
thought I was going to have to take him to hospital. I thought he might die."

The man glanced at Bradley for a moment and laughed with her. "Well," he
said, "I'll take my chances." Bradley felt his face redden and a great
discomfort came over him. Somehow he managed to extricate a cigarette from
the pack He started to hand it to the man.  

"Tap it for him," Seda said. "For god's sake, do you not remember anything?" 

Bradley pulled out the lighter, retook the cigarette and gave one end of it
three solid taps. Then he handed it back to the man. Next he held the lighter
for the man. The man took a deep inhale and let smoke out slowly.  He did so
again and then a third time, all without saying anything. Seda looked on with
an impressed expression. 

"It does have a kick," the man said.  "But you know something? I like it.
You don't usually find a strong cigarette that tastes good.  This one does."

"I am so glad it agrees with you."

Seda and the man - who introduced himself as Nick Timbers, stood talking. Now
and then one of them would reach over and flick their ash into Bradley's
upheld ash tray.  It turned out that Nick Timbers was the director of
marketing for the company Wendy worked for, Gem Instruments.  When Seda
mentioned that she wanted to get into the marketing field, the conversation
grew suddenly animated.  Nick Timbers talked about the profession and Seda
continued to ask questions.  Each of them smoked three more Ismir, keeping
Bradley busy.  In time Bradley wished he wasn't there. He especially thought
this when Nick Timbers asked Seda to lunch on Wednesday of the coming week.
"I'll try to have some strategies for you on how to break into the field," he

Seda was ecstatic  "Oh, I cannot believe I got to meet you tonight. I feel so
very fortunate.  I know something is going to come of this."

Timbers laughed. "If I can help, then so be it."  They exchanged phone
numbers and Timbers said he would call her the following day to firm up the
luncheon plans.

"Here," Seda said sticking out her hand. "Take two more cigarettes with you.
For later."

"All right, thanks," Timbers said. "For later." He laughed and so did she.

In a few minutes Seda without warning headed toward what appeared to Bradley
to be the bathroom. Eventually he wandered into a study, where the door was
open. He was looking at family photographs on the wall, wondering if he would
ever have a family, when Wendy suddenly entered.   She appeared concerned but
at the same time amused. "Seda has been looking all over for you. I think she
is really pissed. You better go see her right now."

In the living room, Seda  met Bradley with a scowl. "Do not ever do that
again," she hissed. Her voice bordered on rage. "Ever. Do you understand? If
go to pee, you stand by the bathroom door and wait.  I want to see you the
moment I come out. I will need you then. I cannot believe you are just
walking away."

"Sorry, sorry," Bradley said, shaking, as he quickly pulled out a cigarette
and lighter.  "I am very sorry, Seda."

"You ought to be sorry. And I mean what I am saying. If you ever are doing
this again, I am beating you with a belt, a leather belt with the buckle."
Her words made Bradley shudder almost uncontrollably. His only response was
to nod meekly.

An hour after that Seda said it was time for them to go.  Seda thanked Wendy
and her husband, then went out the front door, followed by Bradley.

Both were silent on the drive to Seda's apartment. Finally Seda spoke.  "You
are being quiet this night. Is anything wrong?"

"I wish you hadn't told that guy I couldn't smoke your cigarette.  I felt
like a fool." There was hurt in his small voice. 

"Oh, do not feel that way." She reached over and placed her hand at the top
of her thigh. "I told him because it is funny.  I still think it is that way.
And you must do as well."

"But I felt so stupid in front of him."

"Listen to me," Seda said. "You cannot help it if you cannot smoke.  That is
not your fault.  Unfortunately not everybody can smoke.  That is just the way
it is. When I was a young girl, in maybe eighth grade in Chicago, I would go
with some of my school friends, to a spot behind the school, where the
sisters could not see us smoke.  A sixth grade girl, her name was Teresa
Riley, I'll never forget. She came out one day and wanted to smoke with us.
Her mother had given her permission to start smoking. She had not smoked
before but Teresa did so very well right away.  She was a darling girl, so
cute, and she looked perfect with a cigarette. Her mother smoked Tareyton and
so Teresa did also. Teresa was so happy and proud to smoke. She was showing
everyone the pack of Tareyton in her purse.  But a few days later, she came
out and told us she had a big rash, a serious rash, all across her body.  The
nurse at school did not know what it was. Her mother took Teresa to the
doctor and he said she had allergy. He asked her if she smoked and she said
she had just started. The doctor said this was an allergy to the smoking.
Teresa got very upset. Her mother was upset too and asked if there was
medicine Teresa could take so she could continue to smoke. The doctor said
no. A couple of days after that Teresa told us she could not smoke any more,
ever. Then she started to cry.  She wanted very badly to smoke, she liked it
so much. She cried and cried. We all cried. I felt so very sorry for her. But
that taught me some people just cannot smoke and should not smoke.  Their
bodies do not like it. That is just the way it is, I am afraid. You just have
to accept it.  OK?"

Bradley said he felt better and walked her to the apartment door where they
stopped. "I hoped that was all that was bothering you," she told him.  She
hugged him. "I do not want you upset with me. I want us to be together, as we
are. I need you. I do not want things between us.  OK?"

Bradley felt the same and they said goodnight. 

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