She Owed Her One, Part 3

(by Kalithanatos, 20 December 2009)


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She Owed Her One
by Kalithanatos

CHAPTER THREE

Later that day, the two girls were standing in an alleyway near the
supermarket where Debbie had tried her first cigarette. The alleyway was very
rarely used since it was where a fast-food chain kept their bins. It was
still early and they were currently closed, leaving the two girls alone.
Debbie had gone into the supermarket and repeated her purchase from earlier
of a lighter and a packet of Lambert & Butler Ultra Lights. Debbie handed the
pack to Julianna, who could not believe what she was about to do. The two
girls had come up with a plausible sounding plan to convince Debbie's mother,
Hannah, that Julianna had recently taken up smoking. The first part of this
involved Julianna smoking as many cigarettes as it took before she looked
convincing enough to smoke in front of Hannah. She would then only smoke for
that day before declaring she had given up and would never smoke again.
Hannah was impatient for Julianna to come over, since she still did not
completely believe the cigarettes she found belonged to the sweet little girl
she had known all these years and not to her somewhat rebellious daughter. To
get around this and give Julianna time to practice, Debbie had told Hannah
that Julianna was cramming for her impending history final exam (a subject
the girls did not have in common) and would not be around for a few days.
This delay bought them what they believed would be enough time to turn
Julianna into someone who looked believable with a cigarette in her hand,
which she certainly wasn't at this point.

"I can't do it," Julianna complained, having finally managed to break the
seal and extract a cigarette from the pack. It was the first time her fingers
had ever touched a cigarette, and it felt totally alien in her hand.

"Just try," Debbie instructed, "it's not that hard. I managed it, after all,
even if it was only for a few seconds."

"Yeah, but I'm going to have to do this for more than just a few seconds,
aren't I?" Julianna replied, curtly. Debbie winced, and for a moment,
Julianna actually felt a bit guilty. "Sorry, that came out wrong," she
offered, seeing that Debbie hated this almost as much as she did. She looked
at the foreign object in her hand. "Let's do this and get it over with," she
said, resigned to her fate. "Will you help me?"

Seeing that Julianna was offering an olive branch to her, Debbie nodded her
head `yes' and said to Julianna, "Okay, let's start slowly. Try putting the
cigarette in your mouth and see how it feels."

Julianna, now committed to going through with the ordeal, slowly brought the
cigarette to her mouth using her thumb and index finger. She opened her lips
slightly and put the cylinder between them, slightly to the left. Yet again
she was amazed at how light the cigarette felt - for some reason, she
expected it to have some sort of weight and that it would be heavy in her
mouth, but it was almost as if nothing was there. This thought was
immediately dispelled, however, when she looked down and saw the white object
hanging from her lips. She looked at Debbie, who immediately burst into
laughter.

"You look ridiculous!" Debbie exclaimed.

"I FEEL ridiculous," Julianna said, removing the cigarette from her mouth
using the more traditional index/middle finger technique. The tension between
them was suddenly broken, and Julianna relaxed a little for the first time
since Debbie's confession. "Okay," she said, moving the cigarette back
towards her lips, "I'm going to smoke now. Can I have the lighter please?"
Debbie passed Julianna the lighter, amazed that her friend was actually
following through with the deal.

Julianna took the lighter and attempted to spark it. She had never used a
lighter before and could not seem to get the hang of it - even to the point
where she almost forgot she had a cigarette dangling from her lips. Seeing
her friend's distress, Debbie took the lighter from Julianna and demonstrated
how to operate it. She handed the lighter back to Julianna, who finally
managed to make it work. There was no wind, so the flame was steady. Julianna
looked at it, then at the end of the cigarette past her nose, at then at
Debbie

"Here goes!" Julianna said,the cigarette bouncing up and down in her mouth. 

Julianna brought the lighter close to the cigarette and let the flame dance
over the tip; however, as no suction was being applied, the cigarette did not
burn as it should have. Debbie suggested that Julianna should suck gently as
the flame touched the cigarette to set it alight.

"But I don't want to breathe it in, remember?" Julianna reminded Debbie.
Indeed, this is what they had agreed; Julianna would only mimic the actions
of a smoker by breathing the smoke into her mouth and expelling it quickly.
This would stop Julianna getting addicted, according to all the literature
she had read on the subject.

"That's fine," said Debbie, "when I did it, I managed to get by without
inhaling any smoke into my lungs. It's pretty easy to fake."

"Okay, here I go again," Julianna said, putting the cigarette back into her
mouth and managing to get the lighter to work the first time. Again she
brought the naked flame close to the tip of the cigarette, only this time she
actively sucked on the filter of the cigarette. She noticed the flame
suddenly move towards the exposed tobacco and unbelievably (to her) she got
an even light. At the same time, Julianna's mouth filled with a bitter,
unpleasant taste. Removing the cigarette from her lips, Julianna blew the
uninhaled smoke out in a large, unformed puff.

"Eww, that IS gross! Why do people DO that? Yuck!" Julianna complained.

"Told you, didn't I?" Debbie responded. "But the good thing is, you managed
it without coughing or anything. If you can do that a few more times, we
should be home free. Why don't you try again and see if it's any better?"

"Okay," Julianna said. Debbie's reasoning sounded logical. Another few puffs
and she would be free of this forever. She brought the cigarette to her lips
for the second time and took a small puff. This time it was slightly more
tolerable, although still very unpleasant. She did note with dismay that the
cigarette was almost as long as it was when she had started this ordeal; it
had barely burned down at all! At this rate, she would have to smoke it for
fifteen minutes to finish it, not the mark of a genuine smoker, or even
someone who was passing to be one. For her third puff, she decided to take a
risk and draw slightly longer on the cigarette. This time, she visibly
noticed the ash getting longer as she sucked on the filter, meaning she was
doing it right at last. For some reason, this gave her a perverse sense of
achievement and a moment of pride. She was doing it!

Debbie watched Julianna in awe and disbelief as her friend continued to smoke
the cigarette. When she had told her mum the cigarettes belonged to Julianna,
she thought she had made an even bigger mistake than leaving the packet in
her jacket pocket. She had no faith that Julianna would be able to follow
through with the plan, as her best friend had never done anything vaguely
naughty in her entire life. Now, here she was, smoking a cigarette! Debbie
felt truly blessed to have a friend like Julianna and felt nothing but love
and respect for her in that moment.

Julianna smoked about three-quarters of the cigarette before deciding she had
had enough. She knew that to convince Hannah she would have to smoke a whole
cigarette, but she thought she had done well to even get this far on her
first attempt. As she clumsily stubbed the cigarette out and put it in a
nearby bin, Debbie piped up, "How was it?"

"Pretty gross at first, but by the end I got a little used to it. The smoke
got in my eyes and it's left a weird taste in the mouth. Do you have a mint
or something?" Debbie looked in her purse and found a piece of chewing gum,
which she gave to Julianna.

"Thanks," Julianna said, searching in her own bag for some perfume to mask
the smell. "I should probably head back to my place just now, and you should
be getting back soon, too. After all, I AM supposed to be studying for this
history exam on my own!"

"Jules, I can never thank you enough for this. You truly are the best friend
a girl could have. Give me a hug," Debbie said, putting her arms round
Julianna and holding her tight. They held this pose for a good thirty
seconds, and as they broke away Debbie said something that gave Julianna
goose-bumps all over her body.

"You looked so hot smoking that cigarette. It was sexy seeing you being
naughty!"

Julianna looked at her friend. Normally she could read Debbie very well, but
she couldn't tell this time if her friend was mocking her or actually meant
what she had said. Debbie gave nothing away, simply saying, "Goodbye! See you
tomorrow," as she turned and walked away.

Pondering Debbie's final comments, Julianna grabbed the rest of her stuff
(making sure the cigarettes and lighter were neatly hidden away) and headed
home.


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