She Owed Her One, Part 4

(by Kalithanatos, 20 December 2009)


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She Owed Her One
by Kalithanatos

CHAPTER FOUR

Knowing that she only had a couple of days to look convincing smoking in
front of Hannah, Julianna decided she would take a calculated risk and sneak
a cigarette tonight after her parents went to bed. She lived in a large house
that had an enormous back garden with lots of trees that would shield her
from any windows. She knew from experience that her parents were sound
sleepers and went to bed around 11pm every night. Julianna was used to
burning the candle at both ends studying so it was no problem for her to wait
until after midnight and sneak out the back door to the waiting trees.

The porch light gave enough illumination to cover the first few rows of
trees, and Julianna found a well-lit spot she was comfortable could not be
seen from the house. Nervous as hell that she could be spotted at any time,
Julianna's hands were visibly trembling as she raised only her second
cigarette ever towards her mouth. As she put the filter between her lips, she
had to use both hands to keep the lighter steady enough to light it.
Remembering what to do from her previous attempt, Julianna sucked gently on
the filter and again managed to get an even light. This was good! She felt it
was important to make a decent first impression in front of Hannah that she
had been smoking for a while, and if she could light a cigarette the first
time, some of the pressure would be off.

With Debbie not looking on this time, Julianna started to relax into the
technique of smoking. By her fourth drag, and with the realisation she would
probably not be caught by her parents, she actually found herself noticing
what she had told Debbie about it being gross and unpleasant was a little off
the mark. It wasn't great, sure, but it wasn't entirely bad either. It was
just - different. Unusual. She still honestly couldn't believe she was doing
this, but she had been telling herself all day that it would be over soon
enough, debt paid. She had been furious at first with Debbie for getting her
into this, but as she stubbed out her second cigarette with no real ill
effects, she realised she could actually do this and get away with it.

When she got back inside, Julianna found a text message on her phone from
Debbie.

"Remember to do that thing we talked about today!" it read.

Julianna broke down Debbie's code to mean, "Remember to have another practice
cigarette!" She smiled, pleased to have beaten her friend to the punch, and
texted back, "Already have, babe! It was easier this time. Reckon one more
should do it!"

A minute later, Julianna's phone beeped again.

"You go, girl! Again, thnx for this. I'm so glad we're mates! But do me a
favour? Can you smoke 2 more? I know it's a lot to ask, but I just want to be
sure! Lov u! D."

Julianna pondered this before replying, "OK, just 4 u, 2 more. Then we go to
yr mums and get this over and done with! Lov u 2! Gd night. J." And with
that, she went to bed.

The next morning, Julianna woke at 8am. Her mouth tasted a bit funny, and it
took her a few minutes to remember why. When it struck her, she started to
wonder if the whole thing had been a dream, but as she washed her face she
got a faint whiff of tobacco from her finger tips and realised it was really
happening.

Her parent's left for work not long after and Julianna had the place to
herself. Giving them plenty of time to return for a forgotten item, Julianna
then retrieved her cigarettes and went out the back. She did not want to
smoke again, but realised that the better she got the quicker she could get
over to Hannah's and convince her she was a smoker, letting Debbie off the
hook.

Just as Julianna lit up, her phone rang in her pocket. The sudden shock of
the ringing sound caused Julianna to inadvertently inhale a tiny amount of
smoke into her lungs for the first time. This caused a tickling sensation in
her throat and inducing a mild coughing fit. After this subsided, Julianna
wiped the tears from her eyes and managed to locate her phone. No surprises,
it was Debbie.

"Hi, I'm at your front door. Where are you?" Debbie asked.

"Out the back, among the trees. Smoking, believe it or not!" Julianna
responded. "The door's open, just come through."

"Cool. See you in a mo," Debbie said.

Julianna was still trying to figure out what had brought on her coughing fit
when Debbie arrived a few minutes later. 

"My little trooper, look at you," she said, moving towards Julianna's safe
place.

"I know, I can't believe this is real," Julianna responded, taking a
tentative drag to make sure she wouldn't cough again.

"Hey, what's this with the tiny puffs? Mum'll never believe that!" Debbie
said, shocked at Julianna's apparent backwards step.

"I know, I was doing better last night, then suddenly this morning I was
coughing and I don't know why."

"Did you do anything different, like inhale the smoke into your lungs?"
Debbie asked. She knew from watching her mother that you were more likely to
cough if you inhaled the smoke.

"I don't know. Maybe. When you rang my phone, I was just lighting up. Maybe I
did breathe some in. Would that explain it?"

"I think so," Debbie responded. "Why don't you try taking a bigger puff like
before, but just hold it in your mouth this time. If you don't cough, we'll
know you probably inhaled which caused you to choke."

Julianna took a larger puff than Debbie had seen her take yesterday (although
not as big as the ones last night), held the smoke in her mouth for a few
seconds, and then blew it out.

"Ace. That should do it." Debbie said. "One more cigarette today for practice
then you should be good to go for this evening. How about I call you about
four o'clock and ask you round? That way, all this should be over with by
tomorrow, when you can tell my mum you quit. This is going to work!"

To celebrate Julianna took one final puff of her cigarette before crushing it
out.


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