Spring Break Confessions, Part 1

(by an4@anon.lelnet.com, 18 March 2002)

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Spring Break Confessions
Part 1

    'So, are you going to tell your parents that you're a smoker or not ?' 
Tricia asked.
    'Well, all the clothes I'm taking home are in the wash right now, and I 
haven't had a cigarette since breakfast this morning. What do you think ?'
    Tricia looked at Kristin and rolled her eyes. 'I can't believe you're 
thinking of trying to hide it again.'
    'And I can't believe you'd rather go to Vermont in the middle of the 
warmest winter on record instead of meeting up with your parents in Italy.'
    'I spent a month in Italy last summer and I'm sure we'll spend a month 
in Europe again this summer. I know it sounds spoiled, but I've been to Italy 
five times and what I really need is a week to do school work and relax. 
Traveling with my parents is not a good way to relax- or get studying done. 
And as for not smoking-'
    Tricia pulled two Marlboro Lights 100s from her pack, lit them both, and 
offered one to Kristin. When she didn't take it, Tricia walked round behind 
her and put it directly into her roommate's mouth. She drew reflexively on it 
and then took it.
    'You're such a terrible influence. I never would have started smoking if 
you hadn't pestered me so much.'
    Tricia slipped her arm around Kristin's waist and hugged her. 'You love 
the attention. And you love smoking. What's the big deal ? You're eighteen 
now- and you said that your dad smokes cigars. And you think your mother used 
to smoke.'
    'Used to. They're paying for my education and I don't want to do 
anything to upset them. I haven't been smoking since I was fifteen like you. 
I have no idea how they will react.'
    'What did they say when you told them that I smoke ?'
    'Not much. They're kind of like that, though.'
    Kristin turned around and looked at Tricia. She really liked her roommate 
but she was afraid she might not be able to trust her when it came down to 
it. Tricia recognized that look and knew that Kristin had every reason to be 
worried- to a point. But there was a difference between what she wanted to do 
and what she would do.
    'I promise to be good, Kristin. You're the one who has to tell mommy and 
daddy that their little girl has grown up to be a smoker. I'll just nudge you 
along, okay ?'
    'We'll see.'

    Donna lit a cigarette as she walked out onto the back deck. Derek was 
sitting in a chair, reading papers. A long cigar jutted out of his mouth. He 
turned to look at his wife as she strolled over and put her hand on his 
    'So, are you going to tell Kristin that you've taken up smoking again ?'
    'I just finished cleaning up the house. There's a vague odor of cigar 
smoke, but I doubt she'll be able to tell.'
    'I think you're being silly, honey,' Derek said, taking the cigar from 
his mouth and trimming the ash.
    'Well, she already has a roommate who smokes. I don't want to be the one 
who pushes her over the edge.'
    'She's an adult. If she wants to smoke, she'll smoke. Otherwise, she 
won't. You're forty-two years old. If you want to smoke, you should be able 
to. And you've never had a problem with me smoking around her.'
    'I don't think she's likely to take up cigar smoking, honey.'
    'She would if she'd try it.'
    'You just don't want me to stop because you get off on me smoking.'
    Derek laughed, then watched as she drew deeply on her cigarette and 
pushed an exhale through her pert nose.
    'I do get off on it, but I also know you. You were climbing the walls 
over Christmas when she came home.'
    'That was almost three weeks, and one of those I was off work- and that 
was the only time it was really bad. I only snuck out to smoke one night-'
    'Two nights, and I'd rather have you smoking at home than staying out 
until 2 am just so you could sneak in unnoticed. Closing bars with your 
friends, now that's something most people your age don't do.'
    'I invited you to come along.'
    He got up out of the chair and hugged his wife tenderly.
    'I just don't like seeing you miserable, dear.'
    'I'll do my best not to be miserable. I just want what's best for 
    'Who, I'll say again, is an adult now, honey. I think you are just being 
    Donna drew on the cigarette, trimmed and blew smoke. The wind caught it 
and held it around them and Donna breathed it in again. She liked the smell 
of her own smoke.
    'Promise me you won't say anything to her, Derek.'
    'I won't. I might disagree with your reasons, but it's your choice, not 
mine. However, we are going to allow Tricia to smoke, aren't we ?'
    'I suppose that we have to. Just promise me you won't being jonesing on 
her too much.'
    'Jonesing ? You've been watching too many Buffy re-runs. But I promise.' 
He tightened his hug. 'You're the only smoker that I need or want. But I 
might sneak a look or two. She is an attractive girl, after all.'
    That earned him a mostly playful elbow in the ribs.

    They'd been driving for about an hour. Tricia was lighting her third 
cigarette when suddenly there were flashing red and blue lights behind them. 
Kristin's heart leapt into her throat when she realised that the trooper was 
pulling her over. She glided to a stop in the breakdown lane. The trooper sat 
in his car, probably running her Vermont license plate.
    'I can't believe this. I've never been stopped before.' Kristin's face 
was beat-red and she was sweating even though Tricia's window was rolled 
halfway down.
    Tricia laughed. 'It's no big deal. You were only doing seventy-five. 
He'll probably settle for giving you a warning if you can just relax and act 
    'Act natural ? My parents are going to kill me. I bet my insurance will 
    'Relax.' Tricia reached into the back seat, pulled out her friend's 
purse and handed it to her, then dug the registration out of the glove 
compartment. 'Get out your license. Smile and call him '˜Officer.' Say please 
and thank you. The more your smile that gorgeous smile of yours, the nicer 
he'll be.'
    Kristin opened the purse. As she trolled around for her wallet an 
unopened pack of Marlboro Lights 100s fell into her lap. She hardly noticed, 
leaving it  there as she pulled her license out. Just then the trooper left 
his cruiser and walked up to the car. She rolled down the window, license and 
registration in hand.
    'Good afternoon. Do you know why I pulled you over, ma'am ?' He was in 
his late twenties, with a blonde crew cut and rugged good looks. She thought 
it was absurd, his calling her ma'am.
    'I believe I may have been going a few miles over the speed limit, 
    'Ten miles an hour, to be exact. License and registration, please.'
    Tricia took a deep draw on her cigarette, looked directly at the officer 
and smiled as she exhaled through her nose. He smiled back.
    'This will just take a moment.'
    As he walked back to his car, Tricia nudged her friend. 'Light up, 
    'What ? Now is not the time to be nagging me to smoke.'
    'Do you want to get out of this ticket or not ?'
    'What does my smoking have to do with that ?'
    'Did you see the way that he looked at me when he saw I was smoking ? 
Just do it .'
    It took Kristin a while to fumble the cellophane off the pack because of 
the way that she was sweating. Finally she was able to get a single cigarette 
loose from the pack. By the time she had lit it, he was back at her window. 
He handed over her paperwork and smiled at her as she blew smoke out the 
    'Well, at least you're old enough to be smoking, so I don't have to 
lecture you on that- not that I mind. I'll make a deal with you. You don't 
have any prior violations, and you seem like a nice enough young woman, so 
I'll let you off with a warning- in exchange for a cigarette.'
    'What ?' Kristin asked.
    'They discourage us from smoking during our shifts. I don't even bring 
my pack with me anymore. I've been out here for six hours and I could really 
use one. Seeing you two smoking-'
    Kristin handed the pack to him and he took one out and handed them back. 
He leaned into the car to catch a light from Kristin, then stepped back, 
inhaled, and blew out a thick cloud of smoke.
    'Thank you. I really appreciate it.' He pulled a card from his pocket 
and handed it to her. 'You run into any other problems or- well, my number is 
there. If you want to give me a call, anytime, feel free. Try to stay within 
five miles an hour of the posted limit. Since we changed the speed limit to 
65 on these roads, we've had to do tighter enforcement.'
    'Thank you officer.'
    He held up the cigarette. 'No, thank you. And I mean it. If you come back 
through this way, give me a call.'
    He walked back to his car and Kristin's heart started beating in a more 
normal way.
    'Did he just hit on me ?'
    Tricia laughed. 'Now, was I right or not ?'
    'You were.'
    She pulled back on the road carefully and drove away, a bit more slowly.

    'So, how was the trip ?' Derek asked. The four of them were sitting in 
the living room, drinking bottled beer and making small talk.
    'Eventful,' Kristin said.
    'Really ? Well, the car looks like it's still in one piece, so I 
guessing you got pulled over. Anything I need to talk to the insurance agent 
about ?'
    'No,' Kristin said. She looked at Tricia, who was lighting a cigarette, 
and smiled.
    Tricia was making a show of lighting her cigarette, and inside Kristin 
cringed. She saw the way her dad was looking at her- the same way the trooper 
had looked at her- as she drew the first smoke from the cigarette into her 
lungs. Her exhale was slow and sultry and when their eyes met there was 
altogether too much mischief in hers.
    'Since it was my first time getting pulled over, he let me off with a 
warning. I was only going 75 in a 65.'
    'Well, that's part of it,' Tricia said, talking as smoke drifted from 
her mouth.
    'Only part of it ?' Donna asked. 'Did my daughter bat her pretty 
eyelashes and smile her way out of the ticket ?'
    'Yes and no. When the trooper was talking to her I noticed that he seemed 
to be enjoying watching me smoke.'
    The  look on Kristin's face was unmistakable, but Tricia went on. She was 
sure her friend was going to break the promise that she'd made and resigned 
herself to the truth coming out. She was wishing she had just taken the 
    'When he came back from his cruiser, he offered to let us off with a 
warning in exchange for a cigarette. Kristin gave him one and he gave her his 
business card.'
    'You gave him one of your cigarettes ?' Derek asked, the emphasis on the 
word your.
    'No,' Kristin said, glad her friend had left the explanation ambiguous 
enough for her to tell a rare lie. 'I gave him one of Tricia's.'
    'So, he let you go- and he gave you his business card. Was my daughter 
being hit on by New York State's finest ?'
    'Daddy !' Kristin said, scandalized.
    'Hey, the important thing is that your insurance rates won't be going 
up- they're already expensive enough. But you have grown up to be quite the 
attractive young woman. I can see you getting out of a ticket that way. Don't 
you think so, Tricia ?'
    'There's no question he was checking her out, Mr. Kelly.'
    'Please, call me Derek. Tell me, Tricia, do you like French cooking ?'
    Kristin, who felt as though she had just had a narrow escape from the 
truth, perked right up when she heard mention of French cooking. That could 
only mean that they had reservations at Lyon Café. Suddenly the long drive, 
the excitement and fear of being pulled over and the surety that Tricia was 
going to rat her out all faded into the background.
    'I haven't had decent French cooking since Paris last summer,' Tricia 
remarked. She pulled on her cigarette and exhaled, locking eyes with Derek. 
She enjoyed the way he was looking at her, knowing that he was enjoying the 
view. 'But it can't be that long ago that you were in college. I'm sure you 
remember how tiring cafeteria food can get.'
    'Actually, I've never had the chance to forget.'
    'Oh, how silly of me- you teach at a private school, right ?'
    'Yes, but the cafeteria has that public school feel.'
    Donna rolled her eyes. 'Derek forgets that I've eaten there. It's not 
Lyon Café quality, but it's a damn site better than where I work.'
    'You're the assistant principal at the high school in town ?' Tricia 
asked, as if she didn't know.
    As they talked and Tricia continued unabashedly smoking and laughing and 
getting on so very well with her parents, Kristin felt a pang of envy. She 
was so relaxed and poised, while Kristin felt nervous and edgy. It was going 
to be a long week. She forced herself to stop resenting Tricia's easy manner b
ecause it was hardly her friend's fault that there was a lie sitting out 
between her and her parents. Or that she was going out of her way to be a 
genial, attractive smoker.
    Kristin fought the urge as she became a spectator in the conversation to 
counter by blurting out '˜by the way, I've started smoking.' 

    They walked into the restaurant around seven. Dad was wearing his best 
slacks and a collarless dress shirt that only looked hand-tailored. Mom's 
black leather dress was low cut and tight but it looked good on her as 
everything did, and Tricia was resplendent in a white knee length dress with 
straps the size of silly string. Kristin felt positively frumpy in slacks, a 
white shirt, and a leather dinner jacket that Tricia assured her was very 
    The maitre'd smiled at them warmly.
    'Your usual table is waiting for you, Mr. Kelly.'
    'Usual table ?' Kristin asked her father.
    'We've been coming here every two weeks the last few months.'
    'Oh, you were just dying to get me off to college, weren't you ?' 
Kristin said, ribbing him good-naturedly. Her emotions were running in 
constant flux now, happy to be here and yet nervous. The last time she hadn't 
smoked at a restaurant was over Christmas break- and they hadn't come here, 
either. She'd brought it up and her mother had seemed to be against the idea 
for some strange reason.
    They went to the back room, where they'd- or at least Kristin- had never 
been before. It was the smoking section. But if her parent's '˜usual table' 
was back here-
    They were seated. A waiter exchanged a nod with Derek and immediately 
brought over a bottle of wine and four glasses and went to work opening the 
bottle as Derek used a plug-cutter to prepare his cigar.
    'I love a cigar-friendly restaurant. I trust I don't have to tell you to 
feel free to smoke, Tricia.'
    Tricia was already digging her cigarettes from her purse and lit one.
    Kristin noticed an odd look cross her mother's face.
    'There is nothing better before a good meal than a smoke, don't you 
agree, Derek ?' Tricia said.
    'You'll get no argument from me- or any of the people back here.'
    Kristin looked around, seeing people she knew. Her favourite teacher- 
besides her father, Ms. Parker, was sitting two tables away, laughing and 
waving around a VS 120 as she shared an after-dinner drink with Mr. Larson. 
Dad had told her the two were dating, but this was the first time she'd 
actually seen it for herself. And Ms. Parker had never been a smoker.
    'But tell me something. My daughter is living with an attractive young 
smoker- haven't you at least gotten her to try it ?'
    Kristin's attention was torn away from thinking how elegant Ms. Parker 
looked. Her face reddened.
    'Daddy !'
'Oh honey, you're an adult now. It wouldn't surprise, or for that matter, 
disappoint me, to learn that you had at least tried smoking.'
'Derek, you shouldn't tease her that way,' Donna said. She reached over and 
patted her daughter's hand. 'Not that there is anything wrong with smoking, 
honey. I mean, if you have tried it. As your dad says, you are an adult now 
and there's nothing unusual about being curious about smoking- I remember 
when I decided to try smoking in college for the first time.'
'Are you saying that you wouldn't be upset about it if I came home one time 
and told you that I had decided to smoke ?'
    'We're not trying to give you ideas, Kris. I'm just saying that you're 
old enough that you can certainly smoke if you want to and we wouldn't have 
any reason to be upset by that.'
    'Like you weren't upset when I said I wanted my own car ?' Kristin asked.
    'That was different. We were concerned about that because you were only 
sixteen- and a car is a pretty dangerous thing. Not to mention the expense.'
    Tricia laughed. 'It sounds to me like your parents are pretty 
smoker-friendly, Kristin.'
    'How long have you been smoking ?' Derek asked her, taking the 
conversation away from Kristin, who seemed a bit flustered.
    'Oh, I started when I was fifteen. That's when my parents decided that I 
was old enough to try it if I wanted.'
    'Really ?' Donna asked, but just then the waiter interrupted the 
conversion. As they took turns ordering, Kristin racked her brain to find 
some other safer to change the subject to. Of course, it sounded like it 
would be no big deal telling her parents that she was smoking, but still-
    She opened her mouth to speak but Tricia anticipated this and cut her off.
    'Yes. I'd been curious about it for a year, but mom and dad made it 
clear that I was not to even think about trying smoking until I had their 
    'So they let you try it on your birthday ?' Derek asked. Kristin thought 
her dad was being a little bit of a perv.
    'No, actually it was about a month later. I brought home straight As on 
my report card the first marking period and Mom told me I could have anything 
I wanted- except a car.' They laughed, except Kristin, who shot Tricia an 
'˜enough already' look that was completely wasted. 'I told her I wanted a 
cigarette. She handed me her pack of Virginia Slims and I took one out, put 
it in my mouth and she lit it for me. I've been smoking ever since, and I 
love it.'
    'How did you and Kristin end up as roommates ?' Derek asked. 'I thought 
that they separated the smokers and non-smokers in the dorms.'
    'They made a mistake with the room keys. My roommate was supposed to be 
someone named Kelly Kristanoff. But they gave Kristen her key and vice versa. 
We were supposed to be in opposite wings. Poor Kelly is roomed with a 
non-smoker. But Kristin and I hit it off so she didn't want to move.'
    'That and I got a good look at Kelly's roommate and decided I'd rather 
live with a smoker than Jane.'
    'What's wrong with this Jane ?' Donna asked.
    'It's a long story, mom, and kind of embarrassing, which is why-' she 
shot Tricia a look '-I've never brought it up. The short of it is that Jane 
is just not someone that I want to live with. I just told the RA that I was a 
smoker too and I didn't want to move.'
    'You told your RA you smoke ?' Donna asked curiously.
    'It was easier than trying to fight to stay in a smoking room as a non-sm
    'All of our friends are smokers, too,' Tricia added, watching Kristin's 
blood pressure rise.
    'Really ?' Derek asked, his interest making Kristin more uncomfortable. 
He was definitely enjoying the view he had of her friend, sucking away on her 
cigarette like a fiend.
    'All that peer pressure, Kristin, and you haven't taken up the habit ?'

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