Summer Vacation, Part 11

(by Dromedary Joe, 18 December 2009)


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Summer Vacation
by Dromedary Jone
Part Eleven

It was Friday night which, of course, meant it was bible study night for the
five girls. Rachel had called Claire and told said her plane had just landed
so she was going to be about thirty minutes late. Claire told her not to
worry, they would wait for her. It would give the other four girls a chance
to talk before she got there.

Rachel got to the restaurant with her bible in hand. She glanced into the
non-smoking section and didn't see her friends. The hostess pointed to where
they were sitting - in the smoking section. Perhaps there had been no seating
available in the non-smoking section when they had been seated, Rachel
thought, but that was strange.  That had happened before and they had waited
for a table to become available. Besides, they all knew she would be late and
there was no hurry. Rachel sat down and noticed there was something different
about the girl's attitudes. They all seemed so confident - almost defiant.

"I'll get right to the bottom line," said Claire, interrupting the small
talk...

"We've all made some changes in our life," continued Claire, "changes which
you might not approve of, Rachel.  Changes which might affect our
friendship."

"Oh," said Rachel, somewhat surprised, "what kind of changes?"

"Well," said Claire nervously, "A lot of changes."

"Such as?" probed Rachel.

"Such as this," said Claire, pulling a Newport out of the pack in her purse. 

Claire quickly put it in her mouth and lit up. Tonya, Sara, and Kayla quickly
followed suit and pulled their packs out, lighting up.  Rachel sat there
silently for a moment without expression before she started laughing. The
girls weren't sure what to make of her reaction, but they all assumed the
worst.

"So," said Rachel, continuing to laugh, "You've all started smoking. That is
a huge surprise. You know what, though? I can deal with this. Smoking isn't
going to send you to hell. It just makes you smell like you've already been
there. It's not going to make me not want to be your friends, I guess. It's
not like you girls are having premarital sex or anything."

The girls all looked at each other, wondering who was going to speak up.

"You girls aren't sexually active?" asked Rachel.

There was silence for a moment before Tonya spoke up.

"Rachel, we all lost our virginity this summer."

"Is this some sort of friggin' joke?" asked Rachel, becoming upset.

"No," said Claire, "We've all rethought our lives. We haven't been to church
all summer. We don't want to go back to church right now. We thought about
being hypocrites and secretly being bad girls, but we wanted to come clean
and be honest about it. We do want you to still be our friend."

"Rachel," said Kayla, switching her cigarette to her other hand so she could
put her now empty hand on Rachel's.  "We don't want to lose your friendship.
We've all been friends too long to let it end over something like this. We
want you to be our friend. We all need you to be our friend."

Rachel looked at the four girls one by one as if she had been betrayed before
she finally spoke up.

"You know what I need?" said Rachel, pausing for a good ten seconds.
Everyone else around the table waited for her answer.  "I need a cigarette,"
Rachel finished.

The girls looked at each other in shock before Kayla finally extended her
pack of Marlboro Light 100's towards Rachel.  Rachel pulled one out and
dangled it for a few seconds before grabbing one of the lighters on the
table. She flicked the Bic lighter, putting it within an inch of the unlit
cigarette before taking the cigarette out of her mouth, still unlit.

"You know what?" asked Rachel, putting the Marlboro Light back into Kayla's
pack. "If I'm going to smoke a cigarette, I'm not going to smoke a Marlboro
fuckin' Light.  I want something stronger." She paused for a moment as she
looked at the other three girls. "Claire," she said, "Give me a Newport."

Claire was surprised that Rachel knew what brand she smoked since she hadn't
pulled the pack out of her purse like the other girls had, but quickly pulled
her pack out  and extended it towards Rachel, who lit up her Newport and took
a huge drag.

"Oh my God, that feels sooo good," Rachel said as she exhaled.

"When did you start smoking?" asked Sara.

"Actually, I quit smoking three months ago - at the beginning of the summer."
Rachel replied as she double pumped her Newport.

"Really?" said the other four girls almost at once.

"Yeah," said Rachel, smoking as if she was making up for lost time. "You see,
I've been living sort of a double life since the beginning of last school
year. You know that cute older guy Craig in the choir at church? I've been
going out with him for a little more than a year. All those times when you
thought I was out witnessing for God I was probably at his house fucking him.

"But I felt really guilty about it, and I was afraid that I would be caught.
I was afraid I would lose all of you girls as friends. I felt dirty and knew
I needed to get back to God.  I guess what made me really want to change was
that I had tried to get one of you to start smoking. I desperately wanted to
have a best friend. It was always Claire and Sara *and* Tonya and Kayla, but
I always seemed like the odd person out. I thought if maybe one of you
started smoking, I could come out of the closet as a smoker and then I'd have
one of you girls as my best friend. I never thought I would actually succeed
in getting her started, but it appears I was successful."

Claire took a drag off her Newport as she finally figured out how Rachel had
known her brand preference...  

"So you put a pack of Newport's under my car seat in the hopes that I would
find it, try it and like it?" asked Claire.  Rachel started crying. 

"I'm sorry," she said, "I regretted it almost as soon as I did it. I tried to
find a way to get them out of there, but couldn't without getting caught. I
guess I originally figured since your parents smoked, you would be the most
likely to start smoking, but I never really thought you would seriously try
it. I thought you would throw them out when you found them."

Claire lit another Newport, which gave her a few more seconds to respond.

"Rachel," Claire said, exhaling, "You didn't get me started smoking. It was
all me. Everything I've done this summer I did because I wanted to. I didn't
even know about Tonya and Kayla until a few days ago. Maybe I'm just going
through a wild phase and will go back to being a good Christian girl someday,
but I am where I want to be in my life right now. The important thing is that
we all stay friends - all five of us.  I think we need to all agree to be
best friends forever before the night's over, regardless of what we do in our
personal lives."

The girls all nodded their heads in agreement. 

"So, are you going to start smoking again?" Tonya asked Rachel as Rachel
finished her first Newport of the summer.

"I don't know. I missed my Newport's all summer. Maybe I'll buy a pack and
decide after I finish it."

Claire reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of Newport 100's. "Here,"
she said, tossing the full pack towards Rachel, "I think I kinda owe you a
pack."

The girls all laughed, chain smoked and talked about the summer and how much
fun they would be having their senior year of high school.


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