Summer Vacation, Part 3

(by Dromedary Joe, 18 December 2009)


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Summer Vacation
by Dromedary Jone
Part Three

"Mom?" said Sara shocked, "what are you doing?"

Sara's mother had just finished exhaling when she noticed her daughter.

"Sara," she said as she quickly put the cigarette down in an ashtray, "I
thought you were at work."

"I came home early," Sara said, still in disbelief. She sat down at the patio
table across from her mom and stared at the long slender cigarette now
sitting in the ashtray her parents kept out there for guests. 

"Sara," said her mother, taking a drag off of her Virginia Slim Light 120, "I
didn't want you to find out. I'm sorry, but the stress of your father's
affair has really gotten to me and I started smoking again. I didn't plan on
starting again.  I just thought I could smoke every once in a while, but I
guess I'm up to a pack a day and right now it's just too hard to stop."

Sara watched her Mom smoke her Virginia Slim in silence for a few minutes.
Her parents had both smoked when they were younger but had stopped when she
was a toddler. As far back as she could remember, her parents had been
God-fearing non-smoking, and non-drinking. Of course, the fact that her
father had been screwing around was a recent reminder to Sara that parents
weren't perfect. She decided if smoking were the worst thing her mother did;
she could live with that. Her mother needed her support right now, not her
condemnation.

"Mom,' said Sara, "I don't like you smoking, but I know you've had a lot of
stress in your life lately and I love you even if you smoke."

Sara gave her mother a hug and they both cried for a few minutes.

Sara and her mother talked for a few hours as her mother chain smoked her
Virginia Slims. 

"Promise me you won't smoke inside the house, though," said Sara.

"Of course not," said her mother. "I've heard you complain enough whenever
you come back from Claire's house. I wouldn't do that to you."

Sara \realized it had been a couple of days since she'd seen her best friend.
She wondered what Claire would say about her mother smoking. Until recently,
Claire had looked up to Sara's parents and had said she envied the fact that
Sara's parents were good Christians. Sara thought about her parents for a
moment. Her father screwed around with his secretary and her mother had been
a closet smoker until Sara had busted her. Claire's parents may be smokers
and drinkers who didn't care about their relationship with God, but at least
they weren't hypocrites...

***

Claire sat in the convenience store parking lot for a few minutes as she
thought about what she was about to do. She had already peeked inside and
seen that James was there. Perhaps he had become bitter about her rejection a
few years earlier. Maybe this was a bad idea. How far would she go to get a
pack of cigarettes?

Claire got out of her car as her heart pounded. She could really use a
cigarette right now, she thought. Hopefully, she would have her pack in hand
in a few short minutes.

James heard the door chime and turned around. It was Claire, the girl he had
had a crush on since his senior year of high school. For a couple years, he
had mostly forgotten about her, but she had come in a week ago and he
realized that he still had feelings for her. She looked better than when she
was a sophomore and James once again wished he could get to know her better.
That didn't seem likely though, he knew she was extremely religious. Still,
she was looking fine.

James watched her get a soda from the freezer and a pack of gum before she
headed for the counter.

"Hey James," she said, smiling. 

"Hey Claire," he said, trying not to be nervous, "how you been?"

They talked for a few minutes as James put off ringing up the sale as long as
he could. Claire was being really friendly to him today and he made the most
of the opportunity to talk to his dream girl. She seemed a bit nervous as
well. James knew at one time she had had a crush of sorts on him, and he
wondered if maybe she liked him as well.

James finally started ringing Claire up and asked the obligatory, "Anything
else?"

Claire paused for a second before finally...

"Yes," she said, trying to conceal her nervousness, "and a pack of Newport
100's box, please."

James's heart skipped a beat as his brain processed the request. He quickly
turned around so Claire couldn't see how much her request for cigarettes
shocked him. He reached for the Newport's and quickly tried to regain his
composure. He put the cigarettes on the counter and thought about asking for
her ID, but he knew she wasn't old enough. He knew she had just had her
seventeenth birthday.  It would be another year before she could legally buy
cigarettes.

"Umm Claire," James finally said, "You know I could get in big trouble if I
sold you these."

Claire thought for a moment and then replied, "But if you sold me these, I
would probably be so grateful that I would go out on a date if you asked me."

James heart started beating faster as he quickly thought of this from every
angle. This couldn't be happening he said to himself unless...

"Is this some sort of police sting?" he asked. 

Claire smiled. She had thought he might say something like that and had
planned for it. 

"Come here," Claire said beckoning him to join her on the other side of the
counter. 

James went to the customer's side of the counter and wondered what was up.

Claire moved in closer, getting her mouth within an inch of his.

"Open your mouth," Claire commanded.

James opened his mouth and Claire blew into his mouth slowly so that he could
smell that she indeed had smoker's breath. As if to make a statement Claire
slowly moved closer and ended it with a quick kiss.

"Still think this is a set-up?" asked Claire.

"No, I guess not," James said.

James was now in total shock  as he managed to stumble across the counter. He
quickly grabbed another pack of Newport 100's and set them on the counter.

"I only need one pack. I don't smoke that much - yet," Claire said.

"Think of this as a bonus pack," James said quickly, still stunned by the
events of the past few minutes.

James finished ringing Claire up and she asked if it was okay if she hung out
for a few minutes. James, of course, had no problem and they talked for a few
minutes.

"Is it okay if I smoke in here?" she asked him.

"No, go right ahead," he said. His Pakistani boss let him smoke in the store
when there were no customers inside and he pulled out the ashtray from under
the counter and put it on the counter. It was a slow day and Claire had been
the first customer in several hours. 

Claire propped herself onto the counter and packed her Newport 100's like a
veteran. She lit up and James made the most of the opportunity by touching
her leg, which now rested on the edge of the counter. 

They shared a couple of Newport's together before Claire got off the counter
and said she had to go.

"Walk me to my car," Claire told him.

Claire's Mustang was parked outside and they talked for a few minutes as she
decided to light another Newport. James smoked Marlboro Red's, but he could
get used to sharing the menthol cigarettes. 

Claire took one more drag off the Newport and then said, "Tomorrow night at
five I'll pick you up. We'll take my Mustang."

Claire gave him a goodbye kiss, letting him taste her smoky lips one more
time as another customer pulled up. Claire started her car and drove away.

James pinched himself as he opened the door to the store. That didn't
convince him, so he pinched himself again, harder, and finally knew it wasn't
a dream... 


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