Summer Vacation, Part 7

(by Dromedary Joe, 18 December 2009)


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Summer Vacation
by Dromedary Jone
Part Seven

When Sara went to work after the road trip, she made sure to take her pack of
Virginia Slims with her. It had only been four days since she had smoked her
first cigarette, but she already had decided to smoke... at least until the
summer was over. She would have to be careful not to smoke around Claire
until Claire left for the Bahamas trip with her parents in another month.
Sometime in August, she would worry about quitting; maybe even convincing her
mother to quit as well. Until then, she would enjoy her new habit.

It had been a slow day at work, she was going home early. She was outside on
her third cigarette break when she was told she had a visitor. Sara figured
it was her mother stopping by to say hello, so she double pumped her Virginia
Slim, crushed out the cigarette, and quickly made her way inside as she
exhaled. As she rounded the corner still exhaling smoke, she saw the visitor
wasn't her mother, it was Claire. 

Sara's heart skipped a beat. Had Claire seen her exhale the smoke? It was
hard to tell, but Claire seemed worried about something else...

"Hey, where have you been?" Claire asked with concern.  "I tried calling you
and stopped by, but you and your mom weren't home. I was really worried about
you."

Sara was very conscious that her clothes probably reeked of smoke. It was one
thing for Claire's clothes to smell like smoke since her parents both smoked
but it was another for Sara's to smell.  Sara hadn't told Claire that her
mother smoked, much less that she had started. Surely Claire smelled the
smoke on Sara, but she didn't say anything about it.

"Oh, me and my mom went on a three day road trip," said Sara, "I'll tell you
about it later."

"When do you get a break?" asked Claire, "I'll buy you lunch."

"Actually," said Sara, "I'm not taking a thirty today, but I'm getting off
early - in another two hour or so."

"Why don't I pick you up and we'll have dinner together? It's been a while
since we talked. We have a lot to talk about."

Claire would surely talk about Sara's smoking once she picked her up, Sara
thought, but then wondered if she was being paranoid. Maybe she hadn't
noticed the exhaled smoke or the smell of smoke on Sara's clothes...

A couple hours later, Claire picked up Sara and  suggested they go to the
Greasy Spoon Diner down the road from the mall. Sara thought that was an odd
choice since it was small and decidedly blue collar. It didn't even have a
non-smoking section, but the food was decent enough.

"So, what's been going on in your life?" asked Claire after they had ordered
their food.

"Not much. Just the usual things; you know me and my Mom are still trying to
deal with the stuff with my Dad and all. How you been, Claire?" asked Sara,
hoping her friend wouldn't mention the smoking.

"A lot going on in my life," said Claire, who seemed a little nervous and
excited at the same time, "I have a new boyfriend.  You'll never guess who
I'm going out with."

Sara made a few guesses, mentioning mostly guys from church who Claire had
expressed interest in who they bothknew . Finally, she gave up.

"You remember that guy who had a major crush on me when we were sophomores?
We went out on our first date last week, and we really hit it off."

"James?" asked Sara, surprised at her friend's choice of guys, "Wow that is a
surprise."

"You don't like James?".

"Well," said Sara, "I think he's cute and all, but you know he's kind of not
what I expected you'd go out with. I mean, he smokes cigarettes..."

Sara paused, realizing she had mentioned his smoking with contempt as if her
old anti-smoking self was emerging.  Claire chuckled for a second before she
finally spoke up. 

"You say that as if I didn't catch you exhaling smoke a couple hours ago."

Sara paused for a moment, trying to think of the right thing to say.  It was
finally out in the open...

"You know what, Claire," said Sara raising her voice a little, "I have
started smoking, but I'm having a lot of stress in my life. I don't plan on
smoking forever, but it helps me cope with things right now."

"Sara, I understand," said Claire calmly.

Sara gauged her friend's reaction and was convinced that Claire wasn't making
a big deal of it.

After a few seconds, Claire asked Sara, "So what brand do you smoke?"

Sara thought it was a strange question coming from Claire, but Claire's
parents had been smokers for a long time and she figured Claire would know
more about cigarette brands than Sara.

"Virginia Slims Light 120's," said Sara, pulling out her pack to show her
friend.  "They're not too strong, I guess. Don't really know `cause I've
never really smoked any other brand."

Claire pulled one out and sniffed it before she put it between her index and
middle finger as if she was holding a lit cigarette.

"It's really long," commented Claire as she continued posing with it, "mind
if I try one?"

Sara was surprised as she retrieved her lighter. She watched her friend
prepare to light up and figured it must be her first cigarette. Sara expected
her to cough just like she had when she had lit up for the first time.  But
Claire lit up before double pumping and slowly exhaling a long stream of
smoke.

"You've done that before," said Sara, surprised that her friend seemed to be
a more accomplished smoker than her.  Claire took another drag without
replying.  Instead, she reached into her purse and pulled out her pack of
Newport 100's.

"Want to try one of mine?" asked Claire, "they're a lot stronger, though."

"Sure," said Sara, surprised at this recent turn of events. She reached into
Claire's pack of cigarettes and took one out. She dangled for a few seconds
as she tasted the unlit menthol cigarette before lighting up.

"Oooh," said Sara, "this tastes different."

"I like my Newport's," said Claire, "Occasionally, I smoke one of James'
Marlboros, but it just doesn't seem right."

"They are very strong," commented Sara, "I don't know if I could get used to
them."

The girls talked and chain smoked for a few hours in the smoky diner before
leaving.

"What are we going to tell the girls?" asked Sara, lighting one of Claire's
Newport's as they went home. Claire had already said she had told her
parents.  Sara's mother, of course, already knew about her smoking. It was
the bible study girls they both worried about.

"We're not going to tell them," said Claire, "they wouldn't understand
because they've never tried it."

***

Tonya sat in the living room talking to her cousin Alicia about Dave, the guy
she had met a week earlier. Tonya had seen him a few more times and knew she
was falling in love with him. 

"Dave likes you a lot, but he doesn't think it would work out between the two
of you. I mean you live so far away and all," said Alicia, smoking one of her
Marlboro 100's.

"Well, I know that, but the college I plan on going to is only an hour away
from here. I'll have a car by then and we'll be able to see each other."

"Perhaps," said Alicia, "But really he thinks you're too goody-two-shoes for
him. I mean, the whole church thing and the way you dress is kind of a turn
off for him."

Tonya was devastated by the plain truth from her cousin. She got an idea
though. Her cousin may only be fourteen, but she had a good sense of fashion.

"Wanna give me a make-over?" asked Tonya.

Alicia got really excited and told Tonya she would turn her into the hottest
girl Dave had ever seen...  A couple hours later Alicia proudly took her
cousin to the mirror and showed her the new Tonya.  Tonya had to admit that
Alicia had done a great job. The makeup, the hair, the clothing - everything
about Tonya screamed sexy. 

"There's only one thing missing," said Alicia.

"What's that?" asked Tonya.

"You ever seen the movie Grease?"

"A long time ago."

Alicia told her about the transformation of Sandra Dee at the end of the
movie which was punctuated by one thing -  the cigarette.  At first Tonya
hesitated, but she knew Alicia was right. If she really wanted to impress
Dave with the new Tonya, she couldn't go halfway.  Tonya and Alicia decided
to go to the bowling alley the next night and Tonya would show Dave just how
much she had changed in twenty-four hours...

***

Kayla set the cigarette in the ashtray in the bathroom as she put on her
makeup. She was preparing for her first college party. She was excited about
the prospects of meeting men, not boys, at this party.

Over the past couple of weeks, Kayla's smoking had increased to the point
that she was averaging around 5-10 cigarettes per day. Still, she seemed to
think she was in control of the situation.

Kayla grabbed her pack of Marlboro Light 100's and headed for Kendra's car.
Kayla smoked nervously on the way to the party. Tonight there would be a
number of firsts in her life. It would be the first time she would smoke in
public. She also planned on drinking alcohol for the first time in her life.
Little did she know there would be another first tonight...

Kayla was nervous about her smoking; did she look like someone who just
started smoking?  Her sister Kendra assured her that she didn't look like a
newbie.

"I taught you how to smoke, so you look like a pro," said Kendra with pride.

The girls got to the party and Kayla quickly lit up. Kendra said that she was
probably going to get hammered that night so either they would have to spend
the night at the frat house or Kayla would have to drive home.

"That is, if you're not drunk," laughed Kendra.

"Oh," said Kayla, "I only plan on having a few sips. I'm not going to get
drunk."

Kayla hit it off with a frat brother named Brad whose fraternity nickname was
"Otter", an allusion to the movie Animal House. Kayla may have been na´ve
enough to believe that Brad was interested in her as a person, but everyone
else there knew otherwise. At first, Kendra tried to protect her sister.

"Be careful Kayla," warned Kendra, "Brad only wants to get in your pants."

"I think you're wrong," said Kayla, "He seems like a really nice guy."  After
an hour or so, Kendra was too drunk to help protect Kayla.

"So, what are you drinking?" asked Brad.

"I don't really drink that much," said Kayla, taking a drag off of her
Marlboro Light, "Give me something which isn't that strong."

"Everclear and cranberry juice okay?" asked Brad with a sly smile.

"Sure," said Kayla, double pumping her Marlboro.

"I'll be right back," said Brad...


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