Worth Sacrificing for, Part 1

(by SSTORYMAN, 03 September 2001)


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This fictional account contains adult language and themes.  If such language
and themes offend you, please do not read further.  The persons and events
described in this work are purely fictional.  Any similarity to actual persons
or events is strictly coincidental.  Copyright 2001 by SSTORYMAN.  All rights
reserved.  Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this story in any form
and for any purpose as long as this notice is reproduced and no financial
remuneration is received, directly or indirectly, by the person reproducing
it.

WORTH SACRIFICING FOR

1.	A Strange Request.

   "He wants you to do _what_?"

   Jenny King smiled.  But she didn't feel as peaceful as she looked.  "Eric
wants me to learn to smoke."

   Valerie shook her head.  "God!  What _is_ that bastard's problem?"

   "Eric says he thinks it'd add a little mystery, a little spice, to our sex
life.  It was just a suggestion.  That's all.  But if he wants me to, I'll do
it."

   Valerie made a face.  "Yeah, like lung cancer is real spicy, real
mysterious.  Bullshit!"

   "Val, please don't react that way.  I like Eric.  He's nice, good looking,
and he makes good money.  He's ambitious.  He'll be really successful here at
the company.  I think he may be 'the One.'"

   "Oh my God!  For years you've been searching for 'the One,' Jenny.  When
will you learn?  Never compromise your standards just to keep a guy around!"

   "It's not like that with Eric," she said defensively.  "We've talked about
getting married."

   "So, Eric actually proposed?"

   "Well, not exactly.  At least, not yet.  But he's talked about marriage,
and that's a start.  It's a hell of a lot farther than I got with the last few
guys I dated."

   Valerie again shook her head.  She was pert, pretty, and of Italian
descent.  "If I were you, Jen, I wouldn't do it.  Today Eric wants you to
smoke for him.  Then what?  What if his next request to add 'spice' to your
sex life involves whips and chains?  Then what will you do?"

   "Eric's not that kind of guy," Jenny protested.  "He's sweet.  He's no
pervert.  And it's not so bizarre.  You've seen old movies from the forties.
Actresses like Lauren Bacall smoked, real sensually, too.  It _is_ sexy, in a
way, if you think about it."

   "Right.  And Lauren Bacall was married to Humphrey Bogart.  Bogart died of
lung cancer.  Don't forget that."

   Jenny grew impatient.  "But Lauren Bacall didn't.  She's still alive.
That's not the point.  It's not like I'd smoke all the time.  Eric only wants
me to learn to smoke to play 'bad girl' when we fool around.  That's all.  I
suppose you've never done any kinky stuff with your boyfriends?"

   Valerie sighed.  "Okay, yeah, maybe I have."  She was well-known as a party
girl who knew how to have a good time.  "But I never do anything dangerous.
There's a difference."

   "This _isn't_ dangerous, Val.  It's a game.  That's all."  She looked at
her watch.  "I gotta get back to my desk.  I'm meeting with Charisse soon."

   "Fine.  Go ahead, kill yourself," her friend added as a concluding remark.
"I wouldn't do it, Jenny.  Not for Eric, not for any guy.  It's too dangerous.
You could easily get in over your head with smoking.  Trust me."

   "Val, get off your soapbox.  I want it to work out with Eric.  I want us to
get married eventually.  I won't piss him off by turning down a small, simple
request.  Some things are worth sacrificing for.  This isn't a big deal."

   "It would be to me," Valerie replied as they boarded the elevator.  "Yeah,
some things may be worth sacrificing for.  But your health isn't one of them."

   Jenny sighed.  Without another word she returned to her desk in the
accounting department.  At 26, she'd been at Sargon Technologies two years.
She and Valerie started together, Valerie in marketing and Jenny in
accounting.  Before Sargon, Jenny was at Ernst & Young for two years.
Companies like Sargon often fill in-house accounting positions from audit
staffs of their independent accountants.  Sargon offered her a middle
management position, which freed her from the endless travel and long hours at
E&Y.  She never regretted leaving public accounting, except for its negative
impact on her love life.

   She was a tall, attractive brunette with long, curly hair.  At E&Y she met
and dated lots of guys.  But at Sargon she worked with the same people all the
time.  There wasn't a lot of opportunity to interface with anyone other than
the accounting staff.  The guys in the accounting department were all married
or committed to long-term relationships.  Not meeting new men meant not dating
much.  So when Eric Minton had asked her out, she was ecstatic.  In his late
twenties; Eric was first assistant to Sargon's president.  Many of Jenny's
college friends were already married, and she was beginning to feel desperate.
Eric was a hot prospect, one of the few at Sargon who met her high standards.
She had to admit she was a material girl.  She liked money and prestige.  She
wouldn't consider a guy who didn't have plenty of both.  Eric fit the profile
perfectly, and she wasn't about to miss an opportunity to make him happy, even
if it meant learning to smoke cigarettes for him.

   Jenny had never smoked.  No one in her family did.  In college and at E&Y
she never hung out with smokers.  She saw it as a Neanderthal habit, reserved
for the uneducated, or for those who didn't know better.  Not that she was
afraid of smoking; she wasn't.  She'd just never been around people who
smoked.  Except for her desire to please Eric, her natural reaction to his
strange suggestion would've been the same as Valerie's.

   And Valerie was right.  It _was_ strange.  Eric brought it up casually, but
obviously he wanted her to do it.  Jenny wasn't dumb.  She saw how delighted
he was when she agreed to give it a try, and she wanted him to be happy.
Their current situation, after dating a couple months, was great.  They hung
out most weekends and slept together a couple times a week.  It was only okay
sex, but still a very promising relationship.  And Jenny hadn't had many of
late.  So if this kept Eric interested, she'd definitely give it a try.

   As for Valerie's disapproval, she discounted it.  Val had no trouble
attracting guys, and she had virtually no standards when it came to whom she
slept with.  But at 24 Valerie was younger; she wasn't looking to settle down.
Val's time would come.  Eventually she'd learn that sometimes you have to
compromise to get what you want.  Jenny wanted a husband, and Eric was her
best prospect.  After all, she rationalized, it wasn't so bad.  It wasn't as
if she'd turn into a real smoker or anything.  She'd learn simply to please
him from time to time.  That was all.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   On her way home Jenny stopped at a gas station.  She didn't know what brand
of cigarettes to ask for, so she looked for an ad of a brand on sale.  She saw
a sign advertising Camel Filters at $.50 off a pack.  She walked up to the
cashier and asked for a pack of Camels.

   "Lights or regulars?"

   Jenny froze.  She didn't know.  "Uh, regular," she said nonchalantly.

   "100's or king size?"

   Again she didn't know.  "Oh, king size," she replied casually.

   "Box or soft pack?"

   The rapid fire questions flustered her.  She never knew buying cigarettes
was so complicated!  "Box," she finally announced, feigning confidence.

   Arriving home, she realized she failed to buy a lighter.  But kitchen
matches would work okay for the experiment.

   Jenny lived alone.  She had a place at trendy Silver Shadow Apartments.
With her last raise she got a luxurious, new apartment.  It was a two bedroom
unit with a big master suite.  It even had a fireplace in the living room;
expensive, and very plush.  She loved the finer things.  So what if her
friends thought she was materialistic?  Why not enjoy the best things life has
to offer?  She liked her new apartment, just like she enjoyed her new Lexus.
It was a little beyond what she could afford, but she didn't care.  You only
live once!

   She settled down after dinner in front of the fireplace to teach herself to
smoke.  She wasn't looking forward to it, but it was worth the sacrifice, she
reminded herself, for Eric's sake.

   It was a disaster.  She had no idea what to do, and was nearly overpowered
by the strong, pungent odor of the stubby, full flavored Camels.  After two
cigarettes and endless coughing and gagging, she finally gave up.  She felt
queasy.  How did anyone learned to do this? she wondered.  Was Eric really
worth this?  "Yes, definitely," she told herself.  But if she was going to
learn to smoke, she'd need some help.

   But from who?  She thought and thought.  Not from Eric.  He didn't smoke.
That in itself was odd, she realized.  He didn't, but he wanted her to.  It
was bizarre!  But he'd clearly be no help.  She thought again.  Who else was
there?  None of her friends smoked.  But as it turned out, the assistance she
needed came from a completely unexpected source.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

   Charisse Jordan was Sargon's Vice President of Finance, an attractive,
tall, thin black woman in her mid-thirties.  Two years earlier the CFO job
opened up, and many qualified CPA candidates both inside and outside the
company, including Charisse, applied.  She got the nod, largely because she
was the only candidate with the right gender and color, as well as technical
credentials.

   It never bothered Charisse.  She was younger than most candidates, but had
good accounting skills, and she knew it.  It didn't trouble her that
intangibles gave her an edge.  She soon showed Sargon's board they made a good
choice.  In her two years as CFO the corporate finance group at Sargon became
one of the company's best run and most efficient business units.

   Jenny was Charisse's first hire.  They got along, though they didn't
socialize.  Charisse was a senior executive; Jenny was middle management and
ten years her junior.  But they had a good working relationship.  As her
hand-picked associate, Charisse had a vested interest in Jenny's success.  The
only other person at Jenny's level in the department was Bob Kincaid.  He was
a holdover from the prior CFO.  Charisse preferred Jenny, and ran interference
for her whenever she screwed up.  But such help wasn't needed often.  Jenny
had become a real up-and-comer in the corporate finance and accounting group.

   The morning after Jenny's disastrous experiment, she arrived in Charisse's
office to go over monthly reports.  Before they finished, the phone rang.  It
was the company president.  Charisse began a long conversation.  She covered
the phone and whispered.  "Let's finish this later," she suggested.  "I'm free
for lunch.  Can you join me then to go over the reports?"

   "Sure, Charisse," Jenny smiled.  "Shall I come by a few minutes before
noon?"

   "Perfect.  Let's go off premises to eat today.  I'll drive."

   At noon they left the building and walked to the employee parking lot.
Charisse got in a sporty red BMW.  Jenny, who appreciated such things, greatly
admired it.  But she noticed a faint, unmistakable smell of stale smoke in the
interior.

   She'd never seen Charisse smoke.  The smell could've been from someone else
who rode with her.  But she knew most non-smokers don't let others smoke in
their cars.  So she thought it was worth a shot to ask her boss about it.

   "Charisse, pardon me for asking.  But do you smoke?"

   The pretty black woman made a face.  "Fuck," she winced.  "Is the smell
that obvious?"

   "Not too obvious," Jenny assured her.  "It's very faint.  But I can smell
it.  So, do you smoke?  It doesn't bother me.  I'm just curious, mostly."

   Charisse sighed.  "Yes, I do smoke, though not much.  You mustn't tell
anyone, Jenny.  I work hard to keep it a secret at the office.  It's not
considered politically correct, you know."

   Jenny nodded.  "I know.  Actually, I'm very interested.  I'm thinking of
taking it up."

   Charisse startled.  "What?"  She laughed.  "You're shitting me, right?"
The look on Jenny's face showed she was dead serious.  "Why in hell would you
start smoking at your age?"

   Jenny told her about Eric's request, and of her disastrous attempt to teach
herself to smoke the night before.  Her boss shook her head and laughed out
loud.

   "I don't believe it.  So Eric Minton, that rising star in the executive
suite, gets off on women smoking?  Well, I'll be damned!  I'd never have
guessed he was of those."

   "What do you mean, one of those?"

   Charisse smiled.  "Honey, some men find smoking very sexy.  It is, of
course.  But most don't admit they think so.  At least Eric's honest.  So,
you're willing to smoke to please him, huh?  Good for you.  That'll work!"

   Jenny took a deep breath.  "But Charisse, I need help.  Could you give me
some pointers?  Last night I almost made myself sick trying to do it alone."

   Charisse laughed again.  "Sure, I'd be glad to help.  It's good we're
eating off campus.  I know an out-of-the-way restaurant not too far from here
with a smoking section.  I'll help you.  It'll be my pleasure.  I mean that."

   She pulled her red BMW into the parking lot of Giovanni's, a little Italian
restaurant in a strip shopping center.  "This place is very smoker-friendly,"
she explained with a wink.  "I often come here for lunch alone when I want to
smoke."

   The restaurant wasn't busy.  They seated themselves in the smoking section.
Jenny was uncomfortable.  She never intended to ask her _boss_ for help.  But
Charisse was her champion at the office, and she didn't seem put off being
asked to lend a hand with this unusual project.

   A pleasant looking, blond college-age girl approached their table.  She
wore Giovanni's waitress uniform; a white tank-top, a short black skirt and
heels.  "Hi, my name's Gretchen.  I'll be your server.  What can I get you to
drink?"  Then she recognized Charisse.  She smiled broadly.  "Oh, hi,
Charisse.  It's nice to see you again.  I see you've got a friend with you
today."

   "Hi, Gretchen," Charisse replied.  "Yes, this is my colleague Jenny King.
She's one of the few people at Sargon I trust with my little secret.  You know
what I mean?"

   The blond waitress grinned and nodded.  "I understand."  She turned to
Jenny.  "Charisse often comes here for lunch alone so she can chain-smoke
while she eats.  I almost always wait on her.  I understand her dilemma, you
see, because I smoke, too."

   Charisse winked.  "Jenny and I will both be smoking, Gretchen.  Can we get
an ashtray?"

   "Oh my God," the server apologized, seeing no ashtray on their table.  "I'm
so sorry.  Two ashtrays coming right up!"  She hurried to provide two small
glass ashtrays.

   Charisse and Jenny ordered coffee, and Charisse then opened her purse and
removed a pack of Salem Lights 100's.  "I don't often get to smoke during the
day," she giggled.  "So this is a real treat."

   Charisse slid a long, white cigarette from the green pack and put it
between her dark red lips.  With an elegant, gold lighter she brought a thin
flame to life and touched it to the tip of her cigarette.  Immediately her
cheeks hollowed, and the end turned bright red.

   "Ah, that's great," she gasped, after sucking smoke deep into her lungs.
"God, what a nice surprise, getting to smoke with you, Jenny."  She paused to
release a thin stream of smoke.  The light, milky-colored smoke luxuriously
escaped from her painted red lips.  It stood out in sharp contrast against
Charisse's dark skin.

   "So, you can't smoke at the office.  How often do you smoke, Charisse?"

   Charisse paused while Gretchen put two mugs of coffee on the table.  She
smiled at the server and then began to speak.  "No one in senior management
knows I smoke," she whispered.  "One has to be careful.  There's an irrational
anti-smoking sentiment in the business community, especially at Sargon, so I
play it close to the vest.  How much do I smoke?"  She paused for a long,
luxurious drag.  "I average half a pack a day, I suppose."  She smiled,
stopping to exhale again.  "I have three or four before work every day, and
another six or seven every night after work.  Yeah, about half a pack.  It's
not much, really."

   "But can you do that?" Jenny wanted to know.  "I mean, don't you _have_ to
smoke?"

   Charisse shrugged.  "Some people can't go more than a couple hours without
a cigarette.  But for me it's never been that way.  I can go all day without
smoking if I have to.  And that happens more and more often now, with evening
business meetings and all."  She drew again on her Salem.  "But when I do get
to smoke, it's a real serious treat.  I believe everyone is entitled to one
vice.  This is mine!"

   Jenny nodded.  She'd never have guessed Charisse was a smoker.  "So if I
learn to smoke, I won't need to smoke all the time like those other people,
will I?"

   "I don't know.  Probably not.  Some people can manage it, some can't.  You
won't know till you try.  But either way, it's very pleasant."  She smiled
deviously.  "So, do you still want to give it a shot?"

   "Yeah, I think so.  What the hell?  Why not?  What's the worst that'll
happen?"

   "The worst that happens is you get hooked," Charisse answered.  "And you'll
become one of those poor souls always running out behind the building to the
smoking area."

   Jenny nodded.  Behind the office building was an area reserved for smokers.
On breaks and at lunch they gathered by two picnic tables and large sand
container ashtrays.  She shuddered at the thought.  The people she'd seen out
there were mostly clerical types, not management.  She quickly dismissed the
thought of being one of them.

   "I'd never go out behind our building.  I'd be like you, Charisse.  If I
wanted to smoke, I'd do it at home, away from the office.  But anyway, what
the hell do I care what people think about me?"  It was a lame question.  She
knew she was very concerned.

   "Watch your back where office politics are concerned.  You have a future at
Sargon, Jenny.  You're good; very good.  Soon I'll be recommending a new
assistant VP to the management committee.  You're on _my_ short list.  But if
people at the company, especially the president, see you smoking out back,
well, it won't help your chances."

   Jenny nodded.  It was a risk.  On the other hand, if she didn't learn she
might lose Eric.  She didn't want that to happen, either.  "I'm not worried.
I can handle it."

   Charisse smiled.  "That's the kind of attitude I like!  Good for you!"

   Gretchen approached the table.  "Are you two ready to order?"

   "Jenny and I are going to have another cigarette first.  Is that okay,
Gretchen?"

   "Sure, we're not exactly busy," the waitress quipped.  "Take your time, and
enjoy."  She paused.  "Did I overhear you say you're just beginning to smoke,
Jenny?"

   "Yeah," she nodded.  She suddenly felt embarrassed.  "My boyfriend wants me
to learn," she explained.  "Charisse and I work together at Sargon, and she
offered to help me."

   Gretchen gave a big smile, flashing perfect white teeth.  "I hope you don't
think this is too weird, but I think it's great.  Believe me, you'll love it.
I'm always glad to see someone _your_ age start smoking, and add to our ranks,
so to speak."

   "Hey, I'm not that old," Jenny objected with an embarrassed grin.

   The waitress touched her on the shoulder.  "No, you're not old.  But people
who don't start smoking in high school or college usually never start.  You
must be in your mid-twenties.  Am I right?"  Jenny nodded.  "So, that's why I
say, good going!  But don't let me interrupt your smoking lesson, ladies.  Go
right ahead."

   "Thanks, Gretchen," Charisse smiled.  The server retreated, and the lovely
African-American turned her attention to her tense Caucasian friend.  "Now
take my pack, Jenny.  Very delicately pull out a Salem with your fingertips.
Yes, that's it.  Put it in your mouth.  Let it hang there a minute.  Get used
to how it feels having a cigarette dangling from your lips.  Try talking with
it hanging there.  Don't worry.  It won't fall out.  Get the hang of it, no
pun intended."

   "Testing, one, two, three," Jenny said, self-consciously talking around the
white cylinder dangling from her lips.  The unlit cigarette bobbed up and down
as she spoke.  "You're right, Charisse.  It's not hard.  But what's the point
of this?"

   "You need to feel comfortable with it.  Before lighting it up, I want you
to feel relaxed, to get accustomed to what it feels like having a cigarette in
your mouth.  By the way, it looks damn good on you hanging there, Jenny.  Eric
will be pleased.  Trust me."

   This vote of confidence increased Jenny's.  "How long do I have to do
this?"

   "Until you're okay with how it feels.  And I think it's time," Charisse
said.  "Let's light you up."

   "Wait," Jenny objected, removing the unlit cigarette from her lips.  "How
will this be different from last night's disaster?  I don't want to get sick
to my stomach again."

   Charisse laughed.  "Relax, you won't.  For one thing, my cigarettes are
lights.  That means the tobacco taste, and the tar and nicotine content,
aren't as strong as the Camels you tried.  Second, mine are menthol.  Menthol
gives the smoke a fresh, clean, minty taste.  It's easier to get used to.
Third, most important, I'll walk you through it.  By the time we're done,
Jenny, you can practice smoking at home alone with great confidence."

   Charisse lit another cigarette for herself, and then helped Jenny light
hers.  The taste of the smoke wasn't as nasty as the night before.  Jenny put
her fingers around the filter to remove the burning cigarette from her mouth,
but Charisse made her stop.

   "Don't," she ordered.  "Just let it hang there awhile."

   "But why?"  The smoke bothered her eyes.  "Why do I have to leave it in my
mouth?"

   "To get used to the smoke.  The best way to do that it is to keep a lit
cigarette in your mouth awhile.  You don't need to puff.  In fact, I don't
want you to; not yet, at least.  Just breathe normally with the burning
cigarette between your lips.  Some smoke will make its way down into your
windpipe and lungs, and you'll get accustomed to it.  It's not so hard just
letting it sit there, is it?"

   "No, I guess not," she admitted.  The burning cigarette bobbed up and down
as she talked.  "Though I feel like a complete ass doing this!"

   Charisse laughed.  "Well, you don't _look_ like an ass, Jenny.  You look
like a smoker.  That's a big difference.  A smoker knows how to enjoy herself.
And that always looks good; right now, it looks damn sexy, in fact.  So, just
relax.  The more you get used to having smoke around your face, and the more
you breathe with that cigarette in your mouth, the sooner you'll adjust and be
able to smoke for real."

   "What do you mean?"

   "I mean, the point of smoking is inhaling.  But till you're used to it,
that can make you sick.  I'm helping you get used to the smoke before taking
the next step."

   "Do you mean I have to sit here and let the cigarette burn down to the end
in my mouth?"

   Once more Charisse laughed.  "No, you can take it out and de-ash.  But then
put it back.  Yes, this is definitely the best way to get used to smoke,
having a lit cigarette perched in that pretty little mouth of yours.  Like I
said, just relax."

   "But when do I work on the puffing part?" she wanted to know.  The smoke
continued wafting around and in front of her face, and in her eyes.  But it no
longer bothered her as much.

   "Okay.  Every once in awhile try taking a small drag.  Seal your lips
around the filter and attempt a small puff.  Yeah, that's it," she approved,
as Jenny drew on the dangling cigarette.  "But don't inhale.  Just breathe the
smoke back out.  The inhaling lesson will come later."

   Jenny sat there for five minutes letting the Salem dangle from her mouth
the whole time.  She felt like a fool, but the noxious effects of the night
before never materialized.  Every minute or so she puffed lightly, immediately
letting the smoke go right back out of her mouth.  It wasn't bad, she decided,
as she finally crushed it in the ashtray.

   Gretchen came to take their order.  The women talked about other things
before and during their meal, including finishing their review of Jenny's
financial reports.  Gretchen then came back to remove the empty plates and
refill their coffee mugs.  Charisse picked up her pack of Salem Lights 100's
and held it out to Jenny.

   "It's time for another one, my little apprentice," she quipped.

   With her long fingertips Jenny carefully pulled a solitary Salem from the
pack.

   "Yeah, that's right.  That's the way," Charisse cooed.  "Perfect!  You
should always be very refined each time you handle a cigarette.  Your every
action should absolutely drip with femininity.  That is, if you want Eric to
be happy."

   "I do," Jenny agreed.  She held the cigarette by her face, patiently
waiting for Charisse to light her up.  She did, lighting Jenny's and then
firing up a Salem for herself.  As instructed, Jenny once again left hers in
her mouth.  Meanwhile, Charisse took a long, hard drag and inhaled smoke deep
into her lungs.

   "Ah," Charisse sighed dreamily.  "That is _so_ nice."  She exhaled a
powerful jet of smoke through her red lips.  "How is it for you, my neophyte?"

   "Okay," Jenny smiled, carefully talking around the dangling cigarette.
"But how long do I have to keep doing this?  I mean, when can I start really
smoking, Charisse, like you do?"

   The black woman laughed.  "Don't be impatient.  Practice keeping the
cigarette in your mouth awhile.  But every thirty seconds or so, take a little
puff and blow the smoke out.  Don't try to inhale till you're good and used to
it.  That's what made you sick last night, Jenny.  For now, learn to control
the cigarette while it hangs there.  Learn to talk with it in your lips.  Just
try to enjoy the sensation of having smoke in your mouth.  That's the key.
Okay?"

   Jenny nodded.  "Okay," she agreed.  "I'll do it."  She was transfixed by
the sight of the long, dangling cigarette burning between her lips, and the
drifting smoke encircling her face.

   They engaged in meaningless conversation, so Jenny could practice talking
with the cigarette in her mouth.  Soon she was able to talk easily, without
either dropping it from her mouth or letting its ashes fall.  Every minute or
so she took it out, tapped an ash into the ashtray, and put it back between
her lips.  As Charisse advised, she periodically puffed and exhaled smoke.
She felt happy.  This was much better than the night before.  Best of all, she
didn't feel the least bit queasy.  Charisse was right; she grew accustomed to
having smoke in her face.  More important, she was constantly breathing smoke
in and out as she talked with her boss.

   They got in the BMW to return to Sargon, and Charisse congratulated her
apprentice.  "Jenny, you did great!  Now here's my advice.  Buy a pack of
Salem Lights 100's and a lighter.  This is a good brand for you.  Then keep
practicing.  You can figure out how to light up without my help.  Smoke three
or four cigarettes tonight, just like you did today, and leave 'em in your
mouth the whole time to get used to the smoke.  Hone your ability to control
the cigarette in your lips.  Sit in front of a mirror and watch yourself.  Try
to look as sexy and sultry as possible while keeping the cigarette in your
mouth.  We'll talk again tomorrow and I'll teach you to inhale.  Once you
master that, bingo, you're ready for Eric!"

   "God, thanks _so_ much, Charisse," she gushed.  "I really appreciate your
help.  This was so much better than last night.  Now I feel like I know what
to do.  With your help, I'll be smoking in no time."

   "Yes, you will," Charisse smiled knowingly.  "You will indeed."

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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