The Camaraderie – Smoking Fetish Story

Today was just one of those days, Sarah mused. The snow was melting into slush, and the wind was biting and cold. Sarah laughed, not at all sincerely, a puff of smoke escaping her lips. This time, it wasn’t from the cold.
Sarah took another deep drag off her cigarette and enjoyed the taste on her tongue. The cigarette wasn’t the thing making her feel so warm inside. It was the feeling of disobeying Jenny.
The thought of Jenny made Sarah’s guilty enjoyment melt into regular guilt, and she let the cigarette fall from her lips into the puddle of quickly liquefying ice in which her feet were submerged. Her hands in the pockets of her jacket clenched and unclenched as she watched the little red end go black and dead in the water. She filled her lungs with air automatically, but didn’t release a sigh. She disguised it as a cough.
“What the hell, Sarah,” Kerry said. “You need another cigarette?”
Sarah, Kerry and Shannon leaned up against the chipping brown paint of Shannon’s backyard fence. A floodlight on a pole encircles the three. Resilient patches of yellowed grass add colour to the soupy mess covering the lawn. Shannon stares at the ground; Kerry holds a pack of cigarettes out to Sarah, who stares at them dumbly.
“Oh, uh, sure,” Sarah says, and she takes one. She holds it out in front of her face and looks at it. Its smooth, crisp white exterior can’t pretty up the smell or taste of it. Sarah can’t hide the sigh.
She slips the cigarette between her lips and motions for a match. Kerry strikes it and lights the end of Sarah’s cigarette before touching her own to Sarah’s. Sarah feels her stomach flip.
It’s this sort of thing that made her take up smoking. The look of the cigarette hanging out of the side of Kerry’s mouth, or her tongue tightening around the end of it, flicking it up and to the side to rest between her teeth, the hazy puff of smoke coming out of her mouth as her eyes don’t leave your face. And the intimacy of
lighting her own cigarette with your own. Sarah didn’t have a smoking fetish. She just thought that smoking was sexy.
“Have you ever thought about shotgunning?” Kerry had asked. Sarah said that she hadn’t, what is it?
“It’s when one takes a puff and breathes it into another’s mouth,” Kerry said. “That way it doesn’t burn as much.”
“That’s… interesting,” Sarah had said.
“It’s stupid,” Shannon complained, rolling her own cigarette between thumb and forefinger. “I don’t know why you do that stuff, Kerry,” she mumbled.
Kerry stared at her. “Really, Shannon?” she asked. “Yeah,” Shannon replied. A pause. “Why?”
Kerry shook her head. “No reason.”
“What?” Shannon asked, suspicious. “What is it?” “Nothing,” Kerry replied, taking another drag.
Sarah had been smoking in Shannon’s backyard for a week since then. So far, she hadn’t felt any real symptoms of addiction, save for a bit of irritation when something interfered with what she called her “smoke break”. And guilt. A lot of guilt.
Sarah looked at her watch.
“Hey, guys,” she said. “I’ve gotta go.”
“Okay, see you laters,” Kerry said. Shannon nodded in her direction.
Sarah exited to the alley through the back gate. She cast a look over her shoulder. She could see the smoke tendrils curling up over the top of the fence into the slowly darkening sky. She looked up; orange and purple melded into pink and blue,

with dark purple clouds covering it all. She changed direction and headed to Jenny’s house.
On the way there, she jogged. She took off her jacket and smacked it against her legs as she ran, willing the smell to get off her. She swiped her hand against the backs of snowy fences forming the alley. She wiped her wet hands through her hair, perfectly scuplting it. She mussed it up. She ran her tongue across her teeth, wondering if they were yellow yet.
She knocked on Jenny’s door.
Jenny’s dad answered.
“Oh, hello, Stanley,” she said. Sarah smiled. “Hi, Mr. Brown,” Sarah said.
“Jenny’s in her room.”
“‘Kay, thanks,” Sarah replied. She went to the right and headed up the stairs, ice crystals trailing on the steps behind her. She went to Jenny’s room and opened the door, stepping through quietly.
Jenny was sitting crosslegged in her desk chair wearing shorts and a t-shirt, her hair messy and untamed. Her glasses were perched on the top of her head, and she was typing pointedly at her computer.
Sarah smiled. It was beautiful.
Sarah crossed the room, pulling her boots off and throwing them to the ground. She swivelled Jenny around in her chair, wrapping her in a hug. Jenny shrieked her hands up in the “this is a holdup” position, before laughing nervously and hugging Sarah back.
“Sorry, ,” Sarah smiled, sitting back onto Jenny’s bed. “It’s cool,” Jenny laughed again. “What’s up?”
“Can I spend the night?”

Jenny stared. “How?”
“Not in the sexy way.”
“Okay,” Jenny said. She swivelled around again and returned to pecking at the keys. Sarah grinned. She couldn’t help it. She’d told Jenny she was cute before, but Jenny had called her a lesbian.
Instead, Sarah hugged Jenny from behind, putting her chin in the crook of Jenny’s neck. Jenny “hmmmed” and smiled. She leaned her head against Sarah’s.
Suddenly, she tensed up. She sniffed, first abruptly and then a long inhale. She turned to Sarah.
“Why do you smell like smoke?”
Sarah let go quickly and leaned back onto the bed. “Oh, nothing,” she said. “I was hanging out with Kerry.”
Jenny turned back to the screen. “You know I don’t approve of Kerry’s smoking,” she said. “She dies enough as it is, she doesn’t need to help the process along.”
Sarah rolled her eyes. “You sound like your mother,” she said, only half-joking.
“I’m serious,” Jenny said. She turned to face her again. “I remember how you said you thought it was cool, or sexy or whatever. I don’t want you smoking, Sarah.”
“Yeah,” Sarah said. Jenny turned to the screen again.
Sarah’s mind wandered back to the “shotgun” concept. She was sure Jenny wouldn’t do it herself. She’d have to help her along. She imagined taking a drag on the cigarette, pressing her lips into Jenny’s, nothing between their tongues but smoke. Jenny, pulling back, barely an inch from her lips, releasing the smoke onto her face in a gentle exhale.
Sarah stood up. “I’m gonna go home,” she said.
“I thought you were spending the night,” Jenny said, still typing. “I, uh… I changed my mind.”

“Okay,” Jenny said. She blindly reached out for Sarah, pulled her over, and leaned in for a quick kiss. At the last minute, Sarah turned, and Jenny kissed her cheek.
“I’m leaving, dad,” Sarah called out. It was 7:30 – smoke break time.
Sarah left hurriedly through the back door, heading into the alley and toward Shannon’s house. On the way there, she thought about what Jenny had said. She thought about getting addicted, and how difficult it would be to quit.
She got to Shannon’s, knocked on the door, exchanged pleasantries with Shannon’s mom, successfully avoiding looking at her rack, and crossed to the back door. She entered the kitchen to see Shannon sitting at the table, stabbing a knife into a plate of Salisbury steak.
“Hey, fatass,” Sarah asked. “Where’s Kerry?”
“Out back.”
Sarah’s face slackened. “Jenny’s here?” Sarah peered through the sliding glass door. Sure enough, Jenny and Kerry were leaned up against the fence. Sarah could see the bulge of the cigarettes in Kerry’s jeans pocket.
Sarah slid open the door with a creak. Jenny and Kerry looked up at her. Kerry was smiling.
“Hey, !” she said.
“Hey,” Sarah replied. “Hey, Jenny.” “Hey, Sarah,” Jenny said.
They all stared at each other.
“Well,” Kerry said, breaking the silence. “Best get the night started, hmm?” She pulled out her pack of cigarettes, pressed it into her face, and removed it, a single

cigarette between her lips. She cupped her hands against the same insistent wind from the night before, the tiny flame of her lighter licking the end of her cigarette. She inhaled, and the red got brighter. She exhaled, and Sarah realised she hadn’t been breathing.
Kerry leaned against the fence, the cigarette bobbing from side to side as her tongue flicked it. She stared to the sky, now almost completely dark. It was cold.
Sarah stared between Jenny and Kerry. Kerry, completely at ease, puffing away; Jenny, staring at the place where thinly wrapped tobacco met Kerry’s lips.
Jenny reached over and plucked the cigarette from Kerry’s mouth. “Hey,” Kerry said softly.
Jenny stared at the end, slightly wet with saliva. She stared at the tip, ash crumbling onto the snow.
She stuck it into her mouth and inhaled deeply, sucking the life out of it. The glowing tip dimmed, and Jenny’s eyes burned. They were locked onto Sarah’s; Sarah’s, which stared into her in a mixture of horror and curiosity.
Jenny removed the cigarette and a cascade of smoke followed it.
Her head fell back against the fence, and she held the cigarette out to Kerry. Kerry took it. She stared between it and Jenny, rolling the body of it between her fingers. She flicked some ash off the tip and extended it to Sarah. Sarah held her hand out. She dropped it.
All three of them stared at the cigarette as it landed burning end-first in a puddle of snow. It rolled against Sarah’s from the night before and settled.
Kerry fumbled for her pack, pulling out three. She gave one to Sarah and Jenny and put the last one between her teeth. They leaned in, the ends of each of their cigarettes touching to form the heart of a starburst where Kerry lit them up. They did not lean back when the flame took hold.

The smoking ritual amongst the best friends continued for a few weeks, as Jenny fully embraced her new habit. Lighting up with Sarah and Kerry made her feel closer to the group than she could imagine, and her secret fascination with Sarah. The group continued to ensure they indulged their growing habits in private in Shannon’s garden. Her mother knew of her habit, but felt powerless to stop her smoking due to her own lifelong nicotine addiction. Shannon was granted permission only to smoke on her property, away from the disapproving glare of the local community. They were not ready to face their peers with their new identities. As smoke danced around them, they chatted about the usual issues that preoccupied their minds – boys, makeup and music.
“So how did you start smoking anyway Shannon?” Jenny asked out of interest to her host, smoke punctuating her words.
Shannon took a deep puff, sucking the warm smooth smoke into her lungs, allowing the magic to spread throughout her body. After a toxic embrace, Shannon pursed her lips in Jenny’s direction and exhaled a cloud of smoke casually.
One month ago…
On her home from the shop where Shannon blew her allowance on sweets, near the edge of the field, Shannon saw a pack of cigarettes. They were Marlboro Reds, in the soft pack. It wasn’t that Shannon could not look at this package in the weeds. Shannon could not stop looking at this package in the weeds.
Already the cigarettes had her, already Shannon was theirs.
The pack was still half full, she could tell, or thereabout. Shannon picked it up – there they were, eight of them, just as she thought, almost half a pack of real-life actual cigarettes.
But obviously Shannon couldn’t walk into the house with them: Hey, look what I found! Her mother would take them. Thanks, her mother would say, and light one up.
But Shannon had found them. They were hers, and Shannon was going to smoke one or maybe three or four if that’s what Shannon decided. Plus by herself, as in very alone. In addition, no one could stop her, no one, for that matter, would even know. Shannon looked around again and saw the same—lazy cars and robins, the

willow with its doves, an old man down the street, which was it, and sun and sky and breeze.
Shannon wedged the pack between her belly and her waistband, then set off for her room at the house to stash them in her dresser, beneath the PJs she never wore. Her mother had been doing laundry, Shannon realized, she’d go through her drawers at any moment. Shannon moved the cigarettes to a shoe in her closet, and then again, before bed, slipped them under her mattress.
Some days after that, once she had fed the dog, and done the house chores, Shannon told her mother she was off to the school, but headed to the field.
Shannon wove through the grass, stopping now and then to check a log or stone for lizards and snakes, though lizards and snakes were the last things Shannon cared about now.
Shannon took a cigarette from the pack. Shannon tapped it on her hand, the way she’d seen her mother do, then brought it to her lips and struck a match. Then Shannon lit it, and then Shannon puffed, and then she squinted at the smoke. Then Shannon drew super hard and sucked in all the smoke.
For the longest time Shannon wanted this more than anything. She’d wanted to cradle the smoke as her friends did, deep in her lungs, like a promise or a vow, She had wanted to vent the smoke as Sarah and Kerry did, slowly as Shannon talked, her words embraced with smoke, and watch the smoke as it drifted off in arty wisps. Shannon wanted this smoke inside her oh-so-badly for oh-so-long, and yet now that Shannon had it, her body refused to help. Her eyes watered, her ears burned, the world began to buzz. And then with a heaving retch, the smoke poured burning from her . . .
Mastering the cigarette was mastering the rest, the bicycle, the bat, the fist. She’d smoke this cigarette down to the butt if it was the last thing Shannon ever goddamned did. Then she would smash the butt beneath her heel, like the roughneck at the lumberyard smashed it beneath her heel, like Clint in the sand and Bogey the fog, like her mother in the lot a butts beneath her heel.
Her head was spinning, now, and her stomach, too, the air had grown thick and hot. When again the seizure struck, Shannon struggled with all she had, and in a bit the danger passed. But still her mind buzzed, inside her head the machine hummed on, bzzzzzzz, bzzzzzzzzz, bzzzzz.

Shannon looked at the cigarette. The smoke twined up in gentle loops, the smell so good, a smell she had always loved. Again Shannon placed the cigarette to her lips and squinted at the smoke, again she drew, though easier now, again Shannon took the smoke inside and felt the burn, and the burn of her cheeks and brow and ears, the branches and leaves areel before her, the lady on her page, reeling and reeling, the beer can by her foot. Shannon held the smoke long enough now, though not too long, Shannon didn’t gag, Shannon didn’t lurch, and then—thooooooooooooooooooo—Shannon let it go, gentle, easy, all the smoke, all her smoke, vanishing now in the branches and leaves to nothing. And now again the buzz set in, better than before, and now again the nausea, worse than before, and then it faded, the nausea passed, and . . . Shannon was something else, somewhere else . . . high. . .
Shannon took another drag, Inside she felt the rush, the burn, the crazy buzz . . .
A wave rolled up then slipped away, and then a wave after it . . .
And then the cigarette itself had passed, the cigarette was gone, Shannon dropped the butt and smashed the butt, she heard the hiss Shannon heard her mother hear as her mother smashed a butt, Shannon saw the smoke, dying at her heel . . .
Yet it was something more than fear Shannon felt counting what was left in the pack. They had to go, Shannon knew, these seven cigarettes, and yet Shannon feared for how. But no sooner had Shannon been bound than like a blade the answer cut her fear away—smoke them!
Not once did Shannon set this choice to another—burying the cigarettes, say, or tearing up the cigarettes, say, and scattering them across the field, or throwing them in a dumpster, say, or even just leaving them with the rest of the junk in that icky little fort, maybe under the crap whoever it was had taken. The thought—the command, more like it—to smoke the cigarettes had simply rung out, and Shannon lit another, without further thought.
Like mother, Like daughter…
“Wow. I never thought Shannon would be the first of us to smoke.” Jenny stated, blowing smoke into the night air.

“Yeah, neither did I. But here I am, puffing away, with no regrets.” Shannon said as she admired the burning cigarette between her fingers.
“Did you know it was Shannon that got me started?” Kerry exclaimed proudly as she took out another cigarette from her pack of Marlboros. Shannon high-fived her best friend with her free hand as Kerry placed the cigarette between her lips.
The girls shook their heads as they continued to smoke while Kerry lit up and took a long drag.
Three weeks ago…
Shannon and Kerry were playing over at Kerry’s house in her room when her mother shouted upstairs.
“Kerry darling, I am going into town to pick up a few things. I shouldn’t be that long.”
Kerry chuckled – she knew her mother was addicted to shopping as much as her beloved cigarettes, and would be in town most of the day.
“Kerry, I’m thirsty. Got any Sunny D?” Shannon asked “Go help yourself.”
As Shannon entered the kitchen, her eyes widened on the discovery sitting atop the kitchen surface.
“Kerry – Come here!”
“What’s up?” Kerry asked
“Hey, look what your mom left behind.” Shannon said as she glared at the open pack of cigarettes. Since her first cigarette the previous week, Shannon was hooked on smoking. She tried stealing some cigarettes from her mother to maintain her growing habit, but the opportunities were rare. Despite her new addiction, Shannon kept her smoking private – she worried how her friends and family would react. However, the sight of cigarettes reignited her cravings, voices in her head begging her to smoke.

“Have you ever tried to smoke before?”
“No, I leave that to my mom and sister. I’m not going to end up like grandma, get lung cancer and die.”
Taking a seat at the kitchen table, Shannon picks up the pack and takes one out. She takes the lighter out of the drawer and lights it up. She takes a long drag and inhales the smoke into her chest. The nicotine buzz returned, sending a ripple of pleasure cursing through her body.
As the nicotine flowed through her bloodstream, her body relaxed and she took another long drag.
“I have a confession to make…” Shannon told Kerry about how she started smoking the previous week, smoking throughout the conversation. Kerry was aghast at her best friend puffing away on the cancer stick. She watched as Shannon inhaled repeatedly, looking content with the cigarette between her fingers. Stubbing out the cigarette in the overflowing ashtray, Shannon obeyed her internal hunger and lit up another cigarette from the open pack.
“I’m going back to my room. I get enough second hand smoke from my mom. I don’t need anymore from you.” Kerry moaned as she fanned the smoke away from herself, as her friend exhaled casually.
Shannon stayed in the kitchen over the following sixty minutes, smoking from the open pack and loving each drag. She knew it may be days before she could smoke again, and relished the freedom of smoking in her friend’s house.
Kerry returned to the kitchen for a drink, disappointed to see Shannon still puffing away. Four additional cigarette butts lay grounded out in the ashtray.
“You should really try this before chastising me over smoking.”
“Thanks but no thanks. Like I said before, I’m not going to kill myself faster. Just wait til I tell Jenny and Sarah…They’re going to freak out.” Kerry barked.
Shannon puffed, thinking how she was not ready to have her habit exposed by someone else, and considered she needed to take action to prevent Kerry’s threat.

As Kerry looked inside the refrigerator, Shannon stood up and walked behind her. “They are not gonna find out yet, Kerry.” Shannon stated.
“And what makes you think…?” Kerry turned around, and rebuked, before feeling the cigarette butt pressed between her lips.
Kerry gasped, and unintentionally inhaled on the butt. The smoke flowed into her lungs, and embraced her body. Rather than coughing out the smoke, it saturated her body and made her feel warm inside. Her own mother’s chain-smoking must have prepared her own body for first hand smoking. A warm buzz shot through Kerry like a harpoon, tingling her sensations. As Shannon removed the cigarette, Kerry slowly exhaled as the buzz retreated. The harsh second-hand smoke no longer irritated her nostrils.
“It wasn’t that bad, was it?” Shannon smiled, recognising the confused look on her friend before offering the cigarette again.
“No – It wasn’t.” Kerry stated, as she accepted the cigarette and took another tentative drag. The girls both sat back at the table, as Shannon watched her best friend smoke repeatedly.
“Kerry, we gotta get more of these smokes.”
“I know! We can take some of my sister’s! She’ll never know because she buys like cartons all the time.” Kerry stated, as the nicotine now controlled her mind.
“Hey for once you came up with a good idea! Let’s go!”
Kerry wandered into her sister’s room and took two packs from the hidden stash of cigarettes inside the wardrobe.
The girls go back into Kerry’s room and light up immediately from the new packs of Marlboros. Kerry opened the bedroom window to dispel the smoke clouds ascending to the ceiling. To also cover their tracks, Kerry activates the room fan while they smoke. Kerry revels in the new feeling as the smoke caresses her body with each drag, and begins to understand the physical appeal of her mother’s habit.

“I’m sorry I had to force you to smoke. I didn’t want to do that.” Shannon stated as her friend took another puff.
“I’m glad you did. All these years watching my mom and sister smoke, I had no idea. I felt left out of a hobby them seemed to take pleasure from. Thanks to you, I have seen the light. What are we gonna do though with Jenny and Sarah? Unlike us, their parents don’t smoke and they will have a fit if they find out we smoke.” Kerry replied, smoke punctuating her words.
“I don’t know – but we have to keep our smoking secret. No-one is ready to find out. With your sources, I can now have all the cigarettes I need. I don’t just like smoking – I feel addicted.” Shannon confessed.
After sharing a few more cigarettes, the girls tidied up the house, removing all traces of their new smoking passion. Shannon topped up the open pack of cigarettes in the kitchen whilst Kerry removed the additionally smoked butts in the ashtray. Furthermore, the girls sprayed perfume on themselves and brushed their teeth to minimise detection from anybody.
Later that evening, Kerry’s mother returned with shopping bags, and began to unpack. As she removed tins from the bag, she noticed the open pack on top of the surface.
“Ah, I knew I must have left them somewhere.” She said to herself, removing a cylinder from the pack and placing between her lips.
Kerry emerged from her room and watched with awe as Kerry’s mother lit up with grace. “Need a hand, Mom?” Kerry asked, watching her mother smoke with a new understanding.
“Sarah, you are in so much trouble,” Tess said, stopping at her younger sister’s feet with her hands on her hips. Behind the south side wall of their estate, Sarah startled when Tess’s shadow slid over her seated form. From below wide startled eyes, her mouth released a puff of smoke, and she tried to hide the cigarette in her hand. With exhaustion, Tess asked, “Where did you even get that?”
Sarah waved at the cloud in front of her face. “From Shannon,” Sarah said.

Tess narrowed her gaze at the sight of Sarah smoking where she sat in the landscaping below their bedroom window. “You might push mom and dad to corporal punishment if they saw this,” Tess teased, extending a hand with a sigh. “Give me it.”
Sarah was in the middle of her next drag, and stopped abruptly with these words. “But…” Sarah croaked, exhaling quickly.
“…yeah but Tess…” Sarah fished into her pocket and held up a second unused cigarette.
“When did this start?” Tess asked as she looked at the burning cigarette in disdain. For weeks, Tess suspected her younger sister had been up to no good. Sarah spent less time in the house since her burgeoning addiction often spending more time at Shannon’s. Furthermore, Sarah would reek of cheep perfume and always be chewing gum in recent months. One night, Tess was positive she could smell a faint whiff of cigarette smoke from Sarah when doing chores in the house, underneath the perfume. Tess made it her mission to spy on her sister and uncover the secret habit she had been concealing from her family.
Tess considered herself a role model, and felt a responsibility to keep her sister in line.
As Sarah told Tess of how she started smoking, she automatically took out and fondled her pack of cigarettes nervously. Tess listened intently, thinking of ways she could punish Sarah for such deviance. “So who else smokes? Shannon, even Jenny?” Tess inquired, struggling to comprehend shy innocent Jenny with a cigarette.
Sarah nodded as she look downwards in embarrassment, as her sister continued her tirade.
“You are so busted, and its my job to keep you on straight and narrow. This habit ends today. You’re coming home with me to explain to mom.” Tess declared, holding the lit cigarette up in disgust.
“Sarah is going nowhere.” A voice responded from behind the girls. As Tess turned, she saw both Shannon and Kerry standing and smirking. Shannon had been standing with her mobile phone, looking at the screen. “Would you believe goody too-shoes Tess McGuire with a nasty cancer stick between her fingers?” Shannon

jested with a sneer out loud. Kerry shook her head, and tutted mockingly in Tess’s direction.
Tess realised she still held the lit cigarette in between her fingers as her mind comprehended the scene.
“A picture tells a thousand words. Aren’t camera phones great?” Shannon said as she flicked through images on her phone. “I think this one is the best.” Shannon showed Tess a picture of her with the cigarette, taken just moments earlier.
“Why, you bitch. Delete that.” Tess growled.
“Not so fast, little miss Sunshine. One press of a button and Tess the Smoker will be trending worldwide.” Shannon snarled.
“Unless you want your reputation tarnished, you will do exactly as we say. Capuche?” Kerry said, winking towards Sarah.
“Come with us.” Shannon instructed. “and one more thing….give your sister back her cigarette.”
With reluctance, Tess sighed as she handed Sarah the cigarette that had been confiscated. With approving looks, Sarah took a deep puff, the smoke relaxing the tensions in her body. Tess grimaced as she could see Sarah sigh contentedly as the nicotine reassured her. For the first time, Tess could see Sarah needed to smoke.
After finished her cigarette, the girls all walked back over towards Shannon’s garden fence, away from the glare of the neighbourhood. Although Tess protested, the girls all lit up new smokes with glee. Shannon took great delight in making Sarah’s sister squeal under duress as the friends all basked in a new nicotine cloud.
“I can’t believe you smoke, Jenny. I thought you knew better.” Tess complained as bookworm Jenny inhaled sharply. “Neither did I, but once I tried it, I loved it. I feel like I belong.” Jenny retorted as she exhaled a cloud towards Tess. Seeing the distress the smoke was causing, Shannon and the other girls continued to smoke and exhale directly into Tess’s red face.

“Not only we got photos, but you now stink, like us. You must be a chain-smoker. What do y’all think?” Shannon teased as she de-ashed her cigarette prior to another inhale.
“You won’t get away with this. People are not so gullible. They know me.” Tess challenged as the girls embraced their habits.
“With the pictures I got, they don’t know you so well. After all, maybe the stress of being perfect all the time, you maybe have a dark side you need to embrace.” Shannon suggested, knowing Tess would never smoke of her own free will. However, in this situation, free will was not an option.
“You do look stressed, Tess – I think it’s time you have one of these.” Shannon smiled, as she offered an unlit cork filter cigarette to the older girl.
As the wheels began spinning in her mind, Kerry almost seemed telepathic. “There is no way out of this. You had the audacity to bust Sarah, this is the only way to keep you quiet. You need to learn some humility.”
As all girls including Sarah continued to smoke, Tess gave in, and took the proffered cigarette between her trembling fingers. With great reluctance, Tess raised the filter to her lips as Shannon offered a flame from her lighter. As the end began to burn, Tess sucked delicately as smoke flowed into her mouth. The taste was nauseating.
“Oh, Sarah this is nasty,” Tess said, between hacked breaths.
“It will get better. It can be quite bitter at the start. If only you kept your nose out of my business…” Sarah replied, smoke punctuating her words. As she watched her sister splutter between the lightest of drags, she felt a mixture of regret and relief. Sarah never planned on her smoking entrapping anyone outwith her inner circle of friends. As she took another inhale, she considered Tess’s involvement may complicate things at home.
“Keep going, learner. You’re gonna be one of us, whether you like it or not.” Shannon said, as possibilities flooded her mind. Tess puffed between coughs, as her body continued to reject the smoke. Knowing Tess was of legal age consent to buy smokes, Shannon considered how Tess would be able to buy smokes for them all when they demanded. Shannon had always been the more devious of the girls, and couldn’t resist chuckling as Tess continued to cough.

Tess did not think it took longer than it should considering her lungs were just thrust into a burning building. After five minutes, she had her coughs under control and stood in the mulch between finely trimmed bushes with her eyes watering, and her mouth tasting thick and filthy. “I don’t know…how anyone…can smoke. Don’t make me do this…,” Tess said, croaking out each word.
As the girls finished their cigarettes, Tess winced as she took a final shallow puff from her butt, and ground it out in fury. Nausea was now the overriding factor, and her body acting accordingly, vomiting in a plant pot nearby to the laughs of the group.
An hour later, Tess and Sarah returned home, keeping the events of the afternoon in secret. Before returning, they were both doused in cheap perfume and sucking on menthol sweets. Tess felt guilty as she went to her room – rather than break a conspiracy, she was now part of that conspiracy. Tess found herself ensnared by the camaraderie of Sarah’s inner circle. The taste of smoke in her mouth was acrid and bitter, and she felt disgusted by her enforced actions.
Meanwhile, Sarah replayed the events in her room. The sight of her saintly sister attempting to smoke was burned into her mind. Her cravings had been appeased, and her body felt relaxed as her mind wondered towards the ceiling fan. Suddenly, her phone buzzed to life.
1 New Message from Shannon.
It read “A present. Call this insurance…” A snap of her sister with a cigarette between her fingers came up. During their smoking session at Shannon’s, they took further incriminating photos of Tess smoking, to deepen their psychological grip.
At 16 years old, blue-eyed and long dark brown hair, nearly six-foot tall, Tania got ready for school, grabbed her book bag, and headed out that Thursday morning for her eight-block walk to school. En route, she bumped into Jenna and Victoria, also dressed conservatively, joined her, for another commute to Downtown West High. Of late, Tania felt she was drifting from her friends, as they talked more and more about meeting boys. Of late, during her morning chat sessions in front of the school with Jenna and Victoria, Tania found her eyes drawn to the smoking

students, who hung right off school property, dragging on their cigarettes and exhaling what she was beginning to think were cool-looking, thick streams of smoke. Usually she never took notice of the smokers, however lately she observed how a familiar face from her past joined them, puffing openly. Tania was classmates with Shannon at Kindergarden, however wasn’t close to her. She used to observe quietly from the back as Shannon’s extrovert personality began to develop. Throughout the early school years, Tania would watch from a distance as Shannon grew increasing popular amongst her peers, gaining friends whatever classes she took. Tania wasn’t shocked to see that this may lead to the social habit of smoking and peer pressure. As she watched Shannon inhale on her cigarette, Tania couldn’t help finding herself drawn to her former classmate. The cigarette between her fingers gave her a look of maturity.
Contrary to Shannon’s development, Tania felt bored of friends Jenna and Victoria lately, and was looking to somehow, in some way, redefine herself at school. It was humid that September morning, and Tania’s chest was already sweating through her T-shirt. Of particular interest was her view of Shannon and Jenny, puffing on their morning smokes with reckless abandon. More than ever, Tania felt a tingle all over her body at the sight of them, horsing around, dragging and exhaling on their cigarettes, longing to chat with them instead of Jenna and Victoria. At that moment, she knew when the lunch bell would ring later that morning, she wouldn’t be stuck in the cafeteria as usual, but instead would head out, and over to where the smokers hang, and try to get to know Shannon and Jenny.
Yawning from anticipation, butterflies in her stomach, somewhat scared, all Tania could think of in the final moments of geometry class was how she would strike up a conversation with these two students. She figured on pretending to be out of cigarettes, and would ask them for a smoke. Upon the ring of the bell, Tania made her way out of the building, over to the vacant lot across from school, where the aroma of tobacco hung in the hot, humid, afternoon air, and where about two dozen students were getting their needed dose of nicotine before heading back for afternoon classes. Approaching Jenny and Shannon, Tania quipped, “Hey, I left my smokes and lighter at home, can I bum one?” “Sure, no prob.” replied Jenny, taking her half-smoked pack of Reds from her skirt pocket, quickly yanking it downward to let a fresh butt pop up, and sticking it in front of Tania’s mouth, expecting Tania to lean over and pull it out with her lips. Instead, Tania pulled it out with her fingers, placed it to her lips, lying, “Thanks. I’ve been hiding it from others.” At that moment, Shannon flipped her Zippo wheel, and held out the high flame within inches from the end of what was to be Tania’s first cigarette.

Conscious of not wanting to look foolish in front of her former classmate, Tania concentrated on trying not to cough at the feel of Marlboro smoke heading down her clean lungs for the first time ever. To her relief, while it felt a bit uncomfortable, Tania, after taking a deep drag as the cigarette touched the Zippo flame, found it really cool to see a thick stream of smoke pour out of her mouth as she exhaled. “This is Jenny.” Jenny, sticking her half-smoked Red to her lips, held out her hand to Tania, “Jenny, Jenny Portland.”
Tania, taking her second deep drag, clasping Jenny’s strong hand, then Shannon’s, and experiencing another cool exhale, replied, “Tania, Tania Sanders.” What Tania didn’t expect was the strong buzz she was feeling over her first experience with nicotine.
Though strange, it was a cool feeling, tingling, and relaxing. “Hey Tania,” Shannon said, “I’ve noticed you around, usually with others, and I didn’t know you smoked.” “Me neither,” said Jenny. “Well, I just started, and I’m still getting used to it, and all.” Jenny, grinning and looking at Shannon, taking a final deep hit off her Red, flicking it to the ground, replied, “Well, how do you like it?” Tania, buzzed, but in control, and sniffing the sweet aroma of Jenny’s thick exhale as it hit her face, put on a grin and said, “It’s cool.”
Tying her hair back in a bow, Jenny dangled her cigarette, and blew a stream of Marlboro smoke downward. Shannon stood next to her buddy, Jenny, firing up a fresh Red. Tania, buzzing, and taking another deep drag on her first Red, feeling the buzz rippling through her athletic body with great pace. The girls continued to talk and smoke, as Tania smoked tentatively. After finishing her first cigarette, Tania clumsily crushed the filter on the ground. At that moment, Shannon offered Tania another cigarette.
“Tania, you should come over to ours sometime – You can meet Tess and Kerry. We get smokes from Sarah’s sister, so you never go short again,” offered Shannon. Tania, slipping her second cigarette between her lips, and leaning over to the Zippo flame, sucked deeply and took in a thick load of smoke, replying, “Thanks, I’ll do that sometime.” Tania, buzzed but relaxed, felt at ease with meeting the two smoking students. She sat there, dragging less tentatively on her second cigarette, feeling a close bond with the others dragging and exhaling their smoke. “Wow,” she thought, “I am one of them!”

Editor’s Note: While this story and the next two appear to make up a series of sorts, if not a Trilogy, that not the case, as the only thing they have in common is the title. You all know that the works of this author get needlessly explicit, so you know to skip forward. That aside, there are the usual errors which I left in, and the formatting is craptastic, so it’s been an extra pain in the arse. I did make some small edits, removing superfluous comments from the author, and all the page breaks…I have no idea what the next stories in this series are going be like, but I can tell this is going to take forever.

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