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DAY 6 – AFTERNOON
The wind howled outside as Emily worked on the last details of the entryway, her hair tied back in a messy bun, and a tool belt around her waist. She was expecting Alex, the plumber, to arrive any moment now and was eager to get started on the bathroom renovation. She had a half-smoked cigarette perched between her lips, her cigarette pack tucked into her bra, and smoke curling around her face as she worked.
Just as she was about to take another drag, she heard a knock at the door. Assuming it was Alex, she called out, “Come on up!” without a second thought, dragging fiercely and inhaling deeply right after. But as she opened the door, she was surprised to see Karen and Amy standing on her porch, holding a cake.
“Hey, we just wanted to drop off a welcome cake,” Karen said, smiling.
Emily’s eyes widened as she realized the state she was in. Her face was smeared with dirt and paint, she was wearing an old t-shirt and ripped jeans, and the cigarette was still hanging from her lips.
“Oh, I’m sorry!”, Emily says, her cigarette bobbing up and down as she speaks, the ash falling onto the ground, as she was trying to tidy herself up. “Really sorry about the mess…”, her tone a bit ashamed as she finally took the cigarette out of her mouth and exhaled a very visible cone of smoke opposite of her guests direction. “I didn’t expect visitors today.”
“Don’t worry about it, we’re just happy to see you,” Karen said, her friendly smile never faltering.
Amy, however, couldn’t help herself, eyes wide as she takes in the sight of Emily, cigarette pack tucked into her bra and the lingering smell of smoke in the air. But she says nothing, instead just offering a small smile. Emily could see the confusion and curiosity in her eyes, but also chose to say nothing.
Karen continued, “I’m Karen, and this is Amy, we’re your neighbors from across the street”, as Emily was taking one of her customary large drags, using her moment to change which hand would hold the cigarette.
She reached out with her free hand, handshaking Karen first, and then Emily, both with a cheerful smile that let a few wisps of smoke escape in between her teeth. Being a playful person, she purposely hold the smoke in her lungs to make a perfect talk-exhale at the same time as she held Amy’s hand, “Nice to meet you two. I’m Emily Chesterfield. Please, come on in, I’ll brew some coffee for us”.
Karen steps forward, her impeccable outfit and hair out of place in the messy entryway. “We just wanted to welcome you to the neighborhood,” she says, offering the cake.
Emily smiles, and in an instinctive gesture, she holds her cigarette with her lips as she took the cake. “Thanks, that’s really sweet of you.”, she says, the cigarette back to the bouncing motion at the corner of her lips, as she continues after inhaling again “Please, follow me. We’re all jammed up in the living room and kitchen here, as I wasn’t able to fix the rooms yet, so please don’t mind the mess.” She led the two women on, a trail of smoke coming from her and, inadvertently, invading both Karen and Amy’s personal space as they followed her.
Emily set the cake down on the kitchen counter, her cigarette still dangling from her lips as she spoke, “Sorry again about the mess,” she said, gesturing around the room that was currently in the middle of a renovation. “I’m trying to fix up the house, but it’s a bit of a work in progress.”, she took a drag, removing the cigarette from her mouth and exhaling opposite from them.
She turned to the coffee pot, and began to brew a pot of coffee, making a conscious effort not to dangle it, holding it with her hand instead. But she couldn’t help but forget and dangle as an instinct here and there, especially when using her hands for something.
“So, what brings you to our little neighborhood?” Karen asked, her eyes scanning the room, taking in the mess and the smell of fresh and stale smoke.
“Just needed a change of pace,” Emily replied, shrugging her shoulders. “I decided to buy a fixer-upper and make it my own.”
“Well, you’ve certainly got your work cut out for you,” Karen said, a hint of amusement in her voice.
“Yeah, but I’m up for the challenge,” Emily said, her eyes sparkling as she took the drag of her cigarette, stubbing out in the overflowing ashtray in its own cabinet.
She poured the two guests their coffee, and instinctively placed an unlit cigarette in her mouth, using both hands to serve them simultaneously. “Here you go,” she said, handing a mug to Karen and then to Amy. “It’s not much, but it’ll do the trick.”
As she moved back to get her’s, she glanced over for her Zippo or matchbox ─ both nowhere to be found. She decided then to quickly turn the stove on and light herself up, removing the cigarette from her mouth after the first drag, and instinctively blowing out some smoke rings towards the ceiling, before getting her mug and sitting with the women.
That act, which for Maltepe Escort Karen just displayed a certain level of addiction, was intriguing for Amy. Both the fact that she blew smoke rings, but especially… Since she had no lighter with her, and had to light up from the kitchen, how was she managing to smoke in the entryway? The idea of a chainsmoker never crossed the girl’s mind.
Emily sat with them and took a drag from her cigarette, the embers glowing as she exhaled a plume of smoke. “I’m really looking forward to being part of this community,” she said, gesturing with her cigarette. “I can see that it’s a close-knit group of people, and I’m excited to get to know everyone.”
Karen nodded, taking a sip of her coffee. “It is a great community,” she said. “I’ve been living here for a while now and I love it. I’m a stay-at-home mom, so I spend a lot of time getting involved in different community activities.”
Amy chimed in, “I babysit here and there to make some extra money. I’m also in a band with some friends, we play at local events and stuff like that.”
Emily’s eyes lit up with interest. “That’s awesome,” she said, taking another drag from her cigarette. “I could definitely use some help with David. It would be great for him to have some interaction with other kids and for me to get to know some people.”
Karen smiled, “I think Amy would love to help out with David.”
“Yeah,” Amy said, her face lighting up with excitement. “I love kids and I’m always looking for extra babysitting jobs.”
Emily grinned, taking a final drag from her cigarette before stubbing it out in the ashtray. “That would be amazing,” she said, getting up to pour herself another cup of coffee. “I can’t wait to get to know you both better and to become a part of this community.”
“You know, Emily,” Karen said, as they sipped their coffee. “You should come over for dinner sometime. Let me show you around the neighborhood, introduce you to some of the other families.”
Emily smiled, taking a long drag from her cigarette and exhaling smoke out of the corner of her mouth. “That sounds great, Karen. I’d love to.”
“Perfect,” Karen said, a smile on her face. “How about this tomorrow? I’ll make sure to invite some of the other families over so you can meet everyone.”
“Sounds good to me,” Emily said, taking another sip of her coffee.
“I can babysit David and Josh for you, if that helps,” Amy interjected, a hint of excitement in her voice. “That way, you can come to the dinner without worrying about them.”
“Really? That would be amazing, Amy,” Emily said, gratitude in her voice. “I really appreciate it.”
“No problem,” Amy said, shrugging. “I love kids. Plus, it’ll give me some extra cash.”, she said, hiding her real motives.
“Well, it’s settled then,” Karen said, clapping her hands together. “I’ll see you on Friday. And Emily, don’t worry about bringing anything. Just bring yourself.”
“I’ll be there,” Emily said, finishing off her coffee. “And thank you both for the warm welcome. I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you better.”
The three of them chatted for a bit longer, making plans for the dinner and getting to know each other better. As they parted ways, Emily couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement for the future. She had a feeling that she was going to fit in just fine in this tight-knit community.
DAY 7 – AFTERNOON
The sun was shining down on the quiet neighborhood as Amy walked home from school. The leaves were beginning to turn golden and red, and the air was filled with the crisp scent of autumn.
As she walked, she took in the sights of the neighborhood. The houses were all different styles, from grand Victorian houses to cozy bungalows. Children were playing outside, laughing and chasing each other, and a few people were out doing yard work.
She had finished her classes early and decided to take a detour to Emily’s house. She couldn’t shake off the image of Emily, in her renovation outfit, cigarette pack tucked into her bra, and the lingering smell of smoke in the air. She wanted to understand her better, and maybe even learn to be like her.
As she approached Emily’s house, she took in the old, worn exterior. The paint was chipped and peeling, and the front lawn was overgrown with weeds. But even with its faults, it had character.
She climbed the front steps and hesitated for a moment before raising her hand to knock on the door. She heard the sound of footsteps approaching from the other side, and the door creaked open.
“Amy!” Emily exclaimed, her face lighting up in surprise, a cigarette bobbing up and down in her mouth with each word. “What are you doing here?”
“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d drop by for a visit,” Amy said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Well, come on in,” Emily said, stepping aside to let her in, removing her cigarette from her mouth.
As Amy stepped inside, the smell of fresh Anadolu Yakası Escort paint and cigarette smoke hit her nose. The inside of the house was just as much of a work in progress as the outside, with drop cloths covering the floors and tools scattered around.
“Wow, you’ve been busy,” Amy said, her eyes scanning the room.
“Yeah, I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Emily said, leading her into the living room. “But it’ll be worth it in the end.”
Amy followed her, taking a seat on the couch as Emily sat down in a chair across from her. “So, what’s new with you?” Emily asked, taking a drag from her cigarette and exhaling a plume of smoke towards the ceiling.
“Not much, just hanging out with the band,” Amy said, her eyes flicking to the cigarette in Emily’s hand.
“That’s cool,” Emily said, noticing her gaze. “You know, I won’t tell anyone about your smoking if you don’t want me to.”
Amy’s eyes widened in surprise. “How did you know?”
“I’ve been around the block a few times, saw you smoking the other day, you didn’t smoke yesterday, just figured you’re keeping it a secret” Emily said, a small smile playing on her lips. “And I won’t judge you for it. I know it can be tough to hide, especially around your family. If you ever need a place to smoke, you can come here.” As Emily placed her cigarette back in her mouth, she reached into her bra, retrieving her pack of cigarettes and offering one to Amy. “Here,” she said, holding out the pack.
Amy hesitantly took the cigarette, noticing that Emily’s pack was nearly empty. She reached for the matches on the coffee table and lit up, taking a drag and immediately coughing. “Wow, shit, this is strong,” she said, her eyes watering.
“What brand have you been smoking?” Emily asked, chuckling around the filter that hung loosely from her lips, her cheeks hollowing with a drag while waiting for the answer.
“Virginia Slims Menthols,” Amy said, her voice a bit hoarse from the coughing. To her surprise, she still had smoke coming out of her mouth, in faint wisps. It amazed her instantly
“Menthols and white filters? That’s like trying to call yourself a rockstar with a toy guitar.” Emily sneered in her common sarcastic tone, thick smoke coming out with each word. “But I think my smokes are too strong for you anyway. Or too cheap…” she took her cigarette out of her mouth and ashed it in the already overflowing ashtray. “How long?”
“About a year,” Amy replied, taking another drag from her cigarette and coughing again.
Emily raised an eyebrow while inhaling, “Ah, a newbie,” nodding in understanding. “It takes a while to get used to it, but you’ll get there.”
Amy took another drag, this time very very shallow, not used to the taste and strength of the Pall Malls Reds, and felt a sense of comfort in the words. Emily made it seem like smoking was a rite of passage, a secret club that only the initiated could understand.
“Hey, can I ask you something?” Amy said, her voice a bit hesitant. “If I’m babysitting David, is it okay if I smoke?”
“Sure, go ahead.” Emily said, not even batting an eye. “I’ll be honest, I smoke around him too, but I make an effort to keep it away from him as much as possible.” she finished, residual smoke pouring out her mouth and nose, a hint of mischief in her eyes.
Amy couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief wash over her. She had been worried that Emily would disapprove or think less of her, but her acceptance made her feel like she had found a kindred spirit.
“Thanks, Emily,” Amy said, a small smile playing on her lips.
“No problem,” Emily said, returning the smile. “I’m always here if you need a place to smoke.” She took another drag, the cherry almost reaching the filter, her hands free as the cigarette dangled from her lips, her cheek hollowing as she inhaled deeply, sending the smoke in her lungs. She held the inhale for a moment before releasing it in a long exhale that danced in the air before dissipating.
She then removed the cigarette from her mouth, tapping the ash into the overflowing ashtray, “If you help with the renovations,” she finished with a wink, extracting a brand new cigarette from the pack, “But you’ll have to bring your own cigarettes. I’m no one’s tobacco shop.” She then placed the brand new cigarette in her mouth, and used the embers of the previous one to light it, only then stubbing the spent but in the ashtray.
Amy was amazed by Emily’s chain-lighting technique and the smoke rings, and quickly nodded in agreement, “Of course, I’d be glad to help. I’ll bring my band too, if that’s okay?”
“Sure, the more hands, the faster the work.” Emily said, shrugging her shoulders.
Amy took a final drag from her cigarette, the cherry turning red as she inhaled shallowly, before stubbing it out in the ashtray. She turned to Emily, her eyes wide with wonder as she watched her chain light another cigarette, her hands free as the cigarette dangled from her lips.
“Can you İstanbul Escort teach me how to do that?” Amy asked, her voice filled with excitement.
Emily raised an eyebrow, her cigarette bobbing up and down as she spoke. “You want to learn how to dangle or chainsmoke?” she asked, a hint of skepticism in her tone, smoke punctuating her words.
“Both, but I can’t handle the continuous smoking,” Amy said, shrugging her shoulders. “I think it’s too much for me right now…”
Emily took a drag from her cigarette, the cherry glowing brightly in the dim light. She let out a puff of smoke before speaking. “Why the sudden interest in the dangle? It’s not an easy skill to master,” she asked, her tone curious.
“I just think it looks really cool,” Amy said, her eyes alight with excitement. “And it would be a fun party trick to impress my friends.”
Emily considered this for a moment, taking another drag from her cigarette. “Alright,” she said, her tone resigned. “But you have to understand that smoking is a dangerous and addictive habit. I don’t want to be responsible for getting you hooked.”
“I understand,” Amy said, nodding earnestly.
Amy nodded, understanding the gravity of the situation. “I understand,” she said. “But I’m already hooked, I just want to learn how to dangle.”
Emily took a drag from her cigarette, the cherry glowing brightly in the dim light. She let out a soft chuckle filled with smoke around the orange filter. “Hooked, huh? And just how hooked are we talking here?” she asked, her tone playful.
Amy felt a flush of embarrassment creeping up her cheeks. “I can’t think straight if I don’t have at least 3 cigarettes a day,” she admitted, averting her gaze.
Emily let out a deep laugh, her cigarette bobbing up and down as she spoke. “Oh, that’s not hooked. That’s just a party smoker. I go through a pack before lunch, easy,” she said, a hint of sarcasm in her tone.
Amy’s eyes widened in awe, “Before lunch!? That’s insane!”
“Yeah, it is.” Emily said with a shrug, “But it’s not just about the nicotine, it’s the ritual, the feeling of holding that cigarette in my lips, the taste, the smoke. It’s my escape, my sanctuary.” she took a deep inhale. “If you smoke only 3 per day, you can’t feel the smoke as being part of you. That way, you can’t dangle. Not in years.”, she made a point of blowing the smoke directly into Amy’s face.
Amy was determined, “I understand the risks, but I still want to learn. I’ll smoke more if that’s what it takes.”
Emily let out a deep sigh, her cigarette still dangling from her lips. “I don’t want to be responsible for getting you deeper into your addiction,” she said, her tone serious. She took the cigarette out of her mouth for the first time, flicking the ash into the ashtray with an expert move. “Dangling requires being used to the smoke. And you’re not, not yet. I can’t force you to be, Amy. I can’t just stand here and watch you destroy yourself.”
Amy’s resolve faltered for a moment, but then she straightened her shoulders and looked Emily in the eye. “I appreciate your concern, but this is something I want to do. I want to learn how to dangle, and I’m willing to put in the work to get there.”
Emily let out a long sigh, her cigarette still burning between her fingers. “Fine,” she said, her tone resigned. “But you have to promise me you’ll be careful and not let this addiction consume you. I’ll teach you how to dangle, but I won’t be held responsible for the consequences.”
Amy nodded, her determination renewed. “I promise,” she said.
“Ok then…”, Emily said, triple pumping her cigarette with cheek hollowing drags that made her cigarette crackle. “I’ll teach you how to keep an unlit cigarette in your mouth, but that’s all I can do.” she finished, exhaling while stubbing the cigarette in the ashtray.
Emily took a new one from her pack, and offered another to Amy.
Amy took the cigarette from Emily, holding it tentatively between her fingers. “Okay,” she said, her nerves getting the better of her.
Emily lit her cigarette with a match, the flame illuminating her face in the dim light. She inhaled deeply, the cherry glowing brightly as she exhaled a plume of smoke. “First things first,” she said, her cigarette bobbing up and down as she spoke. “You need to hold the cigarette correctly. You want to keep the filter between your lips, like this.” She demonstrated, holding the cigarette between her lips, the filter nestled snugly between them.
Amy mimicked Emily’s movement, holding the cigarette between her own lips. “Like this?” she asked, her voice muffled by the cigarette. But as soon as the words came out, the cigarette fell from her mouth, tumbling to the ground.
Emily let out a soft chuckle, “Looks like you’ve got some practicing to do.”
Amy picked up the cigarette, her face reddening with embarrassment. “Sorry,” she mumbled.
“Don’t be sorry,” Emily said, her tone reassuring. “It’s all part of the learning process.”
Amy nodded, determined to master the dangle, no matter how many cigarettes it took. She placed the cigarette back in her mouth and tried to speak again, but the cigarette fell once more.
“Are you sure you want to keep going?” Emily teased with a grin. “It’s a lot harder when it’s lit.”
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