Since my mind was reeling about what my Dad had just asked me to do, I couldn’t concentrate on the television so I excused myself around 10 pm and headed upstairs to get ready for bed. Anna followed me upstairs into my room and collapsed on my bed as I shut the door to the room. She flipped over onto her stomach, propped her head up with arms and looked in my direction.

“So how did telling Dad go?” She asked grinning in my direction. She seemed to be delighting almost too much from my fall from grace.

“Fine, I guess.” I mumbled, unsure if I should tell Anna everything.The look on Anna’s face told me she knew I was keeping something from her.

“Fine? That is it? Come on, sis, I know there is more.” Anna prodded.

“Ok, it is weird. I went outside with Dad to ‘take the recycling out’ and told him I started smoking. Actually, we smoked two together before heading back in. He was as okay as any parent might be with their daughter starting smoking. That isn’t the weird part. He asked me to help him get mom started again.”

“WHAT?!?!?” Anna exclaimed. She was clearly as shocked as I was when my Dad disclosed this to me.

“Shhhhhhh! Keep it down, I don’t want her to overhear us.” I whispered.

“So what is the plan?” She pressed, quietly.

“It doesn’t bother you? I mean I feel like people should choose for themselves.” I countered

“Perhaps it is slightly selfish of me, but it would be easier for me if mom wasn’t so anti-smoking. Not to mention easier on Dad. Things have been really strained here since you left.” Anna replied, sighing a sad expression washing over her face.

“Well, I told Dad I would try. He figures I just need to get her tipsy enough and offer her one. This is the plan he was going to use, but he figures I will have better luck because it is me or something. I figure it will be easier to tell her I smoke under the influence of alcohol so at worst she doesn’t go for it but she knows about me.”

“Sounds like a good plan actually. I only hope it doesn’t backfire. I mean, I hope she doesn’t get extra angry that you are smoking once she is a bit tipsy.”

“I never thought of that. Well, I can only hope for the best. Want to come with me to get supplies tomorrow?”

“Of course, I never pass up an opportunity to spend some quality time with you.” she winked, knowingly. “So tell me more about this boy?”

From here, we chatted for a couple of hours about Drew, losing my virginity and university life in general . It was great to spend some quality time with my sister. By this point it was midnight and both our parents had retired. I was craving a night cap, well night smoke.

“So what do you do if you want to smoke at night? Do you leave the house?”

“No, I’ll show you. You have to be super careful and quiet, but you know how we used to sneak out onto the roof at night to watch the stars? Well I smoke out there. Only at night once they are both in bed, sometimes early in the morning if I think I can get away with it.”

“Wanna go? You can have one of mine since if I remember correctly, you were out.”

“I said I would show you didn’t I?” She laughed quietly, I grabbed my pack and followed her to her bedroom. Anna picked up a small mason jar that had a couple of cigarette butts and ashes in it from her closet and carried it with her. We climbed out and took at seat on the roof away from her window. Anna opened the jar, carefully placing the lid so it wouldn’t fall off the roof. I grabbed two cigarettes out of my pack and passed her one. It was kind of fun smoking with my sister. I lit up, blowing out the first puff without inhaling. I passed the lighter to my sister, before taking large drag, inhaling and holding it in. It felt good even though I didn’t desperately need this cigarette. Anna lit up quickly and passed me back my lighter. She took a similarly large drag and held it in, smile coming over her face after she finished exhaling.  It had been much longer since she last smoked. She was probably used to going long periods of time without due to lack of access to cigarettes and the constraints of hiding it from our mother.

We smoked in silence, leisurely inhaling and exhaling clouds of smoke into the clear, cool fall night. We both smoked our cigarettes to the filter ashing in my sister’s make-shift ashtray. By the time I put out my cigarette in the jar, I was feeling rather relaxed and very sleepy.

“Thanks, sis.” Anna said, a similarly relaxed look on her face.

“Let’s go to bed. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”

She giggled, “You mean you’ve got a big day. I am looking forward to seeing how this all plays out. If all goes well, maybe I’ll get to smoke openly with you tomorrow.”

“Don’t get your hopes up, you are still underage.”

“Awww you are such a buzzkill sometimes.” She teased. It felt like the old days except that smoking seemed to have brought us closer than we ever had been before.

We retired to our rooms and to sleep and bring us closer to an event that had the potential to change everything.

Chapter Twenty