I called him as soon as I got home. We didn’t talk for very long- only long enough for him to get my number from me. Since it was his fault I could not concentrate on any of my other course work, I decided I would start editing his essay. He was actually a pretty good writer, although I had become quite biased with my infatuation.

Thursday seemed to drag on and on. All I could think about was Drew. I thought about his dazzling clear green eyes and his beautiful dark hair, which I would give anything to run my fingers through. More anything else, I fantasized about watching him smoke. My running fantasy actually involved both of us smoking. He would offer me a cigarette and I would accept and he would take one for himself. My fantasy Drew was a gentleman who would always light my cigarette first. Not that I did not think that real life Drew would not do the same.
Ever since I met Drew, my desire to try smoking had intensified. I thought about smoking more and more. And the more I thought about it, the more turned on I became. One part of me, the part of me that had ruled my mind for the past 19 years was telling me that trying smoking was the stupidest thing that I could do. It was asking me to think of what people would think, of what my parents would think.

The other part of me, the part of me that had been suppressed by my better judgment for the past 19 years was getting stronger. My better half had always thought of this bad side of me as being a monster. Only a monster could want to smoke and be so turned on by something as dirty as smoking. This part of me desired to smoke more than anything else in the world, even more than having sex. What if this monster was simply part of who I am and not really a monster at all? As I stopped thinking of my darker side as a monster, my desires previously held in check by my ruling half intensified.

I had trouble concentrating in my organic chemistry lab. I ended up having to restart my synthesis reaction twice and stay late to take the product’s melting point. I had turned the ringer off on my cell phone and I noticed I had a text message waiting for me when I looked at it as I was leaving my lab. It was from Drew.

All it said was: I can’t stop thinking about you.

I sighed and felt the excited butterflies in my stomach. I text messaged him back one word, although corny summed my feelings up perfectly: Ditto.

Five minutes later, when I was almost nearing the edge of campus, I felt my phone vibrate. Another text message from Drew: Are you busy tonight?

The butterflies started fluttering faster. I replied quickly: No. What did you have in mind?
About a minute later I got a final text: Meet me at the campus bar for dinner and drinks. I could hardly contain my excitement. I looked like a mess but I didn’t have time to head home before meeting him to change. Besides I am pretty sure he had seen me look worse in English class. I turned myself around and headed for the campus bar.

He was already waiting for me at a table. In front of him sat a pitcher of beer, two glasses and two menus.
“Hey Mel,” he said quietly, “ I hope you like beer. I decided I would order some while I waited for you. It is Sleeman’s Honey Brown.”
“Thanks, I do like beer and I would love a glass.”
“How was your day today?”
“To be perfectly honest, I’ve been distracted all day,” I mumbled sheepishly
“ You too? I couldn’t stop thinking about you either,” He admitted.
“I’m glad you invited me out though. I haven’t had a beer in quite some time.”
“I remember you mentioning that you have lab until 5 pm on Thursday and I thought you might be hungry”
“I am famished.”
We ordered some pub food and chatted for about an hour. I could see that Drew was getting a bit antsy, so I suggested we pay up and go for a walk. I was feeling somewhat buzzed from the beer right now and could use a little fresh air myself. Although I’m pretty sure Drew wasn’t looking forward to fresh air so much as having a cigarette.
Sure enough, he had an unlit cigarette in his mouth before we even exited the bar. The moment we stepped outside he had it lit and was puffing hungrily on it.

“Long time without a smoke?” I laughed, because it was somewhat amusing to me how he voraciously sucked back the smoke. He did not find it as funny as I did.

“I can’t go very long without having one. I hope that my smoking isn’t going to be a problem for us,” he said gravely

“It definitely isn’t a problem. Trust me,” I said trying to reassure him, “Actually, I’ve kind of always been fascinated with smoking.”

“Really? Why haven’t you tried it then?”

“I think it has mostly been an image thing. I don’t look like the sort of person who would smoke. I’ve always been friends with people that are against smoking and when I have had the opportunity, I usually refuse because that is what I think people expect me to do. Part of me really wants to try it, but that side of me usually loses.”

“That is interesting. So when I offered you a cigarette yesterday, part of you really wanted to say yes?’

“Yes, but also even if I had said yes – it would be weird for me to try it for the first time like that. It would have been pretty obvious to you that I don’t smoke”

“What if offered you a puff off my cigarette right now? Would you say yes?”

“As long as you don’t laugh at me as I cough my brains out,”

“I won’t laugh, in fact I’ll even coach you through it. Maybe we can make your first experience a good one,” he smiled such a reassuring smile there was no way I could say no to him. The monster was going to win tonight and I didn’t care one bit.

We went and sat on a bench and he handed me his cigarette. It was lighter than I expected. My heart was pounding in anticipation. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to do something I had fantasized about doing for years. He lit another cigarette for himself.

“I decided you might as well have the rest of that one for yourself and this way I can demo for you.”

“Okay,” I looked at him nervously, then back at the cigarette in my hands. I noticed I was holding very awkwardly.

“There is nothing to be nervous about,” he said, obviously noticing my unease.

“ What you’ll want to do first is practice taking drags off the cigarette without inhaling. Just suck on the filter end of the cigarette like a straw and hold the smoke in your mouth and then blow it out.

I did exactly as he told me. The smoke actually tasted pretty pleasant to me and not at all like I though it would. I was expecting it to taste as awful as it smelled but it didn’t. I blew out the uninhaled smoke and was eager to try again.

“Mmmm that wasn’t bad and I didn’t cough,” I commented, “ I want to try again.”

“ Go ahead. Get used to the action of puffing on the cigarette and then I will teach how to inhale. Inhaling is what makes newbies cough but it is also what makes smoking pleasurable.”

I took a few more puffs off the cigarette and said, “Okay, I think I am ready to inhale.”
“Okay- so take another puff like you have been doing only maybe a little less smoke and instead of blowing the smoke out like you’ve been doing, open your mouth a little and breath in.”

Again, I followed his instructions closely. I took a small puff into my mouth, opened my mouth slightly and inhaled. The feeling that followed made me forget to exhale. I had a shocked look on my face, like I had been stunned.

“Don’t forget to exhale,” Drew reminded me.

I exhaled and let the feeling of that first drag wash over me. It was like nothing I had ever felt before. It felt simply glorious and at that moment I knew why smokers smoked and why nicotine was so addictive. It felt so good it scared me. I understood exactly how easy it would be to become addicted, especially with someone as cute as Drew to smoke with. Despite my better half’s fears of becoming addicted I wanted to do it again.

“How are you feeling? You didn’t cough which is good, but you looked pretty stunned.”

“I feel well, amazing. I didn’t realize how good it feels. Does it always feel that good?”

“I don’t think anything compares to how it makes you feel the first time and over time the pleasurable aspects of smoking change.”
“Oh. I’m still having an inner debate with myself as to whether I should have another puff.’

“ I’d say go for it. You probably only have about on drag left on that cigarette before I would put it out.”

I took a second puff and inhaled and exhaled. I could feel the nicotine coursing through my veins. My heart rate had sped up and I was feeling a little light headed.

“Is it normal to feel lightheaded?” I asked.

“Yes, mostly people do their first time. So what did you think?” he inquired, curious.

“I really enjoyed it. I definitely want to try it again despite the fact that part of me is terrified of becoming addicted, the part of me that has been trying to stop me from trying smoking.” I noted and I thought to myself, the part of me that will resist becoming a smoker. “I should probably head home.”

“I’m going to walk you home tonight, even if it is in the opposite direction from my place.”
“You don’t have to. I fine walking by myself. It isn’t even that dark out,” I said, secretly hoping he’d decide to come anyways.

“No, I want to walk you. Besides, then we will get to spend more time together.”

“If you insist, “ I smiled. We chatted as we walked toward my place and Drew had another cigarette as we walked. I noticed he no longer seemed uncomfortable smoking around me and even offered me a drag off his cigarette. I declined since I was still feeling pretty buzzed from my first two drags.

When we reached my front door, I could feel the awkwardness that comes right before a goodnight kiss. You could have cut the tension between us with a knife. He gazed straight into my eyes, a gaze so penetrating and yet so tender I blushed. He leaned in and placed the sweetest kiss on my lips. A kiss that left me wanting more but I knew that was all I was getting tonight.
“Goodnight, Mel,” he breathed as he pulled away.

“Goodnight, Drew. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Can’t wait,” he replied giving me a smoldering look. I couldn’t wait either.

Chapter Four