Alan Quits Smoking


Fumbling for his pack of cigarettes, he hit the ignition. Reaching for his lighter on the dash, he caught her sour expression. “What?”

“I’m not big on smokers.”

He turned to look at her. Her expression was back to neutral again when she met his gaze. “You don’t smoke?”

“No, but it’s your car. Don’t let me stop you.”

“I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” He shoved the cigarette back in the pack. “Where do you live?”



Once upon a time, when I was a stupid college girl, I knew a guy. Actually I knew two guys. Well, to be honest, there were six of them, but I only went out with two. My group of four girlfriends met this group of six guys one night at a club and we all hit it off. I developed a major thing for a tall blond drink of water who promptly developed a thing for one of my friends. It was okay because one of the other guys had a thing for me and being young and stupid, I encouraged it. Guy two had just gotten out of the military, was really nice, and really, well, nice, but he smoked which I didn’t like. I never told him and I didn’t make an issue of it. He wasn’t my boyfriend after all.

There came a day when boy one had a falling out with my friend. She wasn’t really my friend, just a friend of a friend. Sort of like an extra who shows up for two or three episodes of a show or a red shirt on Star Trek. The falling out happened on a night that boy two wasn’t with the group and I was right there to soothe boy one’s broken heart. Boy one and boy two were friends. Since elementary school friends, along with the other four guys in the group. Word got around.

The week following the break up and soothing, both groups encountered boy two sitting alone near where we always sat at the club, smoking. I went to chat with him and commented on the cigarette. He said he’d only quit because I didn’t like it and said (sincerely) that he hoped I’d be happy with boy one. He stopped hanging out with the group after that. I still feel like a heel.

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