Secrets and Smoking by Rachel Smith

Mum leant against my bedroom door in her fake-relaxed pose. What had she found out? I forced a nervous smile. Slowly, she reached out and opened the top drawer of my chest, eyeing me the entire time, “Anything you want to tell me, Gemma?”

“Um no.” 

The menace radiating from her was terrifying, but nothing incriminating was in that drawer. Not my diary or the Cosmopolitan magazines full of sexy surveys and half-naked men. Baffled, I looked inside and saw a bright-red packet of cigarettes. Oh no.

“It wasn’t there before.”

“Oh really? Who else put it there?”

“They’re not mine. Honestly, I don’t smoke.” 

Then, I realised something, “Hey! You’ve been going through my stuff!”

Ignoring my outrage, Mum shouted for Steve, my step-dad, who came sprinting up the stairs. 

“What’s going on?”

Mum snapped off a tight, angry explanation and it was only when Steve gently said, “Let me talk to her,” that I realised she was upset.

“Fine.” Mum shot me a glare brimming with disappointment and went downstairs, sniffing and muttering until the back door slammed shut, and silence descended.

“Steve, I swear—”

“I know they’re not yours.” My mouth hung open as he picked up the cigarettes and slid them into his trouser pocket, “I’m... uh... looking after them for a friend. His wife won’t allow them in the house so he asked me… I haven’t told your mother because, well, you know how she is…” He frowned at the drawer, “I didn’t think she’d go snooping in here.”

“I’m telling.”

“Oh, Gemma. Can’t this be our secret?” He tilted his head, “You know, like those magazines of sex quizzes you keep in the back of the wardrobe?”

Fury and disbelief raged inside me, but I knew I wouldn’t tell.

And so did he.

Winner: Weekly Write #14
Published in Issue#29

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