She had to use them sparingly but had got the taste for smoking. Sometimes, she didn’t even have to say anything to Julie when she wanted to smoke. With just a nod of the head, they asked to go outside for their break.
‘Got any mints?’ Laura asked, as she stubbed out her cigarette. ‘I swear Mrs Carmichael made a comment last week about the smell of smoke on the clothes.’
Julie lobbed a full pack of mints in her direction and Laura popped one in her mouth.
‘Julie, I was thinking about going to the cinema on Saturday and wanted to know if you wanted to go with me.’
‘Why the cinema?’
‘I just fancied seeing a film, and I thought, before we go in, we could buy a pack of ten, find a place for a smoke. I love doing this, but it’s all over too soon.’
‘Okay, but ditch the cinema idea, do you fancy a trip down Windsor?’
‘I’m not sure my father would allow that.’
‘Then tell him you are going to the cinema in Old Windsor.’
‘But he will check the cinema stub, to make sure his money is well spent.’
‘Then we go to the cinema, get the usher to mark our ticket, and we can go back out again. He wouldn’t find out Laura. It would be great fun, hanging around Windsor and having a cigarette in peace, without sculking in the corner of an alley.’
‘Okay, but I’ll have to be in about nine, my father doesn’t like me being out too late.’
‘I’m surprised he even lets you out.’
‘It was him that suggested it. Reverend Crowthorne is coming over, and he doesn’t want me getting in the way of their little talks.’
‘I’ll get my dad to pick you up, that way he’ll think you’re with an adult.’
‘You think of everything, okay, we’ll do that.’
Laura couldn’t wait until that Saturday. She was extra good at home. Her room, normally tidy anyway, was as clean and fresh as a newly spent penny. At church, she sat with her hands firmly on her lap, didn’t dare take a glance at Julie.
When the evening finally arrived, Laura waited by the front door for her friend. As the car slid to a halt, all the air in her lungs were breathed out.
‘Are you sure her dad will be with you all evening?’
‘Yes Dad, I will be back about eight-thirty when the film finishes.’
‘See that you are, and if Charles is still here, then wait a while, we have important things to discuss. I don’t want you interrupting.’
Julie’s dad drove up at a few minutes past six, and Laura got inside. She was glad that her dad hadn’t checked her pockets before she left.
‘See I told you it would be okay,’ Julie whispered.