If Cerise hadn’t been of Scandinavian descent and therefore afflicted with a skin colour about two shades darker than transparent, her face might have had the ability to blanche when she saw Shauna Darren staring back at her with her spazmodic stare of spazitude.
“Oh my god, you guys know each other?” asked Sarah with her usual enthusiasm, which was starting to wear thin.
“Uh yeah, we used to go to the same school,” explained Cerise.
“We were best friends,” Shauna elaborated in her barely audible voice of total patheticness and lameitude.
“Uh… yeah,” said Cerise in a tone that she hoped wouldn’t offend Shauna too greatly but also convey to Sarah that she had never been friends with this giant piece of spaz.
Sarah seemed indifferent to the awkwardness of the situation and went on to lead Cerise and Shauna as well as a few other students on a tour of the school. She brought them through the cafeteria, the library and the multimedia room, where the yearbook was compiled, and Sarah encouraged them all to join the yearbook team, of which Sarah was to be the chief editor.
“Maybe we should join,” Shauna suggested tentatively.
“Shauna, what are you doing here?” Cerise hissed.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean you’re going to BHS now?”
“Why did you transfer here?”
“I dunno, why did you?”
Cerise explained the very logical reason that she had transferred schools in her last year of secondary education. After her parents had gotten divorced her mother had moved them out of their Pointe-Claire house to a smaller house in Beaconsfield, which was closer to Cerise’s mother’s work and only ten minutes away from Beaconsfield High. Switching schools was the only sensible thing to do, especially since it made no sense to go to a Catholic school when she wasn’t even Christian and the reason she hadn’t informed Shauna of any of these changes is because they had happened so fast and in all the confusion she just forgot.
Shauna accepted this explanation without protest but suggested that maybe another reason Cerise had decided to leave St-Thomas is because she’d simply gotten sick of it, which was the reason Shauna decided to switch schools.
“Quite a coincidence that we both chose to transfer to BHS though,” said Cerise suspiciously.
“Yeah,” agreed Shauna.
“I mean, why’d you choose Beaconsfield?”
“I dunno. Why’d you choose it?”
“I already told you why!”
Cerise was getting thoroughly sick of looking at Shauna’s pathetic face of self-pitying patheticness so she mumbled something about it getting late and having to get home because they still hadn’t finished unpacking and she had to help her mother sort things out and yeah, she had to go so bye.
When she got home Cerise angrily slammed the door shut to which her mother responded by asking how orientation had gone.
“Would you care to clarify the term suck?” her mother asked with a wry tilt of her head.
“Suck! As in totally suck. As in to bite my ass really hard.”
“Excuse me! Language!”
“Oh sorry, as in to bite my ass extremely hard.” Cerise stomped into the kitchen where she found her sisters putting dishes into the cupboards.
“God, pissed much?” Julie drawled. “What’s your damage?”
Julie was Cerise’s younger sister by two years. She had recently reached Cerise’s height of 5’ 7” though she remained skinnier, which she regularly flaunted by overexageratedly checking the tags of all items that came out of the drier. She would announce the sizes loudly, stating that anything over size 4 must surely be Cerise’s since her hips were so gigantic. Cerise did indeed have larger hips than Julie and wore a size 8 pant, though her top remained a size 6, which was still larger than Julie, though equal to Simone, Cerise’s older sister, aged eighteen.
Julie couldn’t play the drier trick with Simone’s clothes, since Simone did her own laundry, separate from the rest of the house’s inhabitants. Simone didn’t consider herself to be a goth girl (goths were all such drama queens) but she did wear black clothing exclusively and it had to be protected from all the pastels in Julie’s wardrobe and the bright colours in Cerise’s. Simone also wore black eye makeup, which she applied liberally and she dyed her hair deep purple, retouching the blonde roots on a bi-monthly basis. Julie and Cerise also had blonde hair, though Julie’s was lightest since she spent much of her time in the sun, whereas Cerise hated the outdoors, because sun exposure could only lead to freckling, an affliction that needed to be avoided at all costs.
“Shauna was there.”
“Shauna Darren, the bane of my existence. She was like, there, at my new school!”
“Wow, how dare she?” Simone drawled with a smirk.
“This isn’t funny! I mean, how did she even know I transferred there?”
“Yeah, ‘cause I’m sure she followed you.”
“Why else would she be there? I mean, you think it’s a coincidence?”
Julie avoided Cerise’s gaze and began organizing the coffee mugs in much too nonchalant a manner.
“What, Julie? What?!” Cerise practically screamed.
“Well I mean, I may have kinda told her you were gonna switch to BHS.”
“What? Why would you do that?”
“Well god! I mean I just sort of mentioned it in passing one time when she called for you. I assumed she already knew. I mean god, I thought you guys were supposed to be friends or whatever. I thought you would have told her.”
“Oh please! You know I’ve been trying to ditch her for the past three hundred years! I didn’t tell her shit!”
“That’s your problem, Cerise,” Simone interjected. “You always try to get rid of her by just avoiding her. But if you want to ditch someone you have to tell them point blank that you don’t like them.”
“It’s not that easy! She’s like a freaking stalker!”
“Yeah, ‘cause you’re just so awesome and everyone loves you so much. Whatever, Cerise.” Simone rolled her eyes.
“Well how else do you explain it? I mean come on! She transfers to a school that’s like, totally far from where she lives. That’s insane!”
“Please, it’s not so far,” Julie joined Simone with the eye-rolling. “I’m still going to St-Thomas. I mean I wasn’t about to switch schools just because we moved like, two doors down.”
Though Julie was exaggerating about the distance between their last house and their new one, she still had a point. Pointe-Claire and Beaconsfield were neighbouring cities in the West Island and it would be just as quick to bus to St-Thomas as it would be to walk to BHS.
“You’re the one who’s insane, Cerise,” Julie went on. “Who changes schools in their last year?”
“People who are trying to get away from Shauna freaking Darren!”
“Kidlets!” Their mother chided as she entered the kitchen. “Enough arguing. I think we all know how to discuss things in a civilized manner.”
Angela Simon was sort of a hippy, with long, dirty blonde hair and a penchant for wearing flowing skirts. Sometimes, much to to the horror of her children, those skirts were even tie-dyed. Angela was forty-six years-old, shorter than all three of her daughters, and yet with larger feet, which had grown bigger with each successive pregnancy. She was not a vain woman, nor prone to complaints but whenever her girls got too whiny she liked to remind them that it was their fault her body had been ruined, not to mention her life.
“Well god, Cerise is acting like a total spaz,” whined Julie.
“Shut up! This is all your fault!” Cerise shot back.
“Girls! Enough!” Angela pinched her nose, which was her patented way of indicating exasperation. “Cerise, I’m very sorry you don’t like your friend, Shauna but maybe if you just gave her a chance you’d see she’s not so different from you.”
“Yeah, she’s a spaz too,” agreed Julie.
Jason Harris was pretty sure his mother was slowly trying to kill him through a series of torturous experiments in humiliation. Today she insisted he accompany her on a visit to their new next-door neighbours. Jay’s sister, Amy had cleverly left the house early in the morning and had thusly avoided this fate. But Jay had slept in and then proceeded to sink into the basement couch with an X-box controller in his hands, so when his mother had accosted him he had no excuses. Clearly he had nothing better to do with his time than play silly video games and the least he could do was help his mother welcome the neighbours, who looked to be very pleasant and she was almost certain she’d seen a girl about his age go into the house so maybe Jay would be able to make a new friend and wouldn’t that be nice?
Jay dragged his feet as he followed his mother next door and sighed heavily as she instructed him to ring the doorbell, a task she couldn’t accomplish herself because she was holding the welcome cake, which if he had been a gentleman he would have offered to carry and she couldn’t imagine what she’d done to deserve such an ungrateful son. The situation only worsened when the door opened to reveal a girl about Jay’s age. She had short blonde hair, kinda flippy like Chloe’s from the first few seasons of Smallville, and ginormous blue eyes kinda like a Powerpuff Girl. As she looked at him quizzically, Jay could only assume she was deciding that he was the biggest loser to ever exist.
The girl’s mom showed up and started talking to his mom and they exchanged the stupid cake and then her mom said something about how neighbourly it was and they were still unpacking or something and then his mom actually offered to have him help them unpack, ‘cause he would just love to pitch in ‘cause obviously nothing thrilled him more than helping strangers do household chores.
Angela lead the boy’s mother into the kitchen and Cerise was left in the living room with the boy, who was actually kind of cute in a dorky kind of way. He was wearing cargo shorts and sneakers and an oversized t-shirt with some sort of sailing logo on it. He was tall, probably almost 6 foot but kinda scrawny and his hair was an amusing white-boy afro of crazy brown curls. Cerise wasn’t sure if he was being deliberately retro or if he just really needed a haircut.
They stared at each other for a moment while Cerise tried to think of something brilliant to say.
“So you live next door?”
They continued to stare at one another while Cerise tried to overcome her obvious brain damage. She turned away and picked up a box and after a beat, the guy offered to help her. She insisted he didn’t need to help but he said that he might as well since his mother would make him go mow someone’s lawn or something if he didn’t help out here, ‘cause she was all into like, good deeds and stuff.
The box he’d picked up was labelled Cerise’s stuff so she led him upstairs to her bedroom, fully aware of the fact that she was entering her bedroom with a boy. A boy who was kind of cute, even if it was in a dorky kind of way.
“Cherry stuff?” The boy said while reading the box.
“Yeah, uh,” Cerise sighed and braced herself. “My name is Cerise and my last name is Laframboise if you can believe it.”
“Wow, that’s pretty um…”
The guy laughed and Cerise went on to declare that her parents were hippies and had probably been on drugs when they’d named her, only to regret the joke a second later because it made her sound like a crack baby.
The guy laughed again and introduced himself as Jay and then asked if she was planning on attending Beaconsfield High. Cerise confirmed she was and then he asked her what grade she’d be going into and she said Sec 5 and he said he was also going into Sec 5 and maybe he could show her around or something, or you know, like, whatever.
Cerise was ecstatic, as it seemed her plan to become popular was making excellent progress and she might even be taking steps towards the significantly more ambitious plan to land a boyfriend.
“Yeah, that’d be cool. I mean, you know, I guess,” she agreed.
She was so overcome with the awesomeness of the situation that her attention wavered and she was too late to stop Jay from opening the box of her stuff. As it was, he tore open the lid and peered down at the embarrassing articles within. It would have been bad enough if he’d come across her underwear or something but what he actually found was much worse: her collection of sci-fi paraphernalia. A more disastrous situation could not even be imagined. Surely he would think she was a giant, spazmodic nerd; a freaknut of the highest order. For a moment she even hoped he might be illiterate and incapable of reading the words Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. But even if he had been illiterate, he couldn’t have helped noticing the Battlestar Gallactica figurines, including a bust of a cylon centurion.
Imagine Cerise’s surprise and delight when Jay picked up Season 7 of DS9 and exclaimed, “Whoa! Star Trek? You like Star Trek? That’s soooo cool!”
“Uh, yeah,” was Cerise’s stunned response.
“Me too! I love Trek! I can’t believe you do too! I mean, my sister likes BSG,” he said while admiring the cylon bust, “But Star Trek is so old school, no one even knows about it anymore!”
“Yeah, I know. But like, DS9 is one of the best shows ever.”
“I know!” agreed Jay. “Man, this is so crazy. I’ve never met a pretty girl who’s into Star Trek before.”
Cerise may have experienced a small aneurysm or a quick black-out, because she was fairly certain this boy had just called her pretty. She was almost entirely positive he’d very strongly implied that she might in some way be physically attractive.
Jay went on. “Hey, what did you think of the reboot?”
Cerise considered the question. If she was honest and said she had detested it, Jay might be offended if he was a big TOS fan, but if she pretended to have liked the movie and he didn’t then she would be in an even bigger pickle.
“Well you know,” she shrugged. “I guess it was a good movie. I’m just not sure it was a good Trek movie.”
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Jay nodded. “But it also had Sylar as Spock, which is like, so crazy!”
Incredible. Not only had Cerise just met a cute boy who wasn’t weirded out by her sci-fi predilections, but he also seemed to share her general opinions on the subject. He had also almost certainly said she was pretty, although now that she thought about it, it was possible that he had said nifty or shifty, but either way he seemed to like her. She smiled at him and tried to activate any latent psychic abilities she might have that would implant in his brain the desire to ask her out.
Unfortunately he didn’t seem to absorb the message and instead awkwardly announced that he should probably go since his mother no doubt wanted him to go wash someone’s car or something.
As he showed himself out, Cerise had the epiphany that this moment was the first day of the rest of her life. It may have been an unforgiveable cliché but that didn’t make it any less true. Cerise Laframboise’s life started now.