Cerise put a lot of thought into what to wear for the first day of school. Jeans obviously, her skinniest pair, though not quite tight enough to be officially considered skinny jeans. And her orange Ecco Mary-Jane sneakers, no socks. She could have worn her converse, but she didn’t like to wear those without socks, and it was too hot for socks. But the real question was which top she would wear. Once again she considered a tank top but even though she wanted to be sexy she didn’t want to appear as though she were trying to be sexy. Not that it was even physically possible for her to be sexy since she barely filled out her 36-A bra. And a tank top would just draw attention to her flabby arms and her freckled shoulders. Best to wear one of her collared shirts because they were fitted enough to be feminine, but structured enough not to cling, which was important because she needed to wear a top that would conceal her belly. Cerise had never considered herself to be fat but she also knew that all the blubber she had was deposited in the wrong places and while she wasn’t particularly vain she was nevertheless realistic and knew that to show up at school with her massive gut hanging out would win her no friends.
She settled on her favourite shirt, which was the one she’d tried on first. It was cream coloured and covered in little red flowers small enough to look like polka-dots from afar. It was a homemade shirt, constructed by her mother in the ‘70s, but designed to mimic a style from the ‘40s, with breast pockets, slightly pouffy sleeves and peaked lapels just wide enough to be interesting but not wide enough to be farcical. It was the coolest shirt Cerise owned and she hoped everyone else would agree and not accuse her of being a hipster wannabe or something.
She ran a brush through her hair and tucked it behind her ears, revealing two piercings in the right ear and three in the left, one of which was in the helix cartilage. Her only other accessory was a digital watch she placed on her left wrist. She knew analog watches were more stylish but digital was more efficient and Cerise was the type of person to consistently choose function over fashion as long as the function didn’t make her look like a total and complete spaz.
In the past Cerise had been known to forget to put in her contact lenses and leave the house in her glasses. This wasn’t the worst thing that could happen since her glasses were ok, kind of cool if you were into that sort of thing, but she probably looked better without them. So this year she vowed to always wear her contacts, unless she acquired another eye infection, which would only happen if she made the mistake of hanging out with smokers or of wearing eye makeup. Cerise wasn’t into makeup anyway so it wasn’t a huge sacrifice to go without it, but still, it would have been nice to have the option. As it was Cerise was pretty much allergic to everything on the planet, which is why the Laframboise family could never own any furry pets, a catastrophe that Julie had never forgiven her for.
Cerise peered out of the living room window, through which she could see the front door of Jay’s house. Angela walked into the room with a cup of coffee and a dazed expression.
“You’re up early.”
It was indeed unusual for Cerise to get up without being dragged out of bed, usually with the aid of foghorns, buckets of ice water and wild horses.
“I don’t want to be late for my first day of school!”
“Have you had breakfast?”
“Mom!” Cerise squealed in exasperation. “I can’t eat! I’m too excited!”
“So you don’t think your day will suck?”
Before Angela could respond, Cerise spotted Jay exiting his house. She grabbed her backpack and rushed out of the house. Once outside she calmly shut the door and casually strolled down the driveway.
“Hey,” Jay said, crossing paths with her.
“You wanna walk to school together?”
Everything was going according to plan.
Cerise was about to walk down their street but Jay showed her a shortcut. There was no need to go backwards on
Brighton Drive if they cut through a couple backyards and took a more direct route onto Westcroft. They passed the dépanneur, crossed the street and climbed the overpass which rose above the highway, then descended on the other side to find themselves at . They circled around the back of the building and crossed paths with a girl Cerise couldn’t help but notice. This was mostly because it was very obvious that Jay had noticed her and she couldn’t really blame him for it because the girl was astonishingly beautiful. Beaconsfield High School
She was tall and wore flat sandals, super skinny jeans and a white tank top. Cerise didn’t know if she was deliberately following Tyra’s advice on how to dress like a top model or if she was naturally stylish but either way the simple style was stunning. The top was clingy and showed off her breasts, which unlike Cerise’s actually existed. Her jeans were slung low and the slightest bit of belly was visible; a nice flat, tanned stomach adorned with a belly ring. She wore a silver, oval locket around her neck and had a few silver bangles on her left wrist, which chimed as she adjusted the strap on her messenger bag, which was casually slung over her perfectly toned shoulder. She was wearing a ton of makeup but it was expertly applied and her eyes were bright and alluring while her lips were shiny and pouty. Her hair was light brown, with blonde highlights (probably fake) and it was curly, but not messy curly, pretty curly, like in a shampoo commercial and it bounced around her shoulders as she strode by with confidence.
Jay practically pulled a muscle in his neck in his effort to keep watching her go by, but he finally gave up and accompanied Cerise into the school.
Karine Cavalière joined her friends at their smoking wall and pulled a cigarette out of her bag without even looking inside it.
“Karine, I’m gonna die!” Christina Penna exclaimed as she saw her best friend approach.
“How come?” asked Karine as she lit her cigarette.
“Don’t even!” Erica Mackey sighed while she puffed on her own cigarette. “I can’t take this anymore. Just get over it, Chrissy!”
“Terry?” Karine lifted a perfectly plucked eyebrow.
“Of course, Terry! Who else?” whined Erica. “She won’t shut up about him.”
“Well what?” wondered Christina. “He’s been like, so distant lately. It’s like we’re not even going out anymore.”
“Yeah, hi, thanks for catching on.” Erica rolled her eyes.
“You think he’s trying to break up with me?”
“Hello! Broke up! Past tense, retard!”
“Um,” Karine tried to make the point more delicately. “Terry’s not exactly known for his like, ability to like you know…”
“Stay with a chick for more than two seconds,” Erica smirked.
“But we’ve been going out for like, four weeks and two days. That’s like a totally long time,” insisted Christina. “Over a month!”
“Yeah well, still though,” Karine went on. “From Terry’s point of view it may just have been like…”
“Like nothing,” quipped Erica.
“Like a summer thing,” Karine insisted. “You know, like in Grease? How like John Travolta and Olivia
John just went out for the summer?” Newton
“Yeah but then they got back together when school started.”
“Yeah, but that was just a movie.”
It was a good point. In some ways Terry was like Danny Zucco, because he was cute and cool, and maybe he was just ignoring Christina because he was trying not to show how much he cared. But then again, maybe he really didn’t care anymore. But how could he have changed his mind so quickly? Christina and Terry had been friends for a couple of years but it was only this summer that they’d finally hooked up. And it had been awesome, Christina’s best relationship ever.
Christina Penna was of Italian descent and her parents were pretty strict so she wasn’t even officially allowed to date but her parents had recently gotten divorced, which was a pretty scandalous state of affairs according to her extended family. With her parents distracted by legal issues as well as the burden of having to explain how they could have defiled their family names, Christina had managed to sneak around lately without too much effort. This had benefitted her greatly in her pursuit of Terry Trebichavsky, who was the hottest guy in school as well as the coolest.
Everyone thought that Terry was just a big old player and it was true that he’d been around but he could actually be super sweet when they were alone. He made her feel pretty and even though Christina knew she was pretty, it didn’t hurt to have a guy confirm it.
She’d even lost her virginity to Terry, and it had actually been pretty ok. And contrary to his reputation, Terry hadn’t dumped her after they’d done the deed. He’d waited another two weeks to do it. Not that he’d officially broken up with her. He’d simply stopped calling, not that he ever called that much in the first place, but now he’d stopped answering her calls. It was a pretty strong hint, but Christina didn’t want to believe that Terry could be so cruel after all the good times they’d had together.
And it really didn’t help to have Erica rub it in her face all the time. Erica Mackey had just entered high school when she first saw the movie Mean Girls and she seemed to have interpreted it as an instruction manual. Then again, some people were just naturally bitchy.
Erica and her friends smoked their cigarettes while they stood under the cement awning that covered the side entrance to BHS. There was a prominent no-smoking sign displayed right behind them but teachers rarely walked this way, so it was a relatively safe place to hang out.
Of the three girls, Erica was the heaviest smoker, no pun intended. Erica Mackey was not what one would consider fat… fifty years ago. Today in the age of crackorexic celebrities, Erica wasn’t exactly what one would consider thin. She more or less watched what she ate, smoked a pack a day, and went jogging every afternoon but she still had to squeeze herself into a size 10, sometimes a 12, especially in the winter, when jogging was a drag.
But she made up for her ample ass with her ample bosom, an impressive 38DD. She often wore low cut tops to accentuate her assets, which probably fuelled her reputation as a bit of a slut, but the fact that she slept around with college guys probably also encouraged that reputation.
Whatever, guys liked curves, not anorexic little bitch sticks like Chrissy and Karine and the only reason they had boyfriends and she didn’t was because she had high standards and didn’t go out with stupid high school boys like Steven Reid, Karine’s boyfriend, who was such a pussy-whipped dipshit that he barely even counted as a real guy.
Erica probably would have made an exception for Terry Trebichavsky ‘cause he was fucking hot but he was also a dick so she might not go out with him even if he asked, which he probably would any day now, especially since he’d finally dumped Chrissy, that deluded retard. As if a guy like Terry would stay with a loser like Chrissy! Sure Chrissy was cute, if you liked bony-assed midgets but Terry could do way better, and Erica was sure that he would, it was just a matter of time.
Erica continued to mock Christina for her inability to get over Terry, when the object of her affection joined them, along with Steven Reid and Andrew Lester. Steven took a drag off Karine’s cigarette while both Andrew and Terry lit their own.
“Hi Terry,” Christina craned her neck to look up at the 6’3” vision of perfection.
“Huh?” he responded lazily, his eyes half shut.
Terry’s lids were always heavy, as though it took effort even to look at the world. His eyes were gorgeous, framed with impossibly long lashes and his irises changed colour depending on what he was wearing. Today they were sort of grey because he was in a white t-shirt, which was awesome because it fit him really well and you could see all his muscles underneath, like his amazing rock-hard abs. And it also showed off his biceps and his forearms and his big, strong hands and it was so hot the way his long fingers gripped the cigarette and then left it perched on his full lips, and it sort of dangled above the little cleft in his chin and oh my god, he was so cute, Christina would totally die if he was really breaking up with her.
“Um, how’s it going?” she asked.
“It’s early,” Terry squinted as though the morning sun were too much to bear.
It was so pretty the way the sunlight glinted off his sandy hair and made it look like a golden halo of angelic awesomeness.
Christina agreed that it was indeed early and Terry took one last drag off his cigarette before flicking it aside. Without another word, he walked off and entered the school. Erica smirked at Christina while Andrew Lester began a tirade against the injustice of 8:00 am start times.
“Hey you guys,” said Jay as he led Cerise up to The Wall.
Against The Wall stood Jay’s friends: Karl Weber, a tall, skinny, blonde guy who always wore green, Vaninath Ameeriar, a small Indian boy with rather lively hair, and William Watts, a lamebot who was so fat he was just on the cusp of obesity. They all stared at Cerise, seemingly transfixed.
“Um, this is Cerise,” Jay went on. “She just moved in next door. Like literally. She’s the girl next door.”
“Hi,” said Cerise.
The boys continued to stare, probably impressed that Jay was associating with a human of the female variety.
“Uh, this is Karl.”
“Karl Weber. I’m German.” He pushed his glasses up on his nose and puffed out his concave chest, maybe hoping she’d notice the quadratic equation on his shirt.
“Ok,” Cerise smiled.
“Yeah uh,” Jay went on. “And this is Vani.”
Vani smiled broadly and looked up at Cerise, being a good three inches shorter than her. “I’m German too. We’re the master race.”
“Shut up! I didn’t mean it like that,” protested Karl.
“Yeah, yeah, we know. Heil Hitler,” Vani smirked.
“Anyway,” Jay said, rolling his eyes. “This dorkwad is Willy Wonka.”
“And this is the chocolate factory,” laughed Vani while poking Willy’s rotund stomach.
“Shut up! My name is William!”
“But we call him little Willy to be ironic,” explained Vani.
“You don’t even!” protested Willy.
“We do now,” nodded Karl with a smirk.
William Watts was indeed very large but he seemed not to be fully aware of it, or at least that was the impression one got from his insistence on wearing t-shirts two sizes too small. Of course, the problem could have been the difficulty in finding reasonably priced t-shirts in size XXXL, or it could have been his mother’s sense of denial, as it was she who purchased all of Willy’s garments, including the drawstring shorts that were currently hugging his hairy buttocks, the top of which protruded from his shorts. The fact that Willy’s ass-crack was visible for all to see was information his friends were well aware of but something they chose not to share with him, mostly to further their own amusement.
Willy also had the misfortune of being afflicted with a fairly serious case of acne. The other boys also had a few zits, but Willy was the one who could most rightly be called a pizza-face and his long, wavy hair that he let droop over his face, probably in an effort to hide his skin was most certainly contributing to the problem, due to the enormous amounts of grease contained within.
Willy swatted away the hands of his friends as they tried to make him laugh like the Pillsbury doughboy and Karl ended the mocking session by telling Willy to go free himself.
Cerise giggled and said she could sympathise with being made fun of for her moniker since she was so ridiculously named after fruit.
“Cherry the Raspberry,” beamed Vani, “that’s so awesome! But like, seriously, if your last name is Fruity McFruiterson why would your parents name you Sugar Berry Gumdrop?”
“I dunno,” she shrugged. “I guess my dad was like traumatized as a child and wanted to like, increase the torture. I guess he has issues with fruit.”
“That’s so awesome. I wish I had issues with fruit,” Vani nodded sagely.
“Yeah, it’s cool,” Jay chimed in. “It’s like being named after a breakfast cereal. I bet you taste good.”
The boys all stared at Jay in amazement but Cerise simply giggled like a girl.
“Uh, I mean, I didn’t mean,” Jay stammered, feeling his cheeks heat up and hoping he wasn’t turning red. “You know, I mean in a fruit roll-up kinda way, not that I would like, eat you or I mean…”
“Quit while you’re behind, Jay,” Karl advised.
“Hi Cerise! How’s it going?” Sarah Wong said brightly as she joined the group in a sudden sneak attack.
“Hi Sarah,” Cerise responded.
“How come you left orientation so suddenly? You didn’t finish the tour.”
“’Cause maybe she doesn’t want to spend her whole life at school,” Karl remarked.
“Hello Karl,” Sarah said icily. “How was your summer?”
“Too short,” he responded. “I suppose you spent the whole time peering into the windows here, eagerly awaiting the first day back.”
“Please,” Sarah scoffed. “Just because I wanna be involved in my school doesn’t mean I don’t have a life. That’s you, remember?”
Karl always gave Sarah a hard time but Jay rather liked her because she was popular and yet still associated with them as though they were normal people.
“Oh, oh, I’m wounded! The pain! Your rapier wit is too much for me!” Karl clutched his shirt dramatically, an act that would have been more effective if Andrew Lester and Steven Reid hadn’t chosen that exact moment to walk by and shove him aside. They also pushed Willy, Vani and Jay even though none of them were in their path.
“Watch where you’re going, freaks,” Andrew smirked.
“Yeah, fucking dorks,” Steven snickered.
“Stupid jerks with their stupid… stupidity,” Willy murmured angrily.
“You tell ‘em, Willy,” Karl couldn’t help but chuckle.
“Those guys are such assholes,” Willy insisted.
“They may be assholes,” Sarah agreed. “But they’re right about you guys being dorks.”
“I’d rather be a dork than a frakking jock!” Karl declared.
“Andrew Lester’s not even a jock,” shrugged Sarah. “He’s in drama. He’s a theatre dude.”
“What a fag,” scoffed Willy.
“Like you should talk,” Karl and Vani said in unison.
“Are you friends with those guys?” Cerise asked Sarah.
“Well sorta,” said Sarah. “I mean I don’t really hang out with them, but I’m kind of friends with Karine Cavalière ‘cause she’s in drama too and we did the play together last year.”
“Who?” wondered Cerise.
“The chick Jay’s in love with,” offered Vani.
“I am not!” Jay protested. He wasn’t in love with her, he just kinda liked her is all. God, why did everyone always have to bring it up all the time?
“Karine Cavalière goes out with Steven Reid,” Sarah explained. “He’s the guy with the buzz cut. He plays rugby and him and Karine have been together since like, ever. And the guy with the shaggy hair is Andrew Lester and he’s kind of a perv but he’s also kind of fun, like he always shares his beer and stuff at parties and the guy they just joined, the tall guy, the super hot guy, he’s Terry Trebichavsky.”
Karl and Vani made gagging noises and Jay announced that all three of those guys were assholes.
Sarah ignored them. “I hear Terry’s going out with Christina Penna now. She’s nice, but she’s like super short. Terry must have to like bend down like, so far to kiss her.”
Sarah adjusted her posture and flicked her hair over her shoulder as Terry Trebishitsky abandoned his friends and walked her way. “Hi Terry!” she said.
“Hey,” he responded lazily as he strolled by.
“Oh my god!” Two voices rang out into the hallway as Melanie Kannangara and Stephanie Guzman ran over to Sarah.
“Did Terry Trebichavsky just say hi to you?”
“Yeah,” Sarah smiled smugly.
“Oh my god!”
Sarah, Mel and Steph were collectively known as the Green Girls because they were part of the Student Environmental Committee. While Sarah Wong was regarded as the leader of their little group, Mel and Steph were generally considered to be interchangeable since they were always together and both had long black hair and dark skin. In truth they looked nothing alike since Melanie was of Sri Lankan heritage and Stephanie was part Haitian, part Dominican, but the largely white population of BHS was either unable or unwilling to make the distinction.
Vani and Karl waited until the Green Girls were gone before they clasped hands and jumped up and down.
“Like, oh my god!” exclaimed Vani. “Terry Trebidreamy is like so cute!”
“I know, oh my god!” squealed Karl.
“Well, he is pretty dreamy,” Vani nodded sagely.
Jay rolled his eyes and suggested they get to class. Cerise didn’t know where B302 was, so Jay offered to show her the way.
“So uh, yeah,” said Vani before Jay and Cerise were actually out of earshot. “Since when does Jay hang out with girls?”