Shauna Darren had completed the tour of BHS on orientation day, yet she was having trouble finding her homeroom class. She considered asking some fellow students for help but thought better of it, knowing that no one would want to talk to a loser like her.
When she finally found her classroom she entered slowly, since the bell had rung several minutes ago and the teacher was already taking roll call.
“Four years at this establishment and you still can’t find your way?” asked the teacher, Mr. Weir.
He was overweight and balding, with a comb over that even Shauna recognized as pathetic.
“Um, I’m new.”
Mr. Weir proclaimed this to be a likely excuse and ordered her to take a seat, which she did hastily, knocking her thigh into her desk in the process. Predictably, several students snickered. Eventually Mr. Weir called Shauna’s name and she raised her hand. Mr. Weir called on her again.
“Uh, yeah.” She responded.
“Uh yeah is not an acceptable response, Miss Darren. You may say here or you may say present.
Shauna nodded and tried not to look afraid.
“Well don’t just sit there slack-jawed! Say something,” demanded Mr. Weir.
“Try to refrain from overuse of the word uh, Miss Darren. It only serves to lower people’s expectations of you.”
Shauna nodded and made a mental note to add Mr. Weir to her hate list.
Cerise took at seat in the middle of her classroom. She didn’t want to seem like a teacher’s pet by sitting up front but didn’t want to be too presumptuous about her coolness level by sitting in the back. She watched as Steven Reid and Karine Cavalière entered hand in hand and took seats in the back corner. Another boy walked in lazily and joined them at the back of the class. He was the guy Sarah had described as hot. Terry something.
The teacher was Mr. Taffenberg, the man who’d been at orientation day. He was of average height, with a goatee and hair that was starting to grey, though he didn’t seem that old. Cerise guessed he was in his early forties at most. As he began roll call Cerise braced herself for the inevitable announcement of her name.
“Cerise… Laframboise?” Mr. Taffenberg pronounced her name in French but said it like a question, as though he were trying to decide if the name was a joke.
“Here,” Cerise raised her hand.
“Interesting name,” Mr. Taffenberg smiled.
Cerise shrugged in response and attempted to look unaffected as she heard the chuckles of a few classmates.
When Mr. Taffenberg called on Terrence Trebichavsky all he got in response was silence. Steven Reid leaned over and poked Terry in the shoulder, as he was slumped over his desk, snoozing.
“What?” Terry asked as he blinked his eyes.
“Are you here?” Mr. Taffenberg asked.
“Aww come on, Taffy,” Terry sighed. “It’s too early for this stuff.”
“I know, I know,” Mr. Taffenberg nodded. “But you can catch up on your sleep in one of your other, less crucial classes. Ok?”
“Yeah,” Terry agreed and leaned back in his chair, resting his head against the back wall.
Everyone in the class had turned around to watch Terry during this exchange so Cerise didn’t feel conspicuous for checking him out. It was no wonder Sarah and her friends found him hot, as he was indeed very attractive, and looked way older than sixteen. She wondered if he had been held back a year or two. It wouldn’t surprise her, since he looked like a slacker, what with the sleeping and all. But he sure was cute, with short, tussled blonde hair and a square jaw and big muscles and Vans sneakers. Cerise suddenly realized that Mr. Taffenberg had moved on with roll call, so she turned back in her seat, hoping no one had noticed her lingering gaze.
For the rest of the class they listened to Mr. Taffenberg talk about his summer vacation, wherein he had visited his mother in
Florida and gone to Disneyworld with his young daughter who had thrown up on the teacup ride. The story was amusing and Mr. Taffenberg seemed like a pretty cool teacher. Cerise was glad she had him for homeroom. Already BHS was turning out to be way better than St-Thomas.
After class she approached him and asked if he could direct her to her next class since she was new. Taffy happily agreed and stopped Karine and Steven as they walked by, asking them if they could show her where room C110 was. Karine looked at Cerise as though she was a maggot and Cerise instantly regretted asking for help.
“Oh my god, you have got to be kidding me!”
Shauna didn’t need to turn around to know that the snide voice was referring to her.
“Seriously,” said another voice.
“I guess she didn’t get the memo,” the first voice went on. “You know, the one that says you should like, bathe before coming to school.”
The second voice laughed.
Shauna’s eyes darted around, trying to determine how many people had overheard the insult. Various students were shuffling into a classroom and they all snickered at her as they went. A gorgeous girl with long blonde hair approached the class and peered at Shauna with disgust.
“Eww,” she sneered and Shauna recognized the voice as that of the first insulter.
Fucking cuntnugget. Her laughing friend was also gorgeous and they both made a great display of trying not to touch Shauna as they darted into the class. Fucking typical that they were supermodels. The prettiest girls were always the biggest bitches. Not that they were even that pretty. The tall girl’s hair was obviously dyed; she had massive roots going on and her friend was crazy short, even shorter than Shauna, who wasn’t exactly an Amazon. But the short girl wore sandals with heels, and she could actually walk in them so she looked pretty and dainty and girly and cute.
Shauna was wearing docks, men’s cargo shorts, and an oversized t-shirt. She knew her clothes made her ugly, or uglier, as she was already pretty ugly to begin with. There was nothing particularly wrong with her face, and she had no offensive features like a big nose or giant hairy moles or anything, although her eyebrows were a little bushy and edging towards monobrow territory, which her mother kept trying to get her to pluck, but that hurt so fuck it. But even though there was no individual feature to make fun of, the sum of their parts made for a plain face; one she knew was unattractive because she’d been told so many times by many people. She tried to hide her face with her dark hair, which she didn’t bother brushing very often and it hung down past her shoulders in unkempt strands.
All her clothes were black or grey, and she made sure not to let her mother wash her garments too often because she wanted them to stay dark. She was pretty sure the dark clothing helped her look tough, and she hoped this would dissuade her peers from picking on her, though the tactic hadn’t worked at St-Thomas. And it didn’t seem to be helping today either. But it was still a good idea to wear the oversized clothes because she knew she was kind of fat but bras were uncomfortable so it was best not to wear anything too tight that might reveal her ugly lady lumps.
It was fucking typical that she had to be in the same class as the cuntnuggets. She hesitated before going in, trying to figure out where she could sit that would result in the least amount of pain. She knew from experience that walking through rows of desks could lead to more mocking. The cuntnuggets were at the back of the class. Fuck, they were beautiful. The head cuntnugget was seriously hot, with a body like a pin-up model from the olden days. She would probably be hotter if she didn’t dye her hair, although the blonde was pretty nice too, kind of like Cerise’s.
Speak of the devil! There was Cerise now, coming down the hallway! Maybe they’d be in the same class! She was walking with another supermodel but now she’d stopped and was trying to hide behind the supermodel. Fucking bitch.
Oh shit! There was Shauna, standing around like a freak and trying to make eye-contact with Cerise.
“What are you doing?” asked Karine, obviously annoyed.
“Um, nothing,” said Cerise as she strategically positioned herself behind Karine while trying to act casual.
“Anyway, there’s your class.”
Karine pointed to a door, thankfully not the same door that Shauna had just slunk into. If she could just keep avoiding Shauna Darren for the rest of the year then things might turn out ok.
Unfortunately her optimism only lasted until lunch. She’d forgotten about the battlefield known as the cafeteria. God, this was gonna be painful. Cerise had brown bagged it today but wished she’d brought money instead. That way she could have stood in line and observed the caf for a while before deciding on where to sit. But the first table she saw when she walked into the caf was occupied by Jay and his friends. Sarah and her friends sat a few tables over. Which table should Cerise join and could she be so presumptuous as to join either? Maybe she should have gone outside to eat, hell she even could have walked home. Why put herself through the potential rejection that might come from inviting herself to sit with someone?
She slowly approached Jay, trying to look casual, cool, uncaring. She wasn’t going to ask to sit down, just walk by and then maybe he’d invite her to sit. Right? It didn’t work. She was already at the other end of the table and Jay hadn’t even looked up. But Willy had. He was looking at her and smiling.
“Hey,” Cerise said nonchalantly.
“Wanna sit?” asked Willy.
Oh thank god. “Sure,” shrugged Cerise, taking the seat next to Jay, even though Willy had indicated one next to himself.
“So uh…” Jay turned to her. “I saw you with Karine Cavalière earlier.”
“Who?” asked Cerise.
“Karine Cavalière. The hottest girl in school,” both Vani and Karl managed to say at once.
“Shut up,” threatened Jay.
“She was just showing me to class,” explained Cerise.
“That’s cool. Do you like, know her?” Jay peered at her curiously.
“No, she was just helping me ‘cause Taffy asked her to.”
“Taffy’s cool,” nodded Vani.
“He will be spared during the war against the machines,” agreed Karl.
Cerise giggled. These guys were great. How awesome that they were Terminator fans. “Did you guys watch the Sarah Connor Chronicles?”
“Of course,” said Vani. “River Tam as a Terminator? What could possibly be more awesome?”
“Thomas Dekker as John Connor,” said Cerise.
“What?” asked Willy incredulously. “That kid is a total emo thumb-sucker. I saw him in an interview on Hyperspace and he was wearing a bandanna on his head! A bandanna on his head!”
“The bandanna’s cool,” insisted Vani. “If I could wear a bandanna without looking like a gangbanger I would totally do it.”
“How could you ever look like a gangbanger?” asked Karl. “Even if you covered yourself in gold chains and wore a pimp hat you’d still look like a chartered accountant.”
“This coming from Bill Nye the Science Guy,” scoffed Vani.
“Hey, my mom thinks I’m cool,” Karl sniffed and wiped away a fake tear.
“Cerise even likes Star Trek,” Jay informed them.
“Seriously?” asked Karl.
“Yeah,” nodded Cerise as she dug into her cheese sandwich.
“All of them. Although I prefer to pretend
never happened.” Enterprise
“Tell me about it!” Karl agreed. “What are your thoughts on BSG?”
“Best show ever if you ignore the last episode. Although I must say that while BSG is technically the stronger show, Stargate is actually my personal favourite.”
“SG1, Atlantis or Universe?” Karl leaned in and regarded Cerise with fascination.
“All of the above. I mean SG1 for Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter but Atlantis for Rodney…”
“McKay!” Karl jumped in. “Best character ever!”
“I know!” Cerise agreed.
“I don’t get it,” whined Willy. “How come when I act like a pompous ass you tell me to shut up but when Rodney McKay does it, somehow it’s awesome.”
Everyone looked at Willy like he’d sprouted a third eye.
“Yeah Willy, you don’t get it,” Karl shook his head. “That much is painfully clear.”
“Whatever,” Willy shrugged. “Stargate is stupid. Star Wars is where it’s at.”
Cerise sighed heavily. “Look, Star Wars is all well and good but let’s get one thing straight: it’s not sci-fi. Star Wars is fantasy set in space. Which is fine, but sci-fi is superior.”
“Oh my…” Karl was stupefied. “I can’t… what? How?” He turned to Jay. “You say she’s the girl next door? Are you sure you didn’t construct her in a lab? The only way she could say anything more correct is if she was a pre-programmed android. Although the idea that you could make anything more complex than a particularly gooey piece of snot is laughable at best.”
Cerise giggled while Jay retaliated by throwing his empty juice box at Karl.
“So like, you’re a girl?” asked Vani.
“How can you like sci-fi? Shouldn’t you be into Gossip Girl instead?”
Cerise chose not to admit that she also watched Gossip Girl and instead declared that just because she was female didn’t mean her only interests were shopping and makeup.
“Steven!” Karine pushed away her boyfriend after he’d kissed her. “Now I have to reapply!”
She took her lipstick out of her bag and put on a fresh coat as she and Steven joined Erica, Christina and Andrew at a picnic table on the school lawn. She fished her lunch out of her bag, which consisted of a salad in a Tupperware, and a bottle of water.
“God, I’m not even hungry yet. It’s just wrong that we have to eat so early.”
“God, whatever. Be anorexic on your own time,” said Erica as she sipped on a diet coke.
“Relax.” Karine smiled and daintily took a bite of her salad. She didn’t really like salad all that much but it gave her great pleasure to eat healthy foods in front of Erica, who seemed to have a personal grudge against vegetables.
Shauna was dejected enough from her first few classes that she chose not to brave the cafeteria. Instead she sat down in front of her locker and opened her lunch. Her mother had packed her a ham sandwich. She hated ham. It was as though her mother deliberately went out of her way to make Shauna’s life more miserable. She peeled the slice of ham out of the sandwich and threw it against the wall, where it stuck for one second and then drooped to the floor. Shauna was totally the ham in the sandwich of life.
“Hey you guys. Who’s your new friend?” asked a short boy with pimpled skin and way too short shorts. Cerise was pretty sure he’d been in her homeroom.
“Hi, I’m Cerise.”
“Hi Cerise, I’m Jonah.”
“Fuck off, Jojo,” said Willy.
“Uh hey you guys,” Jonah went on. “I uh, thought you guys might like some ice-cream. I brought enough for everyone.” He showed them the lunch tray he carried that held six ice-cream sandwiches.
“Well you thought wrong!” Willy growled.
“Well uh, I just… you know…” the boy stammered.
Willy stood up and stuck his finger into Jonah’s emaciated chest. “We don’t take bribes. So you can just piss off!”
“Well… you guys…”
Suddenly Willy pushed the tray into Jonah’s chest. Jonah was knocked backwards and fell on the floor, with the ice-cream staining his shirt. Willy picked up an ice-cream bar that had escaped unscathed and threw it down at Jonah, smooshing it into his shirt with his foot while yelling a chant of “Destroy, destructerate.”
Jonah fought back tears and amid the laughter of all nearby students, half ran, half crawled out of the cafeteria.
Cerise was shocked. Only a moment ago they’d been discussing the merits of Dr. Keller vs. Kaley and now Karl was proclaiming Willy’s act of destruction to be mega. Vani declared that it was awesome how Willy had made Jojo cry.
“Um, wasn’t that a little extreme?” asked Cerise tentatively.
“Yeah,” nodded Jay. “That was perfectly good ice-cream.”
Terry sidled up to the picnic table and sat down with a Red Bull, two hot-dogs and a large bag of chips.
“And where have you been?” asked Karine.
“Getting something decent,” explained Terry as he flung the chip bag onto the table. It had long been Terry’s custom to go to the nearby dep for lunch, not finding the cafeteria’s offerings to be adequate for his appetite. He’d already eaten a plate of nachos on his way back from the store. He wolfed down the hot-dogs while Andrew opened the bag of chips and helped himself. Terry didn’t mind. He was generous with his food, if not his attentions.
Christina kept trying to make eye-contact but he was very concentrated on his chips. They were ketchup flavour, which Christina couldn’t stand. She was probably taking it as a personal insult.
“Oh my god. Look at that guy,” said Erica as she lit a cigarette. “What was he thinking? Talk about misguided facial hair.”
“I know, right?” Agreed Christina.
“I think that guy’s in my Economics class,” said Karine. “He has serious French pepper moustache syndrome.”
“Seriously,” Christina nodded.
“Oh god, look at the glue sniffers,” said Erica, indicating the trio sitting under a tree. “Is that on purpose? Like are they trying to do grunge? I mean Kurt Cobain died like fifteen years ago. They need to get over it.”
“Totally,” Christina agreed.
“Oh dear god!” Erica covered her eyes. “Do not look directly at the mom jeans or your retinas will be burned out of your skull!”
“I know!” Christina laughed.
“Doesn’t she know how fat those jeans make her look?” wondered Erica.
“You’d know I guess,” smirked Terry.
Erica contained her rage well. She ignored Terry and wrinkled her nose at Karine. “Speaking of mom jeans, did you even look in the mirror this morning? High-waisted much, Karine?”
Karine narrowed her eyes. “What the fuck are you talking about? High-waisted is in. And they’re not even high-waisted. They’re normal. I mean, just because my ass isn’t hanging out…”
“You can still see her belly button,” Steven pointed out while stroking Karine’s stomach affectionately.
“Hey, whatever happened to low-rise?” Andrew wondered. “I miss those days. I never get to snap chicks’ thongs anymore.” He dug his hand into the back of Christina’s jean skirt and she squealed as he pulled on her panties. She slapped away his hand as the others laughed.
Willy slammed a lunch tray onto the table. “Here. Have your stupid ice-cream.”
Everyone took an ice-cream sandwich, including Cerise, though she still felt guilty for the way Jonah had been treated.
“Aww, I wanted the kind with choco chips,” complained Vani.
“Take what you can get,” scowled Willy. “At least it doesn’t have the stench of Jojo on it.”
“Yeah, it has the stench of Willy. Not much of a trade off,” snarked Karl.
Vani agreed and reiterated the awesomeness of the ice-cream incident. He was so impressed that he seemed to want to recreate it and attempted to smoosh his ice-cream into Willy’s face. Willy pushed him away and the ice-cream ended up smeared all over the table. The other boys were evidently very amused by this turn of events because they all added the remains of their sandwiches to the mess.
“Ok boys, time for the run,” announced Vani as he stood up. The others followed suit.
“Aren’t you guys gonna get in trouble for making such a huge mess?” wondered Cerise.
“Nah, we did it all the time last year,” shrugged Jay as he licked ice-cream off his fingers.
“We never get in trouble ‘cause we’re the good kids,” smiled Karl.
“What do you mean?”
Karl adjusted his glasses and looked serious. “Well, I don’t know if you’ve noticed but we’re all kinda nerds right? We get good grades and we don’t skip and basically we’re just the good ones. I mean, the administration is so busy trying to control the punks and the slackers that we just fly under the radar. No matter what we do, they can’t touch us.”
“’Cause if we get in trouble it just throws the whole system out of whack,” Vani jumped in.
“If they punish us they just have to think of something even crazier to do to the bad kids,” Karl explained. “So basically we’re untouchable. I mean let’s face it. Only dumb kids get detention.”
“You have detention already?” Karine asked incredulously.
“As if I’m gonna go,” shrugged Terry. “It’s total bullshit. All I did was fall asleep in Weir’s class. I mean fuck, it’s the first day. You’d think they’d cut us some slack.”
Terry really wasn’t a morning person. There were tons of studies out there that said it wasn’t natural for teenagers to wake up early and yet school still had to start at the crack of dawn. It was completely unfair. Just another example of how school wasn’t really about teaching kids, it was about locking them up and giving old people as excuse to be assholes to them.
“Yeah, totally. Weir is such an ass,” agreed Christina.
“Depends what class you have him in actually,” Karine said. “He’s pretty cool in Drama.”
“Thank you, Karine,” Erica rolled her eyes as she puffed on her cigarette. “We all know you’re little miss Drama Queen. We don’t need to be reminded of it every two seconds.”
Damn, Erica was such a bitch. It was so obvious she was just jealous of Karine’s hotness. It’s not like she ever gave Andrew a hard time for being in Drama. Terry rolled his eyes at Karine so she’d know he was on her side. She smiled back with her perfect pink lips.
“Oh my god! Those fucking losers!” Erica groaned as a bunch of nerds ran onto the lawn.
“Fucking spazzes,” Andrew looked for something on the table he could throw at them. He settled on Terry’s empty Red Bull can and hurled it at the fat kid.
The fat kid tried to dodge but still got hit in the arm. They all laughed as the nerds kept running.
“Well, well,” said Erica. “Looks like the nerd herd have found themselves a little girlfriend.”
“Hey, that chick’s in my homeroom,” said Karine. “I had to show her to her second class. She’s a total spaz. You won’t believe what her name is.”
“What?” asked Christina.
“Cherry the Raspberry and I’m not even kidding.”
“No way!” exclaimed Christina.
“I swear! Well, her name is Cerise Laframboise. Seriously.”
“That’s demented,” smirked Erica.
“Weird,” agreed Steven.
Terry watched the blonde girl as she ran behind the nerds. She had a nice little body. Why the hell would she hang out with those guys? She was actually kind of cute.