The boys ran across the lawn and through the faculty parking lot. They ran past the overpass and over to the back of the school, circling to the side entrance. When they reached the doors, Vani held them open for Karl and Jay but when Willy approached he slammed it shut and Willy smacked into it. Willy entered the school and then hit Vani in the arm. Vani hit Jay and then Jay hit Karl. Karl hit Willy and they all kept running. Cerise followed but was beginning to get tired.
“Come on!” Jay yelled at her and grabbed her wrist, dragging her along.
She wasn’t exactly holding hands with Jay, but having his hand around her wrist was close enough and she deliberately slowed her pace so he’d be forced to keep pulling her. Finally they reached their wall and they all slumped onto the floor, continuing to punch one another’s arms.
Cerise sat down next to Jay, who had released her wrist and was busy pummelling Willy with Vani and Karl.
“You guys do that every day?”
“We started the tradition in Sec 3 and I see no reason to end it,” Vani smiled.
“It’s good to get a little exercise after lunch, especially for Willy,” nodded Karl. “I mean I’m not trying to say he’s fat, but he is a giant turdtastic tub of lard, so I actually am trying to say he’s fat and I’m pretty sure I’m not just trying to say he’s fat, I’m actively accusing him of fatassery, and it might not be the worst idea to apply for Biggest Loser, if they ever do a Canadian version. That’s all I’m saying.”
“Fuck you, you manorexic shit-twig,” Willy shoved Karl and his eyes darted in Cerise’s direction, who was trying not to laugh, but failing.
“Bitch tits,” Karl shot back.
“This doesn’t have to become part of the tradition does it?” Willy asked with concern.
“It sure does, bitch tits,” Vani grinned.
“No! The run ends when we sit down!”
“Then why the frakk did you even ask, bitch tits?” Jay chuckled.
“Good comeback, bitch tits,” smiled Karl.
“Fuck!” was all Willy could come up with.
“So this is like a tradition?” asked Cerise.
“Yeah, we have to do the run the same exact way every day. That’s why Willy always has to get slammed with the door. ‘Cause he’s a fat loser with bitch tits,” explained Jay. “But also ‘cause that’s what happened the first time we did the run. And now it’s tradition.”
“So that means I have to follow you guys around like a lost puppy every day for the rest of the year?”
“Stands to reason,” nodded Vani. “And at the end of the run we always come back to our wall. The Wall,” he stroked it with affection.
“And we must defend it!” declared Jay triumphantly.
“From Green Girls who try to defile it!”said Karl as Sarah and her friends walked in their direction.
They disappeared into the student council room, which was right across from the wall. Sarah lingered in the doorframe and peered at the boys. “Well, if it isn’t the slack pack. Up to the same shit as last year, eh?”
One of Sarah’s friends came out of the room and stuck a poster about recycling on the wall.
Sarah adjusted the poster. “I hope you guys have matured enough since last year that you won’t like totally destroy school property all the time.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Karl with exaggerated innocence.
“I swear to god, Karl! I swear to fucking god!”
“You should swear to me,” Karl grinned. “Might work better.”
Sarah sighed heavily and retreated into the student union room, slamming the door behind her.
“Why are you giving Sarah such a hard time?” asked Cerise.
“Are you kidding?” Karl exclaimed. “She’s a joiner!”
“She joins every club and team that could possibly exist and if it doesn’t exist then she forms it. She’s always like, doing stuff and being happy about it. She’s such a mega brown-noser it makes me sick!”
Jay chuckled. “Karl’s just jealous ‘cause Sarah’s the only person at BHS who gets higher grades than him.”
“Please, like I care about grades,” Karl scoffed. “Grades are just the establishment’s arbitrary way of judging academic performance, which isn’t even necessarily an accurate representation of actual intelligence. I mean, you know, it can be sometimes. I mean, yeah, I have a 98% average of course, because academics are a frakking joke here, it’s so easy, I mean, a monkey could do just as well, I mean, Willy couldn’t, because you know, he might be clinically retarded, we’re still waiting on the test results but my point is that Sarah Wong is like a total joiner and she just stands for everything I’m against. She’s like part of the system you know?”
“Uh-huh,” Cerise nodded.
Sarah emerged from student council and examined her poster. Then she glared at Karl. “I’m onto you guys!”
“Whatever. Like we even care about your stupid poster,” Karl scoffed.
Sarah huffed in exasperation and went back inside. No sooner had she closed the door than Karl scrambled to his feet and took a sharpie out of his pocket. He quickly scribbled all over the poster, turning the picture of the Earth into a devil. Two seconds later we was sitting on the ground again, looking nonchalant. When Sarah came out of the room again, she screeched upon seeing the poster.
“I knew it! I knew you couldn’t resist, you fucking freak!” Sarah ripped down the poster, scrunched it into a ball and threw it at Karl, who caught it.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said innocently.
“Why do you have to ruin everything?!” Sarah demanded.
“What do you mean?” asked Karl, smoothing out the poster. “It looks better this way. I mean, this is art right here.”
“You’re such a loser!” Sarah shrieked. “You know Cerise, you really should have found better people to hang out with. These losers will just drag you down.”
Cerise wondered if Sarah might be right and hoped she hadn’t irreparably damaged any chance to be friends with the Green Girls.
Her next class was Drama and she saw Sarah sitting with some other girls in the front row of the auditorium. She wanted to join them but couldn’t quite muster up the courage to do so especially when Karine Cavalière came into the class with the frat-boy looking guy, Andrew whatever, and they both sat near Sarah.
When the teacher came in he told everyone to settle down, even though no one was being particularly rowdy.
“I see we have some new thespians this year. Who don’t I know?” He looked at Cerise and she slumped down in her seat, trying to be as inconspicuous as possible. Mr. Weir looked right at her. “You, what’s your name?”
One of these days Cerise would really need to murder her parents. “Cerise Laframboise,” she said.
Various students laughed, including Sarah. Mr. Weir checked his clipboard, going through the names on the list.
“That’s your real name?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said sheepishly.
“What a fantastic stage name!” Mr. Weir exclaimed. “You won’t need to change it when you become famous.”
Cerise smiled and looked at the other students. No one was laughing anymore. They were smiling, maybe in amusement, but maybe in admiration too. Cerise instantly liked Mr. Weir.
“I knew you couldn’t go a whole day without skipping,” said Christina as she joined Terry at their picnic table on the school grounds.
Terry was smoking a cigarette and he knew it would be polite to offer to share it with Chrissy but shit, he shouldn’t encourage her.
“I’m not skipping,” he mumbled. “I have a free period.”
“Oh. Well, I’m skipping.”
“Good for you.” Terry rolled his eyes.
“Yeah,” Chrissy smiled her adorable little smile. “So… do you wanna hang out after school today?”
Fuck. What was he supposed to say? Terry knew he should let her down easy, but Chrissy was so annoyingly persistent and never seemed to get the message. “I’m kinda busy,” he responded.
See? Fucking persistent. “I have detention with Weir.”
“But you said you weren’t gonna go.” She looked so pathetic with her big brown puppy dog eyes.
Maybe he should hang out with her today. Just one last time. She was pretty hot. Totally short and kinda skinny but nice tits and a nice little pussy. She was tight and always wet for him. Yeah, she was a good lay, that was for sure, but fuck, he had to draw the line somewhere. She wanted a boyfriend and he couldn’t be that for her. She was a nice girl, but maybe that was the problem, she was too nice. Too eager, too clingy. It was like she wanted to be with him all the time and he just couldn’t deal. She wasn’t exactly interesting to talk to.
“Yeah well, maybe I will.” Terry got up off the table, flicked away his half-smoked cigarette and walked back towards the school, making very sure not to look back at Chrissy and her sad eyes.
Mr. Weir instructed everyone to get on stage and shake it out. Cerise watched the others and realized that meant they had to shake their bodies, loosening up their limbs she supposed. He made them do some stretching exercises and then they were to sit back down in their seats. He said they’d start out with some improv and told Karine to get on stage, referring to her as his star pupil. He had Andrew join her. They had to jump around in weird positions and suddenly Mr. Weir shouted at them to freeze.
“Now go!” he instructed.
Andrew was down on one knee and he extended his arms towards Karine. “Oh my love, will you be mine?”
Karine turned towards him and looked pained. “Our love can never be. For you are a Montague and I am a Capulet.”
“Tis true!” Andrew got up dramatically. “We can never be together!” He ran from Karine.
“Wait! My love! Why do you run from me?”
“Because you will not refuse your father’s name!”
“Oh,” Karine drawled, changing her body language completely. “I thought you were trying to run back in time to a point when your clothes were still in style.”
It was a pretty lame joke but her delivery sold it and everyone laughed. Andrew pretended to be physically wounded and he pulled an imaginary gun out of his pocket.
“You dare to insult me!” He fumed.
Karine shrieked and put her arms up.
“And freeze!” Mr. Weir yelled. “Planning on stealing the spotlight again this year, Karine?”
Karine beamed while staying frozen with her arms in the air.
Mr. Weir looked at the students and then settled on Cerise. “New girl, Cerise Lafrafra. Replace Andrew.”
A few kids giggled and Cerise stayed locked in her seat. Everyone was staring at her but Sarah gave her a warm smile. Cerise got out of her seat and climbed to the stage. She walked up to Andrew and he stood aside, actually winking at her when she took his position. Gross. He went to join the audience and she put out her arms the way he’d had them, as though she were pointing a gun at Karine. Mr. Weir shouted for them to continue and Cerise lowered her arms a bit and pretended to be dragged by a dog on a leash. It was the first thing that had come to her mind.
She looked up at Karine. “Oh Toto. We’re not in
anymore. Oh look! A scarecrow!” Kansas
Karine let her arms flop a bit. “Please help me down from here, little girl. The crows are attacking me.”
“Oh no!” Cerise unhooked Karine from her unseen perch and Karine flopped to the ground. “Are you alright?”
“I’m ok,” insisted Karine while Cerise helped her up. “Or at least I think I am but I’m not sure. You see, I don’t have a brain.”
Cerise didn’t even think about her response. She simply threw her hand on her hip, smirked at Karine and deadpanned “Yeah, I’ve noticed.”
It wasn’t clever, it was just the obvious joke but everyone laughed like it was completely hilarious and even Mr. Weir was chuckling.
“Looks like you’ve got some competition this year, Karine,” he smiled.
“Yeah!” agreed Andrew loudly. “Go Cherry! You da bomb!” He howled at his own jest. “Get it? Cherry bomb?”
Karine narrowed her eyes. “Yeah Andrew, we get it.” She raised an eyebrow at Cerise and it was like the eyebrow raise of death.
When the class ended Karine shot Cerise another glare as she walked out. How completely awesome that she’d managed to alienate one of the most popular girls in school. Why did her inner spazitude always have to come out when confronted with cool people? It was so unfair.
And things just got worse as the day went on. Her next class was P.E. and Shauna was there! She looked so stupid in her massive cargo shorts. They were so big they went down past her combat boots, which was just as well because it wasn’t a good idea for Shauna to show any leg. In grade 7 Shauna had shown up to school in shorts and her legs were like those of a mammoth, completely covered in bristly hair. Her subsequent humiliation when the popular girls had mocked her furriness had been traumatic enough that every girl in school had always shaved diligently from then on, including Cerise. She made sure to shave her legs once a week, every Sunday, even in the dead of winter, even though she always wore pants, even though her hair was thin and blonde and barely perceptible because there was no choice but to reveal one’s legs in the locker room and it was absolute social suicide to be a sasquatch. Cerise also kept close tabs on her armpits and bikini line even though she really wasn’t all that hairy because it was better to be safe than sorry.
Cerise made a mental note to check her harriness level again that night just to be extra sure because not only was Shauna in this class, so was Karine Cavalière. No one had changed into gym clothes today but in the locker room tomorrow, if Cerise had any flaws, Karine would probably point them out with neon signs and road flares.
Karine was standing in the gym with her boyfriend, Steven and they were with Andrew and Terry Trebichavsky and a short girl whom she could only assume was Christina Penna based on Sarah’s description of her and the way she clung to Terry. Another girl was with them, a curvy blonde with bad roots who seemed exceedingly bored with the teacher, Ms. Rosenbaum’s rant on proper footwear.
Sarah and her friends were also in the class and Cerise slowly inched towards them, away from Shauna.
Suddenly everyone was moving around, going to the back of the gym where they were picking up badminton rackets. Ms. Rosenbaum was telling everyone to pair up and start playing badminton. Shit, shit, shit! What was she supposed to do? Who could she pair up with? Shauna was already walking towards her, carrying two badminton rackets! Dear god, no! Cerise walked as fast as she could without looking desperate, towards Sarah who didn’t seem to have a partner yet. Her Green Girl friends were partnered with each other.
As soon as Cerise reached Sarah, Karine stepped in front of her and asked Sarah to be her partner. Sarah happily accepted and they walked off together but Cerise was fairly certain that Karine had looked back at her with an evil grin.
Absolutely everyone in the class had a partner. Steven was with Andrew, Christina was with the buxom blonde and Terry Trebichavsky was with some curly haired girl whose face was practically falling off she was smiling so hard. She was in Cerise’s Drama class. Her name was… Mona or Maria. No, Marla…. Marla O’Brien… no, not O’Brien but something else stereotypically Irish.
All the other kids also had partners and the only person left was Shauna who now stood in front of Cerise holding out one of the rackets. Cerise sighed and accepted it and they walked over to the only vacant spot, conveniently next to Sarah and Karine.
Just as Cerise could have predicted, Shauna was unable to serve and kept trying to hit the birdie without success. Cerise told her to stop, and that she’d serve. She did so well enough but Shauna swung too late and missed it completely. This went on a few more times as Shauna repeatedly failed to make contact of any kind. Shauna looked frustrated and embarrassed and for a moment Cerise felt sorry for her but then Karine activated her bitch switch.
“Not having much luck, eh Cherry?” Karine smirked while Sarah giggled.
God! Why did this always have to happen? Cerise always got stuck with Shauna and it always ruined everything! This was just like back at St-Thomas when she’d first gotten stuck with Shauna in gym class and some girl who wasn’t really all that popular had come over to them and loudly declared that they weren’t allowed to hang out with her. All the girls had laughed and this bold act had secured the girl’s place in the cool group. But no amount of avoidance or rudeness had helped Cerise separate herself from Shauna. From then on Shauna had been her shadow and everyone had hated them both.
And now it was all going to happen all over again. But Cerise wouldn’t allow it. No matter how hard it would be, she would have to make friends with the Green Girls, or maybe with Marla Something Irish and she would absolutely refuse to hang out with Shauna freaking Darren and her hairy legs of lameness.