Cerise looked at herself in the mirror as she got dressed for school on Tuesday morning. Was she ugly? Was that it? Was that why Jay and the boys always avoided her after school? She ate with them at lunch and went on the run with them but they never wanted to hang outside of school. Cerise wasn’t making any progress with the Green Girls either. She’d managed to pair up with Marla Fitzpatrick during gym on Thursday but Friday she’d been stuck with Shauna again. Maybe she was doomed to be alone for the rest of her life. She’d never have any real friends and she’d certainly never have a boyfriend. The whole world was made of suck.
Christina glided to school on a cloud of self-contentment. She joined Karine and Erica and announced that she and Terry were finally back on track. Ignoring her friends’ disbelieving glances she went on to explain how they’d had an awesome and romantic weekend of babysitting his little sister. Erica couldn’t understand how dealing with baby barf was romantic but Christina explained that it was as though they were married or something.
Erica gagged audibly. “Oh my god! That is just so wrong on so many levels. That isn’t romance. That’s just sick.”
Karine couldn’t help but agree but Christina insisted that she and Terry had really connected.
“You still think you’re in love with him?” asked Karine doubtfully.
“Oh my god! So much!”
Erica shook her head in exasperation. “Ok, listen Chrissy. Terry may be like, way hot and I’m sure he’s like, you know, a really good lay. But come on. He’s not the type of guy you fall for.”
“Because he will never fall for you.”
Though no official statistics are available on the subject, were one to poll West Island students on the efficacy of French teachers in English schools one would no doubt discover that they are generally believed to be completely useless pieces of shit. So it was hardly a surprise that while William Watts was delivering his oral presentation on his favourite Québecois singer, Madame Roptin had fallen asleep.
“Daniel Bélanger a fait beaucoup de chanson. Il chante très bien. It est très populaire dans Québec. Mais le reste du monde ne le connait pas parce-que il n’est pas aussi beau que Eric Lapointe. ”
Madame Roptin actually started to snore. The students tried very hard not to laugh. They didn’t want to wake her.
Willy went on with his presentation. “Et en conclusion je dois dire que Madame Roptin est très laide et stupide and she wears enough makeup to cover all the Francos in
Now the class couldn’t help but laugh. Vani even started clapping, which prompted the rest of the Enriched French students to applaud as well. It was a shining moment for Willy. Not only were the boys clapping but Cerise and Sarah and even Karine Cavalière were going along with it. Madame Roptin woke with a start and blinked at Willy in confusion. She told him he’d done well and then asked Jonah Cupryk to give his presentation, which was on Céline Dion, a fact that elicited annoyed groans from the class.
Running on the high from the earlier applause, Willy announced that Jojo’s choice was lame so Madame Roptin chided him for his rudeness, declaring that the class had been courteous enough to listen to his speech and he should do the same for others. The hypocrisy of Roptin’s scolding was too much for Willy to bear and he asked her if she was serious but did so in English. She told him to repeat the question in French, which he did, but as was typical when he was forced to think in French, he stuttered over his words. The class laughed but now they were laughing at him, which wasn’t exactly unusual but it was unfair since it was all Roptin’s fault, that stupid bitch and Jojo’s fault, that little prick. Willy would need to remember to stuff him in a locker or something later on.
Cerise now felt comfortable enough with the boys to sit with them at lunch without hesitation. They always seemed pleased enough to see her, or at least they didn’t seem entirely displeased, although she had noticed that sometimes their conversations abruptly stopped when she came along. Today that wasn’t the case. As she took her seat, Willy continued his rant against Madame Roptin, declaring her to be a harpy bitch and insisting they begin calling her Madame Rotten.
Karl rolled his eyes. “People have been calling her Madame Rotten since the 20th century, Willy. Try to keep up.”
“She’s evil. Pure evil. I swear she has it in for me,” Willy pouted.
“Don’t we all?” Jay grinned.
“I certainly do,” Karl agreed. “Willy, do you suppose Rotten’s disdain for you could have anything to do with the fact that your French sucks? What are you doing in Enriched French anyway?”
“I don’t know!” Willy admitted but he went on to say that his French language skills or lack thereof didn’t excuse Rotten’s inability to stay awake during his presentation.
“Willy, no offence but your presentation sucked,” said Cerise. “It was about how Daniel Bélanger isn’t as good looking as Eric Lapointe. I mean what the hell?”
“Yeah really,” said Vani. “You got a thing for Eric Lapointe or something?”
Willy scowled and tried to get the conversation back on topic but now Karl was declaring that Willy had always been a bit queer as folk.
Cerise interrupted before Vani and Jay could give more examples of Willy’s queerness by pointing out that his oral had no relation to the assignment.
“Yes it did! We were just supposed to talk about a singer, right?”
“All we had to do was identify the theme of one of their songs,” explained Cerise. “And we were supposed to bring in a CD of that song and then listen to it.”
“Didn’t you notice how everyone else had a CD?”
“Which is so stupid!” Karl barked. “Why couldn’t we just play the songs on our ipods? I had to waste an entire disk just to burn one song? Retardovision!”
“Whatever!” Willy whined. “Rotten fell asleep during my thing. I mean, hello! That’s messed up, right?”
“Willy’s got a point.” Jay nodded. “Or should I say he’s got an Eric Lapointe. And now he’s got a pointe in his pants for Eric’s pointe…”
“Ok,” Cerise sighed. “We get it. Very clever.”
“No wait, I did have a point,” Jay insisted. “I mean, not a pointe point but a real um, point. Why should we put any effort into our assignments if Rotten’s not even gonna pay attention? That’s just retardovision. I mean, she prob’ly just grades based on who she likes.”
“In which case only Sarah Wong will pass,” mused Karl.
“Seriously, how can she grade me if she fell asleep?” Willy sulked. “Rotten needs a beating big time.”
Vani rested his chin on his hand and nodded seriously. “Despite your lack of personal hygiene, Wilhemina, you do speak the truth. Rotten must be punished. But how?”
“Leave it to me,” Karl smiled devilishly.
At Terry’s insistence he and Andrew moved their picnic table so it would be partially covered by the shade of a tree. He knew Karine liked to sit in the sun, so he angled the table in such a way that half of it was exposed to the light, while the other half was in the shade. Once he was satisfied with the table’s placement, he sat on the bench with his back to the table and reclined lazily. The others joined him, Karine perching on top of the table with her legs over Steven’s shoulders. Andrew sat across from Terry and Erica was next to him, half in the sun, half in the shade. Christina climbed onto the table and sat next to Karine, her legs dangling down at Terry’s side.
Chrissy was in a skirt again today. She wore skirts a lot, probably aware of what nice legs she had. But Terry wouldn’t be tempted to touch them. He closed his eyes and tried not to think about Chrissy’s body.
Erica lit a cigarette and covered her eyes dramatically, announcing that she was about to go blind. “And I’m not even kidding. Having to look at these losers is hazardous to my health.”
“No one’s forcing you to look,” sighed Terry, leaning his head back and wondering if he could find a comfortable position in which to take a nap.
“How can you not? It’s like a car accident. You can’t look away, it’s just too horrible.”
“I dunno,” shrugged Andrew. “There’s some eye candy ‘round here.”
“Uh, doubtful,” Erica scoffed.
“Check out the chick in the pink tank top. She’s got possibilities.”
“Eww, like even.” Erica scrunched up her nose in disgust. “Can you say skank?”
“Exactly,” grinned Andrew.
Steven and Terry chuckled and Karine playfully shoved Steve’s head.
“Um, eww,” said Christina. “You shouldn’t dress like that if you’re going to school. She looks like she’s going to the VMAs.”
Terry scanned the lawn for the pink-tank-top girl and then peered at Chrissy. “She doesn’t look any different from you,” he said.
Everyone laughed except Chrissy. She was probably hurt but Terry refused to look at her face. Instead he grabbed the apple Karine had neglected to eat and took a big bite.
“Yeah!” laughed Andrew. “I’m all over that shit. I say we go pick up.”
“Nah, she’s not my type,” said Terry, finishing off the apple in three bites and throwing it inside the nearby garbage can.
Andrew hopped off the picnic table and walked towards the pink girl. “Hey bitch!”
“What do you think he has planned?” Cerise asked Jay as they entered Enriched English.
“Knowing Karl it probably involves a flow chart of some kind.”
Jay looked as though he was going to say more but then he spotted Karine Cavalière sitting at her desk and playing with her cell phone. He gazed at her in transparent admiration and walked by her desk even though it was completely unnecessary to go that route to get to his seat. But he got what was coming to him when he stumbled over a nearby chair. Karine looked up and snickered as he sheepishly lowered himself into his seat. Before going back to her cell phone Karine made eye-contact with Cerise and shot her a dirty look. God, what was her damage?
Christina approached Terry tentatively. She’d been all around the school grounds looking for him. She knew he had a free period and would most likely be outside smoking. Finally she found him sitting under a tree near the soccer field.
Terry sighed and barely looked up. “Do you like, want something?”
“No. I mean yeah. I guess.”
Christina tried to smile flirtatiously and she flicked her long, dark hair over her shoulder. She stood above Terry, lifting the heel of her right foot and digging the toe of her sandal into the ground, knowing this would give Terry an attractive view of her leg. He just stared at her like she was made of fug. She lifted an eyebrow suggestively and tried to grin even more flirtatiously.
“Are you like, gonna puke or something?” wondered Terry.
“No.” Christina’s shoulder’s slumped.
“Listen. I didn’t come out here to be bugged. I want to be alone. Why are you like, following me all the time?”
“I’m not following you.”
“So go away then.”
“Terry, I thought we had fun this weekend.”
“Yeah well, so what?” Terry shrugged.
“So like… you know.”
Terry puffed on his cigarette and looked away.
“Do you wanna…” Christina went on.
“No, I don’t wanna.”
“I just thought…”
“You really shouldn’t you know. I mean think. It doesn’t suit you.”
Terry stood up and flicked away his cigarette. He walked away but Christina followed.
“What?” Terry asked angrily.
“Well, like… are we still, you know?”
“Still?” Terry looked incredulous. “Gimme a break, Chrissy. We never were.”