The waitress had cleared the table but Terry and Karine stayed seated next to each other in the booth. Their next class would start in about ten minutes but neither of them made any motions to leave.
“You know she really likes you,” said Karine.
“No, Chrissy.” Karine rolled her eyes.
“Yeah well, can you blame her?” His eyes twinkled.
“I’m serious, Terry.”
“I know,” he sighed. “But she’s just so annoying. And she’s so boring. I just can’t stand her anymore.”
Karine balked at this paltry excuse and went on to explain that Christina had true feelings for Terry and that he’d really hurt her. Terry fidgeted with his hands and almost seemed remorseful for a moment but then he grinned and claimed that he couldn’t help it. He was an asshole after all.
Karine chuckled. “Yeah, no shit.”
“So you did say I’m an asshole? Erica wasn’t just making stuff up?”
“Yeah Terry,” Karine exclaimed. “You made Chrissy cry and I was comforting her, so yeah I called you an ass. Because you are one!”
“It’s part of my charm,” Terry smirked and leaned back in the booth, seemingly self-satisfied.
“Yeah, you’re just so fucking irresistible. No wonder all the girls love you.” Karine rolled her eyes.
“Even you?” Terry grinned.
“Oh of course,” Karine said sarcastically. “I can barely keep my hands to myself.”
“So dump what’s-his-face and hook up with me.”
Was he serious? Terry looked at Karine and smiled. It wasn’t his usual smirk, it was a real smile. His eyes looked hopeful. But she couldn’t take him seriously. Terry was a player, everyone knew it.
“Only in my wildest dreams, Romeo,” she laughed.
“No, but for real, Karine.” He touched her hand with his. “How come we never got together?”
Karine wasn’t sure how to respond. It seemed that he really was serious. But this was Terry, one of her best friends. They’d known each other since Sec 1.
“’Cause you’re an asshole, remember?” she said with a nervous smile.
“Is that really why?” he asked sincerely. “You seriously think I’m an asshole?”
He actually seemed hurt.
“No, Terry,” she squeezed his hand. “It’s the opposite. We’re friends! And uh, we actually like each other.”
“So you can only go out with someone you don’t like?”
“Exactly,” Karine giggled. “How else do you explain Steven?”
Terry guffawed. “Nice. How do you explain him?”
“Come on, he’s a good guy.”
“You can do better. Steve’s just a dork. I mean he plays rugby or whatever.”
Karine laughed. “What the fuck? You play hockey!”
“That’s completely different,” Terry insisted. “I don’t play for a school team.”
“Karine!” Terry seemed exasperated. “If the point I was trying to make made any sense at all then you’d understand what I’m trying to say.”
Karine laughed. “Which is?”
“That Steve is so one-dimensional he’s practically American! I mean come on. He’s totally bland and ordinary and you’re all intense and shit. And you know what? Like seriously, lately it seems like you don’t even like him that much.”
Could he really be so observant? It was true that she’d grown a bit bored of Steven recently but she wasn’t aware that her disinterest had been evident. Terry pressed her for reasons that she was staying with him and she finally admitted that it was partly because of Erica. Terry didn’t get it, but Karine explained that it was the one thing she had over Erica. She had a boyfriend and Erica didn’t. No matter how much shit Erica threw at her, she always had that trump card, the fact that she was in a long-term relationship.
“That’s retarded!” Terry scoffed. “First of all, you have plenty of stuff Erica doesn’t. For one thing, you’re hot and she’s like, a cow. And you have the ability to not be a complete bitch, like, constantly.”
“You know what I mean though. I need something I can rub in her face. Something I have that she’s never been able to get. She talks so much shit about not even wanting a boyfriend but I know she’s full of it. She’s not actually satisfied with being a one-night-stand club slut. She is so jealous of me and Steve. And I kinda need that you know?”
“Is it worth it?”
“Oh come on! You act like being with Steve is a fate worse than death. He’s a good guy, Terry. And uh, last time I checked you guys were friends so like, the hell?”
“Hey,” Terry shrugged. “It’s nothing against Steve. I’m just letting you know you have options.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” said Karine, actually meaning it.
Steven stood next to Terry’s car, unsure of what to do. He could start walking back to school, which would only take a million years. Or he could text Karine and insist she come outside. Or he could text Terry and ask if he was ready to go. Or he could go back into the restaurant and tell them that they were late for class. Or he could just die of embarrassment right then and there. Christ, Karine could be such a bitch sometimes! It was one thing when she ditched out on him to hang out with the girls but to tell him to fuck off so she could hang with Terry? What the fucking hell?
Just when he’d decided to walk back to school, Karine and Terry emerged from the diner. He wanted to be angry with her but wasn’t sure if she was angry with him. It was true that he hadn’t defended her from Erica’s attack. Steven spent enough time with Karine to know that she wasn’t actually anorexic or whatever, so Erica’s comments had been pretty unwarranted. But where did Terry get off playing the white knight? Karine didn’t need defending and Terry needed to mind his own business.
Fortunately Steven didn’t need to say anything because Karine walked right up to him and kissed him. They climbed into Terry’s car and drove back to school.
Karl was grinning from ear to ear so Sarah was immediately suspicious. Madame Roptin’s class was organized alphabetically so William Watts, Karl Weber and Sarah Wong were seated one next to the other in the back row.
William was reading something in a black duo-tang and she could see that Jason Harris and Vani Ameeriar also had duo-tangs. They’d been reading them outside of student union at lunch when Karl had freaked out and ordered them to abort. Something was definitely up.
Vani was looking back at Willy and making some sort of hand signal, which prompted Willy to laugh. Madame Roptin asked him if he had a problem and he said no in English. Madame Roptin told him to answer in French but he just snickered and so did Vani, Jay and Karl. Cerise put up her hand and Madame Roptin called on her.
“J’ai soif,” she said.
Karl was obviously suppressing laughter and so were his friends.
“Il y a quelque chose de drôle?” asked Madame Roptin.
“No, nothing’s funny,” Karl responded.
“En Français!” Madame Roptin ordered.
Karl and his friends all laughed and Cerise once again asked if she could go get a drink of water. Madame Roptin let her go and when she left she was grinning like a cat who’d just caught a mouse.
By now most of the class was laughing even though most of them probably didn’t know what the joke was. But Sarah was smart enough to catch on. They were baiting Madame Roptin and speaking in English was part of it. Knowing Karl it was probably a competitive game of some sort, like whoever could make Roptin quit her job would win or something. Sounded like a fun game actually.
Karine went out to the smoking wall after school, though she knew to be cautious about it. Sure enough Erica still had her bitch on.
“Oh hi Karine,” she snarled. “I see you’ve managed to tear yourself away from your BFF, Terry.”
“Gimme a break, Erica. You can dish it but you can’t take it?”
“Fuck off, bitch, we’re trying to have a conversation.”
Christina shrugged apologetically while Erica shot Karine death glares.
“Whatever,” Karine casually lit a cigarette. “Like he even meant it. He just had a bug up his ass or something. It was like, issues much?”
“Hmm,” Erica hummed condescendingly. “What are his issues, Karine? ‘Cause you spent enough time with him today. I mean, maybe you should go find him now ‘cause we’re a little busy.”
“God, whatevs!” Karine exclaimed. “It was just Terry being Terry. You were right, he’s an ass. That’s not news.”
“Seriously, Karine! Just fuck off! We’re busy!” snarled Erica, turning her back on Karine.
This sucked. Karine knew Erica well enough to realize that she wasn’t going to get over this easily. Karine had to do something. “I mean Chrissy’s the one who still likes him,” she said, trying not to feel bad for dragging poor Chrissy into this.
“Well,” Christina began but was cut off by Erica.
“And yet she’s not the one who took a spaz.”
“She made a fucking Terry doll!” Karine said desperately.
Christina looked horrified but finally Erica looked at Karine with interest.
“She made a voodoo doll of Terry! Show her, Chrissy!”
Looking panicked, Christina defended herself, insisting she’d just done it as a joke. Erica kept pressing and finally Chrissy pulled the doll out of her bag. Erica grabbed it and immediately howled with laughter.
“Oh my god! Oh my fucking god! You are so on crack! You are so out of it. I knew it! I knew you weren’t over him. Oh my god! You fucking loser!”
Once again Christina looked like she might cry. Terry was right, her oversensitivity really was kind of annoying. It wasn’t Karine’s fault she was being mocked by Erica. Chrissy really just needed to stop being such a dork.
“Oh my god, Chrissy!” Erica snorted. “This is too fucking funny! God, you’re so lame! Oh my god, I have to show Andrew and everyone!”
“No!” Chrissy yelled, startling both Karine and Erica. “It was just a stupid joke!” She snatched the doll away from Erica and stomped off in a rage.
Erica kept laughing about how Chrissy was retarded and Karine joined in, pushing down any guilt she might have felt for deflecting Erica’s bitchiness towards Christina.
Andrew’s laughter could be heard ringing through the hallway. He joined Terry at his locker, with Steven not far behind.
“Erica was so pissed. The whole drive back to school she couldn’t shut up about it. She was all like, where does Terry get off? It was so classic. You totally ripped her a new one. She hates you now!”
“Whatever,” Terry rolled his eyes. “Who gives a shit about Erica? She’s so nothing.”
Steven narrowed his eyes at Terry. “Sounds like you think all chicks are nothing. Is anyone something?”
“I’ll keep you posted,” Terry promised with a sly grin.
Cerise laughed along with the boys. They all walked out of the school together, declaring today’s French class to be the best ever. Karl even awarded Cerise the winner for the day, as she had racked up the most points. And Willy had also done surprisingly well. They all decided they should add more things to the list, like when Rotten said y-a t’il un problème, since she seemed to say it fairly often. Willy pointed out that she said it mostly to him and he was still fairly sure that she had it out for him specifically. He always seemed to get in trouble the most, even when others were the instigators. Karl agreed and thought they should be able to rack up points if they managed to get Willy in trouble.
“We should be writing this stuff down,” Karl declared.
“Ok, let’s go to my house to work on it,” Jay suggested.
They all agreed and started walking towards the overpass. Cerise walked behind them, unsure of whether or not she was meant to follow.
“Cerise, you coming?” asked Jay.
Cerise smiled and caught up to them.