Karine waited by Christina’s desk in Economics. When Chrissy came in she ignored Karine and sat down with her back turned to her.
“Chrissy, can we talk?”
“I’m busy,” said Christina while examining her cell phone.
“Look, I didn’t mean to tell Erica about the Terry doll. I mean, I knew she’d get her bitch on. But I just sort of freaked. She was all on me and I like, I was like…”
“Whatever. It’s ok,” Christina sighed, still scrolling through her cell.
“She never would have let me forget it. I mean, it’s not my fault Terry was all bitching her out. But she totally takes it out on me because she knows Terry doesn’t give a shit!”
Christina snapped her phone shut. “So why did you side with him if you knew she’d give you shit?”
“I didn’t side with him, he was siding with me! Terry’s right about Erica, she’s a fucking fat-ass bitch and she needs to shut the fuck up! But don’t tell her I said that.”
“I know, she’s so mean,” Christina finally looked at Karine. “And I’m so sick of her always wearing leggings. I mean, it’s like every day.”
“I know!” Karine agreed. “It’s like, does she think she’s Lindsay Lohan?”
“She wishes. LiLo would never let herself get that fat.”
“God, totally! She’s like two pounds away from being Rosie O’Donnell.”
“I know.” Christina twirled a strand of hair in her fingers. “So uh, what did Terry say once we left?”
“Well, you know,” Karine considered which way she wanted to play this. “He talked about you for a bit.”
“Really?” Christina perked up.
“Yeah. Actually, he was like, disappointed that you didn’t side with him.”
“Oh my god! I should have stayed!”
“Oh my god, Karine! Do you think I might still have a chance with him?”
Karine didn’t know what to say. The answer was obviously no but Chrissy looked so happy, she couldn’t dash her dreams all over again.
“I don’t know,” Karine shrugged. “But I mean maybe. Like, maybe not, but you know. Maybe.”
“Hey Cerise, going on safari?”
Cerise looked down at her shirt. It was khaki and had four pockets on the front, along with a belt.
“Like I’m gonna take fashion advice from Mr. Grey shirt and brown cords.” Cerise narrowed her eyes at Jay in mock annoyance.
Jay insisted that his outfit was the height of fashion, or at least his mom had told him so when she’d picked out his clothes that morning. Cerise giggled as Vani and Karl joined them in Enriched Math.
“So there’s a Planet of the Apes marathon playing this Saturday,” said Jay.
“You damn dirty ape!” Cerise scowled and shook her fist.
“We were thinking we’d make a day of it. You know, get together, drink the blood of the innocent. Flog ourselves for drinking the blood of the innocent. A little more blood, a little more flogging. And you know, watching the marathon in there somewhere too. We could all go to my place.”
“Don’t we have to game?” wondered Cerise.
Karl congratulated Cerise on her dedication and informed her that there would be plenty of time to game during the commercials and also during the movies, since they all sucked hardcore, just like everything else from the ‘70s and the remake sucked even harder. Nevertheless they would convene at Jay’s house on Saturday morning and at least attempt to view the marathon, since wilfully engaging in painful activities is what separates men from monkeys and proves that they are the superior species.
“Speaking of pain,” Karl went on. “If we’re going to be subjecting ourselves to slow-paced movies featuring Charlton Heston, maybe we should try to lessen the agony by making sure Willy isn’t present.”
“What do you mean?” Cerise wondered.
“I’m getting so sick of him,” Karl complained.
“He’s not so bad,” said Jay. “I mean besides the odour.”
“He’s pain,” Vani sided with Karl.
“You guys don’t like Willy anymore?”
“Anymore?” Karl said. “Like we ever did. Surely you’ve noticed how… he is.”
“Like how he exists to a high degree,” Vani tried to clarify.
“He’s like, always around.”
“We’re all always around,” Jay pointed out.
“But Willy takes up more space than anyone else,” Vani noted while puffing out his cheeks.
Cerise accused them of being mean but Vani defended his position by noting that he was nearly failing English because his assignments kept getting swallowed up by Willy’s massive ass crack, a black-hole like crevice in a celestial body that NASA had recently declared to be a dangerous asteroid.
“You guys! How can you be so mean?” Cerise fought back her laughter.
“Since when is honesty mean?” Karl crossed his arms smugly.
“Meanosity is necessary. It keeps us sane,” said Vani. “We’re supposed to put up with him and not vent every once in a while?”
“But this is my point,” said Karl. “Why put up with him at all?”
“We need him around,” insisted Jay. “If he wasn’t around, who would we hate?”
“You!” Karl and Vani high-fived each other.
“Hilarious,” sulked Jay.
“Funny ‘cause it’s true,” said Vani. “We do need someone to hate.”
“Why do you need someone to hate?” asked Cerise.
“Everyone needs a little hate in their lives,” explained Karl. “It keeps you balanced and gives your life meaning. A hateless life is like a potato without a peel.”
Cerise stared at Karl dubiously.
Karl went on. “Potatoes are a tasty treat and good for fighting famine but all the nutrients are in the skin. Hate is the fibre of life.”
“Karl, I assume you realize I have no idea what you’re talking about,” Cerise said. “But my question to you is this: do you even know what you’re talking about?”
“If you peel the potato, all you can do is boil it. Wouldn’t you rather have a baked potato, Cerise? Think about it.”
Terry walked into Economics after the bell had rung but Mrs. Kotner was cool and she never gave him a hard time about it. She always took a while to gather her shit together so everyone always spent the first ten minutes of class goofing around.
As soon as Terry sat down, Christina and Karine joined him. Chrissy was smiling shyly and Karine was looking hot as usual. She had her striped blue tank top on, the one that always rode up and exposed her abdomen. Her skin was smooth and tanned and her pierced navel was like a little button just waiting to be kissed.
“Hey Terry,” Chrissy smiled.
“Hey,” he responded neutrally.
Chrissy started saying something but Karine interrupted to talk about her new jeans or whatever and then Erica walked in behind some gross, oily chick.
Shauna rushed into class and stumbled on her way to her desk. That cuntnugget, Erica Mackey walked past her while holding her nose.
“God, someone needs the urge to herbal. Grease is meant to be used in a car. Not on your hair. Fucking skank.”
Everyone nearby laughed and Shauna hoped Erica Mackey would get cancer and all her hair would fall out and everyone would laugh at her ugly, hairless corpse at her funeral except no one would even go to the funeral ‘cause they all hated her so much ‘cause she was a fucking cuntnugget whore.
“I can’t believe they even let people like her into the building. I mean the rest of us might catch something.” Erica joined Terry, Chrissy and Karine.
Karine and Chrissy agreed that the oily chick was indeed disgusting and they hoped her disease wasn’t contagious.
“Yeah, that would suck,” Terry smirked. “I mean there’s already a case of bitch going around.”
Erica gave Terry her meanest look but Terry didn’t care. He winked at her in response and she flipped her hair at him as though telling him to fuck off. Whatever, she’d get over herself soon enough and if she didn’t then so much the better. All he had to do was convince the others to stop hanging out with her and they’d be set. She could take Steven with her too if she wanted.
Mrs. Kotner finally got things going but she was talking about some sort of boring financial thing so Terry went back to examining Karine. She sat diagonally from him so he had a good view of her back. It was hot today and she kept lifting her hair off her neck and twisting it into a ponytail but she didn’t have an elastic so she’d let it drop down and then comb it out with her fingers.
Chrissy sat next to Karine and she was gathering up her hair as well. She actually had an elastic so she pulled her hair into a ponytail and then smoothed back a few stray strands. She did have nice hair, he had to give her that. And she had a nice neck. And nice shoulders. And nice everything else too. She was basically made of nice.
He really had been unnecessarily mean to her. He could have let her down easy or just straight up explained that he didn’t want to go out with her anymore. He didn’t need to be such an ass about it. He shouldn’t have invited her over just to fuck her and then treated her like shit the next day. That was the kind of dick move his father might pull and Terry had no intention of ending up like his father.
Terry was pretty sure his dad was having an affair. John was always coming home late and taking a lot of mysterious phone calls, just like when he’d started cheating on Terry’s mom. Terry couldn’t imagine why John would want to cheat on Vicky since she was so completely awesome but there it was.
Terry pulled out his cell phone and started texting Christina.
sorry iv bin so mean 2 u lately. i just
didnt no how 2 break up w/ u w/out
being an ass. Sorry. Still friends?
Chrissy jumped slightly, obviously reacting to the vibration in her pocket. She pulled out her phone and flipped it open. She turned around and flashed Terry a huge smile, nodding happily. He smiled back.
The fishbowl was a room across from the head office. Its walls were made of glass but they were covered in posters and announcements so it wasn’t quite as easy to see into the room as the name might suggest. It was the student lounge and it contained some very old, decrepit furniture along with a few vending machines and for some reason, a ping-pong table.
Karine usually spent her free periods in the fishbowl, after going outside for a smoke. Christina entered the room excitedly and rushed to Karine’s side.
“Terry texted me to apologize for being so mean!”
“Wasn’t that sweet of him? What do you think I should do?”
“I dunno,” Karine sighed. “I really don’t know what to do about Terry. He’s like…”
“So cute.” Chrissy sank down into the couch that desperately needed to be reupholstered, and repadded, and thrown out.
“Yeah,” nodded Karine.
“Do you think he still likes me?”
“I dunno, Chrissy. Who knows who he likes? It’s so hard to tell with him. I mean he might be liking someone else by now. And I mean, even if he is liking someone else, how long is that gonna last? Is he gonna keep liking them or just ditch them after two seconds?”
“You think he’s into someone else?” Chrissy looked mildly alarmed, though not really surprised.
“I don’t know Chrissy. I really, really, really don’t know.”
Both Karine and Christina sighed and slumped down in their thoroughly uncomfortable seats.
Karine thought long and hard about the situation, just as she had been doing every day since Terry had asked her out. Or had he only asked to hook up? Maybe she could just fool around with him behind Steven’s back and that way she wouldn’t lose anything. And then if Terry decided he wanted to actually be in a relationship she could ditch Steve at that point. For sure Terry would be good in bed. Everyone he’d been with had good things to say about his technique.
The first time Karine did it with Steven it was awkward and weird. They were both fifteen-year-old virgins and while Steven had probably wanted to do the deed in order to catch up with Andrew and Terry’s sexploits, Karine had wanted to do it just to get it over with. She knew she’d have to do it eventually and Steven was the perfect candidate because he was kind and sweet and gentle and really cared about her. He’d even told her he loved her. She’d said it back even though she wasn’t sure she meant it. She was almost positive she didn’t mean it, but she liked him a lot and that was good enough.
They had been in her room on one of the nights that Steven told his parents he was sleeping at Andrew’s house. As usual, Karine’s mother was away on a trip. It wasn’t spontaneous; they’d booked the date well in advance. They’d fooled around before so it wasn’t like sexual acts were new to them, but going all the way was an important step. Steven had purchased condoms at the pharmacy, choosing a brand recommended by Terry and Andrew.
Steven had been on top and he’d used his hand to get his penis into position. He pushed himself in very suddenly and Karine had gasped from the pain. Steven had pulled out immediately, horrified that he’d hurt her but she’d insisted she was fine. She’d helped him get back into position and after a few thrusts it was over. He’d rolled over and they both stared at the ceiling for a long while until finally he apologized for the quickness of the event. Karine had laughed and at first Steven was insulted and embarrassed but finally she’d convinced him that it was ok. In truth it was pretty hilarious. Sex was built up to be this huge thing but in reality it was totally boring and lame.
Fortunately things gradually got better until they eventually found their groove and Karine actually began enjoying it. She’d started taking the pill and losing the condoms helped matters a lot. She preferred the sensation of skin on skin. And Steven’s abilities improved as well. He learned to last longer and to delay his own gratification by pleasing Karine first with his tongue. Now they’d been together long enough that they knew each other’s bodies and desires as well as their own. Steven was able to satisfy Karine every time.
Still though, she had to wonder why she stayed with him. He was so dull. He was super nice to her and always willing to help out with the house stuff, in fact he pretty much did whatever she wanted, but god, all he ever talked about was sports and his stupid, perfect family.
Terry was much more interesting. Terry liked sports too but at least he had other interests, like playing pool and bitching about his dad. He even seemed to enjoy clubbing with the girls; he wasn’t embarrassed to dance and he was tall and strong and had nice hair and pretty eyes and his shoulders were broad and he always listened to Karine no matter how many times she reiterated the same complaints about her missing mother and the stupid upstairs faucet that always leaked.
But Terry was a player and Christina was totally in love with him. She couldn’t steal the guy her best friend was obsessed with. Besides, autumn was on the way and she’d need Steve’s help raking the leaves.
It was after dinner and Jay was out on his driveway shooting baskets. Or at least trying to. He wasn’t very good but that somehow made him even cuter and more endearing. Julie was about to take out the trash but Cerise intercepted her and said she’d do it. Julie shrugged indifferently and Cerise dragged the garbage out to the curb.
“Hey!” Jay called to her.
She casually waved back and then walked over to him. “Whatcha doin’?”
“Building a boat,” he smiled while twirling the basketball in his hands.
“Ok, stupid question,” she admitted.
“No really,” he went on. “My plan is to toss around the ball until it grows exponentially, eventually becoming a floatation device, much like Data in Insurrection. The only problem is how do I stop the growth once it’s started? I’m still working out the kinks.”
Cerise wished him good luck with his plan and he asked her if she wanted to play. She claimed not to be any good at basketball and he admitted he wasn’t either. He demonstrated by throwing the ball at the basket nailed to the roof of his garage. The ball missed by a lot and bounced to the ground.
“See? But I live in eternal hope. One day I will be a real boy.”
Cerise laughed and picked up the ball. She threw it and also missed. They took turns shooting and neither one of them managed to make a basket.
“We suck!” Cerise declared.
“You suck worse than me.”
“Don’t kid yourself,” Cerise snarked. “You exhibit a pretty high degree of suck.”
“At least when I miss I do it with style.”
“You call that style?”
Cerise threw the ball at Jay and he caught it. He threw it back at her and she dodged out of the way.
“At least I can catch!” Jay laughed.
“At least I can hit!”
Cerise grabbed the ball and ran over to Jay, hitting him with it and then running off with the ball. He chased after her, both of them laughing. When he caught her he wrapped his arms around her and lifted her up while she shrieked. A surge of heat swelled up in her chest when he touched her and she dropped the ball. He let her down, reaching for the ball. She ran to her house and lifted her hands up just as he was about to throw the ball in her direction.
“There’s a forcefield!” she
d, her heart beating quickly, more from his touch than the exercise. gaspe
Jay stopped in his tracks and dropped the ball. He stuck out a finger and then drew back as though shocked.
“Damn you,” he fumed, shaking his fists.
Cerise ran back to her house and waved at him from her door.
“Goodnight m’lady.” Jay bowed, his right arm outstretched. “May your dreams be full of mirth and merriment… and marshmallow cream pies.”
Cerise giggled as she entered her house and rushed up to her room to collapse on the bed. Jay had totally touched her and it had been awesome. It was so weird how sometimes life didn’t suck.