Shauna stood in the large kitchen of her large house. Though no one would have known it from Shauna’s clothes or her lack of personal hygiene (she didn’t much like getting wet and so only showered a couple times a week), the Darren family was fairly well off. Their house was by the waterfront in Pointe-Claire, their backyard leading directly to the
. shore of Lac Saint-Louis
They’d remodelled recently and their kitchen was all copper cookware and granite countertops and cupboards made from some dark wood with a swirling grain. Her mother liked to call it her Tuscan kitchen and she obviously loved it more than she cared about her kids because they weren’t even allowed to use the microwave without permission.
Shauna stood over the counter next to the fridge eating leftover pizza, careful not to use a plate or cutlery because then she’d have to clean them. Even though they had an excellent dishwasher, her mother seemed to think it was important for dishes to be thoroughly rinsed before washing.
“Honestly, Shauna. For breakfast?”
Her mother ripped the pizza out of Shauna’s hands and dumped it into the trash. She handed Shauna a banana, ordering her to eat something healthy.
Shauna took the fruit and tried to leave but her mother caught her arm.
“Look at yourself, you’re getting fat,” she sighed.
“I have to go to school,” Shauna said quietly, trying to move away.
Her mother held fast. “Are you really going to wear that? Honestly, Shauna, you look like a boy. And a very sloppy boy at that.”
“I have to go.”
“I don’t know where you get this attitude from. I would never have been caught dead looking so ugly when I was your age. Don’t you even care how you look?”
Shauna shrugged and darted her eyes to the side while her mother lifted her chin and peered at her face, pushing her hair out of the way.
“When’s the last time you washed your hair? If you would just pull a comb through that rat’s nest once in a while and wear a little makeup you might look half-way decent. You’ll never get a boyfriend looking like this.”
Shauna shook herself free and walked away.
“Shauna! Don’t forget your lunch!” Her mother grabbed the brown paper bag and rushed after Shauna, pushing it into her hands.
She stuffed it into her school bag, a ratty looking thing covered in buttons for punk bands, which her mother also disapproved of. Evil harpy bitch.
“Aren’t you supposed to be in Economics?” Terry asked Karine, joining her at their smoking wall.
“Aren’t you?” Karine countered, passing Terry her cigarette, which he puffed on and passed back to her.
It was the end of September and finally cold enough for jackets, which Terry appreciated because he wasn’t a fan of summer humidity, though he acknowledged that the warmer seasons were better for female fashions.
“So I haven’t officially congratulated you yet,” he grinned.
“For what?” asked Karine as though she didn’t know.
“For dumping Captain Cornball. I guess you took our conversation to heart, eh?”
“I dunno. I guess I couldn’t see a real reason to stay with him. I feel bad though. I think I really hurt him.”
“Yeah, sucks for him. Rocks for me. So what you doing tonight?”
“Well you sure don’t waste any time.”
“So? What you doing tonight?”
Terry took the cigarette out of Karine’s lips and threw it to the ground. He cupped her face in his hands and pulled her towards him, kissing her gently. She kissed back eagerly, her tongue darting into his mouth. He responded in kind as her hands snaked under his jacket and up his back. Her lips were soft and warm and she tasted of tobacco and spearmint gum.
Suddenly she broke off the kiss and pushed him away. “Terry, we can’t.”
“Because I meant what I said yesterday. I wanna be alone for a while.”
“You were serious?”
“Gimme a break, Karine. You’re not the type that stays alone.”
“What does that mean?”
“You’re a party girl.”
Karine glared at him angrily.
“I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.”
“Terry,” she sighed. “We can’t get together.”
“Give me a real reason why not.”
“Are you serious?”
“You may not give a shit about her but she’s my best friend and I can’t do that to her. She’s like, obsessed with you.”
“And that’s my fault?”
“Well yeah! Partially anyway. I mean you did apologize to her. Now she thinks you like her again.”
“Fuck.” Terry leaned against the wall in annoyance. “See I knew I should just keep being mean. It’s the only way to get the message across.”
“So why’d you apolotext to her then?”
“I dunno. I felt bad I guess.”
“And I feel bad too. I’m not about to totally backstab her by going out with you.”
“But aren’t I worth it?” Terry smiled his most charming smile.
“Terry, you really need to get over yourself.” She laughed and tussled his hair.
“Hey, watch the hair!” He pushed her away playfully.
Cerise and Sarah sat down at one of the long faux-wood tables in the school library.
“So I’m pretty sure Weird isn’t gonna let us do it on Breaking Dawn. So I was thinking The Handmaiden’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Have you read it?” Sarah smiled.
“Yeah totally,” Cerise nodded. “That’s one of my favourite books!”
“Awesome! I was thinking we could do the debate like we’re two people from the book. One of us thinks that the regimented, repressed society is all good. And the other is all like, oh this society is crazy, it’s like bad.”
“Hey yeah, that could be cool,” Cerise happily agreed.
“Ok then! Do you wanna work on it this Saturday?”
Cerise wanted to say yes because this was the perfect opportunity to solidify a real friendship with Sarah but the guys were already giving her a hard time about her lack of dedication to the game.
“I kinda have plans this Saturday.”
“With Karl and them?”
“Those guys are such freaks.” Sarah crossed her arms and sat back in her chair.
“Yeah. I don’t know why they’re so mean to you. They’re just like, really hateful.”
“They’re jealous,” Sarah stated with certainty. “Karl thinks he’s like, the smartest person ever and he’s just threatened by me because I’m even smarter.”
“Yeah,” Cerise nodded.
“Guys can’t handle smart girls, so they just make life hell for them.”
“Just like in the book. It’s the women whose lives have to suck.”
“Yeah. Seriously. But Karl and them are mean to guys too.”
“Yeah well,” Sarah shrugged, a smile creeping onto her lips. “There’s also the possibility that they’re just jerks.”
Cerise giggled in agreement. She decided to ditch the boys on Saturday and told Sarah she’d meet up with her so they could work on their project.
Shauna stared into her locker, waiting for everyone to leave so she could eat lunch in peace.
Shauna jumped and turned to see Wendy peering at her, leaning on her own locker door.
“Do you wanna see my cat again?”
“No.” Shauna looked away.
“Why not? Don’t like pussy? Hah! Could’ve fooled me!”
Shauna’s eyes darted over to Wendy. She glared at her with as much menace as she could muster. “Whataya want?”
“The real question is what do you want?” Wendy smiled sweetly and lifted a pierced eyebrow.
“Well, you look kind of… how can I put this? Dead.”
“You look like you could use something,” Wendy went on.
“What do you mean?”
“What do you need?” Wendy stuck her hand in the pocket of her very long coat and lifted it up, waving the pocketed hand through the air.
“What do you have?” Shauna was beginning to catch on.
“How much you got?” Wendy took a step back and lowered her head, looking at Shauna appraisingly.
“Then I have whatever you want.”
It was the best offer Shauna had had in… forever.