It was Friday morning and Cerise stood outside the front office while Sarah was inside presenting the petition to Principle Lewis. If the petition worked then this would officially be the best day ever. And if she did well at her audition this afternoon it would be the bestest best day ever. And if she got a good role it would be even better. What could possibly make this day more exciting or significant?
Cerise got her answer when Terry sidled up to her and casually leaned on the wall she stood next to.
“Hey,” he said, half smiling, his long lashes slowly sweeping up and down as he blinked lazily.
“Hi,” she smiled shyly.
“You look nice,” he remarked.
Cerise looked down at her outfit. It was pretty standard. Jeans and a hoodie over one of her military style shirts.
“Uh, thanks,” she said, looking up at him.
“You guys giving in that petition?”
“Yeah! Sarah’s in there now!”
“I know! I’m so excited. I hope this works.”
“Well even if it doesn’t, it was still cool what you did in gym. It was pretty intense. Not a lot of people would have the guts to do that.”
Cerise smiled and thanked Terry. She could feel butterflies in her stomach and wished she wasn’t such a sap as to be so sucked in by his velvety voice. She wanted to remember what a jerk he’d been on Halloween but the way he was looking at her right now made her melt. And he seemed pretty genuine with his compliments. He really did think she was cool. And he was undeniably cool. And to have such a cool guy think she was cool made her cool so she certainly wasn’t going to discourage him from thinking it.
“So I was thinking,” he went on. “We should do something this weekend.”
“Oh?” asked Cerise, trying to suppress the excited lurch in her gut.
“We should just like, hang out you know? Like just us two.”
“Just us?” Cerise couldn’t help but smirk. “Like without your friends?”
“Yeah. I mean I’m sorry about Halloween. It sucked, I know. But I mean, we could try again, just us two.”
That was officially an apology so she was officially not a sap for giving in to him. “Well ok I guess. I mean, you know. Yeah. Ok.”
Terry smiled and then placed his hand on her hip. He leaned in towards her and kissed her with his soft lips. She closed her eyes, touched her hands to his chest and kissed him in return. His body pressed into hers and his tongue parted her lips, gently pushing into her mouth and flicking against her own tongue. He tasted minty. As she raised her hands up to his shoulders, her shirt rode up and his hands stroked the skin at her waist. God, it was incredible! Cerise was tingly all over and she felt a pleasant wetness develop between her legs.
“Um, hey you guys,” said Sarah’s voice suddenly.
Cerise pulled away from Terry but he stayed close to her. They turned to look at Sarah and Terry put his arm around Cerise’s waist, as though he was totally her boyfriend. Sarah had a gigantic grin on her face.
“So how’d it go?” asked Cerise.
“Oh my god, Cerise! Oh my god!”
“It worked! It totally worked!”
“I knew it! Oh my god!”
“Awesome!” exclaimed Terry and Cerise could feel him squeezing her hip either in excitement or perhaps in congratulations.
“He didn’t even care! I barely even had to show him the petition! I mean, all I had to do was ask pretty much.”
“God, you are like, so loved,” laughed Cerise.
“Oh please,” Sarah shrugged bashfully.
“It’s true!” insisted Cerise. “I mean, if I had asked…”
“If I had asked,” Terry drawled.
Both Sarah and Cerise giggled appreciatively.
“So we don’t have to square dance,” announced Sarah. “And none of us fail gym either!”
“Well, that’s one class I won’t fail,” Terry deadpanned and the girls giggled again.
Cerise and Sarah spent the first few minutes of French class discussing how awesome life was. Not only did they get out of square dancing, but Terry had totally just kissed Cerise in the middle of the hallway for everyone to see and he had asked her to hang out this weekend and even though she didn’t know what they would be doing, it would probably be awesome since it would just be the two of them, which was like an actual date, which meant Cerise was just one step away from officially being his girlfriend.
“So it’s upon us, the war against the machines,” said Karl, eavesdropping as ever.
“I’m not sure the lack of square dancing qualifies as the first step towards the war against Skynet,” mused Sarah.
Karl smiled, probably appreciating the fact that Sarah had recognized his Terminator reference. “Well I’ll admit it, Sarah. Being a joiner came through for us. I guess you’re not that useless after all.”
“You’re such an ass,” she sneered.
Cerise went to her desk, the better to let those two argue in peace. When Madame Rotten started the class it was Sarah who was the first to put her hand up and say she was thirsty.
Karine was pouting at herself in her locker mirror. Terry slunk up to her and grabbed her from behind, lifting her up excitedly. She squeeled in amusement and ordered him to put her down. He did so while laughing.
“What are you so happy about?” she laughed.
“The petition worked!”
“Really? That’s awesome!”
“Yeah! It’s so cool! Cerise really came through.”
“Yeah, I guess she’s not that pathetic,” she smirked.
Terry rolled his eyes and told Karine to get over herself.
“Anyway, I’m so excited!” she beamed.
“I know! It’s so awesome that we don’t have to square dance…”
“No, about the play,” she interrupted.
“Hello! The school play. A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The auditions are today.”
“Oh, ok,” he shrugged indifferently.
“Terry! This is important to me.”
“Clearly,” he grinned in amusement.
“I wonder if girls can be Puck,” she mused.
“Yeah, I wonder about that too. It keeps me up at night.”
“Shut up, loser! Puck is like, the best role in the play but of course it’s a guy’s role. That’s so typical. Everything is better for guys.”
“I dunno ‘bout that,” he shrugged.
“Yeah, ‘cause you’re a guy.”
“You noticed, eh?” he grinned.
“You have no idea what it’s like to be a girl, Terry.”
“So enlighten me.”
“Enlighten? Big word, Terry, don’t hurt yourself.”
“Fuck you,” he smirked, trying not to show that the comment had sort of hurt his feelings.
Karine sighed and tried to suppress a smile. “Stop smirking at me with your stupid little smirky face.”
Terry laughed. “You’re really nervous about this play thing aren’t you?”
“Shut up, like even. It’s just important to me, ok?”
“Yeah, but why?” he grinned.
“Because! God, why do you always have to do this?”
“Shit on everything! Why can’t I just like, do stuff without you being all like, annoying?”
“God chill, whatever, like I care.”
“Yeah exactly, you don’t even care. You’re just a big downer and like, you don’t even give a shit even though it’s important to me.”
Terry stared at Karine, stunned. Where the hell was this coming from?
She shook her head at him. “God, Terry. Don’t you care about anything?”
He could have given her any number of examples of things he cared about, including her but instead he attempted to lighten the mood by smiling. “Guess not,” he shrugged.
“You are so full of it,” she said, her eyes narrowed. “I know what you care about.”
“Yeah, loser.” She slammed her locker closed. “I hear you were making out with Cherry the Raspberry this morning.”
Terry grinned and cocked an eyebrow. Karine made a funny face and shoved him playfully before turning and walking off.
Cerise was busy gathering her English books when something cold and wet hit her back. She was so shocked that she dropped all her books and yelped. She heard Jay laughing like a hyena and turned to see him standing there holding one of those old water guns shaped like a pistol. What a freaking jerk!
“The hell?” she demanded angrily.
“The line must be drawn here! This far, no further!” he exclaimed.
Willy, Karl and Vani also had water pistols and they were all covered in water stains, with Willy being the one who had clearly taken the most hits. Unless the wetness was sweat, which wouldn’t be surprising.
Cerise tried to hide behind her locker door but the boys all targeted her and she yelled out in protest. “Don’t! You guys! My clothes are gonna get all wet!”
“So take ‘em off,” suggested Jay with a grin.
“Jay!” Cerise blushed while the boys laughed.
Jay aimed in her direction but she lunged at him and grabbed the pistol. He let go without putting up a fight and dropped to his knees.
“Nooo!” he yelled. “There are four lights!”
Cerise sprayed him in the face and then picked up her books from the floor. Jay wiped his face off with his shirt and Cerise couldn’t help noticing his abdominal muscles as he lifted up his shirt. He was thin but surprisingly muscular. Cerise ran to English class with the water gun. When she got to class, the gun was yanked from behind her and she turned to see that Jay had retrieved it. She ran towards Sarah.
“Oh my god!” Sarah shrieked.
The boys stood at the front of the class, aiming their pistols at the other students.
“This is a holdup!” announced Willy.
“What are you gonna steal? Our books?” joked a boy and everyone laughed.
“I will steal your self-respect,” said Vani and shot Jojo.
Jonah squealed, which led to more laughter and Vani sarcastically apologized. Jojo stood up from his desk and grabbed at Vani’s gun but Vani managed to get away so Jojo took Willy’s pistol and aimed it at Vani, only to get sprayed from behind by both Jay and Karl. Then Karl turned towards Sarah.
“Don’t you fucking dare,” she said, real anger in her voice.
Karl, being a comple idiot, shot her jeans-clad leg.
“You’re such a jerk!” she yelled.
“What? It’s just a flesh wound! Walk it off,” Karl chuckled.
“What is the point of this?” Sarah demanded.
“We’re just having fun,” said Karl. “It’s part of Project SOIF.”
“How so?” asked Cerise.
“We’re like, taking over the school.”
“With water guns?” said Sarah in annoyance.
“Seriously you guys, this is a little fourth grade isn’t it?” Cerise sighed.
“Yeah, you think?” said Karine, having just recently joined the class.
“We’re taking down the man!” said Willy, pumping his fist in the air.
“Oh yeah, so risqué. Cerise and I do something actual like walk out of gym and start a petition and you guys have a water fight? Yeah, really bucking the system there. You guys are pathetic,” said Sarah with venom.
“Whatever, we’re just goofing off,” said Jay defensively.
“You’re such losers. Let me know when you come up with something a little more interesting that shooting each other with water guns.” Sarah took her seat and Cerise followed suit. Everyone stared at the boys.
“Gimme my gun back,” said Willy, reaching towards Jojo.
Jojo held fast and turned away from Willy.
“Sarah’s got a point,” said Karl. “This is lame. We should do something actual.”
“Such as?” asked Jay.
It was at this moment that Mr. Weir walked in. Karl, Vani and Jay all managed to hide their guns and they sped off to their desks. Jojo also hastily stuck his gun in his pocket and took his seat. Karl motioned towards Vani and Vani leaned over Karine’s desk, which sat between his and Jojo’s.
“Shoot Mr. Weird!”
Jojo looked at Vani through his peripheral vision, trying to ignore him.
“Come on, you fucking chicken! Shoot him! Shoot Weird!”
“Shut up!” Jojo hissed back.
“It’ll be hilarious! Come on, don’t be such a loser.”
Mr. Weir was writing on the board and Karine was leaning back in her chair, allowing Vani to practically hump her desk as he tried to whisper at Jojo.
“Leave me alone!” whispered Jojo.
“You fucking scaredy-cat! Come on, it’ll be so cool if you do it!”
Jojo turned to look at Vani and Karine smirked at him. “It would be pretty cool,” she grinned.
“See? Karine Cavalière will totally suck your dick if you do it.”
Karine shot out her fist and smacked Vani in the chest, slamming him down to his chair. The class snickered, and Mr. Weir turned around but then went back to the board a second later. Jojo turned to look at the class and Jay, Willy and Karl were all looking at him with big smiles and giving him thumbs up. Slowly he pulled the water gun out of his pocket and pointed it at Mr. Weir. Vani smiled excitedly as Jojo pulled the trigger and shot Mr. Weir’s back.
Mr. Weir whirled around and Jojo put the gun back in his pocket.
“Who did that?” Mr. Weir bellowed.
It was obviously a rhetorical question because Mr. Weir marched right up to Jonah’s desk and demanded to have the gun. Jojo gave it up immediately and Mr. Weir snatched it away. His proceeded to rant about school rules and respect and obedience and a bunch of stuff like that and concluded his speech by announcing that Jonah was out of his class for good. Before anyone knew what had happened, Jojo was sent off to the Principle’s office.
“You can all wipe those grins off your faces!” said Mr. Weir as he turned to the class. “You’re worse than he is. Don’t think I don’t know what’s going on here, Mr. Ameeriar. Mr. Weber, Mr. Harris, Mr. Watts.” He said their names like they were curse words.
Vani knew that his insult towards Karine would not go unpunished. As he tried to slink out of school at the end of the day he was accosted by Karine and her boyfriend, Steven Reid, who grabbed him by the neck and pushed him up against a wall. Karl, Willy and Jay all kept a respectable distance while they watched the situation unfold.
“Why don’t you repeat what you said in English?” Karine said sweetly, looking down at Vani.
“I’m sorry,” said Vani, choking out his words as Steven tightened his grip on his neck.
It seemed everyone was there to witness his humiliation. Terry Trebichavsky and Andrew Lester stood by with Christina Penna and Erica Mackey. Sarah and Cerise were there too, along with the other Green Girls.
“Repeat what you said!” demanded Karine.
“I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it,” insisted Vani.
Karine punched Vani in the gut and he coughed. Steven loosened his grip slightly, allowing him to catch his breath, then pinned him up against the wall again.
“She told you to repeat what you fucking said in English,” yelled Steven.
“I said… I said…”
“Say it!” both Karine and Steven screamed.
“I said she’d suck Jonah Cupryk’s dick.”
He closed his eyes as Steven’s fist made contact with his face. The pain reverberated through his whole body and he was barely aware of instinctively throwing his arms up over his face. He was thrown to the ground and two sets of feet repeatedly kicked him. He apologized over and over again as they kept kicking.
“Oh my god, they’re totally gonna kill him!” Cerise’s shocked voice rang out over the cheers of the crowd.
Vani looked up to see Terry putting one of his hands on Steven’s shoulders and one on Karine’s. “Ok, I think he gets it.”
“Little shit!” Karine spat at Vani’s trembling body. “These are the losers you’re hanging out with now?” she asked Terry.
“I’m not hanging out with this fuck!” Terry insisted.
Karine sneered at Cerise.
“Hey, I agree what he said was messed up,” Cerise said, putting up her hands defensively. “But I think he’s learned his lesson. Right, Vani?”
“Right,” Vani spurted in a gasp.
“God, if I fuck up my audition it’s totally his fault!” said Karine, still annoyed.
“Well then let’s go! We still have time to get centered,” said Sarah, grabbing Karine and dragging her away.
Karine left willingly and Cerise and Andrew went with them.
Steven gave Vani one last kick and then Terry led him away. Vani stayed on the ground and looked up at the boys. Karl raised his foot as though he was about to step on Vani but then retreated at the last moment.
“You’re fucking hilarious,” said Vani as Jay helped him up.
“That was a pretty serious beating,” said Willy in awe.
“It wasn’t so bad,” said Vani, breathing heavily.
“Was it worth it?” asked Karl.
“Well, Jojo’s permanently banned from English, and I totally told Karine to suck his cock. Not a bad day all things considered.”
The boys laughed.
“You’re a fucking king, Vani,” said Willy.
“You get first roll today,” said Karl with a smile.
“I swear to god, I’m all like, fucked up now,” whined Karine.
They were gathered in the auditorium waiting for Mr. Weir. Everyone had heard about the fight and they all sat around Karine as Andrew rubbed her shoulders supportively, as though she had been the one to get beat up. What Vani had said was out of line but still, the beating was a little extreme.
“You’re gonna be awesome,” Sarah insisted.
“Yeah, you’ll kill it,” said Andrew.
“You hang out with some fucked up losers, Cherry!” Karine snarled.
“Hey, I’m sorry about what he said. I admit he’s totally wackotic, I mean like immature, you know. They were really being losers today,” said Cerise, hoping this wouldn’t heighten Karine’s hate towards her.
“The whole water gun thing,” sighed Sarah. “So lame.”
“Did that Cupryk kid really shoot Mr. Weird?” asked Andrew.
“Oh my god, totally!” laughed Karine. “It was actually kind of awesome.”
“He only did it ‘cause Vani told him to,” Cerise pointed out.
“Yeah, I guess,” admitted Karine.
They didn’t have the chance to discuss it further because Mr. Weir appeared and he was clearly still upset about what had happened in English. He gruffly told them to shut up and take their seats. He told Karine to go first and she nervously took the stage. She needn’t have worried about her performance though. Maybe getting excited about Vani had stirred something up in her or maybe she was always good but she was very moving as she delivered one of Titania’s monologues.
“Out of this wood do not desire to go: Thou shalt remain here, whether thou wilt or no. I am a spirit of no common rate; The summer still doth tend upon my state; And I do love thee: therefore, go with me; I'll give thee fairies to attend on thee, And they shall fetch thee jewels from the deep, And sing while thou on pressed flowers dost sleep; And I will purge thy mortal grossness so That thou shalt like an airy spirit go.”
Cerise felt rather discouraged as she watched the auditions. Sarah was great, as expected. Marla Fitzpatrick was pretty good too. Cerise couldn’t help wondering if she had any business being here. What had made her think she could be part of this play? What had made her think she could be part of this school? Did Karine completely hate her because she was friends with Vani? Did she completely hate her anyway? Did Terry still want to hang out with her on the weekend? Before she knew it, it was her turn to audition. She’d chosen one of
’s speeches. Helena
“O, I am out of breath in this fond chase! The more my prayer, the lesser is my grace. Happy is Hermia, wheresoe’er she lies; For she hath blessed and attractive eyes. How came her eyes so bright? Not with salt tears: If so, my eyes are oftener wash’d than hers. No, no, I am as ugly as a bear; For beasts that meet me run away for fear: Therefore no marvel though Demetrius Do, as a monster fly my presence thus. What wicked and dissembling glass of mine Made me compare with Hermia's sphery eyne?”