It was a cold, bright day. Streaks of sunlight shone into the BHS library, illuminating the specs of dust that floated through the air. Karine leaned against a bookshelf and watched the panes of brightness light up the brown tables and grey carpeting. She was holding her script open in front of her but had stopped reading a while ago. She was thinking about Terry. He had been seriously pissed off yesterday. She’d never seen him like that before. Usually he was so mellow. He always acted like nothing mattered, like nothing got to him. In a way it was cool to see him show some emotion but it sucked that it had to be so scary. And it sucked even more that it had to be about Cherry the Raspberry. What was it about her that inspired such craziness in him? There was nothing about her that was remarkable or interesting in any way. She was cute enough, nice enough, maybe even funny. But that could describe any one of a million chicks. What did Terry see in her? It was infuriating.
She put down her arms and realized they were sore. How long had she been standing there, her shoulders tensed? She sighed and turned around, only to see Porta-potty chick coming towards her.
“Eww! Don’t touch me,” she snarked, giving the chick a wide berth as she hurried away.
Shauna hadn’t been anywhere near that stupid bitch. She watched the fucking supermodel cuntnugget rush out of the library and then scanned the room. There was Cerise, sitting at a table, marking up a book with a yellow highlighter. With hesitation, Shauna sat across from her. It seemed like the entire page of her book was highlighted.
“It’s ok,” Shauna whispered.
Cerise looked up, startled. “What?”
“Ok.” Her hand hovered over her book, the highlighter drying out.
“Yeah,” Shauna attempted a smile.
“That’s good.” Cerise nodded and looked down at her book.
She looked up again and Shauna smiled. Cerise smiled back and capped her pen.
“Yeah,” Shauna repeated.
“So um, I was like, thinking… and stuff.” Shauna dug her fingernail into a scratch in the table.
Someone had carved something into the table, probably a long time ago. It was hard to make out what it said but it seemed like ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle’. That was funny. Shauna smiled to herself. She’d have to remember that so she could repeat it to her mother the next time she asked why she didn’t have a boyfriend.
“Yeah?” said Cerise.
Shauna looked up. How weird that Cerise was still there.
“Yeah, I was thinking and like uh, like maybe we could like, you know, do stuff.” Shauna pushed her thumbnail into the carving, trying to make it more prominent.
“Yeah like um, maybe this Saturday. We could like hang out or something.” She kept carving, not daring to look up. She didn’t want to see Cerise’s face when she said no.
“Yeah well… ok I guess.”
Shauna looked up. “Really?”
“I guess,” Cerise shrugged.
“Ok!” She smiled.
Cerise smiled back. There was a streak of sunlight in her hair, making it glow like a halo.
Sarah was memorizing her script while waiting for French to begin. She was very engrossed in her task but still noticed when Karl took his seat next to her. She kept her head down but she could tell he was looking at her.
“Um… like…” he began.
She pretended to ignore him and kept her nose in her book.
“Like uh, I think you’re exaggerating,” he said, leaning towards her.
“Mmhhmm,” she hummed dismissively.
“Like uh, you don’t even know what a freak Jojo is ok? He deserved what he got.”
She looked up and sighed heavily. “Well I guess you are the expert on freakdom.”
“Uh yeah well, people in glass houses ok?”
Sarah raised an eyebrow and then returned to her book.
He went on. “Yeah ‘cause uh, you know… you’re no prize either.”
“You’re just a stupid joiner so who cares what you think anyway?”
Sarah kept pretending to read.
“Yeah well… stupid… whatever…” He’d crossed his arms and was leaning back in his seat, mumbling now. “Stupid posters no one even cares about.”
She turned a page in her script.
“I mean, what we did was funny ok? It was like, pure gold. You just can’t take a joke.”
Sarah casually pushed her hair behind her ear and regarded her script thoughfully.
“Oh yeah. The silent treatment’s really mature, Sarah. You’re just so far above me. You’re just a stupid hypocrite and you’re stupid and your posters suck and if you think you’re gonna get the math medal this year you’re nuts.”
It was a good thing Sarah was a good actress and could easily suppress her amusement, because if she’d acted naturally she’d have laughed out loud at that.
“You’re nuts,” Karl mumbled under his breath and opened his French book, flipping though it furiously. “Nuts.”
It was just Willy and Vani discussing Olivia vs. Fauxlivia with Jay intermittently telling them they were both wrong. Seriously, Olivia sucked no matter which universe she was from. Neither Karl nor Cerise seemed to have anything to add to the conversation. Why were they both being so quiet today? Lunch time was talk time, not sulk and be all quiet and broody time.
“So I was thinking,” said Jay, changing the subject. “This Friday we could… well… do the same thing we do every Friday. But we should have a sleepover and extend the rut into Saturday.”
“Yay, sleeping bags and smores!” Vani clapped his hands mockingly.
“I know you love the pillow fights,” said Jay.
“Nice. A sleepover with a girl. You’re in, right Cerise?” asked Willy in his perviest tone of voice.
“You expect me to sleep in the same room as you guys and your chronic farting syndrome? I’d asphyxiate before dawn.”
“As if Jay’s mom would let a girl sleep over anyway,” chuckled Vani. “She still helps him get dressed in the morning. And gives him his bathtime. And cleans his weewee.”
“At least I have a woman who touches my weewee,” snarked Jay.
“Aww sick! Jay has threesomes with his mom and grandma!” howled Vani.
“Don’t forget my great aunt is usually there too. It’s awesome ‘cause she has alzhymers so she never remembers we’re related. Uh uh!” Jay stood up and thrust his groin at the table while Vani and Willy laughed their heads off.
Cerise seemed less amused. “God, you guys have no concept of the lines that must not be crossed. Anyway I can’t do anything on Saturday.”
“How come?” asked Jay.
“Not Terry Trebishitsky again!”
“No, not Terry again, ok!?”
“So what then?”
“Ugh, I dunno. Nothing, just leave it ok?”
“Whatever cryptonomicon,” shrugged Vani. “Time for the run.”
“I don’t wanna do the run.”
They all stared at Karl in disbelief.
“What?” asked Vani incredulously.
“I don’t feel like doing the run today, ok?”
“No, it’s not ok,” said Vani.
“How come?” asked Willy.
“Because you have b.o., ok?” Karl shoved Willy.
“We can’t not do the run,” protested Vani.
“We can not do whatever we want to not do.”
Vani’s jaw dropped open in shock. Jay, Cerise and Willy were all equally stunned.
“Its tradition,” said Vani, seemingly unsure whether or not Karl was messing with them.
“Screw tradition,” sighed Karl.
“Ok, who replaced Karl’s frosted flakes with crystal crack?” asked Vani, looking at the others accusingly.
“Do people still eat frosted flakes?” wondered Cerise.
“I do,” said Willy.
“You’d eat your own ass if you could reach it,” said Karl.
“And there’s the Karl we know and hate,” said Vani, patting Karl’s back fondly.
Refusing to listen to anymore naysaying, Vani forced them all to get up and complete the run and Karl grudgingly acquiesced.
Karine was mindlessly folding the shirts that shoppers were continuously shaking out and laying against their chests in an attempt to gauge whether or not the garments would fit. When Karine had first started working in retail she’d been irritated when shoppers ruined her perfect displays but now she sort of liked endlessly rearranging them. It was a good way to look like she was working without actually doing anything productive.
It was Saturday morning, almost lunchtime and Erica and Christina had just come in to use her employee discount. Erica rummaged through the pile of freshly folded tops and took a bunch to the changing room, as though there was any hope in hell of her fitting into any of them. Christina told Karine where to meet them at lunch and Karine agreed as she put Erica’s mess back in order.
Cerise had chosen to meet Shauna at the theatre instead of at a bus stop, as Shauna had suggested. She wanted to be nice but also to limit contact as much as possible. That’s why she’d wanted to go to a movie instead of renting DVDs. They couldn’t interact in a public theatre. Cerise normally showed up to movies very early, wanting to get a good seat and also secretly enjoying the trivia questions and commercials that play before the trailers. But today she showed up with only five minutes to spare and Shauna was visibly relieved when she finally appeared.
They didn’t have time to talk before the movie started and when it was over they shuffled out of the theatre in silence. They went to the bathroom but Cerise wasn’t sure if Shauna actually had to go pee or if she was just following her. When she emerged from her stall, Shauna was standing by the sinks waiting for her.
Cerise washed her hands and then they walked out to the lobby.
“So what’d you think of the movie?” Cerise asked awkwardly.
“It was funny I guess.”
Shauna hadn’t laughed once during the entire screening but Cerise wasn’t sure what that meant. It had been a pretty lame comedy. There were a few moments that Cerise had laughed at in spite of herself, some gross-out moments that couldn’t be avoided, but she’d found most of the film to be stupid. But she didn’t know if Shauna agreed. Shauna wasn’t exactly the brightest person Cerise had ever met. Besides dressing badly and not being particularly hygienic, she was also kind of dull as far as Cerise could tell. She felt bad for thinking it, but Shauna probably hadn’t laughed because she just didn’t get it.
“You wanna go to my house?” Shauna suddenly asked.
Cerise felt like a deer caught in headlights. It was so weird how Shauna always wanted to hang out at her house. It was obvious she hated her family and yet her only suggestion for hang out locations was her place. Maybe she just really didn’t know of anywhere else they could go. And Cerise had to admit to herself that she didn’t exactly relish the idea of being seen in public with Shauna so she agreed to go to her house.
Terry was already on his second burger when Karine joined them in the food court. She had a salad and a water bottle from the health food place. Erica and Christina were eating Chinese and Andrew and Steve had gotten burgers along with Terry. They’d all upgraded their fries to poutine.
By way of a greeting Erica told Karine they were going clubbing tonight. “We’re thinking somewhere on Crescent.”
It wasn’t true that they had decided to go clubbing but no one challenged Erica besides Terry. “There’s no way I’m going to Crescent.”
“Why not?” asked Erica, clearly annoyed.
“Crescent is for ginos and skanks. Which one are you?” He smiled sweetly at her.
She sneered in response. “Go fuck yourself, Terry. You don’t wanna come, I couldn’t give two shits. That’s what the rest of us are doing.”
“I don’t really feel like going either,” shrugged Karine.
Terry smiled as he chewed his burger. He loved it when Karine sided with him even though she couldn’t always be relied on to do so. Especially not since he’d yelled at her, not that she’d had any opportunities lately to agree or disagree with anything he said. They’d mostly been awkwardly ignoring each other since their blowout.
“You just said you would!” Erica lied.
“Yeah but…” Karine shrugged.
“Me and Karine are just gonna spend the night alone,” said Steven and Karine smiled and nodded But Terry could tell she was going along with it to spite Erica and to be nice to Steven but she obviously didn’t really wanna be with him.
“Chrissy and me are still going!” said Erica in a huff.
“Nah, me and Chrissy are doing shit,” insisted Andrew as Christina silently ate her stir-fried rice.
“Chrissy!” Erica yelled accusingly.
It had once been amusing whenever Erica had tried to assert her dominance over the group by proving she could order Christina around but ever since he’d hooked up with Chrissy, Terry found it pathetic and depressing. She couldn’t even speak for herself. Andrew explained that she’d be helping him rehearse tonight and before she could even finish her food, he led her away like he owned her. Erica fumed while Terry and Steve discussed the Habs and when Karine went back to work Steve went with her, leaving Terry to finish off the remains of everyone’s lunches. Erica sat across from him, clearly still pissed.
“Well… what are you gonna do tonight?” she asked, switching to flirt mode.
“Dunno,” said Terry, sipping up the last of everyone’s drinks.
“Well, do you wanna like…?”
“No.” God, she was so obvious. What a fucking skank.
“Well, ‘cause we could like…” she shrugged and smiled as alluringly as she could, which just make her look like more of a fat whore.
Terry slurped up the last of his coke very quickly to get the desired effect. He leaned towards Erica and opened his mouth, delivering a long, loud, smelly burp right in her face.
She leaned back in horror. “Augh! You’re such an ass!”
Erica walked away in annoyance and Terry smiled to himself, proud of a job well done.