Shauna’s bedroom was remarkably nondescript. Cerise didn’t consider her own room to be particularly indicative of adolescence or the pop-culture of the day but at least her Ikea bed was covered with a bedspread she’d picked out and she had a few sci-fi posters up and some books and old stuffed animals that displayed the occupant of her room had a personality of some sort. Shauna’s bedroom looked like a room in a B&B. The bedspread was floral and so was the wallpaper. It was like entering a time warp or a Martha Stewart catalogue. The furniture wasn’t old enough to be antique but just old enough to be ugly. The only pictures on the walls were framed photos of kittens. One of them showed kittens in a basket with a bow on it. It was incredibly depressing. No teenager would like this room but it was especially horrifying considering Shauna’s style. Anybody would have predicted black walls and posters for punk bands or something but there wasn’t even a trace of Shauna in this room. It was one of the reasons Cerise had always hated going to her house.
Shauna’s mother was like a Stepford wife, all fake perfect. And her dad was like a Nazi drill sergeant. In fact, Cerise was surprised Shauna wasn’t more embarrassed by her family. If Cerise’s parents had been so weird, she never would have let her friends meet them but maybe Shauna didn’t even realize how messed up they were because she had no basis for comparison.
Thankfully no one was home that afternoon so Cerise didn’t feel as tense as she always had back in the day when she’d grugingly join Shauna’s family for dinner. Cerise sat on the chair in front of Shauna’s computer desk while Shauna perched on the edge of her bed. It was so painfully awkward.
“’Member how we used to hang out here all the time?” asked Shauna, sounding so simultaneously happy and sad that Cerise wanted to cry.
“Yeah, those were the days, eh?”
“I guess,” Cerise shrugged and looked out the window framed by frilly white curtains. “I kinda like these days better.”
Shauna’s face fell.
“I mean, it’s not that I like now better it’s just… you know… so what do you wanna do?”
Cerise really did need to get a cellphone. She could have told Simone to call her at a certain point and fake a family emergency. Shauna walked over to her closet and opened the door. Finally a trace of her existence was revealed. The closet was a mess. The floor was piled high with junk and all the clothes were black or grey. On the inside of the door was a bulletin board covered in pictures ripped from magazines displaying Christina Aguilera in her Back to Basics look. Cerise was surprised to find that Shauna was a pop music fan. She’d expected her to be into black metal or something.
Shauna dug through the junk on the floor and opened a shoe box. She pulled out a ton of tissue paper and then revealed a bottle of alcohol. It was half empty. Shauna came back to the bed and opened it while Cerise read the label. It was gin. Shauna took a long swig and sighed with satisfaction. Cerise was surprised by her lack of reaction to the alcohol. Back when they’d been so called friends, Shauna had seemed just as straight laced as her but now she was smoking pot in the school bathroom, smoking regular cigarettes the rest of the time and she was maybe even an alcoholic.
Suddenly Cerise felt very young and naïve. She’d tried beer a couple of times but really disliked the taste. And she thought smoking was pretty much the stupidest, most disgusting thing anyone could ever do. Yet even Shauna, as big of a reject as she was, was “cooler” than her in this respect. Cerise was proud of being straight edge because it made her different, though now that she’d met the guys, she was disturbed to find herself having so much in common with Karl and his bitter rejection of their peer group.
She automatically refused to partake when Shauna offered her the bottle of gin, but she wondered if this day wouldn’t be less painful if she allowed herself to get a little bit drunk. But wouldn’t that make her just as pathetic as Shauna if she had to dull the pain with drugs? If a situation sucked so bad that you had to drink it into oblivion, didn’t that mean you should get the hell out of that situation as fast as possible?
Erica didn’t have any trouble catching up with Andrew and Christina. They were loitering around the popcorn stand.
“We’re going to St-Laurent,” Erica announced when she joined them.
“What?” Andrew seemed annoyed.
“It’s been like, decided.”
“We’ve made other plans,” said Andrew.
“And now you’re going to change those plans because now we’re going somewhere on St-Laurent!”
“Where?” wondered Chrissy.
“Dunno yet. We can always play it by ear once we find parking.”
Andrew sighed heavily. “There’s no point in going clubbing if I’m not going to pick up pussy. Although we could have a threesome,” he winked at Chrissy. “Foursome even,” he grinned at Erica.
Erica rolled her eyes while Christina giggled awkwardly.
“Do whatever the fuck you want, Andrew. If you don’t wanna come, then whatever but that’s what everyone else is doing.”
“Everyone else is going?” asked Chrissy.
“Yeah,” Erica nodded. “I mean I wanted to go to Crescent but fucking Karine and Terry insisted we go to St-Laurent so fine, that’s where we’ll go.”
“Oh. Well… ok,” Andrew shrugged.
Erica smiled pleasantly. “We’ll meet at Karine’s house at 9.”
Two down, three to go. Erica left Andrew and Chrissy to conquer the next name on her list.
“It’s like so stupid,” said Shauna, lifting the gin bottle to her eye and peering at the remains. “I mean, what’s the point? It’s like, I mean… not everyone goes to cegep.”
“Yeah, I guess,” nodded Cerise.
It was so cool how Cerise totally understood. She was no nice and so smart. She totally got it.
“You can have a totally good life just like, you know…” Shauna went on.
Shauna shrugged. “I guess.”
“Well, what do you wanna do with your life?”
She was so pretty. Look at her with her golden hair and her big blue eyes. Her skin was so perfect. She’d never had a zit in her life. Shauna desperately wanted to reach out and touch her. To feel the silky softness of her skin. Those lips were so pink, shiny and pink, like rose petals or something.
“Where are your parents?” Cerise asked.
“Who cares?” Shauna shrugged. “I hate them.”
“I know,” Cerise nodded sympathetically.
She totally knew. She understood everything so well. Cerise was the only person who really got her. She was the only person who really cared. The only person in the whole school who didn’t call her Porta-potty chick.
“Shit!” Shauna jumped up and then fell back down. “I have to check for messages. Where’s my phone?”
Shauna rifled through her school bag and found her cell phone. She checked for messages from her parents and found three, all basically saying the same thing, which was that they’d be home for dinner at around 6 and Shauna could have her friend over if she wanted.
Cerise had turned towards the computer and was shaking the mouse. The screensaver disappeared and the desktop showed an old picture of Cerise and Shauna from two years ago, when Cerise had long hair. In the picture, Shauna was draping Cerise’s hair over her head like a curtain.
Shauna snapped her phone shut. “They won’t be back for a while. Thank god. It’s more fun just us.”
“Yeah,” Cerise wholeheartedly agreed.
“Look, it’s us! Remember that day?” Shauna leaned over Cerise and pointed to the screen. She could smell Cerise’s shampoo. She smelled like oranges and beauty and perfection.
“Yeah,” Cerise smiled.
Shauna hadn’t been sure if Cerise would freak from seeing that Shauna had her on her desktop but she seemed totally cool with it. Shauna gathered up her own hair and draped it over Cerise’s head.
“Now you have short hair and I have long hair,” Shauna laughed. “We should take a pic like this now!”
Cerise leaned away fom Shauna and stood up, walking over to the window. “Maybe you should brush your teeth before your parents get home. You kinda smell like alcohol.”
It was so considerate of Cerise to think of something like that.
Erica walked into Le Château and strode over to Karine, who was refolding sweaters.
“Ok well, change of plans.”
“What do you mean?” asked Karine, still folding.
“We’re going to St-Laurent.”
“I thought we weren’t going clubbing.”
“Well now we are.”
“And how did this happen?” Karine looked up and cocked one of her perfectly plucked eyebrows. God, she was so fucking vain.
“Well it was Terry’s idea believe it or not.”
“Terry? You’re right, I don’t believe it.”
“I know, right? He’s not exactly a club kid so I was all like, now you do wanna go clubbing and he was all like, well it’s more fun if we all do stuff together, blah blah blah.”
It was so irritating how Karine always had to question everything. Chrissy was so much easier to get along with. Erica would have to get more creative.
“Ok well, I don’t know if I should even be saying this ‘cause like… but from what I gather he like, doesn’t want you hanging out with just Steven.”
“What?” Karine looked up with interest.
Erica tried to contain her smile. “Ok, I knew Terry had no love for Steve but I mean… I dunno. Look I’m just saying what he told me. And he’s like, determined to go out and like, have you not stay home with Steve. So take that anyway you want.”
Karine looked down at her sweaters and stroked them absentmindedly.
Erica went on before she could ask any more questions. “So fine, he didn’t wanan go somewhere on Crescent so we’re gonna go to St-Laurent with all the fucking Frenchies.”
Karine looked up.
“Ok so yeah, we should probably meet up at your place like around 9. Ok?”
“Ok, I guess.”
Karine would pass on the news to Steven. So that just left Terry. He would be harder to convince than the others but Erica knew which buttons to press.
Dear god, let this day end! It was torture! How the hell was Cerise supposed to get out of this situation? What was she supposed to say? She had her back to the room, and was staring out the window, trying to think up an excuse for why she had to go. It was still pretty early so she couldn’t use the excuse that she had to get home for dinner, though maybe she could say that she had to help prepare dinner. Suddenly Shauna attacked her from behind, wrapping her arms around Cerise’s torso. Oh my god, so gross!
“God, I’m so glad we’re friends again! I’ve been so bored without you!”
Cerise tried to step away but Shauna held on fast. Cerise took her hands and dislodged them, turning around to face Shauna, who smiled dumbly.
“Do you wanna play that game where it’s a piece of paper and you find out who you’re gonna marry?” Shauna giggled.
“You know! We used to play it all the time!”
“I just don’t even know what you’re talking about.”
“You know, that game where you write different people and places and stuff?”
“You mean MASH?”
Cerise stared at Shauna, completely unsure of how to respond. Was she actually going to sit here and play kid games while completely drunk? Cerise had already wasted most of her Saturday. Surely she’d served enough time. “Um, I kind of have to go now.”
“No!” Shauna wailed and shot out her hand, grabbing Cerise’s wrist.
Cerise stepped back in surprise and tried to pull her arm away but Shauna gripped it tightly.
“Shauna! The hell?” Cerise tried to loosen Shauna’s fingers but her grip only tightened. “You’re hurting me!”
“Stay for supper! My mom’s gonna make lasagna!”
“Uh, I told my mom I’d eat at home.”
“Can I come?”
Cerise’s wrist was really starting to hurt. Her hand was even turning red. “Shauna, let go of me! I have to go!”
Shauna loosened her grip slightly and Cerise broke free. She made her way for the door but Shauna grabbed at her shirt. Cerise shook her away but suddenly she tumbled to the floor as Shauna latched onto her legs. Cerise yelped in surprise and tried to pick herself up, only to find herself pinned down by Shauna, who was laughing hysterically.
“Oh my god! Are you ok?”
Cerise was pushed face down on the ground and Shauna crawled on top of her, resting her head on Cerise’s back.
“Get off me!”
“I like your new hairstyle.” Shauna stroked Cerise’s hair.
Jesus Christ! In utter panic, Cerise pushed herself up with all her strength and hurled Shauna onto the floor, which only caused her to keep laughing. Cerise scrambled to her feet and ran out of the room.
“Where are you going?” Shauna called after her, chasing her down the stairs.
“Home!” said Cerise as she grabbed her jacket and shoved her feet into her shoes.
“But you said you’d stay for dinner!”
“No I didn’t!” Cerise grabbed the handle to the front door.
Shauna lunged at her and Cerise gasped, pushing herself up against the door.
“I have to go, Shauna.”
Suddenly Shauna burst into tears. “You’re such a bitch! You always leave!”
Cerise had no idea what to do. She obviously couldn’t stay but she didn’t want to leave Shauna like this. She was drunk and clearly out of it. “I’m sorry, I just…” She didn’t know what to say.
“Just leave then! Just fucking leave! I hate you anyways!” Shauna slumped down to the ground and sobbed.
Cerise considered comforting her but at this point she’d had enough. She opened the door and walked outside, rushing over to the bus stop.
Terry walked through the massive parking lot of
mall. He was pretty sure he’d parked in this area, towards the back. His phone buzzed and he opened it. Oh hell, it was Erica. He reluctantly answered. Fairview
“What do you want?”
Erica’s voice bitched out of his phone. “Look, I’m just letting you know that the rest of us have decided to go to St-Laurent tonight.”
“Great, have fun,” he answered dismissively.
“Hey, I don’t give two shits if you don’t wanna come, ok? But Karine told me to tell you that she wants you to come so whatever.”
If Karine wanted him to come, why didn’t she just ask him herself? Was she still upset over his freakout ? Or was Erica just full of shit?
“So?” Terry said, trying to get more information out of Erica.
“So nothing. She’s all like, desperate for you to be there. So whatever.”
“So why isn’t she telling me this?”
“Uh, ‘cause she’s like, working? Look, I don’t exactly appreciate playing messenger for you two, ok? If you wanna have some thing going on behind Steve’s back that’s up to you but you can keep me out of it, ok? But Karine was all like, oh, I wanna hang out with Terry tonight, blah blah blah, so like whatever, I’m just letting you know it’s like, that’s what everyone’s doing ok?”
It was possible this was true but equally possible that Erica was lying because she was trying to manipulate everyone into doing what she wanted. Terry could go see Karine and get the truth, but what if it was true? He didn’t want to make her feel all awkward in case she really did want to hang out with him but was too embarrassed to tell him herself. Maybe she was trying to make amends but was too shy to bring it up. Or maybe Erica was just a huge bitch trying to exploit the fact that he and Karine had argued. Not that Karine would have told Erica about their fight. Could she really be perceptive enough to have independently noticed the rift between them? Terry had to admit that even though Erica was a harpy bitch from hell she was still kinda smart.
“Hello? Are you there?”
“Uh, yeah,” he replied with a sigh.
“Listen, asshole. Personally, I’d prefer if you didn’t come since you’re being such a tool lately but whatever. We’re meeting at Karine’s house at 9.”
“Ok well, I guess I’ll be there.”
“Fine, whatever.” She hung up on him.