Terry drove Karine to the grocery store to stock up on chips and beer for the party. He made sure not to shave so he’d look a little older. He never got carded when he left his face a bit scruffy. But before the party started he went home to shave because he knew chicks didn’t appreciate kissing a scratchy face.
Erica and Andrew also made a beer run so they were well stocked when guests started arriving. They hadn’t even made much effort to invite people but as usual, anytime Karine had a party people seemed to know about it telepathically or something. It didn’t take long before the house was crowded with kids from school. Terry hung out in the kitchen doorway and every time more people arrived he peaked out into the hall to see who it was. Cerise never showed up.
It was now law that Cerise had to eat her fair share of M&Ms. She had made the mistake of mentioning how she preferred Smarties so now Smarties were banned and she was forced to partake of the inferior candy coated chocolate snack. She was careful not to say anything about her distaste for salt & vinegar chips and simply hoarded the BBQ bowl. She would have preferred ketchup flavour but BBQ would do.
There were 2 litre bottles of coke, sprite and root beer available but only one glass so Cerise asked if she could get a glass for herself. The boys all looked at her in horror. Great, what now?
“It’s a communal glass,” said Jay with authority.
“’Cause sharing a glass shows our devotion to the game!” said Vani.
“Well, ‘cause our dishwasher is broken,” said Jay. “But also ‘cause it shows devotion.”
“Eww I have to share your germs?”
“Is that a problem?” asked Karl, cocking his head and raising an eyebrow as though in challenge.
“No, it’s fine,” she said, grabbing a glass and taking a sip. “Eww, it’s root beer. Can someone finish it so I can put in coke?”
“Oooohhhh! You don’t like root beer?” asked Vani defiantly.
“Oh come on! Willy, drink it!” Cerise shoved the glass in Willy’s face and he drank the root beer dutifully.
“Ugh, now I have all your germs!” he complained, handing the glass back to Cerise.
“You don’t want our germs?” scoffed Karl. “Puh-lease. If anyone should be offended by germifactious infections it’s us! You’re the one who’s crawling with disease around here.”
“So you all wanna catch my cooties?” Willy smirked.
“We’ve prob’ly already caught all your various strains of herpes,” said Jay.
“If anything we should expose ourselves to your germs even further so as to better fight them off,” said Karl.
“I knew there was a reason we needed a communal glass,” said Vani, holding up the glass. “Henceforth this glass shall be known as the communal chalice of inoculation. And by sharing our protein strands we build up our immune systems, thereby creating a master race.”
“And what will this race master exactly?” wondered Jay.
“RPGing,” giggled Cerise.
“The ceremonial sharing of the communal chalice can only make us stronger and improve our RPG skills!” announced Vani. “Let us all drink from the cup of strength and vitality!”
The chalice was filled with a mix of coke, sprite and root beer and they all had to take a swig.
“Ahh, I can feel myself getting stronger!” Karl declared after taking his share.
Jay drank without hesitation, as did Vani. Willy took such a large swig that the glass was empty when it reached Cerise.
“Oh well, guess I can’t partake,” she shrugged.
The boys filled the glass back up with the mixture of disgustingness and Cerise tried to control her giggles before taking it in her hand.
“Drink your proteins, Cerise,” said Vani, his eyes wide.
“Everybody’s doing it,” nodded Jay with a vacant stare.
“The spice will make you see the future!” said Karl.
“It actually doesn’t taste that bad,” shrugged Willy.
“Way to ruin the frakking moment, Willy,” said Vani in irritation.
Cerise took a large gulp and made a face of disgust. Willy drank the rest of the gross mixture and they were allowed to have one soda at a time from then on.
Terry would take her to the cemetery if she asked him but Karine wasn’t sure she wanted to visit her dad this year. It’s not like seeing his grave would make her miss him less. It might even have the opposite effect. Best not to think about it at all.
Karine let go of her locket and forced her hand to leave her throat. She picked up her beer and took a swig. The kitchen was getting crowded. Sarah Wong and her Green Girls had just joined them. Sarah asked if she was off the book yet and of course Erica had to get all snarky, asking what they were talking about in the most dismissive way possible.
“She means like do I have the play memorized yet,” Karine explained. “Yeah, I do. You?”
Sarah said she did while Erica rolled her eyes and expressed her disinterest for about the zillionth time. She even went so far as to light a cigarette. Karine told her to take it outside and she blew a few smoke rings before sauntering out the door. God, what a bitch.
“How ‘bout you, Andrew? Off the book?” asked Sarah.
“Yeah right,” he scoffed. “Like I didn’t have better things to do with my Christmas vacation.”
“Better hurry,” she instructed. “We have to be off book when we get back.”
“I’m off book!” announced Sean as he walked in, careful not to bother Terry at his station next to the door.
What was up with Terry constantly poking his head out into the hall? He seemed rather preoccupied tonight. Did he want to leave or something? What a jerk.
“Hermia! It is I, Demetrius. Wanna rehearse our love scene?” Sean asked Sarah.
She swatted away his hands and laughed. “We don’t have a love scene together! I’m in love with Lysander.”
“But I’m in love with you.”
’s in love with you. You have a love scene with Cerise.” Helena
Was it Karine’s imagination or did Terry perk up upon hearing Cherry’s name?
“So where is she?” asked Sean. “Where is my
“I dunno, she’s not here,” shrugged Sarah.
“Why not? We should be rehearsing.”
“Why don’t we just wait ‘till we get back to school?” asked Karine.
“I don’t wanna wait! I wanna rehearse now. Preferably in your bedroom,” Sean smarmed, approaching Karine.
“And we’re done,” said Steven, placing his hands on Sean’s shoulders and ushering him out of the room.
“Luke, I am your father,” breathed Jay as he swung a cardboard wrapping paper roll through the air.
Vani swung at Jay with his own paper roll and made light sabre swooshing noises. Jay and Vani jumped on the furniture as they battled for supremacy. The others were left with only pillows to defend themselves in the fracas. According to the rules they weren’t allowed to touch the floor and Jay’s mother’s old armoire was also off limits. The rest of the furniture was fair game and the coffee table was taking quite a beating as a result. They were also making good use of the many maple syrup cans so it was nice to know they hadn’t been purchased in vain after all.
Erica and Andrew were outside smoking and laughing about something. Christina considered joining them but there was Terry sitting all alone on the couch, drinking a beer. She chose to sit next to him and finished off her own drink. Most of the people in the room were dancing. It wouldn’t be completely ridiculous to ask Terry to dance. He was a good dancer and usually seemed to enjoy it if he was drunk enough. It was the type of thing two friends might do together and it needn’t be interpreted as a desperate attempt to get back together.
“Do you wanna dance?” she asked casually.
“Not really,” he replied, not unkindly.
“You like dancing. You’re a good dancer.”
He shrugged wordlessly.
“Wanna go smoke up?
He was so hot when he was listless and brooding. She wondered what he was thinking.
“Whatcha thinkin’ ‘bout?”
It was probably true.
The Green Girls were dancing and that Sean guy was quoting lines from their play. Christina thought that maybe she should have tried out for the play. She would probably suck at acting but she could be a random fairy or something. She needed something to do. Everyone had an afterschool activity except her. Well, Erica didn’t either unless you counted sucking cock. But being like Erica wasn’t exactly Christina’s goal in life. She should join the yearbook committee or something. Not that she had any idea what that involved. But it might be fun and Sarah Wong was cool.
Sean was being very persistent in his attempts to hook up. “O, why rebuke you him that loves you so? Lay breath so bitter on your bitter foe.”
Sarah responded in the same exaggerated Shakespearean voice. “Now I but chide; but I should use thee worse, For thou, I fear, hast given me cause to curse, If thou hast slain Lysander in his sleep, Being o'er shoes in blood, plunge in the deep, And kill me too.”
“The object and the pleasure of mine eye, Is only
,” Sean went on. “To her, my lord, Was I betroth’d ere I saw Hermia: But, like in sickness, did I loathe this food; But, as in health, come to my natural taste, Now I do wish it, love it, long for it, And will for evermore be true to it.” Helena
Terry seemed strangely interested in Sean’s speech. He was paying way more attention than Christina would have guessed. Did he like Shakespeare? Was she the only one who totally didn’t get it?
“So where is Cerise anyway?” asked Sean.
“I told you, she’s not here!” said Sarah in exasperation.
“Not Cerise. She’s probably hanging out with Karl Weber and them.”
“Is she going out with one of them?”
“Not yet but I’m sure she will be eventually.”
Oh my god! Was that it? Was Terry listening so intently because they were talking about Cherry? Was he still into her? Christina had thought he’d gotten over that bizarre infatuation. This was seriously retarded! How could he still care about that stupid little… He was smiling at her. He was leaning back on the couch and drinking his beer and eyeing Christina and smiling. Oh my god, he was seriously the hottest guy in the history of the Universe!
Wow, that was a seriously bad roll. Vani was on his last legs. It was inconceivable for Vani’s character to die; he’d been playing him for three years! It was all up to Jay now. If he rolled well he could save Vani as well as himself. He could save them all!
Jay picked up an orange twenty-sided die and cupped it in his hands. He shook his hands, closing his eyes and praying to the RPG gods. He released his hands over the table and the die tumbled down.
Hmm. Not bad. Not exactly great but not bad. Was it good enough? Karl rolled and got a fourteen. Jay had successfully taken out a GB but they were still in danger.
“It’s up to you now, Cerise,” said Karl.
She looked up from the BBQ chips and mumbled something incoherent.
“You’re not even paying attention!” screeched Vani. “My life is at stake here! Help me Obi-Wan-Cerisy, you’re my only hope!”
Cerise casually wiped her chip powdered hand on her jeans and reached for a die. “Ok, what’s going on?”
“You’ve got a GB on your ass, that’s what’s going on,” said Karl calmly. He rolled a die and got an eighteen. “All the guys are incapacitated and the GB is coming your way. Point shot to the head fother-mucker.”
“Karl!” she whined. “I parry!”
She shook the die far too casually and tossed it down on the table like it was nothing more than a small piece of plastic, rather than the object within which all their lives hung in the balance.
Erica and Andrew tumbled into the room and announced it was time. Steven and Karine came in as well. Everyone counted down together.
“Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year!”
Everyone cheered and kissed. Erica, whore that she was totally kissed Andrew even though Christina was still quasi going out with him. Well, not really but still kinda. They’d never officially broken up. Of course they’d never officially been a couple, just fuck friends, but still, Erica was a total whore.
Christina looked over at Terry and he was looking at her too. Oh god please let him kiss her!
Twenty. Holy freaking crap, Cerise rolled a twenty! They all jumped up and cheered. Vani and Willy hugged and Jay shook Cerise’s shoulders like she was a crying baby. She laughed as though defying the RPG gods, as though declaring the statistical probability of rolling a twenty to be of no consequence considering her amazing wrist flicking capabilities. She was an angel. A god among men.
Vani and Willy punched each other in the shoulders’, accusing one another of being fags. Cerise looked at her watch.
“Hey, it’s the New Year.”
Karl picked up the communal chalice. “To a new year. May it not suck as much as the previous sixteen years we’ve been forced to endure. We thank the holy spaghetti monster for blessing us with this new player, whose skill with a twenty-sider shall go down in history as the moment that saved Vani’s ass from extinction.”
“Huzzah!” they cheered while Vani pretended to wipe a tear from his eye.
“Happy New Year,” Christina said to Terry.
He smiled that little half smile of his and then leaned over and put his arm around her. He was still holding his beer and she could feel the chill on her upper back. She cuddled up with him as he placed his lips on hers. His free hand rested on her midsection, his massive paw capable of encircling half her waist. Her little hands rested on his Superman chest. He sucked on her lower lip ever so gently and then his tongue pushed itself between her lips, licking her strawberry lip gloss. She was glad she wasn’t wearing lipstick today; Terry hated the taste of lipstick.
His mouth was just as she remembered, warm and moist without being wet. Andrew was always too drooly. Terry was perfect. His kisses were like little seals of approval, little signs of love, little moments of pure awesomeness.
Shauna sat in front of the couch, flipping channels. Her parents were out at a party and so was Malcolm. New Year’s was a pretty good night for that. For being alone. She could eat as much as she wanted without being criticized for it. Of course she had to be careful not to eat too much of any one thing, ‘cause then her mom would notice but if she spread it out among the various things in the fridge and pantry then it was ok.
She switched to the music channel and watched people dance. It was better on mute.
Well, well, how about that? Karine couldn’t help but smirk when she saw Terry making out with Christina. Hopefully this meant he was well and truly over Cherry, although it could also indicate that he was trying to get over her and picking the closest warm body with which to do it. Well, that might not be so bad. At least it meant he was done trying to get back with that stupid fruit.
Chrissy was so dumb. He obviously wasn’t going to start going out with her again. Didn’t she get that he was just using her? She was just going to end up feeling betrayed and humiliated yet again.
Terry was dumb too though. If he thought he could hook up with Chrissy and not face another round of consequences then he was seriously delusional. She would get all obsessed again and he’d have to become a complete asshole to get rid of her and then he’d feel guilty and of course Karine would have to pick up the pieces.
She shook her head to herself as she watched Terry take Chrissy’s hand and lead her upstairs. They’d better not hook up in Karine’s room!