Seventeen. Cerise examined her face in the mirror to see if she looked any older. It was May 5th, her birthday. Seventeen seemed a lot older than sixteen. Sixteen was still a kid but seventeen was just one year away from legally being an adult. Sixteen was learning to drive but eighteen was being able to vote. Cerise still didn’t have her driver’s license, she only had a permit, but she never drove anywhere anyway so it didn’t seem to matter, especially now that she had a boyfriend with a car who would drive her anywhere she wanted. Of course, seeing as she didn’t drink, it would probably make sense for her to be the designated driver for parties so she should probably go ahead and get that license.
Cerise put on a new shirt that day. It was emerald green, made of a cotton/rayon blend, with flouncy cap sleeves and buttons on the shoulders. Instead of a collar, it had a v-neck and was a little more form-fitting than her usual style but she was getting older, it was maybe time to branch out and be a little more daring. Besides, she was very mature now. She was even having sex. Well, genital touching probably didn’t count as official sex but still, it was undeniably significant. Of course, Karine Cavalière and her friends would probably laugh at that. They were all so much more experienced. Even Sarah was having oral sex. Hell, even Julie was probably more experienced than Cerise. Seventeen or not, she was still a kid. How embarrassing.
Still, she was sexually active enough that she’d had to invest in some concealer. She was always covered in hickeys thanks to Terry’s fondness for her neck. She bought the cover-up in the lightest shade available but it was still a tad darker than her skin so she had to do a lot of blending to make it seamless. This added an extra five minutes to each morning’s routine but it was a price she happily paid.
Her mother and sisters sang her Happy Birthday when she entered the kitchen for breakfast. She rolled her eyes and allowed them to finish as she hurriedly guzzled some orange juice.
“Do you want to invite someone over for dinner tonight?” asked Angela.
“For your birthday!”
“Why? Are we doing a thing?” Cerise asked with hesitation.
“I made a cake!” Angela exclaimed.
“I see no need to inflict it on anyone else.”
Angela raised her brow while Simone and Julie snickered.
“I mean I see no reason to inflict a celebration on anyone. Least of all me.”
“I just thought you might want to invite someone. A boy perhaps…” Angela trailed off.
Julie snickered again. “Like she knows any.”
If they only knew. Julie would probably have an aneurysm if she saw the sheer hotness that was Terry Trebichavsky. But Cerise didn’t want her family all up in her business so she was keeping Terry to herself for now. She didn’t really like to offer up personal information to anyone. Somehow it made her feel vulnerable when people knew too much. Keeping things to herself gave Cerise a sense of control she often felt was lacking in her life. Besides, she didn’t want to jinx it.
“Maybe Jay,” Angela went on.
“Yeah, maybe,” nodded Cerise.
“Are you and Jay… seeing one another?” Angela asked innocently.
Julie snorfled into her cereal while Simone scrunched up her face with the pain that resulted from parental nosiness. Simone may have been a goth, but in some ways she was very similar to Cerise. She totally got the privacy thing.
“No, mom. God!” Cerise said with obvious discomfort.
“She wishes,” chuckled Julie.
Cerise sighed and left the kitchen. She’d rather go to school early than continue to interact with her mortifying family.
“Hey, you didn’t wait for me,” said Jay as he rushed to catch up with Cerise.
“Oh, so I have to wait for you but you don’t have to wait for me? You’ve been walking to school without me ever since the grad ski trip.”
“I wasn’t not walking with you, you were not walking with me!”
It was true that Jay had been avoiding Cerise, but he was pretty sure she’d been avoiding him too.
“Whatever,” said Cerise.
“Yeah,” agreed Jay.
They walked the rest of the way in silence. Jay kept trying to think of something to say but couldn’t. She probably only wanted to talk about Green Girl stuff and ass-head boyfriend stuff anyway.
Sure enough when they got to school, Cerise went off to join Terry Assichavsky. They kissed in front of everyone like they were auditioning for
’s most disgusting displays of disgustingness. Jay would never understand how she could stand that jerk. America
“Cerise!” Steph exclaimed when Cerise came down the hall, hand in hand with Terry.
“Oh my god, Cerise!” echoed Mel.
“We have to talk to you!”
“What’s up?” asked Cerise.
“It’s a life or death situation,” said Sarah in a tone that implied it was probably an issue of limited significance.
Cerise smiled and looked up at Terry. “Ok, I’ll see you in homeroom.”
“K,” he said, kissing Cerise goodbye and walking off.
“So what’s up?”
“Oh my god, Cerise! Prom!” Steph whined.
“Prom?” Cerise asked stupidly.
“Grad!” Mel said impatiently.
“You’re gonna go with Terry, right?” asked Sarah.
“I dunno,” shrugged Cerise. “He hasn’t mentioned it.”
Mel and Steph looked at Cerise like she’d just announced aliens were landing. “Well you’d better figure it out soon! It’s less than two months away!”
Cerise nodded, conceding the point.
“So we need your help,” Steph went on.
“They wanna go to grad with Andrew Lester,” explained Sarah.
“What? Both of you? That’s gross.”
Mel and Steph shrugged while Sarah nodded her agreement.
“Well, one of us then. We need you to set us up.”
Cerise furrowed her brow in deep confusion. “Why do you need me? You guys were totally flirting with him at the cast party. I’m not even friends with him. Seriously, he’s never spoken to me directly except to call me Cherry bomb.”
“Isn’t he still going out with Christina Penna?” asked Sarah.
“He’s a freaking man-whore! Even if he were still going out with Christina that wouldn’t mean anything!” exclaimed Cerise. “God, he’s a stupid ass, why do you guys even wanna go with him?”
“Everybody likes him.”
“Well I don’t. I think you guys can do better,” Cerise smiled encouragingly.
“Ok well, can you try to set us up with one of Terry’s other friends?”
“One of the guys on the rugby team. Like maybe the Krells.”
“The twins? That would be appropriate,” giggled Cerise.
“The Krells have girlfriends,” said Sarah. “Or at least one of them does. Maybe they share her,” she laughed.
Mel and Steph slumped their shoulders in disappointment.
“Besides, Terry has nothing good to say about any of those rugby guys. He’s always making fun of them. You guys know Terry doesn’t play rugby, right? He plays hockey and none of his hockey friends go here.”
“That’s ok. I’ll take a blind date with a hockey player!” Mel enthused.
“Oh my god, totally,” Steph agreed.
Cerise frowned uncomfortably and Mel grabbed her arm with ferocity.
“Cerise, you have to help us! Grad is like two months away and we don’t have dates! What the hell are we gonna do? What are we gonna do?!”
“I’ll ask Terry if he has any single friends, ok?”
“Oh my god, thank you!”
Cerise looked at Sarah. “Do you want me to find someone for you too?”
“That’s ok,” she replied with a sly smile. “I think I can find my own date.”
The laughter that erupted from Erica’s throat was like that of a retarded hyena’s. It was loud and mocking, hysterical and cruel. She pointed down the hallway and Karine looked over at Cherry and the Greens.
Holy shit! Karine’s face flushed red and she rushed into the nearest washroom. Erica followed, still laughing while Christina trailed behind.
“You are such a fucking loser!” cackled Erica. “Oh my god, that’s so hilarious!”
“Shut up!” ordered Karine. “Chrissy, take off your shirt!”
Christina stared at Karine in confusion. “What?”
“Didn’t you see?” Erica held onto a sink for support, still laughing her ass off. “Karine is wearing the same shirt as Cherry the Freakberry!”
“It’s not the same!” Karine insisted. “Hers is green, mine’s purple!”
“It’s the exact same fucking shirt, you loser!”
“Switch shirts with me, Chrissy!” Karine insisted, as she pulled off her top and threw it at Chrissy.
“How come I have to wear it?” Chrissy whined.
“You have fewer classes with her than I do!”
“I can’t believe you’re wearing a Cherry shirt!” Erica snorted.
“But…” Chrissy held the purple top and pouted. “Can’t you just wear your jacket all day?”
“Yeah, you should totally do that!” nodded Karine. “Come on, give me your shirt!”
“It’s not fair…”
Christina reluctantly took off her top and put on the purple shirt. It was big on her. Karine wore a medium, and Chrissy was an extra small. Karine squeezed into Chrissy’s tiny t-shirt, which became a belly top on her.
“It doesn’t even fit you,” Chrissy mumbled under her breath.
“Where did you buy that thing, Zellers?” laughed Erica.
“I got it at work, ok?”
“Oh my god, Cherry is totally trying to dress like us now, what a loser,” said Erica, drying her tears.
For once it was a relief to go to gym. Both Chrissy and Karine put on their gym shirts gladly. Cherry walked in, oblivious to the fashion faux-pas and took a locker near theirs.
“Hi,” she smiled.
“Nice shirt,” Erica smirked sarcastically.
Cherry obviously got that it was an insult. She seemed genuinely hurt for about half a second but then recovered and thanked Erica. Her body relaxed significantly when Sarah and the Greens came along and she had people to hang out with who actually liked her. Karine almost felt sorry for Cherry. It’s not like she’d ever done anything wrong besides go out with Terry. It was pretty bitchy of them all to be so mean to her. But whatever.
As usual, Shauna waited for everyone to leave the locker room before she “changed” for gym. She entered the gym slowly and tried to make her way to the bench she usually occupied but the cuntnuggets were blocking her path. They were all watching Cerise suck face with her stupid giant boyfriend.
“God, it’s so sickening,” said Erica Mackey. “He’s worth more than that. Why does he lower himself? I mean, he could go out with anyone.”
“Ok, so first you wanna ditch him and now you wanna go out with him?” smirked Karine Cavalière.
“I didn’t say me.”
“Yeah, I’m sure.”
“I just think Cherry needs to go. I mean she shops at Zellers,” Erica Mackey snorted.
“I told you, the shirt’s from work, ok! You shop there too! God, just get over your stupid issues with Cherry.”
“What the fuck? Since when do you have so much love for Fruity Pebbles? Since you started shopping with her?” Blonde Cuntnugget laughed heartily.
“Yeah, I thought you hated her,” pouted Christina Penna like she’d just been insulted.
“Ok yeah, she’s not my best friend but god, there comes a point where you just have to move on. I mean, Terry obviously likes her so we might as well just chill.”
“Oh please. ‘Cause Terry is so known for his commitment to relationships. He’ll dump her by the end of the month,” said Erica.
“Yeah,” agreed Christina.
“It’s like Andrew said. As soon as he fucks her he’ll dump her bony little ass.”
It would serve Cerise right if she did fuck Terry Trebichavsky and then get dumped by him. She should know better than to go out with a guy like him. Still, if Shauna were to warn Cerise then she might be grateful and want to be friends again.
After gym Shauna lingered in the locker room and waited for the cuntnuggets to leave.
“See you guys at lunch,” said Karine as she went.
“Yeah, see ya,” responded Cerise.
“Looks like Karine is warming up,” said Sarah Wong when Karine had gone.
“Whatever. I’m sure she’ll be cold again soon enough. One day she’s nice, the next she’s a bitch. You never know,” said Cerise while rolling her eyes.
“True enough,” shrugged Sarah.
“It’s your boyfriend you should worry about,” said Shauna, surprising Cerise but also herself.
“What?” asked Cerise, not unkindly.
“I heard them talking,” Shauna shrugged.
Shauna shrugged. “Your boyfriend’s like, friends. Erica Mackey and them.”
“Ok, and what were they saying?”
“Like how your boyfriend is gonna dump you soon.”
Sarah and Cerise stared at Shauna with skepticism and she shrugged, closing her locker and making like she was going to leave. But she lingered at the door.
“He’s gonna dump you after he fucks you.”
Cerise lifted her eyebrow in that way she had where she’s telling you you’re dumb but she’s not saying it.
“Come on, Cerise,” said Sarah and they started to leave the locker room.
“Well they prolly know him better than you do!” Shauna said as they passed her.
Cerise lingered in the doorway. “And you don’t know him for shit so you should probably just mind your own business.”
“Well have you done it yet? Have you fucked him? ‘Cause everyone knows what he’s like. So if you don’t want him to dump you, maybe you shouldn’t. ‘Cept he’ll prolly dumb you anyway…” Shauna trailed off.
“Whatever, Shauna. Just ‘cause you’ll never have a boyfriend is no reason to get all pissed at me just ‘cause I do.”
Sarah Wong snickered and they walked off together. Fucking bitches.
Cerise and Sarah walked to English together. Sarah may have sensed Cerise’s mood because she laid a comforting hand on her arm and whispered to her conspiratorially.
“But you did fuck him, right? And he didn’t dump you,” said Sarah.
“We haven’t had sex yet. Just… um, you know…”
“Not even,” Cerise admitted, feeling like a baby. “Just fingering and you know, hand-job or whatever.”
Sarah seemed surprised. “Really? But you guys have been together for like, three months almost.”
“That’s not that long!”
“No, you’re right, it’s not,” Sarah admitted. “It’s just that most girls don’t last that long with him. So I mean, there’s the proof right? That he really likes you and isn’t just trying to fuck you. I’ve never heard of Terry going out with a girl for that long without getting any.”
“Yeah, I mean, he likes me a lot. He’s never pressured me to go further. Going upstairs at your party, that was my idea. And like, even after all those times I yelled at him and shit, he still wanted to go out with me. So he must like me for real, right?”
“Of course. Erica Mackey is just a bitch. She’s just jealous ‘cause she never hooked up with him and Porta-potty was just trying to be mean ‘cause she’s your stalker.”
Cerise nodded in agreement but it would have been easier to be sure if Sarah looked more certain.