“Oh my god!” shrieked Erica, bounding into Economics and handing Karine a piece of paper.
“The grad gag list. Look Karine, you’re hottest female, isn’t that nice?” she smiled sweetly.
Clearly Erica was up to something. Karine scanned the list and recoiled in horror.
“Oh my god, me and Steven are most likely to get married? Eww!”
“I know, isn’t it awesome! Everyone has realized that you and Steven are meant to be.”
Karine sighed heavily. Why did she stay with him? Could she imagine going to cegep still being with Steven? What was the point of their relationship? Now that Terry was single, she should really be concentrating on making headway with him.
“So when’s the wedding?” asked Erica.
“Shut up, it’s just a stupid joke,” she tossed away the list.
“I doubt Steven will think it’s a joke. He’s probably out buying a ring right now.”
“Whatever,” said Karine, trying to hide her annoyance.
“Karine, why are you even with him? You obviously don’t give a shit about him anymore.” Erica looked at Karine and her face was sincere. It was an honest question.
“I don’t know,” Karine admitted.
“I mean, you cheat on him all the time.”
“Not all the time! I’ve done it like twice!” Karine hissed, trying to keep her voice low.
“Karine, making out counts as cheating.”
“No it doesn’t!” And even if it did, so what?
“I’m sure Steven thinks it does. And you obviously don’t care about him,” Erica whispered back. “Ok listen, I wasn’t gonna say anything but I was talking to Terry earlier…”
“You were talking to Terry?” Karine asked skeptically.
“He is really messed up about Cherry, it’s weird.”
“I know, he’s so far gone on her, it’s so messed.”
“But since he’s free for prom I thought I’d take pity on him. I asked him to go with me and he totally shot me down, fucking asshole.”
Karine tried to contain her amusement but then wondered why the hell Erica would be admitting to this.
“So I got pissed and I was all like, you’re such a fucking loser, you’re not even gonna go to prom and then he was like, oh yeah? I’ll go with Karine. And I was like, Karine has a boyfriend and he was like, oh right and then he got all sad.”
Was Erica serious? It was entirely possible that she was. It was equally possible that she was full of shit but Karine couldn’t quite see what her game might be.
Steven, Erica and Andrew sat at the picnic tables at lunch but there was no sign of Terry or Chrissy. Karine had a moment of panic when she thought they might be hooking up. It would be so like Terry to rebound on an idiot like Chrissy and so like her to fall for his lies again.
Karine texted Chrissy and then joined her under the bleachers of the soccer field, where she was sobbing uncontrollably. Oh god, what if they’d hooked up and Terry ditched her?
“What’s wrong?” asked Karine as she sat down next to Christina.
“Kill me,” sobbed Chrissy.
“Come on, it can’t be that bad,” said Karine, fearing the worst. “What’s up your ass?”
“Like she’d fit.”
Chrissy burst into laughter but then kept crying. “This isn’t funny! She’s crossed the line!”
“What’d she do this time?”
“I don’t know how she did it but now Andrew’s going to prom with her! He just like, informed me that he’s like, going with like, her and like, not me! I hate her!”
Interesting. “Ok, granted Erica needs bitch therapy but I think Andrew deserves a little blame in this too! What the hell, I thought you guys were going out. He just decides he’s gonna go with someone else now? Who does that?”
“Yeah, he’s an asshole, we all know it. But he was my asshole! And now he’s Erica’s asshole!”
“Like Erica doesn’t have enough asshole of her own.”
Chrissy giggled and insisted it wasn’t funny.
“Don’t worry, you’ll find someone else to go with.”
“I wanted to go with Andrew.”
“Why would you wanna go with someone who would dump you so easily? Erica comes along so he chooses her over you? Fuck him. He doesn’t deserve you.”
“So who does? I don’t have time to find another date. Prom’s just around the corner. Do you think Terry would take pity on me?”
Terry actually might so Karine had to fix this up right quick. “You can go with Steven.”
“Ok, did you see the grad gag list? Ok, first of all Erica’s most popular which is like, whatever. You’re cutest though so congrats.”
“Yeah, I have it,” said Chrissy, pulling the list out of her book bag. “You’re hottest girl.”
“Yeah well,” smiled Karine.
“Terry is hottest guy,” Chrissy read from the list. “No shit. And he’s best male hair. How is Erica best female hair? She has Kesha roots. Andrew’s most obnoxious and funniest. Well, I guess that makes sense.”
“But look at most likely to get married.”
“You and Steven!”
“Yeah, what the hell?”
“What? It’s sweet. You two have been going out since Sec 3.”
“But it’s like people think we’re joined at the hip and I like, barely even notice him anymore. This just makes me realize you know, I don’t wanna be with him anymore. I haven’t wanted to be with him since the beginning of the year.”
Christina looked at Karine in confusion.
“I shouldn’t have gotten pissed at you when you started flirting with him that time at my party. I mean, you totally should go out with him. You’re both the same. You’re both into commitment and long-term shit. You should be with Steven, Chrissy.”
Christina looked stunned. “Um, what?”
“Ok, fuck Erica. You know this isn’t just about her having a date. She’s always been jealous of both of us. And she was constantly pissed that you had someone and she didn’t so that’s probably why she wanted to go with Andrew. So fuck her, now you have Steven.”
“What the fuck, Karine. Are you serious?”
“Totally! Take him!”
“What if he doesn’t want me?”
“Oh please, you’re cutest female. You can be his shoulder to cry on when I dump him. He’ll be all sad and vulnerable and shit and he’ll totally go for you.”
“Isn’t that kinda mean to do that to him though?”
“Oh whatever, he’s a guy. He’ll get over it.”
“But isn’t it kinda like what Andrew did to me?”
“Do you want a date for prom or not?” asked Karine impatiently.
“Then let’s do this thing.”
They joined Erica, Andrew and Steven at their picnic table and Karine ate her lunch in a hurry. She wanted to get on with it but she was also kind of nervous. Thankfully Andrew gave her an in.
“So when’s the wedding?” he snarked.
“Most likely to get married, eh?” chuckled Erica.
Steven laughed in embarrassment but Karine kept her composure. “I’m not gonna marry you, Steven.”
“I don’t remember proposing,” he responded coolly.
“Yeah but it’s like, what’s the point of staying in a relationship if there’s no potential for growth?”
“You wanna get married?” He sounded confused.
“No! I don’t! And I think that means something. I think this relationship has run its course.”
Andrew, Erica and Christina all held their breath, frozen in position, watching the scene with interest.
“Are you breaking up with me again?” asked Steven with barely contained contempt.
“It’s just, the stupid grad gag list made me see that we don’t make sense.”
“You’re breaking up with me because of a stupid grad list?” he yelled angrily.
“It’s not the list. It’s… life!”
“You fucking bitch.”
“Look,” she said in annoyance. “I’m really sorry, Steve. You know I care about you. I just can’t keep doing this is all.”
“Fuck you, Karine! You always do this shit. When the fuck are you gonna wake up and realize you’re never gonna do any better?”
“Fuck you!” she yelled back.
“Fuck you! You think I don’t know what this is about? I’m sure it’s a big fucking coincidence that you’re breaking up with me right after Terry becomes available again.”
Karine froze and got up from the table. “You don’t know what you’re talking about,” she mumbled dumbly.
“God, just fuck off!”
Karine did exactly that. She walked back to the school but before turning the corner she looked back and saw Chrissy put her arm around Steven, no doubt comforting him. Good girl, following the plan. Erica for her part looked way too pleased and even Andrew had a huge grin on his face. What a couple of assholes.
Now to find Terry. His car was still in the parking lot so he had to be somewhere close by. She could text him but she figured he would be somewhere outside smoking. Sure enough she spotted him on the overpass, looking down at the cars zipping by underneath.
“Hey,” she said, joining him. It was windy up here and her hair flapped in her face.
“Thanks for letting me crash at your place yesterday,” he said, dropping his cigarette butt down onto the highway below.
“So did you see the grad gag list?”
“Yeah, congrats. I hear you and Steve are getting married.”
“Oh my god, that is so not funny. It’s retarded.”
“Bet Steve’s all picking out china patterns or some shit.”
“Not likely. I broke up with him.”
He peered at her quizzically.
“It just makes me realize I don’t wanna be with him. Like, at all, you know?”
“Ok, I guess we’ll see how long it lasts this time.”
“No, it’s for good. I mean I even set him up with Christina... so yeah.”
“What? That’s weird. Although I guess they do deserve each other.”
Karine agreed and they both lit up new cigarettes. A few drops of rain speckled the concrete of the overpass. Both Karine and Terry flipped up the hoods of their sweatshirts.
“So how you feeling?”
“I dunno,” he shrugged.
“So um, listen. Well about prom. Obviously I’m not gonna go with Steve anymore and you’re not gonna…”
“Aw man, fuck prom.”
“I’m just not even gonna go.”
“What?” she said incredulously, wiping a drop of rain off her cheek. “How come?”
“I dunno man, I’m just not into it.”
“But it’s prom! It’s grad!”
“Yeah but it’s like, I dunno, Karine. I don’t wanna go there and see her and stuff. She’s prob’ly gonna go with her dork friends and be having a good time and it’ll just suck.”
“So if you can’t go with Cherry you don’t wanna go at all?”
“Her name is Cerise,” he said tightly.
“So you’re just gonna let her ruin your prom night? That’s pathetic!”
“Fuck you,” he said in irritation.
“Well what? You’re just gonna let that flaming bitch freak ruin your grad?”
“Hey relax! Don’t call her that! She’s not a bitch. She’s just, you know. I think she just didn’t feel like, comfortable with me ‘cause of you know, how we hang with different people. She has her whole crowd and I have mine and she felt like, out of it I guess. Which, you know, makes sense. I mean, I can’t blame her. She has a point. And I mean I just have to think of a way to convince her that it’s cool. I mean, we don’t need to have the same friends to still go out. Maybe if I give her some time she’ll see that and maybe you know things could be cool again. I dunno, what do you think?”
He regarded Karine earnestly. She stared back in shock.
“No, seriously,” he said.
“What happened to all that shit about how she thinks she’s better than you and everything?”
“She doesn’t. She’s just concerned, that’s all. It’s like that time she was saying I’m a good public speaker and I could be good at school if I wanted. She was saying how I could be more you know? I could do more. ‘Cause that’s how she is. It’s like she’s got this whole motivation thing going on. And she does stuff. She doesn’t just sit around or whatever, she does stuff. And she thinks about stuff and… stuff. And I think she just thinks I could be like that too.”
“What’s wrong with how you are now?”
“I dunno, I just need to be a bit better… for her. I just like her. You know, she’s cool and... you know, I think we can still get back together. I just have to...” he paused, his eyes widening in horror. “Oh my god, I’m such a retard.”
“What do you mean?’
“It’s so obvious! God, I’m so stupid! It’s prob’ly…”
“Nothing, just… the last time we fooled around… it got a bit kinky. I mean, even for me it was new. It prob’ly scared her! She prob’ly got freaked out by how hardcore we got.”
“I thought she was a virgin.”
“Yeah, we haven’t you know, P in V’d but we did other stuff. Like a bit S&M’ey. God, she thinks I’m a perv, Karine!”
“Did you like hurt her?” asked Karine, genuinely shocked.
“No! Hell no! She hurt me! I mean I was sub, she was dom.”
“I can’t believe I let myself get carried away like that. I thought she was cool with it but what if she wasn’t? What if I pushed her too far, too fast? Oh my god, I’m gonna be sick.” Terry crouched down and buried his face in his hands.
“Are you ok?” Karine asked, crouching down next to him.
Holy shit, he was crying.
Karine rubbed his back. “It’s ok, it’s gonna be ok.”
“What if she totally hates me forever?” he wailed. “What if… what if she thinks I like, you know, pressured her? Like if she thinks I assaulted her! Oh god! I’ll kill myself!”
“Hey, it’s not that big of a deal, just talk to her,” Karine suggested gently.
“She won’t talk to me! She won’t even look at me! I’m a fucking perverted asshole freak! I’m just like my father! She was the best thing that ever happened to me, Karine! The best thing! She’s like perfection and I fucking blew it!”
“Oh my god,” Karine stared at Terry as the truth dawned on her. “Terry. You’re in love with her.”
“Shut the fuck up,” he replied in embarrassment, wiping away the tears on his face.
“Oh my god, you’re totally in love with her.”
“I just like her, Karine. I’m not gonna marry her or anything. That’s you and Steve, remember?” he said with more spite than was necessary.
It was drizzling now and Karine stood up. Terry composed himself and with shaking hands lit another cigarette. Karine walked away without another word. There was nothing else she could say.
She walked past the picnic tables but they were empty. Entering the school she saw Steven and Christina in the fishbowl, talking. Was it too late to get back with Steven? How bitchy would that be to Chrissy? But Karine couldn’t go to prom without a date. That would be insane. Who the hell else could she go with though? It was so last minute. Who would be free?
She found her answer in English class where she overheard Cherry explaining to Sarah that she would be going to prom with Jay since she and Terry weren’t together anymore. Sarah thought Jay was a pretty shitty consolation prize. Karine agreed but he was better than nothing and Cherry really needed to get her ass handed to her. Who the hell did she think she was, dumping Terry? She was lucky he ever went out with her in the first place. It was so gross that he was in love with her. God, what a fucking piece of shit!
Karine lingered outside of French class at the end of the day and followed Jay to his locker. Once the hallway was mostly clear she went up to him.
“Hi!” he smiled brightly.
“So those Taffy pranks were pretty classic.”
“I know, right? Thanks for helping with the boat…” he trailed off.
“It was my pleasure,” she smiled suggestively.
He stared at her in awe, drool practically falling from his mouth.
“I’m feeling sad,” she pouted.
“What’s wrong?” he asked with concern.
“I just broke up with my boyfriend.”
“Now I don’t have a date for prom.”
“But I guess you can take me.”
He blinked in confusion. “Uh, what?”
“Don’t you wanna go with me?” she asked, her voice dripping with honey.
She sealed the deal by giving him a peck on the cheek. He turned red and swallowed the lump in his throat. She looked down to confirm there was another lump elsewhere. God, it was so easy sometimes.
“Be at my house at like, 6. And you’ll have to pay for our share of the limo.”
“Ok?” she demanded.
Jay ran to The Wall, frantically trying to catch the guys before they left. He found them chatting with Cerise. He ran over to them and jumped on Willy’s back, who twirled around like a cat that had just been attacked.
“You’re never gonna believe it!” Jay whooped in excitement as he dismounted his sweaty steed.
“What?” asked Vani. “Did they renew the Sarah Connor Chrominomicles?”
“Better! Ok, you know how we thought we were in the twilight zone when Sarah asked Karl to grad? Well we just entered the Outer Limits because guess who asked me?”
“The abominable snowman!” screeched Vani.
“Karine frakking Cavalière and I’m 98% sure she was serious!”
“You’re sure she wasn’t just checking out your ass?” asked Vani with a grin.
“You’re so full of shit,” mumbled Willy.
“I swear to god,” insisted Jay. “I’m really being serious. It really happened.”
They all stared at him.
“Really?” asked Willy.
“It’s really like we’ve entered a parallel dimension,” said Karl.
“We’re not in a parallel dimension, we’re in a perpendicular dimension,” said Vani.
“How are these things happening?” asked Willy. “And how come they’re not happening to me?”
“You really want me to answer that?” smirked Karl.
“You didn’t say yes though, right?” asked Cerise coldly.
Jay looked at her. God, she wasn’t mad was she? She had to understand.
“Well yeah,” he replied. “I mean, it’s Karine!”
“But she’s going out with Steven.”
“She broke up with him! God, Cerise, isn’t this awesome! Now we don’t have to go together.”
“What? You guys were gonna go together?” asked Willy.
“Yeah but just as friends,” explained Jay. “But now I get to go with Karine! It’s like a dream come true, it’s so awesome! I mean you don’t mind, right Cerise?”
“Oh no, of course not, why would I mind?” she smiled. “Karine’s your dream girl, of course you should go with her.”
“I knew you’d understand!” he said with glee.
“I’ll go with you,” Willy said to Cerise.
“I have to go pee. I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” said Cerise, ignoring Willy and walking off to the bathroom.
Shauna dropped her cigarette butt into the sink and watched it soak up the moisture. Suddenly the door flew open and Cerise burst in. She ran to a stall and threw up. Shauna stayed frozen and eventually Cerise flushed the toilet and stumbled over to the sinks. She rinsed her mouth out with water and turned off the tap, staring at the sink below.
“Are you ok?” asked Shauna.
“I deserve this,” she replied, her voice groggy.
Cerise looked up at Shauna. Her eyes were filled with tears. “I’m a total bitch and I deserve whatever I get. You should hate me, Shauna. You should like, hit me or something. It’s what I deserve.”
“I don’t hate you,” Shauna responded.
“It’s fucking karma! I did a shitty thing and now a shitty thing is happening to me! I dumped Terry and now Jay dumped me! It’s fucking karma!”
“So you don’t have a boyfriend anymore?”
“Nope,” Cerise laughed bitterly. “I’m alone! Like the fucking loser I am!”
Cerise sobbed loudly and kept wiping the tears from her eyes. She fished a Kleenex from her pocket and blew her nose. Shauna considered going to her, hugging her or something but she didn’t have the guts to do it. She tried to think of something to say but Cerise didn’t stick around to hear it. She left before she stopped crying and didn’t even say goodbye.