“Um, hi Ms. Simon.”
“Angela,” said Cerise’s mom with a smile.
“Right, Angela, hi.” Terry felt a little uncomfortable calling Cerise’s mom by her fist name but whatever. She was actually kind of attractive for an older lady. If this is what Cerise was gonna look like in 30 years, that was cool.
Terry stood on the doorstep to Cerise’s house holding a small bouquet of flowers. Ms. Simon… Angela explained that Cerise wasn’t home yet but she expected them any minute and asked Terry if he’d like to come in for some lemonade while he waited.
Terry considered it but felt too awkward hanging out with Cerise’s mom alone so he just asked if he could go put the flowers in Cerise’s room as a surprise or whatever.
“Of course! Oh that’s so sweet of you, Terry. Go right ahead. Her room is the first one on the right,” she said as she pointed up the stairs.
Terry thanked her and skipped upstairs. In two seconds flat he was standing in Cerise’s bedroom. So weird. He’d never been in here before. It was a pretty generic girl room, with a brightly coloured bedspread and a dresser with a mirror and a jewelry box and stuff. There was a bookshelf with geeky books, like about Star Trek and junk, and some weird knick-knacks but there was also a really cool painting above the bed of a cartoon girl done in sort of an anime style but all dark and moody.
He sat on the bed and put the flowers on Cerise’s pillow. First checking the door to make sure her mom wasn’t watching, he quickly leaned down and smelled the pillow. It smelled awesome, just like Cerise, all citrus and yumminess. He got up and looked at her dresser only to smile broadly when he saw a picture of him and Cerise at grad stuck in the mirror. And there was a dried up rose in a tiny teacup, which he could only assume was the rose he’d given her that night. Yes! So awesome that she’d kept it. Very gingerly he opened the top right drawer of her dresser and sure enough he found her underwear. Would it be insanely creepy to touch something? She had matching bras and panties! They were blue with yellow polka dots. So adorable!
He practically jumped out of his skin when he heard a car door slam and he quickly shut the drawer, rushing to the window to see that sure enough, Cerise was home.
As soon as Cerise got out of her dad’s car she walked over to Jay’s driveway where he and Sarah and the boys were gathered, playing basketball. Before she could even say anything Sarah rushed over to her and gave her a big hug. Aww, Sarah was so awesome.
?” she asked. Quebec
“Fine. How ‘bout you guys?”
“It’s been pretty cool,” said Jay, cradling the basketball in his hands. “You’ll never guess…”
Karl interrupted, putting on his best shmoopy voice. “You’ll never guess who’s working at the yacht club!”
“I think she likes me!” joined in Vani.
“She’s my new girlfriend,” chimed in Willy.
“Shut up!” pouted Jay
Sarah and Cerise chuckled as Jay and Willy went back and forth kicking each other in the shins.
“But seriously though, it’s been pretty cool,” Jay went on, moving his arms around so Willy couldn’t steal the basketball. “Karine has been like totally cool with us.”
“Actually, that’s basically true,” Karl nodded. “She hasn’t been bitchy at all.”
“Everyone mellows out when they get out of high school,” Sarah explained.
“Yeah, she’s actually pretty funny,” added Vani. “She complains about all the stupid members like we do.”
“And she laughs at our jokes,” said Willy.
“No, she’s laughing at you, not at your jokes,” clarified Karl.
“Yeah see, I told you guys she was cool,” smiled Jay.
Cerise nodded kindly but was sort of irritated to realize that Jay had so quickly forgotten about how Karine had treated him at grad. Typical though. He had a major blind spot when it came to that girl.
“Hi, Terry!” said Sarah brightly.
Cerise spun around and saw Terry walking towards them. Where had he come from?
“Hey,” he replied, looking at Cerise.
“Hi,” she said.
They stared at each other for a moment and it was kind of awkward. What was she supposed to do? What should she say? A second later Terry walked up to Jay and slammed his fist down onto the basketball. Jay lost his grip on the ball and it bounced off the ground, with Terry catching it a second later. He effortlessly tossed it into the basket and somehow after it bounced up it hit Jay in the back of the head. Vani, Karl and Willy all burst into gleeful cackles but Terry smirked, almost imperceptibly.
“See you around, Cerise,” he said as he walked off.
“Ok,” she responded dumbly.
He strode over to her driveway and hopped on a bike and rode off. Since when did he ride a bike? The boys kept laughing and Vani enthusiastically wondered how Terry had called upon the will of the Khaleesi to make the basketball move in such a beautifully choreographed dance of awesometacticness.
“No shit, that was pretty freaking cool,” agreed Sarah.
“I gotta admit, I think the laws of physics were just bent somehow,” nodded Karl.
“It wasn’t cool!” ranted Jay. “He’s like a frakkin’ sith frakkin’ dark Lord except without the cape and shit.”
“Totally! Terry is so mega!” said Vani, grabbing the basketball and pearing into it as though it were a crystal ball. “This is totally going in a glass cabinet somewhere!”
Sarah and the boys all took turns trying to replicate Terry’s move while Jay pouted and declared them all to be losers. Cerise took her leave and went home where her mother hugged her and told her that there was a surprise waiting for her in her room.
Her sisters and her parents all followed her into her bedroom as she went to investigate. She immediately saw the bouquet of flowers on her bed and picked them up, smelling them. They were real and everything. Cerise didn’t know what kind of flowers they were, but they were very pretty. Sort of star shaped and pink.
“Lilies!” Julie exclaimed.
Ok, so lilies then.
“Terry brought them over,” announced Angela.
“Oh my god, that’s so romantic!” enthused Julie.
“It’s a little clichéd, but basically cool,” admitted Simone.
“Terry’s so awesome!” Julie gushed.
“I dunno,” mused Simone. “The more I think about it, the more I think it’s kinda lame, like he got it from a handbook on how to pick up women, except like from the ‘80s or something.”
“No way! I think it’s awesome!” said Julie. “Terry’s the best. You’re so fucking lucky, Cerise!”
“Excuse me! Language!” Angela chided.
“Sorry,” Julie rolled her eyes. “You’re so fucking fortunate. But seriously, he’s hot and romantic? That’s pretty major.”
“You didn’t tell me you had a boyfriend,” Cerise’s father finally spoke.
“I don’t. We broke up.”
“Then how come he’s giving you flowers?” asked Julie with a grin.
“I guess he’s just being nice,” shrugged Cerise.
“Wow, you’re such an expert at decoding romantic gestures,” said Simone with a snort. “Get a clue, dumbass.”
Cerise wasn’t actually clueless. The flowers were a pretty clear sign. This meant Terry wanted to get back together, right? But did Cerise want to get back together with him?
Would it really be such a big deal to get air conditioning at the club? This weather was insane. Karine wiped down the bar and then leaned up against the wall, hoping to catch a draft from the window. Instead all she got was the opportunity to eavesdrop on Sarah and Cherry. Unfortunately they weren’t talking about anything interesting. Sarah was just explaining how she was actually a member of the Baie D’Urfe Yacht Club but did most of her sailing here on Karl’s mom’s tanzer. She and the nerds were her racing crew. How fun for them. Whatever.
The clubhouse was pretty much empty so Karine went outside and joined the girls. First she asked them if they wanted anything and when Sarah said they were just waiting for the boys Karine allowed herself to sit at their table and light up a cigarette. They were under the porch roof so she wasn’t really supposed to smoke here but whatever, she saw members doing it all the time.
God, Cerise was such a dork. She actually coughed when Karine blew smoke her way. But at least she didn’t say anything about it, so Karine repositioned herself and blew her smoke in the other direction.
“Tough day?” asked Sarah, looking up momentarily from her cell phone, upon which she was furiously texting.
“Nah, it’s been slow actually. But I’ve already worked six days this week and I have to work tomorrow too ‘cause it’s fucking Hawaiian night. It’s such a pain in the ass, I swear to god.”
“Oh, Hawaiian night! We should come,” said Sarah.
Sarah was cool and all but sometimes she was just way too happy about stuff.
“It’s gonna be lame as fuck, but yeah, you should make an appearance. Keep me company anyway,” Karine shrugged.
Oh shit. Here was Monsieur Rocher walking up to the porch. He was such a prick. Karine whispered as much to the girls and hastily put out her cigarette. He came onto the deck and practically salivated all over Karine as he put his arm around her shoulders. She managed to dash away from him and into the doorway to the club while he asked her for a beer in French.
“Ca sera pas long,” she replied sweetly and then rolled her eyes at the girls when Mr. Shithead’s back was turned.
“Did you see that?” whispered Cerise once Karine had gone into the clubhouse and the old dude had taken a seat at the other end of the deck. “He just called her petite chouète and totally hugged her and shit. What a perv.”
“I know,” said Sarah as she texted on her phone. “Old men are so inappropriate. I can’t wait ‘till the older generation dies off. The guys are on their way.”
“Not that younger guys are much better,” mused Cerise. She didn’t bother mentioning that Sarah needn’t have checked her phone to see when the guys would join them since looking out to the water would have yielded the same information in less time.
“Speak of the devil,” smirked Sarah as the boys trampled onto the deck.
Sarah put away her phone and kissed Karl when he sat next to her while Vani asked them whazzup and referred to them as his homies.
“We were just deciding to come to Hawaiian night tomorrow,” announced Sarah even though Cerise hadn’t really agreed to it. Not that she didn’t want to come but still.
“Hawaiian night? Why?” asked Karl.
“Seriously,” sneered Jay. “Those things are always mega retarded. It’s just a bunch of old people being… retarded and old. They’re like, we’re old, we cannot function, must be Hawaiian, recapture our youth in a misguided attempt at youthful Hawaiian retardation.”
“You’re not allowed to use the word retarded anymore,” said Sarah.
“Seriously, it’s too ironic,” agreed Cerise.
Karine came out with Mr. Perv’s beer and once he’d smarmed all over her she rejoined the gang. “It’s such bullshit I have to work tomorrow. We barely even get overtime here. I bet it’s totally not in keeping with the normes du travail. So you guys coming tomorrow?”
“Totally!” gushed Jay. “We wouldn’t miss it. We’re down with the Hawaiian punch, yo!”
The boys all snickered but none of them mocked Jay to his face, which showed quite a bit of restraint on their part. Cerise sort of wished they wouldn’t hold back.
“I hope none of you guys wanna order anything ‘cause I’m so done, I swear to god,” Karine said, totally ignoring Jay’s embarrassing display.
“No we’re good,” smiled Vani. “I said I’d eat at home tonight so I’d better chuzz.”
“Yeah, same here,” agreed Karl. “We RLing tonight?”
“No, my mom’s being a total curfew nazi. Let’s do a mass chat,” suggested Sarah.
“Woowoo! Bording the chat train!” Vani stood up and yanked on an imaginary horn, robotically walking away from the table. “All aboard!”
Without missing a beat, Karl, Jay and Willy stood up and followed him off the deck, all walking with the same robotic movements. After a moment Sarah and Cerise followed suit and while Karine obviously stayed behind, to her credit she seemed more amused than horrified.
Once everyone had gone Karine lit up another cigarette before the dinner rush began. Then it was the usual routine of serving members their stupid meals and trying not to puke while all the old men awkwardly hit on her while the old women looked at her with either pity or resentment. God, what a shit job this turned out to be. Actually, it wasn’t so bad. It was nice to work so close to home; she could literally get up 5 minutes before her shifts started. And it was nice to do some of the work outside, even if that work was basically waitressing, which sucked but not really any more than retail had sucked.
Once her shift was finally over she said bye to the other kitchen girls and lit up a cigarette as she crossed the parking lot. That sailing instructor guy was lounging against the rickety wooden fence that bordered the sidewalk and he smiled at her as she went by.
“Hey, Karine, sup?”
“Hey,” she replied, wracking her brain in an effort to remember his name.
“Where you heading?”
“Just home,” she said, not unkindly but sort of wishing he would just leave her alone. She was getting sick of random guys always hitting on her.
“Well a bunch of us are heading to
Clyde’s, just to chill, you know? Could be cool. Wanna join?”
Her first instinct was to accept the invitation, but this was just reflex. Even when she’d been dating Steve she often accepted invitations from other boys to go to bars (boys she met outside of school) just because it meant they would buy her drinks. But a moment later she wanted to decline the offer because she just wasn’t ready. She knew this guy wasn’t the Asshole and he might be a perfectly nice guy and she should get back on the horse and keep dating so as not to become a total loser, ‘cause hell, if Terry was gonna be all obsessed over a dork like Cherry then she really couldn’t let herself be single for much longer especially not if she was going to keep hanging out with Sarah and that gaggle of nerds and oh my god, she’d totally become the loser in a group of total dillhole dweebs!
“Ok!” she said in a mild panic.
“Cool,” smiled what’s-his-name.
She told him to hang on for 10 minutes while she showered and changed and made him wait outside while she ran into her house. He might not be the Asshole, but better safe than sorry.
With their combined efforts the LaFramboise sisters had managed to convince their mother that whenever the temperature jumped over 30 degrees Celsius they would be allowed to turn on the air conditioning. Angela, being a hippie, preferred to suffer rather than increase her eco footprint on the planet but her daughters were less tolerant of discomfort and also much less responsible for the payment of the Hydro bill. Cerise knew that her mother was struggling to pay the bills so she didn’t verbally complain when the temperature dropped to an apparently reasonable 29 degrees and her mother shut off the AC.
After a cool shower, Cerise clothed herself in nothing but a tank top and booty shorts and poured herself a tall glass of ice water. Then she settled down in front of the computer for the nightly chat session with the gang.
She really would have to get herself a cell phone. Whenever Karl and Sarah weren’t together they spent their time texting one another and Cerise was starting to feel like the only way to remain friends with Sarah was to get in on that texting. Wasn’t it a little rude to constantly be texting other people when you were hanging out with someone? Not that Cerise should be complaining. Sarah getting together with Karl had actually benefitted Cerise’s relationship with her. She hardly ever hung out with the Green Girls anymore, not that Cerise had anything against Mel and Steph but still, it was kind of better this way.
Holy hotness, Batman! Cerise was totally wearing like, practically nothing! And she was wearing glasses, how cute! Terry knew he was veering into stalker territory by literally spying on her through her living room window but he’d just needed to look in to make sure it was really her and not one of her sisters. His intention was to knock on the window rather than ring the doorbell because he didn’t want to wake the whole house. Not that it was really that late, but still, he didn’t want to get into a whole thing with her mom again.
He’d ridden over to her house on his bike and his plan was to win her back with… well, that was as far as the plan had gotten. But so far it was going pretty well because he could see the flowers he’d given her sitting in a vase on the coffee table. Although maybe that was a bad sign, like if she’d really liked them she would have put them in her bedroom.
Ok seriously, he had to make his presence known because if she noticed him of her own accord then she would seriously think he really was stalking her and then she’d never want to have anything to do with him ever again. The windows were open, all covered in screens so he whispered her name but she apparently hadn’t heard anything so he called out to her a little more loudly. Still nothing. Oh. Earbuds. She was probably listening to music or something, duh.
He rapped his hand on the border of one of the windows and she practically jumped out of her skin. She spun around in her chair and peered at the window, squinting to see through the screen.
He waved at her and watched her get up and move towards the front door. An instant later she joined him on the front lawn.
“God, you scared the shit out of me!” she exclaimed in a hushed voice.
He stammered out an apology and wondered why he was so nervous. Probably because she was looking so uberhot in her tiny little shorts and tight tank with no bra on! He felt even more nervous when she self-consciously crossed her arms and he realized he was gawking.
“Uh yeah so uh, can we talk?” he asked.
“Ok, just let me go get dressed.”
“What’s wrong with how you’re dressed now?” he smiled, regaining his confidence.
“These are just like…” she trailed off, seemingly embarrassed.
“Your sexy clothes?”
“My house clothes!” she giggled.
“I should hang around your house more often,” he smiled.
Karine’s initial reaction had been correct. Or rather her second reaction. Whatever, the reaction that had advised her not to go out with Blake. What a tool. He was cute and all but totally boring. All he talked about was sailing! At least Sarah’s nerd friends talked about other stuff even though they were all sailors. Not that they talked about anything particularly interesting besides Game of Thrones, which was a show they’d gotten her into. And it was pretty hilarious how they were always picking on each other and making jokes about how fat Willy was right to his face. It was like the good old days when she would subtly mock Erica’s fatness but pretend like she was just making innocent comments.
That Willy guy actually had a pretty thick skin to keep hanging out with those guys even though they were total jerks to him, not that he didn’t give as good as he got, except his jokes were never as clever as Vani’s or Karl’s or even Jay’s. Fat people were always so stupid. Wow, that was totally bigoted, wasn’t it? But come on, fat people were kind of dumb, weren’t they? Like, you had to be pretty stupid to get fat in the first place, ‘cause like seriously, it’s so hard to not stuff your face with food every second of the day? But she supposed food was an addiction like any other and if you were going to treat alcoholism as a disease then food addiction deserved the same respect. Of course, alcoholics didn’t deserve respect. They were just weak willed losers. Karine sometimes felt like Christina was pushing the edge of alcohol abuse, not that she’d ever said anything about it. But seriously, she couldn’t even count all the times she’d had to hold her hair back while that girl puked it out. Karine wondered who was holding Chrissy’s hair these days, since they’d stopped hanging out. She should really give her a call and see how she was doing.
Blake and his lamo friends all stared at her expectantly. She seriously had no idea what they were talking about and pretended like it was too loud for her to hear. They repeated their dumb question and it was about the yacht club. God, whatever! She had to work there all day, how lame to have to talk about it at night too!
Cerise felt a little self-conscious but she’d chosen not to change into more appropriate attire since Terry was obviously enjoying the view and she kind of enjoyed him enjoying it. They’d ridden their bikes to a nearby playground and were now walking through the sand, their shoes in hand.
“Nice night, eh?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she agreed.
“Should I say no just to break up the monotony?” she giggled.
“Sorry. I’m just trying to think of how to say… what I wanna say.”
Wow, he actually seemed nervous. It was completely adorable and highly endearing.
“How ‘bout you just say it however it comes out?”
“You won’t spaz out on me?” he smirked.
“Depends I guess,” she grinned.
He chuckled and then took a deep breath. “Ok well um, I guess it’s old news by now but just wanted to um, you know, about grad and stuff.”
“Yeah,” she nodded.
“So yeah. I wanted to talk to you sooner, I called you but, I was gonna mail you but then I couldn’t think of what to say.”
“Yeah, it’s ok.”
“I mean you know, I just wanted to like, kind of apologize or whatever.”
“It’s ok.” What was this power he had over her? He seriously had been a total jerk at grad but now he seemed so sweet and sincere. Was she a total schmuck for falling for it?
“I was way out of line, I know that. I was kind of angry I guess.”
Looking back she had to admit it had been her fault just as much as his. He’d been acting all assy because he was jealous of her hanging out with Jay but really, his jealousy hadn’t been unfounded. She had broken up with him just to go with Jay, not that she had any intention of telling him that. Instead she assured him that it was ok.
“I shouldn’t have been such an ass,” he went on.
“It’s ok, I was out of it too.”
“I was drunk, it… I mean that’s no excuse, I know. I don’t know what my damage was.”
Ok, now this was getting uncomfortable. It was getting increasingly difficult to listen to him apologize when she knew she’d been initially at fault for ditching him and then taking him for granted. At the last minute when Jay had ditched her she’d asked him to take her back and he totally did.
“No, seriously, it’s ok, Terry. I mean I get it. I was out of line too. I mean I was bitchy to you and then like I was selfish and stuff.”
“No but like I yelled at you.”
“Yeah but like I was like so lame to like just like randomly break up with you for no reason just ‘cause like… for no reason and then like expect you to still be there for me.”
“I’ll always be there for you,” he said earnestly.
She looked up at him and wondered if he would kiss her. But he didn’t. So she walked over to the jungle gym and dropped her shoes, climbing to the top.
Karine supposed she was grateful to Blake for walking her home. She didn’t like to walk in the dark alone since the incident with the Asshole but whatever, this guy was totally boring. He was telling her all about his plans to go to U of T in the coming year and Karine was trying really hard to actually listen to his ramblings. When prompted she told him she’d be doing Theatre at John Abbott and he said he could totally see her as an actress. Was that a line? Yep, it clearly was because about a second later he was putting his hand on her shoulder and then trying to kiss her.
She pulled away instantly. “Listen I gotta go. I gotta work in the morning.”
“I thought you were working tomorrow night.”
“Yeah, I gotta work like, all day! They’re total slave drivers at that place, I swear to god!” she chuckled.
“Yeah, no shit. Ok well so then I’ll see you tomorrow,” he smiled, and went in for a kiss again.
Seriously?! Couldn’t this jerk take a hint?! She leaned away from him and broke into a speed walk as she made her escape. She was sure she looked like a total spaz practically jogging away from this guy. He would probably tell everyone at work that she was a total frigid bitch but god, whatever. She just couldn’t deal with this shit right now.
“So you working this summer?” asked Terry as he joined Cerise up on the jungle gym.
“Yeah, just helping out in my mom’s bookstore.”
“Your mom has a bookstore?”
“She’s just the manager. It’s in Beaurepaire village.”
Apparently Cerise only shaved her legs up to her knees. Terry could see fine, almost imperceptible hairs on her thighs, glowing in the light of the streetlamps. He wanted to touch them but thought better of it. It was probably best not to come on too strong.
“That’s cool. I can come visit. I do a lot of crap around there. I’m working for the city. Just doing maintenance stuff.”
“Oh yeah? Do you like it?”
“Well the actual work isn’t bad. It’s fine when I’m like, off somewhere doing my thing. But I hate it when I have to do stuff at the town hall ‘cause that’s where my boss is and he’s like, such a prick. He’s so stereotypically Quebecois it’s retarded. He’s all like, ehh Trebi, plus vite, he can’t pronounce my name so he’s all like, ehh Trebi. And all the other workers are all old and French and they’re all, m’a aller m’poigner une bière ostie, pi ein jos louis.”
Cerise giggled. “My dad’s new girlfriend is French and she’s kind of overly tanned but she’s nice.”
totally boring?” Quebec City
“Yeah, pretty much. There wasn’t much to do. I mean we did the basic touristy crap in the first week and then we’re like, ok, now what? They have a pool though so we went swimming a lot.”
“That’s cool. My dad’s place has a pool. We should go swimming some time. I mean if you’re not too sick of that.”
“Yeah, no, I mean, yeah.” She nodded and giggled in that cute way she had.
“Like this weekend if you want,” he pressed, hoping she’d wear a bikini.
“Oh, speaking of which, my mom like, invited you to Sunday dinner. I mean you don’t have to come though. I know that’s totally lame.”
“No, it’s cool, I’d like to come.” Family wasn’t Terry’s favourite thing but getting in good with Cerise’s kin probably wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
“Really? Well my mom’ll be glad. God, she and my sisters were pretty impressed by you leaving me flowers. Thanks for that by the way, it was really nice.”
Terry smiled brightly, glad to have pleased her. “You liked them?”
She smiled and nodded, looking him in the eyes. Shit, she was so pretty, with her pink lips and her huge cartoon eyes.
“I missed you,” he breathed, pushing a strand of hair behind her ear.
“I missed you too.”
She leaned towards him and he took the back of her head in his hand, bending down to kiss her. Her lips were just as soft as he remembered and damn, she still smelled just as good. No way he was gonna fuck things up this time. No way in hell.