“Hey bitch, how’s it going in the land of principal players?” asked Janice, joining Karine and Cerise in the theatre on Monday morning.
They were reading their scripts and Cerise assumed Karine was memorizing her lines. Cerise didn’t have much to memorize but she was doing it anyway, just ‘cause what the hell else was she going to do?
“Not bad, bitch,” Karine responded. How’s it going playing furniture?”
“Hey, I’m the baddest human pillow you’re ever gonna meet you fucking stuck-up, leading lady bitch.”
“I don’t doubt it, you useless, don’t even have any lines, pillow bitch.”
“I am so sick of all these mother-fucking pillows on this mother-fucking stage!” Janice bellowed, bursting into laugher halfway through her speech.
Karine laughed too and Cerise joined in, even though she hadn’t really been included in the bitchy banter.
“So’d you have a good time on Thursday? You left fucking early. One second you were like there and then the next you were like, totally not. It was messed, dude. Messed.”
“Whatever, I think I’m actually over the whole bar scene. I did that shit in high school, it’s like, whatever, I don’t even know.”
“Yeah, you don’t even know. You don’t even know!” Janice screeched dramatically, her hands in the air.
“I don’t even know!” Karine matched her tone, extending her arms and bugging out her eyes.
“So Jenny bitch, did you get lucky last night?” Janice turned to Cerise, her tone returning to normal.
“Yeah right,” Cerise scoffed, trying to sound mature and nonchalant, like she wasn’t a loser virgin, “Terry was so drunk there’s no way he’d have been able to get it up. As soon as I got him home he passed out.”
“Hah! Nice,” laughed Janice. “Men. Can’t live without ‘em and they reach their sexual peak too early.”
Janice went on to detail her extra-curricular activities of that evening and a little while later Hugh and Fred entered the theatre. They announced which scene they’d be doing and Janice skipped off to be part of the crowd in the French revolution.
Cerise whispered to Karine. “Why did you leave so early on Thursday?”
“No reason,” Karine whispered back.
“It was Andrew Lester, wasn’t it?”
Karine narrowed her eyes and stared at the revolutionaries.
“You wigged out as soon as you saw him.”
“You know what, Cerise? How ‘bout you just drop it?”
“I can’t stand that guy. I hate it when Terry hangs out with him. And he’s so gross with Christina, all acting like he owns her when she’s clearly so over him,” Cerise rambled.
“Yeah, she showed up after you left. Andrew was trying to make out with her and she obviously didn’t want to, but maybe that’s just ‘cause she wanted to seem available for Terry. I think she’s still into him. But like not in a mean way. She seems cool with Terry and I being together.”
“So Christina still hangs out with Andrew?” Karine asked in concern.
“I guess. I mean as far as I know Terry didn’t invite Christina so the only way she and Erica would have shown up is if Andrew invited them.”
“Erica was there too? Well then I’m glad I left. Fuck those two are such assholes.”
“Tell me something I don’t know. But I thought you were friends with them?”
“Please, I’ve so moved on from that high school bullshit,” hissed Karine. “I can’t believe I was ever friends with them.”
“You don’t have to convince me,” nodded Cerise.
Karine looked at Cerise with great consideration.
“You ok?” asked Cerise.
Karine nodded and slowly crept out of her seat, motioning for Cerise to follow. They slowly stepped outside and into the hallway.
“I’m gonna tell you something, but only if you swear not to tell anyone else,” Karine kept whispering even though there was no one around.
“I promise. I swear.” Wow, this was intense.
Karine looked around and pulled Cerise into the empty green room. “Ok, so you remember grad? Like how I went with Jay?”
“Ok well like it was like just this whole thing that totally got out of hand. I didn’t really wanna go with Jay. I mean no offense but… well you know. I really wanted to go with… ok, well that doesn’t matter. The point is, I was kinda pissed and... I was pissed at Erica and... she was with Andrew and... I kinda flirted with Andrew to piss off Erica and...” she trailed off.
“Yeah,” Cerise prodded.
“I don’t even know why I’m telling you this. I mean you seriously have to swear you’ll never tell anyone. Ok?”
“Yeah! I swear!” insisted Cerise, more intrigued by the second.
“Ok well, Andrew and I, we went up to this room we got. I wasn’t into him at all. I seriously just went with him to piss off Erica. I thought we’d just watch TV or something. I mean we were just friends. I mean I knew he was into me, but we were friends so he’d never, right? But he did.”
“Did what?” asked Cerise in confusion.
Karine sighed in exasperation. “You know! I said no, Cerise. I totally said no. I tried pushing him off and everything but well, he wanted to and I didn’t, and he’s stronger than me so you can guess what happened.”
Cerise could indeed guess and her stomach twisted in horror and disgust. “Oh my god, Karine.”
“Anyway, it’s no big deal or anything but…”
“Of course it’s a big deal!”
“Shut up! No it isn’t! You can’t tell anyone!”
“Karine, if you don’t want me to tell anyone I won’t. I swear. But fuck, maybe you should, I mean like, maybe you should tell Christina. Just so you know, so she knows what kind of person he is. So she can get the hell away from him.”
“Yeah,” Karine sighed, clearly having come to the same conclusion.
Cerise looked at Karine with newfound pity. It was completely surreal to hear this news, even though she wasn’t the least bit surprised to find out Andrew Lester was a fucking rapist. Cerise felt horrible for Karine but there was maybe a small part of her that felt vindicated, like she was a genius for having sensed something was off about that asshole. “You know, I knew it,” she said without thinking. “I always knew there was something off about him.”
“You know what, Cerise? Could we not make this about you?” Karine’s voice dripped with contempt.
Cerise shut her mouth immediately and nodded sheepishly. “Sorry.”
“You’re not gonna tell anyone, right? Not even Terry. Especially not Terry!”
“I swear, I won’t.” It hadn’t even occurred to Cerise until now how difficult it would be to keep this information from Terry. “But I mean, did you ever think of going to the police?”
“Give me a fucking break. This isn’t fucking Degrassi. You know what happens in real life when girls try to report shit like this? They end up getting fucked all over again by the cops and the courts and all that shit.”
“Shut the fuck up, Cerise. Just remember what you promised.” And with that, Karine left the green room.
Karine wasn’t sure if she regretted opening up to Cerise like that. Why Cerise of all people? Maybe because her only true friend was Terry and she couldn’t tell Terry because he was a guy and he’d get all macho about it and want to beat up Andrew or something. Or even worse, what if he took Andrew’s side and figured Karine had been asking for it? No, Terry would never do that, but still, Karine didn’t want to take the risk.
She was glad she’d told someone though. It was like a giant weight had been lifted from her shoulders, one she hadn’t even realized she’d been carrying. But she hoped to hell Cerise would keep her word and not tell anyone because Karine didn’t want the whole world knowing. She supposed she shouldn’t be ashamed, it’s not like she’d done anything wrong. Asshole was the bad guy in this situation but still. Life really wasn’t like Degrassi. In real life girls just got shit on no matter what.
But Christina needed to know. Karine owed it to her as a friend. Come to think of it, these past few months of avoiding her old friend had been fuelled by her desire to ignore this Asshole situation but that was really shitty of her. Poor Christina needed to get away from him. She needed to know.
Karine felt like a complete loser, but she actually asked Cerise to come along to Christina’s house. It’s not like Chrissy and Cerise were friends but Karine needed someone else there with her, if only to prevent her from chickening out at the last second and since Cerise was the only one who knew she was the only option.
Their dinner break from rehearsals was an hour long, which was enough time to take the 211 to Chrissy’s house, which was in Baie d’Urfe. It was just a ten minute ride. Karine had texted her intentions to drop by, trying to sound casual, like it wasn’t totally bizarre to suddenly show up on her doorstep after three months of little to no contact.
Chrissy let them in and ushered them to the kitchen, where she was microwaving some pasta.
“You guys want anything?” she asked.
“No, we’re good,” Karine answered for both herself and Cerise.
They all sat at the kitchen table and Chrissy ate her spaghetti while Karine tried to think of what to say. Cerise looked around, completely awkward.
Christina looked at them curiously. “So I guess Cerise told you we hung out on Thrusday?”
“Yeah,” Karine nodded. “Chrissy I’m sorry I haven’t called in like, forever.”
“It’s ok,” she shrugged.
“So I guess you broke up with Steven?”
Chrissy stared at her blankly. “Steven? What are you talking about? Steve was your boyfriend.”
“But you guys went to grad together…” Karine trailed off lamely.
“Karine, I only went with him ‘cause you said I should. Steve and I were never into each other.”
“He spent the whole night whining about you.”
“Well whatever,” sighed Chrissy, looking like she regretted having let Karine into her house.
“I think he’s going to
now,” Karine said, trying to think of how to get to the task at hand. Vanier
“Yeah, I guess. You haven’t seen him?”
“I haven’t seen anyone since convocation.”
“So it’s not just me you’re avoiding?” Chrissy let out a little, strangled laugh.
Karine felt like shit. Poor Christina. “I was never avoiding you, Chrissy. It’s…” Karine swallowed the bile that rose in her throat as she struggled to say his name. “It’s Andrew. It’s him I’m avoiding.”
“How come?” asked Chrissy with concern.
“Are you still with him? Like do you guys still hook up?”
Chrissy shrugged and avoided eye contact. “I dunno. Not really. Sometimes. Whatever.”
“You remember Vani’s party?” Karine switched gears a little.
“Hangman. Remember his party after convocation?”
“Well remember how Erica got her bitch on and was all accusing me of sleeping with Andrew at grad?”
“Well it was partially true, but partially not.”
“Ok,” said Chrissy, starting to look annoyed.
“I say partially because well, I mean it wasn’t by choice. I mean we did stuff, or he did stuff, you know, to me. That I didn’t want.”
Chrissy stared at Karine, the expression on her face unchanged.
“Do you get what I’m saying?” Karine went on, losing patience. “He forced me.”
“Yeah.” Chrissy muttered.
“So that’s why I fucking stopped hanging out with you guys. I didn’t wanna be around him anymore!”
“Ok,” Chrissy muttered.
Karine sighed with impatience. Seriously? What the hell was this non-reaction? Say what you will about Cerise but at least she’d reacted appropriately.
“Ok so maybe you shouldn’t hang out with him anymore. I mean he could do it to you too.”
Christina said nothing and sat there staring at her half eaten pasta.
“He already has,” said Cerise, quietly but with certainty.
Karine looked at Cerise and then back at Chrissy. They locked eyes and Chrissy looked angrier than she ever had before.
“Hasn’t he? Christina?” Cerise prodded, not unkindly.
“So? So what? I mean I never fought him or anything so it doesn’t count anyway.”
“Oh god,” Cerise muttered.
“Chrissy,” Karine breathed.
“What?! What do you want me to say?”
“Nothing,” Karine insisted. “I just think maybe you shouldn’t hang out with him anymore.”
“Oh? So who should I hang out with then? I mean I go to the same school as him. And he still hangs out with Erica. And I can’t get away from her; we made our fucking schedules to be the same.”
“You need to get away from both of those assholes.”
“They’re my friends,” Chrissy said defensively.
“No they’re not! Erica has always been a spiteful bitch from hell. And Andrew... Andrew’s a fucking criminal!”
“So what am I supposed to do? Just ignore him when he says hi to me? Ignore her too? They’re my friends Karine. They’re who I have. Who the fuck else am I supposed to hang out with? You know Andrew may have his faults but he’s pretty much as good as it’s gonna get.”
“How can you even say that?”
“I’m not like you, Karine!” she spouted bitterly. “I don’t have people falling in love with me all the time ok? I don’t have Steven and I don’t have Terry.” Her eyes darted over to Cerise, who wisely stayed silent.
“God fucking knows I tried to get him! But I can’t get the perfect fucking boyfriend, ok? And you know what? Even if I did get him, he wouldn’t be the perfect fucking boyfriend! God, I don’t know why I still think of him as like, this great whatever. Terry was always an asshole to me. You know that, Cerise? He always treated me like shit. He used to call me up and tell me to come to his house and of course I would. And then we’d have sex and I was all, oh, he’s my boyfriend and then the next day at school he’d act like it never even happened! He wouldn’t even look me in the eye.”
Cerise squirmed uncomfortably as Chrissy went on.
“So is that any better than what Andrew does? It’s not like any other guy wants me! Sure they wanna fuck me but they don’t wanna go out with me! I’ve gone on three dates since grad and you know what? All three were exactly the same. They fuck you and then they never talk to you again. So don’t tell me Andrew is like, the worst person ever ‘cause at least he sticks around. Yeah, maybe he fucks me whenever he wants but at least he doesn’t ignore me the next day. At least he hangs out with me like a friend. At least he returns my fucking phone calls and replies to my texts!” She was practically screaming at this point and Karine slowly let out her breath, unaware she’d been holding it.
Chrissy suddenly stood up, her chair screeching against the floor. She dropped her plate into the sink and looked at Karine angrily. “So don’t tell me who to hang out with. Yeah, maybe my life isn’t perfect but it’s my fucking life and I’ll do what I want.”
Christina’s face was red and Karine knew she was fighting hard not to cry. Karine had no idea what to say or how to feel.
“Ok well, sorry,” she said, standing up. “I just thought I’d let you know.”
She and Cerise walked back to the bus stop in silence and rode the bus back to school in silence. When they got back to JAC they went to the green room and Karine took to her script. Cerise offered to get her some dinner from a vending machine but she declined. A little while later she was on stage, being Lucy, listening to Carton declare his love.