It was pretty sad how Tom kept leering at Cerise like he was a total perv and she was totally clueless. She totally wasn’t clueless and totally knew that Tom was into her, mostly because Cassie made it clear. Why didn’t they just hook up already and be done with it? Cassie was getting totally sick of watching them play this stupid dance of not quite flirtation and whatever. It was totally lame. They weren’t kids anymore; they didn’t need to play games. Cassie decided she might as well take matters into her own hands.
“Would you stop staring at her and just ask her out already?”
“What?” he whirled around, red faced.
“Stop staring at her, Tom! It’s creepy!”
“I’m not staring!”
“Every time she changes you ogle her like a dirty old man!”
“No I don’t!”
She looked at him gravely.
“Ok well, come on! I can’t help it! It’s not my fault the dressing room is co-ed!”
“It’s your fault you’re leering.”
“But she’s hot and she’s right there… all in her underwear and stuff. I’m sorry!”
He did seem kind of ashamed, or maybe that was just embarrassment. God, guys were such losers. Like Lee still hadn’t called. Of course it had only been a day, but still.
“Whatever, Tom. Just ask her out or let her take out a restraining order on you. One or the other.”
“Well she’s going to the cast party with me tonight. That’s sort of a date, right?”
“Oh, that was supposed to be a date? ‘Cause she already asked me to come along with you guys.”
“Is that ok?”
“Yeah, of course,” he nodded sadly.
“I’ll get out of your hair as soon as we get there.”
“That’s ok, you don’t have to.”
“It’s cool, Tom. She likes you.”
“Sure, why not?” she shrugged, not entirely sure if it was true. Cerise was rather non-committal about the whole thing. She was clearly still into Terry, not that Cassie could blame her. “Come on, let’s go strike the set.”
Cerise joined Tom and Cassie and a bunch of others as they worked to take down the set of a Tale of Two Shitties. That’s what they’d taken to calling the production and it was even a little sad that the entire debacle was over.
“So me and Lee are going out,” Cassie said with a smile as she and Cerise carried a piece of plywood to the wings.
“Yeah, we went out last night.”
“Oh, awesome. How was it?”
“Pretty good,” said Cassie with a giggle and a wink.
Cerise took a moment to decipher Cassie’s meaning. “Did you guys like, do it?”
“Yeah,” Cassie giggled. “I totally wasn’t planning to but you know how it is.”
“I guess,” said Cerise half-heartedly.
“I know, I’m a total Janice. But he was so sweet and he’s so hot and fuck, I’m horny! I mean it’s been over a week since I broke up with Jonah. I had to get laid!”
The image of Cassie having sex with Jojo entered Cerise’s mind and she was startled by it. It had never even occurred to her that those two had a sex life. But apparently they did. Jonah Cupryk, the biggest loser at BHS, a bigger nerd than all the guys, he wasn’t a virgin. Cassie, just as old as the rest of them no doubt, but as tiny as a child, she wasn’t a virgin. Janice, constantly keeping everyone appraised of how many guys (and girls) she was fucking; the number was already higher than Cerise’s amount of facebook friends.
Clearly Cerise was the only virgin left on the planet. Why hadn’t she ever done it with Terry? Because she hadn’t been ready? Ready for what exactly? Like it was such a big deal? Everyone else was doing it all over the place, with people they’d just met, on first dates, just for the fun of it. Why couldn’t Cerise just get over herself and get with the program?
“But he hasn’t called,” Cassie pouted.
“Well it’s only been a day.”
“Yeah, you’re right, I shouldn’t worry. But maybe I gave it up too fast, you know? Maybe he thinks I’m a slut or something.”
“This isn’t the ‘60s. The virgin/whore thing…” Cerise trailed off.
“Yeah I know. We like to think it doesn’t exist anymore but it totally does. I mean, everyone kind of makes fun of Janice behind her back, right? I mean even we’ve done it. Is there like an ok number of guys you can have sex with before you’re considered a slut?”
“Is it ok to not have sex at all, or are you automatically a frigid prude?”
There must have been something in Cerise’s tone when she asked because Cassie’s face registered realization. “You’re a virgin?” she had the decency to whisper.
Cerise nodded, ashamed.
“Wow, I never would’ve guessed. I mean, Terry.”
“I know,” Cerise nodded.
“I never would have thought…”
“That a guy like that would put up with not getting it?”
“I know. He was pretty awesome.”
“Why’d you break up with him again? Oh my god, did he cheat on you?”
“No,” said Cerise, trying hard to remember why she was no longer with the best boyfriend ever.
“Ok is it just me or are we like, the only ones still here?” asked Tom, suddenly appearing out of nowhwere.
Cassie looked annoyed but Cerise was glad for the change of subject. She agreed that indeed, everyone had gone and they were pretty much the only ones left. It was decided they would sneak off as well and head to the cast party.
“Janice! Get the fuck down from there right now! I’m serious!”
If Janice fell off the roof of Karine’s house, it would definitely make this party legend but having to call an ambulance and shit was not Karine’s idea of a good time. And the party was doing fine without Janice’s help. Tons of people had shown up, not just the cast and crew, but their significant others, and some other randoms, including kids from Professional Theatre, who were a bunch of pretentious twats but still. In spite of the good turnout, it kind of sucked to throw a party and not have a boyfriend. Karine couldn’t even remember the last time she’d had that particular predicament. Yes she could. It was last year when she’d briefly broken up with Steve. But then they’d gotten back together at the party. She wasn’t very good at being single. She always felt so exposed when she was. Like people were talking about her behind her back, wondering what was wrong with her if no guy wanted her. She wondered herself what was wrong with her if Terry didn’t want her. She had honestly believed he’d show up tonight but so far nothing.
“I’m the king of the fucking world!” Janice hollered from atop the roof.
She must have gotten up there by climbing out the bathroom window on the second floor. Although how she’d fit through it was anyone’s guess. Not that Janice was fat, but she had put on a few pounds recently and the window was pretty narrow. It would be a serious piss off if she’d broken it in some way, like ripped the screen out or something. It was such a pain to fix shit around the house without Steven around. Terry helped sometimes but she hated to rely on him. Playing Mr. Fix-it was a boyfriend’s role and Terry obviously didn’t want to be her boyfriend, the stupid jerk.
Cerise and Cassie and Tom came along and stared up at the roof along with a bunch of others who were encouraging Janice to jump. They formed a circle and claimed they’d catch her. Oh god, and Janice was just dumb enough to try.
“Kiss my ass, world!” Janice yelled as she pulled down her jeans and mooned the crowd.
“She kind of has a blubbery ass, doesn’t she?” remarked Cassie.
It was true, she totally did. No wonder she was such a slut. Probably overcompensating for low self-esteem or whatever.
She pulled up her pants and turned around, flashing her breasts.
“Nice tits though,” smirked Tom.
Cerise and Cassie turned to him and he smiled awkwardly.
“Not that I was looking.” He whistled nonchalantly.
“Oh my god!” Cerise squealed as Janice jumped.
All the kids who had formed the circle ran out of the way, not that they needed to because Janice landed nowhere near them. She was sprawled on top of Karine and holy, goddamn hell, it hurt like a mother-fucker!
“Oh fuck, if I wasn’t so stoned that would probably really hurt,” groaned Janice.
“Well, I’m not stoned, you bitch and yeah, it really fucking hurts!”
Cerise, Cassie and Tom rushed to Karine’s aid, trying to pull Janice off her, but Janice just cackled her stupid hyena laugh and kept lying there, spread eagle.
“Get the fuck off me, you fucking cow!” Karine gasped for breath.
“You saying I’m fat, bitch?”
“Yes you’re fucking fat,” Karine raged.
Cherry and her little friends managed to pull Janice up and she stumbled down again, rolling around on the grass and dead leaves.
Karine stuggled to get up and said that no, she was certainly not ok, in response to Cherry’s concerned inquiry.
“Just ‘cause I ain’t no skinny little stick like you don’t mean I won’t cut you!” Janice slurred.
“Janice, that little speech would be a lot less ridiculous if your pants weren’t down around your ankles.”
Everyone laughed but it was small comfort to Karine, who might need to call that ambulance for herself. She stumbled into the house, and grabbed a beer from the fridge, collapsing on a kitchen chair a second later.
“Karine, are you ok? I heard Janice like, fell on you!” said Peter as he ran into the kitchen.
“Yeah, she fell off the roof,” Karine confirmed.
“I can’t believe I missed that!”
“I can’t believe she didn’t miss me. I mean everyone ran but I just stood there, what the fuck, right?” Karine laughed and then groaned in agony.
“Where does it hurt?” asked Peter, sitting next to Karine and touching her shoulder delicately.
So maybe Janice wasn’t someone to aspire to be. But there had to be a happy medium between freaknut sex addict and freaknut scaredy cat. Cerise had to be more like Cassie. She’d taken control of her life. Found a guy she liked and then got him. How come Cerise had never been able to do that? How come she always ended up with the guy who liked her? Always, as though she’d ever had more than one option. Now her only option was Tom. Cerise wondered if the only reason she was hesitant to get together with him was because he wanted her. Maybe she was one of those messed up people who only wanted what they couldn’t have.
Once the Janice drama was over, Cerise walked into the house with Cassie and Tom. They all sat on a couch and a second later Cassie rather pointedly excused herself and Tom and Cerise were left alone. She should give him a chance, not because he was the only guy who was interested but because he was a good guy. He wasn’t that different from Jay really.
“Can I get you a drink?” he asked.
“No I’m good, I’ll grab some water when I get thirsty.”
“Whoa! Water, eh? I hope you’re not planning on driving home tonight,” he laughed.
“Well I don’t drink alcohol so, yeah.”
“Oh, you don’t?” he asked awkwardly.
“I didn’t know that.”
“Now you do.”
“Well I don’t really drink that much either. Or at all really. Do you want me to uh, do you want me to get you some water?”
Cerise rolled her eyes. She knew he drank, she’d seen him do it. Why was he lying? Was he trying to impress her? Should she be impressed?
“So is it like, is it like a lifestyle choice? A health thing or like a…” he trailed off.
“I dunno. I guess I just don’t get it. If your life is so crappy that you have to get drunk to enjoy it, maybe there’s something in your life that needs fixing.”
“It must be tough around here. Like
I mean. Everyone drinks. Everyone smokes.” Montreal
“I know, right? So many smokers! I hate smokers.”
“I know, they’re gross,” Tom nodded enthusiastically. Perhaps he’d heard that she’d broken up with Terry because he smoked. Perhaps he smoked himself and was lying about it. “I should do that, the whole straight edge thing. But then it’d be hard to do the whole sex, drugs and rock n’ roll thing. I mean, I’m gonna be a rockstar, you know that, right?” he said with an amusing wink.
“Are you, I mean, if, I mean, are you like officially straight edge? Like all the beliefs of that… thing?” he asked, seemingly nervous.
“What do you mean?”
“Well ‘cause like, isn’t it a… aren’t they like… it’s like no drugs but also no sex, right?” he coughed, avoiding eye contact.
She decided to let him squirm for a while and simply stared at him with a raised eyebrow.
“’Cause then I’d have nothing left except the rock n’ roll and… well…”
“And your guitar playing isn’t good enough to make up for the lack of sex and drugs,” she smirked.
He laughed timidly. “Yeah, I’m pretty bad.”
“Don’t worry, I’m not asking you to join the cult or anything.”
He nodded awkwardly and she let him flounder for a moment before adding that she wasn’t actually straight edge or anything official. “I just don’t drink is all,” she shrugged.
“Oh, ok,” he smiled. “I don’t really drink much either. Not really.”
“I’m certainly not against sex,” she added with a smile.
Was it her imagination or did he blush? “Oh, yeah, no, I didn’t, I mean, yeah, no, right,” he stammered.
“I mean how can you be against a natural biological function?”
“It’d be like being against the consumption of food, or being against going to the bathroom.”
“Of course, eating and pissing don’t typically lead to AIDS, but still.”
Was this flirting? Was she flirting with Tom? She couldn’t even tell. She knew he was into her but did that mean a conversation that included the word sex was automatically flirtatious? Was she leading him on by saying she wasn’t against it? Was she maybe not leading him on, and genuinely interested in him? She couldn’t be sure, but one thing was interesting, she felt completely comfortable with him. With Jay she always had a butterfly in her stomach, even if they were just playing the game or talking about calculus, there was always an attraction. And with Terry it was even more pronounced. In the beginning he’d made her so nervous; he was so intimidating, so popular and good-looking, but more than that, with Terry there was always this heavy curtain of lust hanging over them. But that wasn’t really a problem here. Tom was totally cute and everything but she could take him or leave him. And that gave her power, didn’t it? She was in complete control of what happened next.
“Yeah, so like, I’m not like into crazy like Janice level sex but I’m not a nun either,” Cerise smiled sweetly, just to see what would happen.
Tom’s face flushed. “Oh yeah, that’s good. I mean, you know, not good, I mean, it’s not bad. I mean, yeah, it’s uh... yeah. That’s a good thing... I mean, not that it affects me in any way... it’s just... seems like a good attitude to have... and um... yeah. Now is the time where I stop speaking. And that’s… I am quiet now.”
Cerise giggled and placed her hand on his leg. She could actually hear his breath quickening, could practically see his heart racing. It was so easy with Tom! This was so much fun!