Shauna’s cold seemed to be gone and so was Stan. She’d felt him get up in the morning but had pretended she was still asleep. Then she really did fall back asleep. When she woke up again she yawned loudly and turned over in bed only to gasp and pull the blankets over her face. Bill was standing in the doorway, just staring at her, just as he’d done a couple months ago. What was up with him!? Maybe she’d imagined it. She peeked out from the covers and he was still there, just watching her. So creepy! What the hell was she supposed to do?!
She waited and waited and finally when she peeked out again he was gone. She got up slowly and went to the bathroom and then found Rod asleep on the living room couch. Bill was nowhere to be found. She crept into the kitchen and opened the fridge and when she closed it, Bill was standing behind it like he was a ghost in a horror movie. So freaky.
“Morning!” he said brightly.
“Yeah,” she replied, unsure of how to react.
“Good time last night, eh?”
“Yeah.” She poured herself some cereal and sat down at the kitchen table to eat. He sat across from her and watched her. What the fuck?
He started talking about random stuff she didn’t care about and she listened and every once and a while she nodded when it seemed like he wanted her to respond. He talked about wrestling and Hulk Hogan, which led him to Brooke Hogan, which led him to Jessica Simpson, which led him to Dukes of Hazzard, which led him to cars, which led him to street racing, which led him to Nick Hogan, which led him back to Hulk Hogan, which led him to wrestling again, which led to MMA, and Shauna didn’t know what that was but it seemed Bill wanted to get into it and he said he’d been working out a lot and she should check out his biceps. He pulled up the sleeve of his hoodie and flexed his arm for her and told her to touch it. She did. Then he lifted his shirt and said she should touch his pecs so she did. He was definitely in better shape than Stan.
“I like it when you touch me,” he said as he pulled his shirt back down.
She was stunned and had no idea how to respond.
“Yeah so I’ve joined this MMA club, right? It’s pretty wicked, so far I’ve just been sparring but I’m for sure getting stronger.”
He went on and on. This guy was so weird.
Karine tiptoed through the house. Terry was asleep on the couch and she didn’t want to wake him. She left a note on the coffee table and quietly left him. She was joining up with the girls for some post Christmas shopping at the mall.
It was possible the baby in the picture wasn’t Terry. It could be a sibling who just looked exactly like how Terry looked when he was a baby. Definitely possible since Britt actually looked quite similar when she was a newborn. All babies sort of looked alike if you thought about it. But come on, it was totally Terry. The woman in the pictures was blonde and pale, which would explain why Terry was so much lighter than his brothers, who both had the same brown hair as their mother.
It was soooo crazy! They hadn’t talked about it much. She’d asked a few questions but Terry was obviously uncomfortable with the whole thing so she let it drop. It was enough that he’d shared it with her. She knew he’d bring it up again if he wanted to talk. She wished she could tell Cerise, just to rub it in her face that she was no longer Terry’s go to girl for talking about his life but she didn’t. She would never betray Terry like that no matter how many times he went back to his stupid Cherry angel.
She met up with Janice, Cassie, Sarah and Cerise at
and after they’d all increased their shoe collections at an Aldo sale they squeezed around a table in the crowded food court. Fairview
“You guys are all going to Karl’s cabane?” asked Sarah as she ate her poutine.
They’d all gotten poutines because anything eaten during the holidays didn’t count.
“Yeah,” Cassie nodded. “The guys wanna make it like this total gaming thing but like, whatever, I’m sure we’ll do other stuff too.”
“I went there once in the summer,” said Sarah wistfully. “It was nice.”
“You should come,” said Cerise. “You all should. I mean obviously it’s not my place to make such an invitation but it’d be way more fun if you guys were there.”
“Seriously, then the guys can’t make it just a stupid gaming session,” agreed Cassie.
“I can’t go to Karl’s cabane,” scoffed Sarah.
“Oh, why not? You guys broke up like a millennia ago,” chortled Janice. “Why can’t anyone ever just get over their shit?”
“Seriously,” Karine laughed. “I mean, it’s Karl, right? He always claims that people shouldn’t give in to emotion so why would he prevent you from coming to his stupid cabane?”
“Like I even wanna go. I mean if all they’re gonna do is game,” said Sarah, even though it was pretty obvious she did want to go.
“What’s this game thing you guys are always talking about?” asked Janice.
“You know what an MMO is?” asked Cerise.
Janice narrowed her eyes. “I don’t think so.”
“It’s like a video game you play online with other people.”
“Oh yeah ok, like WOW or whatever?”
“Exactly. Ok, so like the game is like that except instead of on the internet it’s just with paper and pencils and dice.”
“Oh my god! They’re old school role players?!” Janice squeeled. “That’s so retro, I love it!”
“Yeah, it can be fun,” smiled Cassie. “But it’d be more fun if this cabane thing was more like a party.”
“Did you say partay!?” Janice started chair dancing and they all laughed.
“It’d be awesome if you guys came,” said Cassie pleadingly.
“Yeah, it really would,” agreed Cerise.
“Well it’s not really up to us, is it?” said Sarah.
“Of course it is,” said Karine. “What’d he gonna do if we show up? Kick us out? Whatever.”
“Seriously,” agreed Janice. “We have boobs. We can go anywhere we want.”
“Pretty much,” nodded Karine. “I’m gonna bring Terry too.”
“Yes! Totally!” hollered Janice, intensifying her chair dancing.
“I mean you don’t mind, right Cerise?” Karine asked.
“No, of course not,” said Cerise, petrified.
“I don’t wanna be the only one not going!” whined Sarah.
“Who said you’re not coming?” asked Karine
“But it’ll be so awkward with Karl!”
“Whatever, he’ll get over it,” scoffed Janice.
“If Terry and I are fine both being there, why shouldn’t you and Karl both be there?” asked Cerise, looking at Sarah with wide eyes.
Sarah nodded, getting the hint. “Ok, I’ll come.”
Karl simply stared at the girls, his expression revealing nothing.
“It’s just a few more people,” said Cerise sweetly, her brow nevertheless furrowed, perhaps worried that Karl would spaz out.
Jay looked at Karl, also wondering if he’d spaz out. Until Cerise and Cavity had joined them, the afternoon had gone really well. Now that Jay was back from
and everyone was done with their stupid family crap they could get back to real life. Jay hadn’t even realized how much pressure he’d been under when school was on but now that they were on x-mas break, he felt lighter and free. He was sleeping in and watching cartoons and now that Karl was being normal again they were getting in some good gaming. Leave it to girls to ruin everything. Toronto
Then again, whenever Cerise was over Willy did tend to limit his farting by at least half and Jay’s basement could definitely benefit from fewer Willy fumes.
“The cabane really isn’t that big,” Karl finally said.
“Sure it is!” exclaimed Vani. “It’ll be wicked! The more the merrier I say!”
“Exactly!” agreed Cassie, looking at Lee as she spoke.
“And you say Terry wants to come? That’s awesome!” enthused Vani. “We haven’t hung out with him in ages!”
“Are you guys back together?” asked Willy.
“No, I’m still with Tom.”
“Who?” they all asked in unison. It was pretty hilarious how Cerise always gritted her teeth whenever they pretended to forget who Tom was.
“I hope Terry’s next girlfriend is tolerable. His last one was a huge pain in the ass, always monopolizing him all the time.” Vani smiled at Cerise and she rolled her eyes in response.
“But for realsies,” he went on. “You’re good with Terry being there if you’re there? Isn’t that like all awkward and shit?”
“We can still be friends,” said Cerise a bit too pointedly. “I mean isn’t the mature thing to do to let bygones be bygones? If I were to cut him out of my life and ban him from joining me at vacational activities in wooden structures then that would be holding a grudge and giving in to my irrational emotions. Surely that would be the behaviour of a lower life-form, as we all know emotions are the trappings of the weak.”
“How very true,” agreed Cavity.
The girls smiled at Karl, who raised an eyebrow in understanding. “Sarah wants to come too?” he asked knowingly.
Apparently she did want to come, which was kind of weird. Weirder still is that Karl had no objection. Why was everyone being so mature all of a sudden?
“This’ll be so much fun!” squealed Cavity.
“I know!” squealed Vani with even more glee.
“Oh and by the way,” said Cavity. “No gaming allowed.”
“It’ll be fun!” Karine insisted.
Terry looked at her dubiously, his hand paused in midair, holding a fork speared with much Kraft Dinner. They were having lunch at Karine’s house and Terry had cooked! Not that Kraft Dinner really counted as cooking, but still, it was pretty awesome.
“And Cerise is cool with this?”
“Yeah,” replied Karine as she took a big mouthful of macaroni, if only to prevent herself from mumbling about how typical it was for him to ask about his stupid Cherry angel.
“Is that Tom guy gonna be there?”
“Well he is her boyfriend.”
Terry looked hurt and Karine regretted saying it so bitchily.
“Why would I wanna hang out with my ex and her current? That’s just retarded.”
“Oh come on! It’ll be a great chance to like, tower over him and be all intimidating and stuff.”
He smiled slightly and seemed to be considering it.
“So you’ll come?”
“No, it’ll be all awkward and uncomfortable and shit.”
“What’ll be all awkward and uncomfortable and shit?” asked Peter as he strode into the den.
Oh right. Karine had almost forgotten he was there too. When he’d gone to the bathroom he’d sort of disappeared from her mind as well.
“Karine wants me to go to this dude’s cabin in the woods with my ex-girlfriend.”
“Huh?” Peter asked stupidly, sitting between them on the couch and helping himself to the Kraft Dinner, like he owned the place or something.
“It’s a whole group thing! Our friend Karl has a cabane, god you make it sound like it’s a fucking shack in the middle of nowhere.”
“Isn’t it?” asked Terry. “Have you ever been there?”
“No, but whatever, I’ve seen pictures. There’s a ton on facebook if you wanna look. They’re pretty hilarious, Willy all drunk and passed out and shit. But anyway, everyone’s gonna be there. It’s not like it’s gonna be just you and Cerise. Fucking everyone is gonna be there. It’s stupid for you to not go just ‘cause she’s going. I mean I’m going, you can hang out with me and Janice.”
“And me,” said Peter. “Right?”
Karine smiled. “Well duh, obviously you’re coming!”
“When is this thing happening?” asked Peter.
“We leave tomorrow! It’s only for a few days. I mean we’ll take a bunch of cars so people can leave whenever they want. I mean if it’s totally lame we can just go.”
“Sounds fun,” said Peter with the enthusiasm Karine wished Terry would show.
Karine grinned at Terry and clasped her hands. He chuckled and finally relented and they went back to watching Being Human. Karine didn’t particularly like the show but Terry did so she pretended she did too even though she wasn’t sure he actually liked it or just followed it because he knew Cerise watched it.
Cerise had been so worried about how Karl would react to a million people coming to his cabane that she hadn’t even considered how Tom would react. Actually, she couldn’t use her concern over Karl as an excuse; she simply hadn’t thought about Tom’s reaction because she rarely ever thought about Tom at all, which just proved she was the worst girlfriend ever in the existence of the entire planet Earth. It had never even occurred to her that he’d be bothered by the idea of spending a weekend in an enclosed space with her ex-boyfriend, which was actually a totally valid concern. Or was it? Didn’t people stay friends with their exes all the time? Why should Tom be jealous? It’s not like Cerise was planning to hook up with Terry at the cabane. Then again, she most assuredly still had feelings for him so it probably would be at least mildly awkward for everyone involved. But it was too late to back out now. Everyone was going so they might as well go too. Well, it probably wasn’t too late to back out but damn it, she wanted to go.
Cerise assured Tom everything would be ok and he reluctantly agreed to the plan even though it was pretty obvious he didn’t really want to go. It was actually pretty sweet of him to go along with it in spite of his feelings on the matter. Wow, Cerise seriously needed to get her shit together. If she was going to continue dating Tom then she needed to be more considerate of his feelings and if she couldn’t do that then she’d just have to break up with him. God, she was such a jerk. Time and time again she proved that she was completely incapable of making intelligent decisions about her love life. Why had she even broken up with Terry in the first place? It all seemed so petty and stupid in retrospect. She didn’t even deserve him. She didn’t deserve Tom either. She deserved to be forever alone, rotting in a filthy cave with like, rats and cockroaches and stuff. Ok well, maybe she wasn’t that awful of a person, but still.
Even though they were going to Karl’s cabane they all congregated at Jay’s house, which was kind of cool because it made Jay feel like he was finally popular. Here were a ton of people - thirteen in all including himself - all hanging out at his place like it was no big deal. They had three cars, Karl’s, Sarah’s and Terry Trebiwhoinvitedhim-anywaysky’s and figuring out who would ride with who was a little more difficult than it should have been considering they already had pretty well established cliques within the larger group.
Vani made a plea to ride in Terry’s douchemobile but ultimately he ended up with the rest of the boys in Karl’s car. Cerise and that Tom guy rode with Cavity in Sarah’s car. Karine and Janice rode in the douchemobile along with some black guy Karine was now apparently dating. When this had happened Jay had no idea.
The drive up was exactly what one might expect, with Karl refusing to put on the heat just to make them suffer. He also chose to use the passenger seat to hold his laptop so Jay, Vani, Lee and Willy all squished up in the backseat, with Vani lying across their laps and rolling himself into their scarves for warmth. For once Willy’s ability to generate heat was a good thing and they all stuck their hands into one tuque like a giant, collective mitten. At first Karl wouldn’t open the windows when Willy started farting but eventually Lee joined in and it became too unbearable so they drove most of the way with all four windows rolled all the way down. Karl demanded Vani give up his coat so he could protect his laptop bag from the incoming snow. Vani huddled at Jay’s feet, shivering as the snow piled up on them. They sang campfire songs to pass the time and Lee even lit one of Willy’s mitts on fire to act as a bonfire but Willy snuffed it out before it could set the whole car ablaze. Karl punished them for this act by forcing them to get out and push the car when they reached the dirt road that lead to the cabane. Karl steered and Vani was allowed to stay inside while the rest of them pushed the car down the road. Thank god it was downhill.
“Slow down, it looks like the guys are having car trouble,” said Karine as they approached Karl’s car, which was being pushed by Jay and Willy and that Lee guy.
Terry pulled up alongside Karl’s car and laughed. Vani was curled up in a ball in the backseat, covered with hats and scarves and a layer of snow while his coat was in the passenger seat. “What the fuck? You guys need a boost or something?”
“Everything’s fine,” grinned Karl. “The boys are being punished for their insolence, that’s all.”
“Oh ok,” shrugged Terry and he and Karine shared a look.
They sped up and passed the boys. Whatever. Those guys were so weird. When they got to the cabane, Terry was surprised to see that Sarah was already there. Terry wasn’t exactly a slow driver so he wondered how Sarah had managed to beat him but he didn’t ask ‘cause that would have been like admitting defeat. Turned out that they needn’t have rushed because it took a full half hour before the guys came along, huffing and puffing and sweating up a storm, their coats draped on the roof of the car and their sleeves rolled up.
“Car trouble?” snickered Sarah.
“No,” said Karl, casually stepping out of the car. “Pushing is penalty for pyromania.”
“Well if Karl would have turned on the heat I wouldn’t have had to set Willy’s gloves on fire,” said Lee with a casual shrug.
“Now I have no gloves!” pouted Willy, holding up his charred gloves.
“I brought extra,” shrugged Sarah.
“Sarah, I know you mean well but Willy is not to be indulged. It’s his fault he lost his mittens, let him suffer the consequences,” said Karl with authority.
“It wasn’t my fault!” screeched Willy.
“You’re the one who began the battle of flatulence, Willy, don’t try to deny it,” said Lee.
The rest of the guys nodded in agreement.
“God, I’m glad I didn’t ride in their car,” said Cassie in disgust.
They all laughed in agreement but there was a part of Terry that kind of felt a slight pang of jealousy for those guys and their weird friendship. It sounded like their car ride had been hilarious; they were always doing funny stuff together and pulling bizarre pranks on each other. Terry wondered what it would be like to have a group of guy friends like that. Sure, he had his hockey buddies but their jokes didn’t get much more imaginative than calling each other gay. But like always, his envy quickly evaporated when it became clear that the girls were totally grossed out by these guys while he had major game. Not that he had any intention of hooking up during this little excursion up north but if he wanted to he totally could. Janice was being pretty overt in her come-ons and hell, if he made a move on Sarah or Cassie he’d probably be successful. He took a moment to imagine all three of them servicing him at once and then threw Cerise and Karine in there too. It would never happen and he wouldn’t really want it to but it was fun to fantasize about all the same. A chick on his face, two on his cock, one on his balls and the fifth chick could be stroking his skin or like massaging his feet or something. Yeah, maybe a chick on each foot, maybe like sucking his toes and one chick blowing him or maybe one chick licking his ass. He got distracted trying to figure out the mechanics of so many chicks on him at once and it became more funny than hot so he snapped out of the reverie and followed the gang inside.
“Oh, it’s nice,” beamed Cassie as they all surveyed the space.
It was pretty small and the ground floor was kind of dingy but the upstairs was nice. Karl busied himself with starting a fire in the little wood stove while the rest of them dumped their bags on the floor.
“Let’s get the party started!” hollered Janice, extracting a bottle of wine from her duffel bag.
Cerise was about to judge her for it when Terry pulled a bottle of wine from his bag as well. Then she just felt lame for not having realized this would be that kind of get-together. She was such a child. Although really, getting drunk just for the hell of it was immature and Cerise was way more evolved than these plebeians because she didn’t drink. She noticed Karl sighing with resignation as he too took note of all the alcohol being thrown around. Was it good or bad that Cerise shared teetotaling with Karl? Wasn’t Karl a total weirdo, robot stick-in-the-mud? Did that mean Cerise was a big, repressed loser?
As Terry carried his wine over to the kitchen he passed by Tom and Tom actually flinched and stepped back. Terry, to his credit, acted like he hadn’t noticed but Cerise could tell he had. That tiny little grin confirmed it. Tom looked embarrassed and started rifling through his bag absent-mindedly to cover it. Cerise wasn’t sure how she felt about all that. She was sort of ashamed that her new boyfriend was so easily intimidated by her old boyfriend and then felt ashamed for being ashamed. And she was sort of turned on by Terry being such an alpha male, which completely disgusted her. Was she really that much of a stereotypical girly girl damsel that she would go for the hot brute? Not that Terry had done anything brutish, or that she had the hots for him except that she totally did and that he was kind of… not brutish exactly, but tough. Not with her of course, with her he’d always been super sweet but she’d seen him play hockey and it was almost scary the way he hit the other players.
Still, when Karl mentioned that there was only one bedroom Cerise wished for a moment that she’d be able to share it with Terry. But Cassie wisely suggested they push all the furniture against the walls, throw their sleeping bags and a bunch of blankets onto the floor and make it a huge slumber party.
“So all you girls are just gonna be wearing panties, right?” asked Vani.
“Of course,” drawled Cerise. “Whenever chicks get together we always have pillow fights in our underwear so like, obviously.”
“Excellent! I knew it!”
They all rolled their eyes but then Janice sripped down to her bra and panties, which were SpongeBob SquarePants boys’ underwear. She picked up a pillow and whacked Karine with it, who looked annoyed and announced she was going outside for a smoke. Janice wrapped herself in a blanket and followed her outside, as did Peter. Terry hesitated for a moment, locking eyes with Cerise for a second but then he went outside too. And then Willy went out to join the smokers and the rest of the guys stood at the window, making lewd gestures behind Willy’s back.
Shauna was surprised when there was a knock at the door. She froze and stared at the door, wondering what to do. No one ever knocked on the door. Who could it be? A telemarketer, or whatever the door-to-door version of that was? The knock came again and then a voice, Bill’s voice telling Shauna he knew she was in there.
“Stan’s not here. He’s at work,” she yelled back.
“I came to see you.”
What the hell did that mean? She slowly got up off the couch and walked to the door. She peered out the peep-hole and indeed, it was Bill. She opened the door slowly and asked what he wanted.
“We’re friends aren’t we?”
“I guess,” she replied hesitantly.
“Great!” he smiled happily, pushing past her and plopping himself down on the couch. “What you watching?”
“Toddlers and Tiaras.”
“Hah! This show’s hilarious!”
They watched an entire episode together and laughed at all the same parts.
It was just like back in high school. All the cool kids were in the kitchen drinking while all the nerds were in the main room playing cards. And Cerise didn’t know which group she wanted to join. Karine and Janice and Peter were discussing which play they wanted to do next and Cerise was impressed by how many plays they were knowledgeable about. Cerise was hard pressed to even think of more than one playwright.
The guys and Cassie were talking about Game of Thrones and how those who hadn’t read the books wanted to wait for the series to be over because while there were many good fantasy books out there, there was only one good fantasy show so they might as well enjoy the show first and not spoil it by reading the books. This seemed like a reasonable argument to Cerise and helped ease her guilt over not having gotten to those books yet.
Terry seemed kind of bored and he looked at Cerise longingly, or what she interpreted as longing, but for all she knew he was thinking about hockey, or the drink in his hand or whatever else he thought about these days. She joined the guys and sat next to Tom on the floor. She allowed herself one glance back to Terry but he was talking about Oscar Wilde with the others. Did he even know who Oscar Wilde was?
“Did you see that thing where these two actors from the Importance of Being Earnest say lines from
? It’s hilarious.” Jersey Shore
“How old are you?” asked Bill as he lit a smoke. He passed a cigarette to Shauna and she held it in her mouth while he lit it with his own cigarette.
“What difference does it make?”
“Dunno. You just seem kinda young for Stan is all.”
Shauna just shrugged.
“Do you go to school?”
“Are you a drop-out?”
“Oh yeah, Stan told me how he met you on your prom night.”
Shauna narrowed her eyes at Bill and wondered what else Stan had told him.
“I’m a drop-out,” he admitted. “I work at a factory now. We make key chains.”
“Why do you go out with Stan?”
“’Cause you’re kinda too pretty for him. You should tie your hair back, show your face more.” He reached out and pushed Shauna’s hair behind her ear. She recoiled and gave him a WTF look. “Sorry,” he shrugged.
“That’s ok,” she said, clutching her cigarette in her mouth to free her hands and smoothing her hair away from her face.
Bill smiled and asked again why she was with Stan.
“I dunno,” she shrugged.
“Do you love him?”
Shauna laughed. “No.”
Bill smiled and placed his cigarette in the ashtray on the table. Then he slowly inched towards her on the couch. He moved his hand onto her knee, carefully, raising his eyebrows questioningly, giving her plenty of opportunity to rebuff him. He was coming on to her, right? She put her cigarette next to his on the ashtray and then turned towards him. He smiled and took her face in his hands and kissed her softly. She didn’t kiss back but she didn’t stop him either and he moved on to her neck. He was much more gentle than Stan had ever been. It even felt kind of nice.
This Peter guy was alright. Karine didn’t seem all that into him but Terry didn’t know why not ‘cause he was pretty cool. He could talk about anything, be it hockey or theatre or whatever type of music anyone brought up.
As they gathered firewood with Karl, they talked about how Kanye West was undoubtedly an asshole but his music was good anyway and sometimes you had to ignore the douchitude of a certain artist and enjoy their art. Maybe all brilliant artists were automatically assholes, like maybe genius came with the side effect of being a dick.
“I think certain people, they’re so far beyond regular people in their thinking that they don’t really consider social mores,” Peter said. “I mean not that Kanye is the best example ‘cause I think with him it has more to do with ego.”
“It’s a chicken or egg thing though,” said Terry. “I mean did he become a star because he had this huge ego and believed his music was the best and convinced everyone else of it or like, did the huge ego come after he became super successful and people started fawning all over him.”
“A little bit of both I imagine,” said Karl. “But does it matter? The end result is that he’s a complete wanker. So no matter how good his music is, he’s still an ass so I still wouldn’t want to hang out with him.”
“Then you get why sometimes people don’t wanna hang out with you?” Peter said with a sly grin.
Terry laughed and looked at Karl expectantly.
Karl simply shrugged. “If someone finds my company distasteful I encourage them to avoid me. It’s true that I often reject social convention, sometimes out of ignorance but usually quite deliberately. I’m not here to make friends. Whereas someone like Kanye West practically demands that we all worship him. I’m not a fan of his music but for the sake of argument, let’s say I was. I think I would be able to enjoy a particular song and respect him as a songwriter but remain perfectly reconciled with the fact that he’s not deserving of my respect as a human being.”
Peter and Terry nodded in agreement.
“So you know you’re gonna be forever alone, right?” Peter teased.
“I understand that if I desire companionship I have two choices: Seek a mate who shares my world view and appreciates my ornery personality or alter my behaviour to conform to what a mate finds desirable. I’m still young enough to hold out hope for the first but realistic enough to realize I’ll probably have to resign myself to the second eventually.”
“Fake it ‘till you make it,” chuckled Terry.
All their firewood was gathered but instead of going back inside they stood outside the door of the cabane, their arms loaded with logs.
Peter regarded them seriously. “You know I think most people interpret that saying as like, fake it and then when you make it you can go back to being yourself but I think in truth what happens is that when you pretend to be a certain way eventually you become that way for real. People’s brains are much more malleable than we wanna admit.”
“Of course,” nodded Karl. “Double think, mob mentality, Stockholm syndrome, cult members, hell, members of any religious group. Everyone believes insane shit so what’s more surprising is when people think rationally.”
“My point is that if you wanna get a girl, you can be how she wants you to be and eventually you’ll really be like that and you’ll even be happy like that. I mean assuming you’d rather get laid and be happy about it then masturbate and feel content with the knowledge that you haven’t compromised your beliefs, which are probably arbitrary to begin with.”
“It’s a fair argument,” shrugged Karl. “Terry, you know what it’s like to be utterly and completely pussy-whipped to the point of losing your own identity. Do you recommend it?”
Peter snickered but not unkindly.
“Anything for pussy, right?” Terry quipped.
The guys laughed and they went inside to stoke the fire but to what degree had Karl been joking? Had Terry really been so pussy-whipped that he’d lost his own identity? No, obviously not. He still played hockey, he still hung out with Karine, he was still the same guy when he was with Cerise, he’d just stopped smoking is all. And even if he did compromise some of his beliefs when he was with her, it was for the better because he was happier with her. Maybe he had faked it with her until he finally got her but just like Peter said, eventually it became genuine, any of the sweet boyfriend shit he did became how he really was and that was an improvement as far as he could tell. He was way happier with her than without and he didn’t even hang out with Andrew that much anymore so was sticking to his guns worth it? Not even slightly. The only reason he hadn’t agreed to her ultimatum was because he was too prideful to back down. And the result was being lonely and miserable. Maybe Cerise was kind of a freak in the way she tried to control him but he loved her, didn’t he? And maybe that meant accepting how crazy she was. If the worst thing she wanted him to do was give up an old friend who was admittedly an asshole, then that was worth it. But if he gave in to that request would her demands become increasingly unreasonable? What if she wanted him to give up hockey or Karine? How far would it go? And was he comfortable being known as Cerise’s pussy-whipped boyfriend instead of Terry Trebichavsky?
And what about this stupid Tom kid? What a joke. It was plain as day that Cerise wasn’t really that into him. Terry could snap him like a twig if he wanted to and he seemed to realize it, since he winced every time Terry came near him. Just to be an ass, Terry walked right by Tom on his way to the kitchen and “accidentally” bumped his shoulder.
“Sorry, man,” he said.
“That’s ok,” Tom sort of half-whispered.
Cerise frowned and looked away. Was Terry being totally obvious? Did everyone know he was intimidating Tom just for the fun of it? Did that make him a complete asshole just like Kanye West? Did he care? It’s not like Kanye West cried himself to sleep at night because all his friends were just sycophants. He probably fell asleep every night rolling around in piles of money while chicks fought for the privilege of sucking his cock. So who cares if Terry was a jerk? He could tap any ass he wanted. Maybe being good-looking had boosted his ego or maybe he was confident to begin with so everyone perceived him as more attractive than he really was. Either way he could be rolling in pussy right now if he wanted it.
Janice was right there, suggesting they all play Truth or Dare or strip poker. Terry could just grab her and bend her over the sofa and take her right in front of everyone. But is that what he wanted? Or did he just think he wanted that because of so many years of programming telling him he should be a stud?
Terry wasn’t sure and he genuinely wanted to discuss the matter with someone. Peter and Karl had been excellent conversation partners but they weren’t really super close friends. Karine had always been his go-to-girl for such intimate discussions but since she had a vagina he couldn’t really talk to her about banging chicks with full candour. Maybe Peter could become his new best friend. Wow, had he really just wished for a BFF? What was he, like a fucking twelve-year-old girl or some shit? He really needed to get himself together.
Sex with Bill was different from sex with Stan. It was slower and less about getting to the point. Bill was quiet except for when he said something admiring about her body. He said her breasts were beautiful and ignored all the scars on her legs. He said she tasted good and licked her with the right combination of gentleness and vigour so she could close her eyes and pretend he wasn’t some dumpy, hairy guy with pit stains on his shirt. She was actually sort of enjoying herself and kind of felt like she actually was beautiful, at least until he entered her. Then she found it more difficult to drift off into a fantasy. She stared up at him while he sweated and grunted, thrusting into her while holding her legs up in the air. He kept saying how good it felt and how tight she was and even when she closed her eyes she could still hear him and still feel him. When he was done he pulled off the condom and placed it inside a ziplock bag he dug out of his jeans and stuffed this mess inside his coat pocket. He explained that he didn’t want to leave evidence behind. So he’d really planned this ahead, hadn’t he? Shauna didn’t mind. She felt flattered that he’d been so attracted to her that he was willing to risk his friendship with Stan and she was sort of exhilarated by the idea that she’d just cheated on her boyfriend. She realized she hated Stan and this was exactly the kind of secret revenge she wanted to inflict on him.
All in all it had been a pretty awesome day.