Monday, January 30, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 8 – Act V

            Thank god Cerise checked her email before Tom came over otherwise she might not have noticed that Julie set the computer background back to a picture of Terry’s naked torso dripping wet.  If Tom had seen that it could have been way awkward.  Cerise changed the image to something innocuous but then just out of curiosity she stalked Terry’s facebook page for a while.  His status indicated that he had a game tonight.  She hadn’t been to one of his games in ages and wondered how his team was doing.  According to his updates they were doing ok. 
            There were lots of pictures of Terry and his hockey buddies at parties, hanging out with tons of chicks.  Terry didn’t post such pictures but Nick did, whom Cerise had recently friended.  Did Terry party a lot?  When they’d been together, she’d gone to one or two of his hockey parties and they were always excruciatingly dull.  Everyone talked about boring stuff like hockey.  But usually Terry would forsake those parties and hang out with Cerise alone.  But now that they weren’t together anymore he was surely partying every night.  Cerise knew perfectly well that those hockey guys were notorious partiers and those parties were crawling with available, willing girls.  But Terry wasn’t that kind of guy anymore. Was he?  Not that she cared.  They weren’t together anymore.  He could do whatever he wanted.  Did he want to hook up with other girls?  Probably.  She hadn’t heard any rumours of him dating anyone lately but that wasn’t his style, was it?  Terry didn’t date, he hooked up.  He was probably hooking up right now!

            Puck bunnies were too easy and Terry had already been with all of them.  He scanned the room and there was Morgan, looking equally bored.  Terry sauntered up to him and the two girls he was hanging out with.
            “Well I use a moisturizer that has SPF built in,” one of the chicks was explaining.
            “You’re so good,” exclaimed another girl.  “I never use sun screen.  Am I totally gonna get cancer?”
            “Yeah, probably,” Morgan nodded.  “I usually wear a hat outside but I smoke so…”
            “What kind of hat?” one of the girls interrupted.
            “Uh, a baseball cap I guess.  Although I’ve also been known to rock a fedora,” he said with a wink.
            “What’s a fedora?”
            “You know like a 1920s hat?  Or like the 60s?  Like Don Draper?  You know, like Mad Men?”
            The girls stared at Morgan in confusion.
            “Yeah so anyway, I smoke so I’ll probably get lung cancer before skin cancer.”
            “Yeah, I smoke too!  Oh my god, we’re all gonna die.”
            “No matter how you live you’ll die eventually, might as well have fun getting there,” said Terry with a grin. 
            “I know, right?” squealed one of the girls.
            “Totally!” squealed the other girl.
            Terry was reminded of Mel and Steph, Sarah’s friends from high school.  They were always just as annoying as these two.  These chicks’ voices were so shrill, so high.  Why did they have to squeal everything so loudly?  They sounded like a mix between a bird and a pig. 
            “Hey Morgan, I need to talk to you,” Terry said with a serious voice.
            “What’s up?” asked Morgan, walking away from the chicks without explanation.
            They got to the other side of the room before Terry confessed.  “It’s nothing.  You just seemed bored with those bitches.”
            Morgan laughed.  “Yeah, totally.  Thanks for saving me.  They didn’t even know what a fedora was.”  He looked at Terry questioningly, probably wondering if Terry knew what a fedora was.
            “Do you actually wear one?  ‘Cause isn’t that like, a bit douchey?” asked Terry, refusing to admit he was just as clueless as the girls about the fedora, though at least he knew about Mad Men, thanks to Cerise.  That show had a lot of hot chicks, but it was majorly depressing.
            Morgan laughed again, this time even more boisterously.  “Depends what you wear it with I guess.  Depends on your attitude.  Fuck I dunno, I guess I am a douche.”
            They both laughed heartily.  “Hey man, you wanna get out of here?” Terry asked.
            Morgan’s eyes brightened.  “Go where?”
            “Let’s go to a bar.  Pick up some chicks we haven’t already fucked a million times.”
            “Ok,” grinned Morgan.  “But only if I get to wear my douche hat.”
            Terry laughed.  This dude was funny.  Morgan had gotten a lift to the party with one of the other guys so Terry offered to drive.  He wanted to drink tonight but he’d be good and keep it under control.
            “Clydes good with you?”
            “Yeah I guess,” Morgan shrugged.  “But what about going somewhere cooler?  Like downtown?”
            “Sure.  Anywhere specific?”
            “I like New Town.”
            “I’ve never been.  I hear it’s expensive.”
            “I guess, but the chicks are better.  Classier.  Or I guess I mean older.  It’s right next to Concordia so tons of University chicks go there.”
            “Ahh, nice,” smiled Terry.
            “Wait though, let’s go to my place first.  I live in Kirkland.”
            “What’s at your place?”
            “I was serious about the fedora.”
            Terry laughed.  “You were not!”
            “No for real, for real,” cackled Morgan.  “It’ll be hilarious.  We’ll dress up in suits and shit, like Barney, you know from How I Met Your Mother?”
            “Yeah.” Terry was familiar with the show and had been accused of being a bit like Barney, which he took as an insult. 
            “Let’s see if that actually works.  You said you were sick of puck bunnies, right?”
            “You want a challenge, right?”
            “So let’s dress up all fancy and see if we’ve still got game.  Let’s see if we can pull it off.”
            Terry considered this.  True, it would be a challenge and that could be fun, but wouldn’t he look like a tool going to a bar on a weeknight all dressed up like he was a businessman? 
            “Come on, it’ll be fun.  We’ll make it like a bet.  Like who can score more numbers.”
            “I don’t care about numbers.  I need to get laid,” Terry scoffed.
            “Scared you can’t do it in a suit?”
            “Fuck you man, I can do it dressed in a fucking clown costume.”
            “Don’t tempt me to up the ante.”
            Terry laughed again.  This could actually be fun.  First they went to Morgan’s place and he got all dressed up and then they went to Terry’s dad’s place where he kept the suit he owned for funerals and weddings.  It was already three years old but it still fit ok.  Slightly tight but if he left it unbuttoned it was ok.
            As Terry changed, Morgan inspected his ties and declared all two of them to be ugly.
            “Good thing I brought options,” he said, unfurling a couple ties from one of those reusable grocery bags he’d brought along.  “Wear this one.”
            Terry put it on and Morgan snorted with derision.  “You can’t tie a tie for shit.  Hold still.”
            He felt like a little kid as Morgan adjusted the tie, practically strangling him as he tightened it. 
            “Do you have any nice shoes?”
            “Yeah,” said Terry, grabbing his dress shoes out of the back of his closet.  “But like, won’t they get like super wet?  I mean I don’t care about my sneakers but my step-mom gave me these shoes and she said never to wear them in winter, I mean like not outside.”
            “Yeah, I hear you but we can’t exactly go to a bar wearing mukluks.  Don’t worry, downtown is always super well snow-plowed.”
            Before Terry could ask what mukluks were, Morgan whipped two hats out of his bag and stuck one on Terry’s head.
            “No way, man!  I look like a poseur!”
            “That’s the whole point!  Dude, any guy can score in a suit.  The hat’s what makes it retro.  It’s what makes it funny.  It’s what makes it a challenge!”
            “But we look like assholes!”
            “That’s why it’s fucking hilarious!”  Morgan said as he dragged Terry out of the house.
            Next thing he knew they were downtown.  They’d had to park pretty far away and the sidewalks were not nearly as well plowed as Morgan had promised but it was ok.  In fact, Morgan had been right about it being fun to walk around in fedoras.  They got a lot of looks, some quizzical, some amused.  Two older guys walking together smiled at them and it occurred to Terry that they might actually appear to be a gay couple.  Oh well, whatever, it was still fun, especially once they got to the bar and could remove the hats.  Even just holding them looked a bit toolish but they couldn’t very well wear them indoors, ‘cause according to Morgan that was just déclassé.
            There were several other men in the bar with suits on but they were all old so Terry and Morgan definitely stood out.  As promised, there were plenty of girls there, or women rather, looking good in tight dresses and sexy office outfits.  They walked throughout the bar and chatted up several chicks, finally settling on two women who turned out to be office workers who’d come to the bar for an office related 5 à 7 and then stayed to hang out. 
            Cerise couldn’t stop thinking about Terry, which she knew was shitty, especially considering she was hanging out with Tom.  They were sitting in the den, watching sitcoms and laughing at all the same jokes and yet she felt like they weren’t connecting.  Not the way she’d connected with Terry.  Even though she and Terry didn’t always find the same things funny, they always had fun together.  They always had problems but she always felt something with him.  She felt something for him.  She felt nothing for Tom and it wasn’t fair to keep stringing him along.

            “I’m Terry.”
            “I’m Alexandra.”
            “I’m Nick.”
            “I’m Céline.”
            The office girls asked about the fedoras and Morgan made up a story about them being spies, which was obviously untrue, and obviously meant to be funny.  He even put on a British accent as he explained.  The girls laughed and finally Morgan just told them the truth, or half the truth, that they’d decided to wear the suits and hats just for the heck of it, just to get out of the jeans and t-shirt rut of being college students.  He left out that the college in question was a cegep and not a university. 
            The girls seemed charmed and impressed and after a while it was clear who was pairing off with whom.  Nick got the French girl and Terry took the petite brunette.  She lived downtown, walking distance from the bar.  He offered to walk her home.  She agreed.  She said goodnight to her friend, who giggled in response. 
            Terry was really warm and had long ago taken off his jacket.  He kept it off as they walked outside and the woman, bundled in a coat and scarf and hat and mitts, marvelled that he wasn’t cold.  He assured her he never got cold and she surmised that he would make a good snuggle buddy.  He said he was a good anything she wanted buddy and was grateful she giggled at such a stupid line.

            “So like, your mom’s not home, right?” Tom asked with a pained smile.
            “Huh?  Why?”
            “’Cause like, we’re never alone.  We’ve never been alone.  Not since that first time,” he looked at Cerise pleadingly.
            Cerise felt very uncomfortable.  It was true that they hadn’t slept together since that first time at Karine’s house.  And it wasn’t for lack of effort on Tom’s part.  He’d invited her many times to hang out at his place and she’d always demurred.  She couldn’t keep doing this.  It was agony.
            “Tom, I think we need to talk.”
            “What is it?” asked Tom with fear in his eyes.
            Cerise grabbed the remote and turned off the TV.  She turned to Tom.
            “You’re breaking up with me aren’t you?” he asked.
            “How’d you know?” she asked, genuinely shocked.
            “I’m not a fucking retard, Cerise.  I can see you’re not over Terry.”
            “I just… it’s not fair of me to stay in this relationship when I feel the way I do.”
            Tom sighed heavily.  “The writing on the wall’s been there for a while.  I saw you guys at Karl’s cabane.”
            “Nothing happened,” Cerise insisted earnestly.
            “But you wanted something to happen.  And I’m not like that.  All like tall and huge and all GQ or whatever.”
            “It’s not about that.”
            “I guess I should be glad you ever went out with me in the first place.  I mean at least I got laid, if only once,” he said bitterly.
            “Well gee, sorry for not fulfilling all your sex fantasies,” Cerise shot back.
            Instead of yelling back he just sat there looking sad.  “I guess you never really liked me as more than a friend,” he mumbled.  “Guess you won’t like me more no matter how long I keep hoping.”  He seemed to be talking to himself more than to Cerise.  “I always knew you weren’t really that into me.  It was pretty obvious after we did it that time.”
            “I never wanted to hurt you.”
            “Why’d you ever sleep with me in the first place?”
            “I don’t know.  I thought maybe I could make myself like you ‘cause on paper you seem so right for me.  I mean I really do like you!  You know, as a friend.”
            “Oh god, way to make it worse, Cerise.”  Tom groaned and stood up and left the room. 
            Cerise followed him to the front hall and watched him put on his coat and hat.  “I want us to still be friends,” she said weakly.
            “Friends with benefits?” he smiled a goofy, toothy smile.
            She couldn’t help but laugh.
            “Worth a try,” he shrugged sadly and before Cerise could say anything else, he was out the door. 
            Well, that was certainly a lot less painful than any of the breakups she’d had with Terry.

            The office girl wasn’t coy and as soon as they were in her house she excused herself to go to the bathroom. When she came out she was wearing only her bra and panties.
            “So you gonna come warm me up?” she asked, walking into another room.
            Terry followed her into the bedroom and she slowly took off his clothes while he stood there, allowing her to take the lead. 
            She stroked his abs and grinned.  “Nice,” she said.  “I guess you work out.
            He smiled.  Chicks always liked his abs.  “I play hockey.”
            “Oh?  A hockey player, eh?  Nice.”
            The rest of his clothes came off and she grabbed his cock and led him to the bed, gently pushing him down.  She sucked him briefly and then took off her underwear and lay down, spreading her legs.  Terry went down on her eagerly.  She was completely shaved, just like in porn.  Not even a landing strip or anything.  She tasted good too.  Not as good as Cerise, but better than a lot of girls he’d been with.  She produced a condom from her bedside table and he put it on got on top of her.  He thought about his dead grandmother a few times to keep from coming too quickly, but most of the time he allowed himself to enjoy the moment, to feel the inside of her cunt, to explore her mouth with his tongue.  Eventually she pushed him off and then straddled him and got herself off with a fun hip swivelling thing.  He came soon after.
            She showered and then said she had to work in the morning.  Terry took the hint and got dressed.  He texted Morgan to see if he was around and apparently he was still at the bar.  They met up at his car.
            “So you get laid?” asked Nick as he slid into the passenger seat.
            “Yeah.  It was awesome.  You struck out?”
            “Nope.  Fucked her in the bathroom,” Nick gloated.
            “For real?”
            Terry looked at Nick and finally he broke.  “Nah, I got her number but we didn’t hook up.  I guess the fedora backfired ‘cause we got in this big discussion about Mad Men and feminism and stuff and that pretty much killed the mood.” 
            “Aww man, I’m sorry, that sucks.  The suit worked great for me,” Terry chuckled.
            “I know, shit, you must’ve gotten like a million numbers!”
            “I know, I was on fire!” Terry laughed.
            Well that was that then.  Cerise was single again.  As she readied herself for bed she noticed the picture of her and Terry at prom, which she kept on her dresser.  Obviously she still wanted him.  In spite of everything he was the one.  Maybe she’d try to talk to him tomorrow.

            Terry showered when he got home and crawled into bed, tired more from the evening’s game than the night’s activities.  Stir-fry sat in the bed, looking at him with accusatory eyes.  How could you sleep with another chick, it asked.  What about Cerise?  Cerise doesn’t want me.  I’ve gotta move on.  Gotta move on.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 8 – Act IV

            Cerise didn’t even know why she’d agreed to go on the date but there she was, sitting in a restaurant with her apparent boyfriend and Sarah and her apparent boyfriend, the terminally clueless Jay.  Really?  Was this really happening? 
            As Sarah and Jay bantered about their new teachers and Tom interjected with the useful fact that all his classes were full year and he therefore didn’t have any new teachers, Cerise contemplated how best to stop caring about Jay.  Logically speaking, intellectually speaking, he was nothing special.  In fact he was a jerk.  He had screwed her over enough times, sometimes unknowingly and at least once deliberately so she should hate him.  And yet…
            “So weird, right?”  Sarah stared at Cerise expectantly.
            “Sorry, what?”
            “Cassie and Lee.  I mean I didn’t even know they’d gone out and now she’s all sad about him and stuff.”
            “Yeah, they hooked up once.  As far as I know they weren’t actually dating or whatever.  But pretty shitty of him to act like it never even happened, whatever it is.”
            Jay expressed surprise at the news that Cassie had hooked up with Lee.  Apparently he’d never said anything about it, which Sarah found odd since he seemed the type to brag about such things.
            Cerise wasn’t sure she agreed.  “He’s not like a frat guy, all having sex just for the bragging rights.  It’s more like he does stupid shit for the right to act like a freak.  And sleeping with someone is just normal.  He probably doesn’t want to advertise the fact that he’s just a normal dude after all.”

            It was a fair assessment and Jay said so.  Lee was a classic try-hard.  Overcompensating for something, surely.  But it also niggled Jay that this complete freak could be so successful with girls.  So successful that he didn’t even feel the need to reveal his success.  Would Jay be able to brag about losing his virginity if he did it with Sarah, which surely they would, right?  With Karl around it would be in bad taste to brag but maybe if he could get Willy and Vani alone… no, Vani would tell Karl everything just because he didn’t understand the concept of discretion and Willy would tell out of spite.  But to be thought of as a virgin even after he’d done it would be intolerable!
            “No offense to Cassie but she seriously has weird taste in guys.  I mean first Jonah and then Lee?  Whatever,” laughed Sarah.
            “Like you should talk,” said Cerise without missing a beat.
            “Hey!” Sarah giggled.
            Jay laughed ‘cause at first he thought it was a joke at Karl’s expense but then he realized he was also the butt of the joke.  “Like you should talk either,” he snorted at Cerise.  “I mean fuck, Terry Trebidouchsky is not exactly like, non douchey.  I mean he’s the poster boy for douche.”
            “Whatever, I’m not gonna have this conversation again,” Cerise sighed and rolled her eyes.
            “Uh, hello, she’s not dating Terry anymore,” that Tom guy glared at Jay.
            “Yeah, you’re a real improvement,” said Jay sarcastically even though he didn’t really know or care about Tom.
            “Pfft, like you’re so cool, Mr. Dungeons & Dragons?” Tom scoffed.
            “You play too!”
            “Only so as not to hurt your feelings.  Fuck, I’m in a band.  I have better things to do than roll dice.”
            “Oh I’m so cool, I play guitar, badly,” mocked Jay. 
            “Yeah, Magic, the Gathering called.  It wants its social awkwardness back.”
            “Listen to this song I composed, which has two cords.  It’s about Wookies and Dom-jot.”
            “I’ll have you know that it’s considered quite controversial to combine Trek and Wars in one song.  It’s revolutionary!”
            “These are our boyfriends,” Cerise interjected, with a tone of dejected realization.
            “Wow, we suck,” said Sarah with great disappointment.
            “We can totally do better,” Cerise nodded.
            “Yeah, we’re gonna go.” 
            Sarah stood up and Cerise followed suit and Jay was crestfallen.  Had he seriously fucked things up so quickly?  But a second later Tom grabbed Cerise and pulled her back down and they giggled so Jay grabbed Sarah and did the same, which also elicited giggles.  Jay seriously needed to study up on how to be a boyfriend, ‘cause this shit was complicated.
            It didn’t get any easier as time went on.  He gamed with the guys on Saturday and tried to find a way to tell them about his awesome date but since Karl was there it was awkward.  It was only on Monday, after a Sunday spent wandering Fairview with Sarah that Vani and Willy found out.  Jay and his new girlfriend (he totally had a girlfriend now) were making out in the hallways at school (he totally had a girlfriend he could make out with in public) when the boys came along and interrupted them. 
            He was so absorbed with kissing Sarah’s awesome mouth (although she did kind of have an annoying way of pulling away from him and telling him to slow down and slobber less) when he heard Vani having a nervous breakdown. 
            “What the frick?! What the… what da, ppff!  Pshhsss!  Pfwha?!”
            They broke their embrace and turned to see Vani hopping all over the place, circling Karl who stood there stone-faced while Willy shot death glares at Jay.
            “Web-man!  Look!” shouted Vani.
            “Yes, I see.”
            “Did you know about this?”
            “I was informed,” Karl said dryly.
            Jay and Sarah stood there for a while, neither knowing what to do and then finally Sarah shrugged and wished Jay a good day and sauntered off.
            “Why was I not informed?” Vani screeched, jumping over to Jay and shaking his shoulders.
            Some people looked at them as they walked by, no doubt because Vani was having his meltdown rather loudly and Jay wished he could just be normal for once in his life. 
            “So you’re like, fucking Sarah now?” asked Willy.
            “Shut up,” said Jay between gritted teeth.
            “She sure gets around,” he went on.
            “Did you guys hear about Lee and Cavity?” asked Jay in an effort to deflect interest.
            “What about them?” asked Vani, clutching his face in anticipation.
            “They hooked up.”
            “Say what?!” Vani howled, dramatically pulling at his hair.
            “They like totally did it.”
            “Ffwwhhaaa?! What the frickety fraaaaa?!”
            “When?” asked Willy.
            “Before Christmas break.  So like apparently the whole time at the cabane Cavity was all like trying to get with him and Lee was all like, totally not having it.  Like he’s a total wham-bam guy and she’s like all sad and stuff and he’s all like, not sad and whatever and she’s all like crying in her Cheerios every morning and he’s like, not and he like didn’t even tell us so like, who else is he fucking and not telling?  Right?”
            “Like you should talk!  Since when have you been googling Sarah’s gaggle?”
            “Just since like, last week.  Like Friday.”
            “Maybe it should be gaggling her google.  What do you guys think?” asked Vani earnestly.
            “Stop trying to make fetch happen,” said Jay with an eye roll.  “God, can’t you ever just use real words?”
            “Oh, so now that you have a girlfriend you’re gonna be like all normal and shit?  Whatever!” scoffed Vani.  “I mean are you guys actually like boyfriend girlfriend status or is it just like a Lee, Cavity deal where she’s gonna dump you once she’s realized you’re you?”
            “We’re a real couple,” said Jay defensively.
            “And Karl, you’re ok with this?”
            Karl shrugged.
            “Man, is everyone hooking up but me?”
            “And me?” asked Willy.
            “There’s no such thing as miracles, Willy,” said Karl.
            “Are you still in the virgin club?” asked Vani.
            Jay tried not to look at Karl, but Karl stared at him with his icy blue eyes of icy blue evil and Jay lost his voice.
            “I’m gonna guess you’re still in the club,” said Willy.  “Sarah may be a slut but four days is quick even for her.”
            Both Jay and Karl glared at Willy and he smiled with self-satisfaction.  What a fucking prick. 

            Mondays were shit because Terry’s schedule didn’t match up with anyone else’s so he always had to eat lunch alone, which was fine he supposed, it was a chance to get some reading done.  He sat at his locker and ate a sandwich as he scrolled through his Phych notes on his laptop.
            His phone buzzed and he picked it up to find a text from Vani.

                        MUST TALK! CRAZO NEWS! WORLD ENDING!
                                                                                    What r u talking about?
                        Brace yourself…

            Terry had visions of any number of horrible things, like maybe Cerise had gotten into an accident or something but then Vani texted that Jay was going out with Sarah and Terry had to laugh.

                                                                                    Who gives a shit?
                        How can you be so callous?  He has no right! Sarah
is karls chick!
I guess
                        Karl acted like he didn’t care but he so does he was
obs uber pissed he was doing the thing where he’s
pissed but just stands around like an android
                                                            I guess he’s pissed a lot
Don’t you think Jay is an ass for doing that?
I think jay is an ass anyway
Zactly! He has no honour! If he was klingon karl could
totally kill him for this.
I mean sarah’s hot and all but, you think she’s hot right?
But would you ever go out with her?
Because karls your friend right?
Because sarah is cerise’s friend.
                        Zactly! You don’t go out with an ex’s friend and you
don’t go out with a friend’s ex.  Right?
            Terry considered this for a moment.  He’d never really given a shit about rules like that.  He was ostensibly friends with Steven back in high school yet he’d still tried to hook up with Karine and he’d dated Christina and yet still tried to hook up with  Karine.  It was only because of Karine’s decency that they hadn’t gotten together. 

            Vani made Terry promise that they could hang out later that day.  Terry said he’d be taking a smoke break outside Penfield at around 2 and sure enough Vani was there waiting for him, asking how these things happened. 
            “I don’t get it.  I turn my back and then next think I know everyone is dating everyone else.  You and Cerise, Karl and Sarah, Jojo and Cavity, Lee and Cavity, Tom and Cerise, Jay and Sarah… how the hell do these things happen?  And how come I’m never around when they’re passing out the memo?”
            “I dunno,” Terry chuckled as he quickly puffed on his cigarette and popped his collar, not to be douchey but to warm up a bit.  It was a cold and windy day.
            “Yes you do.  You’re constantly hooking up with chicks.  I mean, aren’t you?”
            Terry shrugged.  In truth he wasn’t hooking up with chicks anymore.  Not since Cerise.  And it wasn’t for lack of opportunity either.  There had been plenty of after game parties where there were tons of chicks just ripe for the picking.  In fact, why the hell wasn’t he picking up?
            “You’re so lucky,” Vani went on as Terry tossed away his butt and went back inside.  Vani followed and they walked through Casgrain.  “Girls flock to you like you’re made of cheese.”
            “Cheese?” laughed Terry.  “That’s a new one.”
            “Or chocolate, whatever.  Man, I wish I was you.  You could have any chick you wanted.”
            Terry looked at Vani pointedly, hoping he wouldn’t have to say that the one girl he wanted didn’t want him.
            “Well at the very least you could have that Janice chick.”
            “Yeah, along with every other guy in school.  No thanks man, I like a challenge.”
            “Well I don’t but even Janice rejected me and she’d fuck a chair.”
            “And probably has,” nodded Terry with a chuckle.  “But don’t worry man, it’ll happen.”
            “Oh yeah sure.  ‘Cause girls just love short Indian guys who think of Stan Lee as their personal saviour,” Vani sighed.
            “Hey, didn’t Cassie kiss you at New Year’s?”
            “Oh yeah!” Vani’s eyes widened.  “At least I’ve been kissed.  I guess that’s something.”
            “My point is that you should ask her out.  She totally wants you,” Terry said patiently as they reached his locker.  He tossed off his jacket and grabbed his laptop bag, slinging it over his shoulder and continuing on to his next class.
            Vani kept following.  “Really, you think?  But I thought she was all into Lee.”
            “Lee’s a loser.  And Cassie’s perfect for you.  She’s short, she likes Indian food and I’m pretty sure she’s seen all the Spiderman movies.”
            “Yeah, ok!” Vani literally skipped along the hall.
            “But I guess you can’t go out with her because of the whole honour thing right?” Terry asked with a sly grin.
            “Well ‘cause she went out with Jojo and Lee and they’re your friends, right?”
            “Fuck them!  Jojo’s a turd and Lee doesn’t care about shit like honour.”
            “So then go for it,” said Terry as he stopped in front of his classroom.  “Ok, I gotta go.  Good luck, man.”
            “Thanks, Terry!  You’re the best friend ever!” Vani actually tried to move in for a hug but Terry jumped back into his class and shook his head in exasperation.
            “What the hell was that?” asked Morgan who coincidentally shared three classes with Terry this semester.
            “Vani’s so weird,” Terry laughed.  “I was giving him girl advice but between the two of us I think that kid might actually be a little gay.”  He half whispered the last word to show he was joking, and to show he wasn’t into that sort of thing but also hoping he wasn’t coming across as super homophobic.  You always had to tread lightly with hockey dudes, ‘cause some of them were serious cavemen and others were cool.  Terry was pretty sure Nick Morgan was cool but you could never be too careful.
            Maybe Morgan could be Terry’s new wingman.  They could go to bars and pick up and he could be Terry’s new ‘talk about chicks’ friend.  Not that Terry needed help picking up but it was more fun to have someone to hang out with while scoping out chicks.  He was about to ask Morgan what he was doing this weekend when he realized how stupid this idea was.  The only reason he needed a new wingman was because he wasn’t really hanging out with Andrew anymore and the only reason he didn’t hang out with Andrew was because Cerise didn’t like him and the only reason he needed a wingman was because he wasn’t with Cerise anymore!  If he wanted to cruise for chicks he just needed to call Andrew!
            But Terry didn’t really want to call Andrew.  Andrew kind of was a dick.  Screw Cerise for being right.  She was always right.  And she always knew it.  And she was so self-righteous about it, about everything.  She could never just be chill.  Everything was always so intense with her.  Terry was better off without her.  Morgan would be his new wingman and he would hook up with a new chick!

            Hook up with Cavity, maybe call her Cassie if hooking up with her, what is hooking up exactly?  Ask her out?  Ask to make out?  Be an ass like Lee?  Be a simpering loser like Jojo?
            What the fuck?!  As Vani approached Cavity’s locker he saw her standing there talking to Jojo.  Wasn’t she done with Jojo?  Maybe they were just talking because they had to discuss potty training for one of her stuffed animals or something.  Yeah, maybe they were just friends now.  Kissing friends.  Full on making out friends.  God damn it!  Were they back together or something?  How did these fucking things keep happening without Vani knowing about them?!  He couldn’t keep up with the universe and he couldn’t even get one girl to go out with him! 
            “Khaaaaaaaan!” Vani yelled at the top of his lungs.
            Cavity and Jojo turned to stare at him along with a bunch of others.
            “Carry on,” he said bitterly and then walked off.
            They would anyway.  Everyone would always carry on without him.  No one ever told him anything.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 8 – Act III

            “I’m Alice!” squeeled Karine as she read the cast sheet. 
            “Of course you are,” said Janice dryly. 
            Cerise was glad Janice had said it so she didn’t have to.  Once again Karine was double cast with Laura.  Hugh and Fred were so predictable.  A lot of the kids were saying that Laura wasn’t even that great of a singer and they only cast her as Alice because she was their favourite.  But Cerise couldn’t really complain because she was cast as the White Queen, which was actually a decent role.  To be honest, none of the roles were huge, they all came and went as Alice wandered through Wonderland.  So besides Karine and Laura no one really had a better or worse part than anyone else. 
            Janice was the Queen of Hearts and Cerise felt that was actually quite appropriate.  Peter was the Mad Hatter and Cassie was the dormouse, which was surprising considering how bad her audition had been.  Wouldn’t she be expected to sing during the tea party?  No matter, Cassie was over the moon with relief.  Tom was a little more disappointed at being Tweedle-Dum and made some self-deprecating jokes about it but once they got to class Fred and Hugh explained that a lot of them would also be playing extra background characters, like playing cards and croquet mallets.  Tom was expected to play pretty much every one of these roles since he could sing and he was pleased by the extra stage time.  Cerise would also be a playing card, one who was painting the Red Queen’s roses, so she’d have more than one song as well.
            Everyone was happy as they left class and the merriment continued through lunch as they met up with the group at the Munch Box.  There wasn’t much room so most of the guys stood around, leaning on walls and Janice asked to sit on Terry’s lap, who spurned her advances by offering her his seat and moving around to the other side of the table.  Cerise was glad to see he was eating with them again and apparently so was Karine. 
            “Terry, guess who I’m gonna be?” she squealed with delight, grabbing his arm and shaking it.
            “Alice?” he smiled in amusement.
            “Like there was ever any doubt,” he laughed.  Casually, almost too casually, he asked Cerise who she was going to be.
            “The White Queen.”
            “That’s good, right?”
            “It’s awesome!” Cassie answered for her.
            “Congrats,” Terry smiled warmly.
            “I’m Tweedle-Dum,” Tom announced, somewhat angrily as he slurped on his Coke. 
            Vani raised his hands.  “We musn’t.  When it’s so easy there’s no point.”
            “Who’s Tweedle-Dee?” asked Sarah with genuine curiosity.
            “This guy Pierre, which doesn’t even make sense because he and I look nothing alike and he has this super thick French accent so it’s like, how are we supposed to be twins?”
            Cerise chose not to mention that while it was true that Pierre had a slight accent, he was actually quite similar to Tom in that they were both about the same height and weight and if clothed in the same outfit would be indistinguishable from a distance.  Apparently the rest of the group chose to be similarly tactful except for Janice who loudly bellowed that Tom was retarded and Pierre was his literal twin and they were probably separated at birth and he should search for a scar from their surgical separation ‘cause they were maybe even conjoined.

            Jay had only been half paying attention as everyone talked about all this boring school stuff.  It was gonna be a musical and Karine was gonna sing.  Though he’d never heard her sing before and was mildly interested in this new factoid about her talents, Jay was surprised to find that he didn’t really care to attend the play.  Their last play had been so excruciatingly boring.  If it were to be a nude production then fine, but Alice in Wonderland?  Whatever, so dull. 
            To his delight, Sarah invited him to go to the library and while he had no interest in studying, being invited anywhere by a pretty girl was good times.  As they walked there she asked him how he’d done last semester and if he thought he’d like his classes this semester.
            “Well I didn’t do as badly I thought I might but I still did pretty shitty.  This semester will be the semester of total buckle-down-age.”
            “Will it?” she asked teasingly.
            “Yeah, it’s gonna rock.  I’m gonna be like Clark Kent.  Except more effective and less bumbling.”
            “And without the Superman part.”
            “Yeah, yeah, without the Superman part, sure,” he winked in what he hoped was a flirtatious rather than gross way.
            “Well I could like help you study sometime if you want.”
            “Yeah sure,” he nodded, trying not to be offended by the suggestion that he needed her help and trying even harder not to acknowledge how much this was true.  “Thanks,” he smiled.
            “My pleasure,” she smiled back.
            “So um, speaking of my pleasure.  Do you wanna like go out sometime?”
            Jay stared at Sarah in disbelief.  How was it that he was such a loser and yet girls kept asking him out?  Ok, well technically Sarah was only the second girl who’d ever asked him out and the first turned out to be some elaborate joke that he still didn’t quite get but still.  Was this real?  Was this another ruse?  Was it all some conspiracy to make him feel like a loser?  Oh well, whatever Sarah’s motivation, even a joke date was better than nothing so Jay nodded and smiled nervously.
            Sarah beamed and grabbed his arm, leading him to an empty table in the library where she sat and studied and he wondered if this meant they were now boyfriend and girlfriend and if that meant he’d finally get laid and if so, when exactly that would happen.

            “Yeah, we’re having a pretty good season.  We’re losing as much as we’re winning but at least we’re winning as much as we’re losing,” said Terry with a relaxed smile as he puffed on his cigarette.
            Karine stood with him outside Casgrain with Peter and Janice along for the ride.  Peter seemed genuinely interested in Terry’s hockey talk, which was kind of weird.  If she was being honest, Karine found hockey insufferably dull.  She’d always tried to be supportive of Terry’s interests but really, who gave a shit about sports?
            Some guy was trudging along towards them, taking giant steps in an effort not to step in a puddle.  It wasn’t snowing anymore and was rather sunny and warm but the ground was insanely wet.  There were thick, slushy puddles everywhere and even the dry spots could only be called so in a relative sense.  As the dude came near Karine recognized him as Nick Morgan, Terry’s hockey buddy. 
            “Hey dude, can I bum a smoke?” he asked as he joined them.
            “Sup?” said Terry casually as he held out his cigarette pack to his friend.
            Karine tried not to snicker.  She wasn’t sure how conscious Terry was of his actions but every time he hung out with his hockey buddies he became even more laid-back than usual.  It amused Karine greatly that Terry was probably putting a great deal of effort into appearing so effortless.  There was something about this display that was so endearing.  It made Terry so human, so real and she was grateful that he could let his guard down with her when they were alone.  When it was just the two of them they spoke intently and with reason.  Their conversations were never pointless and meandering as this one was now.  They spoke of real things and Terry frowned and nodded as he considered her points and his body always hunched slightly as he pondered his thoughts.  With other people he slouched but held his head high and his eyes drooped as though he was barely listening.  He smirked and lifted his eyebrows instead of speaking. 
            Nick Morgan spoke excitedly, answering Peter’s inane hockey questions.  Janice interrupted to grab at Nick and feel his biceps, which he allowed and barely noticed.  She propositioned him lewdly and he snorted in response, jokingly saying that he was too fatigued from practice to keep up with her.  She assured him she’d be gentle and he shrugged and suggested she suck his cock right now and began unzipping his jeans.
            They all snickered but Janice took the dare and yanked down his pants, taking his underwear with them.  Karine stared as Nick’s penis was briefly exposed before he crouched down and jerked his jeans back up.  It had only lasted a second but it was enough time to notice that his junk was respectable.  In fact, maybe he’d even been semi erect.  She couldn’t be sure, but she thought so.  Finally she looked up to his face, which was crimson and his mouth hung open.  The barely smoked cigarette lay in a puddle at his feet.
            Peter and Terry were howling with laughter and Janice looked like the Cheshire cat.  Maybe she’d been miscast after all.  “Pretty nice, the offer stands,” she grinned, grabbing Nick’s crotch.
            He swatted her away and laughed.  “Bitch!  Ok, you seriously owe me a bj for that!  You owe me unlimited bjs! 
            “Anytime,” Janice cooed.
            “All the time!  Whenever I want!” Nick laughed, still blushing.
            “Shit, that was fucking funny,” said Terry, catching his breath.  He’d completely abandoned his cool pose and was being normal, smiling with genuine glee.  It was great to see.

            Jay wanted to put off the inevitable but he couldn’t be that much of an asshole.  Karl was one of his oldest friends.  Well, one of his only friends really.  Jay couldn’t just date Sarah without telling him first.  He didn’t really want to ask permission but he couldn’t just suddenly start dating her either.  He’d for sure be expelled if he did that.
            Karl was sitting in his usual spot, at the wall across from his locker.  His laptop was propped up on his lap and he was typing furiously, every so often pausing and bringing his thumb up to his mouth, where he chewed his nail absent-mindedly. 
            “Heeeey,” said Jay, sounding kind of like the Fonz, which was weird.
            “What’s up?” asked Karl without looking up, without ceasing his typing.
            Jay sat next to him, at a respectable distance.  “Soooo, I kinda have something to ask you.”
            “Well it’s kinda like… the thing is… well, uh, I mean…”
            “Spit it out!” said Karl with an irritated sigh, finally looking up from his work but still typing away.
            “So like it kinda involves Sarah.”
            Karl’s fingers stopped and he stared at Jay.
            “So like, well, you know how she exists and everything?”
            “And everything,” said Karl dryly.
            “Well um… let’s say… let’s say just theoretically she were to… or I were to…”
            “Use your words,” he condescended.
            “Would it be cool with you if um, if like… if me and her like…”
            “If you went out with her?” Karl asked without moving his face.
            “Uh, yeah.”  Jay was shocked Karl had guessed his intentions and wondered just how obvious he’d been about his attraction to Sarah. 
            Karl stared at Jay, perhaps trying to intimidate him? 
            “Sooooo….” Jay tried to smile.
            “I don’t control either of you.  Do as you like.”  Karl went back to his typing, and stared intently at his screen.
            “So it’s ok?”
            “You’re a big boy, Jay.  You make your own decisions.”
            “What does that mean?” Jay pleaded.
            “I’m busy!  Go bother someone else.”  His fingers flew across the keyboard.
            “But like, so is it ok?”
            “It’s fine!”  Typing, typing, typing.
            “Yes, I don’t care.”
            I said it’s fine!  Now fuck off!”
            “Well ok then.  Thanks!”
            That had gone well.  Jay traipsed off as Karl typed away.  He was a really fast typist. 

            Cerise turned around and saw Sarah skipping towards her, expertly dodging the various people in the Casgrain hallway.
            “God, you so need to get a phone.  I was gonna text you and then I was all like, Cerise doesn’t even have a phone!  I could email but who knows when you’re gonna check your mail?  You don’t even have a laptop.  What’s up with that?”
            “I mean fuck, you don’t seem like a Ludite, why do you live in an ’80s sitcom?  It’s so dumb that I have to like, physically find you to tell you something.”  Sarah leaned against a locker, first checking that it was clean.
            “Well not everyone can afford to own every gadget,” said Cerise with slight bitterness.  It’s not that she was poor but she wasn’t rich either.
            “Oh come on.  It’s a cell phone, not a Hadron Collider.  I think you can afford it.  I mean just get like a part-time job or something.”
            “Ok well anyway, what did you have to tell me?”
            “I asked Jay out, just like you said and he said yes.  So like, we’re going out!”
            Cerise forced enthusiasm as she told Sarah that was great news.  Sarah deserved to be happy and Cerise wanted to be happy for her but she was surprised to find her belly churning.  She was having an actual physical reaction to this news and was afraid she might actually throw up.  Why did she care so much?  She was with Tom now, she didn’t need Jay.  And even if she wasn’t with Tom she could just get back with Terry.  Jay was nothing.  He was nothing, damn it!
            “We’re gonna go out on Friday.  Do you wanna come?” asked Sarah happily.
            “What?”  Was Sarah really this cruel?  Why did she want to torture Cerise by forcing her to third wheel on her stupid date with stupid Jay and his stupid stupidity?
            “Yeah, you and Tom?  It can be like, a double date thing.”
            “Oh, right.  Um, yeah, ok I guess.”
            Yes.  Completely and totally awesome.  

Monday, January 9, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 8 – Act II

            In the back of Terry’s mind he’d thought that maybe he’d get back together with Cerise over the holiday break.  Even though he knew her new boyfriend was going to be at Karl’s cabane he sort of half way believed that it would be the perfect opportunity to reunite.  He was even mildly surprised that it hadn’t happened.  They hadn’t even kissed or anything.  There had been that nice conversation on the lake but all that did was confirm that they were now nothing more than friends.  And being just friends with no benefits whatsoever was maybe even worse than being enemies. 
            He’d seriously considered sharing his newfound secret with Cerise.  The news that he suspected his mom wasn’t even his real mom and his dad had a first wife and maybe she was his real mom.  But he didn’t want Cerise feeling sorry for him.  He only wanted her sympathy if he’d be able to hug her and kiss her and stuff.  He already had a supportive friend in Karine, what he needed was a supportive girlfriend.
            After dropping off his friends, Terry reluctantly returned to his dad’s house.  He knew from the one billion texts that Vicky needed him and while he was happy to help he was also sort of tired of all this divorce bullshit.  It had been bad enough to go through it with his parents but now to go through it again was all too much.  But Vicky and Britt were better off without John so he knew he’d have to buck up and help out.
            As soon as he was in the door Vicky was shoving boxes in his face and asking for help loading up the U-Haul she’d rented.  A quick glance around the house revealed that she’d packed pretty much everything in existence.  Had she packed it all herself?  He’d promised he’d help her with the packing and felt pretty shitty for having extended his stay at Karl’s cabane.  He wasn’t just a bad boyfriend; he was a bad step-son too.
            One by one he carried the boxes out to the truck while Vicky supervised.  Apparently Britt was at her grandma’s house, which was good.  It still made no sense to Terry that Vicky would be the one to move out.  His dad should have to go.  But whatever, he shouldn’t complain.  He didn’t want to lose his awesome room in the basement.  Not that Vicky would make him leave even if she took the house.  In fact, maybe he should move in with her and Britt wherever they ended up, ‘cause that might be cooler than living with either of his shitty parents.  Then again, if he lived with Britt he’d be expected to take care of her all the time and even though his social life was sort of shit lately that was no reason to completely run it into the ground.
            “Where the hell are Evan and Joey?” he asked, carrying a surprisingly heavy box labelled ‘linens’.  “Shouldn’t they be helping too?”
            “They’ve ignored all my texts,” Vicky sighed. 
            “Assholes,” Terry grumbled.
            “At least you finally came home,” she said with just a touch of bitterness.
            “Sorry, I didn’t think I’d be there that long.  But you know, we were having fun and stuff.”
            “Did you get back together with Cerise?”
            Terry tried not to show how much that question stung.  He shook his head wordlessly and Vicky patted him on the back sympathetically. 
            Once the U-Haul was loaded they took off to Vicky’s mom’s place in NDG. 
            “Can you GPS my mom’s address?” asked Vicky as she drove.  “I guess it’s pretty sad I don’t even remember how to get there.”
            “Is that where you’re gonna be living?” he asked as he searched the address in his iphone.  He already had Vicky’s mom as a contact in his phone because he’d had to drop off Britt there a couple times.
            “Oh god no,” she moaned.  “I mean my mom’s great and everything but fuck, no thanks.”
            “So you wanna take the 40,” said Terry, holding up his iphone in case Vicky wanted to see for herself.
            “It’s just gonna be temporary.  It sucks that I have to move twice but I wanted to get my stuff out of the house before your dad had a chance to trash it or whatever.  Not that he would, but you know.”
            “Yeah, I know.”
            “Yeah so I was thinking I wanted to stay in the West Island, you know for Britt’s sake, so she could stay at the same daycare and everything, but it might be an idea to get some distance between your father and me.  Physical distance.”
            “So maybe I’ll find an apartment in NDG so I can be near my mom.  You know, free babysitting and everything,” she chuckled.  “Now that I won’t have you anymore.”
            She didn’t say it with any bitterness but Terry still felt guilty.  “I’ll still be around.  I mean NDG isn’t that far away.  I can still visit.  I can still take care of Britt when you need me to.”
            “I’m glad to hear you say that.  I’m going to fight for full custody but I still want you to stay in Brittany’s life.  She needs consistency and you’re more of a father to her than John ever was.”
            “Maybe dad will be a better dad to her now that she’s gone.  Cerise said that’s how it was with her dad.  Once he moved out it was like suddenly he made more of an effort.  I dunno ‘cause like I guess maybe he missed his kids once they weren’t around all the time.”
            “Well that’s fine I suppose,” Vicky sighed.  “It’s not that I want to cut him out.  I just want to be able to control when he sees her.  I want it to be on my schedule.  On her schedule.  Instead of just whenever the hell he feels like it, which is how he’s always treated parenting in the past.”
            “Yeah no shit,” nodded Terry.
            “He’ll probably fight for joint custody.  Like he has with you boys.  Apparently his lawyer is a complete shark,” she sighed again.  “God, I just want this to be over.”
            “If you need me to like, I dunno, say like, you’re a good mom and stuff… I mean, say Britt’s better off with you.  In court or whatever.  I’ll do it.”
            “Thanks, Terry.”
            Once they got to Vicky’s mom’s house Terry unloaded all the boxes into the garage, which thankfully had been cleared to make space.  Britt crawled all over him while he worked, which was kind of annoying.  Britt was great and everything but it was dangerous for her to be in the way while he was trying to work.  Shouldn’t Vicky be holding her back or something?  But Vicky and her mom were busy arguing about something inconsequential.  No wonder Vicky didn’t want to live with this woman, she was kind of a bitch. 
            When he was finally done he played with Britt for a while and had lunch with the girls but eventually he was able to use the U-Haul as an excuse to get away and offered to bring it back to the rental place for Vicky, which she appreciated.  She thanked him profusely for all his help and her mom even offered to pay him, which he declined graciously.  Britt cried and wailed as she was torn off of him and he drove to the rental place only to realize he was now stranded.  He googled the STM website and figured out which bus to take home.  It was dark by the time he finally unpacked his cabane bag.  Did he have the energy to do laundry now, at this hour?  Screw it; he had enough clean stuff for at least another week.  All he wanted to do now was relax and watch TV. 

            “Do you know how hard it was for me to keep my hands off you that whole time?” asked Peter as he and Karine lay in her bed after fooling around. 
            It was no wonder Janice didn’t particularly want to go back for seconds because Peter wasn’t exactly the best lover ever.  Not that Karine was super experienced but still, he hadn’t even made her come.  She’d faked it for his sake and felt extremely shitty about the whole thing.  She didn’t want to be one of those girls who fakes it to spare her guy’s feelings.  She wanted to be honest.  But she just didn’t have the energy to deal with a bruised ego right now.  The only reason she’d even slept with Peter was because she couldn’t’ really put it off any longer.  It was either do him or break up with him and Karine enjoyed having a boyfriend, if only for the prestige of being attached.  And it didn’t hurt that he was black, because it made her seem super progressive.  Of course now she felt all the more guilty for being reverse racist or whatever. 
            She also couldn’t help wondering if maybe she’d have enjoyed it more if she hadn’t been fighting off the memory of Asshole’s attack.  Maybe Peter had actually been a spectacular lover but she couldn’t tell anymore because she no longer had the ability to feel sexual pleasure.  Would she ever be normal again?  But she was pretty sure Peter really did suck, because he hadn’t even gone down on her.  What the fuck?  Was he serious?  It was 2012 for god’s sake.  Every guy should know by now that not giving oral sex makes you the biggest loser ever.  Why did Karine always end up with such worthless lamebots?  Oh god, lamebot was totally a word the boys used, Jay and them.  Karine was never going to have a proper social life ever again.  She was going to end up with a string of total dorks.  Might as well give up now and buy some tickets to the next comiccon.  Maybe cosplay could be her new thing.  To be honest, she did kind of like the idea of dressing up in cool costumes, not just for Halloween but just for the fun of it. 
            “You didn’t even go down on me,” she suddenly announced, horrified by the idea that she was becoming a nerd.
            “What?  Did you want me to?” Peter asked in concern.
            “Of course!  Every girl wants that.”
            “No they don’t.  I’ve been with chicks who don’t.”
            “Then you must be really bad at it,” she said a little more unkindly than she’d intended.
            Several looks crossed his face as though he were trying to decide how to feel.  Was he insulted or did he want to prove her wrong?  He apparently settled on the latter and pulled her legs apart, shoving his face between them.  It could have been playful and funny but it just felt rough and mean to Karine.  She pushed away her fear and let him go on, knowing he wasn’t trying to hurt her.  She tried to concentrate on the pleasure, but there was none.  He really was terrible at this.  Should she give him some pointers?  Oh what was the point?  It’s not like she was going to stay with him much longer anyway. 

            “So not to be mean but Janice was a little extreme even for her, wasn’t she?” asked Cassie.
            “I know, right?!” said Sarah and Cerise in unison.
            They were hanging out at Sarah’s house, eating popcorn and ostensibly watching the 100 best whatever videos. 
            “I’m not one to slut shame but come on, there are limits,” said Sarah.
            “I know,” agreed Cassie.  “I kinda feel like a hypocrite ‘cause like, I’ve been known to have one night stands myself but still.”
            “It was kinda gross how she was all over Terry,” nodded Cerise.  “Not that I noticed or anything.”
            “Please, we all noticed,” scoffed Sarah.  “And it was gross.  It was actually just embarrassing ‘cause he obviously wants nothing to do with her so like, doesn’t she have any shame?”
            “She stole his shirt you know,” said Cerise.  “She like ripped it off his back and like, kept it.  I would’ve been pissed if it was one of the shirts I gave him.”
            “So you admit you still have feelings for him,” smiled Sarah.
            “Well, yeah.”
            “There was total flirt action between you two.”
            “Was there?!”
            “Totally,” nodded Cassie.
            “Oh god, do you think Tom noticed?”
            Sarah and Cassie shrugged their shoulders and nodded helplessly.  Cassie even said that Tom might have been slightly devastated.
            “God, I’m such a bitch,” whined Cerise.
            “If you don’t like him you owe it to him to say so and not lead him on, ‘cause that’s just like, hurtful,” said Cassie, almost on the verge of tears.
            “Cassie, what’s wrong!?”
            “Lee was so mean to me.  He acted like we never even hooked up.  Did you guys see?”
            “Oh god, you can do so much better than that loser,” said Sarah with assurance.  “I hate that guy.  He’s so over the top and obvious.  Like fucked up but like fake fucked up.”
            “I know, his shtick is so tired,” agreed Cerise.  “He tries way too hard.”
            “Look at me, I’m so cool, I say inappropriate things.  Whatever,” scoffed Sarah.
            “He’s cute though,” said Cassie weakly.
            “Sure, if you go for the whole poseur thing.”
            “Well what do you go for, Sarah?  The whole nerd boy thing?” asked Cassie teasingly.
            “Oh come on.  You were totally flirting with Jay like hardcore.”
            Cerise lifted a brow and stared at Sarah.  Was it true?  Judging by Sarah’s flushed cheeks it was.  Had Cerise been so involved in her own dramas that she hadn’t even noticed Sarah and Jay flirting?
            “Well he is kinda cute, don’t you think?” asked Sarah nervously.  “I mean I guess it’d be shitty to go out with one of Karl’s friends but like, it’s so hard to meet decent guys.  Everyone at JAC is like a total gino, just really dumb.  I mean I’m sorry but seriously.  The average IQ is lower than my bra size.”
            They all giggled.
            “Jay is actually like, halfway intelligent.  But maybe he doesn’t even like me.  What do you think, Cerise?  I mean, you’re good friends with him.  Has he ever said anything about me?”
            “Honestly no,” shrugged Cerise.  “The only girl he’s ever talked about is Karine.”
            “Oh god, Karine,” said Sarah with an eye roll.  “Could it possibly be any more obvious that she doesn’t give the slightest shit about Peter?  For someone who claims to be such a great actress you’d think she’d put a bit more effort into like the girlfriend thing.”
            “She was always like that with Steve too though,” shrugged Cerise.  “Like kind of distant.  Maybe that’s just how she is with guys.”
            “Lucky she’s pretty then or else she’d be forever alone.  I guess that’s why they put up with her obvious disinterest.  They’re just happy to be with the hot chick,” Sarah said wistfully as though she herself wasn’t completely gorgeous.
            “I’m sure Jay’s into you too,” said Cassie, perhaps picking up on Sarah’s self-pity.  “He was way flirting hardcore.”
            “So should I ask him out?”
            “Well he’s not gonna do it,” chuckled Cerise.  “That boy is fucking clueless when it comes to girls.”
            “No shit.  Boys are so stupid.”
            “I know, right?”

            For whatever reason Karine had been a little reluctant to get out of bed that morning and go back to school after Christmas break.  After an unusually mild December, winter had arrived with a vengeance.  It was cold and bleak and it was snowing.  Not pretty, fluffy snow either, but wet snow.  And it was windy too.  So not fun to be smacked in the face with giant gobs of icy yuckyness.  But now Fred and Hugh were announcing that their next play would be Alice in Wonderland.  Everyone wanted to know if it would be a musical and they said not necessarily.  They’d be auditioning everyone as singers and only if they had enough good voices would they do it as a musical.
            This was so exciting!  Karine was an excellent singer.  She hadn’t been particularly musical since her father had passed away but now was the perfect time to get back into it.  For sure she’d be cast as Alice.  Who else could possibly be her competition among this group of losers?  Even if there was someone else who could sing well no one was as pretty as her.  She had this thing in the bag.
            Oh great.  Singing?  Cerise had no idea how to sing and had no concept of how to read music.  Hugh and Fred had passed out sheets of songs and they had to choose one to audition with.  The sheets were covered in musical notes explaining how the songs were meant to be sung.  But Cerise had no clue what any of it meant.  These songs were completely unknown to her.  She fretted over this after class and Tom sang the songs for her.  Wow, it was finally handy to have a musical boyfriend.  Cerise immediately felt like a jerk for thinking Tom was finally useful, as though he’d been useless up until now, which was kind of true.  If she didn’t like him she really had to break up with him because using him like this was just mean.  But she could only break up with him after the audition because she seriously needed help learning these songs. 
            The audition was the next day and they found an empty hallway to practice in while waiting for their turn.  Cerise had chosen a song that was meant to be sung by Alice.  She really wanted a good role this time around and Tom said she had a great voice.  She wasn’t sure how sincere he was being, or rather, she didn’t doubt his sincerity but doubted his competence at being able to judge on the matter.  Still, to her own ears she sounded ok so this might not be so bad after all.
            “Hey guys,” said Cassie, joining them with a sad look on her face.
            “What’s wrong?” asked Cerise and Tom in unison.  “Jinx!” Tom laughed while Cerise forced a chuckle.
            “I totally can’t sing,” pouted Cassie.  “I’m totally gonna suck.”
            “You’re probably not as bad as you think,” said Tom kindly. 
            “Holy shit, she’s really as bad as she thinks,” he whispered to Cerise as Cassie sang for them. 
            “Shit right?”
            “You don’t have to say it.”
            Cassie was on right before Cerise so she stood in the wings while Cassie sang.  It was torture.  Fred looked horrified and Hugh, who was accompanying her on piano, stopped midway through the song and said that would be quite enough.  Cassie apologized as she left the theatre and Cerise felt that the audition wouldn’t have gone so bad if Cassie hadn’t been so defeated going in and so pathetic going out.  She could have still gotten a good role if she’d acted confidently, albeit a non-singing role.  This way she’d probably end up as crew.
            Cerise didn’t have any more time to feel sorry for Cassie since she was up next.  Tom squeezed her hand and waited in the wings as she stepped into the light.  Hugh asked her which key and despite Tom’s training she had no idea how to answer so she admitted the truth, that she didn’t know which key.  Hugh told her to begin and he’d match her.
            She sang a Very Merry Un-Birthday.  It was meant to be sung by the tea party, led by the Mad Hatter, with Alice joining in.  Tom was auditioning to be the Mad Hatter so they’d practiced it together.  Cerise wished they could audition together because she felt they’d done pretty well as a duet. 
            When she was done she smiled and looked at Hugh who smiled back.  Fred was scribbling in a notebook. 
            “Thank you Miss Laframboise.  Who’s next?”
            Cerise tried not to look visibly deflated and sauntered off to the wings.  Tom whispered hearty congratulations and Cassie gushed.  Either Cerise had done really well or her friends were being overly enthusiastic to spare her feelings. 
            Karine was next so Cerise lingered in the wings out of curiosity.  She sang the same song and did so with such confidence that even if she’d been bad Cerise felt she might have nailed the audition.  As it was she sang beautifully and Cerise’s silly dream of being cast as Alice vanished.  Karine wasn’t just good, she was amazing.  Obviously Hugh and Fred agreed and they fawned all over her when she was done.  They even asked her to sing another song!  She did so without missing a beat and they once again tripped all over themselves telling her how awesome she was.  Right then and there they assured her she’d be Alice, even though half the class had yet to audition!  Typical.  Everything was always so easy for Karine.  Cerise immediately derided herself for thinking such things, considering what she knew about Karine’s grad night.  But then Karine sauntered by with a look so smug Cerise almost wanted to smack her and once again she had to remind herself not to be jealous.  Karine was her friend and she deserved to be Alice.  Her audition really had been spectacular.  Yep, typical.