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
, 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.” West
“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
’s life. She needs consistency and you’re more of a
father to her than John ever was.” Brittany
“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.”
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.
“There was total flirt action between you two.”
“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
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. Alice
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
. 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. Alice
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
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. Alice
“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.
“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
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. Alice
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
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. Alice