Monday, February 27, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 9 – Act V

            It had taken a little effort with threats on Terry’s part and bribes on Vicky’s but finally Evan and Joey agreed to help their step-mom move into her new apartment in NDG.  It was a little two-bedroom near a park and a private daycare that Brittany had enrolled in.  It was reasonably close to Verdun metro so when the new mega hospital was built it would be super convenient in case Brittany ever got sick, which she rarely did so whatever, but Vicky seemed to think this was a plus.
            Joey was being completely useless but Evan wasn’t so bad.  He and Terry carried Vicky’s couch all the way up three flights of stairs without killing each other so that was pretty good.  Terry asked Vicky where she wanted them to put the couch but he asked mostly out of courtesy ‘cause there weren’t really that many options.  The apartment was seriously small. The kitchen was practically non-existent and Terry couldn’t believe Vicky was prepared to put up with that.  Was she ever going to cook again?
            Seemingly sensing his doubt she shrugged and waved a hand.  “Well, here I guess,” she said.  “I know it’s small but it was the only place available near a park and my mom’s house.”
            “It’s nice,” Terry smiled encouragingly.
            “It will be,” Vicky nodded.
            She fed them pizza once they’d brought all her crap in but they left before Vicky’s mom brought Britt home.  Vicky wanted them to be there for that, to help her adjust or whatever but Evan and Joey were getting antsy to leave.  Plus Terry needed a good night’s rest for hockey practice the next day and… well, he didn’t really want to deal with it.  He loved his little sister more than anything else in the world but sometimes he just didn’t have the energy for her.  And was it his imagination or was Britt getting more annoying lately?  Maybe it was her age, or the divorce or whatever but she was super whiny all the time, always throwing tantrums and shit.  Terry was getting pretty sick of it.  He felt bad but made an excuse and got out of there.
            On the way home Evan and Joey complained about how they’d wasted their Saturday and how it was totally unfair that they had to help Vicky move when she could have easily just hired movers.  Terry told them to shut the fuck up but he kind of agreed.  It’s not like Vicky was poor; why the hell did they have to help?  It was probably because Vicky was lonely.  He could see it in her face.  It’s like she wasn’t even trying to hide the crying anymore.  But why did that have to be his problem?  Terry liked Vicky and everything but he had his own shit to worry about.
            “How did it go?” asked their mom once they got home.
            “Pain in the ass,” complained Evan.  
            “It was fine,” said Terry, shoving his brother aside.
            “Why didn’t she just hire movers?” asked Louise.
            “She doesn’t really have that much stuff.  Not really worth hiring people.”
            “Worth ruining our weekend though,” snorted Joey.
            “What’s the apartment like?” his mom went on.
            Terry stared at his mother.  Why did she care?  “I dunno.  It’s fine.”
            “The city is no place to raise a child.”  She shook her head in despair.
            “Gimme a break, mom.  It’s NDG, not Detroit.”
            “Well, still,” Louise sniffed.  “I knew it wouldn’t last with those two.”
            “Dad couldn’t make it last with like a… a really long lasting thing.  The point is he can’t stay with anyone.  It wasn’t your fault and it wasn’t Vicky’s.  It’s just how he is.”
            He must have looked really sad or something because his mom got this sympathetic look on her face and tried to hug him but he backed away.
            “Oh Terry,” she sighed.
            “Speaking of like, how dad sucks and everything,” Terry began, avoiding eye contact.  “I like, found this stuff in his garage.”
            His mother raised an eyebrow, silently encouraging him to go on.  He wasn’t sure he wanted to.
            “Like pictures and stuff,” he stammered.
            “Ok,” she prompted.
            “It had like, all these old pics from like, a wedding.  And dad was the groom.  But you weren’t the bride.”
            “I see.”  She seemed more concerned than surprised.
            “So he was married before you?”
            “Well you should probably ask your father about that.”
            “So he was?”  Terry fixed his gaze on his mother’s eyes and she nodded.
            “How come you guys never said anything?”
            His mother shrugged awkwardly.
            Holding her gaze, he went on.  “Mom, did dad cheat on his first wife with you?”
            “I mean that’s what he does right?  He cheats on his wife and marries his mistress.  Right?”
            “I suppose so,” she admitted.
            “So you were dad’s mistress?”
            She opened her mouth but no words came out.  He wanted to ask more, to ask about the baby in the pictures but she looked so panicked he didn’t dare. 
“You should really talk to your father,” she said so quietly he barely heard.
            “Well whatever,” he shrugged and walked off.
            He went up to his room but he really didn’t want to be there.  He needed company.  Obviously the first person he thought of was Cerise but he couldn’t go to her anymore.  So Karine then?  Maybe he should just call Andrew or maybe Nick and they could get drunk.  Maybe he needed to get laid.  But didn’t that just make him as much of a sleaze as his dad?
            He texted to make sure Karine was alone and then went over to her place.  Even though he’d just eaten pizza he was still hungry and helped her make dinner.  It was just Chef Boyardee but whatever, food’s food. 
            “So your mom like totally wigged out?”
            “Yeah like, she was all awkward and shit.  Obviously I hit the nail on the head.”
            “So she was your dad’s mistress?  That’s kinda gross.”
            “It’s totally gross!”
            Karine nodded, scooping the ravioli into bowls.  “But also kind of like, you know, interesting, like a soap opera.”
            “But I don’t wanna know that about my mom.”  Terry grabbed a bowl and shoved some food into his mouth as they walked to the den.  “I mean it’s like it makes her a whore.  Oh god, so gross.  She’s my mom.”
            “But maybe not.  I mean, right?” Karine cocked her head.  “Maybe she’s not even your real mom.  You didn’t ask her about the baby in the pics?”
            “How could I?  So awkward.  I don’t wanna know that my mom is like a husband stealer and maybe even a baby stealer.”
            “Maybe your real mom died.”
            That hadn’t even occurred to Terry.  If it was true it vindicated his mom he supposed but made him feel worse.
            “You have to find out,” Karine insisted.  “You have to talk to your dad.”
            “Like he’d even tell me anything,” Terry scoffed.  “The only thing we ever talk about is hockey and even then he’s only half paying attention.”
            “God, parents suck so bad,” Karine sighed.
            “Your mom still away?”
            “I can’t even remember the last time I saw her.  She’s in town, eh?  She’s like in Laval or some shit.  Staying with her latest boyfriend.  Sometimes when I get home from school I find these little notes from her.  Just shit like hey, I put some juice in the fridge, you can have it.  Or don’t forget to pay the Hydro bill.  Like hello, all the bills are set for automatic withdrawal.  How does she not know that?”
            Terry never knew what to say when Karine started talking about her mom.  Usually he forgot the woman even existed.  She might as well have died along with Karine’s dad.  It was so sad for Karine that she had no family.  But other than be like a brother to her, what could he do?  Ok, that was kind of gross.  He wasn’t into Karine anymore but he didn’t want to be her brother.  That was just messed.
            “You know maybe you have lots of brothers and sisters you don’t even know about,” Karine suddenly said.  “Maybe your dad goes around like sleeping with all the strippers in the land and he’s like, single-handedly repopulating the Earth.”
            “Sounds likely,” Terry admitted.  “God, old people having sex is so gross.”
            “Anyone having sex is gross when you really think about it.”
            “I guess.”
            “Like everything is gross.  Like brushing teeth is gross.  Eating is gross.”
            “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” said Terry as he took a giant bite of ravioli and chewed with his mouth open, letting the pasta dribble down his chin and drop back into his bowl in splattering chunks.
            “Eww!” Karine shrieked and covered her eyes, laughing uproariously.

I’ve been thinking
Maybe we shouldn’t care what other ppl think
But maybe we should
But if we like each other…
We’re hurting people
They’re hurting us!
If people saw us together it would be a disaster.  We can’t do it, Jay.

Jay sighed and tried to think of what to tex to Sarah to convince her to give him another chance.  What Cerise had said really made sense.  Where did the guys get off trying to keep him and Sarah apart?  Maybe they were meant to be together and if they didn’t take the chance, they’d never know what could have been.

            Leave it to Peter to ruin everything.  Karine and Terry had been having so much fun, goofing around and talking about nothing in particular when Peter called.  She thought about not answering but then he’d just text a million times and get suspicious when she didn’t text back.
            “Hey,” she cooed into the phone.
            “What’s up?” he cooed back.
            Terry made a signal, silently asking if he should leave but she shook her head.  She’d be done with Peter in a second.  She listened to him ramble about his boring life for a second and made an excuse about having dinner with her mom and then assured him that they’d spend the day together tomorrow.  She could always get out of that later.
            “So I was thinking about Cerise,” said Terry once Karine had put down her phone.
            “Ok,” she smirked, not even trying to hide her annoyance.
            “Come on, seriously.  I was thinking I should make my move.  I mean now that she’s dumped that Tom guy and she’s been single for a while.  Right?”
            “Maybe she won’t be single for long,” Karine shrugged.
            “Why, what do you know?  Is she into someone?”
            “Just the usual,” Karine said innocently, hoping Terry would get there by himself.
            “What are you talking about?”
            “Well I mean, now that Jay’s not with Sarah anymore.”
            Terry scrunched up his face like he’d just smelled the nastiest fart in existence.  “Jason fucking Harris?  Why would she get together with him now?  No, fuck Jay and his fucking hair.  No, I need to get back with her.”
            “Sure you can?”
            “Well fuck, it’s been ages!  She’s gotta be over her damage by now.  And I don’t even hang out with Andrew anymore.”
            “What?” asked Karine, hoping she didn’t look as shocked as she felt.
            “Andrew.  That’s why we broke up.  ‘Cause of how she didn’t want me hanging out with him and we got in this huge fight ‘cause I didn’t want her trying to control my life.  But the thing is she was kinda right.  I mean, I shouldn’t smoke and Andrew kind of is an asshole.  I mean maybe I’ll still hang out with him sometimes.  I mean if I see him at Clyde’s it’s not like I’ll avoid him.  But we’re kind of drifting apart anyway.  He’s not even a good wingman, he’s so competitive.  Nick is way better.  My hockey friend?  Nick Morgan?  He’s a good wingman.  What’s wrong?”
            Terry kept rambling about how Cerise was much too controlling but also the smartest person he knew so if she said something she was probably right and Karine wasn’t sure if it was that sentiment or the Asshole’s name that was making her queasy.
            “So Cerise said she didn’t want you to hang out with… Andrew?”
            “Yeah, so weird right?  But you don’t hang out with him anymore either.  I mean I guess we’re over all that high school shit.”
            “Did she say why?”
            “’Cause he’s an asshole and a player or whatever.  She thinks he doesn’t respect women, which I mean maybe that’s true.  Maybe I couldn’t see it because of my dad.  Like my only male role model was this total sleaze ball so I thought that’s how men are.  And my coach isn’t much better.  He’s such a prick.  He has this thing where he says we shouldn’t have sex ‘cause it’ll sap our energy or whatever but I think he’s actually just a crazy Christian weirdo and he believes in abstinence or whatever.  He has a tattoo of a cross on his arm!  Like seriously.  It’s like living in fucking Idaho or what’s that place with all the Mormons?  Anyway, sometimes I think all men are assholes.  So does that mean I’m doomed to also be one?”
            Karine shook her head.
            “I guess I am one.  Like how I treated Chrissy.  But I’m trying to be better.  And with Cerise I was better!  I really was, Karine!  I was really good to her.  Or at least I think so.  I did what she wanted, you know?  I went at her pace.  And the thing is I was happy to.  With other chicks I get impatient and bored and shit.  But not with her.  I was always so into it.  So I have to get back with her.  And even though she makes crazy demands maybe it’s kinda worth it.”
            “Yeah,” Karine nodded, still stunned.
            “So you agree?”
            Karine couldn’t speak.  She nodded, and shrugged and shook her head all at once, unsure what she was conveying.  Uncertain what the question had been.  Could it be that Cerise had given Terry an ultimatum about the Asshole because of what she knew?  Because of what he’d done to Karine?  It sounded like Terry didn’t know the details.  He didn’t know about the rape.  So Cerise had kept Karine’s secret and yet still tried to make Terry stop being friends with him.  Was that an act of solidarity on Cerise’s part or was it actually selfish?  Was she being a good friend to Karine or was she simply disgusted by the Asshole and didn’t want to hang out with him herself?  Was she trying to protect Terry or was she protecting herself?  Did it matter? 
            What was Karine supposed to do now?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 9 – Act IV

            All eyes were on Karine and she knew it.  She looked absolutely gorgeous in a tight red dress.  It was perhaps a little over the top, with a plunging neckline and a short skirt but when you got it, flaunt it.  She was in some bar or other and Peter was playing pool with her but when Terry came along, dressed in tight jeans and a tighter tee-shirt, Peter cowered.  Terry threw his hand out and smacked Peter in the face, pushing him down to the ground with a loud thud.  Terry grabbed Karine and bent her over, like in an old movie, then kissed her passionately.
            “Karine,” said Pater impatiently.
            Karine snapped out of her reverie, embarrassed that she’d been so caught up in her daydream that she hadn’t even noticed Peter join her at her locker.  She impatiently asked him what he wanted and it came out much nastier than she’d intended.
            His eyes narrowed in annoyance.  “Did you have a good time last night?”
            “Yeah, looked like it,” he snapped.
            She resisted rolling her eyes and gently asked him if everything was ok.  He said that she and Terry seemed pretty close and she insisted that they were just friends and had been since childhood.  They were like brother and sister.  It almost made her gag to say something so ridiculous but whatever, she needed to get Peter off her back.  He seemed satisfied enough and they started making out.
            God whatever.  It was so annoying to have to lie to him.  Why couldn’t he just be cool?  Not that it was really Peter’s fault for being jealous.  He sort of did have the right impression.  Damn Terry for not noticing Karine’s feelings for him and damn him for not giving a shit if he did notice and damn him for not wanting her!

            Stan and his friends were heavily into Star Wars lately.  Not the movies, the online video game.  It was actually pretty cool and not entirely boring to watch them play but still boring enough that after a few hours she wanted to do something else.  She went into the kitchen and sat at the table eating chips.  It was so totally boring.  She wished she could watch TV.  She really needed to get her own place where she could watch the shows she liked and not be constantly bugged by stupid guys.  But that would require money and she didn’t have any.  How did other people do it?  Jobs of course, but she didn’t know how to get one.  If only those stupid guys would give her money.  She was already having sex with them; shouldn’t she get something out of it?
            She should totally become a prostitute.  But then she’d have to have sex with really gross and scary guys.  Probably ever grosser than Stan.  And she’d never be allowed to say no. 
            God, she was so bored.  One of Stan’s porn mags was lying around so she went ahead and picked it up.  All his stupid porn mags were kinda gross but Shauna also secretly sort of enjoyed them on a certain level.  They made her feel all tingly and she wanted to look at them while she scratched her legs in the bath, but she was afraid of getting them wet and Stan perhaps noticing. 
            Bill walked into the kitchen and she hurriedly pushed the magazine aside.  He snorted in amusement and grabbed several beers from the fridge.  “Having fun?” he smirked.
            “No.  I’m bored,” she replied.
            “I could prob’ly help you out with that,” he said with a wink.
            Was that a come-on?  Probably.  That’s all guys did was play video games and come on to whoever or whatever was around.
            “Ok.” She said in response.
            Bill looked at her in surprise.
            Well, she might as well sleep with him too.  She was done with Stan and she was pretty sure she was finished with Rod as well.  Maybe it was time to give Bill a try. 
“Come back tomorrow when Stan’s at work and you can help me out with that.”  She didn’t even try to be coy or flirtatious or whatever.  She just said it really matter-of-factly; so much so that she wasn’t sure he got the point.  She wasn’t even sure she got the point.
            But Bill stammered assent and then slowly walked back to the living room so Shauna went back to looking through the porn mag.

            Things seemed to be more or less back to normal, thought it was still a little strained.  Karl was acting normal and Vani and Willy were more or less normal so he supposed everything was normal.  Except Jay felt totally depressed.  So yeah, normal.
            It was a Monday so the guys had their lunch break alone, undisturbed by girls or supposedly cool guys and their stupid douchiness. 
            “So I’ve been giving some thought to your idea of doing a superhero campaign,” said Karl.
            “Really?” asked Jay, surprised.
            Vani seemed just as surprised and voiced his protest by insisting they couldn’t divert attention from the ever so important campaign of watching him do whatever the hell he wanted while the rest of them were bored out of their skulls.
            “So were you thinking a modern environment or a futuristic one?” Karl went on.
            “I dunno, whatever I guess,” Jay replied, not even sure he still wanted to start up on another campaign.  Maybe he’d just give up gaming altogether.  Finally become cool and do whatever cool people did.  Like go to bars and concerts or whatever. 
            “Hey you guys!” beamed Jojo as he joined them with his little girlfriend Cavity.  She said hi too, all smiles, arm around her stupid little boyfriend, Jojo.
            “Didn’t we get rid of you?” asked Willy before the rest of them could respond.
            “What?” asked Jojo.
            “I thought we like, got rid of you like, two years ago!”
            Cavity scrunched up her face in deep offence.  She was about to say something but Willy cut her off.
            “Cassie, no offence, but we don’t like your boyfriend.  I mean, you’re cool and everything but we really don’t want to hang out with Jojo.”
            “You’re an ass,” she replied.
            “Sorry, but that’s just how it is.”
            “Let’s go, Jonah,” said Cavity with finality, dragging him away.
            Vani let out out a breath.  “Well that was undoubtedly hilarious but also a little extreme, even for you.”
            “Is it like your new thing to be a total asshole to everyone?” asked Jay bitterly.
            “His new thing?” said Karl. 
            “You didn’t have to be so mean to Cavity though,” said Vani.  “Although I guess we’re better off without estrogen gumming up the works.”
            “And you wonder why you’re a virgin,” said Jay under his breath.

            “So Sarah and Jay broke up.”
            Cerise looked up to see Karine looming over her.  She took the seat next to Cerise, where she sat near the front of the theatre, going over her Art History notes.  Cerise was rather enjoying Art History.  The tests were stupid because they just involved memorization and that wasn’t really learning but still, the class itself was fun.  They got to look at slides, like with an actual slide projector like it was the ‘50s or something but the pictures were cool.  It was pretty interesting to learn about the historical context of a bunch of famous artworks.  Like how all the greats during the Renaissance did religious paintings because it was the church that commissioned stuff and not because they were actually religious.  Apparently Michelangelo even painted little jokes about the pope into the Sistine Chapel, which was pretty hilarious.
            “So yeah,” Karine went on.
            “Right yeah, Sarah and Jay.  Yeah, I heard.”
            “So isn’t that awesome?”
            “Why would it be awesome?  Sarah’s totally sad and Jay isn’t exactly happy-go-lucky guy either.”
            “Yeah but now’s your chance to get with him.”
            “I don’t even know if I want that,” Cerise whined.
            “Of course you do!” Karine insisted.
            “Well I guess I could.  I mean Sarah actually said that I could get with him if I wanted.  Which was actually kind of weird.  Just ‘cause she breaks up with him… I mean why would she wanna set me up with him?”
            “I dunno, I guess she’s noticed that you guys would be perfect for each other.”
            Why was Karine so into the idea of Cerise hooking up with Jay?  This was totally weird.  Was it all some sort of elaborate set-up to screw Cerise over?  Were they all in on it like it was a big joke or something? 
            “What about Terry?” Cerise said instead.
            Karine sighed impatiently.  “How can you ever really know how you feel about Terry if you don’t really know how you feel about Jay?  And how can you know how you really feel about Jay if you don’t… whatever, just ask him out.”
            “I guess,” shrugged Cerise.
            “You totally should,” nodded Karine.  “Do you want me to do it for you?  Like ask him for you?”
            “God, no!” Cerise said in annoyance.  Seriously, Karine was way too into this.
            “Ok well, I’m just saying,” Karine shrugged like it was no big deal.
            Obviously it was a big deal.  Karine was being way weird.  Cerise decided she should talk to Jay about it to see if he knew anything more than she did. 
After school, for the first time in forever she went over to his house.  She figured he’d be gaming with the guys but he wasn’t.  His mom let her into the house and she walked down to the basement to find him sprawled out on the sofa, covered in a Transformers blanket.  There were school books strewn about but he wasn’t reading any of them, he was just lying there staring off into space.
            “Oh hey,” he said when he noticed her, not bothering to sit up.
            “Hey,” she replied, sitting on the other couch.
            “Nothing,” she sighed, wondering how to broach the subject.  “I heard about you and Sarah.”
            “Yeah.”  He returned his gaze to the ceiling and after a beat started to cry.
            Cerise was stunned.  What was she supposed to do?  Jay sat up and drew his legs into his chest, muffling his face with the blanket.  Cerise crossed the room and sat next to him and put her hand on his shaking shoulders.  She wondered if she should say something but didn’t have any ideas so she remained silent.
            “I’m such a loser,” he finally spurted, wiping his eyes and forcing out a laugh.
            “Are you ok?”
            “I’m fine.  I just really liked her is all.”
            “Maybe if you really like then you should just like be with her.  Regardless of what anyone else says.”
            “I can’t. The guys…” he trailed off.
            “What about them?”
            “They won’t let me.”
            “What do you mean?”
            “They say they’ll expulse me if I go out with her.  And I mean, I can understand.  She is Karl’s ex-girlfriend.”
            “Yeah but, you know what?  So what?  If you really like someone then you owe it to yourself to try having a relationship with them.”  Cerise wasn’t really sure if she was trying to get Jay back with Sarah or get him to look at her in that way.
            “But Karl has like, dibs on her or whatever.”
            Cerise snorted derisively.  “How can you have dibs on a person?  I mean you can’t have ownership over another human being.  Sarah can go out with whoever she wants.  Karl doesn’t own her.”
            “But he’s my friend and I like, betrayed him I guess.”
            “I guess,” Cerise shrugged.  “But still, is it really fair of him to try to stop you from being with someone?”
            “Yeah but he won’t be my friend if I go out with her.”
            “Yeah, that sucks,” Cerise admitted.  “But it’s still unfair.  Yeah, he went out with her but they broke up.  So now she can never date again?  Come on, you can’t go around dictating who people can and can’t go out with.”
            “I guess,” Jay shrugged.
            “Or hang out with,” Cerise said under her breath, fully realizing how ridiculous her ultimatum to Terry had been.  To break up with him because he wanted to be friends with Andrew when he didn’t even know what Andrew had done was completely batshit insane.
            “I dunno,” Jay went on.  “I don’t wanna lose my friends.  I mean, as much as I like Sarah, I’ve been friends with those guys since grade seven.  They mean more to me than pretty much anyone else.”
            “Well it’s nice that they mean so much to you.  But do you mean so much to them?  I mean, if they’re so willing to expulse you over this… are they really such great friends?”
            Jay’s eyes widened and he stared at her as though it was the first time he’d considered this.  What a sad and simple little boy.  Cerise decided then and there that she wouldn’t ever go out with him.  Probably.

            Just like in the movies Bill lit a cigarette after they were done doing stuff.  Shauna had started to think he wasn’t going to come over because Stan had already been gone for hours but finally he appeared and when she let him in they both stood in the living room awkwardly.  At first he’d suggested they play video games but she’d scoffed at that.
            “Look, either fuck me or leave ‘cause I don’t have time for this shit,” she’d said in irritation.
            He’d taken the hint and started taking off his clothes.  She led him into the bedroom and got naked, not even caring that she was fat and hairy and ugly and gross.  He was too.  She closed her eyes through the whole thing, pretty much just lying there while he did everything.  It didn’t last long.  Probably five minutes in all, which was a relief.
            “You can let yourself out,” she said as she got up.
            “Get out!” she practically screamed as she went to the bathroom.  She locked the door and drew a bath and sat in the tub and waited for the water to rise.  

Friday, February 17, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 9 – Act III

             Shauna would have preferred sleeping in the living room with Rod, even though Bill was there too rather than sleep next to Stan and his greasy skin and snotty nose and obnoxious snoring that sounded like a cross between someone gargling and someone being stabbed in the face.  Or maybe that’s just what she wished it was.
            When she woke up she was careful to slink out of bed slowly and quietly, not that he’d be able to hear anything over the logs he was sawing.  She kept being slow and quiet as she walked to the kitchen so as not to disturb the guys sprawled out on the floor.  Rod was drooling.  So cute.  Bill was farting.  Less cute.
            She tiptoed into the kitchen and drank some milk straight out of the bag.  Then she grabbed some eggs and started making an omelette.  She’d never really learned how to cook but the food channel had some good shows and she’d picked up some tips along the way.  Like you had to put butter in the pan first so the eggs wouldn’t stick.  And it was a good idea to stir the eggs first and you could put stuff in there like onions or peppers or whatever.  Shauna liked to put cheese.
            Suddenly she felt hands cup her breasts and she gasped and turned around.  It was Rod and they kissed quickly.  She offered to throw in a couple more eggs for him and he agreed. 
            “How ‘bout a couple for me?”
            They turned to see Bill watching from the doorway.  How much had he seen?  Shauna had too many eggs for the pan so the omelette came out unevenly and mostly undercooked.  But it was still food and the guys ate it dutifully. 
            Rod played footsie with her under the table and even though it was fun she wondered if Bill was on to them.  He seemed to be almost too indifferent.  Maybe Rod had told him all about them.  Or maybe she was just being paranoid.  Or maybe she didn’t even give a shit.  Maybe she wanted Stan to find out ‘cause then maybe he’d kick her out and she could go live with Rod.  Did Rod even have an apartment of his own?  She was pretty sure Bill lived in his parents’ basement on account of how Stan and Rod always mocked him for it but where did Rod live?  It was weird that the topic had never come up and weird that he had never invited her over.  If he had his own place then how come he always came here to screw around?  Was he only in it for the risk?  Probably.

            Jay was such a coward.  He was such a snivelling little cry-baby loser.  The guys were right about him: he did deserve to be expulsed.  And he would be because he’d never have the courage to break up with Sarah.  He couldn’t do it!  She was a girl! And he’d just finally lost his virginity!  How could he give up the prospect of free blow jobs now?  It was insane.  Screw the guys.  Having one girlfriend was way better than having three asshole friends who were so petty they couldn’t even accept him having one good thing in his life.  They were just jealous.  Karl for obvious reasons but even Vani and Willy, especially Willy were jealous because he was finally getting some and they weren’t.
            Willy had been such a fucking jerk-wad.  Where the hell did he get off?  If Karl was pissed it was up to Karl to say something about it, not hide behind Willy and his fat ass.  Like Willy’s opinion had ever mattered.  Whatever!  Fuck them all! He was gonna go find his girlfriend and get laid and then he could tell everyone he was getting regular sex!  Of course without the guys there would be no one to tell.  Who was gonna be his friend now, Jojo?  Cerise?  Ugh, if Cerise was his only friend left that would mean he’d have to hang out with Terry Trebipoopsky all the time ‘cause obviously they’d eventually get back together.  And who would he game with now?  Was he really so disloyal that he’d choose a pussy over his lifelong friends?  But what kind of friend would make someone break up with a girl just ‘cause they were jealous dill-holes?
            Oh god, there she was.  Jay stood on the JAC campus, not even having realized until now that he’d been staring at the bus stop.  But there Sarah was, getting off the bus and walking towards him.  She stepped up to him and smiled awkwardly.
            “Hey,” he said, wondering if he should kiss her and choosing not to.
            She didn’t reach out to him either.  She just stood there in the snow, looking up at him.
            “It’s cold,” he said lamely.
            “Yeah,” she agreed and started walking towards the school.
            They walked for a while and finally she said something.  “Listen Jay, I really like you.”
            “I like you too.”
            “No but I mean like for real.  I seriously do like you.”
Oh god, this was gonna be so hard.  “I seriously like you, like more than I’ve ever liked any girl.” He declined to tack on besides Karine at the end of that sentence.
“Totally,” she nodded.  “And I wanna be with you and everything.”
“I totally wanna be with you,” he insisted.
“But like, I just kinda can’t.”
“I know!  I mean, what?”  He stared at her, wondering if she’d just pre-emptively broken up with him.  Way to steal his thunder!  What a bitch!
“It’s just that we’re hurting people,” she went on.
“You mean Karl?”  Jay sighed. 
Sarah nodded, eyes wide.  “Right, yeah, totally.  Karl, yeah.  Wait, I thought he was ok with us going out.”
“Well apparently not.  He completely bitched me out for it.”
“Really?  Karl bitched you out?  He actually like, displayed emotion?”
“Well, Willy did the actual bitching.  Karl just stood there stern-faced.”
Sarah wrinkled her nose.  “You guys are all so fucking bizarre.”
“So I guess you still have feelings for him too?” Jay asked.
“I dunno.  Whatever,” she said in annoyance.  “But I guess us being together isn’t such a great idea.”
“Yeah, I guess not.”
“Ok well, but still friends, right?”
“Yeah,” Jay nodded.  “Still friends.”
Sarah smiled sadly and walked into the school.  After a moment Jay went in too and watched her walk off towards her locker.  Well, that was officially the longest relationship he’d ever had and it had lasted under six weeks.  Better than his one date with Karine, he supposed.

Terry considered the Munch Box but then went to the cafeteria instead.  Even though it was a bigger place and always more crowded, it was less likely to be filled with people he knew and even though he wasn’t trying to be anti-social sometimes it was nice just to have a moment to himself.  He was trying to get through this book from his philosophy course and it was actually kind of interesting.  He needed to be able to read it without distractions.
He was half way through his fries and only one paragraph through the book when Karine sat across from him.
“Hey babe,” she smiled
“Hey,” he replied in kind, genuinely pleased to see her.  Even though he liked the book, a break was always welcome.
“We should go out,” she suggested.  “How ‘bout tonight?”
“Don’t you have rehearsal or whatever?”
“Yeah but after that.”
“Isn’t that past your bedtime?”
“Shut  up!” she laughed.  “Seriously, we never go out anymore.”
“Yeah seriously, eh?” he nodded.  “What happened to us, how come we’re such losers now?”
“I’d answer that but you wouldn’t like it,” she shrugged coyly.
He sighed, knowing full well she would blame it on Cerise and her anti-drinking ways.  “Ok, so Clydes?”
“Cunningham’s,” she shook her head.  “No, I mean Mannie’s”
He agreed and started to eat his fries so he had to swat her hand away and she giggled in response.  Then her boyfriend came along and sat next to her.
“Hey babe,” he said as he kissed her on the cheek.
“Oh hey, Peter,” she smiled.
“So what do you wanna do tonight?” he asked.
“Hello? We have rehearsal,” she replied.
Terry pulled his fries towards himself before Peter could take any.  He had that fry-stealing look in his eye.
“Yeah but after rehearsal,” said Peter.
“Oh I think after rehearsal I’m just gonna go home.  I’ve been so tired lately.”
Terry looked up and Karine met his eye.  He didn’t say a word, just kept downing his fries.
“Seriously?” asked Peter.  “But everyone goes out for drinks after.”
“Not everyone,” shrugged Karine.
“Uh yeah, even the fucking losers go.  Like seriously, is Jacques ever gonna take the hint?  Man, that kid’s annoying.”
“Cerise doesn’t go.”
“She’s the only one who doesn’t,” Peter shrugged.  “So you’re saying you’re staying home out of solidarity to your straight-edge friend?”
“No,” Karine tilted her head.  “I’m just tired.  And I have essays to write and shit.  Winter is just like, a difficult time of year for me, ‘cause like, ‘cause of like my father and everything.”
Oh wow, the big guns.  Usually Karine didn’t have to employ the dead dad card for such small issues.  Was she losing her touch, or just her patience?
Peter nodded and said he was going to grab some lunch and offered to bring Karine something.  She ordered a club sandwich.  Terry raised an eyebrow when Peter was gone.
“Oh shut up,” she smirked.
“Why not just break up with him if he’s not turning your crank?”
“It’s not that I don’t like him, it’s just that I see him every day in rehearsal, so like seeing him every night too gets to be a bit much sometimes.  You know, sometimes I just wanna like hang out with like my old friends.”
She smiled and placed a hand on his arm and Terry smiled back.  He couldn’t help but notice that Peter was staring at them from his place in line and he didn’t seem pleased. Did he think there was something between them?  Whatever, like Terry cared.

“The thing is I’m just not sure how I feel about these little freak outs of yours,” mused Vani.
“Ehh, shut the fuck up,” snarled Willy.
“No really,” Vani went on as he leaned back against the wall in Hochelaga.
Karl slammed his locker closed and joined them.
“I was just saying how Willy’s outbursts are few but intense.”
“Mmm,” Karl nodded.
Willy tried not to smile too hard.  He didn’t want them to think he was being smug about it even though he totally deserved to be smug for being so awesome.
“You haven’t gone off on someone like that since Jojo back in Sec 5. It was always such a sight to behold.  But you were truly cruel to Jay in a way that deserves recognition, though I wonder if it was a sign of some pent-up aggression.”
“Not to mention some pent-up racism,” noted Karl.
Willy thought he was being more funny than racist but decided not to debate the issue.
“I wonder if perhaps you’ve been itching to expulse Jay for some time now.  If perhaps you carry some deep-seated resentment towards him.”
“Damn straight I resent him!” Willy grumbled.  “How come he gets to chow down on the chow mein?” If he was gonna have a reputation for racism, might as well go with it.
“Oh shut the fuck up,” Karl said with a roll of his eyes.
“But Jay’s ability to chow down on the proverbial chow mein has no bearing on your inability to find any buffet willing to accommodate you,” said Vani, grasping his chin in that way he did when he was playing at therapist.
Before Willy could come up with an adequate retort, Jay and his endless tear-ducts slunk into their view.
“Piss off,” said Willy, still riding high off of his awesome take-down.
“I broke up with her,” said Jay sullenly.
Holy shit!  Was he serious?
“Really?” said Vani in shock
“Seriously?” asked Karl with equal disbelief.
“Well yeah,” said Jay, a pained look on his pathetic little face.
“For real?” asked Willy
“Like actually?” said Vani.
“You actually went up to Sarah won-ton Wong and told her you couldn’t eat her General Tao anymore?”
“I’m telling her you said all this shit,” said Karl.
“Stay on target,” advised Vani.  “You actually broke up with her?  She knows you’re not together anymore?”
“Yes!” Jay made his angry face.
“Wow, what a lamo move,” said Vani.
“Seriously, you’re an idiot,” nodded Karl.
“Total retard,” laughed Willy.
“But you guys said…” Jay sputtered.
“Yeah but I never thought you’d actually go through with it.  I mean Sarah is a girl.  With like, earmuffs Karl, a real like va-jay-jay and stuff.  How could you let that go?”
“You said!”
“So you chose three dicks over one pussy?” laughed Willy.  “Learn to do math, loser.”

“You guys broke up?” asked Cerise.
Sarah nodded and Cassie jumped in with all the questions so thankfully Cerise didn’t have to.  Sarah explained that they were hurting Karl and that apparently he was really broken up about it.
“Wow, so he really did care,” mused Cassie.
“So Jay broke up with you?” asked Cerise in amazement.  She couldn’t believe Jay would ever have the guts to make any kind of decision regarding a girl.
“Well no,” Sarah shook her head.  “I broke up with him.  He mentioned that Karl was upset and I decided that breaking up was the right thing to do.”
“Does that mean you’re still into Karl?” asked Cassie.
“Well no,” Sarah shrugged.  “I don’t wanna be like with him or whatever but I still care about his feelings.  I mean he’s still my friend, right and I care about my friends.  I would never wanna do anything that would hurt a friend, you know?” she looked at Cerise pointedly, to the extent that Cerise wondered if she had something on her face.
“Wow, that’s so self-sacrificing,” said Cassie with admiration.
“Yeah seriously,” agreed Cerise.  “Why does it always have to be so complicated?  Why can’t people just be with who they wanna be with?”
“Yeah well it’s not so bad, I mean not for me,” said Sarah.  “I mean I can get another boyfriend.  There’s a guy in my Chem class who’s pretty cute.  I think he has a girlfriend though.  But there’s also a guy in my archery class so maybe that’s a possibility.”
Cerise was impressed that Sarah was taking it so well and equally impressed that she seemed to have several other dating candidates lined up. Cerise had no idea how dating worked.  She’d always just let guys come to her, which must be why she’d only ever had two boyfriends, one of which she wasn’t even into.  Trying to go after a guy herself seemed much too daunting.  It was so cool the way Sarah could do that.  She was so confident.  Cerise would never have that kind of courage.
“But like it kind of sucks for Jay because he’s so shy around girls,” Sarah went on.
“Shy or totally fucking clueless?” laughed Cerise, trying not to sound bitter.
“Well yeah, that’s it, eh?  He is clueless,” admitted Sarah.  “But I think he was getting better with me.  I mean we were only together for a few weeks but I think he made great strides in that time.  I think he’s better for it and his next girlfriend will benefit from it.”
“Like he’ll ever get another girlfriend,” laughed Cassie.
“I know, right?” Cerise giggled along.
“Well what’s so bad about him?  Wouldn’t you guys date him?” Sarah asked.
“Oh I didn’t mean it that way,” said Cassie.  “Sure I’d date him, he’s cute and funny and everything.”
“Cerise, would you date him?” Sarah looked at Cerise so carefully that Cerise couldn’t help but wonder at her motives.  Did Sarah know that Cerise still had a bit of a crush on Jay?  Had she always known?  She’d tried to keep it guarded but Sarah wasn’t an idiot.  If Karine had picked up on it, why not Sarah?
“Um,” Cerise began.  “I guess I always sort of found him cute.  But he can also be a real jerk, you know?”
Sarah tossed her head.  “Yeah I guess.  But that’s true of all guys.  I mean Terry must have had his moments of jerkitude, otherwise you wouldn’t have broken up with him, right?”
Cerise sighed.  “I guess.”
“Maybe you should try going out with Jay,” Sarah suggested with a shrug.
Cerise stared at Sarah.  “Seriously?”
“You’re trying to set up Cerise with your ex?” asked Cassie, bemused.
Sarah shrugged and looked at her hands.  “I dunno, whatever I guess.”

The guys stood in line at the bus stop, stamping their feet in the snow and talking way too loudly.
“I just can’t believe he could be so dumb.  I mean who passes up an opportunity like that?” wondered Vani
“Yeah, it is pretty retarded,” admitted Karl.
Willy concurred.  “No shit.  What kind of idiot would choose us over Sarah?  I mean she’s a choice cut of sweet and sour chicken if I ever saw one.”
Karl smacked Willy in the back of head, which just elicited a satisfied chuckle from Willy
“Totally wacktacular,” whistled Vani.  “I mean a guy like him dumping a girl like her?  Where does he even get off?”
“Would you guys shut up!  I’m standing right here!” said Jay in exasperation.  He’d had to listen to this crap all day and it was really getting to him.
“Sweet and sour dumpling!” Willy sang.  “Gonna dip her in my coconut cream!”
“Coconut cream!” Vani chimed in.
Karl sighed and glared at Jay.  “You see what you started?”
“Coconut cream!” Jay sang, just to piss off Karl.

Shauna rushed to put her clothes back on as she heard the front door close.  A moment later Stan was in the room, climbing on top of her.
“What the fuck?” she hollered, pushing him aside.
“What?  I wanna do it.”
“Well I don’t.”
“Fuck, you never wanna do it!”
“I was sleeping, Stan!”
“God, all you ever do is fucking sleep!  It’s not even midnight yet.”
“You can’t just come along and wake me up and expect me to do whatever the hell you want.”
“Why the hell not?” he grumbled, but left the room.
Shauna exhaled and got down on the floor as Rod rolled out from under the bed, dragging his clothes with him.  He put them on in a rush and looked at her helplessly.  She shrugged towards the window and he hugged himself, miming the freezing conditions that awaited him outside. 
“I don’t have my coat,” he whispered.
Oh shit.  It was in the living room!  What if Stan had seen it?  They could hear the TV turn on.  For sure Stan would notice it.  Rod shrugged and quietly opened the window, crawling out to the fire escape. 
Shauna went out to the living room and looked around. The coat was on a chair, apparently unnoticed by Stan, who sat on the couch, stroking his erection as he watched one of those shows about porn starts on IFC.
She considered trying to be sly and sneaking the coat outside but even a pornoccupied Stan might notice that so she just decided to go in the opposite direction.
“Isn’t that Rod’s coat?” she asked, hovering over the chair.
“Huh?  I dunno.  I guess.”
“So what the hell is it doing here?”
“I dunno, who the hell gives a shit?  He probably left it here last time he was over.”
“So he left in 30 below weather without a coat?”
“I don’t fucking know, Shauna! Shut the fuck up!”
“Well maybe it’s my coat now,” she mumbled to herself and picked up the coat.  At the same time she scooped up Rod’s boots, which lay near the front door.  She walked back into the bedroom as Stan ignored her and kept touching himself.  Looking out the window she saw Rod standing on the sidewalk, waiting.  She threw the coat and boots down to him and he rushed off to his car.  That would teach him to keep his keys in his coat pocket.
Shauna supposed that had been sort of funny and kind of exciting but really she just felt tired.  She was sick of the trickery and sick of having sex with two guys.  The fun of sex with Rod had worn off long ago and now he was just as much of a pain in the ass as Stan. 
She went to the bathroom and drew a bath, but didn’t even have the energy to scratch her legs.  She just wanted to drown.  If only she could find the courage to sink down into the water and be done with it all. 

Karine really should have anticipated this.  She was only halfway through her first round of pool with Terry when Peter came along.  She should have suggested they go downtown instead of a bar in Ste-Anne’s.  She’d figured the TW gang would go to Cunningham’s and they probably had since Peter was here alone.  How had he known to find her here?  Had he followed her?
“I thought you were going home,” he said sourly.
“I was, but then Terry texted that he was here so I thought I’d join him just for one round.”
She looked over to Terry who nodded and smiled.  She could always count on him to back her up.
“So you didn’t text me?” asked Peter.  “What the fuck, Karine?”
“What’s the big deal?  I’m having one fucking drink and then I’m going home.”
“And I guess you don’t want me around.”  His eyes narrowed.
“Of course I do!”
“Then why didn’t you text me?”
“’Cause I was only gonna stay for one drink.  If I stayed, obviously I would have just gone over to Cunningham’s ‘cause I knew that’s where you’d be.  In fact, how come you’re not there?  Did you like, follow me here?”
Peter pursed his lips and drew in a breath.  “Yeah, maybe I did.”
“So you’re like a stalker now?  Wow, Peter that is seriously creepy.”
“You’re my girlfriend, Karine so I was concerned about you.  When I saw you walk to Ste-Anne’s instead of to the 211 I was like, ok, what the fuck?”
“So how come you didn’t just call me instead of like, following me like a total freak?”
“I dunno, I guess I thought maybe, hey, there’s my supposed girlfriend going to town instead of doing what she said she was gonna do.  And hey, there’s my girlfriend going into some random bar we never go to.  And hey, there’s my girlfriend hugging her male friend who she’s really close to.”
“Oh my god, so now it comes out.  This is like a jealousy thing?”
“Dude, we’re not like that,” said Terry, like it was the most ridiculous idea in the world.
Peter threw his arms apart in exasperation.  “I don’t wanna be that guy, Karine, I really don’t.  But you make it so hard sometimes.  You’re just so like not caring.  It’s almost like you never wanna be alone with me.  But you’re perfectly happy being alone with Terry.  It’s like you wanna spend all your time with him.”
“He’s my best friend, and he’s going through a really tough time right now because of his thing with Cerise.”
Peter laughed bitterly.  “Seriously?  I’m sorry dude, but Cerise broke up with you ages ago.  Get the fuck over it!”
Terry carefully put down his pool cue and approached Peter.  “Whatever shit I have going on in my life is irrelevant.  If you can’t handle your girlfriend having other friends, that’s messed.  That shit is possessive and insecure.  I really thought you were better than that, dude.”
“Fine,” Peter sighed, looking hurt and dejected.  “I guess I’m just a fucking retard.”
“Peter,” Karine said in a sing-song voice and put her arms around him.  “You know you’re the only guy for me.”
“I guess,” he said as he hugged her and buried his face in her hair.
After a while she broke the embrace and looked in his eyes.  “You ok?”
“Yeah.  So like, do you wanna go to Cunningham’s?  Everyone’s there.”
“No, I think I just wanna go home.  Terry, can you give me a lift?”
“Sure thing,” he agreed.
Peter sighed and nodded assent.  They kissed and he went on his way once they were outside.  Karine and Terry climbed into his car.
“Am I really driving you home?” he asked.
“Let’s go somewhere on Sources,” she suggested.
“You’re the boss,” he said with a chuckle and started up the car.  After a while he said it was nice to see her like this.
“Like what?” she asked.
“You know, back to your old self.”
“My old self?”
“Yeah, for a while there it seemed like you were in a funk.  But looks like the real Karine is back.”
“What’s the real Karine?”
“You know, doing whatever you want and giving your boyfriend shit if he questions you.”
Karine laughed.  “That’s the real me?  Oh my god, I was totally a bitch to Peter! You think the real me is bitchy?”
“I think the real you is strong,” Terry replied with a satisfied smile.
“So you don’t think I was bitchy?”
“Whatever, if he can’t take the heat he should get out of your way.”
Karine smiled to herself.  Terry was the best.