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?”
“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.