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
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. Brittany
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.”
“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?