“Morning, sunshine!” sang out Angela.
“Mom, don’t call me that,” replied Simone.
Julie had reacted similarly when their mom had greeted her in an equally cheery way but that didn’t stop her from being annoyed at Simone’s annoyance.
They were gathered in the kitchen drinking coffee. Angela didn’t like Julie to drink coffee but that didn’t stop her. If she wanted to drink coffee she totally would, screw mom and her stupid rules. Like whatever, there was just as much caffeine in coke as in coffee so like, what difference did it make? Of course Angela didn’t like Julie to drink soda either but whatever, her rules were so dumb.
“Oh my god!” Simone suddenly exclaimed, looking out the patio doors to their pathetic backyard. Seriously, the yard was so small it may as well not even exist. Totally not enough room to have a pool, not that Angela would ever let them get a pool anyway.
Their mom gasped as well when she looked outside so Julie joined them and was totally freaked out. There was a homeless person outside their door! Totally gross!
“What’s going on?” asked Cerise as she joined them. She looked outside and freaked out. “Oh my god, it’s Shauna!”
Oh my god, it was totally Shauna. That just made it grosser.
“I saw her last night when I got home, I mean she was like outside, out front. But when I got inside and looked out the window she was gone,” Cerise wailed. “I figured she went home but what if she was here all night?! I mean it was freezing last night!”
“Oh my god, do you think she’s dead?” asked Julie.
“It wasn’t that cold, was it?” Simone wondered.
“Ewww, a dead person!” Julie exclaimed.
Their mom opened the door and gently prodded dead Shauna. She stirred a bit.
“Ewww, a moving dead person!”
“Julie, shut up!” said Cerise.
Cerise was such a jerk.
“Shauna, honey, can you hear me?” asked Angela.
Dead Shauna opened her eyes a bit and looked totally confused. She could barely move. Julie thought maybe they should call animal control or something but Angela called 911 instead.
An ambulance came and two EMT guys put dead Shauna on a stretcher. One of the guys was pretty cute, but kind of old so whatever.
“Wow, this is so intense,” said Simone as the ambulance drove away. “Cerise, I never took you seriously when you said Shauna was psycho but I guess you were right. I mean she could have died.”
“I know, this is so insane,” whined Cerise. “I can’t even process this. What am I supposed to do?”
Angela said they had to call dead Shauna’s mom and asked Cerise if she had the number.
“Oh god, I dunno. I guess we can Canada411 it.”
“So like, do I still have to go to school?” Julie asked, thinking it was a completely reasonable question but they all looked at her like she was insane. God, whatever.
Janice questioned Karine as soon as she entered the theatre, wondering what was up with Peter. Karine still wasn’t entirely sure they were broken up but decided now was as good a time as any to make it official.
“We broke up.”
“How come? He wasn’t up to your standards bedroom-wise? I get that.”
“No, he just couldn’t handle me having more people in my life than just him.”
“He was jealous of Terry.”
“Yeah, I get that. Maybe I should hook up with him.”
Karine wondered how to gently tell Janice that Terry was never going to be into her but then Janice went on to say that she’d probably be able to teach Peter a thing or two about sex and Karine realized she hadn’t been referring to Terry at all. She had to admit to feeling pretty pathetic for being more obsessed with Terry than even Janice. Karine was like the female equivalent of Terry, all into with someone who didn’t even deserve to be admired.
Speaking of Cerise, where was she? Hugh and Fred wanted to start with Karine’s cast but since Cerise wasn’t there yet they started with Laura’s cast, which was total bullshit ‘cause everyone knew Laura was getting way more rehearsal than Karine. But maybe that’s because Laura sucked so badly she needed more rehearsal. Karine totally had this role in the bag.
“You go first,” advised Sarah. “I’ll be along in a bit.”
Jay looked around to make sure no one was watching and then gave Sarah another kiss. It was totally risky to be making out in the middle of Herzberg but it was also kind of fun. Jay felt energized in a way he hadn’t anticipated. Having a secret girlfriend was even more fun than having a public girlfriend, except for not being able to brag about it. But maybe eventually the guys would get over their stupidity and they could go public again and then everyone would know he was totally getting laid all the time. So awesome.
Jay walked off, trying not to look as elated as he felt and joined Cavity and the guys at the Munch Box. A few minutes later Sarah came along, totally acting all innocent and stuff.
“Sarah, do you know where Cerise is?” asked Cavity.
“She’s not here today?” asked Sarah.
“Maybe she has cramps. She gets really painful periods sometimes.”
“Oh yeah? That sucks.”
“What sucks?” asked Terry Trebiwhywasheevenstillsittingwiththemsky.
“Cramps,” replied Cavity.
“Cerise isn’t here today, probably has her period.”
Terry Trebicavemangruntsky made a weird face and a guttural noise like this couldn’t possibly be.
“Don’t tell me you keep track of her menstrual cycle,” said Cavity, all weirded out.
“Yeah seriously man, that’s some weird shit right there. I don’t even wanna think about girls and their yucky times,” said Vani.
“Yucky times?” Cavity and Sarah asked together.
Vani ducked his head and pretended to be way absorbed by his club sandwich.
“I don’t keep track of her… whatever,” said Terry TrebigrosslyintoCerise’sbloodsky. “It’s just I know she, took care of that. I mean… nevermind, whatever.”
“Oh you mean ‘cause of how she’s on the pill,” nodded Sarah. “Right. Ever since she went on the pill she doesn’t get crazy cramps anymore.”
“Alalala,” Vani sang as he covered his ears with his hands.
Cavity rolled her eyes and pushed Vani but then admitted that Cerise probably wouldn’t appreciate them talking about her lady times. Well, she said period, but period was kind of a gross word, so Jay preferred to think of it as lady times.
It was pretty interesting to learn that Cerise was on the pill. Jay hadn’t ever considered that before, girls being on birth control and everything. Sarah wasn’t on the pill, was she? She’d never mentioned it and they always used condoms, which was pretty annoying. And how was it that everyone knew about Cerise’s pill taking and acted like it was no big deal? Was she totally slutting it up all over the place and Jay had no idea? He’d tried not to think about it before but obviously Cerise wasn’t a virgin. She’d probably slept with a million guys by now. At least Terry Trebidevirginatorsky and that Tom guy. For some reason this realization really irked Jay. But why? Cerise could do whatever she wanted, or whomever she wanted. What did Jay care? And yet, it was weird to think about. Kind of bothersome.
Now Terry TrebitotallybeeninCerise’spantsky was all talking about his boring hockey crap. God, he was such a Neanderthal! How could anyone stand him?!
It was sort of a weird experience watching Angela trying to figure out what to do because it was obvious she had no idea. As a kid Cerise had always figured her mother knew everything and was never in any doubt but as she aged it became increasingly clear that this wasn’t the case. It had started with the divorce and watching both her parents struggle, obviously upset and unsure. And now with this whole messed up Shauna situation it was again uncomfortably evident that Angela was just making things up as she went along and would rather be anywhere than here.
Not that Cerise could blame her. She didn’t want to deal with this Shauna crap either. They’d finally decided to go to the hospital and wait for Shauna’s parents. Angela had thought that she and Cerise might be a comfort to Shauna’s mom but Cerise went because she figured her own presence might be a comfort to Shauna. After all, Shauna had come to her house for a reason, hadn’t she? She’d run away from home, of this Cerise was sure. Her family was so totally messed up, it was a miracle she’d lasted as long as she had. And of course she had nowhere to go; the only place she knew about was Cerise’s house.
Poor Shauna, life was so shitty for her. And it was easy to blame Shauna for it because she was such a spaz but probably anyone growing up in that messed up family would end up being weird.
Shauna’s mother walked into the ER waiting room at
Angela, thanking her for calling. She
looked sort of embarrassed, which made sense but then it got awkward as she
started apologizing for Shauna’s behaviour, saying how stupid it was and how
Shauna was such a silly girl and how she was so sorry to have troubled them. Lakeshore
Both Angela and Cerise smiled weakly, unsure of how to react. They were saved when a woman in scrubs came along - Cerise couldn’t tell if it was a doctor or a nurse - and asked for Cerise.
“Um, that’s me,” Cerise replied.
“You brought in Shauna Darren? She’s asking for you.”
“I’m Shauna’s mother,” her mom said haughtily.
The doctor maybe nurse explained that Shauna had frostbite on her fingers and toes but it was only first degree, which apparently meant she’d be fine. The doctor led them both into the ER and they wove through hallways filled with stretchers, some of them empty, more of them occupied. It was weird and felt invasive.
Cerise had imagined that Shauna would be under a heat blanket, but she wasn’t. Instead she lay under several regular blankets, right in the hallway along with everyone else. Shauna looked at them in horror, probably surprised to see her mom.
“Shauna! You idiotic girl! We don’t hear from you in six months and this is how it happens? I get a call from Angela Simon, frantic that you’ve been taken to a hospital? Do you know how that makes me look? Like I can’t even keep track of my own daughter?”
Shauna’s mom kept ranting and it was deeply embarrassing. Shauna’s eyes glazed over as her mom went on, eventually stopping and then asking what the heck Shauna had done to her hair. Indeed it was looking pretty bad, all hacked off in weird chunks, some long, some short.
Instead of answering, Shauna looked over to Cerise and shrugged so imperceptibly that Cerise was sure her mom hadn’t noticed. She kept talking about how she’d be taking Shauna home and getting her straightened out and blah blah blah. Eventually she turned around to go, explaining that she had to call Shauna’s father. She almost bumped into Cerise and seemed startled to find her there, having apparently forgotten about her presence. She huffed in annoyance and walked off, leaving Shauna and Cerise alone, or as alone as anyone can be in a crowded hospital hallway.
“Sorry about my mom,” said Shauna in a hoarse voice.
“Sorry about showing up at your house.”
“I didn’t know where else to go.”
“You must think I’m a freak.”
“No,” Cerise shook her head, hoping she sounded more convincing than she felt.
“It’s ok, I am a freak. I mean only a freak would do such stupid shit, right?”
“It’s not stupid,” Cerise said weakly.
“I know I’m a retard,” Shauna sighed. “I ran away from home.”
“I moved in with a guy.”
“Really?” Cerise wondered if her voice came out too surprised, like it was the most unbelievable thing in the world that Shauna would move in with a guy. But seriously, it kind of was.
“But then we broke up. He was a total asshole. I didn’t like fucking him, or his friends.”
Cerise had no idea how to react to that.
“So I left but I didn’t know where to go so I went to your place. Pretty dumb I guess.”
“So sorry I guess. I know you hate me.”
Cerise had to fight back tears. Shauna sounded so matter-of-fact about it, so resigned and undisturbed. Cerise felt waves of pity and guilt and shame rising up in her throat. What was she supposed to do? “I don’t hate you,” she said in a half-whisper.
Shauna’s mom came back and kept ranting, saying how they’d get Shauna’s hair fixed and maybe redecorate her room and go on a shopping spree and a bunch of other completely irrelevant bullshit. Cerise sort of retreated, sidestepping and backing up, hoping not to bump into anyone else. She waved at Shauna, who nodded, again almost imperceptibly.
Well that was a strange way to spend the morning. Cerise’s mind was going into overdrive and she felt like she’d almost explode from all the conflicting thoughts and emotions. Angela suggested she take the day to rest but Cerise insisted on being driven to school since she could still make her afternoon classes. She wanted the distraction and welcomed the chance to think about anything other than Shauna.
Unfortunately the plan backfired since she got to school when everyone was having lunch in the Munch Box. She should have gone in through the back entrance but her mother dropped her off out front and she had to walk through Casgrain to get to her locker. Everyone yelled out her name and waved her over to their usual table. The boys were there with Sarah and Cassie and even Terry was there, looking at her with concern.
They asked her where she’d been, joking that she must have slept in. Willy said something about her drowning in blood and everyone groaned and shot him dirty looks.
“How’d you know I was at a hospital?” she asked.
“Oh my god!” Sarah exclaimed.
‘“Are you ok?” asked Terry.
“I’m fine. It was Shauna.”
“Porta-potty chick?! What’s the scoop?!” Vani jumped up, feverish with excitement.
“Settle down, monkey-boy, your interest is undignified,” chastised Karl.
“So that chick still exists?” asked Willy. “Crazytown.”
“What happened?” asked Terry.
“We found her outside our house. She ran away from home and slept outside my house all night.”
They all shook their heads in stunned silence.
“Such a freak show,” whispered Vani. “This is ziggety-zagtastic!”
“It’s fucking hilarious is what it is!” cackled Willy.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” asked Cassie in disgust, echoing Cerise’s thoughts.
“Is she ok?” asked Sarah.
“She got frostbite but she’ll recover.”
“She was probably trying to kill herself again,” said Vani. “You know, freeze to death and shit.”
“What’s up with that chick and trying to kill herself in fucked up ways?” asked Karl.
Sarah nodded. “I knew I should have started an anti-suicide club in high school.”
Willy laughed again and Cerise snapped that it wasn’t funny. She explained how she’d had to go to
and that it was totally awkward visiting Shauna. She hadn’t known what to say. Lakeshore Hospital
“You don’t have to say anything, or I mean have any contact with her,” said Terry. “I mean I don’t think it’s safe.”
“Terry, she’s not dangerous. She’s just… sad. I feel so bad for her. Her mom was all like bitching her out and shit but it’s like, her parents are fucked. There’s a reason she ran away. It’s not just like teenaged rebellion or whatever. I mean I think serious shit goes down in that house.”
“Ziggety-zig,” nodded Vani. “Picture the scene: Porta-potty chick is abused at home, she seeks solace in a porta-potty but to no avail so she goes to Cerise’s house for comfort, expecting perhaps a warm bowl of fruity pebbles.”
Jay carried on the tale. “Cerise wakes up and goes downstairs all tra la la la la as is her want and she goes downstairs to inject her daily dose of fruity pebbles and there, laying like a dead corpse is the porta-potty chick wrapped in a garbage bag!”
“How did you know she had a garbage bag?” asked Cerise in surprise.
“She was seriously wrapped in a garbage bag?” asked Jay.
“That’s mega,” confirmed Vani. “Maybe you’re a pre-cog. I have always felt that you’ve born an uncomfortable resemblance to Samantha Morton.”
“She wasn’t wrapped in a garbage bag, she just had one with her, like holding her stuff, like clothes or whatever.”
“So she seriously ran away from home,” said Cassie. “She was actually like trying to move in with you or something?”
“I dunno. I mean part of me wants to help her ‘cause I know her home life is shit but it’s also freaky, right?”
They all nodded.
“I don’t know what I can do.”
“You can’t do anything. Except protect yourself,” Terry advised.
“If you suspect there’s abuse then you should tell someone,” counselled Sarah. “I mean hello, you were in a hospital, you should have asked to speak to child protective services.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” admitted Cerise, feeling all the more ashamed for not having thought of that herself.
“Like they’d do shit!” said Terry. “I mean this chick is our age, right? Child protective services aren’t gonna care about a seventeen-year-old when there’s like babies crawling around in crack dens. She should just get a job and find an apartment.”
They all nodded consent and even Jay admitted that this was sound advice. But Cerise knew Shauna wouldn’t be able to get a job. She was too socially awkward for that, too incompetent at pretty much everything.
“So this girl is like your stalker?” asked Cassie.
“Yeah,” Jay nodded. “Cerise told her off at a party last year. She was all like, ‘you’re a loser’ and the chick was all ‘you’re right, I’m a loser, boo hoo hoo’ and then she ended up in a porta-potty and then started stalking Cerise.”
“Probably addicted to fruit,” mused Vani. “I hear it’s a thing.”
“It’s not a thing,” Cerise rolled her eyes.
“Google it!” snapped Vani and Karl and Sarah whipped out their phones.
“Shit, it is a thing,” said Sarah in awe.
“Only because everything’s a thing,” Cerise sighed. “Anyway Shauna never stalked me.”
“She totally did but the stalking started way before the porta-potty party,” said Vani. “Remember, she was stalking you all year.”
“It’s true,” nodded Karl. “Day one of Sec 5.”
“But I hadn’t seen her all year this year. I assumed she’d like, moved on. And she had apparently. She said she moved in with a guy.”
Sarah visibly shuddered. “Can you even imagine how gross he must be? I mean no offense but to be into Shauna Darren? He’s probably like, eww.”
“You know, I’d forgotten about this but now I think of it I can remember a time I saw her at your house,” Terry said to Cerise. “She was just like outside your house, across the street, smoking a cigarette.”
“How come you never said anything?”
“Well we weren’t dating at the time so…”
“How come you were at Cerise’s house if you guys weren’t dating?” asked Jay, sparing Cerise from having to ask.
Vani folded his hands under his chin. “Inquiring minds want to know.”
“I was just driving by ‘cause I was bringing my sister to her daycare. The route goes by Cerise’s house. Anyway, I’m pretty sure I saw her there. I mean I didn’t stop to like, do inventory or anything, but I’m pretty sure.”
Cerise knew perfectly well that
daycare was nowhere near her house and Terry must have known that Cerise knew
this but he also knew that she wouldn’t call him out in front of
everybody. She was just glad to know
that at some point he’d been by her house even though they weren’t together
anymore. Maybe he wanted to get back
together with her! Brittany
“Anyway, you need to stay away from this chick. She’s bad news,” said Terry.
“Yeah, mega agreed,” nodded Vani. “I mean of course I think you should encourage the relationship so more meganess will occur ‘cause of like the total megatasticness of it and all but objectively speaking… no, you should totally start hanging out with her again. Maybe next time she’ll like swallow glass or something. You know, that’s a thing too.”
“It was on that show about crazy addictions,” said Willy.
“Did you see the one with the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls? So crazy,” laughed Jay.
“I thought that one wasn’t so bad,” shrugged Sarah. “I mean they were crazy but not in a harmful way. The ones where they swallow glass or gasoline or whatever, that’s like dangerous.”
Terry gave Cerise a look and she knew he wanted to warn her once again that Shauna was potentially dangerous. She knew Shauna posed no threat but she couldn’t help but feel glad for Terry’s concern.