Cerise’s little sister, Jules let Terry into the house and went right into a rant about how she had a new boyfriend because Evan was a loser. Terry tried to get a word in edgewise and finally put his hand on her shoulder and loudly asked if Cerise was home.
Jules sighed heavily. “Yeah, fine, I’ll get her.” She paused and then turned around, facing the stairs and yelled out for Cerise at the top of her lungs.
“What?” Cerise’s voice rang down.
“Just come the hell down!”
“Uh, Cerise?” Terry called out; worried they’d continue yelling back and forth all night if he didn’t take matters into his own hands.
Cerise appeared at the top of the stairs and then rushed down. She was wearing fleece, blue polka-dotted pajamas and made a pretty cute sight. She stared at Julie, who finally stomped off, making a great show of her annoyance. Cerise faced Terry and asked what was up.
“Um, I dunno…” he stammered. “I guess I just… I need you.”
If only she’d chosen this week to run away instead of last week. All of sudden it was like summer in
Montreal. All the snow had melted and it was all hot
and stuff. If she’d fallen asleep
outside Cerise’s house in this weather she wouldn’t have gotten frostbite and
wouldn’t have gone to the hospital and her parents never would have known
Now that she was back at her parents’ place she remembered why she’d left in the first place. Even living with Stan was better than being here. Logically there was no reason to hate it so much since there was food, TV, and her own computer, but she hated it all the same. There was just an air of oppression about the whole house.
Shauna’s mom had dragged her to a hair salon and they’d cropped her hair short. The hairdresser lady called it a ‘bob’ and advised blow-drying it with a rounded brush to get the proper wave or whatever. Shauna had nodded obediently but she obviously had no intention of following through on those instructions. Her mom liked the new cut, which kind of made Shauna want to hate it but if she were being honest she’d say she liked it too. It was a relief to finally have all that weight off her head. If she were to brush it in sort of the opposite way of how the hairdresser had suggested she could even make it look a bit like Cerise’s style.
“You know how much shit I had to deal with while you were gone?”
Shauna froze. She wondered if Malcolm would go away if she ignored him but knew from experience this wasn’t the case. She turned away from the window in her bedroom and looked at the door, where her brother stood. He looked pretty pissed.
“Don’t think you’re gonna get away with it,” he said and then walked off.
Cerise led Terry into the den, which was sort of in the basement, but it was a split level so the basement was only half underground. It was different from his dad’s house where the basement seemed so far away from the rest of the house. This house didn’t really afford any privacy. It was open concept and only the bedrooms and bathrooms actually had doors. It must be so weird living out in the open like this. Especially for Cerise, who was so secretive. And she didn’t even have her own laptop or her own cell phone. Maybe that explained all the secrecy. Maybe she was tight-lipped in real life because she didn’t have any control of her online life, like a normal person should. He had enough savings built up that he could buy her a smart phone. But was that too major a gift for a chick who wasn’t even his girlfriend anymore?
“So what’s going on?” she asked, resting her hand on his, looking all concerned.
“Ok well, fuck, I dunno where to start.”
“Did something happen?”
“I… my dad… my mom…”
“Oh my god! Something happened to your parents?”
“No.” He shook his head and took a deep breath. “Ok, a while back I found a box with pictures in it. Pics of my dad marrying some woman who wasn’t my mom. Or like Vicky either, you know, like pics from back in the day. And there were pics of this bride chick with a baby. I mean, not that the baby was at the wedding, I mean, other pictures, you know?”
“Go on,” nodded Cerise.
“I was like, oh, I guess my dad was married before he married my mom, how not surprising. So I ask my mom about it and she’s like, talk to your dad. Except like, I kinda didn’t want to ‘cause it’s kind of like obvious who the baby is. I mean, it’s like totally me.”
“You’re the baby in the pictures?”
“Yeah, and like it’s pretty obvious that this chick is my mom. Like not the mom I’ve always thought is my mom.”
“Ok, so like, what?” She looked a bit confused.
“It seemed like maybe my dad was married to a chick, they had me and then like I dunno what happened to the chick.|
“So then tonight my mom and dad come talk to me. And it’s like, that’s weird right off the bat ‘cause they haven’t been in the same room since they split. So I was all nervous and shit and sure enough it’s all true. My dad’s all like, fucking not even wanting to say anything but I finally got it out of him. He had me with his first wife, this woman named Bridget Thompson and like, get this: like my dad was having an affair with my now-mom while my bio-mom was pregnant and then like my mom I guess started being my nanny or whatever, all like under my bio-mom’s nose. And like when my bio-mom found out the truth she freaked out.”
“Like duh!” exclaimed Cerise.
“Like total duh, right?” Terry snorted. “I mean you can’t blame her, right? So she totally splits and my dad divorces her and marries my mom, I mean like my pretend mom, you know? And like he doesn’t even know where this Bridget chick is! I mean my real mom is like, out there, somewhere and I’ve never even met her. And my parents never even fucking told me any of this shit until tonight!”
“Oh my god,” said Cerise.
“Oh my god!” exclaimed Jules.
Terry and Cerise turned to see her standing in the doorway. Seriously no privacy in this house. Cerise yelled at Jules to fuck off, which she thankfully did.
“Are you ok?” Cerise asked. “I mean this is so intense.”
“It is, right? I mean it’s a big deal, right? I told off my parents and left. Do you think that was an overreaction? I mean no, right? Like it’s fucking insane, right? I mean this shit they did?”
“It’s like a total soap opera. Like totally unbelievable! I don’t mean I don’t believe it, I mean it’s nuts. Like that your parents could be such assholes as to never tell you any of this.”
“Exactly! It’s not even just the fact that all of a sudden I have a mother I never even met. Or that she like, abandoned me when I was a baby. It’s that my parents lied to me my whole life.”
“I know, it’s so messed.”
“It’s like your whole life you believe something. And you just accept it as fact ‘cause I mean, that’s what your parents told you. And then it’s like, not true anymore.”
“Well I guess you win for like worst parents ever. It’s seriously just so messed up, Terry. I can’t even imagine.”
She leaned in close and put her arms around him. He let himself slump into her body and rested his head on her shoulder. Tears started forming in his eyes and he sniffed and pulled way, trying to hide the tears. She pulled him back in and hugged him harder, stroking the back of his neck in the exact way he loved.
He didn’t try to resist any longer and just let the tears flow. It would have been completely embarrassing with anyone else but he knew Cerise would be cool about it. She just hugged him as he cried and cried like the baby in those pictures he kinda wished he’d never found.
Karine was painting her nails when she got a call from Terry’s landline at his dad’s house. It was totally unlike Terry to call from any phone other than his cell so she knew right away it would be his dad. She really didn’t want to answer but what if something was wrong? She reluctantly pressed the answer button and Mr. Trebichavsky asked if she’d seen Terry. She said she hadn’t and he said that Terry was upset and had stormed off and if he contacted Karine she was to tell Mr. Trebichavsky immediately. She said ok but knew she totally wouldn’t. If Terry was pissed at his dad he probably had a way good reason.
Cerise chastised herself for thinking badly of her mother during the whole frozen Shauna incident. Her mother was like parent of the year compared to Terry’s folks. This situation was seriously insane. She’d always known that Terry hated his dad but this was way beyond anything she’d ever imagined.
The phone rang and a moment later Simone appeared. From the look on her face it was clear that Julie had told her everything. She handed Cerise the phone, explaining that it was Karine.
Cerise offered it to Terry but he declined.
“Yeah, he’s here,” Cerise spoke into the phone. She looked at Terry and again he shook his head. “Yeah sorry, he’s all messed and shit, he doesn’t wanna talk. Yeah, ok, I’ll tell him. Ok, you too, bye.”
She hung up and then explained to Terry that his dad had called Karine wondering where he was.
“Fuck him, why should I tell him shit? He just loves keeping shit to himself, I might as well do the same.”
Seriously? Terry didn’t even wanna talk to Karine? What the hell? How come he went to Cerise’s house instead of hers? Her mom wasn’t even home so they could be alone and have a real conversation and stuff. Cerise lived in a house with like a million other people. Why would Terry rather go there? This was total bullshit.
“What are you gonna do?” asked Cerise.
“I dunno, what can I do? What should I do?”
Terry sighed and slumped back into the couch cushions. It was so comfy. “All I know is I really don’t wanna see my parents right now. Or like, ever.”
“Do you wanna stay here tonight?”
“I’ll talk to my mom. I’m sure she’ll understand. We don’t have a guest room but this couch is almost long enough to accommodate you,” she shrugged and giggled adorably.
Terry nodded and thanked Cerise. How completely awesome if he could sleep here in the same house as her! They’d never even done that when they were dating except for that one time they slept over at Sarah’s house when she had a party. Or the time they slept on Karine’s couch when she had a party. That had been a good night. A great night. Probably one of his top ten or even top five or top one maybe even.
Cerise was slightly surprised that her mom didn’t immediately agree to have Terry sleep over. Instead she said a bunch of crap about how his parents must be worried but Cerise argued that his parents were the problem. Julie had already told Angela the story so she didn’t need to repeat it but she did anyway just to get her point across. Angela finally relented as long as they agreed to call Terry’s parents and tell them where he was. Cerise said she would and even sort of meant it but allowed herself to forget about that part pretty quickly.
Terry was roused by an invasive beam of sunlight, which hit him right in the face. Where the hell was he? Oh right, Cerise’s house, on the couch in the semi-basement TV room place. He’d slept in his t-shirt and boxers and they were all rumpled and he was all itchy and sore. This couch really wasn’t big enough for him but it was still cool to be able to sleep here. He stood up and stretched out and pulled his jeans back on before heading to the bathroom. A minute later he joined the Laframboise ladies in their kitchen.
“Morning!” sang out Jules, with Cerise repeating the greeting a second later.
“Hey,” he replied awkwardly.
Simone mumbled something and then walked past him. Cerise’s mom offered him breakfast, motioning to a box of cereal and a bag of bread on the counter. He nodded politely and reached for the Cheerios, while Cerise’s mom whipped out a bowl, a spoon and the milk. It was skim milk and he was used to 2% but whatever. He poured himself a generous bowl and then instantly regretted it, realizing he looked like a pig. Oh well, too late now.
He sat down next to Cerise, who was already finished eating. Jules was yammering about something or other and their mom asked if he’d called his parents yet. He lied and said he had. Cerise was still in her pajamas and she told Terry to meet her upstairs when he was done eating so she could give him a toothbrush and show him the shower.
A few minutes later he was knocking on her bedroom door. She let him in and handed him a t-shirt and a toothbrush.
“If you wanna change,” she explained.
“I forgot about this,” he said, taking the shirt. They’d been in his room one time, in the summer maybe? They’d been fooling around and had to get dressed quickly and she put on his white shirt with the red 13 on the front. She looked so hot in this shirt, ‘cause you could totally see her nipples through it. “Um, why don’t you keep it?” he said. “I can go home at break today and get some shit, like when my parents aren’t home.”
Cerise smiled and placed the shirt back in an open dresser drawer. “I wear it as a nightgown in the summer,” she said wistfully.
That bit of information pleased Terry more than he wanted to admit.
“So you’re still gonna go to school then? You could skip.”
“It’ll be good to have the distraction,” he shrugged.
“Totally,” she agreed.
It was just like old times, being driven to school by Terry. She hadn’t been sure if she should ask for a lift or just go to the bus stop as usual but when he was done in the shower he came back to her room and asked if she was ready.
“Just like old times,” she chuckled awkwardly as she buckled her seat belt.
“Yeah,” he smiled and started the car.
“It’s nice to get a lift again, now that it’s back to being freezing.”
“Seriously, last week was crazy town wasn’t it? So hot.”
“I know, totally.”
“Not that it’s so cold now.”
“-12 with windchill according to the weather network.”
“Well no snow so that’s good.”
“I like snow.”
“I know but for driving it’s not so great.”
They drove the rest of the way in silence and only spoke again once they were in JAC’s student parking lot.
“So um, like I appreciate you know, you doing this. I mean letting me crash. And like being there for me. Or whatever.”
“Of course, Terry. It’s not even a question.”
“I just want you to know, I mean I don’t expect you to get back together with me or anything. I mean, out of pity.”
She shook her head, unsure of how to respond.
“I mean, I just, let’s just… we’ll be friends, right?” he asked.
“We never stopped being friends, did we?”
He smiled and shook his head and they walked to school together, falling back into their old routine, with him holding her bag while she wrapped her scarf around her neck and her taking it back when she was done.