Sarah sat on the deck at BYC hanging out with Paul, a fellow sailing instructor. The more she got to know him the more she liked him and she wondered if she was engaging in double-think; convincing herself that she was into him simply because he was available. Was she genuinely interested in him? Did she only like him because he seemed to like her? He was fun and friendly but not really the deepest guy she’d ever met. Whenever she asked a question that was mildly philosophical he always came up with a thoughtful answer and they had good conversations as a result but it was clear that he didn’t have these types of conversations with other people and he’d never been challenged in this way before. So this explained why he found her so fascinating: she was constantly challenging him. But he didn’t present a challenge to her. She couldn’t help but compare him to Karl who’d always been challenging, if also infuriating.
But he was cute, with sunkissed hair and a smattering of freckles across his nose and he was a good kisser, not too dry, but no slobber either. Though they hadn’t discussed it, it was pretty clear that they were now a couple. Sarah was content to let that be.
Cassie climbed up to the deck and sat next to them with a warm greeting. She looked as cute as ever in one of her little office outfits. Sarah was somewhat envious of Cassie’s job. She got to work indoors and wear grown-up clothes. But Sarah had enough perspective to realize a lot of people were envious of her position: being able to work outdoors in the sun, doing something she enjoyed.
Cassie mentioned that she had to go to the washroom and looked at Sarah intently, obviously indicating that she wanted company. Sarah got up and joined her as they walked into the clubhouse.
“Well,” Cassie squirmed. “I guess we never really talked about you know, Jay.”
“What about him?” asked Sarah, checking herself out in the mirror. She didn’t bother wearing makeup on her work days since she always got sweaty and often ended up in the water and she wondered if she should start bringing her makeup bag to work to do herself up before going to the bakery. She should bring an extra set of clothes as well because her BYC uniform wasn’t really the cutest outfit on the planet.
“Well, I mean, are you ok with me going out with him? I know you guys weren’t together very long but it’s still kind of weird.” Cassie shrugged awkwardly.
“No, it’s fine, I’m so totally over him,” Sarah said, not even sure if she was telling the truth. She was basically over Jay and in truth she’d never been that into him but it was still kind of bitchy for Cassie to go out with him. Not that she and Cassie were the best of friends; they were only friends because of their mutual friendship with Cerise but still. And if she was being fully self-aware she’d admit that what annoyed her most was the fact that Jay had moved on before she had; that Jay had gotten over her so easily. Was she truly so forgettable?
“Are you sure?” asked Cassie.
“Yeah of course, whatever,” laughed Sarah. “Besides, I’m with Paul now.”
“Oh yeah? He’s way cute!”
“I know,” smiled Sarah with great satisfaction. Paul was cuter than Jay and taller too and more built and with better skin and he didn’t play any stupid role-playing games. He was definitely a step-up from that lame-bot Jason Harris.
“Ok good, ‘cause I really like Jay,” Cassie giggled.
“Well then you should totally be with him,” said Sarah with certainty. “Like even if I was still into Jay, it wouldn’t matter ‘cause like I believe that like if two people like each other they owe it to themselves to try to make it work. Like you know we should follow our hearts and stuff.”
“Yeah, totally,” Cassie nodded as though Sarah had just said the wisest thing ever.
Once again Sarah examined Cassie’s wardrobe. She had on a cute little skirt and a blouse that was wrinkled and had embarrassing sweat stains but she still looked put together compared to Sarah in her shorts and t-shirt. Sarah seriously needed to start bringing sundresses to work every day.
They went back out to the deck and rejoined Paul, who was now sitting with Karl and Jay. Cassie ran up to Jay and sat in his lap, then complained about how sweaty he was. He ran after her, acting like a swamp monster and she skipped around giggling, obviously wanting him to catch her. Sarah looked forward to a time when she and Paul would have that kind of raport. She’d had that with Karl but only when they were alone and she’d always resented that he wouldn’t show affection in public. Hopefully Paul wouldn’t turn out to be that way. To test the waters, she took his hand as they walked to the bus stop. He held her hand eagerly and when they got on the bus he put his arm around her. She snuggled up close and put her leg over his, and he rested his hand on her bare knee. Karl pretended not to notice but she figured they looked pretty cutesy to the people around them and that’s the way Sarah liked it.
It was Terry’s day off so Cerise switched shifts with Trista and hung out with him in NDG, which was kind of a waste of a perfectly good day since they had to spend most of it with
. Cerise tried hard not to resent the little snot but it was always a struggle. Eventually Vicky came home and they rushed off to Lloyd and Bernie’s place so Cerise could show Terry the rehearsal space. He was more impressed by it than she was and seemed enraptured as he listened to them rehearse. Brittany
“Oh my god, you guys, that was seriously fucking amazing,” he said after a rendition of Fire at Will.
“You really think so?” Cerise asked.
“Gimme a break,” Jeff scoffed. “He’s just saying that so you’ll suck his dick later.”
“I’ll suck his dick later regardless,” Cerise said, prompting everyone except Tom to chuckle.
“It was for real good,” Terry went on. “I mean maybe the bass player needs a little work but other than that…”
Jeff rolled his eyes as the other band members laughed heartily. They joked around a bit more and then all decided to head out to the bakery. Everyone else was already there, laughing as Vani animatedly told a story, jumping around in the center of the room, waving his arms around. The only person who wasn’t present was Janice, no doubt on one of her dates.
Furry Jenn sat with the boys and they were rolling dice so apparently she was now integrated into the game. Cerise wondered if she missed playing the game and decided she didn’t. She missed the camaraderie with the boys but she’d never been that into the game itself. Besides, being in a band was way cooler even though the guys in the band weren’t as funny as the boys.
Sarah suggested they all go to LaRonde that weekend and at first Cerise thought she’d be able to go but then realized she had to work on Saturday since she’d switched shifts with Trista. Cassie and Jay and Karine and Mike and all the boys could go but the Parisses Squares couldn’t because they’d be rehearsing. Cerise realized she’d never have any free time anymore if she was in this band. In fact, she wouldn’t even have work time. If she was going to go on tour with the band, she’d have to quit her job, which would mean giving up on the idea of making any money this summer.
“Do you wanna go for a walk for a bit?” she asked Terry.
He nodded and led her outside. It was a gorgeous night; not too hot and not too cold. Cerise always preferred night over day. The sun was not her friend but she didn’t mind heat and it was nice to live in a climate where it stayed warm at night during the summer.
They picked a direction randomly and walked along the sidewalk.
“So what’s up?” asked Terry as she took hold of his thumb. “You look like you wanna talk.”
“Yeah, I wanna get your opinion on all this band stuff. Like do you think I should join?”
“I thought you’d already joined.”
“I guess sort of. But I mean should I go on tour with them?”
“It’s up to you,” he said neutrally.
“I want your opinion.”
“I think you should do what makes you happy.”
She sighed. “You’re not really answering the question, Terry. I mean, my happiness is affected by your happiness. What do you want me to do?”
“I’ll be happy as long as you’re happy. Seriously, Cerise. I want you to do what you wanna do.”
“Well I don’t know what I want!”
“Ok, so let’s break it down. Wanna do like a pro/con list thing?”
“Well, it would be fun, definitely more fun than working at the bookstore so that’s pro, but c’est pas payant, so I’ll be poor at the end of the summer.”
“Ok,” Terry nodded. “Fun verses money.”
“But even if it did pay, it’s a lot of pressure. What if I suck? Bernie says I just need to do a show with them and that’ll set the tone for the whole summer. If I rock it I’ll probably keep rocking it and vice-versa.”
“So there you go. You can’t really make a decision until you’ve done a show with them.”
“Yeah,” Cerise nodded, still uncertain.
“Are you nervous about doing a show?”
“Yeah, what if I suck?”
“You won’t suck.”
“But what if I choke?”
“You never choked in any of your plays.”
“Those were just amateur hour and I was never the lead.”
“Well, no offense, but Parisses Squares is also kind of amateurish and yeah, I guess you’d be the front-woman but it’s still an ensemble. It’s not all about you.”
“But everything’s always about me,” she said with a serious tone.
Terry laughed and she couldn’t keep a straight face. He tickled her and she squealed as they ran back towards the bakery. He caught her and they kissed as they leaned against his car.
“But let’s say everything went well, and I did join the band,” she said after coming up for air. “If I went on tour with them we’d be apart for like a month.”
“Yeah, I know,” he nodded.
“That would totally suck, wouldn’t it?”
“Yeah, it would,” he admitted. “Especially ‘cause like, I gotta take all the time with you I can ‘cause I never know when you’re gonna break up with me next.”
“Shut up!” she squealed, smacking him in the arm.
He laughed and held her close. “We can talk on Skype.”
“It’s not the same,” she said.
“Don’t I know it,” he nodded. “It would totally suck to be back to just my hand for a whole month.”
“Oh god, is that all you care about?” she chuckled.
“No, but it is a consideration. It also doesn’t thrill me that you’d be with that Tom guy the whole time.” She was about to interrupt but he went on. “I mean I know you’re not into him but still. There’s a weirdness there. Plus that Jeff guy is into you. Plus they’re all guys. They’re all prob’ly into you.”
“No, they’re not…”
“They will be just ‘cause you’re there. I mean just hear me out. You’re all gonna be travelling together, being together all the time, sleeping in the same room, getting dressed together, you know, like having the same experience. It creates like a bond or whatever. Like how I have a bond with the guys on my team even though they aren’t who I’d hang out with by choice, you know? And since you’re the only girl, they’ll all think about you that way, just ‘cause you’re there and their girlfriends aren’t.”
“They don’t have girlfriends.”
“All the more reason for them to try to make moves on you.”
“Well even if they did, it’s not like they’d succeed.”
“I know,” he nodded. “but still.”
“So you don’t want me to go?” she asked.
“Of course I want you to go! I mean if that’s what you want. But you know, it’s something to be aware of. You’re so naïve about that stuff. I just want you to know, like be aware that they’re all gonna be secretely spying on you when you take showers and stuff.”
“No they won’t!”
He sighed and widened his eyes as though she were being an idiot for not getting it.
She regarded him for a moment. “Is this like a jealousy thing or like a protective thing? Are you afraid that they’d try to mack on me or are you afraid that you wouldn’t be there to stop it?”
“Neither. I’m not threatened by them. It’s just, I think you don’t really necessarly realize when guys are coming on to you. I think with me I was pretty obvious about it, but when guys are more subtle you don’t seem to catch on. Which is fine, I mean it works out great for me. But like, let’s say one of them tries something, I just want you to be prepared. Like you should know how you’re gonna handle it.”
She blinked in confusion. If Terry was right, which he probably wasn’t but if he was and Jeff or one of them tried something, what would she do? She’d likely be so embarrassed she wouldn’t know how to react. “How should I handle it?”
“Remind them I exist?”
She laughed. “Like tell them you’ll beat them up?”
“No, but I mean yeah,” he chuckled.
“Come on Terry, seriously?” she laughed.
“Like when chicks are into me I mention that I have a girlfriend. It kills the mood pretty fast. So if they come on to you, just remind them that I exist. Just talk about me and they’ll get bored and moved on to a groupie or whatever.”
“I don’t think they have groupies.”
“Then remind them I play hockey and I can beat their asses no problem.” He grinned.
She laughed and rolled her eyes. “You’re such a dork. Ok, so what’s your conclusion? Do I go or not?”
“My conclusion is the same as my… introduction. I think you should do what makes you happy.”
She smiled up at him. “I’m glad we’re able to talk like this.”
“You making fun of me?” he narrowed his eyes in suspicion.
“No, seriously. I think this is a good convo. Sometimes we have a tendency to get like, too heated. It’s good that we’re talking without yelling. And we’re being honest.”
“Yeah,” he smiled and nodded. “I guess in the past sometimes I got out of hand ‘cause like, I was sort of intimidated by you.”
“What? You intimidated by me? Why?”
“’Cause like you always seemed so together. So sure of who you were and what you were about. I didn’t have a fucking clue. I was afraid you’d reject me because I was such a… such a slacker I guess.”
“And I was afraid you’d reject me ‘cause I was too much of a prude and a nerd. Like not cool enough for you.”
“Yeah well, it’s true I’m pretty cool but I like to take a few charity cases every so often…”
“Loser!” she wacked his arm and punched his chest as he laughed and showered kisses onto her forehead.
“Ugh, those two make me wanna puke,” said Karine, glancing outside and seeing Terry and Cerise making out on the hood of his car.
“Highly vomitorious,” Vani agreed.
“I think they’re cute,” said Sarah.
“Yeah, I think it’s nice when couples show so much affection for each other,” nodded Cassie.
Was it Karine’s imagination or had Jay made a face at that comment? She looked at Mike to see how he was reacting.
“Pussy-whipped,” he burped and laughed at his own joke.
“Indeed,” nodded Vani. “Terry was way cooler before he became so majorly whipped.”
“Seriously, he’s fucking brutal on the ice,” Mike confirmed. “A lot of guys, they can’t make the separation. If they’re a goon on the ice, sometimes they’re like that in real life too. It’s good Trebichavsky’s not like that, unless he is and he just keeps it for closed doors.”
“No, I’m pretty sure even when they’re alone he treats Cerise like she’s an angel who fell from heaven,” Karine said with a perhaps too strong a hint of disdain.
“Like a gold-plated angel who fell from heaven!” Vani scoffed.
“Like a gold-plated, liquid latinum filled angel who fell from heaven,” Karl carried on.
Jay jumped in. “Like a gold-plated, liquid latinum filled angel who fell from heaven and who carries a magical harp that when you play it, little fairies jump out and they grant you wishes.”
They went on that way for a while, each person trying to up the ante and it got pretty ridiculous pretty fast. Mike made his contribution, giving the angel rainbow hair and sparkle breath.
Karine had to admit she was pleased with Mike these days. He was fully integrated into the group now, hanging out every day and joining in the jokes, but also making fun of the guys when they weren’t around. And their sex life was pretty good these days too. Like all guys he was a little selfish for her tastes; always wanting to get more than he gave but he wasn’t afraid of cunnilingus and even though he didn’t always last too long, he was always good to go for several rounds. She wasn’t nervous around him, she realized. She trusted him. Maybe not the way she trusted Terry; she wouldn’t tell him all her hopes and dreams but she was comfortable with him and he was fun to hang out with so what else could she possibly ask for?
Terry and his Cherry angel walked back into the bakery and everyone hurled jokes at them, accusing Cerise of being a rainbow farting pegasus wing and Terry of being the most pussy-whipped man of all time. He responded by bowing in front of Cerise, calling her m’lady and saying her wish was his command.
“I wish you to keep being the most awesome boyfriend ever,” she gushed, throwing herself into his arms.
They all made puking noises and hurled empty coke cans at Terise while they made out in the middle of the bakery. God, they were seriously the most disgusting couple ever.