Here we go again. Attempt #2 at finding a job. Shauna took a deep breath and got off the bus, then walked into
. Surely there would be plenty of places hiring here. She even had a CV now. She’d downloaded a template from the internet and filled it in with some bullshit from her real life. She’d gone to camp when she was a kid and wrote in that she’d been a counselor. And she counted her time at Stan’s as being a cleaning-lady. Fairview
Almost immediately she found a store with a help wanted sign. It was a clothing store. Shauna walked through it and went straight for the front counter and as soon as she got there she turned around and walked back out.
Holy shit that had been scary. Her heart was beating and she was even starting to sweat. Who was she kidding? She’d never be able to do this!
Mike helped Karine go shopping for party supplies, not that they needed anything besides chips and beer. Most people would bring their own drinks and Janice would bring other refreshments. Karine wondered if she’d indulge tonight. She’d have to see how the night went.
She was slightly nervous about having Parisses Squares play since they’d no doubt be loud and all her old-people neighbours would be annoyed. But she could put on the AC and keep all the windows closed so maybe it wouldn’t be too bad. Mike helped her move furniture around so as to create a stage of sorts.
Jay didn’t want to be late for the party so he got off early and went to Cassie’s work to pick her up. She wanted to change so he brought her home and finally met her family. It was a bit weird and awkward but nothing crazy. Her parents were totally normal. It was good that Jay had the party as an excuse though because the parental units wanted Jay and Cassie to stay for dinner, which Jay was totally unprepared for.
It seemed as though Cassie was taking a million years to get dressed; her ‘rents had asked Jay every question on the planet. How old was he, what was he taking in school, how did he like school, how did he and Cassie meet, what did he want to be when he grew up, where did he work, did he like his job, did Cassie like her job…??? How the hell was he supposed to answer that one? Finally she came downstairs and they got going.
“Did my parents totally torture you?” asked Cassie sympathetically.
“They were fine,” he answered and it was true. Dealing with lamo parents wasn’t that big of a deal. Totally worth it to have a girlfriend.
Shauna reached Beaurepaire village and slowed her pace. Wasn’t Cerise’s mom’s… yep. There was the bookstore, across the street. And Cerise was inside it. And now she was leaving! Shauna ducked behind a mailbox and crouched down as though she was tying her shoe, even though she was wearing mom-approved shoes that didn’t even have laces.
Cerise was crossing the street, coming towards her. Shauna wasn’t sure what to do. But in an instant Cerise was gone. She’d walked into a bakery and hadn’t noticed Shauna at all. From her vantage point behind the mailbox Shauna had a great view of the bakery. Cerise was walking up to her huge boyfriend and they were kissing and now they were both leaving.
Oh my god! Shauna circled around the mailbox so as not to be seen. Cerise and her boyfriend got in his car and drove away. Shauna stood up and looked at the bookstore. Was that a help wanted sign?!?!?!?! Shauna walked across the street and stared at the sign. Surely this had to be a sign from god. This is why she hadn’t applied anywhere else. She was destined to work here.
“You look good,” smiled Terry.
Cerise looked at her boyfriend and smiled. She was so glad he was so supportive of this whole band thing.
“You look ok, but we can do better,” said Simone.
They were in Cerise’s bedroom and she was trying on outfits for tonight’s show at Karine’s house. They all liked the white shirt, black tie thing but she wanted options. She had on a red tank top and a plaid skirt, with striped knee-socks.
“I look like I’m trying too hard. Like I’m Britney Spears trying to be a sexy schoolgirl. It’s pretentious,” complained Cerise, putting one of her army shirts on over the tank top.
“That actually looks pretty cool. The khaki shirt with the plaid skirt,” mused Simone.
“I was gonna put on jeans.”
“No, I think we’ve got it here,” said Simone.
“Yeah, you look hot,” agreed Terry, leaning back on her bed and watching Cerise with admiration.
“You think she looks hot no matter what,” sighed Simone. “You’re no help.”
“I look like a poseur,” said Cerise with a frown. “I never wear skirts in real life. Why can’t I just wear my regular clothes?”
“’Cause your regular clothes are boring as shit. If you’re gonna be a rock star you’ve gotta look the part,” explained Simone.
“I’m not a rock star.”
“Yeah, that much is abundantly clear,” said Simone with a sigh.
Cerise knew her sister meant well but Cerise felt highly uncomfortable in this outfit. It just looked so deliberate. It was ridiculous to think she could pull any of this off. Was she seriously going on tour with a band? She felt like an idiot; like a little girl playing dress-up.
Terry stood up and wrapped his arms around her. “You look amazing, Cerise. Your legs are way hot, you should show them off.”
She knew he was only trying to help but she just felt all the more self-conscious. If she wore a skirt people would just stare at her legs. And this skirt was so short it was practically a belt. If she wore it on a stage everyone in the front row would be able to see her underwear.
“And you should dye your hair,” suggested Simone. “Like blue or red or something.”
“No, I like her natural colour,” protested Terry as he stroked Cerise’s hair.
“We should go,” said Cerise, noting the time.
She wanted to change back into jeans but decided to leave in the skirt. Tonight would be good practice in wearing an embarrassing outfit. Half way down the stairs she ran back to her room and grabbed a pair of jeans, which she tossed into the backseat of Terry’s car just in case.
Tom, Jeff, Bernie and Lloyd were setting up their band stuff and it was pretty intense. With their computer and microphones and amplifiers and everything they took up half the living room. Karine had never found her house small before but now it seemed totally tiny. And the layout was all wrong. There’s no way everyone would be able to cram inside this space. Tons of people would have to listen from the hall and the kitchen and den and they wouldn’t be able to watch the show.
Jeff was complaining about how Cerise hadn’t shown up yet and she clearly wasn’t dedicated to the band and blah blah blah. God, why didn’t he just fuck her already and be done with it?
When she did show up she was wearing a way short plaid skirt and knee-socks. She looked sort of cute but also like a total poseur. Jeff practically tripped on his tongue he was gaping so openly.
“And you say you’re not Avril Lavigne?” he snarked at her.
“Jeff, why’d you have to go and make things so complicated?” she snarked back.
Those two seriously needed to get a room, which Terry was obviously aware of. He glared at Jeff and did that thing where he puffs up his chest and stands a little taller. Cerise joined the guys as they did the last of their set-up and they all started testing the mikes and tuning their guitars and whatever.
They all went to the kitchen for beers, except Cerise obviously who made out with Terry. About an hour later when the crowd was getting thick they started to play. They weren’t as good as they’d been at the bar the previous weekend and Karine wondered if maybe the venue was the problem. Maybe her house wasn’t optimal for the acoustics or whatever.
A few of Mike and Terry’s hockey friends arrived and they all stood around drinking beer and bopping their heads to the music. Karine didn’t really like Mike as much when he was around his hockey mates. He always became more macho and less attentive to her. Terry was like that too and suddenly Karine felt a tinge of sympathy for Cerise; finally seeing things from her point of view. She supposed that was why Cerise had always disliked going to bars with Terry or hanging out with his crowd back in high school. With these people he wasn’t his true self, the sweet Terry Karine knew existed. He was cool Terry, macho Terry, sexist joke making Terry.
Cassie and Sarah danced as their boyfriends stood by drinking beer. It was so weird to see Jay with a girlfriend. He so wasn’t the type. Was it a total charity case type thing on Cassie’s part of did Jay actually have something to offer? If she were being completely honest she’d admit he wasn’t entirely hideous. Whenever he cut his hair he was actually kind of cute. And he was tall and not too insanely skinny, having filled out a bit in the past year. And he was a nice guy and undeniably funny.
Sarah’s boyfriend was a step-up though. He was legitimately cute and seemed nice. But Mike was still better. When he wasn’t around his stupid hockey dudes he was a good guy and he was hotter than every other guy, except for Terry of course. Still, he wasn’t the most entertaining guy to be around. Karine had to admit that she had more fun hanging out with the nerd herd than anyone else. Vani was always good for a laugh and Jay was hilarious.
Suddenly Furry Jenn came running into the room, followed by Willy. She announced with glee that she’d just kissed a girl.
“And I liked it,” smarmed Willy.
Furry Jenn laughed her ass off and kept making her stupid announcement. Janice, who’d been dancing with a lamp, planted her hand in Jenn’s face and forcefully pushed her away, telling her to get the fuck out of her face. Jenn fell backwards into Willy’s arms and they both laughed. What a couple of morons.
Karine forced her way through the crowd and crawled onto the couch, which was pushed up against the far wall, obstructed by the dining room table. Sitting there was like being in a fort. It was kind of cool. She should have thought of getting a drink before taking refuge here and now she was too lazy to rectify the situation.
As if he’d heard her silent plea, Jay joined her and handed her a beer. She thanked him and they clinked their bottles together.
“What do you think?” he jutted out his chin.
“Of the band?” she asked.
“They’re ok. It’s a cool thing for Cerise to do.”
“Yeah, it’s pretty crazy,” he nodded. “I never woulda pictured Cerise doing this kinda thing. You yeah, not her.”
Karine smiled. “So how are things with you and Cassie?”
“Good,” he shrugged.
“Yeah,” he hesitated. “She’s very enthusiastic.”
“You make that sound like a bad thing,” she laughed.
“No, it’s good. Just intense is all. I met her parents tonight. They were intense too. All asking questions and shit.”
“How ‘bout you and what’s-his-damage?”
“Bruiser guy.” Jay put on an angry face and made a growling noise as he flexed his arms.
Karine laughed. “He’s not a bruiser! He’s a nice guy.”
“Ok,” Jay said dubiously.
“You’re just jealous ‘cause you’re not athletic,” Karine snickered.
“I’m jealous for lots of reasons.” He looked at her with significance and she looked back.
“You shouldn’t sell yourself short,” she said kindly. “You’re fun. And funny.”
“Is that enough?” he asked.
She wasn’t sure how to answer and regarded him seriously for a moment. Would she? Could she? He was such a geek and she was Karine Cavalière. They weren’t in the same league.
She sat up straight and peered out from behind the dining room table, looking around for Terry as he kept calling her name. The music stopped and she crawled out of her fort. Terry took her hand and brought her to the front door, where two police officers were standing. They were shutting down the party because of a noise complaint.
The band packed up their gear and most everyone went home. It was just the gang that remained, and without even having to ask, they helped her put the furniture back in order. A part of her wanted to keep that fort.
“Shut down ‘cause of a noise complaint?” laughed Bernie. “I think that means we’ve officially made it.”
“I can’t believe it only occurred to me now that we should’ve charged a cover for this party,” mused Lloyd.
Karine also wished he’d thought of it earlier. She could have taken a commission.
“Well I’m just glad we didn’t get booed off,” said Tom.
“Progress,” nodded Jeff.
Cerise raised her glass of water. “To not being booed off.”
They all raised their drinks and echoed Cerise’s words.
“And to Karine on her eighteenth birthday,” Cerise went on.
“To Karine!” everyone shouted.
Not the worst birthday ever, Karine mused.
“I’ll miss you,” said Terry as he hugged Cerise.
“I’ll miss you too,” she said, hugging back.
The guys in the band all sat in the van, nursing hangovers. They’d been scheduled to leave at 9am but had only shown up at Cerise’s house at 10. This was fine by Terry since it gave him an extra hour with her. They’d gotten up at 8 and the first hour was wasted having breakfast with her mom.
Now that she was really going he realized he didn’t want her to but he knew he couldn’t say anything about it. This was a great opportunity for her. She’d have a great time. It just sucked that he had to stay behind, working a shitty job and babysitting his bratty sister.
“I love you,” he said, holding her tightly.
“I love you too.” She rested in his arms, almost sinking into him.
“Everybody loves everybody, let’s fucking go!” hollered Jeff.
“Oh god, not so loud,” protested Bernie from the driver’s seat.
They broke their embrace and Cerise asked again if it was ok for her to take Terry’s laptop. He assured her it was cool. She’d need a way to communicate with him while on the road. He’d use Vicky’s laptop at home and Karl’s at the bakery. They’d be able to Skype everyday.
“We’ll talk every day,” Cerise assured him, stepping into the van.
“And write. Random emails whenever you want.”
“For sure,” she nodded.
“And keep texting until you get one of those long distance notifications.”
She leaned out of the van and gave him one last kiss. “I’ll miss you so much.”
“I’ll miss you too.”
Jeff made a strangled noise. “Seriously, you guys bring a tear to my eye. I don’t think I can take it much longer.”
Cerise ignored him and smiled at Terry. He smiled back as the van door was slammed in his face. The windows were tinted so he couldn’t tell if she was watching him but he waved anyway and assumed she was waving back.
She was gone. Fuck, this totally sucked!