“So I’m going to this party on Saturday that has nothing whatsoever to do with being gay. Wanna come?”
Shauna looked at Leanne wryly.
“Come on, I swear it’s just a party. A guy I know invited me. A guy. Not a lesbian. It’s downtown. A Halloween party. People wear costumes. Nothing gay happens.”
Shauna refused the invitation without even thinking about it but Leanne persisted and finally Shauna agreed to go. She didn’t even know if she liked parties. She’d never been to one where she’d had a good time but maybe things would be different now. Probably not but there would at least be free beer there probably.
Cerise decided to go as a devil and she asked Terry to be an angel so he agreed. He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to read any symbolism into the costumes but whatever, he dressed like a roman gladiator type dude except with little feather wings on his back. It was a pretty cool costume. And Cerise looked totally hot. She wore a shiny red suit that was way tight but not like totally slutty tight. In fact, if it had been in a different colour and not shiny she’d look like a business woman. But as is, with the inclusion of a tail and horns, she looked pretty sinful. It was awesome.
They arrived to the party with Nick, who was dressed like a ‘20s gangster and Karine, who was a cheerleader from the ‘50s, like with a sweater with a big letter on it, instead of a sexy modern cheerleader. Her new boyfriend, Brady Bunch was along for the ride and his costume consisted of a Rastafarian hat. Apparently he was really going method with it too, ‘cause he already reeked of pot.
They joined Sarah, who was already there with her boyfriend, though Terry couldn’t for the life of him remember his name. Whatever, he’d just call him the huntsman, ‘cause he had an axe. Sarah was Little Red Riding Hood.
A giant elephant lumbered over to them, no doubt containing Vani, Karl, Willy and Jay and his stupid hair. It was actually pretty genius of them to stay covered up for the evening. They’d probably get more action that way.
A mime came along and greeted Cerise, telling her she looked way cool. A second later Terry realized it was that Tom guy from her band. Cassie was with him and she was dressed as a sexy cat, but it wasn’t that sexy.
“Hey, I see you took my devil suggestion,” said Jeff, strolling over in a kilt and Braveheart makeup.
So then maybe Cerise’s costume wasn’t symbolic. Maybe she was just dressing sexy for some other guy. Terry swallowed his jealousy, knowing he was being irrational. Cerise wasn’t into this loser. Was she?
Terry surveyed the place. It was a small apartment but big enough that he figured Jeff had a roommate. Surely he couldn’t afford all this on his own. The music was loud and the place was packed and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Terry couldn’t help but feel another twang of jealousy, this time for the coolness of having one’s own place.
A Nazi walked by and Cassie made a noise of disgust, saying she couldn’t believe she’d ever gone out with him. It took Terry a second to realize the Nazi was Lee. He’d forgotten all about Lee, even though they’d worked together at the bakery just a couple months ago. Wow, time really flew when you were having a shit life.
“Whatever happened to him?” asked the elephant.
“He’s a year ahead of us. At McGill now I think,” the elephant replied.
“I didn’t even know he was older.”
“Hey Lee!” The elephant traipsed off awkwardly, following the Nazi as best it could.
They stepped into the room only to jump back when an elephant accosted a Nazi. They got in a tussle and ended up on the ground, with legs flailing all over the place. Shauna giggled as she and Leanne stepped around them.
“See, everyone’s in costume. You stick out like a sore thumb,” said Leanne.
Shauna had elected not to wear a costume because she hadn’t wanted to be made fun of but she realized now that Leanne was right and she was the one who was out of place. Although she supposed people might figure her costume was ‘90s emo kid or something.
“Hey, there’s my friend,” said Leanne, tugging on Shauna’s wrist and then pausing a second later. “Oh my. I didn’t know she’d be here.”
Cerise was rather appropriately dressed as a devil and she looked very, very good. Her boyfriend was an angel. A guy in a suit approached them.
“Hey Leanne! You supposed to be an ancient Greek?”
Leanne nodded. “I’m Saphos. She was…”
“I know who Saphos is. Real subtle, Leanne,” the guy rolled his eyes. He looked familiar. Shauna must have seen him hanging out with Cerise and her boyfriend before.
“Like you should talk. God, any excuse to wear that fucking fedora.”
“I look good in this hat!” he insisted with a laugh. “So who’s your friend?” he smiled.
“This is Shauna. She’s not gay.”
The guy laughed as Shauna tried to sink into the ground and die.
“This is Nick.”
Shauna nodded and avoided eye contact.
“You know, you look kinda familiar,” he mused and she shrugged.
“So who’s throwing this shin-dig?” asked Leanne as they walked towards a table laden with Halloween themed food, like eyeballs in punch and finger cookies that looked like actual fingers.
They all helped themselves to some punch as Nick explained that it was being thrown by some guy Jeff who was in a band with Terry’s girlfriend.
“Ok, so point out this Terry guy you’re so enamoured with.”
“Shut up. It’s the guy dressed as like an archangel.”
“Well, well. Dancing with Cerise.”
“Yeah, that’s Terry’s girlfriend.”
“Oh wow, small world,” Leanne laughed.
“You know her?”
“No, but Shauna does.”
Nick looked at Shauna and realization dawned on his face. “Oh right. That’s where I know you from.”
Shauna guzzled her punch and imagined a meteor hitting the Earth at this exact moment. That would be awesome. Nick muttered something and took off as Leanne smiled and ate a finger.
“Cerise, your stalker is here!”
Both Cerise and Terry turned to Nick as he nodded his head off to the side. They looked in that direction and saw Shauna hanging out with a girl in a toga.
“You think she followed you?” asked Terry in concern.
“I highly doubt it,” said Cerise, though she wasn’t actually so sure.
“I think it’s my fault,” said Nick. “She came with a friend of mine, who I like, invited. I didn’t know she’d bring anyone.”
“The girl in the bed sheet? How do they know each other?” asked Terry.
“I dunno,” shrugged Nick.
“Whatever, it’s fine,” insisted Cerise. “It’s a big party, we can easily avoid her.”
“So you’re not pissed at me?” asked Nick.
Terry shrugged. “I’ll beat you up later.”
Nick laughed and said he’d schedule an appointment in his agenda.
“Look at her!” screeched Cassie, dragging Cerise away from the boys.
“Who?” asked Cerise.
“Karine, duh,” replied Sarah.
Karine was sitting on a couch with Brady. There were cobwebs hanging over them and they were playing with the little plastic spiders hung throughout. They were also drinking and laughing and making out. Cerise asked what was wrong with that.
“Ugh! Everything she does just pisses me off!” insisted Cassie.
“I know, she’s so smug,” agreed Sarah. “Always has been. I can’t believe I wanted to be her friend so bad in high school. She was always such a mean girl.”
Cerise couldn’t help but chuckle. “Um, pot calling kettle black much?”
Sarah and Cassie glared at Cerise.
“You guys are being super catty!”
“But she deserves it!” whined Cassie. “I mean she basically stole our boyfriend away from us. Like the same guy from all three of us. And like, why? Just so she could reject him and make him feel like shit and rub it in all of our noses?”
“Yeah, I guess,” Cerise sighed.
“We should do something,” said Sarah.
“Like what?” asked Cassie with way too much interest.
“I dunno,” admitted Sarah. “But we’ve gotta think of something.”
Cerise nodded though she wasn’t sure she agreed. What exactly did Sarah have in mind? Usually Sarah was so nice. Why was she being so vengeful all of a sudden? Had she really cared about Jay that much or was it more the principle of the thing? Cerise wondered if that was the case with her. Did she still have feelings for Jay or was it more that Karine had screwed up her chances? Not that she’d had a chance anyway. Or had she? Would she have wound up with Jay if they’d gone to grad together? Probably not but she’d always wonder, wouldn’t she? She chastised herself for still caring, even after all this time, even though she was with Terry, who was infinitely superior to Jay in every way.
“We should do recon,” suggested Cassie but before they could respond Jeff appeared and asked them if they were having a good time.
“Sure,” Cerise smiled. “Good costume.”
“It was the easiest thing to do. ‘Cause I’m Scottish so I have a kilt anyway.”
“Cool,” she nodded politely.
“You look way hot,” he leered.
Cerise wasn’t sure how to respond so she didn’t. She simply walked off with Cassie and Sarah, leaving Jeff to his own devices.
“Do you think you could be anymore obvious in your attempts to go after Cerise?” asked Tom.
Jeff shrugged. “I’m not trying to hide it. I’ve told her point blank I’m after her.”
“And what does she say?” Tom grimaced.
“She says she’s with what’s-his-face, but I’m wearing her down.”
“And you don’t think you’re being an asshole by going after my ex?”
“Yeah, sure I’m being an asshole,” Jeff shrugged. “What you gonna do about it?”
Tom narrowed his eyes. “Mime!” He began to mine at Jeff, aggressively doing that stuck in a box thing. It was pretty hilarious.
Jay wasn’t sure why he hated these guys so much. They were alright. Not that he really hated them; he just wasn’t sure why he had to waste valuable brain power trying to remember their names.
“Get back in here!” yelled Vani, grabbing Jay and trying to drag him back inside the elephant.
Jay did some kung-fu moves to get away and insisted he wouldn’t get back inside that stinky, sweaty hell hole until he was good and ready. He drop-kicked Vani into the elephant, or kind of half-assedly pushed him and then ran off to the kitchen.
The kitchen was really more of a closet with a fridge and stove in it. Except it was so small you couldn’t open both appliances at the same time. And there was no dishwasher, just a tiny sink that was already overflowing with empties. At first Jay had been envious of Jeff, all living in a cool apartment and stuff, but this totally sucked. Having to wash dishes by hand was totally medieval.
But at this moment he was glad for the tight quarters because Karine was in the kitchen, leaning into the fridge. She extracted a beer bottle and hit it against the counter to open it.
“Nicely done,” Jay smiled, leaning against the counter with the stove. Their faces were maybe like a decimetre apart.
“Hey, having a good time?” she smiled.
“Where’s Brady Bunch?”
Jay nodded. Well, that had pretty much exhausted his small talk abilities. This was so weird. He never had any problems talking to Karine at their windowsill in Hochelaga. Why was he so nervous now? “So things are going good with him?” he asked lamely.
She smirked. “Why? Jealous?”
“No,” he shrugged. “Yeah,” he admitted.
Karine laughed and then leaned forward. He froze, wondering if this was really happening. It was like time was in slow-mo as she did the most awesome thing ever. Her face got closer and closer to his until finally her lips were right up against his. She pressed down on them softly and then leaned back, grinning. He had no words. She laughed again and sauntered off, taking another swig of beer. Well shit!
Fingers dug into Cerise’s right arm while her left hand was tugged violently.
“Did you see that?” hissed Cassie.
“How could we not?” Sarah whispered angrily.
They all scooted to the side as Karine walked by them, seemingly oblivious to their presence. She was so wrapped up in her own world she didn’t even care that they’d all just seen her totally kiss Jay!
“I’m gonna fucking kill her!” Cassie growled.
“Totally,” agreed Sarah angrily.
Cerise didn’t feel angry. She just felt hurt. It surprised her how much. She still liked Jay and she still hated that he was into Karine. And Karine didn’t give a fuck! She’d probably just kissed him to prove a point, just like Cassie and Sarah had said. She just wanted to prove how she owned him and they didn’t. And Cerise never would. He’d never care about her. No one ever would ‘cause she was such a fucking loser. She felt tears swelling in her eyes and shuffled off in embarrassment.
She opened and door and stepped inside, finding a small bedroom. She sat on the bed and let the tears flow, not even completely sure why she was crying.