Cerise was about to text Terry to find out where he was but then she saw him sitting on the front lawn at JAC, with Karine and Nick. They were smoking. Cerise felt her chest heat up and she wanted to go yell at Terry but she didn’t want to embarrass him in front of his friends. So she casually walked up to them and stared at her boyfriend. He smiled and sheepishly passed the cigarette to Karine, who smugly placed it on her lips.
“I just took a few drags,” he explained, as though that made it better.
She kept glaring at him.
“It’s just from the stress of everything,” he went on.
“Well maybe that’s why you shouldn’t have so much stress in your life,” she said pointedly, sitting next to him and waving her hand dramatically in front of her face, coughing deliberately.
Karine smiled and kept puffing on her cigarette, though at least she blew the smoke away from Cerise.
“Cerise is right though, we shouldn’t smoke,” said Nick. “It’s amazing how many of the guys smoke, considering we’re supposed to be athletes. And the other drugs too. I mean besides steroids. You know I’m pretty sure Dubourg is like completely addicted to cocaine.”
“You ever done coke?” asked Karine.
Nick shook his head. “I’ve done acid but nothing crazier.”
“I’ve done coke,” Karine said while smirking at Cerise. Was she trying to prove how cool she was? ‘Cause all she was proving was that she was a total loser.
“How was it?” asked Nick.
“Never felt better in my life.”
“If you need drugs to feel better about your life, you must have a pretty shitty life,” said Cerise, regretting her words as soon as they were out of her mouth.
“Well we can’t all be little Miss Perfect, can we?” Karine shot back bitterly.
Cerise chose not to reply. Instead she looked at Terry.
“No, I’ve never done coke, Cerise,” he smiled languidly.
Karine and Nick chuckled as Cerise sighed.
“Fuck!” yelled Shauna, swirling around to see Leanne’s laughing face.
“Heheh, scared you! So I see you’re staring at that blonde chick over there… the one you have history with.”
“I’m not staring.”
“Yeah sure. So come on, what’s the deal with you two?”
“She’s just someone I used to be friends with.”
“You know I’m not gonna let this go. You don’t even wanna know how annoying I can get.” Leanne wiggled her eyebrows comically and Shauna couldn’t help but laugh.
“Fine, you wanna know the story? We were friends and then she moved away and didn’t tell me. But her sister told me she was switching schools so I switched schools too. But she didn’t wanna be friends with me anymore.”
Leanne looked at her expectantly.
“And then a bunch of stuff happened, like with those people from the bar the other night and everything sucked and then we kinda became friends again, for like a day and then she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. Again. And then I ran away from home and moved in with some asshole and I slept with all his friends and then I ran away from there and I went to her house and I fell asleep in her backyard but it was winter so I got frostbite and they took me to the hospital and called my parents and so I moved back home and then like, and I got a job at her mom’s bookstore and then my mom forced me to go back to school and so that’s why I’m here now.”
Leanne blinked and stared at Shauna. “Ok, so why’d you go to her house when you ran away the second time?”
“I didn’t know where else to go.”
“Did she talk to you after you got frostbite?”
“Yeah, but then everything was the same after.”
“How’d you get a job at her mom’s store?”
“I just applied. I think her mom felt sorry for me.”
“Does she work there too? I mean the blonde girl.”
“She did. But then she went on tour with her band. So we weren’t there at the same time. I went to see a show once, of her band. She sings. I kinda went in secret ‘cause I thought she wouldn’t want me there but then I told her I went but she didn’t care.”
“So you switched high schools just to be with her, right?”
“I guess,” Shauna admitted, pulling a cigarette out of her pocket and lighting it. She offered it to Leanne but Leanne shook her head.
“Why do you think you keep trying to be with her even though she keeps rejecting you?”
“Really? You don’t know? Seems obvious to me.”
Shauna glared at Leanne.
“’Cause you like her,” Leanne explained.
“Well, yeah, she’s the only person who’s ever been nice to me.”
“I’m nice to you. That mean you’re gonna switch schools when I go to Concordia next year?”
Shauna smoked her cigarette and narrowed her eyes.
“Maybe, you know, you like her. Like, like her, like her.”
“Just because you’re a dyke doesn’t mean everyone else is!” Shauna spat out angrily.
“I’m gonna ignore that because you’re hurting right now,” said Leanne evenly.
“Just leave me alone,” Shauna muttered, walking away in a hurry.
Karine was basically Jay’s best friend now. Almost every day she’d drop by his locker and they’d sit on the windowsill in Hochelaga and talk about random shit. She obviously liked being with him or else she wouldn’t go to the trouble, right?
Today would be the day. As soon as she showed up, assuming she did, he’d ask her out. For sure he would. He sat on the windowsill, pretending to read his biochem book, looking up every two seconds. Finally she came along, looking gorgeous as always in a tight v-neck t-shirt and a long, flowing cardigan thing that almost looked like a cape. Her boobs were all bouncy as she approached.
“Hey,” she said, sitting next to him and leaning over his shoulder to read his book.
“Hey!” he smiled. “What’s up?”
“Just memorizing my lines.”
They talked about her play for a while as he tried to think of the best way to pop the question. He knew if he waited too long he’d land firmly in the friend zone. Shit, what if he’d already waited too long? Was he already just a friend, doomed to never be anything more? He watched her lips move as she talked about her favourite things or something and he wondered if he should just kiss them, just take the leap and damn the consequences. What’s the worst that could happen? Besides cripplingly humiliating rejection of course.
He looked up to see some jerk staring at Karine. She smiled at him like he wasn’t made up entirely of douche nozzles.
“Brady! This is my friend, Jay. Jay, Brady.”
So this was the supposedly cute guy who was a Captain or something? He was obviously a giant asshole. How come girls couldn’t see shit like that? Brady McSmarmypants barely looked at Jay before he asked Karine if she wanted to go to the caf for lunch. They never ate in the cafeteria! Fuck off, shit-stain!
“Ok,” Karine smiled, hopping off the windowsill. “See you later, Jay!”
She sauntered off with her boobs all bouncy while the poster boy for syphilis put his arm around her shoulders. What the fuck?!?!?! Were they already a couple or something? Or was this guy actually that bold? Karine seemed perfectly content to let his oily douche arms secrete all over her! Fucking hell! Stupid bitch!
Sometimes Sarah felt a little bit envious of the other girls because they were all in Theatre. It would be so much fun to do something frivolous like that. They always seemed to be having such a good time and they all shared a bond together. Sarah occasionally felt left out when she hung out with them.
“Hey! Long time no see!” she said enthusiastically to Cassie when she bumped into her in the washroom.
“Hey, what’s up?” Cassie replied, touching up her lipstick.
“You never come to the Munch Box anymore.”
“I don’t wanna hang out with Jay,” Cassie said with a shrug.
“Really? But we miss you and it’s been ages since you guys broke up.” Sarah went to a stall and changed her tampon as she spoke. When she emerged to wash her hands Cassie seemed dejected.
“I miss him,” Cassie admitted.
“Then why’d you break up with him?”
“’Cause he was gonna break up with me.”
“What makes you think that?”
“Karine told me.”
Sarah paused and considered, trying to remember what had gone on during the summer. “But last I heard, I mean, yeah, Jay was bitching a bit but I mean people complain about their relationships all the time. I mean, sometimes Paul irritates me to fuck. He’s so chill, so blasé about everything. God, he reminds me of Karl sometimes actually, it’s so annoying. It’s like, could you muster up the energy to actually give a shit about something? At first he seemed so great but it’s almost like he doesn’t try hard enough.”
“What were you saying about Jay?”
“Oh yeah, right. Sorry. Ok, so yeah. Jay was all like, whatever. His complaints were majorly minor. His end conclusion was that he was lucky to have you and yeah, he wanted to stay with you. I mean, the guys were all saying how their options are so limited they’d never break up with a girl. And like, he was pretty sad when you dumped him.”
“But Karine made it seem like it was totally for sure.”
“Maybe Jay said something to her.”
“’Cause they’re so close?” asked Cassie sarcastically.
“Yeah, weird,” Sarah admitted.
Shauna found herself in the cafeteria looking around, only half aware that she was looking for Leanne. That dyke was being super invasive but she was Shauna’s only friend. Sure enough Leanne was sitting at a table but she was with a bunch of other people so Shauna turned around and got her lunch from a vending machine.
She was sitting at her locker when Leanne appeared and sat next to her. They sat in silence for a while as Shauna munched her chips and pretended to be reading a book. Finally Leanne asked why Cerise wanted to stop being friends.
“Can we talk about something else?” asked Shauna with a sigh.
“Was it because you were getting maybe a bit too friendly?”
“Shut up!” Shauna stood up and slammed her locker.
Leanne scrambled to her feet. “Shauna, I’m not accusing you of being a lesbian. I’m just saying… well… ok, maybe that is what I’m trying to say.”
Shauna looked at Leanne, who was wearing a goofy grin. “Just leave me alone,” said Shauna, walking away, not entirely sure she wanted to be left alone. It was no wonder she had no friends if this is how she treated people. Maybe she’d done something like this to Cerise. But no, wasn’t it the other way around? Cerise had always been the mean one, always taking off for no reason. Was she being that way now? Was she being a bitch? No, Leanne was the bitch, all accusing her of stuff for no reason whatsoever. Fuck her. But not literally, ‘cause that was gross.
Sarah told Cassie she’d go to the Munch Box to do recon. There was definitely something fishy about her breakup with Jay. Sarah wondered if maybe the guys were behind it, or Karine. Both the guys and Karine had wanted Sarah to break up with Jay when they’d been a couple. Maybe no one wanted Jay to have a girlfriend. But why? Karine had said it was because Cerise had a crush on Jay and Willy had said it was because Karl was jealous. But Karl didn’t care about Cassie. Had Karine told Cassie to dump Jay because she was trying to protect Cerise? Since when did Karine care that much about Cerise anyway?
She joined the gang and observed everyone’s behaviour. There seemed to be a certain amount of tension between Terry and Cerise, which was weird, but then again, they were the on-again off-again types so maybe they were just doing their thing. The boys were all being themselves, singing a song about puppies on a hovercraft or something.
“Where’s Karine?” she asked casually.
Terry shrugged and Cerise said she didn’t know while Jay let out a slow exhalation.
“What does that mean?”
“She’s with that douchenugget from theatre dorkshop.”
“Brady bunch dude.”
“Oh yeah,” nodded Cerise. “I think Karine is going out with him.”
“I haven’t heard anything about this,” said Terry in surprise.
“Yeah,” Cerise went on. “He’s cute, a year under us. He’s Karine’s Captain Von Trapp. He’s a really good singer.”
“Sounds like a puss,” Terry snickered, prompting Cerise to swat at his arm. He chuckled and tickled her and she giggled in response.
“He’s a total douche!” insisted Jay.
“You don’t even know him,” said Cerise in irritation.
“I just met him like two seconds ago! I was hanging out with Karine and he like came along and smarmed all over her, practically dick-whipping her right in front of me! It was utterly vomitorious.”
They all stared at Jay and finally Cerise asked why he cared so much. Vani laughed and said it was obvious. Jay was still in love with Karine and her mega tits and always would be.
“You were hanging out with Karine?” asked Sarah, gleaming on to the one interesting nugget of information in Jay’s rant.
“She came to your locker?”
Jay seemed offended. “Like it’s so unbelievable to think she might wanna hang out with me?!”
“Pretty much, yeah,” Cerise smirked.
“It’s a wonder any of us hang out with you,” Willy snorted.
“Seriously,” muttered Terry.
Sarah was about to delve further into the matter when Terry’s phone rang. He pulled it out of his pocket and stared at it quizzically. Who the hell would call and not text? He answered and had a cryptic conversation wherein he explained he had class but then said he’d be there.
“Be where?” asked Cerise when he hung up.
“I have to go pick up Britt from daycare.”
“Now? How come?”
“She went nuts and like, attacked some kid.”
“And Vicky can’t go get her?”
“She can’t leave work.”
“But you can leave school?”
“It’s just school,” he shrugged, standing up.
Cerise looked up at him. “Want me to go with you?”
“Don’t you have rehearsal?”
“Yeah, but I could skip it.”
For a second he seemed to be considering her offer but then he said it was ok, and she should go to class. He’d call her later tonight. He walked off as Cerise frowned.
“You ok?” asked Sarah.
“Yeah,” Cerise sighed. “I just think Vicky depends on him too much.”
“So tell us more about Karine getting dick-whipped,” snickered Willy, prompting Jay to take off his shoe, smack Willy in the head with it and put it back on. The conversation moved on at that point but Sarah knew there was something going on with Jay and Karine and if anyone could get to the bottom of it, it’d be her.