“Ugh, stupid people and their stupid emotions, throwing everything out of whack,” Karl complained.
It was true. Every time there was a break up everything got weird. Like how Cassie still apparently hated Jay and was still avoiding all of them because of it. And now Cerise was avoiding everyone just like the last time she’d broken up with Terry Trebiwonderwhathedidthistimesky. It was literally just the four of them at the Munch Box today. Where was everyone?
“How many times are they gonna break up? At first it was funny, now it’s just annoying,” Karl went on.
“No, it’s still funny,” said Vani. “Each time it happens it’s all the more hilarious.”
“I thought you’d be heartbroken that Terry isn’t coming around anymore.”
“You make a good point there,” Vani acknowledged. “He’s probably using that Nick guy as his shoulder to cry on. I should be his shoulder!”
“He’d break your shoulder if he leaned on it,” snickered Karl.
“I wish she’d get over it,” Jay said. “I hate it when people are sad.”
Karl snorted with laugher. “Says the king of the nonsensical funk.”
“Shut up,” countered Jay. “Like you didn’t funk when you and Sarah split?”
“Les moteurs, Jay,” smirked Vani.
Jay hated it when the guys told him he was losing motor control. First of all, he totally wasn’t and even if he was it was always totally justified! “Well what? You totally did.”
“You know I heard he broke up with her this time,” said Willy.
“Seriously? Where’d you hear that?”
“I asked Sarah. She told me.”
“She didn’t tell me that much.”
“Why the fuck would he break up with her?” wondered Jay. “What an ass!”
“Seriously,” nodded Willy. “If she ever went out with me I’d never dump her.”
“She’d never go out with you so no need to plan ahead,” smirked Karl.
“No, she really wouldn’t.”
“Well, I still call dibs.”
“Seriously?” asked Vani. “You’re gonna call dibs on Cerise? That’d be like me calling dibs on Pippa Middleton. The possibilites are zero.”
“In fact I actually think Vani has a better chance with Pippa Middleton than you have with Cerise,” said Karl.
“I still call dibs,” insisted Willy. “Dibs!”
“Fine, you have dibs. Don’t you become all motor control issue guy,” snarked Vani. “Hey! Terry!”
Terry Trebididhegettallersky loomed over their table and gave them a look so violent Jay thought he might shit his pants. Not that he was afraid of that loser. But still, what the fuck?
“Fuck off. All of you. Except Jay.” Terry Trebigrowlsy said in a voice so deep it was like he was channelling Christian Bale.
Vani, Karl and Willy didn’t even say anything. They just got up and walked away all delicately like they were afraid of setting him off, which they probably were, stupid pussies.
“Uh, what’s up?” Jay managed to croak out, sounding like a frog on meth.
“You’re a fucking retard, you know that?”
Jay wanted to stand up, to literally stand up to Terry Trebintimidatingsky but he was frozen in his seat and his legs were like jello. “Uh what?”
“You’re so fucking blind. What’s wrong with you?”
Jay shrugged his shoulders, unsure of what to say. What the fuck was going on?
“All this time you could have had her. I never had her. Not really. She may have been with me physically but not really in her mind.”
What the fuck was he talking about? “Uh, are you talking about Cerise?”
“Of course I’m talking about Cerise you fucking moron!” He yelled so loudly Jay was sure the whole school heard him. It was like they were in a cartoon and Terry Trebiholishitsky’s voice was like a physical thing, like wind pulling Jay’s skin back. “Why didn’t you ever go for it? That’s what I can’t figure out. Why didn’t you ever go for her?”
“Cerise?” Jay squeaked.
“Yes, Cerise! You gonna tell me you’re not interested? You gonna tell me you don’t want her?”
“Well are you fucking retarded or what? Don’t you fucking know that she’s been wanting you for fucking years?!”
Jay blinked up at Terry Trebiwhatthefucksky, dumbfounded.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” He leaned down and grabbed Jay’s shirt. Jay closed his eyes and braced for the blow. It never came so he opened his eyes. The neanderthal kept yelling. “Why don’t you just fucking do it? Why don’t you just hook up with her for god’s sake? Maybe that’ll finally make her happy.”
Jay stammered and Terry Trebiwasthisseriouslyhappeningsky let go of his shirt, sort of pushing him back as he did so. He accused Jay of being a spaz and then stomped off like a stormtrooper.
The guys came back and all stared at Jay in disbelief. “Holy shit,” said Vani. “That was awesome! Did he seriously say you should hook up with Cerise?”
“Motherfuck!” grumbled Willy.
Shauna wasn’t sure how Leanne did it but somehow she always seemed to know everything about everyone. She was the one to inform Shauna that Cerise had broken up with her boyfriend. Apparently it had happened at the Halloween party they’d been to! It was funny, ‘cause everyone accused Shauna of being a stalker (one of the perks of stalking was getting to overhear what people said about you), even though Leanne was totally a private eye. It had been weeks now and apparently Cerise was still super upset about it. Shauna didn’t need Leanne to tell her that part, she’d noticed on her own. Not that she was stalking Cerise or anything. It was pretty easy to notice. Cerise was way sad like all the time.
“The Theatre Workshop play’s tonight,” announced Leanne as she sat with Shauna in the cafeteria.
“Cerise is in it.”
“I wasn’t planning on it,” Shauna lied.
“’Cause I’ve got two tickets but I don’t know who to take with me. Any ideas?”
“You’re a bitch.”
Shauna couldn’t help but smile.
As soon as Terry got in his car he turned on the heat and then a second later he turned it off. It wasn’t really that cold out, not for him. He’d only turned it on as a reflex because Cerise was always so chilly. But he wasn’t with Cerise anymore so he didn’t have to give a shit about how her hands were always freezing and how she’d warm them up on his back by sneaking under his shirt when they hugged.
“Fuck, cold enough you think?” asked Nick when he got into the passenger seat. “Not gonna turn on the heat?”
“It’s only 10 degrees out, you pussy,” Terry snarked back.
Nick shrugged and they drove to school to go see Cerise’s… no, not Cerise’s, Karine’s play. When they got there the gang was hanging outside the theatre. Jason Harris was there with his ridiculous hair, talking with Sarah and no doubt boring her to death. Cerise’s band mates were there too, maybe to see Tom, maybe to drool all over Cerise and think about how they’d toured around with her and probably saw her in her underwear and stuff. Fucking pervs.
“Hey, there’s Leanne,” announced Nick. “Oh, she’s with the stalker.”
Terry looked up and saw Cerise’s stalker with that South Asian looking chick. Nick hesitantly went over to say hi and Terry followed.
“Terry, this is Leanne. Leanne, Terry.”
“Hi!” she said brightly.
“Hey,” he mumbled back.
“This is Shauna,” Leanne smiled. “But you know that, right?”
Terry arched an eyebrow and shrugged. The stalker girl stared at her feet.
Some chick came out and announced that they should take their seats and Terry was only too glad to comply.
The show was whatever. It was fine. Karine was good as always. It kinda sucked every time Cerise was on stage ‘cause he couldn’t help but focus on her. She looked so pretty in her olden style dress. The stage got dim as her character went to meet the boy she was into.
They talked for a bit and then the dude started singing. “You wait, little girl, on an empty stage for fate to turn the light on. Your life little girl is an empty page that men will want to write on.”
“To write on,” Cerise sang.
The dude went on. “You are sixteen going on seventeen. Baby, it’s time to think. Better beware...be canny and careful. Baby, you’re on the brink. You are sixteen going on seventeen, fellows will fall in line. Eager young lads and rogues and cads offer you food and wine. Totally unprepared are you to face a world of men. Timid and shy and scared are you of things beyond your ken. You’ll need someone older and wiser telling you what to do. I am seventeen going on eighteen, I’ll take care of you!”
God, what a gross song. Is that how Terry was with her? All trying to bully her and stuff? No, she was totally the bully in their relationship, always wanting him to ditch his friends and quit smoking and stop taking care of Britt. Fuck her.
“I am sixteen going on seventeen, I know that I’m naïve. Fellows I meet may tell me I’m sweet and willingly I believe. I am sixteen going on seventeen, innocent as a rose. Bachelor dandies, drinkers of brandies, what do I know of those? Totally unprepared am I to face a world of men. Timid and shy and scared am I of things beyond my ken. I need someone older and wiser telling me what to do. You are seventeen going on eighteen. I’ll depend on you!”
Not only could she sing, she could dance too. Every time she twirled around the stage her flouncy skirt flew up and it looked like she was a living flower. Her long legs shone white in the stage lights, flicking together and apart like scissors. Was there anything Cerise wasn’t perfect at? Probably not, stupid bitch. Leanne was totally wrong; Shauna wasn’t into Cerise that way. She couldn’t stand Cerise. She hated her really. Hated her.
They took their bow and then rushed to the dressing room where they all hugged and congratulated each other. It had been an amazing show. No one had screwed up their lines, ever singer had hit their notes. It had been utterly perfect. Cerise forced herself to smile and return the congratulations of everyone who spoke to her. They were all planning to go out for drinks to celebrate but she didn’t want to. She was tired and just wanted to go home. She texted Jay, asking for a lift.
They rode in silence and Cerise stuffed her hands in her jacket sleeves; they were always so cold this time of year. She missed being able to warm up on Terry. It seemed like he was always hot no matter the temperature.
“It was a really good show,” Jay finally offered, when they were almost home.
“Really a lot less boring than the movie. You were really good.”
He pulled into his driveway and Cerise unbuckled her seatbelt. She was about to get out when he asked her if she was ok.
“No,” she replied honestly.
“You wanna talk about it?”
“It’s just, I can’t even blame him! He’s right! He’s always right!”
“Right about what?” Jay asked dumbly.
“Just…” she trailed off and started to cry. She didn’t even care about how embarrassing it was. Who cared what Jay thought?
“Uh, you ok?” he asked, awkwardly patting her on the shoulder.
“I already said no!” she blubbered.
He sat there as she got herself under control and pulled a Kleenex out of her pocket, drying her eyes and blowing her nose.
“Yeah…” he said.
She nodded and forced a smile. He smiled too and used his thumb to wipe a tear off her cheek. Cerise wasn’t sure how long they sat there staring at each other. Probably only a second but it felt like a lifetime. Finally he leaned over and kissed her.