“I am sixteen, going on seventeen, dum de dum de dum.” Shauna hummed to herself as she walked into her house after Leanne dropped her off. Leanne had suggested they grab a beer after the play but Shauna had a curfew.
As soon as she walked in the door she was confronted by her brother, who asked her where she’d been in a condescending voice.
“What do you care?” she replied.
“Whatever,” he snorted as he put on his jacket.
She began to walk up the stairs and then turned. “You reek of pot,” she warned.
“So?” he sneered.
“So if you don’t want mom and dad to find out about your little habit you probably shouldn’t smoke in the house, retard.”
“Mind your own business, you fucking cunt,” he shot back and lunged at her.
She ran up the stairs as he laughed. She paused at the top of the stairs and listened. Once she heard the front door close she crept into Malcolm’s room. It was ridiculously easy to find his stash; he was so retarded. She pinched out a tiny amount of pot and ran to her room to roll the joint with her own rolling papers, in case Malcolm counted his. She hadn’t really taken enough for a proper joint but it was better than nothing.
“So I’m pretty sure I’m an idiot,” said Terry as he took a drag from his cigarette and then passed it to Nick.
Nick took a drag and passed it back. “Why’s that?”
They were waiting outside the school for Karine to be done getting changed. She was taking forever.
“I kinda did something that’s totally retarded.”
“What’d you do?”
“Well, I kinda, sorta freaked out on Jay. I like started yelling at him for never having gotten together with Cerise and shit.”
Nick stared at Terry in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“I was like, you’re a retard for never getting together with her because she always liked you and shit.”
Before Nick could say anything Karine appeared and grabbed Terry’s elbow. “Did I hear that right? You told Jay that Cerise digs him?”
“Yeah. I don’t know why I did it. I was just so angry and I wanted to beat him up but I knew I couldn’t do that so, I dunno, it just came out.”
“Jesus Christ, Terry!” Karine exclaimed. “The reason they never got together is because that moron has his head up his ass and he never realized how much she likes him. Now that he knows there’s no telling what might happen!”
“I know! Fuck!”
“You think they’re gonna get together?” asked Nick nonchalantly, clearly unaware of how dire this situation was.
“It’s a definite possibility,” nodded Karine. “They’re both single right now.”
“Well you could fix that, Karine,” pleaded Terry. “Just go out with Jay.”
“Terry, oh my god. I mean yeah, obviously he’d go out with me over her but I’m with Brady now.”
“So then where is this Brady guy? And why’d you kiss Jay at that Halloween party?”
Karine paused. “How’d you know about that?”
“That apartment was the size of a shoebox, Karine. Everyone knows. It’s why me and Cerise broke up. She saw and freaked out and then I freaked on her for freaking.”
“Well fuck,” Karine sighed.
“So you’re into Jay?” asked Nick.
“No!” Karine insisted. “I was just drunk. I mean, I guess I kinda like him but not in any serious way. He’s just a dork. But he’s just the kind of dork Cerise digs.”
“Fuck! They’re totally gonna get together!” Terry exclaimed.
“Now, now, let’s not jump to conclusions,” Nick counselled.
Jay leaned back and broke his kiss with Cerise. He couldn’t quite tell what her reaction was. She was just looking at him. Not smiling or frowning or saying anything.
“Sorry,” he shrugged, unsure of what else to say.
She shrugged and smiled, letting out a slow chuckle. “Yeah.”
“Um, yeah,” he nodded.
“Ok, well…” she gathered up her bag and opened the door.
He got out as well and they stood on opposite sides of the car. They closed the doors and then looked at one another.
It seemed like a million years went by before he came up with anything to say. “Nothing,” he finally replied.
“Ok, well, yeah,” she nodded and then walked to her house.
Cerise took off her jacket and hat and mitts and climbed up to her bedroom. Keeping the light off, she went to the window and looked outside. Jay was nowhere to be seen. She’d imagined kissing Jay about a million times but she’d never guessed it would be like that. It was unexpected, which she supposed was romantic but it also felt weird. And sloppy. He wasn’t a particularly good kisser. Not that she should judge by the first time. It would be better next time, if there was a next time. If she wanted there to be a next time. If he did.
“I am sixteen going on seventeen, blahdy blahdy bloo.” Shauna exhaled smoke out of her bedroom window. “Doo doo doo doo doo, drinking rum and brandy, dum de dum dum dee, all of that’s dandy. Totally not prepared am I to face a world of men. Stupid and shy and scared am I like Barbie or like Ken. I need someone older and wiser telling me what to do. You are seventeen going on eighteen I will dance with you.”
Cerise always had to rush in the mornings now that Terry wasn’t picking her up anymore. Taking the bus to school took forever. It must be easier for Terry though, not having to go out of his way for her. Good for him.
She lingered at her locker at lunch, wondering if she should go to the Munch Box. Jay would be there and it would be weird. But if she avoided him it might be weirder. She steeled her courage and casually walked up to the table, sitting with the guys.
“Kornin,” said Vani.
“Vornin’” she replied.
She knew she was deliberately avoiding looking at Jay and it might seem suspicious but she just couldn’t do it. But what if he’d already told the guys about their kiss? Was it even more weird if she ignored the whole situation? She finally looked at him but he was staring at his food. She unwrapped her sandwich and ate it quickly.
“So world domination, then?” asked Vani.”
“I’m on board,” agreed Karl.
“Hey, Cerise,” said Sarah, approaching the table with Cassie in tow.
“Hey,” Cerise looked up. “Join us?”
“Eurk, I guess,” Cassie snorted, sitting as far away from Jay as possible.
Karl brought up some class and he debated the merits of some sort of physics thing with Sarah while the rest of them ate in silence.
Karine had no idea where Nick might be and she didn’t even have his number so she texted Terry to get it. He asked why she wanted it and she said she was just cleaning up her MY5 and considering adding him, which might be true depending on how today’s conversation went.
Once she’d texted Nick and determined his location she joined him. He was sitting on a stairwell reading a book.
“So what’s up?” he asked.
“Ok so um, I need your advice.”
“So like, you and Terry are pretty tight these days, eh?”
“I guess. Why?”
“Ok well now, let’s just say, I mean… Ok, the thing is… ok.”
“What?” he prompted.
“The thing is… I kinda used to like Terry. I mean, you know, in a like, like kinda way.”
“Now I mean I’m totally over him and everything but um… now that he’s not with Cerise and it’s looking like maybe Cerise and Jay will hook up and…”
“You wanna get together with Terry?”
“Well now, no. I mean we’re really good friends and I’d be a fool to risk fucking that up but let’s just say that I was that much of a fool.”
“Well I mean, you have to at least wait ‘till he’s out of rebound territory or else it would never work.”
“He needs time to get over Cerise. You don’t want his feelings for you to get confused with his feelings for her.”
“Yeah, no. You’re right. Yeah. And it’s just as well. I mean, I’m with Brady anyway and it’s like, things are going great with him so like… whatever I guess.”
“You’re reading Pride & Prejudice?” she asked as she peered at the book in his hands.
“It’s for class!” he insisted.
“Still, it’s a good book.”
“Yeah, Mr. Darcy is so dreamy!” he said in a fey voice, fluttering his eyelids.
Karine giggled. “He is though!”
Oh god, this was torture. Jay couldn’t look at anyone. Did they all know? What the hell had he been thinking? Had Terry Trebijerksky just been fucking with him? What if Cerise didn’t like him at all? She wasn’t even making eye contact. Could all the guys sense that something had happened between them? Did she want something more to happen? What the fuck was he supposed to do? And Cassie and Sarah being here just made it worse. Especially Cassie with her bitchface on full force.
Oh god, seriously? Now Karine was joining them. This was seriously the worst day ever!
“Hey!” Karine said in a cheery voice.
Cassie immediately made a noise of disgust and jumped up from the table. Sarah got up with her and pretty much grabbed Cerise’s hand. All three of them walked away, with Cassie giving Karine total evil-eye.
“What the fuck?!” Karine exclaimed as the girls stomped away. “What was that about?!”
“I have no idea but it was totally awesome!” Vani smiled.
“Shut up, Vani. Jay, what’s going on?”
“I don’t know!” Jay insisted.
“Well fuck!” Karine walked off in anger.
“So what the fuck?” asked Vani when she’d gone.
“Well obviously the chicks are pissed at Karine for some reason,” said Karl.
“Why?” wondered Willy.
“I guess she did something. You know how girls are, always making up drama.”
“I’m dying over here! I must know what the dealio is!” Vani tore at his hair.
“I’m sure you’ll survice,” smirked Karl.
“Aughh!” Vani whailed.
“I can’t believe she has the gall to like, just act like there’s nothing!” hissed Cassie.
Cassie and Sarah had wanted to congregate in the washroom again but Cerise had suggested they sit in a hallway. She wasn’t done her lunch and didn’t want to eat in the bathroom ‘cause that was just gross.
“I know, totally,” nodded Sarah.
“She’s all like, little miss innocent,” Cassie went on.
“Cerise, what do you think?” asked Sarah.
“I think we were mean.”
“She deserves it!”
“I dunno,” Cerise shrugged. “I don’t have the energy to give a shit about Karine right now.”
“So you haven’t talked to Terry or anything?” asked Sarah sympathetically.
“He was so angry. I don’t, I don’t wanna… I don’t know. I’m so confused.”
“About what?” asked Cassie.
“About what I should do.”
“Well you wanna get back with Terry, right?” asked Sarah.
“So give him some time to cool off and then like, apologize and then everything will be fine. He’s so into you, he can’t seriously want it to be over.”
“Yeah,” agreed Cassie. “I’m sure given enough time everything will go back to normal. ‘Cause I mean, isn’t that your thing? To like break up and get back together?”
Cerise sighed. “Yeah but it just makes me question so many things. I mean, why do we keep breaking up all the time anyway? Things just have a way of getting so volatile with us. It’s like, maybe it’s just not meant to be you know?”
“That’s what you said the last time you broke up.”
“So maybe I was right.”
“So what are you saying?”
“Maybe I should just get over him.”
“Is that really what you want?” asked Sarah with concern.
“No, I dunno.”
Cassie frowned. “So like yesterday you were all crying your eyes out and today you think it’s not meant to be? I mean, do you love him or not?”
“I think so.”
“Someone who’s in love doesn’t think. They just know.”
“Ok, fine, I love him. But maybe that’s not enough.”
“Of course it’s enough,” said Cassie like she was speaking to a dullard. “Love conquers everything.”Cerise nodded but she wasn’t so sure she agreed. In fact, the more she thought about it, the more she thought it definitely wasn’t enough. Not nearly.