Cerise was pretty excited when Tom invited her over to his place to rehearse with the band. She tried to convince herself she was glad because it would be fun but in truth she was relieved to take a break from gaming… and from Jay. Being with Jay was awkward enough but gaming with the guys while they were a couple was excruciating. The guys weren’t being weird about it or anything, but she just felt weird. She always made sure to sit on the opposite side of the room as Jay because she didn’t want to be all coupley in front of the guys. It seemed rude somehow.
After rehearsal, they said their goodbyes and Cerise walked towards the bus stop when she was stopped by Jeff. She presumed he might offer her a lift so she’d been deliberately walking slowly.
“So I hear you’re going out with hair guy,” he said.
“Jay? Yeah.” She hadn’t bothered putting on her hat and gloves because she’d thought she’d be in a car by now. But it was freezing so she finally bundled up while Jeff regarded her.
“So you were just leading me on that whole time?”
“What are you talking about? I wasn’t leading you on!”
“I thought we agreed you were gonna go out with me if you ever broke up with hockey guy.”
“I never agreed to that,” she sighed.
“Well is there something wrong with me? Do you just not like me? I thought we were getting along pretty good.” He pouted, which she had to admit was sort of cute.
“Jeff, it’s nothing against you,” she said. “Me getting together with Jay just happened. It wasn’t planned out. I mean he was there and… and it just happened.”
“Well when you decide to break up with him can you please call me so I can just be there and so it can just happen?”
She shrugged, not wanting to commit either way.
He sighed. “Let’s say there was no Terry and there was no Jay. And let’s say all the guys in the world that you’d choose over me, let’s say none of them existed… then would you go out with me?”
She smiled. “Yeah. In that case I would.”
“Well ok then. Hope in, I’ll drive you home.”
The school was pretty much empty. It was exam period but apparently no one had exams ‘cause Shauna felt like she had the whole school to herself. It was awesome. She walked through the entire building, choosing hallways randomly. Whenever she got lost she just chose another random direction and eventually she would wind up somewhere she recognized. Once she’d figured out the entire school she went to her locker to empty it. She really didn’t want to. Even though school sucked, being at home sucked more. Now how would she get out of the house without school as an excuse?
“How’d your exams go?”
Shauna jumped and swirled around. It was only Leanne.
“Fine,” Shauna lied. She’d cheated on all of them but she was still pretty sure she’d failed everything. She didn’t even know the subjects well enough to know what to write in her cheat sheets. She was just stupid, that’s all there was to it. She was destined to be like a janitor or something gross like that. It’s all she deserved anyway. She was such a loser.
“You ok? You look sad.”
“What are your Christmas plans?”
Shauna shrugged again. “I hate Christmas.”
“I hate my family.”
“Well, if you can get away you can hang with me. You know, in a completely non-gay way.”
Shauna emitted a half-laugh.
“We can hang out for the whole Christmas break if you want. And if you can get away you can even have Christmas dinner with my family, which is actually pretty fun because we don’t really celebrate Christmas, we celebrate Yule. Which, before you ask, is the exact same thing as Christmas except we call it Yule.”
“Your family’s weird.”
“Please, that’s nothing. My parents are the normal ones. My aunt, her and her family, they celebrate Saturnalia, which involves a ritual sacrifice. They actually go to a farm, get a live goat, kill it and roast it. Like on a spit. I’m totally not joking.”
“That sounds pretty cool.”
“Yeah, they also wear these goofy hats and wear togas and dance around in the snow. It’s pretty boss.”
Shauna wanted nothing more than to dance around in a toga with a bunch of weird people. She knew she’d hate it, interacting with strangers and all but it sounded so bizarre that surely such people would accept her even though she was such a loser. But she’d never be able to ditch her stupid family. “I’ll never be able to ditch my stupid family,” she sighed.
“Well, you can try.”
“My parents always throw a Christmas party and it totally sucks. I have to wear a dress and stand around while my cousins make fun of me. I hate it.”
“Are you allowed to invite a friend? ‘Cause I could come.”
“Really?!” Shauna wasn’t sure she’d be allowed to bring someone but it was worth a try.
“Sure. I’ll even dress normal so your parents won’t think I’m some weird lesbian trying to corrupt their daughter.” She paused. “Even though I totally am.”
Shauna laughed and told Leanne to shut up and help her empty her locker.
“Why’s Jay here?” asked Cerise’s little sister in a super snotty tone.
“Geez, rude much?” snarked Cerise.
They were sitting down to dinner in the Laframboise house. When Cerise invited him over to dinner his first instinct was to say no but then he figured he might as well. That’s what couples did, wasn’t it? Like met each other’s families and crap? At least he more or less already knew Cerise’s family so thought it wouldn’t be that bad, but he hadn’t realized Julie would be such a bitch.
“It’s just a question,” she replied, still being all snotty.
“We’re going out now,” Cerise mumbled.
“Seriously?” asked Julie and Simone simultaneously.
Cerise nodded as Jay stared at the lasagna that Cerise’s mom had just placed on the table.
“Why?” asked Julie.
“Julie, don’t be rude,” instructed her mom.
“It’s an honest question! I mean I didn’t even know you broke up with Terry! What happened this time?”
“Nothing happened! Whatever, ok? God!”
“Is he like smoking again? ‘God, you’re so harsh!”
“He broke up with me this time, ok? So whatever. You want details, ask him.”
“He is actually smoking again,” offered Jay. “Once a smoker, always a smoker.”
Julie glared at him like he’d just accused her of being a bratty little bitch and for a second he was worried she could read minds. It’s too bad she was such a brat because she was pretty cute. Cuter than Cerise, actually. She had longer hair and fewer freckles and plumper lips. And she dressed sexier. She was wearing a super low cut top so even though she had small tits he could still see a lot of them and it was kind of turning him on. He averted his eyes and took the plate of lasagna Cerise’s mom offered him.
“Hello? Can you pass the pepper?!”
He looked up, realizing the little bitch sister was whining at him. He picked up the pepper and passed it to her while she glared at him.
“Terry would have passed it faster,” she grumbled.
“Oh my god!” Cerise exclaimed, dropping her fork and staring at Julie.
“Sorry about Julie being such a head case,” apologized Cerise as she walked Jay home. It wasn’t much of a walk but she didn’t want to talk to him inside because Julie was probably recording them or something.
“It’s ok,” he chuckled. “My sister’s also kind of… not like that at all.”
Cerise laughed. A true laugh. It was nice to be able to hang out with him like they used to. Just being normal and at ease. Maybe they were finally finding their groove. “So what time are we heading out tomorrow?” she asked.
“Early afternoon. Karl wants to go first thing but no one can ever get their shit together and he knows it. So we can hang out in the morning if you want.”
“Ok,” she smiled.
They had reached his front door and they turned to each other. Without waiting for it to get awkward, she tilted her head up and leaned forward. They kissed and it was ok. The Earth didn’t move but she wasn’t grossed out or anything.
She wondered if she was actually looking forward to going to Karl’s cabane tomorrow. Would she and Jay be the only couple there? Sarah would be bringing Paul wouldn’t she? That would probably help. Oh, and Karine might bring Brady. Cerise wasn’t sure if that would make things better or worse. Just Karine being there would be weird because Cassie and Sarah were still hating her so much. She knew they had their reasons but she just wanted this trip to be fun and stress free. Was that too much to ask for?
Karine wasn’t sure why she was even coming on this stupid trip. It’s not like Karl’s cabane was so great. Terry wasn’t even going, so what was the point? She supposed she just liked the idea of having a Christmas tradition. And even though she’d only been once, she wanted that tradition to continue. Maybe next year she’d be dating Terry and it would be way more fun than this trip was turning out to be. They weren’t even there yet and already it was awkward because Cassie and Sarah had made a big point of riding in Karl’s car instead of Jay’s. As it was she was stuck in the back seat with Willy because Cerise got shotgun.
She’d considered bringing Brady but then decided not to invite him. Honestly, he was sort of a snob and she didn’t think he’d have fun with her nerdy friends. They’d only be there a few days and he hadn’t seemed that put out by her announcement that she was taking a little trip without him. Of course, the fact that she’d told him it was a family thing with her boring aunt might have had something to do with that.
was relatively snow-free there was a nice white blanket up here in Val-Morin, which made it all the more Christmassy. Karine was determined to have a good time even though Sarah and Cassie were being bitches and Terry wasn’t here. Montreal
“Ahh, take in that aroma,” said Vani as he walked into the little house, inhaling deeply. “While you can, before the pine smell gets converted to Willy b.o.”
“Should we do the communal sleeping arrangement thing again?” asked Karl.
“Sure, seeing as we’re just one big happy family,” replied Karine, looking at Cassie and Sarah with a raised brow. They clucked their tongues in response.
“I’m cool wit’ dat yo,” said Vani. “But only if the chicks sleep in their underwear. I was promised a pillow-fight which chicks clad in panties and panties alone.”
“In your dreams, Vani,” scoffed Sarah.
“Well yeah, so far,” he agreed.
“Meanwhile, never say the word panties. Ever.” Cerise shuddered. “It’s gross.”
Vani snickered. “Hey you guys, guess what my new favourite word is?”
They each picked an area of the floor, dropping down their bags to mark their territory. Karine noticed that the two-headed bitch machine chose spots as far away from her as possible.
“It sucks without Terry here!” Vani suddenly announced.
“Shut up, Vani!” insisted Jay. “Stop acting like such a baby.”
“Karine, you agree with me, right?” Vani pleaded. “Terry should be here.”
Karine shrugged. “I guess. But I mean, it would be weird now that Cerise and Jay are together.” Willy snorted loudly but Karine went on. “I mean, it’s no secret Terry hates Jay. Now he has no reason to pretend to tolerate him.”
“Gee thanks,” mumbled Jay as the other guys laughed.
Willy chimed in. “So then you agree that Jay and Cerise shouldn’t be together?”
“What? No.” Karine waved her hands in protest. “Cerise and Jay are like perfectly suited. I think it’s great you guys are finally together. It should have happened ages ago.”
“Oh yeah, I’m so sure,” Cassie scoffed.
“We’ll see how long it takes for you to sabotage this relationship,” said Sarah.
“Excuse me?” huffed Karine.
“No, you will not be excused!” Cassie said in a raised voice.
“Woooooo! Catfight!” exclaimed Vani, taking out his phone and snapping a picture.
“Ok, seriously, enough of this shit!” Karine growled. “What the hell is the deal with you two? Why are you being so bitchy all the time?”
“Like you don’t know!”
“I seriously have no fucking idea!”
“Oh please!” Cassie spat. “You’re a boyfriend stealer!”
“She’s not a boyfriend stealer,” Sarah corrected. “She’s a relationship breaker-upper.”
“What are you talking about?!”
“Ladies, ladies,” Willy smarmed, placing himself between Cassie and Sarah. “I’m not feeling the love.” He put his arms around them but they shook him off.
Vani nodded. “You know, they always talk about brotherly love, but they never talk about sisterly love. Why is that, girls? Why can’t you just get along? Could it be because sisters can’t love?”
“But that would mean there’s no love at all, since everybody is somebody’s sister,” suggested Jay.
“It’s true, I’ve done the research,” nodded Karl. “There’s nobody who isn’t somebody’s sister.”
“Are you my sister, Karl?” asked Vani.
“If you want me to be,” smiled Karl.
Vani and Karl hugged each other and faked sobbing into each other’s arms. Karine was glad for the distraction, even though it was more stupid than funny. Then Vani violently pushed Karl away and loudly insisted that all females were vindictive by nature.
“Oh, you’re such an idiot, Vani!” Cassie grumbled.
“Ok, um…” Cerise began. “Did anyone bring their skates this year? Anyone wanna go to the lake?”
Vani nodded vigorously and bopped up and down while chanting. “Panties, panties, panties, panties, panties!”