It had been pretty warm lately, unseasonably so. Although, maybe it was normal now for winter weather to be more rain than snow, what with global warming and all. Whatever the reason for it, rain in the winter sucked ‘cause everything just turned to slush, all grey and gross. The wetness seeped into Terry’s shoes as he stood outside the school with Nick, smoking a cigarette.
“So what happened?” asked Nick.
“Nothing, what do you mean?” Terry asked innocently.
“Bullshit. You fucking did something. You know I’m Vani’s friend on Facebook and his last post was pretty cryptic but you obviously did something to Jay.”
Terry shrugged and tossed aside the remainder of his cigarette. Nick did the same and they walked inside, their wet sneakers squeaking on the floor as they went. They passed by the Munch Box on their way to the cafeteria and there were the nerds at their usual table, Jay sporting a gigantic bandage on his fragile nose. Shit. So it was for sure broken.
“You did that, didn’t you?” asked Nick as they went on.
“Terry, cut the crap. You broke his nose!”
“Well… fuck,” Terry mumbled. “I didn’t mean to!”
“No wonder the kid’s afraid of you!”
“Well he fucking deserved it for what he did to Cerise.”
Nick sighed heavily. “Like it was any worse than what you did to her.”
“Whatever, he still deserved it just for being like, himself.”
“Real mature, Terry.”
Terry stopped and shrugged. “I seriously didn’t mean to. I was yelling at him and shit, for like, you know, being an asshole or whatever and I lunged at him just to scare him. But then he was all like, ‘fuck you’ and stuff and I just lost my temper. Before I even knew it my fist was in his face.”
“Jesus,” Nick sighed.
“And he went down like a leaf. I seriously, like, fuck Nick. I didn’t even mean it. I was so embarrassed but I had to act like it was on purpose, you know?”
“To save face?”
“You’re a bully.”
“I know,” Terry sighed and kept walking. They entered the caf and got plates of shitty lasagna. Actually the food here wasn’t bad.
“You should go to like, anger management classes or whatever. Like get therapy I guess.”
“Seriously?” asked Terry in a panic. “You think it’s that bad?”
“Well it’s not the fucking ‘80s! You can’t just like beat people up and have it be no big deal! For all we know someone put it on YouTube and maybe he’ll press charges and you’ll like go to jail and shit.”
Terry hadn’t been worried when he’d beat up Andrew because he knew Andrew was too prideful to go to the police but he couldn’t say the same about Jason Harris and his stupid hair. Well, if he did go to jail or get community service or whatever, that’d be ok. He’d deal with it. At least that fuck-nut knew not to mess with Cerise again. Shit, Cerise was gonna be so pissed.
“Oh my god, Jay! What happened to your nose!?” exclaimed Sarah as she and Cassie came to the Munch Box.
God, this sucked. Jay was attracting so much attention with his bandaged nose and his twin black eyes. He actually thought he looked mildly cool, like he was a boxer or something and he’d noticed some girls looking at him sympathetically or least quizzically, which was better than being ignored but the truth of how his face got this way was totally pathetic. Of course, even if he’d wanted to spin the story he had no chance while Vani continued to exist.
“Oh my god, Vani, is that what your Facebook post was about? Terry versus Jay, guess who won?”
“Yeah, I wanted to add a pic of Jay’s face but he was a total pussy about it,” Vani nodded.
“So you were right to be afraid of Terry?” asked Cassie with a shocked expression, like it was shocking that Terry Trebibrutesky was a caveman.
“Yeah,” nodded Karl. “Terry totally hit him in the face. It was pretty mega. Straight out of the olden days, ‘cause he was defending Cerise’s honour or something. Said he’d do even worse if Jay ever hurt Cerise like that again.”
“Yeah, it was hilarious,” confirmed Willy.
“It’s not hilarious, it’s horrible!” said Sarah. “My god, Jay, I’m so sorry we made fun of you for being afraid. Obviously Terry is like, totally out of control.”
“It’s no big deal,” Jay said. “Barely hurts.”
“Hah!” scoffed Willy. “Not what you said when you were all crying and shit yesterday!”
“I didn’t cry!”
“Please, you were blubbering so wildly I almost mistook you for Willy,” smirked Karl.
Everyone laughed even though it was a complete lie. Jay hadn’t cried! Or at least he didn’t think so. It was all a bit of a blur.
“Well congrats, Karine,” said Janice with an appropriate lack of enthusiasm.
Karine nodded as she read the cast list on the wall outside the green room. She got the main part, as usual. Yay. “God, this semester is totally gonna suck.”
“Oh my god, you guys!” exclaimed Cassie as she approached them with Sarah in tow.
“Cassie, you’re Big Al.”
“Oh, seriously? ‘Cause I’m short? That’s so lame. She’s the worst character in the whole thing!”
“They’re all the worst!” said Karine, even though it was true that Big Al was among the crappiest roles. She had maybe two lines.
“You guys, stay on target! We have crazy news!” interrupted Sarah.
“What is it?”
“Terry totally broke Jay’s nose!”
“What?!” Janice and Karine exclaimed.
“He has a massive bandage and two black eyes. It’s insane! Apparently Terry like totally lost his shit and beat him up, all like to defend Cerise or whatever, I guess ‘cause he broke up with her, which barely makes sense, you’d think Terry would be happy they broke up, but I guess like, he was pissed ‘cause Cerise was upset or something. Like, could it be any more obvious that he’s still in love with her? Not that he ever pretended he wasn’t. Still, so crazy!”
“Yeah,” Karine nodded, taking it all in. “I guess that’s not so unusual for Terry.”
“Really?” asked Cassie. “He’s done this kind of shit before?”
“Well I just mean ‘cause like, he’s like an enforcer in hockey, right? He’s pretty violent, like in general.”
“I guess he was a bully in high school,” mused Sarah. “But not really. It was always Andrew who actually hurt people. Terry mostly just ignored everyone, like he was so far above us all. God, such a poseur when you think about it.”
“I wouldn’t call Terry a poseur,” countered Karine. “He’s pretty genuinely indifferent to most everyone. With the main exception being his little Cherry angel. I’m not surprised he’d fly off the handle ‘cause of her. I mean, he used to be so laid back before he met her but then he became all volatile and shit.”
“Oh my god, what are you like, one of those girls all defending Chris Brown for beating up Rihanna?” asked Sarah.
“What are you talking about?”
“It’s not Cerise’s fault if Terry acts violently. It’s Terry’s fault!”
“I know,” Karine nodded, conceding the point.
“So like,” Janice said after a beat. “I’m the only one who thinks it’s hot? I mean that Terry did such a like, manly thing?”
“Oh god.” Sarah rolled her eyes. “Yes Janice, you’re the only one.”
“Well,” Cassie shrugged. “It’s maybe a bit romantic. I mean, no the violence part, but the defending her honour part. I mean a bit.”
“It’s not romantic, it’s barbaric!” Sarah insisted.
Before they could argue the point further, the Cherry angel herself came along and the others pounced on her, all asking if she’d heard about what happened.
“I didn’t hear, I saw,” she said, stone-faced.
“I know, his face is like a total mess!” Sarah nodded.
“Is it? Fuck. I haven’t seen him today. I meant that I saw it go down. Yesterday. Willy texted me saying to come to the back door, you know, where the bus stop is? So I go and I see Terry talking to Jay. I couldn’t hear them and I didn’t go outside. I just stood there by the door and I saw it. Terry just hit Jay square in the face. It was insane!”
“It’s so macho,” said Janice with a grin.
“It’s disgusting!” countered Sarah.
“I dunno. It was weird,” shrugged Cerise with obvious discomfort. “I mean, scary. Terry’s temper… I guess I have a temper too, but I don’t go around hitting people. It’s just, yeah, scary.”
“Fuck, I gotta go to class,” said Sarah, checking the time on her phone. “We’ll talk later, ok?” she said, squeezing Cerise’s arm as she went.
The rest of them walked towards the theatre. “Oh wait, who am I?” asked Cerise absent-mindedly as she craned her neck to see the cast list. “Bernice? Who’s Bernice?”
They all shrugged. Bernice? Karine couldn’t even remember a Bernice in the script. Wow, even though Cerise had been off her game lately, Karine hadn’t expected her to get such a terrible role. How embarrassing for her. Kinda funny though. Karine tried not to smirk as they went to class.
“Ever had him? Whitmore, for humanities?” asked Kim.
The question wasn’t directed at anyone in particular but Shauna figured she shouldn’t answer. Just because she was having lunch with Leanne’s friends didn’t mean she was their friend. Brenda and Kim probably hated her, same way everyone hated her.
Leanne and her friends kept talking about teachers and other boring school stuff and then Shauna suddenly realized they were waiting for her to say something.
“Uh, what?” she asked.
“Your least favourite class?” asked Leanne.
“Oh, I dunno, all of them,” Shauna shrugged.
They all laughed like she was trying to be funny. Shauna smiled like she was in on the joke. They kept talking and every so often Shauna even said something, but only when Leanne asked her a direct question. She couldn’t presume to actually be in on the conversation. They still hated her, even if they thought she was funny. After a while they got up to go to class and Shauna walked with Leanne.
“So what’s so horrible about them?” asked Leanne.
“Huh, what do you mean?”
“Well ‘cause you hate gay people right, and they’re gay.”
“I never said I hated you guys,” Shauna shrugged in discomfort. Is that why they hated her? ‘Cause they thought she hated them?
“So you like us? You like me?”
“Uhh…” Shauna stammered. What exactly did Leanne mean by that?
“I mean as a friend, Shauna. A freakin’ friend.”
“Um yeah,” Shauna nodded, hoping this wasn’t some lead-up to Leanne dumping her as a friend ‘cause she was such a loser.
“So then why does my sexual orientation offend you?”
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“It’s fine. I just don’t think I’m like that.”
For fuck’s sake! Why did Leanne constantly have to torture her?! “Stop trying to make me say that word!”
“Which word? Gay? Homosexual? Lesbian? Flaming dyke?”
“I have to go to class,” Shauna scowled.
Leanne sighed and stopped walking, staring Shauna in the face. “You know this isn’t fun for me, Shauna. Hanging out with someone who rejects what I am. ‘Cause even if you’re not gay, you’re still a homophobe and I can only take so much. Just ask yourself Shauna, do you prefer being alone, silently stalking that Cerise girl and being continuously rejected or is it better to have friends who will support you and who won’t judge you and who will like, actually hang out with you?”
Shauna shrugged and looked at her feet.
“Just think about it, Shauna.”
And with that she walked away. Shit! Shauna was getting a hole in her boot.
“Bernice is totally a good role,” said Karine without even trying to sound like she meant it.
Cerise looked at her skeptically and she shrugged apologetically. They sat in the green room as usual, having a snack before that evening’s rehearsal.
“I guess I really fucked up my audition,” Cerise sighed. “But I would’ve thought that my performance last semester would make up for it. I mean Hugh and Fred know what I can do.”
“Yeah but they obviously saw that you’re in a funk lately and it’s not about what you once were, it’s about what you are now.”
“God, was I really that bad?”
“I dunno, I wasn’t there,” shrugged Karine.
“I barely even remember the audition,” said Cerise even though this wasn’t entirely true. She remembered that she’d flubbed her lines several times and it really was that bad. Screw Jay and his stupid emotions, dumping her for no reason and getting her all upset! Not that she could really blame anyone but herself for a shitty audition. “Oh well whatever. Everyone’s roles are shit.”
“Yeah, besides, there’s no such thing as a bad role, just a bad actor, right? I mean, we just have to put the right attitude into our performances and it’ll be fine, even if the script sucks.”
“Hey, I wonder if they’d allow a bit of improv.”
“Wouldn’t it be hilarious if like, on closing night we just totally improvised it?”
“We could totally do our own thing?”
“It’d be wicked!”
“But then we’d fail the course. I mean I didn’t think it was even possible to fail Theatre Workshop but I think we’ve just figure out how,” smirked Cerise.
“Yeah,” nodded Karine. “So… you gonna make me bring it up?”
“I dunno, Karine, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I mean, when I saw it I just couldn’t even believe it. I was in shock. And now I guess I’m just… disappointed?”
“I guess it’s a bit romantic, for like Terry to defend you.”
“You really believe that?’
“No,” Karine admitted. “What went on between you and Jay was none of Terry’s business.”
“Exactly! And I mean even if it was, does that give him the right to hit someone? It’s so scary.”
“He’d never hit a girl.”
“So it’s ok to hit guys?”
“I dunno,” Karine shrugged. “I guess it can be cool. Like rugged or whatever. Janice thinks it’s manly and I guess I see where she’s coming from.”
“Did you think it was cool when Terry beat up Andrew?”
Karine’s face turned white and Cerise instantly regretted the question. She apologized hastily but Karine shook her head. “I dunno. On the one hand, I’m glad the Asshole got hurt you know?”
“Yeah,” Cerise nodded.
“On the other, it annoyed me that Terry interfered. It was my thing, not his.” Cerise kept nodding and Karine went on. “I wish I could have done something to the Asshole. I didn’t want Terry to have to like, save me or whatever. It made me feel weak that he could do something I couldn’t. Same was as how the… incident made me feel weak.”
“I totally get that,” said Cerise, hesitant to bring the conversation back to Jay.
“But still, the Asshole deserved it. And as much as Jay dumping you was lame, he didn’t deserve to get a broken nose for it.”
“Exactly!” nodded Cerise emphatically. “The punishment was like, way disproportionate to the crime, I mean even if I had elected Terry the executioner or whatever. I mean is Jay ever gonna talk to me again? He must hate me now.”
“Who cares about that? I mean I thought you hated him.”
“I dunno,” Cerise shrugged. “I don’t really hate anyone I guess. It takes too much energy to hate people.”
Karine made a face like she understood, like maybe she was tired of hating people too. “So you don’t hate Terry either?”
“No, I don’t hate him. I’m annoyed. Not even angry, just annoyed.”
“You wanna get back with him?”
“I dunno,” Cerise shrugged, really not sure of what she wanted anymore.
“Well, he doesn’t wanna get back with you,” said Karine bluntly.
“You’ve talked to him about it?” asked Cerise in surprise even though she knew Karine and Terry probably talked about everything.
“He’s still hurt. He feels betrayed by you getting with Jay, or by you liking him at all.”
“So why’d he do it then? Hit Jay? It makes no sense.”
“I dunno, boys are stupid.”
“Yeah and girls are geniuses,” said Cerise sarcastically.
“Well I don’t know about you but I’m pretty fucking brilliant,” said Karine with a laugh.
“Me too! I’m awesome!”
“Woo! Girl power!” Karine shouted and they laughed while the others in the green room jumped in on the chant for no reason whatsoever.