“It was nice meeting you.”
“It was nice meeting you too,” smiled Cerise.
“Bye, Bernice,” said Karine as she left with her male lead.
“Bye, Elaine,” replied Cerise, unsure of how to play the scene.
Sure enough, both Fred and Hugh sighed with frustration and told Cerise that she had to play it with more interest. She was supposed to be attracted to the producer; she was supposed to be trying to steal him away from Elaine. Cerise didn’t see any of that in the script but she nodded in agreement anyway. They redid the scene and this time Cerise was much more flirtatious, but Fred and Hugh still seemed dissatisfied.
“Well, we could always cut the scene,” suggested Fred.
“We’re still running long,” nodded Hugh.
Cerise sighed and tried not to show her annoyance with this stupid play and these stupid directors who last year seemed so professional and wise and this year seemed so amateurish and haphazard. After all, they wouldn’t be teaching CEGEP if they knew what they were doing.
Later, at the Munch Box with the girls, Cerise expressed these complaints out loud, to general agreement, though Karine defended Hugh, if not Fred. Cerise went on to say she didn’t know what to do to make the scene work. Not that it mattered, since they would no doubt cut it anyway. By the time they were done she wouldn’t have any scenes left at all.
“Well, to be fair, Cerise, you’re really not doing much with Bernice,” said Karine.
“There’s nothing to do with her! She’s boring as hell!” protested Cerise.
“Yeah but that’s true of all the characters,” countered Karine. “It’s up to you to make it work. I mean I’ve made Elaine way more aggressive than she is in the script and Hugh and Fred are loving it.”
Cassie and Janice nodded in agreement, with Janice going so far as to say she was trying to do the same with her character. Cerise didn’t have the heart to tell her she was simply making her character as much of a slut as herself. By the looks on Cassie and Karine’s faces, they were similarly unimpressed, but choosing to stay equally silent on the issue.
Before it got awkward, Sarah saved them by plopping herself in a free seat and asking if they all thought it was important to go to University.
“It’s a great place for meeting guys,” said Janice with a wink.
“No but for real, like as a life choice. For like, the future,” Sarah went on.
The rest of them talked about it for a bit, all agreeing that it was important and Sarah lamented that Paul didn’t want to further his education.
“Who’s Paul?” asked Janice.
“Hello? My boyfriend!”
“That’s still happening?”
Sarah rolled her eyes and went on. “He hasn’t even applied! Hasn’t even left the option open! He says he’s gonna take at least a year off, and maybe not even go at all!”
“Well there’s more to life than school,” said Cassie helpfully. “I mean he’s gonna get a job, right?”
“Yeah,” sighed Sarah. “But I mean, am I a huge snob because I think this is a big mistake? I mean seriously, I just can’t see myself dating a guy who works in like, a blue collar job.”
“Well you’re definitely a snob,” smiled Karine. “But so what? I mean, so am I. We all are, aren’t we? We grew up middle class, we don’t wanna date below our station.”
“I’d date a guy of a lower class than me,” said Janice. “Or at least I’d fuck him.”
They talked about it some more, all pretty much agreeing on their preference to date a guy with more prospects than working at Tim Horton’s. Cerise had to admit to herself that one of the reasons she’d always been a bit hesitant about Terry was because he was a jock and not a brain. But he was going to University, or at least he’d applied. In fact, he’d apparently been more motivated about it than Cerise had.
She missed him. He wasn’t even using their locker anymore so she hardly ever saw him. She hadn’t seen him since they’d hung out at a bar that night he’d driven her and Karine home. Did it mean their relationship was on the mend or just that he was too nice to refuse to help her out? She supposed the only way she’d know how he felt about her was to talk to him about it. Too bad she was such a coward about everything.
“Stop trying to live bi-curiously through me,” said Terry after Nick had brought up Cerise for the billionth time.
“You mean vicariously,” Nick chuckled.
“Yeah, I was making a pun,” Terry nodded, pushing aside his empty lunch tray.
“It was clever,” smiled Nick, finishing off an apple.
“Yeah, so stop it. ‘Cause you are. We always talk about me. Let’s talk about you.”
“Nothing to say,” shrugged Nick, tossing the apple core into a nearby garbage can.
“Good shot,” said Terry. “So let’s get you a boyfriend. Or at least get you laid. Maybe we should just play it old school and go to a gay bar. I mean, aren’t there like a billion bars in the village? We should go this weekend. We can bring Karine, she’ll get a kick out of it.”
“So it’s just about your entertainment?” said Nick with a frown.
“God, stop being such a baby,” sighed Terry. “Why do you just shit all over all my ideas? You didn’t wanna do the online thing, you don’t wanna go to bars, you hate all the guys in your gay talky times group. Well, you’re gonna be single forever if that’s your attitude!”
Nick shrugged. “I guess.”
“Is it ‘cause you’re nervous? Like scared of what it’s like? I mean in a gay bar or whatever? Or just scared of putting yourself out there?”
“I dunno,” Nick shrugged.
“Let’s just try it for one night,” said Terry. “Just like, try it out. I mean you won’t be alone. Me and Karine will be there too. Or just me if you want.”
“Aren’t you afraid of guys hitting on you?”
Terry shrugged. “No, I mean, who cares? If they do I’ll just say I’m straight and then I’ll tell them to ask you to dance or whatever. It’ll be fine.”
Nick smiled shyly and shrugged. “Well ok, I guess.”
“You know, it’s interesting,” mused Karl. “Now that Jay has all these insane motor control issues, I find my hostility towards Willy subsiding.”
“Yeah, it’s like there’s only so much ire to go around,” agreed Vani.
Jay just rolled his eyes, not wanting to be accused of losing his shit again. It seemed no matter what he did lately he was accused of losing motor control. He knew the guys were just goading him, but still, it was pretty effective goading.
“Speaking of waning hostility towards me,” said Willy. “I think it’s time I make my move.”
“What are you talking about?” asked Jay.
“Whoa! Calm down, Jay! No reason to get upset until we know what Willy’s talking about!” warned Vani.
Jay took a deep breath and tried not to get upset.
“Yeah, I’m gonna make my move on Cerise. Now that we’re all agreed I have dibs on her and everything.”
“Oh this’ll be good,” smirked Karl.
“You actually think you have a shot?” snorted Jay.
“Calm down, Jay,” counselled Karl.
“Yeah, I think I do,” confirmed Willy. “I’m gonna rock her world, Willy style!”
Willy then proceeded to thrust his groin towards the rest of them, making disgusting sex noises. It was enough to make Jay puke but he knew he couldn’t react. Vani and Karl looked at Jay in amusement, just waiting for him to lose his shit. Jay simply gritted his teeth and thought about puppies and pandas.
“Uh, uh, Willy style!” More thrusting.
“Yeah, Willy style!” laughed Vani. “This is gonna be awesome!”
Shauna was grabbing her coat from her locker, getting ready for her afternoon smoke when Kim came up to her. That was her name, wasn’t it? Kim was the butch one. Brenda was the girly one.
“So hey, uh, listen,” Kim began.
Shauna simply stared at her.
“Yeah like uh, I just wanted to say like I’m sorry and everything. You know, if I offended you at the meeting the other day.”
“It’s ok,” shrugged Shauna. “I’m hard to offend.”
“Yeah well, you know,” Kim smiled awkwardly. “I didn’t realize you had it that bad. Like at home or whatever.”
“Ok well um, still though, you know. You should think about coming out and stuff. Or not, I mean, whatever.”
“I don’t know if, I mean…” Shauna trailed off, unwilling to say what she was thinking. That she wasn’t even sure she was gay or whatever.
“Ok, well, anyway,” Kim smiled and nodded. “See ya later.”
Kim walked off and Shauna put on her coat.
Oh god. What was this going to be about? Willy so rarely texted Cerise and the last time he’d done it she’d gotten to witness Terry beating up Jay. This time he was asking her to meet him outside the library. She considered not going, but what if Terry and Jay were in another fight? She had to see for herself.
Fortunately it was only Willy who stood waiting for her.
“Hey, what’s up?” she asked, shoving her hands in her pockets. She always felt weird just standing around, with nothing to do with her hands. Sometimes she considered carrying around books just for the sake of having something to hold but her next class was Theatre and she didn’t want to risk forgetting any books in the green room.
“Um, I dunno. Just wanted to talk to you,” he said with a smile.
“Ok, what about?” Cerise felt bad for inching away from him slightly but Willy seriously had body odour issues. The guys made fun of him for it but it wasn’t a joke, it was true. He seemed to get sweaty just from standing around. She couldn’t imagine how bad it would be if he ever did any physical activity.
“Um, I was just wondering if you wanted to go out sometime.”
Cerise stood transfixed. Had Willy just asked her out? Had she heard that right? He hadn’t even seemed nervous about it. In fact, he seemed supremely confident, cocky even. “Um, what?” she asked, just to be sure.
“You wanna go out? Like to a movie or something? Dinner maybe?”
“Like on a date?”
“Yeah,” he smiled.
Oh god. How the hell was she going to get out of this?! She didn’t want to hurt his feelings but Willy was about the last person on Earth she’d ever want to go out with. “Um, well, I mean, it’s just…” she stammered. “No offense or anything but I’m kind of not in a place right now where I’m looking to go out with anyone. You know, what with… everything.”
“Oh yeah, well maybe in a few weeks or something?” he asked, undeterred.
“Well the thing is, I’m not really planning on um, ever dating again ever.”
The smile on Willy’s face disappeared and he looked at Cerise wryly.
“Well it’s just, um, I’m not, um. Well, I just don’t think of you like that, Willy. I mean, we’re friends,” she said, trying not to be mean.
“You went out with Jay even though you were friends with him.”
“Yeah well but, exactly! We all know how well that worked out! It just doesn’t work with friends, right?”
Willy smirked condescendingly. “It didn’t work with Jay because he’s a fucking retard who didn’t even like you enough to fucking…” he trailed off and snorted in derision.
“What? He didn’t like me enough to what?” she asked with trepidation.
“Nothing,” Willy shrugged the shrug of someone with a delicious secret.
“Just say it, Willy,” she sighed.
“Jay dumped you ‘cause I had dibs on you,” he sneered.
“What do you mean?”
“He had to dump you ‘cause I had dibs.”
Cerise narrowed her eyes. “What the fuck are you talking about?”
“I put dibs on you and so he had no right to be with you anymore. So we made him choose. Either he got expelled from the group or he dumped you. He chose the group.”
Cerise’s jaw dropped as she tried to think a thought. “What the… Why the fuck would you have dibs on me? What about what I wanted?”
“Why can’t you want me?” he asked angrily.
“Because you’re a freak! And you’re an asshole! You got Jenn pregnant and then deserted her!”
Willy simply smiled. “Right. Well, the situation is a bit more complicated of course. It was actually Karine I put dibs on, ‘cause Jay was already going out with you, but that didn’t sit well with Jay. So I said fine, you can have dibs on Karine, but then you have to give up Cerise. You can’t have dibs on both of them. And it wasn’t really much of a choice, was it? It took him about two seconds to dump your ass just for the possibility of being with Karine. I mean, she doesn’t even want him!” Willy laughed. “He knew he couldn’t have her! But just the right of dibs was more important than being with you. He was just like, fuck Cerise, I don’t even like her.”
Cerise swallowed, her anger subsiding as the pain flowed in. She knew Willy had to be exaggerating. The pleasure he was taking in delivering this news had to be a result of her rejecting him. But still, it wasn’t a difficult story to believe. There had to be some truth to it. In fact, it sounded like exactly the sort of thing Jay would do. And it explained why he’d been so torn up when he’d dumped her.
“And I don’t blame him,” Willy went on. “Seeing as you’re such a fucking bitch ass, cunt!”
Without even thinking about it, Cerise’s hand flew out and she slapped Willy across the face. The sound was sharp and satisfying and her hand instantly stung. Willy’s eyes grew wide as he stared at her, cradling his cheek.
“Fuck you,” said Cerise, walking away.