Well fuck Jay and his stupid stupidity! What a fucking asshole! And fuck Willy too for taking such pleasure in being an asshole!
Cerise supposed her mood must have been apparent when she got home because her sisters eyed her speculatively as she moped around the house.
“So what crawled up your ass this time?” asked Simone as she sat next to Cerise on the couch.
“Nothing, leave me alone.”
“Fight with Terry?”
“Fight with Jay?”
Cerise crumbled and suddenly tears streamed down her face.
“Ok, so Jay then,” said Simone. “What’d he do?”
“He didn’t really do anything,” Cerise said as she blew her nose into a tissue. “He just fucking hates me and he loves Karine and he always will. Fuck, and I can’t even be pissed at Karine! She doesn’t even like him back. She thinks he’s an ass for dumping me. She totally took my side. And yet he still loves her. God, why? I mean I know she’s pretty and everything but why doesn’t he like me? What’s so horrible about me?”
“Well for one thing you look like a bloated baboon when you cry,” smirked Simone.
Cerise blew her nose again, laughing into her tissue.
“Sounds like Jay is a lower life form. Just forget about him.”
“Why don’t people like me?”
“You’re ugly and stupid?”
“Seriously,” Cerise sighed.
“Cerise, don’t ask me to feel sorry for you. Terry liked you and he’s a way better catch than Jay. I don’t see what there is to complain about.”
“Yeah, I guess,” Cerise shrugged.
Simone was right; there was no use pining over Jay or being upset about any of his stupidity. What did it matter when Terry was the quality guy anyway?
The next day Cerise walked straight to Nick’s locker, having found out the location from Karine, before she could lose her nerve. Sure enough, Terry was there, hanging out with Nick.
“Hi,” Cerise said, joining them.
Apparently Nick could sense that something was up because he discreetly made himself scarce.
“Hey,” replied Terry.
“We should talk,” she squeaked, trying to sound confident but coming across as a bewildered goat.
“Yeah, I guess I should apologize,” he nodded.
“For what?” she asked, taken aback.
“Well, for hurting you. You know, like for leaving you or whatever.” He sounded sheepish, maybe embarrassed.
“Oh well, yeah. That’s ok. I mean, I deserved it.”
“No one deserves to get hurt. Except Jay,” he smirked.
“Yeah,” Cerise chuckled. “I never talked to you about that stunt you pulled with him. The one involving your fist and his face.”
“Yeah,” Terry was definitely embarrassed now. “Sorry about that.”
“You know what? Fuck it. I’m glad you did it!”
“Yeah, he’s a fucking piece of shit and he deserved it.”
“Well, ok. Yeah.” Terry smiled awkwardly, nodding hesitantly.
“Anyway, I’m sorry too. For hurting you. It was, you know… shitty. You didn’t deserve to be treated that way. I mean, you were right. About like, me having a thing for Jay. And so you were right to dump me. And so I guess like me getting with him was just proving your point. And then him dumping me was like, karma or whatever. I needed to see what he’s really like.” Cerise inhaled deeply and let out a breath. “So yeah. Sorry.”
Terry smiled widely and Cerise smiled back. They looked at each other for a second and then awkwardly moved towards one another, going in for a hug. They laughed at the awkwardness and then embraced; holding each other for a bit longer than a friendship hug should last. When they broke apart they stared at each other and Cerise felt certain they would kiss.
He had to kiss her. He just had to. And before he could think better of it, he did. Cerise returned the kiss eagerly and for a second everything was perfect again. But Terry knew this wasn’t right. He pulled away and stammered out an apology. She looked crushed.
“It’s just, I’m sorry but I can’t,” he tried to explain.
“Yeah, no, it’s fine. You hate me,” she sulked.
“I don’t hate you! It’s just, I dunno. I guess I don’t trust you.”
Again, she looked crushed, even more so now. “Why not?”
“I don’t know if you really hate Jay now. I mean, I know you still like him because you hate him.”
She screwed up her face skeptically.
“You know what I mean. I mean if you just like didn’t care, that’d be fine. But you do care. You’re all pissed at him. You don’t even care that I hit him, which like, normally you’d be all over that, like upset that I would do something so stupid. But you’re just glad he got hurt, which means you hate him. And hating him just means you still care, you know? It means you’re still into him.”
She stood there, stunned, unable to form a response.
“I’m sorry, Cerise. I still like you. I still care about you a lot. I guess I always will, but with Jay between us it just can’t work. I’m so sorry.” Terry couldn’t even believe he was saying these words. On the one hand he felt like an idiot for rejecting the girl he was in love with but on the other hand he was supremely proud of himself for making such a mature choice. Because really, what he’d said was completely true. He didn’t want to be with her if she was just going to be thinking about Jason Harris and his sea anemone hairdo all the time. He deserved better than that. He actually really did.
Things were finally getting back to normal. The guys were getting bored of their motor control gag and lately they were just playing the game a lot, and hanging out with the girls at lunch. Finally. Jay wasn’t sure how much more bullshit he’d have been able to endure otherwise.
They were hanging out at Karl’s locker when Cerise walked by. They all called out to her, saying hey but she simply glared at them. She didn’t even slow her pace. Didn’t say a word. Just glared in disgust, like they were all made of dog shit.
“Well, fuck, now she hates us again!” hollered Vani once she’d gone.
“Thanks a lot, Jay,” said Karl in exasperation.
“Yeah, thanks a lot, Jay!” sneered Vani.
“Yeah, Jay, thanks a lot!” smirked Willy.
Karine hopped up on stage with her male lead and they ran through the scene where they first met. She wasn’t sure it was really gelling but Hugh and Fred wanted to get on with things so they skipped ahead to the scene where he comes to pick her up and meets all her roommates. It was a funny scene she supposed, if played properly. Tom and Cassie were doing a good job with Big and Little Al, making them sort of a physical comedy duo. In fact, they were stealing the scene, which was good, ‘cause the play needed some humour but Karine couldn’t help but be annoyed. It was really meant to be her scene, wasn’t it?
Then Cerise came in. Wasn’t this part of the scene meant to be cut? Karine supposed Hugh and Fred hadn’t gotten to that yet, which was good because cutting her out didn’t leave enough time for Janice to change backstage for her next scene.
Whoa, what the hell was this? Cerise was totally sidling up to the male lead like he was made of chocolate. She was even throwing in a few extra lines, flirting with him like a maniac!
“Bernice, do you mind?” Karine recited her line, not even having to act. She came across as stunned, which she was. Cerise was killing it.
“Oh no, Elaine, I don’t mind at all,” said Cerise, dripping with sarcasm and maybe even loathing.
“It was nice meeting you,” said male lead dude, grinning from ear to ear from all the attention.
“It was nice meeting you too,” said Cerise-Bernice, practically licking his face.
“Maybe I’ll see you again sometime,” said the producer, totally throwing in the line.
“I certainly hope so,” grinned Cerise.
“Bye Bernice,” said Karine, making Elaine annoyed but not angry. It didn’t fit Elaine’s personality to be angry at her friends, even though Karine would have throttled anyone for flirting so outrageously with a guy she was into.
“Yeah, bye Elaine,” snapped Cerise condescendingly.
Karine and her guy exited stage left and Hugh and Fred burst into laughter. “Fantastic!” beamed Hugh. “This is what we’ve been asking for, Cerise! Well done!”
“Now we see that Bernice wants something from the producer and that’s she’s jealous of Elaine!” Fred went on.
“Yeah, now we see she’s a bitch!” Janice called out from the wings.
Everyone laughed and Cerise blushed adorably. Well, it seemed like Cerise had really taken Karine’s advice to heart. Finally doing something with her role. So why was Karine so annoyed by it?
She had to be cool about it; not act all jealous or whatever. So at lunch she joined the girls as usual, though they were eating in a stairwell at Cerise’s request. She supposed they were back to avoiding the guys for whatever reason.
“So I see you took my advice,” said Karine as soon as she joined them. “You were great today.”
Cerise smiled and shrugged and Cassie explained to Sarah that Cerise had rocked it in rehearsal that morning.
“I knew you could do something with Bernice if you just put your mind to it.”
“Well gee, Karine. Thanks so much. It really means a lot coming from you. I mean, the star of the show and everything.”
Janice, Cassie and Sarah all perked up and looked at Cerise with interest, then turned to Karine for her reaction.
“What the fuck, Cerise?” Karine said, trying to stay calm.
Cerise sighed. “I’m sorry. I guess I’m just in a bad mood. Which I guess is why I did so well in the scene. Turns out I’m method.”
“What’s wrong?” asked Sarah.
“Is it Jay?” asked Cassie. “That why we’re boycotting the Munch Box again?”
“Yeah,” Cerise confirmed. “I found out why he dumped me. It had nothing to do with fear of Terry.”
They all stared at her expectantly.
“He dumped me ‘cause he likes you,” she said, motioning to Karine. “As ever.”
“Well, so that’s not my fault!” said Karine, perhaps a bit too defensively.
“No, you’re right,” said Cerise with pursed lips. “It’s not your fault. It’s just Jay being a shit. Apparently like, he dumped me ‘cause Willy called dibs on me or something. Like Willy said that he had to choose between me or the possibility of you. And he chose you.”
“What?” asked Cassie.
“I don’t know!” Cerise wailed. “It makes no fucking sense, but that’s what Willy said. And he was a total shithead when he said it. He was gloating. ‘Cause he asked me out, but I said no, so he like, became a total dick-wad and was like rubbing it in, all saying how Jay hates me.”
“Well, whoa, this is a lot of information to take in,” said Sarah. “How can you believe Willy if he was angry ‘cause you rejected him?”
“’Cause it makes sense,” said Janice. “Jay is totally the type of guy who would fuck over someone just to get to fantasize about the girl of his dreams. That’s how nerd guys are.”
They all conceded the point.
“Well, who cares!?” exclaimed Sarah. “Jay’s no good anyway! We all know you belong with Terry. Why don’t you get back with him? He’s still into you.”
Cerise deflated. “I asked him to get back together. Just this morning. He said no. Says he doesn’t trust me. That I still have feelings for Jay. Which I guess is true. He said if I hate Jay it must mean I still care.”
“Do you still care?” asked Karine delicately.
Cerise just shrugged and bit into her sandwich. Cassie awkwardly patted Cerise on the back and looked up at Karine. Was she looking at her accusingly? God, it wasn’t Karine’s fault Jay had the hots for her!