Cerise and Karine walked into Karine’s house, and headed straight for the kitchen, where Karine pulled out a couple boxes of Kraft Dinner.
“So Terry’s back with Christina? How fucked up is that?” asked Cerise, trying to sound nonchalant about it, like she didn’t really care for her own selfish reasons, like she was just shooting the shit about the latest gossip.
“I know, it’s insane,” said Karine as she boiled some water. “And you just know it’s not gonna last. It never does. He’s trying to be nice. Trying not to be a total asshole, but she’s still obsessed, like she always was and I tried to warn her not to fall into that trap again, but she never listens.”
“But like, why is he even going there again?”
“Well, like, I mean, not to like, hurt your feelings or anything but like, he ended up hooking up with her. At my party. You know, the cast party. Hey, how come you didn’t come?”
“I was sick, remember? So like, they hooked up?” asked Cerise, again, trying to remain as disinterested as possible.
“It’s what he does, Cerise! He gets drunk and fucks an easy lay. And Chrissy is the easiest of them all, I mean when it comes to Terry. But then he felt all guilty about it, about using her or whatever, so now he’s trying to be her boyfriend.”
“Well I guess that’s nice of him, to not like, just leave her in the dust,” said Cerise. “I mean, that’s basically what I did with Tom. Like I mean I had sex with him and then felt weird about it, but like, I couldn’t just leave him. I had to go out with him.”
“And we all know how well that turned out,” snickered Karine. “No offense.”
“Are you gonna stay for dinner?” asked Christina.
Hells no! Terry wasn’t about to have dinner with Chrissy’s family! It would be totally awkward! In fact, her mom would be home any minute now, which was a good excuse to hightail it out of there. “Your parents don’t want me here,” he said kindly as he got out of bed and got dressed.
“My mom is totally chill these days,” shrugged Chrissy. She doesn’t care if I have my boyfriend over. “I’ve already told her about you.”
Oh god. Terry wanted to say something rude, to break up with her here and now but he smiled and apologized, explaining that he had to get home to take care of his sister, which was true enough. Vicky was home, but still. But horror of all horrors, Chrissy offered to come with, since she just loved Brittany and everything.
“Well, you know, I don’t know. I have to study and stuff. I have exams coming up.”
“Me too,” she said brightly, putting on her clothes. “We can just study once we’ve put Britt to bed.”
“I just, I mean, if you’re there, you’ll be a distraction,” he said, hugging her, smiling, trying to make it seem like she was irresistible. “And I really need to get some work done.”
She giggled and hugged him back but insisted she wouldn’t be a distraction, that she’d even sit in the other room if necessary.
“That doesn’t even make any sense, Chrissy,” he said in annoyance.
“You’re supposed to be my boyfriend but you never wanna hang out!” she hollered.
“Fuck, Chrissy, chill!” he insisted loudly. “I hate it when you get like this!”
“All fucking clingy and shit!”
Oh fuck. She was starting to cry. Fucking goddamn fucking fuck.
“Shauna came up to me today,” said Cerise as she dug into her Kraft Dinner.
“Huh? Who?” asked Karine.
“Um, my stalker.”
“Oh right.” Like Karine was supposed to remember the name of some completely insignificant chick. “What’d she want?”
“She wished me a happy birthday.”
Oh good, so Karine wasn’t the only one who’d given her well wishes late.
“And then she just like, ran off,” Cerise went on.
“That girl is such a freak.”
“I dunno. I feel bad for her,” said Cerise, polishing off her dinner.
“Well I don’t,” said Karine, placing their bowls in the sink and grabbing a box of cookies, motioning for Cerise to follow her to the den. They sat down in front of the TV but didn’t turn it on. “I mean, she’s a lesbian, remember.”
“So?’ asked Cerise, her mouth full of cookies.
“She probably just wants to get in your pants.” Karine tried not to show how grossed out she was by the idea.
“I highly doubt that,” said Cerise with an eye roll. “But I mean, even if… god, gross. I hope not.”
“Totally gross. Stay away from her, she’s a freakshow.”
“Yeah, I guess.”
“Terry!” cried Christina as she followed him out of her house.
He wouldn’t let himself be manipulated by her tears. If it was Cerise or Karine he’d stay and hug them, make sure they were ok. But fuck, Chrissy was so high maintenance. He couldn’t deal with this shit. Besides, even if he just left, she’d still be back the next day. It didn’t even matter what he did.
She tugged at his sleeve as he unlocked his car, accusing him of using her. “Chrissy!” he yelled, shaking her off. “I don’t wanna be mean here ok, but fuck! Just chill. I’m leaving.”
“You’re such a jerk!” she wept.
“Yes! I am a jerk! Ok? I’m a jerk! Why don’t you go cry about it some more?”
Her face was all blotchy as she sobbed. “How can you be so mean? You can’t do this, Terry! You can’t be so mean to your girlfriend!”
She was such an ugly crier. All now she was doing that thing where she was hiccupping between each word. It was actually kind of funny, but he tried not to laugh.
“So it’s… hic… just like in… hic… high school? Hic… You just… hic… use me for… hic… sex… hic…and then like… hic… dump me?”
“I’m not trying to use you, Christina,” he said as kindly as he could. “It’s just, you’re so intense. You’re so much work. Just so needy and clingy. Relationships shouldn’t be this hard, Chrissy. I’m sorry but you make my skin crawl when you act like this.”
She wiped her face on her sleeve. “So everything’s my fault?”
“No, it’s my fault,” he sighed. “You’re a great person, Chrissy. You really are. You’re beautiful and you’re nice and fun and you’re… really great. But I’m just not the type of guy that can deal with a 24/7 type thing. I need space. And you need someone who’s gonna fully appreciate how great you are. So I think… I think we’re better as just friends.”
“That’s not what you were saying when you were inside me!” And the tears flowed anew.
“I’m sorry, Chrissy, I really am. I am so, so sorry. But hooking up with you at Karine’s party, it was a mistake. We never should have gotten back together.”
She emitted a sound, some sort of guttural scream and then told him to fuck off. She was screaming so incoherently that he wasn’t entirely sure what she was saying but he caught something about how he thought he was god’s gift and something about how he was worse than Andrew, how he just used girls and threw them away.
Then she slapped him. He actually leaned down so she could get his face, when he sensed she was reaching up to do it. He wanted her to get the slap in. He wanted to feel the sting, though her tiny hand didn’t carry much force. She stomped away, back to her house and he got into his car. He only wished the slap would leave a bruise, but knew it wouldn’t.
“So I’ve been having those dreams again,” said Karine nonchalantly.
“Oh no, not the ones with And… eurk, Asshole guy?” Cerise asked, aghast. Bless her for refusing to say his name, somehow knowing how much the sound of it made Karine want to retch.
“Yeah, god, I dunno. I mean, they’re not like, way crazy or anything. The most recent was kind of bizarre, I knew it was a dream even as I was dreaming, it wasn’t one of those ones were it feels totally real. So it’s fine I guess. But I dunno. I just wish I could dream about puppies and rainbows and shit.”
“Yeah, I feel you,” Cerise nodded. “Fucking sucks that we can’t control our subconscious better. Although apparently we can. I mean, there’s lucid dreaming, right? You could learn to do that. And then any time you dream of him, you can like, kill him. That could be cool.”
“Yeah, that could be cool,” Karine nodded. Finally a decent suggestion! And maybe learning lucid dreaming could help her with her theatre career. She could rehearse things even in her sleep.
“Goodnight, Britt,” said Terry, kissing his sister as he tucked her into bed.
“Nite nite,” she mumbled, already half asleep. He’d read her an extra bedtime story, to get in some extra cuddle time.
“Promise me you’ll never, ever get involved with boys.”
“Boys stinky,” she nodded.
“Yeah, totally. Boys are stinky. Remember that. Remember the stink.”
“But one boy at daycare, he give me cookies.”
“Never trust a guy’s cookies, Britt.”
“Wha?” Her eyes opened and she frowned at him.
“I just hope you turn out to be a lesbian.”
“A good girl.”
“I be good,” she assured him, turning over and hugging her toys.
Terry turned off the light in her room and gently closed the door, then joined Vicky on the couch so they could watch Big Brother Canada.
“Well you’ve certainly been in a mood all night. I haven’t seen such brooding since David Boreanaz,” she snarked.
“I guess,” he shrugged.
“So why exactly did you just tell my daughter to become a lesbian?”
Terry shrugged apologetically. “’Cause guys are assholes.”
“Even you?” she asked.
“Especially me! I’m a huge asshole! I just broke up with Christina. Again. I only lasted like two weeks! Which is longer than I thought I’d go! I knew I’d break up with her. I never had any intention of being with her for real. And yet, I still slept with her. Repeatedly.”
“Well that certainly does sound rather asshole-ish.”
“See? I’m a complete shit head.”
“Well why’d you do it if you knew it was wrong?”
“I don’t know!” he whined, embarrassed to be ranting like this, but wanting to get it out. “’Cause I’m a guy! She was there, I was horny. I didn’t think it through. And then she was like, we’re a couple and I was like, ok, fine. But then she got all clingy and annoying and I just wanted to kill her. So I slept with her again ‘cause that’s the only time I can stand her. ‘Cause that’s the only time she’ll shut up. And I know how shitty that is, I know! And I felt like shit the whole time. I knew I was being an asshole so I thought, hey maybe if I give her multiple orgasms it won’t be so bad!”
Vicky laughed and then covered her mouth, motioning for him to go on.
“Like that’s the only way I could think to make it up to her. But that just makes it worse. ‘Cause then she just clings ever more. And I’m just thinking, god, get away from me, you annoying little freak! And I couldn’t take it anymore! So I dumped her! I dumped her right after we had sex!”
“Oh ouch. That’s terrible!”
“I know! I know how bad that is! And it gets even worse. ‘Cause she started crying, when I said I didn’t wanna hang out with her tonight. She was all crying and shit and it just annoyed me so much that I broke up with her! But I couldn’t help it! I just couldn’t stand to be with her for one second longer! She’s just so irritating! Fuck, I am a complete and utter asshole!”
Vicky stared at him, shocked and dismayed, but also seemingly amused. “Well,” she began. “I got nothing. That really is shitty, Terry.”
“But at least you know you did something wrong. That makes you redeemable. And at least you’re not an asshole all the time. You were cruel to this girl, but you’ve always been a good man where Britt and I are concerned.”
“That’s different. You guys are family. I’m always mean to real girls. I use them for sex.”
“I don’t think you just used Cerise for sex. Besides, bastards are bastards all around, even to family. Your father cheated on me even though I was his wife. He neglected Brittany even though she’s his daughter.”
“Oh, I met his new girlfriend by the way, did I ever tell you? She’s barely out of her teens.”
“God, whatever, like I care,” she snorted. “Is she seriously that young? What a fucking ass! I wonder if she’s the one he cheated with. Did you ever cheat on your girlfriends?”
“No, I guess not,” Terry admitted. “I always broke up with them if I wanted a different chick.”
“Well, that’s something I guess,” she shrugged.
“I never cheated on Cerise. I never wanted to. I never wanted anyone else.”
“See? You’re capable of being a good boyfriend. You were good to her.”
“Yeah, until I dumped her ‘cause I was a big jealous asshole who couldn’t handle her being human. God, I’m so fucking like, proud of myself all the time. All thinking I’m better than dad. Thinking I’m a good guy, thinking I’m right about shit. But I’m just like dad. And I’m just like,” he paused. “I used to know this guy, him and me were friends and we’d like, keep score of all the chicks we’d like, you know, and I thought it was funny and then like, shit, I found out…” he trailed off.
“Found out what?’ she asked, all ears.
“That he did a really shitty thing to a girl we were friends with. Like a really bad thing. Like, not just being mean to her. Really hurting her. Physically… sexually… you know?”
“So when I found out I went and beat him up. I thought this guy was a freak. I was like, I can’t believe I was friends with him, I’d never do that. But Vicky… I’m just like him. We used to hang out! We’d keep score! I’m exactly like him!” Terry could feel the tears coming, but he held them in, refusing to be a whiny little baby.
“Terry, you’re not… oh shit, are you talking about that Andrew Lester boy?”
“Yeah! What, why? Did he do something to you!?” he asked in a panic.
“Well, not really. Once he walked in on me changing and didn’t even leave. I had to throw him out.”
Anger swelled up in Terry. “Why didn’t you ever say anything?! Fuck! I can’t believe I hung out with him for so long! But fuck, I’m no better! I used to stare at you all the time! Maybe I never watched you changing but whenever you went swimming I’d leer at you. You’d be sunbathing on the deck and I’d be watching from my bedroom window, jacking off like a little perv!”
Vicky covered her mouth but the laughter escaped. “Are you serious?” she asked, almost in hysterics.
“Yes! I’m a fucking perv! You’re my step-mother for fuck’s sake and I used to fantasize about you all the time!”
“Yes! Why do you think I was always so rude to you? I was embarrassed! I was a horny little fourteen-year-old and you were this intensely hot woman. And you were in my house! Wearing a fucking bikini! It was only when you got pregnant that I realized how perverted I was being.”
She was doubled over in laughter now and he insisted it wasn’t funny.
“It kind of is,” she insisted, wiping her eyes. “I mean, you were a kid. You shouldn’t feel guilty. That’s how boys are. I mean, you don’t still feel that way, right?”
“Well no,” he shrugged. “Except, maybe yes,” he admitted, seeing no reason not to admit to all his perversions once and for all. “I mean you’re still fucking hot. If you wanted to hook up, fuck, would I say no? Of course not! I’d fucking hit that in a second! But then I’d never call, ‘cause I’m a shit head.”
Vicky burst into laughter once again, covering her face with a pillow so as not to wake Britt. He chuckled a bit too, acknowledging that his fucked up-ness was kind of amusing, but still feeling like shit because of it.
“Oh Terry, don’t feel bad,” she rubbed his shoulder.
“Watch out, Vicky! If you get too close I’m liable to take advantage of you!”
She chuckled again. “I’ll take my chances.”
He sighed and once they’d both calmed down, they switched on the TV. It didn’t take long before Vicky was ranting about how all the houseguests in Big Brother were scum bags. Terry agreed, knowing he could win this game, because he could out-douche them all.