“I made a wish!” cheered Brittany after she blew out the candles on her birthday cake.
Terry and Vicky clapped and hollered in excitement and Vicky cut them each a piece.
“What’d you wish for?” asked Terry as he stuck his fork in the chocolate goodness.
“”I can’t tell!” his sister squealed.
“You’re right, you shouldn’t tell!” he laughed.
Vicky took various pictures of the happy occasion and then they went to the park, like one big, or small happy family. Terry kept an eye on the time, knowing he’d have to leave eventually to go to work, but not wanting to spoil Britt’s big day. Maybe he should just quit that stupid job at the bakery. He hated it there, he hated Brown, he hated commuting to the West Island, all of it. He should get a job here, in NDG. But then he’d be even more cut off from the group. All his friends were in the West Island, he didn’t want to lose touch with them completely.
“Push me, Tewwy, push me!” commanded Britt as she climbed onto the tire swing.
Yeah, he’d keep the job for now. After all, working so far from home was a good excuse to get away from this happy family whenever it got to be too much.
It wasn’t often that they hung out at Cerise’s house, and Karine didn’t mind it, though she still felt it made more sense to hang out at her house, since it was always empty. Of course, Cerise’s mom and sisters weren’t home at the moment, so this was essentially the same thing, but still.
Karine, Cerise, Sarah and Cassie sat in the den, watching MuchMusic and eating pretzels, having convinced themselves that they were healthier than chips.
“I don’t really wanna go back to the yacht club but I guess it’s better than nothing,” said Sarah.
“You could get any job. Don’t go back to BYC if you don’t want,” counselled Cerise, stuffing her face with food. It was a wonder she wasn’t a hundred pounds, the way she ate.
“Yeah, ‘cause it’ll be kinda awkward with Jay and Karl being there.”
“Oh hell, let’s just be friends with them again,” said Cerise with a sigh and a roll of her eyes. “It takes too much effort to remember who’s on the shit list at any given moment.”
“Seriously,” nodded Karine, glad Cerise was getting over herself.
“But those guys are all freaks!” protested Cassie.
“But they’re our freaks,” said Karine with a grin.
“Yeah, but Cassie has a point,” said Sarah. “Maybe it’s time to move on. I mean, they’re like, our high school friends.”
“So?” wondered Cerise.
“They’re not even our high school friends,” said Karine. “For you and me, Sarah, they’re our high school enemies!”
They all giggled and Cassie accused them of being weird, saying the relationship they had with the guys was fucked up. When Cerise asked her to elaborate she said that the boys were all assholes and all the shit they’d done with the dibs and everything still existed.
“Yeah, but what are we supposed to do?” asked Cerise. “Never be friends with guys?”
“Not all guys are like that,” said Cassie.
Karine, Sarah and Cerise all stared at Cassie and finally Karine asked for an example of one boy who wasn’t a piece of shit.
“Jonah was always a good guy,” shrugged Cassie.
“But he was short and ugly,” said Karine. “I mean, no offense.”
“Yeah, none taken,” said Cassie sarcastically.
“Well anyway,” said Sarah. “I guess Jay and Karl being at BYC is maybe actually a plus. They did make it fun last year. But still, I’m sick of being there. I should move on.”
“I thought you liked being an instructor,” said Cerise.
“Meh, I dunno. It’s ok, I guess.”
“Why don’t you come work with me at the ice-cream place?” suggested Karine. “They always need people in the summer and if you apply now, before the rush, you’re sure to get in. Besides, I’ll just put in a good word and the job is as good as yours.”
“Yeah, that could be cool,” nodded Sarah. “For sure it’d be more fun to work with you than the guys. Although I guess it’s not fun being cooped up in a freezer all day. At least at BYC I’m in the sun, on the water.”
“Well, stay there then, whatever,” shrugged Karine.
“But I’m so sick of those whiny kids! They are so useless! I swear I wasn’t like that when I was a kid. I could like, wipe my own nose and shit! But these kids, I mean they’re teenagers, they should have some basic life skills, like tying shoes and shit, but I swear, they look at me like I’ve lost my mind when I try to teach them to tie knots. They have no fucking frame of reference. I swear if it’s not on an ipad they have no interest.”
“Wow, you sound old,” laughed Cassie.
“I know! I’m such a loser!”
“Is Terry gonna be working at the bakery again?” asked Cerise nonchalantly.
“He said he was, even though he’s hating the guys now as much as we are,” nodded Karine. “Well, no, he only hates Jay, same as ever. He likes working with Vani I think.”
“How ‘bout you, you gonna be at your mom’s bookstore?” asked Sarah.
“Yep,” nodded Cerise. “I was thinking of applying at like, Chapters or something though, ‘cause my mom doesn’t pay much but then like, I looked it up and saw that they don’t really pay much there either so it’s worth staying at my mom’s just for the flexibility. At least for the summer, before I move downtown.”
God, Cerise would never shut up about her stupid move downtown. She was so proud of herself, being the first one to move out and everything. Like that was so special. Karine had essentially been living on her own since she was fourteen.
“Is your stalker gonna be working there too?” asked Sarah.
“I dunno,” replied Cerise. “Maybe. That’ll be weird I guess.”
“Yeah, ya think?” laughed Karine.
“She came up to me the other day. Just like, randomly. And she was like, I dunno, she like, asked me to join her club.”
“What club?” asked Cassie.
“You mean the Queer Collective?” snickered Karine. “Oh my god, she wants you to go gay!”
“I don’t think she meant it that way,” shrugged Cerise. “I think she was trying to like, come out to me or something, but she was just like, awkward about it.”
“God, she’s so rank,” scoffed Karine. “So gross that she’s into you.”
“No need to be so hostile,” said Cerise, as though offended. “You have something against lesbians now?”
“No, I have something against that freakshow!”
“Why, what’d she ever do to you?”
“Seriously?” asked Karine, looking to Sarah and Cassie to help her out.
Sarah nodded. “Yeah, it’s not that she’s like, a threat to us, Cerise, it’s just like, she’s so weird. She’s so like, sorry, but unhygienic.”
“She’s really not that bad,” shrugged Cerise sadly. “She just has a shit home life. And I mean, if she’s gay, that just puts it all into perspective, I mean even more so. Her parents are religious and strict and weird. She’s probably lived her whole life in fear of them. Things for her have always been shit. I think it’s nice that my mom is helping her out, work wise.”
“Ok, whatever,” said Karine, rolling her eyes and exchanging looks with Sarah and Cassie.
Leanne looked at Shauna with a mixture of amusement and pity.
“Shut up,” sulked Shauna.
“I didn’t even say anything!” chuckled Leanne.
“But I know you’re thinking it. I’m an idiot,” said Shauna, slumping down in the park bench overlooking the St-Laurence.
Leanne had dropped by to check up on her, Shauna supposed. Now that school was over, Leanne probably wanted to make sure Shauna didn’t kill herself or something, which she was seriously contemplating.
“You’re not an idiot,” smiled Leanne. “God, it’s not even that bad. So you told her you’re gay, so what? That’s good! That’s part of the process.”
“I didn’t say I was gay, I asked her to join the club, and she looked at me all confused. She thinks I was hitting on her or something.”
“Well, weren’t you?”
“Come on. Acknowledge your feelings. It’s healthy.”
“I can make things right,” said Shauna. “I’m pretty sure she’s gonna be working at her mom’s store and I’m gonna be there too. I emailed her mom yesterday to ask about it and she totally said yes, so it’s totally good. We’ll be friends again.”
Leanne simply looked at Shauna with a grin.
“Oh shut up! I’m not into her in that way. I just wanna be friends.”
“Well, that’s not true but ok.”
“God, Leanne, stop it! I’m not into Cerise in that way, ok! Fuck!”
“Relax, geez!” Leanne chuckled.
“Stop laughing at me!” shouted Shauna as she stood up.
“God, sorry, calm down,” said Leanne, also standing.
“I am calm!” Shauna yelled.
“It’s ok, Shauna. It’s no big deal.”
“It is a big deal! You think I’m a big, stupid loser! You hate me! Everyone hates me!”
Leanne blinked at Shauna in confusion. “Shauna, where is this coming from? Are you ok?”
“I’m fine!” said Shauna, stomping away.