“So that just happened,” said Vani in awe. “Kind of awesome, really. We haven’t actually expulsed anyone in a long time.”
“Not since Jojo,” nodded Karl.
“And even then Willy was the driving force,” noted Jay, admitting to himself if not out loud that this turn of events could not be more perfect. How awesome that the girls realized everything was Willy’s fault? He was stunned actually, that they’d managed to punish the person who really deserved it. Jay had been worried they would all hate him forever, even though he’d never done anything wrong!
“Karma’s a bitch,” smirked Karine.
“Oh god, don’t say karma,” whined Cerise. “I’m so not looking forward to having to work with Trista all summer. She’s seriously unbearable.”
“You’re so weird!” laughed Karine. “You’re all upset about working with some nothing hippy chick, meanwhile you’re also gonna be working with your stalker and you don’t seem to give a flying fuck about that!”
“She’s still working at your mom’s bookstore?” asked Terry Trebiwhyisheevenstillintheirgroupifhe’snotwithCeriseanymoresky.
“She’s harmless,” insisted Cerise.
“Whatever, you’re nuts,” said Terry Trebistillwearinghisstupidworkapronsky, throwing up his arms in defeat.
Sarah and Cassie chimed in with their two cents and they kept talking about the whatever situation with Cerise and her stalker, while the guys confabbed on the Willy situation.
“So is Willy really gone?” wondered Karl in hushed tones.
“I mean, is this expulsion just for when the chicks are around, or is it a for real expulsion?” asked Vani.
“I say it’s for real,” shrugged Jay.
“But what about the game? What about his character?” asked Karl. “Not that he ever really participates that much,” he went on, answering his own question.
“Still though, critical mass,” said Vani. “Now we’re just three? That’s not much of a group for gaming. We should be adding people, not subtracting.”
“Yeah but each time we integrate someone new, they only stick around temporarily,” said Karl. “Lee, Cerise, Cavity… and someone else I’m forgetting at the moment. But none of them stick. The point is at least Willy was a constant.”
“A constant pain in my ass,” sneered Jay.
“Yeah, but still,” shrugged Karl.
“Are you seriously saying you want him back?” asked Jay.
“Consider this, you guys,” began Vani. “If these chucks decided that they don’t want Willy around anymore, I mean, which one of us is next?”
They all looked up at the girls, who were gossiping about some stupid girl thing like girls did. It was a fair point. Had they just made a fatal mistake by allowing the chicks to wield some power?
Cerise grabbed a muffin and ate it in the car while her mother drove them to work. She would be working a full-time schedule of Monday to Thursday, and Saturday. Trista was working Friday, Sunday and Thursday evenings and Shauna was sort of on stand-by, coming in whenever needed, which basically meant whenever Angela was off having a life.
The day went by without incident and then in the evening, Angela closed up and called in both Trista and Shauna to help them with inventory. Cerise steeled herself for awkwardness but it wasn’t that bad. With her mom present, Trista was on her best behaviour and Shauna was essentially mute.
Cerise sighed as she crawled through piles of books in the back of the store. “Mom, can’t we get rid of all these old paperbacks from the ‘70s? I mean, no one wants them.” These books were pretty hilarious, bodice-rippers and mysteries with terrible art on the covers. She was tempted to read one just for laughs, but even the blurbs on the backs were too boring to sustain her interest.
“I feel so bad getting rid of books. They all deserve a home, don’t they?” asked Angela, fondly looking over at all the rejected tomes.
“Mom, we’re never gonna sell them, and they’re just taking up space.”
“We could donate them to somewhere, like a charity or whatever,” suggested Shauna with a shrug.
“That’s a good idea,” said Cerise encouragingly.
“I think that’s what people think this is,” sighed Angela. “A lot of these books were donated to me. The truth is charities are like everyone else. They don’t want out of date books anymore either.”
“Then let’s get a big recycling bin and fill it with all the crap we don’t want and we’ll just keep doing that until we get this place in order.”
“Well, I’ll think about it,” said Angela.
Cerise sighed. She wanted to argue about it some more, but it would be weird with Trista and Shauna around. Maybe that’s why her mom had insisted they help out with inventory. Maybe she knew Cerise wouldn’t be able to stand the lack of organization back here. Cerise figured she must get her desire for order from her dad.
“We shouldn’t have books on war. We should just have books on peace,” said Trista, holding a book about the second World War.
Cerise blinked at Trista, not certain she’d heard correctly. Had she seriously just said something that moronic? Shauna seemed equally confused, and looked at Cerise with wide eyes.
“What if someone wants to read about the history of war?” asked Cerise.
“I’d rather read about the history of love. Wouldn’t you?” Trista smiled.
Shauna made a face that indicated she really had no interest in the history of love and Cerise suppressed a laugh. She told Trista that she couldn’t simply ban a type of book because it offended her.
“Hello! That’s censorship!” laughed Cerise.
“If there wasn’t so much war, there wouldn’t be any censorship.”
Cerise blinked again and looked at her mother accusingly, trying to silently ask her why she insisted on maintaining a relationship with the man who had spawned this sorry excuse for a human being. But Angela was ignoring them, consulting her inventory list, which she’d printed out, because somehow it was easier to go through hundreds of paper pages rather than simply consult a spreadsheet on the computer.
Shauna made another face and this time Cerise went ahead and laughed out loud. Trista asked what was funny but they both just shrugged and started stacking all the unwanted paperbacks so they’d at least be out of the way.
“Told you it’d be fucked up,” snickered Karine.
Cerise was telling a story about her work that day, and how that stupid hippy girl was being all weird, and her stalker was being all stalkery or whatever. Truth is, Karine hadn’t really been listening that closely. They were at Cunningham’s, drinking beer and eating nachos and Karine was trying to keep track of everyone’s conversations. So far she’d gleaned that Terry still hated Brown, big surprise there, and Sarah was super happy to be at the Bonne Glace with Karine and Janice.
Nick was doing an internship of sorts at the Foundation where his mother worked and he had to wear a tie and stuff. Cassie was also doing office stuff, and Karine wondered why she was still working at the ice-cream shop. Having an office job sounded way better. They got to wear nice clothes and didn’t have to deal with snotty kids crying about dropping their stupid ice-cream two seconds after buying it. Still, it was a pretty sweet deal, since Jeremy, the manager was so in love with her. Yes, he was gross, but he was nice and she pretty much had the run of the place, which she supposed didn’t mean much, since it was just an ice-cream parlour.
“He masturbates to Karine’s picture every night,” laughed Janice.
“What? Who?” asked Karine.
“Jeremy! Fuck, he’s such a perv!” Janice snickered.
“Oh my god, he’s so gross!” laughed Sarah.
“You know what, we need to find a new bar,” said Karine, deliberately changing the subject. “I mean, somewhere downtown, since we’re all going to school downtown next year, right?”
“Not me! I’m going to Bishops, baby!” sang Janice.
“We’ll miss you so much!” said Sarah with what seemed to be genuine sincerity, though Karine was pretty sure Sarah didn’t give a single shit about Janice.
“I’m going to UBC,” said Cassie.
“What? How did I not know this?!” asked Sarah.
“Well, it’s not for sure yet. I mean, I could go to Concordia. But I think I wanna get away. I mean, wouldn’t it be cool to live in BC?”
They all agreed it would indeed be cool. Karine let herself fantasize for a moment about moving away and starting fresh. Going somewhere where no one knew her. Where she could have a brand new life. But she didn’t want to leave Terry and he’d never leave his little sister. And even though he was supposedly over Cerise he’d probably never want to leave her either. But then again, maybe Terry was the exact reason she should get away. Maybe her relationship with him wasn’t healthy. Maybe Karine cared about him too much.
“Well I’m McGill, obviously,” smiled Sarah.
“Concordia,” said Cerise.
“So is it confirmed that you’re moving downtown with your sister?” asked Terry, trying to sound like he wasn’t particularly interested… and failing.
“Affirmative,” nodded Cerise.
“That’s so cool!” gushed Sarah.
“Yeah, that’s awesome,” nodded Karine. “We can all hang at your place.”
“So you got into Theatre at Concordia, right?” Cerise asked Karine.
“Like there was ever any doubt,” said Karine with a posh accent and they all laughed.
“We’re going to Concordia too,” said Nick, referring to Terry and himself. “We’re doing Sociology and we’re gonna be Stingers. I mean the tryouts are in September but I’m sure we’ll make it. Terry at least.”
“Meh,” shrugged Terry. “I’m not even sure I wanna keep going in hockey.”
“Yeah, me neither,” agreed Nick. “But it’s worth going to the tryout, just to see.”
“Why are you both doing the same program?” asked Karine, like she didn’t know the answer. She knew that Nick really wanted to go to McGill but Terry hadn’t gotten accepted there. Nick was just following Terry around like a lost puppy, doing whatever he did just so he could hang out with him as much as possible. It was pretty pathetic. Poor Nick.
“It’s what we’re both interested in,” replied Nick.
Terry shrugged. “It’ll be easier if we have the same classes, ‘cause we can help each other with homework and shit.”
All the girls looked at each other knowingly and Karine figured she wasn’t the only one who’d noticed Nick’s devotion to his bro. Oh well, it wasn’t doing any harm, Karine supposed, although it was kind of funny that Terry sort of had a stalker of his own now, after all those years of giving Cerise shit for being nice to Porta-potty chick.
The guys looked at each other and shrugged. Jay didn’t think it was that bad, gaming with just the three of them, but Vani seemed to think the game was boring with so few players. They’d already tried to get Lee back in, but he was busy being a hipster or something.
Vani sighed dramatically, stretching out on Jay’s couch, whining like he was in great pain and then pointing at Jay’s phone, which sat on the table. “Get Cerise back in!” he moaned.
“There’s no back in or back out with Cerise. If she wanted to be here, she’d be here,” said Karl.
“Is it really so different without Willy? Half the time he just fell asleep anyway,” shrugged Jay.
“Critical mass, though, critical mass,” sighed Karl. “Three people just isn’t enough.”
“But, we’re four,” said Myles, startling Jay.
Seriously, up to this point Jay had completely forgotten that Mylo was in the room. He was so quiet and unassuming. And frankly, useless at the game.
“No offense, Mylo, but you suck at the game,” said Vani.
“It’s weird how people think they can erase an insult by preceding it with ‘no offense’. I mean, offense taken,” said Myles.
“But you do suck,” said Karl.
“Yeah, but still, I brought cookies.”
“Good point, well made,” said Vani, sitting up and grabbing the Ziplock bag of cookies, which Myles produced from his backpack.
“Look! So cute!” said Karine happily, pointing to Nick, who was talking to some guy at the bar.
They all turned to see and indeed, it was cute. Nick seemed all shy and insecure, which was crazy since he was so good looking. But Cerise supposed it was always difficult to chat people up, even if you were hot. And this wasn’t a gay bar so there was no guarantee a guy Nick hit on would actually be gay. Maybe the guy was wearing such tight pants because he was a hipster.
Cerise was glad that Terry was friends with Nick. He was a good guy. And it was good that Terry was hanging out with someone other than Karine, not that there was anything wrong with his friendship with Karine. Cerise felt like a jerk for being resentful of Karine and Terry’s closeness. Jealousy was beneath her and it was so stereotypically female to be envious of an ex-boyfriend’s female friends. Cerise supposed the only reason she wasn’t resentful of Nick is because she knew Terry wasn’t attracted to him. But by that logic, she should be resentful of all of Terry’s female friends and really, it was just Karine who bothered her.
Whatever, maybe she should finally take up drinking. Cerise looked around at her friends, all of whom seemed to be having more fun than her and she wondered what the difference was, knowing that it was probably alcohol. Whenever they wanted to just let loose and have fun, they had a drink. But Cerise never really let loose or had fun. Well, she had fun, but not like them. She didn’t get crazy and wild. Not like Janice, who as per usual was dancing on top of a speaker. Not that Cerise wanted to be like Janice, but still. Maybe Terry would be into her again if she could chill out sometimes. Maybe she just needed to lighten up. When no one was looking, she stole a swig of Sarah’s beer. God, it tasted like shit!
“So like, did Cerise seem pissed yesterday? At the bakery? I mean Cassie was pissed, that’s for sure. But what about Cerise, did she seem pissed?” asked Jay.
Karl rolled his eyes. “Oh god, here we go.”
“Here we go what?”
“Is it time to explore your emotions again?”
“Whatever,” shrugged Jay, inwardly chastising himself for thinking he could ever talk to the guys about anything. They were so useless.
“Hey, you know what you should do?” said Vani. “Hit her with a basketball!”
“Nevermind,” grumbled Jay.
“No, no, let’s explore this issue endlessly. I think there’s still a little life in this dead horse we’ve been beating,” snorted Karl.
“Yes, Jay! She was being weird,” announced Vani. “She’s always weird when you’re there and Terry’s there too. And she’s always weird even when she’s not being weird. She’s just weird, ok?”
“I said nevermind!”
“Was she weird with me?”
They all turned to Myles. Shit, he was still here?
“What do you mean?” asked Vani. “You weren’t even there. Were you? Shit, were you there?”
“You don’t even know? Fuck, you guys suck. No wonder Cerise is always weird with you,” Myles snickered.
Was he fucking with them? Was Cerise always weird with them?
It was ironic, Terry supposed, that Cerise was actually staying home this summer, the summer when they were broken up. Wait, was that irony, or just shittiness? Whatever, it sucked. Of course he could just get back together with her. After all, why not? Maybe this time it would be better. Maybe this time they wouldn’t fight and maybe this time she wouldn’t care about Jay and his stupid gravity-defying hair. Yeah right.
Oh well, whatever. It was better to be single anyway. He’d fuck tons of girls this summer. Why the hell wasn’t he constantly hooking up already? It certainly wasn’t lack of opportunity. There were any number of girls at this very bar he’d be able to get into bed. What was holding him back? Nothing, that’s what. He should just go for it. Even though Cerise was here, probably watching his every move, he should still go for it. Why not? Everyone else was hooking up.
Hell, there was Nick, chatting up some Glee looking guy. Oh wait, that was a girl. He was talking to a bunch of girls. Terry was pretty sure they were his Queer Collective group. Shit, was Nick ever going to get laid? He seriously had to stop hanging out with girls and get some dick.
“Come dance with me, Terry!”
Janice. Terry tried to brush her off but she wouldn’t take no for an answer so Terry put down his beer and reluctantly followed her out to the dance floor. She rubbed up against him in the least subtle way possible. He glanced over to their table, where Cerise was watching him, a dubious look on her face. Karine, Cassie and Sarah seemed equally unimpressed.
“You know, Janice, I’m not into you in that way.”
“Oh, so you don’t wanna fuck me?” she laughed.
“Hey, I’ll fuck you but I’m not into you. I don’t wanna like, be with you or anything.”
“Who said I want to be with you? I just wanna fuck.”
“I’ll fuck you and then never talk to you again. I’ll act like it never even happened.”
“I don’t even like you,” he insisted.
“I don’t like you either. So you wanna do it?”
He shrugged and next thing he knew, they were making out.
“Oh shit,” said Sarah, looking over to Cerise.
Cerise tried not to show her annoyance. Terry was a free man, he could date whoever he wanted, even Janice.
“Wow, seriously?” asked Karine. “I didn’t think Terry would ever go for Janice.”
“So gross, she’s such a whore!” said Cassie with venom.
“She’s not a whore,” said Sarah with a shrug. “She’s just, you know, open or whatever.”
Karine nodded. “I guess it was just a matter of time. They’re both whores after all.”
“Terry’s not a whore,” said Cerise defensively.
“Oh sure he is,” said Karine. “At least he used to be. Now he’s just going back to his old ways. It was only a matter of time.”
Fair enough, supposed Cerise. She reached out and grabbed Terry’s beer, taking a swig. Ugh, so gross.
“Whoa, are you drinking now?” asked Sarah.
“About time!” Karine laughed boisterously.
“I dunno. I can’t stand the taste,” admitted Cerise, putting back Terry’s beer. So far she couldn’t feel anything. Of course, she’d only taken two sips so that probably wasn’t enough to get a buzz.
“Get a fruity cocktail thing. Those taste good,” suggested Karine.
“You shouldn’t drink when you’re upset though,” counselled Sarah. “I mean, you’re all like depressed or whatever. Now’s not the time.”
“Oh whatever, PSA much?” laughed Karine.
“No, but seriously,” said Sarah.
“Fuck, if you can’t drink when you’re depressed then what’s the fucking point?” snickered Cassie rather bitterly.
“Alcohol is a depressant,” insisted Sarah. “If you drink when you’re unhappy it’ll just make you more unhappy. You should only drink when you’re in a good place.”
“Ok, mom,” said Cerise with a roll of her eyes, even though she appreciated the advice. She certainly didn’t want to become an alcoholic. Not like Christina, who always got drunk at the drop of a hat. She thought back to that time at Halloween, when Christina had gotten drunk and spilled her guts to Cerise. She didn’t want to be that girl. So what if Terry had his tongue down Janice’s throat? She wouldn’t let that turn her into a degenerate drug addict.