Of Doubts and Demurrers
"You're such a Jew, Kylie! Shut your goddamn mouth."
"You oughta shut yours so you'll quit shoving food into it, fatass!"
"Hey! I'm not fat!"
"Kennethia, tell Kylie I'm not fat. I'm curvy!"
"See, even Kennethia thinks you're fat, Erica."
"Fuck off, Jew. You're just making fun of my weight because you're ugly!"
"I-I am not! Stacy, I'm pretty, aren't I?"
"Yeah, Ky! A'course."
"She's just sayin' that 'cause she's your best friend and she can't tell you you're ugly. I overheard Bobby Stevens say that even Marjorine's prettier than you."
"Yeah! It's true, too! And at least she's a good person. You're a huge bitch, so there's nothing about you to offset the ugly."
"I... Well, you're ugly, too! Wendell tells everyone that!"
"Like I give a damn about Stacy's dumbass boyfriend..."
"Hey! Lay off my boyfriend, Erica."
"Shut up, Frankenstein."
Kylie Broflovski wouldn't admit it to a soul - not even Stacy, or at least, not right now - that Cartman's words had hit home.
She didn't know why they were just beginning to bother her now, considering they'd been spitting the same sort of insults at each other for nearly twelve years. Ever since they had been four years old, it had always been the same: "Jew!" "Fatass!" "Ugly!" "Retard!" But now, Kylie supposed, at age sixteen, these things suddenly mattered to her. A lot.
They fought all the time - that obviously hadn't changed. Every morning at the bus stop; before the first bell rang at school; during lunch; at P.E.; on the bus ride home - they seemed to never cease arguing.
Stacy and Kennethia called their spats "cat-fights," or occasionally, when they were feeling particularly mouthy, "lovers' tiffs." At some point, Kylie had considered the latter statement to have a grain of truth to it - this consideration was tossed out the window after a mere few seconds, therefore she never really thought about how having a crush on Erica could make the insults sting more. In fact, she never thought about having a crush on Erica.
If Kylie were to be perfectly honest with herself, she felt like considering that possibility would make her realize it was true, and that thought, frankly, made her heart sink.
"I'm not ugly, am I?"
"Dude, I told you no."
"But, I mean, you're my Super Best Friend, Stace. I know you're s'posed to say that to make me feel better.
"You aren't ugly, Kylie. Erica's just saying that 'cause she's a jealous bitch."
"Well, what if it's true? What if she's not just saying that?"
There was a worried pause. Kylie cautiously eyed the frown Stacy wore. A moment passed, and the latter finally responded with, "Then that would be her opinion. Not everyone thinks of beauty in the same way."
Kylie let out a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding. "Thank God I have you, Stace." And she did thank God for her best friend - but the reassurance only lasted so long before she began to wonder if it was all one big lie.
"Am I fat?"
Liane froze, giving her daughter a startled look. "Oh, honey...you're just curvy, that's all. There's more to love!"
Ms. Cartman didn't stop to wonder why such a sudden question was posed, nor did she seem to wonder why all of her sweets suddenly began going to waste, left uneaten in the fridge for the next several days.
"Kylie, are you wearing make-up?"
"Just a little."
"'Cause, dude, all the girls do."
"I don't." Stacy gave her best friend a dubious look. "And you don't, either."
"I can do what I want - it's my face."
The vitriolic bite in Kylie's voice concerned the black-haired teen, and she was all-too eager to confront that fact. "Ky, what's wrong? Why...why this, all of the sudden?"
"We're alone at the bus stop right now, dude, just tell me." For a brief second, Kylie's lip trembled, then, just as quickly, her face was stark once again. She said nothing; Stacy didn't pressure her to speak, no matter how much this worried her.
Kennethia joined them just in time to catch the bus, she and Stacy completely oblivious to (or, perhaps, simply uncaring toward) the fact that Erica had not shown up at all that morning.
The trio wasn't joined by Cartman until lunchtime, the end of which made Kylie realize that the other girl hadn't even touched her food - that was a sure sign something was wrong, and she had every intention of finding out what.
The brunette turned around, blinked lazily, then turned back and kept on walking. "Go away, Kylie."
Kylie's mouth twisted into a scowl at the other girl's words. "Please, stop."
The plea seemed to have worked, for Erica halted in her tracks. "Fine. What is it?"
"What's wrong with you?"
"Oh, Jesus, not this again. I didn't do anything wrong today, so whatever it is you're pissed off at, I didn't do it." The larger girl emphasized her four concluding words, very nearly hissing the last syllable.
"At least turn around and look at me, Cartman." Kylie's voice was edging on anxious, and, judging by the way Erica's shoulders picked up a bit, she'd registered this.
"Why? So I can see your ugly face?" The insult was hollow; she turned around and crossed her arms, then raised an eyebrow pointedly.
"You didn't eat lunch."
Again, Erica bristled. Kylie watched intently as the other's eyebrows twitched, furrowed, and relaxed in sequence. "Well, I ate breakfast."
"Listen, why are you so-"
"Cartman, you better not be-"
"Be what? I swear to God, if you say-"
"You're fucking st-"
"Don't say it, all right? Don't you dare."
"You're starving yourself!"
This was the point where Erica's temper flared, but not quite in the manner the redhead had been expecting. "Well, maybe if you weren't such a bitch about it, I wouldn't be! Maybe if you'd stop fucking taunting me for my weight - maybe, maybe if I weren't so fucking fat, I-"
"Cartman, stop," Kylie demanded, grabbing the other girl's shoulders. By this point, their voices had escalated enough to draw the attention of Claire Donovan, who'd gestured her boyfriend, Bobby, over as well. "It's all right to have a little weight on, it's not b-"
"If it was really just 'a little' weight, you wouldn't be talking about it all the damn time, now, would you?" Erica glared and jerked her shoulder out of Kylie's grip. "We both know I won't stick with this, anyway. I need to eat, okay? You win, I'm fucking fat."
"Erica. You need to think better of yourself. Don't listen to us, all right? Just...just..."
"Don't listen to you, huh? Right, well, I've tried that. I've tried a lot of things, but nothing works."
"I do, too, but you don't see me complaining about it."
"Your attitude isn't helping! I only feel so ugly because you're so fucking perfect all the fucking time, and I can't be you! I can't be pretty, I can't be thin, I can't. Be. You."
Claire and Bobby had heard enough, it seemed, if their hurried whispers and darting glances had anything to say about it. The couple retreated from the scene, leaving Kylie and Erica behind to stare at each other, the former with her eyebrows furrowed and her mouth agape, and the latter glaring at the wall to her right.
There wasn't a lengthy pause, and there was no confession drawn from the Broflovski; Erica had her pinned and relayed this knowledge with a low mumble of, "I know that's why you're wearing all that stupid shit on your face."
"Huh?" the redhead asked dumbly, reaching up subconsciously to wipe at her cheek.
"That," Erica replied, gesturing toward the smudge of concealer now on Kylie's fingers. "I insult you just as much as you insult me, if not more. It's not like I don't know that."
At that, Kylie gathered her bearings again and scoffed, crossing her arms in front of her chest. "Wow, that's something to say. You know you insult me, and you know you make me feel like shit, but you don't care? What a piece of work you are."
"You're telling me! Listen to yourself, you're back to mocking me already."
"Why does that make a difference? Did you expect some sort of heart-to-heart?" Kylie put some effort into a sneer, but it was half-cocked and certainly not as intimidating as she'd hoped it to be.
"No, but I was expecting you to tell me why."
"Why, what?" The Jewish girl dropped her arms to her sides, then uncomfortably lifted one again so she could bite her nails.
"Quit bullshitting me. Why does all of this suddenly bother you now? We've been arguing since pre-school."
"Come on, don't you know everything?"
Kylie's cheeks heated, prompting her to glare at the floor. "No. And at least I don't act like I do."
"Oh, but you do know what this is about - you know and you just don't want to say it."
It took a moment following Erica's statement for Kylie to notice that the other girl was approaching her, and even when she'd looked up and realized it, she had no time to react before her view was lost in hazel-colored eyes. Her thoughts were a rampant mess of curse words once she'd picked up on another important fact: Erica's lips were really close to hers, but the bitch wasn't going to kiss her, was she? No, she was going to stand there and make the redhead quake with...want?
Then and there, it clicked. "Why don't you say it, then?" The freckled girl gave a sort of indignant sniff, her gaze flickering nervously back and forth between Cartman's eyes and mouth. "If you're so fucking smart, then-"
"God, Kylie, shut up." Erica leaned in a fraction of an inch, and Kylie actually saw the flush steadily creeping across the brunette's face.
"You've never kissed anyone before, have you?" she deadpanned, the corners of her lips quirking up in amusement.
"I-I've been kissed before!"
"Yeah, by Wendell in fourth grade. But you've never actually started a kiss."
"That's a yes, then." Kylie's irritation had fled from her being, leaving her with quite a bit of arrogance and a few buzzing nerves underneath that.
Sufficiently irritated, Erica leaned forward and caught Kylie's lips sloppily with her own, making a muffled "mm!" sound. Less than a second following this, she backed up an entire two steps and crossed her arms. "Now it's a no."
Kylie blinked wide jade eyes; Erica smirked, shifting her hands to her hips to relay her newfound confidence. "Ha. Showed you, huh, Jew?"
"Showed me what?" the redhead replied flatly, still in the process of finding her usual taunting tone. She waited for Erica to splutter something of an indignant response before adding, "I missed the memo. Show me again?"
"You can't even try to be subtle 'bout askin' for another kiss, can you?"
"I don't really see any reason why I should." Kylie looked remarkably proud of herself for having no particular reason to be, Erica thought to herself; well, she'd wipe that smug smile off the redhead's lips, all right.
"You're such a little asshole when you wanna be," the brunette scoffed, pulling Kylie into a hug and looking as if she'd rather be traipsing through hell than doing so.
"Fuck you, Cartman." Kylie tried hard not to grin, only to be thwarted by another quick kiss, this one softer and cleaner.
Hardly discernable was the way Erica's lips lifted into a small smile, but the Broflovski was quick to catch it: "Ahaaa, you're smiliiing!" she sing-songed victoriously, poking the brunette's cheek.
Erica wailed and pulled away from the hug. "Dammit, Kylie, you little bitch."
Kylie only hummed in response, her Cheshire grin fading into a soft tilt-of-the-lips with each passing second whilst her gaze steadily transferred from the other girl to the far wall. "So," she said at length, messing with the ushanka atop her curls. "Well, Jesus... What do we do now?"
"What do you mean, what do I mean? I mean..." She grumbled something under her breath, sighed, and made a vague hand gesture in sequence. "We just...we're..."
"We're what?" Erica raised an eyebrow.
At this, Kylie made an exasperated sound. "What are we?"
"Not what I meant."
"I mean us." She pointed between the two of them. "Are we, like, together?" Kylie thought that over; it sounded kind of stupid to her, but she made no move to take it back.
Erica wrinkled her nose as if the idea bothered her, but her response proved to have the opposite opinion. "Well, I guess, if you wanna be... Damn, this is gonna be weird to tell Stacy and Kennethia..."
Kylie put in an oddly placed laugh. "Yeah...yeah, it sure will be."
The silence seemed to blossom from each of them until it became one large block of awkward soundlessness, but before either of them thought to break it, Christina Tucker poked her head out of the nearest bathroom. "Guys, are you finished chokin' on each other's tits yet? Stacy and Kennethia want to know if you two are finally past the sexual tension so they can get to class."
"What?" the duo deadpanned in unison, staring at the raven-haired girl (they were pretty sure she was a girl, anyway; it was hard to tell sometimes) with completely dazed expressions.
Christina twisted her lip thoughtfully, then resorted to tapping her labret with her top teeth for a moment before she came to an apparent conclusion and disappeared into the bathroom again. "They're done," she loudly announced.
Kennethia's muffled voice could be heard from inside the bathroom: "Thank God. It's about fucking time."
The follow-up to the blonde's retort was Stacy's relieved, "I thought they'd never get to this point on their own."
"Dang, it only took 'em a million years." That voice belonged to Tasha Black, Kylie was sure of it.
"Hey," the latter began, narrowing her eyes. "How many of you are in there?"
After an infinitesimal pause, Christina and Tasha shuffled out, followed by Stacy, Kennethia, and Marjorine. "J-just us," the Stotch girl answered timidly, twisting her ponytail around her finger. "Well, we just, uh, wanted to see you two finally get together, 's'all. We've been waitin' an awful long time, too..."
Right as Kylie opened her mouth to say something, Erica threw her hands up and turned around, taking off down the hall with only a trail of grumbles and curses to accompany her - at least until Kylie regained her bearings and chased after the girl.
The remaining five females stood in their cluster, exchanging glances with whomever stood beside them. After a long moment of self-satisfied silence, Stacy concluded their gathering with, "I told you they had the hots for each other. You owe me ten bucks, Ken."
Kennethia rolled her eyes and fished two five-dollar bills from her pocket. "Whatever, Stacy. Whatever."