The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland(8)

By: Rebekah Crane

Cassie laughs. “Zander is here because ‘her parents signed her up.’”

Grover puts the cap back on his pen. “Interesting.”

“Aren’t you going to make a note about that in your book?” I ask.

“I only write down the things I care never to forget.”

“You carry a notebook around so that you won’t forget things?”

“No,” Grover says. “So I’ll remember.”

“Remember what?” I ask.

He takes a look around the camp and inhales like he’s smelling a bouquet of flowers. “What it was like before.”

Cassie moves to stand beside Grover. She actually looks like she cares about something for a moment. “Cleve is PC.”

“PC?” I ask.

“Pre-Crazy,” Grover says, shoving the notebook into his back pocket. “It’ll happen one of these days.”

“How do you know?”

“My dad converses with dead presidents.”

“And they told him?” I ask.

Grover laughs, tipping his head back. “Some people get green eyes from their parents. Some people get schizophrenia. Clearly, I didn’t get the green eyes.”

“So the name . . .”

“My father’s love for former presidents runs deep. Lucky for him, we had a fitting last name.”

“But there’s nothing wrong with you now. So why are you here?”

Grover sets his big blue-brown cartoon eyes on me. “Some people like to wait for the inevitable. I’ve never been much for waiting. What about you, Zander?”

I swallow the sudden lump in my throat. Fini. All done. The end is the end no matter when it happens. Waiting only makes it hurt more. A loose hair tickles the back of my neck, and I scratch the skin there a little too hard. “I hate waiting,” I say.

“It only makes you hold on tighter.” Grover’s eyes stay strong on mine for a moment longer, and then he shoves his hands in his pockets. “If it’s going to be my future, I might as well get used to it now. My dad was PC until he was sitting in a college history class and Teddy Roosevelt walked through the door. I figure if I’m lucky, I have a few more good years in me.”

“How do you know Cassie?”

Grover wraps his arm around her neck. “Sticks and I have been coming here since eighth grade.” He smiles at Cassie and whispers in her ear so softly that I can’t hear a thing. Grover pats the front pocket of his jeans.

“What is it?” I ask.

“None of your concern.” Cassie glares at me. “In the name of camp friendship, I should warn you, Cleve. Zander gives terrible blow jobs.”

Grover reaches for his notebook, but I stop him. “No, I do not and don’t write that down!”

He laughs. “I was just going to write that Zander looks cute when she blushes.”

I grab my cheeks. “I’m not blushing.”

“But you admit you’ve given a blow job?” Cassie asks.

I glare at her. “I have a boyfriend.”

“That’s a bummer,” Grover says.

“His name is Coop.”

“Double bummer. Don’t tell me he plays football.”

“He does,” I say.

“So you’re saying I should just give up now?”

I look into Grover’s widened eyes as he watches me watching him. They reflect the sun, which makes them look like at any moment tears might come spilling out.

“Gag me,” Cassie says as a bell rings. I jump at the sound.

“Why? When you’ve been doing such a fine job on your own,” Grover says to Cassie, pointing to her too-skinny body. “Come on. My heightened emotional brain needs some food. Let’s eat.”

Grover moves toward the mess hall with Cassie close behind him. A mosquito bites my leg as I stand there. I swat it away and scratch the spot.

Grover glances over his shoulder and smiles. What am I waiting for?

If I have to deal with these bugs for five weeks, I’d better borrow some bug spray.

We go through the food line in the mess hall and I grab a set of silverware, which is wrapped together with a napkin, and a plastic tray. Food is spread out buffet-style on a long table, and I pick through the options. All the yellow food groups are covered—macaroni, chips, white bread, high-fructose corn syrup. My mom would be appalled. Coop complains every time he comes over to my house that my parents never have any food. My mom likes to correct him and say, “We have food in this house. You’re just used to junk.” Then she’ll offer him a bowl of grapes or a granola bar.

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