Lucy Ives

Arthur’s father has a sweater tucked into his jeans. He wears no shoes or socks.

“Hello, Catherine,” he says, using her real name. He puts one hand into his pants pocket and uses the other to smooth the gray plume that is all that is left of his former widow’s peak, at last pinching it between two fingers. “So,” he says. He always speaks very slowly. He is looking at Grover’s dress. “You guys getting ready for a play?”

Grover is looking at Arthur. “Not exactly,” she tells his father, examining Arthur’s pupils.

“Catherine, you look really nice,” says Arthur’s father.

“Yeah,” says Grover, and it comes out weird and nasal, and Arthur realizes she can’t decide what to do.

“We’re going to the prom, actually,” Arthur resolves it.

They both start moving down the stairs again. Grover is lifting Arthur’s suit on the hanger and letting it twirl a little, and she is smiling at Arthur’s father.

“So, Dad,” Arthur goes to his father and clasps him on the upper arm. “Sorry this is not more, uh, special, but we got to get going.”

“Of course,” says Arthur’s father, and his eyes brighten. “It’s really great you two are going together. I guess Patrick’s at school?” He is indicating Catherine’s older boyfriend.

“Yup,” she says, pulling her lips into a line. “Anyway, we’ve been so many times before, it’s like,” she pauses.

“Shit,” says Arthur’s father, smiling slowly. “However,” Arthur’s father’s flushed face seems to solidify suddenly, “I’m not letting you guys out of the house without a picture. Go in the garden, will you? I’m coming,” and he withdraws through the kitchen, through another door, and into his part of the house, presumably where the camera is.

Grover lays the suit across one of the doors on the table and moves into the kitchen without looking at Arthur. There is a central stack of boxes in the kitchen, it is taller than Grover, she goes around it and out of sight, and just then Arthur hears her shout “Fabian!” and knows that the Persian has surprised her.