Chapter 9: Overnight
“They seem to have a lot of activities for us to do,” said Edie’s dad. “Are they afraid we’ll get bored?”
“I think it’s a combination of things,” Corrie said. “Part of it is that the school wants to show off. That’s what the musical performances are for. And I guess they want to make sure you have stuff to do all day so you don’t get bored staying here all weekend. But they also don’t want to make us entertain you in our tiny dorm rooms! We can barely fit three people in them when we want to study!”
That got a few laughs (though she hoped they all realized it was an exaggeration—the only family so far that had seen a room was Dawn’s, so they knew it wasn’t too difficult to fit six or more). “Speaking of staying here all weekend,” her mom said, “we’re actually not. Sorry to disappoint you.”
“Oh, that’s okay,” Corrie said. “I didn’t think you would be.” Since they hadn’t specified how long they would be staying, she had hoped they might spend the night, but she hid her disappointment. It had never been particularly likely.
“You’re staying all weekend, aren’t you?” said Edie, looking at her parents. She seemed to have drifted out of her conversation with Leila—in fact, Leila was now talking animatedly with Edie’s grandmother. Now that was a strange pairing.
“We certainly are,” said Edie’s mom. “We have a room at a hotel a couple of towns over.”
“We should have paid attention to the school’s literature that they sent us about Parents’ Weekend at the beginning of the semester,” said her dad.
“Why, what did it say?” Corrie’s grandma asked.
“It said to make sure we made a hotel reservation as early as possible if we were planning to spend the night,” he explained with a sheepish smile. Corrie could see that Edie had gotten her smile from him—and, unfortunately, her nose too. “We waited until a couple of weeks ago, and the hotel in this town was completely booked up. We had to go online and figure out where the other hotels in the area were.”
“Well, I might wish we could stay longer, but at least we didn’t have to worry about that,” said Corrie’s grandma. “I know where I’m sleeping tonight.”
Corrie leaned back in her chair so she could talk to Edie around her mother. “The adults seem to be having a good time.”
Edie grinned. “Well, this is their weekend, isn’t it? Oh, I don’t want to forget, I have a few books that I can give back to your mom, unless you want to hang onto them for the club.”
Corrie nodded. “We can go back to our room after lunch and look over them.”
And that was what they did, when everyone had finished eating: first they put their paper plates in the trash and their forks and knives, which Corrie had assumed were plastic, in the bin marked “flatware” (a few lines of text on the bin explained that the flatware was made of corn and was biodegradable), and then they set off back south through the campus, heading for Gilkey. On the way, Corrie put her hands casually into her pockets and encountered her four-leaf clover. She carefully pulled it out to show her mom and grandmother. They would probably be interested in it even if she left out the information about it breaking illusions. But before she could go very far with it, Edie and Leila walked past holding hands. They had to squeeze past Corrie to get around her on the path, and the clover was crushed and then torn.
“Oh no!” Corrie cried involuntarily, looking at the clover in her hand. It now only had three leaves, one of which was torn in half.
Edie and Leila stopped and turned. “Are you okay?” Edie asked. “What happened?”
Everyone had now stopped and were looking at Corrie, and she felt a little embarrassed to have reacted so strongly. She hoped she wasn’t blushing. “It’s okay,” she said, holding up the clover. “I wanted to show you this four-leaf clover I found,” she said to her mom and grandmother, “but it’s a three-leaf clover now, I guess. It was already sort of torn. Oh, look.” She noticed a spot of green on Leila’s black sleeve, reached over, and picked it off. “There’s the extra leaf.”
“I’m sorry,” said Leila. “I certainly did not mean to break it. Is it a good luck charm?”
“I guess.” Corrie grinned to show she really wasn’t upset and tossed the bits of greenery to the ground beside the path. “It’s really not a big deal. They grow all over campus. Professor Lal says it’s because there’s so much magic here. I’ll find another.”
“Really?” Leila shrugged and smiled, a bit coldly, Corrie thought. “I am glad not to have done any permanent damage, then.” She turned, along with Edie, and started walking along the path again.