Melinda tells David Petrakis that Mr. Neck gave her a D on her report. He comments that her parents should also sue; she doesn’t tell him that her parents don’t even know about this latest disciplinary trouble yet. To Melinda’s surprise, David agrees that he is furious at Mr. Neck, but argues that the teacher has a point—David says that the suffragettes fought to speak, but Melinda shouldn’t be fighting to stay silent. He tells her that she can only make a difference if she speaks up, and that he’s only lecturing her because he likes her.
Although David Petrakis is something of a know-it-all, he has a point: although Melinda has stood up against Mr. Neck, she still insists on remaining silent, essentially ensuring that her voice will never be heard. Of course, his mention of his incredibly supportive parents also reminds Melinda of her own parents’ obliviousness and disconnectedness.
David awkwardly flirts with Melinda, saying that he might call her; Melinda appears receptive, telling him that she doesn’t know whether or not she’ll answer. When he leaves, however, she reflects that she’ll explode if she touches her, and therefore can’t date him.
David’s flirtation provides Melinda a moment of hope for future human connection. She is so traumatized by her rape, however, that she is also completely unnerved by that possible connection.