Violet goes back to school on Monday and is a little shocked and disappointed that nobody seems to know she’s not a virgin anymore. Only Brenda figures it out when Violet is slow answering what she did over the weekend. Brenda assures Violet that Finch is a gentleman and won’t spread it around. On their way out of the cafeteria, Violet invites Brenda to work on Germ with her. Brenda laughs but agrees.
Violet is having a difficult time trying to decide how having had sex changes her identity—it’s something that’s very important to her, but she also discovers that it’s not something obvious to other people. So, it may have changed her, but not necessarily in a visible way.
When Violet and Finch get to U.S. Geography, Finch looks exhausted. After class, they kiss under the stairwell. They spend the entire week at school kissing in dark corners, and at night, they chat online. As they discuss the likelihood that Violet’s parents will move on, Violet is unwilling to tell Finch that her parents might not ever move on. Finch seems a little off, like he’s half hiding behind a curtain.
The fact that Violet can sense that something is wrong with Finch suggests that Finch’s mental illness is becoming more difficult for him to hide as he declines. However, Violet doesn’t mention anyone else noticing that Finch seems off. She is likely the only person who notices or cares.
Violet tries to go to sleep after midnight, but she can’t sleep—she’s thinking about Germ. She sketches out some ideas, including a “Wander” section that would ask readers to send in videos or pictures of their favorite sites. She emails Brenda, Finch, Jordan, the three Brianas, and Lara, inviting all of them to contribute. Though Violet drafts an email to Amanda too, she doesn’t send it and deletes it in the morning.
Here, Violet starts to expand her community by inviting these girls to contribute to Germ. The written word, she realizes, can connect people and give them a reason to keep going. And notably, she doesn’t just want to feature her friends’ writing. She also wants to create a robust community where readers can also feel seen and heard.
After breakfast with her parents on Saturday, Violet tells them she’s going to Amanda’s house. They ask no questions, and Violet bikes to Finch’s house instead. They have sex and then hide under the blanket, talking about Germ. Violet thanks Finch for showing her that this sort of thing matters, but Finch suggests that Violet would’ve gotten back into writing even without him. Violet doesn’t like the implication that there’s life without Finch, but then they discuss all the places they want to travel and have sex. Violet feels guilty for lying to her parents and feels again like Finch is hiding something.
While Violet seems to feel even closer to Finch these days, Finch acts like he’s pulling away from her. He seems to be hiding something, he’s unwilling to acknowledge how helpful he’s been to Violet’s recovery, and he also seems to imply that Violet doesn’t necessarily need him. This is most likely a result of Finch’s worsening mental health, but Violet doesn’t know this. And since she knows so little about what Finch is feeling, she can’t help him.