At the hotel, players are only allowed to spend one hour fraternizing with fans and girlfriends in the lobby. Ron is upstairs on the Boosters’ party floor, so, curious what Jamie will do unsupervised, Daunis grabs his hand. They watch Levi imitate the players’ performances from the game, but Daunis bristles when Levi says Stormy is “the baddest goon” from Sugar Island. She knows Dad was “the ultimate goon,” but Levi seems to forget about Dad sometimes. He remembers Dad pulling them around the ice with a scarf, but he insists the scarf was blue, not green, and that he can’t find it at his house. When Levi imitates Jamie, Daunis kisses Jamie and feels instantly terrible: Jamie almost flinches.
Daunis treats Jamie like something of a science experiment in this passage, testing whether he’s genuinely interested in her or is just playing a part. That he flinches away when Daunis kisses him suggests he’s feeling something real—but what that is remains secret for now. Daunis associates Dad’s scarf with wholly good things and memories, and she’d ideally like Levi to do the same. Levi, though, had his own relationship with Dad, and perhaps it wasn’t as rosy as Daunis’s was.
Daunis leads Jamie to a quiet corner and says that no matter what Ron says, pretending to be romantically involved is the best way to help the investigation. Gulping, he asks what happens when someone finds out what tribe they’re from. Daunis can only speak for Sugar Island (each tribe has its own rules), but she says enrolling kids with enrolled parents is easy. People have to enroll by their 19th birthday, though Sugar Island makes exceptions for kids who were adopted out. Seeing Jamie’s eyes widen, Daunis realizes that’s what happened to him. She says families search for babies who were adopted out, and there are healing ceremonies when members return. Other tribes likely do the same. Jamie thanks Daunis, and they share their first real kiss as they part ways in the elevator.
When Jamie pivots from talking about the investigation to asking about tracking down one’s tribe, it reveals that he’s not actually thinking about the investigation right now. Rather, he’s doing much the same thing Daunis is and is trying to find himself and where he belongs. The revelation that Jamie was adopted out of his tribe helps explain why Jamie didn’t grow up immersed in Cherokee culture. Daunis is able to give Jamie hope that he can get back to his birth family and his blood relatives, and this brings them closer together, culminating in their real kiss. Note that this kiss violates the relationship rules they came up with earlier, showing clearly that their feelings are deepening.
On the Booster floor, Daunis navigates the crowded hallway and jokes with Ron, who’s clearly tipsy. As she reaches her room, the woman who flashed a truck on the bus leaves Grant’s room looking a mess—and Grant, wrapped in a towel, looks wildly proud. Grant greets Daunis, and when she struggles to unlock her door, he helps her, noting that “The right moves make all the difference.” Daunis closes herself in. She has to avoid Grant for 22 more weeks.
Grant looks increasingly predatory as time goes on—Daunis infers here that Grant has sex with lots of women who participate in Booster Bus activities, and from his expression, it seems like he views these liaisons as conquests rather than as a fun time for all involved. What he says to Daunis, meanwhile, suggests he may be setting his sights on her next—even though her plans to avoid him make readers well aware that she isn’t interested.
At the game the next day, Coach Bobby scolds Daunis for lifting with her bad shoulder when she helps carry boxes of souvenir hockey pucks. The pucks in Daunis’s box are blank except for smudged dream catchers on one side—and Coach explains that Grant donated them to a tribal youth program, but Grant wants to keep his donation quiet. Daunis is enraged.
The revelation that Daunis has a bad shoulder may help explain why Daunis isn’t playing college hockey right now. Learning that the pucks with smudged dream catchers came from Grant shows Daunis how little Grant thinks of Native Americans—if he valued Native people, he may have invested in higher-quality printing. It’s interesting—and rather mysterious—that Grant wants to keep his donation quiet, so this is a detail worth keeping in mind moving forward.
During the game, Daunis squeezes in next to Megan and accepts a gift bag. It contains a jersey that reads DAUNIS; Megan explains that they didn’t think it’d work to put Jamie, Levi, Stormy, and Mike’s name on her jersey (girlfriends have their boyfriend’s name on their jerseys). Daunis is touched. She proudly hands out pucks during intermission, but she notices people crying as they get texts. Daunis checks her phone. Auntie texted: Robin died of a meth overdose.
Given Grant’s bigotry with the pucks, Megan seems less offensive to Daunis right now. And Megan, for all her own unaddressed bigotry, shows that she does want to accept Daunis and bring her into the Supes girlfriend fold. Meth, though, continues to ruin happy moments like these and take the lives of Daunis’s friends and family members, reminding her that she’s here for a reason. Her job now is to figure out who’s responsible for Robin’s death.