Ten days after Will is released from the hospital, Steven drops Will, Lou, and Nathan off at Gatwick airport. Lou nervously goes over all the special travel arrangements she has made for Will’s wheelchair, while Will simply looks exhausted already. Lou tries to believe that the trip will be good, insisting “we’ll manage” at every new wrinkle. She had spent hours on the online forums asking for recommendations of places to take Will that would be kind to his health. Ritchie finally connects Lou with a travel agent who helps her find the perfect place. As their flight number is called, Lou prays that this trip is a good decision.
Lou finally has something that she desperately wants to accomplish instead of remaining content in her small town. Her willpower is the only thing that makes this trip possible, as Will does not seem physically able to give this trip a sincere chance.
On the twelve-hour flight, Lou realizes that Will is no different from anyone else stuck in an airline seat. The three friends watch movies and Lou actually starts to realize that this flight is a big step for her as well as Will. Lou thinks about Treena’s unwavering support while she pulled this together. It is not until the plane actually lands in Mauritius that Lou allows herself to relax in the beautiful island paradise.
As the group travels to a new place, Will has the chance to let go of his old life and enjoy new experiences despite the things he has lost. Lou, too, has the chance to start anew by taking a big step away from the place she has always lived. Will needs Lou’s support to get this far, just as Lou has depended on her sister.
After three days, Will begins to look really better. The sun tans his hospital-pale skin and his appetite returns. The resort in Mauritius is very wheelchair friendly and the hotel staff are unfailingly kind to Nathan and Lou, but especially attentive to Will. One young man, Nadil, makes it his personal mission to ensure that Will has everything he needs. As Lou watches Will sunbathe on the beach, she feels that she is actually in heaven.
Sun-drenched Mauritius offers a paradise to Will after the darkness he has been living in England. The enclosed world of the resort, and the efforts of Nadil behind the scenes, allow Will to have control over what he does each day. The resort staff do not ignore Will, but give him extra attention and reaffirm his humanity.
Lou, Will and Nathan’s days at the resort take on a pattern of good food, sunbathing, watching Nathan take on water sports, and talking about everything under the sun. Will seems to be truly at peace for the first time since Lou has met him, but Lou can’t quite forget about the reason she planned this trip. On the 4th night, Nathan leaves Will and Lou alone to go on a date with Karen, another girl on holiday, and Lou relishes the chance to spend time with Will without distractions.
Will is at peace in Mauritius, an escape from his everyday struggles to continue living in England. Calling back to the peace of the football player who committed suicide, it seems as though Will might be able to keep living in Mauritius rather than giving up. At the same time, Lou doesn’t seem to consider it “real” life – this beautiful time with Will can’t last.
On the last night of the trip, Lou offers to let Nathan bring Karen to their hotel overnight. This means that Will and Lou have to share a room. Lou plans to sleep on the sofa, but Will invites her over to the bed. Together, Will and Lou watch a tropical storm lash the ocean outside the window. Lou curls up against Will and takes his hand, dreading the return to England. Finally, Will falls asleep and Lou watches his face as she tells herself that everything will be okay.
Will and Lou watch the storm together, safe in bed despite the violence outside. Again, their blissful time in Mauritius is just a brief respite from the rain and troubles of life. Lou constantly thinks of the deadlines looming over their heads, knowing that this time has to come to an end.
The last day in Mauritius, Lou agrees to go scuba diving. Though she has trouble in the training pool, the instructor takes her out to the ocean, saying that some people do better when they dive straight into the deep. Lou is absolutely enchanted by the bright colors of the fish and coral, staying under as long as she can until her oxygen tank runs out. That night, Lou relaxes enough to get drunk, then goes on a walk along the beach with Will. Lou gets Will to admit that he is glad they came on this holiday, then kicks off her shoes and dances to music drifting over from the resort bar. When the song ends, Will calls Lou over. She sits in his lap and kisses Will. After a moment’s hesitation, Will kisses Lou back.
By going scuba diving, Lou opens up another world that she never expected to be a part of. Lou has to dive straight into life, unable to appreciate all the good experiences she will have until she is in the midst of them. One of these great experiences is loving Will. Though Lou is scared, she finally commits to her feelings for Will instead of playing it safe.
After a minute, Will pulls away from Lou. He can’t be with her, he says, because it reminds him of all he has lost after the accident. Lou argues, saying that his situation does not make things impossible and that she loves him. Will starts to tell Lou about his plan in Switzerland, but Lou cuts him off. She tells him that this whole trip was meant to change his mind. Lou confesses all of her feelings to Will, telling him how much braver she is now because of him. She even has a plan to go back to college so that they can be together rather than employee and employer. Will smiles and Lou’s heart lifts.
Will and Lou continue to be honest with each other. Will admits his hopelessness, while Lou admits that she is able to see past that to the potential that Will still has. Lou also gets to the heart of what Will has done for her, giving her ambition and support in pursuing dreams that she never considered before. At first, it seems that Lou’s passionate speech has made a significant impact on Will.
Lou asks Will if he has changed his mind about Switzerland. After a painful pause, Will answers no. Though he has loved the time he got with Lou, it is still not the life he wanted. When Lou tells him to just give it a chance, Will argues that he does not want Lou to resent him years later for taking away the amazing life she could have with someone else. Will tells Lou that, if she truly loves him, she will let him end his pain now before his health gets worse. Lou is horrified that Will is asking her to let him die, but Will pushes further and asks her to go to Dignitas with him. Enraged and destroyed by Will’s rejection of all she did for him and all she feels for him, Lou tells Will no. She bursts into tears and runs back to the hotel, leaving Will alone on the beach.
Will recognizes the beauty that could be possible in a life with Lou, but he still asserts that he wants the life that he chose. Will finds meaning and purpose in life by being able to choose what he wants and working towards those goals. Will asks Lou to respect that decision, but Lou can only see the pain of that final outcome.