That night, Nate calls all of his suppliers to tell them that he’s not planning on dealing drugs for a while. He tosses the burner phone he used to make those calls, and pulls out a new one, which he uses to call the phone he gave to Bronwyn. She picks up suspiciously, remarking on how late it is, but soon admits that she can’t sleep. Bronwyn asks Nate if he remembers one of their classmate’s birthday parties in the fifth grade; she believes that was the last time the two of them spoke before “all of this.”
This passage is brimming with connections both broken and reestablished. Nate is literally cutting ties to significant parts of his recent past, and reforming a connection with Bronwyn—someone with whom he shares a connection that has faltered and faded, but has been thrust into their lives again by circumstances beyond their control.
There is a silence on the other end, and then Nate hears Bronwyn ask, “Did you do it?” Knowing she is referring both to the About That post and Simon’s murder, he replies, “Yes and no.” Bronwyn admits the same—she is guilty of the rumor Simon accused her of, but had nothing to do with his murder. Bronwyn confesses that she is afraid everyone will find out the truth about her; Nate tells her not to worry so much about what people think, but Bronwyn implies that Nate should perhaps care a little bit more about what people think of him.
Bronwyn and Nate are being remarkably honest with one another. For two people who have spent years stewing in a school where the environment is so steeped in secrets and half-truths, they know how rare and important trust is—and are trying to establish a base of trust and mutual respect with one another now against all odds.
Nate’s real phone goes off—it’s the girl he’s been hooking up with, asking if he wants to meet up, but Nate ignores the text in order to keep talking to Bronwyn, who is admitting how worried she is about disappointing her parents. Bronwyn then shares her memories of Nate’s own absent mother—Bronwyn remembers that when they were children, Nate’s mom was always nice to her, and often told her that Nate only teased Bronwyn in school because he had a crush on her. Bronwyn asks Nate now if this was true; Nate says he can’t remember. They are about to hang up when Bronwyn admits that she had a crush on Nate back in elementary school. After they say goodnight, Nate immediately texts his hookup back and invites her over.
Nate and Bronwyn continue being radically honest with one another as their phone call goes on—but when Nate receives texts from a semi-regular hookup, he can’t help but continue forging ahead with that connection, too. This not only undermines the trust Nate and Bronwyn are establishing, but shows that even when people try to be as honest as they can be with one another, there are still private parts of themselves they are too ashamed to share or afraid to abandon.
On Wednesday morning, Addy’s older sister, Ashton, has to talk her into going to school. Addy’s mother is struggling to come up with the funds to retain a lawyer, and Addy’s absent father who lives in Chicago is not being helpful. On top of that, Jake is making Addy into a pariah at school—Ashton urges Addy not to let Jake ruin her life.
Things are miserable for Addy, who has had the life she worked hard to construct and maintain for years ripped away in an instant. Everything she knew is gone, and she must rebuild herself—and her personal life—out of nothing.
When Addy arrives at school for the day, she spots the only person on campus who looks worse than she does: Janae, Simon’s Goth friend, who has crying ever since Simon died and looks to have lost a significant amount of weight. The second person Addy runs into is Jake himself. Addy says hi to him, but he pretends she isn’t there; she asks if he’s ever planning on speaking to her again, and he replies that he isn’t. Addy makes her way to her own locker, trying not to cry, and sees that someone has written “WHORE” across the front in black marker. She runs to the nearest bathroom, ducks into a stall, sits down on the toilet, and sobs.
Not only is Addy struggling with being part of an ongoing investigation, but now has to deal with being placed under intense scrutiny at school, too. It is all too much for her to bear—she collapses under the pressure, and decides to hide herself away rather than face down the cruel new world she’s found herself in.
Addy stays in the bathroom for two whole class periods; by the time she gathers herself together, her makeup has washed off and her face has grown puffy. She decides that she is going to cut class and go home. On her way through the hall, she runs into TJ. She confronts him and asks who he told about their sleeping together—he promises he told no one. Addy tells TJ that she’s going home—her friends have ostracized her, and will never let her sit with them at lunch again. TJ tells her that she’s welcome to sit with him anytime; Addy reluctantly smiles.
Even though Addy feels her world has been burnt to the ground, there are still people who want to make a connection with her—even if she knows that pursuing a relationship or friendship with TJ would only make matters worse.