Monday morning, Addy arrives at school to find police cars lining the front of Bayview High. Cooper, who looks as if he hasn’t slept for days, pulls Addy aside before homeroom and asks if they can talk in private. He leads her out to the parking lot and confesses that the police are more than likely here to ask questions about him. He wants to tell Addy why, “before everything goes to hell.” Cooper confesses that he is gay, and Addy is confused at first, but then realizes that the statement makes sense—it was obvious that Cooper was never that into Keely.
Though Cooper’s secret is something of a bombshell, Addy is quickly able to reconcile this new information with her prior assessment of Cooper. This shows how Addy—and all of the characters, in fact—are getting better at looking past stereotypes and seeing their friends’ whole, nuanced selves.
Cooper tells Addy that Simon had uncovered the fact that he was seeing someone and was going to post about it, but then switched it out for a fake entry about steroid use. Cooper tells Addy that because of the suspicious switch, the police are looking into him “hard-core,” and soon the whole school will know. Addy insists that none of Cooper’s friends will care, but Cooper tells Addy she knows this isn’t true.
Cooper knows that just a little while ago, Addy was forced to deal with the downfall of her reputation and exile from her social circle. Fearing the same thing is about to happen to him, he seeks her comfort and wisdom.
Cooper adds that he can’t stop thinking about all the “weird stuff” Maeve mentioned Simon had gotten into—Addy says that Bronwyn wants for all of the Bayview Four to get together and compare notes. Addy fills Cooper in on the fact that Nate’s mom is alive after all, and that Bronwyn left a threatening comment on an old post of Simon’s. Cooper is incredulous, and seems momentarily distracted from his own problems. He tells Addy that if the three of them want to plan a get-together, he’s “in.”
This passage shows Addy and Cooper flooding one another with information, theories, and desperate attempts to wrest control of their situation away from the media and the investigators. They decide to band together, knowing that they are stronger as a united force than they are apart, where they can be picked on by anyone.
The Bayview Police set themselves up in a conference room with a liaison and begin interviewing students. By the middle of the morning on Tuesday, “whispers” about Cooper’s sexuality have started. That afternoon at lunch, Addy sits down with Bronwyn; when Cooper enters the cafeteria, a buzz goes through the room, and someone calls out a loud taunt. Cooper freezes in the doorway, and someone else throws a packet of condoms at him. Nate enters the cafeteria, sees what’s going on, and calls out to everyone in the cafeteria, telling them to “get a life.”
The worst thing Cooper ever could have imagined happens—he is outed in front of the whole school, and the secret he’s spent his life protecting is out in the open. Though Cooper’s old friends don’t defend him, his new ones do—Nate shatters stereotypes of himself as an apathetic loner in order to come to Cooper’s aid.
Nate walks over to Addy and Bronwyn’s table and kisses Bronwyn in full view of everyone; the cafeteria erupts in catcalls and shouts, and Cooper is momentarily forgotten. Addy runs up to the doorway and grabs Cooper by the arm, inviting him to sit at her table with the rest of the “murder club.” Cooper follows Addy and they settle in; Luis defects from the popular table and joins Cooper, Addy, Bronwyn, and Nate. Addy is happy that Cooper has some “real friends” from their old group, even though she herself does not.
By putting their own secrets out in the open—and refusing to back out of the public eye—the Bayview Four, or the “murder club,” take back the narratives that have been constructed about them. They still have one another, and the healthy, bolstering new connections and friendships they’re forming.