Bronwyn stares blankly at the news, unable to process what is happening. The news doesn’t offer any information as to why Nate is being arrested, other than the fact that new evidence made it clear that Nate was the murderer. As Bronwyn watches footage of Nate being guided into a police cruiser, she thinks that he looks different from the Nate she knows—the Nate she believes is the real Nate.
The circumstances surrounding Nate’s arrest are murky and suspicious—Bronwyn refuses to believe that his arrest is warranted, given how well she’s come to know the “real” Nate.
Maeve wonders what the police have found that makes them think Nate is guilty, but Bronwyn can barely think straight. When the news plays footage from Mikhail Powers Investigates, though, Bronwyn is struck by an idea; she picks up her phone and searches the internet for Eli Kleinfelter’s number, then calls him. He answers on the first ring, and begs him to take on Nate’s case. Eli says that though he’s interested, he has an impossible workload as it is—Bronwyn begins begging Eli outright, unloading Nate’s “heart-wrenching” stories from his childhood. Eli agrees to meet with Bronwyn and Nate’s mom at ten the next morning; Bronwyn hangs up, grabs her parents’ car keys, and asks Maeve to come with her to track down Nate’s mother.
Bronwyn is desperate to save Nate and help him clear his name. Though she doesn’t quite know what’s going on, her trust in Nate is complete; she loves him, and, having come to see what he’s really like over the last several weeks, knows he isn’t capable of doing the things he’s being accused of. She wants everyone else to understand the “real” Nate, too, and look past the stereotypes and easy tropes that have been thrust upon him.
As the girls get into the car and start driving towards the police station, Bronwyn notices that her phone is blowing up with texts, calls, and other social media notifications, but she ignores them all. Nate’s mother is not at the station, and so the girls get back in the car—Maeve drives while Bronwyn calls Addy, who accuses the police department of playing “musical chairs” with the four of them and landing arbitrarily on Nate.
Bronwyn resists the pull of social media and connection in order to pursue justice for Nate—the only person she involves is Addy, whom she knows has developed the same attitude towards stereotypes and false accusations that she has.
When Maeve and Bronwyn pull back into their driveway, the lawn is swarming with reporters, who shove microphones in Bronwyn’s face and ask her questions about her relationship with Nate. Maeve and Bronwyn fight their way inside, where their parents are waiting. Bronwyn’s mother demands to know what is going on between her and Nate, and Bronwyn, remembering how painful things have been since she started keeping things from her parents, decides to tell her everything. Bronwyn apologizes for keeping the relationship from her mother, but insists that Nate is innocent—and that she needs to work on connecting Mrs. Macauley and Eli. Bronwyn’s mother agrees to let Bronwyn do whatever it is she needs to do; as Bronwyn heads upstairs, her phone rings, and Mrs. Macauley is on the other end.
Bronwyn has been keeping her relationship with Nate secret from her mother, even though she’s brought it into the light with Maeve and at school. Now, Bronwyn realizes the capacity secrets have to hurt not just the people they’re kept from, but their keepers as well. She decides to be honest with her mother, and her transparency is rewarded.
The narrative switches over to Cooper’s perspective. Saturday afternoon, Cooper has just finished playing an exhibition game—he did well, and a scout from Cal State even approached him afterwards. Cooper’s coach has started hearing from teams again, but Cooper suspects it is more a PR move than genuine interest—only Cal State is still talking about offering Cooper a scholarship.
The ways in which Cooper has been mistreated by the media and rejected by schools who previously loved him has led him to doubt the authenticity of new offers—he knows how fickle and unpredictable public opinion is, and at last understands how little it really signifies.
As Cooper and Luis head to the car after the game, Cooper dodges questions from reporters, as usual, until one of them asks him what he thinks about Nate’s arrest—Cooper is confused, as this is the first he’s heard about it. As the boys duck into Cooper’s father’s car, Luis comments that Cooper is “off the hook” at last—Luis admits he always figured Nate was responsible.
Cooper has no idea what to think about Nate’s arrest, or the idea that he himself is absolved by Nate’s supposed guilt—even though Nate is a “criminal,” Nate was the only person who stood up for him last week in the cafeteria.
After Cooper and his dad drop Luis off at his house, they are alone in the car. Cooper tries to talk to his dad about Cal State, but his father insists that Cal State isn’t even a top ten team. As they pull onto their street and spot the reporters, Cooper’s father tells his son that he hopes his “choice” was “worth it.”
Cooper’s father still refuses to see his son for who he really is, and instead believes that Cooper has deliberately made a “choice” that harms his reputation and his appearance.
Inside, Cooper’s father turns on the TV while Cooper talks to his Nonny in the kitchen. She reminds Cooper that things always get worse before they get better, and suggests he bring Kris over for dinner sometime. Soon, Cooper’s phone buzzes—it’s Bronwyn. She tells him that she’s trying to set up a meeting between Nate’s mom and Eli Kleinfelter, and wants to know if Cooper ever talked to Luis about the red Camaro. Cooper says he hasn’t heard anything, but promises to check in with him soon. As Cooper hangs up, his feelings of relief are tinged with feelings of worry for Nate.
This passage shows the many conflicting feelings Cooper continues to have about the entirety of his situation. He longs for his father’s approval, but knows that with all the support he’s getting from his new friends and his grandmother, he can’t hinge his whole life on one person’s opinion. At the same time, he’s unsure of whether he should feel happy or guilty—he knows deep down that Nate didn’t murder Simon, but is too afraid to further risk his own life and reputation to stand up for what’s right, even though Nate did just that for him.