Sunday morning, Bronwyn arrives at the Until Proven offices with her mother and Mrs. Macauley. The office is busy, under-furnished, and understaffed; Eli quickly explains that though he can’t take the case on, he’s willing to hear what Mrs. Macauley has to say and help advise her. Mrs. Macauley launches into what she’s been told—the school received a call from an anonymous source stating that Nate had drugs in his locker. When they removed his lock to check it out, they found no drugs—but did find a bag containing Simon’s water bottle, epi-pen, and all of the missing epi-pens from the nurse’s office. Bronwyn knows that given how many times they’ve all been questioned about the pens over the last month, Nate—even if guilty—would never be stupid enough to leave them in his locker.
As Mrs. Macauley reveals the truth of the accusations being leveled against Nate, Bronwyn at last has hard confirmation: there is no way that Nate was responsible for the things he's being framed for. It’s difficult to believe how the authorities couldn’t see this glaring inconsistency, but in such a volatile case that’s gotten so much attention, it’s easier for the investigators to fall back on the public’s ability to believe easy stereotypes rather than thoroughly question oddities and inconsistencies.
Mrs. Macauley continues: the police obtained a warrant to search Nate’s house Saturday morning, and in Nate’s closet found a computer with access to the About This blog on it. Mrs. Macauley says that Nate doesn’t know how any of the evidence got into his locker or his house; moreover, the house, having fallen into such disrepair, is usually unlocked. Eli writes this all down with interest, but when Mrs. Macauley mentions that the district attorney wants to move Nate from juvenile hall to a regular prison, Eli sits bolt upright and replies that such a thing cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to happen.
Despite the flimsy and unexplainable evidence that has been gathered against Nate, the investigators and officials holding him want to punish him to the full extent of the law—this injustice riles Eli, who believes his clients and knows there’s no way Nate is deserving of the punishments being thrown at him.
As he reviews what Mrs. Macauley has just told him, Eli realizes that he has to take on the case, even though he doesn’t have the time. Bronwyn is deeply relieved, and tries to get a word in about the Camaro—but Eli stops her, stating that it would be a conflict of interest from him to speak with other people represented in the case. He tells Bronwyn and her mother to leave so that he can get down to business with Mrs. Macauley, and she stands to go—but worries that if Eli doesn’t know even half of what she, Addy, Cooper, and Nate do, he won’t be able to help Nate clear his name.
Bronwyn has done a whole lot to help Nate already—but when a conflict of interest keeps her from contributing more to the investigation, she becomes frustrated, and knows that there has to be more that she can do in order to ensure that Nate is exonerated.
By Monday, Addy is surprised to realize that there are no vans or camera crews following her or her family around. Things are “oddly normal” as Addy, her mother, and Ashton sit down to dinner. Addy’s mother refuses to eat, though—she is on a cleanse. As Addy looks at her mother with her plumped lips, dyed blonde hair, and skintight dress, she pities her. After a minute, the doorbell rings. Ashton gets up to answer it, revealing TJ standing in the doorway. He mistakenly took Addy’s book with him after science, and is returning it to her so that she can study for their quiz tomorrow. TJ introduces himself to Addy’s mother, and then asks Addy if she wants to study; Addy says she can’t.
McManus uses this passage to show how Addy is in a remarkably similar logistical and emotional space to Cooper. She feels grateful that things are going back to “normal”—but now that she has her old life back, all she can see is the ways in which it’s insufficient, and the problems that remain to be solved.
After TJ leaves, Addy’s mother is disappointed in Addy for “being so rude to [such] a handsome boy”—she points out that no other guys are “beating down [Addy’s] door anymore.” Addy insists she isn’t looking for another boyfriend, but her mother says it’s time for her to move on—she and Jake broke up “ages” ago. She warns Addy that if she doesn’t date around, she’ll “end up on a shelf.” When Addy insists she doesn’t need a man to be happy, her mother points out that Addy has been “miserable” for the last month. Addy replies that she’s been miserable because she’s being investigated for murder. Addy’s mother warns her that because she isn’t “college material,” high school is her last chance to find a decent boy with a good future, but Ashton cuts her off.
Addy’s mother continues spouting vicious and harmful falsehoods at Addy. Addy’s weakened sense of self-esteem and overvaluing of romantic relationships all stems from her mother’s toxic influence. Her mother is so devoted to following a simple, exhausting blueprint through life that she can’t even begin to see the pain and suffering her daughter has been through—only Ashton sticks up for Addy and understands the pain she’s endured.
Addy’s phone rings—it’s Bronwyn, who sounds if she’s been crying. She asks Addy to stop by later tonight to help her out with something—she’s inviting Cooper, too. Addy quickly agrees to meet up; she heads out as fast as she can, calling a goodbye over her shoulder and hopping on her bike. When Bronwyn answers the front door, she looks terrible; Addy feels badly that the boy Bronwyn loves is in jail for murder.
Addy, spurred by her desire to get out of her house, returns to the “murder club” to help try and set things right with Nate—even though doing so takes her away from a return to normalcy and places her back in the midst of a seemingly unsolvable puzzle.
Inside, Maeve is on her laptop and Cooper is sprawled out in an armchair. Addy asks Bronwyn if she’s seen Nate, but Bronwyn replies that Nate doesn’t want her to come visit him in juvy. Bronwyn switches the subject—she wants to finish what they started, and finally make sense of Simon’s murder. She wants to take another look at the About This posts—since the police are saying Nate wrote them, she figures they can comb through and find irregularities, or things Nate never would have written.
The “murder club” has been motivated throughout the novel to band together and try to solve the crime; but now that Nate has been arrested, the stakes are even higher, and Bronwyn knows they don’t have much time left to clear his name. They’ll need to make a greater effort than ever before and leave no stone unturned as they look at the connections between seemingly unrelated people at their school.
Maeve pulls up the blog on her laptop and they all begin reading. When they reach a certain post, Cooper points to a line which he says “never happened”—a post dated October twentieth states that the investigation is turning into “such a cliché” that the Bayview Four even caught one of the detectives eating a pile of donuts. Addy feels a coldness rush over her—she remembers rattling this false detail off to Jake weeks ago.
The Bayview Four attempt to use the very technology that’s been weaponized against them to their advantage, combing through posts until an unmistakable but heartbreaking truth emerges: their enemies are much closer to home than they realized.