The following evening, Bronwyn and her sister Maeve are watching Netflix. Bronwyn can’t concentrate on the show, though; she can’t stop thinking about how the About This post blew up earlier that day at school. Though school officials tried to track the blog’s IP address all day, Bronwyn knows that no one in their right mind would send out something like that from their own phone or computer.
Whereas Simon’s app was all out in the open—everyone knew that he was its creator and proprietor—someone is, for good reason, attempting to shroud the About This blog in mystery, and perhaps even weaponize it against certain people.
Maeve begins daydreaming aloud about this time next year, when she predicts Bronwyn will be blossoming socially at Yale; Bronwyn knows that Maeve, who has struggled with leukemia most of her life and only went into remission two years ago, often lives vicariously through her. Suddenly, Maeve presses her face against the window and announces that Nate Macauley is in the driveway.
Bronwyn and Maeve’s relationship is extremely close, but Bronwyn sometimes worries that even her beloved sister is responsible for pigeonholing her into a stereotype or a predetermined course.
Bronwyn invites Nate inside, and he reluctantly agrees. In the kitchen, Bronwyn introduces Nate to Maeve, who remarks to Bronwyn—in Spanish, so Nate can’t understand—that Nate is cute. Nate notices a grand piano in the living room and asks who plays; Maeve answers that Bronwyn does. Nate asks Bronwyn to play something, and she half-heartedly makes her way over to the piano; she has been struggling with a difficult piece for weeks. Now, though, as she sits down to play, the music comes more easily to her, and she finds herself making her way through the piece with gusto. When she finishes, Nate exclaims that it was “the best thing [he’s] ever heard.”
Bronwyn and Nate are continuing to surprise each other at every turn, tearing down what they thought they knew about each other and revealing their secret hobbies, thoughts, and preoccupations to each other. They are the first two characters to do so together—though Cooper and Addy privately have complicated lives, Nate and Bronwyn are doing the work of dismantling each other’s perceptions and making room for a new way of seeing one another.
Over at Addy’s house that same Friday evening, Officer Budapest is in her living room, flirting with Addy’s mother. He diverts his attention away from Addy’s mother to ask Addy a few “follow-up” questions—Addy knows that today at school, Mr. Avery’s classroom was blocked off with yellow tape, and policemen were going in and out all day. Budapest says he has a specific question for Addy. The day of Simon’s death, she was in the nurse’s office earlier that afternoon, according to the log. At first, she claims to not remember being in the office, but then says she went because she had her period and needed medicine for cramps.
As Addy gears up for yet another round of questioning, she is clearly nervous, and tries to avoid answering the officer’s question. Her motivation for doing so remains unclear, but what is evident is that Addy, too, has something she’s trying to hide.
When Addy’s sister Ashton, who is visiting for the weekend, speaks up and asks why Budapest is asking about Addy’s visit to the nurse, Budapest reveals that the police are looking into why there were no epi-pens in the nurse’s office during Simon’s attack. The nurse has said that there were pens in the office that morning, but by afternoon, they were gone. He asks Addy if she happened to notice whether the pens were in their cabinet. Addy feels her heart beat fast as she tells Budapest she doesn’t even know what an epi-pen looks like.
It becomes clear that Addy does not want any part of the officer’s questioning; she shuts down his interrogations and claims to not even know what he’s asking her about in the first place.
Budapest leaves after a few more routine questions, giving Addy his card so that she can call him if she remembers anything else about that afternoon. Addy and Ashton head upstairs, where Ashton asks her why she was so cagey about Budapest’s questions. Before Addy can answer, though, her phone rings; Ashton picks it up and tosses it to her, announcing that Jake is calling. Addy chides Ashton for looking at her phone, which is “private.” Ashton asks if Addy is having problems with Jake; Addy defensively says she isn’t. Downstairs, the doorbell rings; Jake has arrived to drive Addy to the beach.
Addy’s sister knows that something is up; though she’s unsure of what’s going on, it’s clear that the way Addy handled the officer’s questions was uncharacteristic of her. Ashton wants to know what’s really going on in Addy’s life—and seems to believe that all her problems stem from her relationship with Jake.
Addy goes downstairs to let Jake inside; when she opens the door, TJ is with him. Jake asks if Addy minds if they give TJ a ride, too; Addy pushes down a nervous laugh forming in her throat and says she doesn’t mind. Jake, looking over Addy’s cozy sweat-suit outfit, urges her to go put something “cuter” on.
This passage shows that despite Addy’s protestations, there is something strange about her relationship with Jake; she feels uncomfortable with him, and allows him to tell her what to do.
Addy goes upstairs and starts changing. As she picks out a sexy outfit, Ashton warns her that she’ll be chilly in it, and asks if the wardrobe change is Jake’s idea. Addy doesn’t answer her sister, and after changing heads right back downstairs.
Ashton wants to help her sister, but Addy is resistant to anyone trying to probe the depths of her life and uncover the truth.
Addy is miserable during the entire ride to the beach; she can’t stop thinking about the mistake she made just a month after she and Jake slept together for the first time, when she got “blind drunk” and slept with TJ. When they arrive at the beach, TJ takes Addy aside and tells her that things don’t have to be awkward between them—he would never tell anyone their secret. Though Addy knows their encounter wasn’t TJ’s fault—she was the first one to kiss him—she can’t bring herself to say anything. She hopes that they will be able to keep their secret. Now that About That is gone, Addy must admit she is awash in relief.
This passage reveals just what Addy’s big secret is; she was unfaithful to her popular, seemingly perfect boyfriend—who is also seriously controlling—and is terrified of what the consequences will be to both her personal and social well-being if the secret gets out. Addy never would have wished Simon dead—probably—but here admits that the app being defunct takes at least part of the weight of her secret off her shoulders.