One of Us is Lying

by

Karen McManus

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Nate Macauley Character Analysis

The “criminal” of the Bayview Four, Nate is a burnout, womanizer, and drug dealer who has earned a bad reputation for himself over the years. Nate is on probation for dealing marijuana, and rumors started on the About This blog suggest that Nate hasn’t learned from his past mistakes. Though Nate seems like a stereotypical druggie, it’s eventually revealed that he only turned to his illicit trade out of necessity; his mother abandoned him and his low-functioning alcoholic father years ago, and Nate has been left to pick up the pieces of his family’s shattered life. Nate’s emotional world is fraught, but he is a loving pet owner and a dedicated movie buff. As the investigation continues, Nate develops an attraction to Bronwyn—though he knows it’s dangerous to pursue her, she brings out the best in him, and he feels like with her he finally has a chance at being the person he’s always wanted to be. Nate is defensive, walled-off, and apathetic; however, beyond his carefully calculated exterior, he has a warm heart that has not yet healed from the traumas of his adolescence.

Nate Macauley Quotes in One of Us is Lying

The One of Us is Lying quotes below are all either spoken by Nate Macauley or refer to Nate Macauley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of One of Us is Lying published in 2017.
Chapter 4 Quotes

The phone almost slips out of my hand. Another text from Chad Posner came through while I was reading. People r fucked up.

I text back, Where’d you get this?

Posner writes some rando emailed a link, with the laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emoji. He thinks it’s somebody’s idea of a sick joke. Which is what most people would think, if they hadn’t spent an hour with a police officer asking ten different ways how peanut oil got into Simon Kelleher's cup. Along with three other people who looked guilty as hell.

None of them have as much experience as I do keeping a straight face when shit's falling apart around them. At least, none of them are as good at it as me.

Related Characters: Nate Macauley (speaker), Simon Kelleher
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 16 Quotes

Four days after we're featured on the local news, the story goes national on Mikhail Powers Investigates. I knew it was coming, since Mikhail’s producers had tried to reach my family all week. We never responded, thanks to basic common sense and also Robin’s legal advice. Nate didn’t either, and Addy said she and Cooper both refused to talk as well. So the show will be airing in fifteen minutes without commentary from any of the people actually involved. Unless one of us is lying. Which is always a possibility.

Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

Sexism is alive and well in true-crime coverage, because Bronwyn and I aren’t nearly as popular with the general public as Cooper and Nate. Especially Nate. All the tween girls posting about us on social media love him. They couldn’t care less that het a convicted drug dealer, because he’s got dreamy eyes.

Same goes for school. Bronwyn and I are pariahs—other than her friends, her sister, and Janae, hardly anyone talks to us. They just whisper behind our backs. But Cooper's as golden as ever. And Nate—well, it’s not like Nate was ever popular, exactly. He’s never seemed to care what people think, though, and he still doesn’t.

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas, Nate Macauley, Cooper Clay, Janae
Page Number: 175
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

Another long silence descends while I try to gather my thoughts. I should be angrier, probably. I should demand proof of his trustworthiness, even though I have no idea what that would look like. I should ask lots of pointed questions designed to ferret out whatever other lies he’s told me.

But the thing is, I do believe him. I won’t pretend I know Nate inside and out after a few weeks, but I know what it's like to tell yourself a lie so often that it becomes the truth. I did it, and I haven’t had to muddle through life almost completely on my own.

And I’ve never thought he had it in him to kill Simon.

Page Number: 225
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 21 Quotes

It’s a mundane, innocuous conversation compared to yesterday’s lunch, when we caught up on my police visit, Nate's mother, and the fact that Addy got called to the station separately to answer questions about the missing EpiPens again. Yesterday we were murder suspects with complicated personal lives, but today we're just being girls.

Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23 Quotes

[Nate] crosses to our table and dumps his backpack next to Bronwyn. She stands up, winds her arms around his neck, and kisses him like they're alone while the entire cafeteria erupts into gasps and catcalls. I stare as much as everyone else. I mean, I kind of guessed, but this is pretty public. I'm not sure if Bronwyn’s trying to distract everyone from Cooper or if she couldn’t help herself. Maybe both.

Either way, Cooper's effectively been forgotten. He's motionless at the entrance until I grab his arm. "Come sit. The whole murder club at one table. They can stare at all of us together."

Related Characters: Addy Prentiss (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas, Nate Macauley, Cooper Clay
Page Number: 260
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

We're not getting anywhere with this conversation. But I'm struck by a couple of things as I listen to them talk. One: I like all of them more than I thought I would. Bronwyn’s obviously been the biggest surprise, and like doesn't cover it. But Addy's turned into kind of a badass, and Cooper's not as one- dimensional as I thought.

And two: I don’t think any of them did it.

Related Characters: Nate Macauley (speaker), Bronwyn Rojas, Cooper Clay, Addy Prentiss
Page Number: 269
Explanation and Analysis:
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Nate Macauley Character Timeline in One of Us is Lying

The timeline below shows where the character Nate Macauley appears in One of Us is Lying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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Nate Macauley, a drug dealer and troublemaker, taunts Bronwyn for getting detention. Cooper Clay, a jock,... (full context)
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...trap a group of students with overwhelmingly clean school records in detention. Simon speculates that Nate rigged detention so that he could have some company, but Bronwyn thinks Nate is too... (full context)
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...fills it, and heads back to his seat with it. Once he’s back, he asks Nate if he has rigged detention. Mr. Avery shushes the boys before they can argue—at that... (full context)
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...a “teen-movie stereotype.” Cooper is the jock, Addy is the princess, Bronwyn is the brain, Nate is the criminal, and Simon is the “omniscient narrator.” Cooper thinks of Simon’s widely-hated gossip... (full context)
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...being dramatic—but then Simon drops his cup and falls to the floor, wheezing. Bronwyn and Nate immediately rush over to Simon, and Nate realizes that Simon needs an epi-pen. Bronwyn gets... (full context)
Chapter 2
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Back in the parking lot at school, the narrative switches to Nate’s perspective. Nate offers Bronwyn a ride home on his motorcycle; Bronwyn refuses, calling the bike... (full context)
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Nate thinks back to elementary school, when he and Bronwyn attended the same Catholic school—this was... (full context)
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Bronwyn tells Nate that she’s sorry to hear about his mother, who died in a car accident a... (full context)
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Bronwyn gives Nate her address—he notes that she lives in “the rich part of town.” Nate helps Bronwyn... (full context)
Chapter 3
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After calculus, Bronwyn and her friends run into Nate in the hallway. He looks disheveled, as if he has just rolled out of bed.... (full context)
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...view. In between classes, an announcement over the loudspeaker at school summons Cooper—along with Addy, Nate, and Bronwyn—to the main office. He already answered several questions from Principal Gupta about the... (full context)
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Cooper joins Gupta, Addy, Bronwyn, Nate, and a police officer in Gupta’s office. The policeman introduces himself as Officer Budapest, and... (full context)
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...officer asks if any of the students ever had trouble with Simon or his gossip app—Nate was the only one of them ever featured on the app, and though he admits... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The narrative switches to Nate’s perspective. It is still Thursday evening, and Nate is at home in the ugly, crumbling... (full context)
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Nate checks on his beloved lizard, Stan, and then answers his phone when it beeps. A... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...lives vicariously through her. Suddenly, Maeve presses her face against the window and announces that Nate Macauley is in the driveway. (full context)
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Bronwyn invites Nate inside, and he reluctantly agrees. In the kitchen, Bronwyn introduces Nate to Maeve, who remarks... (full context)
Chapter 6
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Sunday afternoon, Nate has a home visit from his probation officer, Officer Lopez. She asks Nate how school’s... (full context)
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Sitting in the pews with Officer Lopez, Nate can tell that the funeral service is swarming with undercover cops who are looking carefully... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...or “BR” stole tests from a teacher’s Google Drive in order to pass a class; Nate or “NM” has been dealing drugs again; Cooper or “CC” is using steroids to enhance... (full context)
Chapter 8
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The narrative switches to Nate’s perspective as he endures a tense ride home with Officer Lopez after the service. Nate... (full context)
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Officer Lopez now warns Nate that going forward, if he deals drugs in any way, shape, or form, she cannot... (full context)
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When Nate walks into the house, he realizes that his alcoholic father has vomited into the sink.... (full context)
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Nate leaves the house and heads over to Bronwyn’s house, though he isn’t sure what he... (full context)
Chapter 9
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...Jake that she has had a “scary day,” and that the detectives think Addy, Cooper, Nate, and Bronwyn murdered Simon. She tells him about the motive—the About That post detailing all... (full context)
Chapter 10
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...in detention that day, and Bronwyn says she isn’t. Bronwyn’s mother interjects to mention that Nate Macauley has been to the house three times in a week. Robin is intrigued by... (full context)
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...to, but he’s the one person she is supposed to stay away from. She spots Nate in the hallway, but he quickly ducks into a stairwell; she follows and apologizes for... (full context)
Chapter 11
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That night, Nate calls all of his suppliers to tell them that he’s not planning on dealing drugs... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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Nate’s real phone goes off—it’s the girl he’s been hooking up with, asking if he wants... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...to ask what’s going on, a voice over the loudspeaker summons Bronwyn, Addy, Cooper, and Nate to the main office. Bronwyn walks “like a zombie” past her staring, whispering classmates straight... (full context)
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Gupta leaves Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate in her office—it is the first time the four of them have been in one... (full context)
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Bronwyn is anxious all day—until midnight, when Nate calls her on the burner phone. He has been calling her every night since Monday,... (full context)
Chapter 13
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Near midnight, Nate arrives home from a party. After a tense encounter with his father, who looks jaundiced... (full context)
Chapter 14
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On the way home, Maeve and Bronwyn stop at a neighborhood nearby—Nate has left another burner phone for Bronwyn in a mailbox at a random address. Maeve... (full context)
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...that evening; there’s an article all about Simon, and it includes Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate—as “persons of interest.” (full context)
Chapter 15
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When Nate gets out of school Monday morning, there are news vans parked outside—they’ve been waiting for... (full context)
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As Nate and Bronwyn walk to the parking lot, Nate has a warm feeling inside, as if... (full context)
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...them as they make their way through the mall. Bronwyn admits that the fact that Nate doesn’t have a lawyer makes her nervous. She suggests Nate look into an organization called... (full context)
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...perspective, and jumps ahead to Tuesday morning. She and Cooper were not as lucky as Nate and Bronwyn when it came to dodging the cameras, and both of them wound up... (full context)
Chapter 16
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...Maeve is troubled by how out-of-context and rudimentary Powers’s introductions of Bronwyn, Cooper, Addy, and Nate are. The only moment of relief comes when Powers interviews a lawyer from Until Proven,... (full context)
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That night, on the phone with Nate, Bronwyn wonders aloud about getting a second opinion from Eli Kleinfelter, but Nate doesn’t want... (full context)
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Keely asks Cooper if he’s breaking up with her because she hooked up with Nate just a few weeks before the two of them started going out the previous year.... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...media coverage of the Bayview Four—meanwhile, everyone on the internet is swooning over Cooper and Nate, and the boys aren’t being ostracized at school, either. During lunch, Addy scrolls obsessively on... (full context)
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That afternoon, Nate and Bronwyn head to a small rocky outcrop in the woods near Nate’s house—though it’s... (full context)
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Nate doesn’t buy Eli’s theories, but Bronwyn really doesn’t believe that anyone in the room murdered... (full context)
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Bronwyn texts Maeve to pick her up at Nate’s house, and she and Nate make their way through the woods back to Nate’s. As... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The narrative switches to Bronwyn’s point of view. Just seconds after Nate recognizes his mother at the front door, Maeve pulls up; Bronwyn hurriedly gets into Maeve’s... (full context)
Chapter 19
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Monday afternoon, Nate listens to his mother and father talking in the next room while wondering what he... (full context)
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Nate’s mother apologizes for having left Nate with his father—she admits that she hoped he’d step... (full context)
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Nate rides his motorcycle aimlessly. When he stops for gas, he considers calling Bronwyn, but still... (full context)
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It is not a Bayview High party, and Nate enjoys a little anonymity until two girls recognize him from Mikhail Powers’ show. Nate says... (full context)
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The perspective switches over to Bronwyn, who is nervous about sneaking Nate into the house. Her parents are already furious with her and have grounded her for... (full context)
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Nate resignedly states that the lie about his mother was easier than facing the truth—not to... (full context)
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After a while, Bronwyn starts to get tired. Nate switches the subject, telling Bronwyn that his mother thought Bronwyn was his girlfriend earlier when... (full context)
Chapter 20
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The narrative switches to Nate’s perspective; he is eating a meal with his mother at a local diner, and things... (full context)
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In the parking lot, Nate runs into Mikhail Powers, who has been waiting for him outside. Nate brushes Powers off,... (full context)
Chapter 23
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...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... (full context)
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...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,... (full context)
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Nate walks over to Addy and Bronwyn’s table and kisses Bronwyn in full view of everyone;... (full context)
Chapter 24
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Thursday night after midnight, Nate parks his motorcycle out front of a house in the half-finished Bayview Estates neighborhood, which... (full context)
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...two, the front door creaks open and Addy walks in—she has dyed her hair purple. Nate and Bronwyn lead her to a corner of the living room, where they all sprawl... (full context)
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Though the conversation isn’t really getting anywhere concrete, Nate notes, he is struck by two things while he and the other members of the... (full context)
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Friday night, Bronwyn and Nate stay up late flirting on the phone. Saturday morning, Bronwyn lets herself stay in bed... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
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...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. (full context)
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...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... (full context)
Chapter 28
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In jail, Nate reflects on how hard he’s trying to make himself invisible and keep his mind off... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...way to valedictorian, an honor that would have brought Simon glory; he was angry with Nate for secretly hooking up with Keely; he was angry with Cooper after Cooper had him... (full context)
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Janae reveals that she was supposed to plant all the evidence not on Nate, but on Addy. The afternoon they hung out at Addy’s house she was supposed to... (full context)
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As all of this sinks in, Addy begs Janae to tell the truth—she can’t let Nate go to prison for murder. Janae laments having no evidence other than the manifesto—she worries... (full context)
Chapter 30
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Friday afternoon, a guard comes to Nate’s cell; Nate can tell that something has happened. The guard instructs Nate to follow him,... (full context)
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As Nate heads out of the facility, he finds his mother and Bronwyn waiting for him. Bronwyn... (full context)
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As they drive down the highway, Eli talks rapid-fire about getting Nate’s drug charges dropped and making a statement to the media; Nate can hardly absorb anything.... (full context)
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...obstruction of justice, and other crimes. He is being held in the same detention center Nate recently got out of. Though this is some kind of “poetic justice,” it doesn’t feel... (full context)
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Bronwyn is on her way to Nate’s—he has been avoiding her all week, but has finally agreed to let her stop by.... (full context)
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Bronwyn accepts Nate’s rejection and keeps it together until she gets home. When she reaches her room, she... (full context)
Epilogue: Three Months Later
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...wait at the front; Bronwyn is shocked when a motorcycle suddenly pulls up. Maeve, spotting Nate’s approach, hurries their mother closer to the parking lot while Bronwyn stands rooted to the... (full context)
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Bronwyn greets Nate coolly, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of knowing how badly she’s been pining... (full context)
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Nate reveals that Addy convinced him to come tonight and explain himself to Bronwyn. Bronwyn pulls... (full context)