After the memorial is over, Makani and Ollie part ways with Darby and Alex. The sun is setting. Ollie seems distant. As he and Makani walk to Greeley’s to pick up Ollie’s car, Makani asks Ollie if he’s judging her for the incident in Hawaii. He’s not. He tells her she doesn’t need to suffer for a mistake she made a long time ago; he knows she’s a good friend and granddaughter. Of all people, Ollie suggests, he should know that regrets can change a person for the better.
Ollie’s distant demeanor suggests that he’s still thinking about Zachary’s cruel comment about Ollie’s past. Indeed, he confirms that his past is on his mind when he tells Makani that he knows better than most how much a person’s past—and choosing to let go of it—can impact their present and future.
As they walk, Ollie shares his side of the rumors that their peers have spread about him. After Ollie’s parents died, he was a wreck. He started drinking alcohol and going to the Red Spot, a seedy burger joint and bar where you can buy illicit drugs and sex. He liked going to there because the regulars knew about his parents and understood his sadness. Even though Ollie was only 16, he started a sexual relationship with a 23-year-old woman who worked there, Erika. He even thought he loved her, though he now sees this as youthful foolishness. When Chris found out about the relationship, he tried to press charges. He and Ollie got into a huge fight. Chris didn’t follow through with his threat, but he forbade Ollie from seeing Erika again.
After only hearing rumors about the bad time Ollie went through after his parents died, Makani finally gets to hear about it from Ollie’s perspective. Hearing Ollie’s perspective paints a fuller, likely more accurate picture of his situation. It’s important to Makani to let Ollie defend himself before she passes judgment on him because her friends in Hawaii deprived her of this privilege—and it had terrible consequences for her mental health and self-confidence.
A few days later, Ollie got drunk, waded into the river, and tried to drown himself. As soon as he started to struggle, he realized he didn’t actually want to die. The manager of Sonic happened to drive by just in time to save Ollie. This, Ollie explains, is why he hates Sonic. Afterward, Ollie got psychiatric help. He stopped drinking and doing drugs. Makani asks Ollie if he’s ever used or sold any harder drugs. He hasn’t—that rumor isn’t true. After Ollie finishes his story, he and Makani hold hands. Referencing Ollie’s earlier promise that Makani is a good friend and granddaughter, Makani asks Ollie if he thinks she’d make a good girlfriend, too. Ollie smiles. She’s already a good girlfriend, he says.
That Makani and Ollie make their relationship official after Ollie confide in Makani about his past suggests that authentic communication and vulnerability can heal and bring people closer together. By contrast, the gossip that Ollie’s peers have used to judge him has only alienated and harmed him.
Ollie and Makani kiss as they wait for Chris in the Greeley’s parking lot. It feels strange but good to share a public display of affection. When they come up for air, Makani notices blood in the Greeley’s front window. They cautiously make their way toward the entrance. Ollie peers inside and sees that the place is totally trashed. Makani uses Ollie’s phone to call Chris. The phone rings and rings. Meanwhile, they see a shadow move inside. Ollie uses his employee key to open the front door. There’s blood everywhere. Then they turn toward the checkout aisles and see something truly horrifying: Caleb Greeley’s mutilated body lies on top of a pile of school sweatshirts, flags, and other memorabilia. His torso is mutilated. Worst of all, Caleb’s severed hands are sewn together and placed over his heart, as though in prayer.
As the reader already knew, Caleb Greeley is David’s latest victim. The way that David has chosen to display Caleb’s body offers insight into David’s motives for killing Caleb—and for killing in general. David has placed Caleb atop a pile of school memorabilia—a mocking nod, perhaps, to Caleb’s overachieving, overinvolved personality. Like David’s other victims, Caleb was a well-known (if not always well-liked) student destined for success and recognition. Could this be why David murdered him? Is he jealous of Caleb’s public recognition—recognition that David hasn’t been able to achieve despite becoming a serial killer?
Makani and Ollie remember the moving shadow. They realize that if Caleb is dead, it means somebody else—David—is still in the store. They hold each other close as they walk carefully down the cereal aisle. Makani finally gets ahold of Chris, who barks orders at them over speakerphone. Just then, they hear the swish of the back door open and close: David Ware just left the building.
Once more, the novel builds tension by ending many of its chapters with a cliffhanger that entices the reader to read on. Here, Perkins builds tension by having Makani and Ollie narrowly escape David once more. Finally, the fact that David stuck around to watch people discover his latest victim sheds some light on his motives; he seems to enjoy getting a response out of people—something he wasn’t able to do before he started killing.