The reporters gathered outside the school pounce on Makani and Ollie as they exit the building, demanding to know if they knew the victims and how they’re handling the tragedies. A woman touches Makani’s shoulder, and Ollie shouts at everyone to leave her alone. Finally, Ollie and Makani reach Ollie’s car. Makani sniffles, trying to hold back her tears. Makani tells Ollie she wants to go somewhere quiet. Ollie takes her to his house, about a 20-minute drive out of town. They pass by endless cornfields and cattle ranches. Endless billboards for the Martin Family Fun Corn Maze dot the way.
In the reporters’ drive to capture the story of the killings, they disregard the real trauma the students have suffered. Ollie’s violent reaction may be interpreted a number of ways. His sudden eruption of violence could be seen as suspicious—as evidence that he’s capable of murder even. However, it’s just as compelling as evidence that he genuinely cares enough about Makani and her psychological state to protect her against the exploitative, unfeeling reporters.
Ollie’s house is an old Victorian Gothic Revival. If Makani believed in ghosts, she’d think it was haunted. She can feel the weight of painful memories that the house carries. Ollie leads Makani inside the house, which is dark and filled with antiques. The floors creak. Ollie’s dog, an old blue heeler named Squidward, after the SpongeBob character, stumbles into the room to greet them. Ollie has a cat, too: Raven, named after his childhood crush, Raven-Symoné. He shakes his head at his parents for letting him name their pets. Makani tells him his parents sound awesome. She worries that Ollie might not like talking about his parents, but he seems to appreciate that she’s acknowledged their existence.
Makani’s perceptiveness to the painful memories that Ollie’s house holds reflects her own preoccupation with the past. In the sad atmosphere of Ollie’s house, Makani recognizes the pain that keeps her tied to her past and unable to move forward in her life and forgive herself. Maybe this is one of the things that draw her and Ollie to each other: they both recognize someone who’s deserving of love but too burdened by guilt, shame, and unresolved past traumas to make themselves vulnerable to love and interpersonal connection.
Ollie offers Makani a frozen burrito. She longs for a bowl of saimin, a noodle dish popular in Hawaii, but decides a burrito isn’t bad either. She nods, and Ollie places the burritos in the microwave. Makani looks at old family photos tacked to the refrigerator. She teases Ollie about the stringy green hair he sports in one of the photos. She promises him that she has embarrassing photos, too, from her time on the swim team. Then she freezes, realizing she’s disclosed something about her past. She mumbles that she used to swim, and Ollie doesn’t press her for more details.
Once more, Makani’s longing for the Hawaiian cuisine of her home shows what an alienating experience life in Nebraska is for her. Not only does she not fit in with her peers, but the small details of her culture—what she wears, and what she eats, for instance—are so blatantly different than what her new peers have grown up experiencing. Makani’s sudden shyness upon Ollie’s showing curiosity in her being on the swim team seems to be another clue about Makani’s past. Maybe “the incident” involves her membership on the swim team in some capacity.
Makani notices a thick, brown envelope on the table and knows that it’s one of Chris’s case files. Ollie tells her she can look if she wants. Makani gives in to her curiosity and pulls out a gruesome photo of Haley’s dead body. She sees the neck with the dead smiley face carved into it. There’s blood everywhere. Makani shudders and thinks about how different a real dead body looks from the ones on TV. Ollie says the police think that the killer must be someone smaller than Matt, since they had to subdue him by stabbing him in the abdomen first before going for his head.
Makani isn’t immune to the morbid curiosities that would otherwise alienate her from her peers; she, too, has no idea how to make sense of the trauma of her peers’ murders, so she gives in to morbid curiosities. Ollie remark about the killer being a small person is interesting. Based on Matt’s murder in Chapter Seven, readers know that the killer has a slender physique—not unlike Ollie. Is it possible that Ollie is the killer and only baiting Makani, daring her to suspect him of murder, toying with her, as readers already know the killer is in the habit of doing?
Ollie hands Makani the burrito on a plate and invites her upstairs to his bedroom. Unlike the rest of his house, Ollie’s room is bright and full of life. There are stacks of paperbacks everywhere. Makani is impressed. She mentions that her last boyfriend liked to read a lot, too. Then she realizes her mistake: she and Ollie barely know each other, and they haven’t made anything official. Makani initially thinks Ollie hasn’t paid her comment any mind. But once they settle down to eat their burritos, he asks her to tell him more about the reader-boyfriend. Makani smiles at Ollie’s obvious jealousy. She makes a deal: she’ll tell Ollie about her ex if Ollie tells her about his. Ollie agrees. Makani tells Ollie about Jason Nakamura, a fellow swimmer whom she dated for seven months, leaving out the part about Jason cutting off contact.
Ollie’s bright, lively room clashes with the rest of his house, which memories of his dead parents makes gloomy and uninviting. It’s also a huge contrast to Makani’s room, which is gloomy and devoid of personality. The lively quality of Ollie’s room reflects, perhaps, his mental balance. Unlike Makani, who remains tied to her past and is mentally unwell because of it, Ollie seems to have made peace—as much as anybody can—with his parents’ deaths, and he's managed to make a life for himself in the aftermath of unspeakable tragedy.
Ollie tells Makani that he’s never had a girlfriend before her, though he has had sex before. He’ll tell her about his previous partners some other time, but not today. He smiles. They lunge at each other and begin to hook up. Then, they both become aware that another person is in the room.
Ollie’s coy remark about having had sex before neither confirms nor denies the rumors floating around town about him having sexual relationships with older women. The other person in the room is a tricky little cliffhanger designed to entice the reader to continue treading to the next chapter. Are Makani and Ollie in danger? Is the third person the killer?