Craig sits with Bobby and Johnny at breakfast. They discuss what happened to Humble and the types of medication he is on. Bobby and Johnny share about how they both got “sidetracked” with drugs. Noelle enters the cafeteria. Johnny admires her, while Bobby advises Craig not to have sex at his age. “The guitar guy” is coming at eleven, and Craig decides that he will spend the time before then doing more artwork.
A “musical exploration” session is led by a man named Neil. Sitting in a circle, every person has an instrument. After playing and singing, they begin to dance. Although Craig explains that he is “really not good” at dancing, he decides to try. He dances with nursing students and then with Noelle. Jimmy particularly enjoys the singing and the dancing.
After the music session, Neil approaches Craig. He suggests that after he is out of the psychiatric hospital, he might want to come back as a volunteer. Craig shows Neil his artwork.
Later, while playing cards with Armelio, Craig learns that he has a visitor. Unexpectedly, it is Nia.
Nia tells Craig that she is here to see him, and Craig leads her to a place where they can talk. Craig admires Nia’s makeup and outfit, and he feels attracted to her. Nia explains that she and Aaron broke up after Aaron found out that Nia was also depressed.
Startled by a loud comment Nia makes, the Professor briefly interrupts their conversation. As he and Nia continue to talk, Craig is distracted by his attraction to Nia. Nia tells Craig that she is thinking of checking herself into a psychiatric hospital. Craig tells Nia that he called the Suicide Hotline. Nia is surprised; she says she hadn’t known it was “so serious.”
Nia tells Craig that she has been thinking about him. Craig wants to tell her to leave, but he feels powerless against his physical attraction for her. Craig is stuttering and sweating. When Nia asks to see his room, he knows it’s “a bad idea,” but he agrees.
When Nia and Craig arrive in his room, Craig is surprised that Muqtada is not there. Nia comments on the smell of the room. Craig tells her that he has made some friends in the hospital, including the Professor.
Nia reminds Craig of their phone conversation. She notices that Craig is sweating, which she says is “gross,” but she continues, telling Craig that she would let him kiss her. Craig feels conflicted. He wants to “throw up” and “kick Nia out,” but his “bottom half” insists on fulfilling his fantasies.
Craig pushes Nia onto a bed—Muqtada’s bed, accidentally—and begins kissing her. Nia responds to Craig, and as they kiss, Craig recalls things that Aaron has said about her. Nia tells Craig that “[hooking] up in a hospital” was “totally on [her] checklist.” She says that with Aaron she “never did anything like this.” The mention of Aaron is “a body blow to [Craig’s] whole body.”
Suddenly, they are interrupted by Muqtada. Muqtada pulls Craig away from Nia and accuses her of corrupting him. From behind Muqtada, Craig tells Nia, “I like making out with you… but I don’t really like you as a person.” Nia replies that she feels the same way. Smitty enters the room, reminding Craig that visitors are not allowed there. Nia leaves in anger.
After Smitty leaves, Muqtada apologizes to Craig. Craig tells him that he “did a good thing” and “handled it perfectly.” They hug. Craig sees Noelle in the doorway. She flees to her room and does not respond when Craig knocks on the door.
Craig and Noelle meet. Noelle asks Craig why boys are so arrogant. Craig tells her that boys often assume that “the world was built for [them]” and that they are praised for this attitude.
Noelle calls Craig an “honest asshole” and asks him about Nia. She explains that she saw their entire...
(The entire section contains 1291 words.)
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