Chapters 38-40 Summary

After School

At the end of Olivia’s first day of school, Miranda finds her and says coolly, “I hear we’re driving you home today.” Seeing Miranda’s lack of enthusiasm, Olivia lies and says her mom just texted to offer a ride. Olivia hides in the bathroom until the coast is clear and then jogs to the subway station to take public transportation home.

Olivia is not allowed to take the subway by herself, and the trip takes far longer than a ride with Miranda would have taken. When she gets home, Olivia tells her mom that she stopped for pizza with Miranda’s family. Olivia does not know why she is lying like this, but the lie is already out of her mouth.

Olivia asks about August’s first day of school. When Mom seems uncertain, Olivia snaps at her impatiently. Olivia goes to his room to ask him herself, but he is absorbed in video games. She grabs the controller out of his hands and asks how school was. “Fine,” he says.

Olivia presses August about whether anyone was mean. “Why would people be mean?” he asks. Olivia hears the sarcasm in his voice, and it shocks her. She never knew he could act like that.

The Padawan Bites the Dust

Later that evening, August cuts off his Padawan braid. Olivia gets angry and shouts at him for abandoning his look without telling Christopher first. She is not sure why this matters so much to her, but it does.

That night, Olivia is reading in her bedroom when her mom pokes her head in. Seeing how tired Mom looks, Olivia realizes that she and August have made the day hard on their parents. But Olivia does not feel ready to talk about Miranda. She asks her mom to come back a little later, and her mom promises to do so.

But it is Dad who comes instead. He says Mom is with August, who has finally admitted he had a bad day. Olivia tells Dad that Miranda and Ella are acting different, and he seems to sympathize. He makes her laugh and lets her bring Daisy, the dog, to sleep in her room.

An Apparition at the Door

Olivia remembers one time, in the middle of the night, when she got up for a drink of water and found her mom at August’s bedroom door. Mom just stood there, hand on the doorknob, not going in or out. Maybe she was listening to August breathe. Olivia reflects:

I wonder how many nights she’s stood outside his door. And I wonder if she’s ever stood outside my door like that.