Charlie’s been avoiding everything, and he spend his time people-watching. For the first time since Michael died, Charlie goes up to Susan and asks her if she misses Michael. Susan doesn’t respond, and Charlie overhears another person call him a freak.
Charlie buys more pot from Bob, a part-time community college student who seems to spend most of his time getting stoned and watching The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Charlie then reports to his “friend” that Brad’s father caught Brad and Patrick together. Brad’s father started beating Brad in front of Patrick, and that Brad hasn’t come back to school since. Charlie sneaks into The Rocky Horror Picture Show to see if Patrick will show up to play Frank ‘N Furter, and when he does, Charlie is relieved. Charlie sneaks out before his friends see him, and he regrets messing everything up. On the way home, he talks out loud to his friends as though they’re there.
Brad comes back to school, but he seems cold and dead, and he completely ignores Patrick when Patrick tries to talk to him. Eventually, Brad calls Patrick a “faggot” in front of everybody in the cafeteria. Patrick punches Brad, and five of Brad’s football friends jump on Patrick. Charlie leaps into the fight in a furious whirlwind and beats up Brad’s friends. Patrick and Brad’s friends get suspensions, but Brad and Charlie only get detentions. In detention, Brad thanks Charlie for stopping the fight. After detention, Sam picks up Charlie and tells him that she’s angry at him for what he did to Mary Elizabeth. But then she thanks him for letting her cool off, and she says that they can be friends again. Mary Elizabeth has a new boyfriend, Peter, a college student. Patrick has stopped playing Frank ‘N Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which makes Charlie feel tense.
Patrick and Charlie have been hanging out a lot lately. Patrick seems to be surviving on coffee, cigarettes, and caffeing pills. Patrick and Charlie go to the golf course, drink wine, and gossip. Patrick kisses Charlie at the end of the night, but Charlie doesn’t get mad, because he understands that it’s just a symptom of Patrick missing Brad.
Patrick takes Charlie to a park where gay men meet to hook up with each other. Patrick goes off into the bushes to make out with someone, and Charlie recognizes a local sportscaster. In a complete coincidence, the sportscaster talks to Charlie about Charlie’s brother. Patrick takes Charlie to several more underground homosexual locations in the city. One night, they go back to the park, and Brad is there, kissing another guy. Patrick drives Charlie home and doesn’t try to kiss him. Instead, he simply thanks Charlie for being his friend.
The school year is coming to an end, and all of Charlie’s friends are busy making plans. Bill tells Charlie that he had been planning to move to New York to become a playwright, but now, he thinks he’s going to stay, since he likes teaching high school English. He gives Charlie The Fountainhead to read, instructing Charlie to be a filter, not a sponge. Charlie writes to his “friend” that he now really enjoys school, as opposed to the beginning of the year, when he hated everything. He also writes that Patrick has stopped drinking and seems to have cleaned himself up.