Summary: Chapter Twenty-Seven
Lily goes to the flower shop. She’s anxious that Ryle will be there, but she’s able to work for a half day, constantly worried that he will come in. Just before lunch, he does. She’s alone with him for the first time since he tried to rape her. She looks for a weapon in case she needs to protect herself. Ryle puts the apartment keys on the counter and says he’s leaving for England for three months. He asks her to go back to the apartment because he won’t be there. He starts to leave. She calls after him and says that the worst part is, if he’d just asked her, she would’ve told him the naked truth about her relationship with Atlas. Ryle starts to respond, but Lily cuts him off. He leaves, and she regrets that the child inside her is half his.
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Eight
Lily tries to go back to her apartment, but she can’t bear to go inside and returns to Atlas’s house instead. Three of Atlas’s friends come over, and Lily starts to play poker with them. Lily tells them that she’s there because her husband beat her and she’s trying to figure out what to do next. Atlas comes home and joins them.
As they are playing, Atlas says that Lily saved his life when he was younger. Brad says that it’s sweet because now Atlas is saving Lily’s life. Atlas is surprised Lily told them the truth. Atlas gets a phone call, and Lily wonders if it’s Cassie, the girlfriend Atlas said he had when they first met at Bib’s. Atlas’s friends are all confused because they don’t know a Cassie. They confront Atlas about it, and Lily is mortified. Then Atlas admits that there never was a Cassie, and Lily is angry that Atlas lied to her.
When they leave, Lily finally asks Atlas why he never came back for her. He says he did. He visited her at college, but when he saw her, she looked so happy with her boyfriend, he didn’t want to disturb her peace. Lily is filled with grief, especially because that boyfriend didn’t matter to her. She asks why he lied about Cassie, and his answer is similar: that she seemed happy with Ryle and he didn’t want to mess it up for her.
Lily feels confused and asks Atlas to take her back to her apartment. She says she needs space from him to figure out what’s going on in her life. He asks her only to contact him in an emergency because he cares about her too much to be casual with her. Atlas leaves, but then he comes back. He tells her that if she ever falls in love again, she should fall in love with him. He tells her she’s still his favorite person.
Summary: Chapter Twenty-Nine
Lily tries to hide everything from Allysa, but she knows something is off. She ends up telling her everything that happened between her and Ryle. She also tells Allysa about the baby. Allysa gives Lily some of her old fancy maternity clothes, and Marshall walks in when Lily’s pregnant belly is out. Allysa tells Marshall to keep the pregnancy a secret. For the first time, Lily feels excited about the pregnancy.
Summary: Chapter Thirty
Lily comes home and finds Ryle and Marshall in her apartment. She’s shocked and afraid. Marshall is there so Lily will feel safer. Lily and Ryle talk in the bedroom. He touches her pregnant belly. He tells her how agonizing their separation has been for him and how sorry he is. He kisses her, and at first, she’s responsive. Then she has a flashback to him hurting her and trying to rape her. She stops responding to him, and he backs off. As he’s about to leave, Lily says she wishes that the child wasn’t Ryle’s. She immediately feels awful for being so hurtful and feels as abusive as her father.
Summary: Chapter Thirty-One
Lily offers to take Rylee so Allysa and Marshall can be alone. Allysa tells Lily that no matter what happens, her baby is lucky to have such a wonderful mom. Lily is moved.
Summary: Chapter Thirty-Two
Lily has a heart-to-heart with her mother, finally telling her everything that happened between Ryle and her and about the pregnancy. Lily is afraid that her mother is going to tell her to go back to Ryle, but instead, she tells her to be brave and bold. He tells her that Ryle doesn’t love Lily the way that she deserves to be loved. Her mom tells her that she knew she intentionally didn’t say anything nice about her father at his funeral and that she was proud of her for it.
Analysis: Chapters Twenty-Seven–Thirty-Two
This section explores both the value and the limits of naked truths. The ethos of telling naked truths has been a part of Ryle and Lily’s relationship since the day they met. In the narrative of their relationship, their foundation is radical honesty. However, this belief in naked truths and that both Lily and Ryle tell it like it is also masks the fact that both were hiding their truths from day one. Ryle hid his anger issues and the death of his brother. Lily hid that she was still, on some level, in love with Atlas. Further, by establishing naked truths as the backbone of their relationship, they create an atmosphere in which the two are supposed to know everything about each other. For example, Lily tells Ryle that their relationship could’ve been saved if he had simply asked her for the naked truth about her relationship with Atlas. But, what’s also true is that Ryle is not entitled to know the ins and outs of Lily’s first love as a teenager, not entitled to read her teenage journal, or even to know the story of the magnet on her fridge. Ryle uses the idea of naked truths to demand and ultimately steal the intimate details of Lily’s first love, which is another way in which he transgresses her boundaries in the name of “love.”
In contrast to the idea of naked truths, Atlas’s lies illustrate that not telling the whole truth can sometimes be protective and even loving. For example, Atlas lies about having a girlfriend when he and Lily first meet and when Lily finds out about this lie, she’s angry. However, the reason Atlas lied was out of love for Lily. Seeing her in what seemed like a happy relationship made him want to protect her happiness, even at the expense of his own. Lily is also heartbroken when she finds out that Atlas saw her in college but never spoke to her. Though it may have been misguided, Atlas was holding himself back from her out of the belief that revealing himself would puncture Lily’s happiness. While Ryle demands truth as a means to control and possess Lily, Atlas tells white lies to Lily to protect and honor her happiness.
Lily’s conversation with her mother illustrates the redemptive power of breaking cycles of violence to heal intergenerational trauma. Lily anticipates that her mother is going to tell her to stay with Ryle. In a sense, she anticipates that her mother will want Lily to live as she herself did. If she had, this would not only condone the violence of Lily’s past, but it would suggest that her mother hadn’t grown, learned, or healed from her own history of traumatic abuse. When her mother tells Lily that she deserves a better love than Ryle can give her, it’s the first step towards truly healing the past that harmed both her daughter and herself. By telling her daughter to leave her abusive husband and by partnering with a kind person in the present, Jenny is able to tacitly acknowledge that she and her daughter deserved better all along. This establishes hope for the future.