Chapter 5 opens with Will thinking about the weight of a secret that he is carrying. His friend Scott apparently started the fire that destroyed the church, and Blaze, Marcus, Teddy, and Lance witnessed the accident.
After bumping into Ronnie, Will cannot get her off his mind and wants to be alone, so he leaves his friends after the match. Ashley, his ex-girlfriend, tracks him down. Ashley makes it clear that the two of them, along with Scott and Cassie, could have a good time at her house, because her parents are not home. Will feigns tiredness and declines the offer.
When Will and his friends stop for something to eat, they run into Marcus and his cronies. Marcus taunts Scott, using the words "bottle rocket" to get to him. They start to fight, but Ronnie breaks up the ruckus because of a young boy who was knocked over during the commotion. After the altercation, Marcus' gang splits for Bower's Point as Ronnie's father approaches. Ronnie has no desire to leave with her father and follows the gang. Officer Pete, who knows Steve, confirms that Marcus is bad news. Will tells Steve and Officer Pete that Ronnie went to Bower's Point. Will's friends don't understand why he offers that information, and Will isn't quite so sure himself.
This chapter sets up the characters' relationships as well as the conflict for the major plot points. It also builds the reader's suspense through the repetition of general mentions of "that night" six months ago. This chapter is also told from Will's perspective and immediately follows Marcus' chapter, which highlights the differences between the two male characters. Unlike Ronnie's initial assessment, Will is not as shallow as Ashley, and he doesn't want to hurt her unnecessarily. Clearly, Will is nothing like Marcus.
Scott has been Will's best friend since kindergarten, but Will also refers to a "more important reason" for owing Scott, without revealing what that reason is. Readers now know broadly of two events — the fire and Will's reason for keeping Scott's secret.
Scott twists cultural movie references into double entendres. Specifically, he makes sexually suggestive comments out of movie titles. When talking about his desire to hook up with Cassie, provided Will agrees to hook up with Ashley, he mentions her desire in Romancing the Stone and to Free Willy. Scott's character appears to be between Marcus' misogyny and Will's altruism; he is a hormonal teenage boy.
Demure affecting modesty, prim, coy
Keeping secrets and the effect that they have on both self and others seems to be another important thematic topic. Please comment on the value or lack thereof of keeping secrets.
There are many kinds of secrets and some are important to keep while other secrets should be anything but. The challenge comes in when someone thinks it's important to keep a particular secret because they think it's the right thing to do but it ends up harming another person in the process. The Last Song explores all these types of secrets and the consequences of them. Secrets, like life, can sometimes be messy.
Scott's references to movies are an interesting way to develop his character. What inspired you to use this technique? Some of the references seem too old for his character, like When Harry Met Sally and Romancing the Stone. How do you account for this?
Teenagers, in reality, talk about the opposite sex and sex. To ignore this simple reality is to ignore the reality of being a teenager. I knew I had to incorporate this element, with the added constraint that it was going to be a Disney movie. Disney has its own standards, of course, and I was well aware of them. This seemed like a way to accomplish both: Teens and parents would "get the joke" while younger viewers wouldn't. Many movies meant for children (everything from Shrek to Toy Story) do exactly the same thing.