Summary and Analysis Chapter 21



This chapter takes place the next day with Ronnie becoming more comfortable at Will's house. They spend the day at the pool, diving, laughing, and having fun. Will forces Ronnie from the board into the pool, and then they share a kiss. Ronnie sees Susan watching them and notices that Susan is not pleased.

Later, when they leave to check on the nest, they stop for ice cream. Wanting to get Will back for forcing her into the pool, Ronnie nudges Will's cone so ice cream smears on his face. After that, she bounces around the corner and bumps into Marcus, who is accompanied by Blaze, Teddy, and Lance. Marcus mentions Scott and bottle rockets, claims that he was preventing Ronnie from falling, and reveals that he knows she has a court date next Tuesday. Ronnie finally tells Will about all that happened since she arrived in Wrightsville Beach.

Will tells her that Marcus was always messed up but that Galadriel used to be okay. He asks Ronnie if she wants him in court, but Ronnie says no. As they talk, Ronnie asks about Scott and the bottle rocket, but Will refuses to answer. Instead, he changes the topic and asks about the walled-in piano at her father's house.

Ronnie talks to Will about the personal betrayal she felt when her father moved out and how it made her hate the piano. When she arrived for the summer and heard her father playing, she thought he was trying to trivialize the past. Ronnie also tells him that Juilliard will make room in their music program for her if she ever changes her mind.


The camaraderie and good-natured teasing between Will and Ronnie, as well as Ronnie's more carefree behavior, demonstrate their compatibility. Yet Will's ever-present mother watching with her disapproving countenance serves as a reminder that not everyone is going to be in their corner and hints that relationship is not always going to be as easy as a day by the pool.

Ronnie's feelings when her father left were clearly quite strong because she vowed to never play or write again. Ronnie's assumptions about Steve's motives for playing the piano indicate that she thought that leaving wasn't difficult for him and that he thought that they could easily pick up where the left off. She makes these assumptions without even questioning him or sharing her feelings with him. Her ability to share these feelings with Will is a good thing, but until she is able to have honest, adult conversations with her father, their relationship will remain tense.

Ronnie's defensive reaction to Will's question about her gift for playing the piano indicates that perhaps she is second-guessing her decision. Ronnie has been so firm about her decision for so long that it almost defines her; perhaps she does not realize she can change her mind.


Pasty pale and unhealthy in appearance