Claire is coming back from getting groceries and sees Benjamin. She’s not sure whether she wants to talk to him, so she follows him around for a bit and then decides to conveniently bump into him. Claire thinks she’s being all sly, but Benjamin tells her that he knows she’s been following him since she stopped by the kite shop.
Benjamin than explains that he knew it was Claire by her distinctive walk and the fact that he could hear her thongs. I remember being young and terribly confused about that. Why on earth would someone put on two pairs of underwear, let alone thongs. I was quite relieved when I realized he was talking about footwear and not loud undies. (Wow, I’m really glad I never told anybody about that! I would have looked like a-aw, crap.)
Benjamin tells Claire that he wanted to talk to her and asks her about her major freak-out. She blows him off and said that she was woozy from having a beer. (Do the Pullaways suffer from Really Stupid Excuse Syndrome or something?) Benjamin tries to “subtly” get the conversation back to his Seating Arrangement Theory. Claire blows it off again.
Claire then lies her pretty little ass off and said that she had thought maybe it was Wade driving and that for a little while she was shaken up at the thought of her being the driver. She’s cheering on her own manipulative ministrations and congratulating herself on fooling Benjamin. Their relationship is kind of sick.
Nina is in her bedroom, watching Claire and Benjamin. They’re holding hands and smiling and Nina’s thinking that she should charge extra because he’s fifteen minutes late. Finally, he knocks on her door. She answers the door and is kind of cold to him, because of the crush, because he’s late, but mostly because she’s convinced that he spent the time she should have been reading to him, making out with her sister.
Benjamin’s reading material? Love poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Nina is wondering if this some Super Seekrit way of Benjamin telling her that he loves her. Nina continues to read the poem and comes across the word “champak”, which is a kind of tree that has fragrant flowers. Benjamin makes a comment about Nina’s perfume. Nina keeps on reading and gets even more uncomfortable when Benjamin complements her on her improved poetry reading. Nina says that it actually means something to her. For some reason she conveniently forgets to mention that it’s also because the object of her desire is laying in her bed having her read love poems to him. Sheesh. Of course, she doesn’t tell him her feelings, because if people on Chatham Island actually expressed their true feelings, the sky would turn purple and planes would get yanked out of the air. Oh. My bad. That was Craphole Island, not Chatham.
Claire goes up to her widow’s walk to write in her diary. She writes about her encounter with Benjamin and doing the right thing versus the smart thing. I remember when I first read this I thought Claire was such an evil shrew. I now find myself empathizing with her position. Lucas has already done his time and it’s not like ‘fessing up would get him those two years of his life back. (Out of curiosity, what would you do? Answer in the comments, please!) Claire also points out that Zoey’s feelings shouldn’t matter more than her father’s life.
Claire decides that it would be better if she just keeps on lying. She figures she’ll be around when Zoey decides to dump Jake and nobody would take issue with her lies, and everybody would live happily ever after.