Leslie's dad is fixing up their house, and needs Leslie to help out, because her mom is busy working. So Leslie can't spend as much time with Jess.
By himself, Jess can't find the same specialness in Terabithia. He needs Leslie.
But without her, life is sucky. His parents want him to do chores, and his little sisters bug him. Then he gets in trouble.
So, sometimes he takes Leslie's dog, who they're calling P.T., for a walk.
Everyone seems glum except for Leslie, who likes working on the house and hanging out with her dad.
Jess gets jealous of Leslie hanging out with her dad so much and feels left out. Leslie calls him on it and says he should just hang out with them and help at the house too.
At first this feels awkward, but then Jess really gets to like it. They sing, talk, and fix up the house, painting the living room gold. Everyone agrees they've made the home beautiful.
Leslie says it's magical, but doesn't give up the secret of Terabithia to her parents. Jess is glad that it's still only theirs to know about.
Later they go back to Terabithia for the first time in a month.
Leslie makes up a wonderful story about how they were gone fighting a war, and they must fight new enemies here to reclaim their land. After conquering their enemy, they go to the pine grove and have a thankfulness ceremony.
Back at school, Leslie has an encounter – though not of the bullying sort – with Janice Avery. Jess listens as she explains that she heard Janice crying in the girls' bathroom. Jess says they should help her. He encourages Leslie to go in and talk to Janice.
They're still talking when recess ends and Jess has to go to class. Leslie comes in late, but doesn't get into trouble. But this means Jess can't find out what happened until class is over, they ride the bus home, and are safe in Terabithia.
Leslie tells him Janice is interesting and has a hard life; her dad beats her up, and when she told her school friends, they told everyone. Then everybody found out, so she was embarrassed.
Leslie reassured her and told her to act like nothing happened, so it would all blow over.
She tells Jess that, because of his advice, she has a friend-and-a-half at school.
Jess is just glad they're each other's best friends.
Later, at bedtime, May Belle tells Jess she followed him and Leslie and knows where their special place is. He freaks out and bullies her into saying she won't ever tell anyone.