Fern Mullins, the new schoolteacher, busts into Carol's house and asks her to come on one last picnic before the school year starts. She also wants to bring along Cy Bogart, who will soon be a student of Fern's. Carol makes sure to invite Erik Valbourg along.
While on the picnic, Valbourg invites Carol to take a boat ride with him. She agrees, even though she knows it'll cause a bit of a scandal with the other picnickers.
The next day, Mrs. Bogart visits Carol and brings up Erik. She's obviously fishing for some admission of guilt from Carol, but Carol keeps a straight face. She's uncomfortable on the inside, because she knows Mrs. Bogart has seen her walking alone with Erik before. A suspicious woman like that is bound to put two and two together.
From this point on, Carol seems to catch Mrs. Bogart watching any time she so much as glances in Erik's direction.
Carol decides that the best thing to do is get away from Erik and Mrs. Bogart altogether. She asks Will if she can have a few days to spend in Chicago by herself. Will rejects the idea, leaving Carol at the mercy of her feelings for Erik… and the more she likes him, the more she hates Gopher Prairie.
One day, Erik runs up to Carol at a lawn party and basically tells her he's in love with her. He's been hanging out with another local girl, but he says that he's only doing it to take his mind off Carol. Carol tells him she's too scared of the judgment of Gopher Prairie to do anything about it.
Carol walks away from Erik. Later that afternoon, Will grabs her by the arm and confronts her about how much time she's been spending around Erik. But Carol lies right to his face by saying that she's helping fix up Erik with another local girl.