Me Before You Summary
Lou Clark is an Average Jane from a small town in England. She worked at café until its owner abruptly announced that he was shutting the place down, leaving her jobless. Bummed, Lou goes job hunting until she lands a gig as a caretaker for a paralyzed man named Will Traynor.
Will is a young business executive and extreme sports enthusiast whose life was forever changed two years earlier when he was hit by a motorcycle while crossing the street, leaving him almost completely paralyzed. His mother, Camilla, tells Lou that her job will be to monitor him at all hours of the day, even though he already has a professional taking care of his medical needs.
Unfortunately, Will is a total jerk at first. He seems bitter. With time, however, he slowly warms up to Lou, and their relationship grows closer and closer. That is, until Lou learns the truth about why she was hired: after a previous suicide attempt, Will made his mother promise to take him to an assisted suicide facility in six months to end his life. Lou's job has actually been to make sure he doesn't hurt himself before then.
Although Lou is shaken by this revelation, she has a plan: she'll take Will on a series of excursions to show him that life is still worth living. Some of these trips don't go well, like one ill-advised jaunt to the horse races, but some are truly eye-opening, like a romantic night at the symphony. The big trip comes near the end of the six months: an all-expenses paid vacation to Mauritius, a small island off the coast of Africa.
It's a magical experience. Lou is amazed by the beauty of this exotic place—not to mention her growing feelings toward Will. On the final night of the vacation, Lou kisses Will and declares her love for him, saying that she knows about his plan but wants him to be with her. Although he loves her, too, Will says that he's going through with it. Furious, Lou ignores Will when they return home.
Eventually, Lou relents and decides to share Will's final moments with him at Dignitas, the assisted suicide facility. Lou's mom is furious about this and tells her to not return home if she decides to go. But that's not going to stop her. She makes it to Dignitas in time and shares a tender moment with Will before he goes through with the procedure.
Before his death, Will writes Lou a letter that specifically requests that it only be opened while Lou is a Paris café. So she goes. The letter says that Will has left Lou a small amount of money so she can go back to school and follow her dreams. It also expresses Will's sadness at causing her pain, though he hopes that she will emerge from the other end of her grief as a better person. Thus begins a bold new chapter in Lou's life.
…While everyone else is reaching for the tissue box. (Go on, we won't judge.)
- A dude emerges from his bathroom and obverses his ladyfriend sprawled out across the bed. Saucy. He reminisces about the good times they had the previous night. Saucier.
- Lady's looking at brochures and talking about their upcoming vacation. She tells the dude that she doesn't want to do any adventurous stuff this time, which seems to be the dude's M.O.
- We learn the dude's name: Will Traynor. He's heading off for work but promises to take his lady out to a fancy restaurant when he gets back.
- Bad news: it's pouring outside. Typical London weather. Will chooses to forgo his motorcycle today (good call) and instead runs to the street to hail a cab.
- Will spots a cab across the street as he chats with a colleague named Rupert on the phone. He slowly makes his way across the bustling road, careful to avoid passing cars.
- Just as he approaches the cab, however, Will realizes that something is approaching him from the side. And it's moving fast. He has no chance to avoid it.
- Will sees a flash of a motorcyclist before his consciousness gets consumed by an "explosion" and everything goes black (p.43).
- That can't be good.
- We're following a lady named Lou Clark as she counts the steps between her house and the bus stop. Must be the life of the party, this one.
- Behind her sits Stortford Castle, which seems to be an important locale in her life story. She seems to have spent her whole life here—wherever here is.
- Lou enters her home to find her dad "facedown on the sofa" (1.1). He's looking for some Legos helpfully stuffed into the cushions by Lou's five-year-old nephew, Thomas.
- Lou's mom is upstairs ironing clothes. Mrs. Clark is known for a relentless energy that's typically channeled into cleaning.
- Mr. Clark asks Lou why she's home so early, but she ignores him and walks into the kitchen, where she pours a glass of water for her grandpa. Grandpa isn't able to do much for himself since having several strokes a few years back.
- Mrs. Clark asks Lou about her upcoming vacay with her boyfriend, Patrick, but Lou's head is off in space. Finally, she comes clean: she just lost her job.
- Lou's boss, Frank, is shutting down his café tomorrow to return to his native Australia and take care of his ailing pops. Luckily, he's giving Lou three months' pay.
- Lou describes the café, explaining that she loves working there because of all of the life she's able to observe. She's worked there for six years.
- Lou's parents are freaking out because they rely on her wages to survive. Lou's little sister, Treena, makes next to nothing at a local flower shop, while Mr. Clark is worried that he's about to be laid off. Bad news.
- Lou decides to head to the job center the following day.
- Later that night, Lou visits her boyfriend at the gym. He makes her run beside him on the track to have a conversation.
- Patrick tells Lou that losing her job might be a good thing because it will help her re-orient her life. He also tells her that he'll pay for the vacation, though he adds that he expects her to pay him back once she's found a job.
- What a keeper.
- Lou visits the job center, where she's given a stipend as long as she's actively looking for and accepting job offers. She spends time at a chicken-processing factory and fast-food restaurant, which doesn't bode well for her prospects.
- The supervisor even suggests that Lou start stripping. For real, dude?
- The supervisor does have one other offer, however. There's a "care assistant position" with a disabled man, which actually pays quite well (1.131).
- Assuming that the client is an old man, Lou immediately recoils. Still, she has no other choice and accepts the invitation to a job interview.
- Lou talks about how she's always lived in the shadow of her sister Katrina (a.k.a. Treena) because Treena has always been the smarty pants in the family.
- Clad in one of her mom's vintage suits, Lou heads off for her job interview. It's at the Granta House, a fancy mansion located on the other side of Stortford Castle.
- Lou's met by a middle-aged woman named Camilla Traynor. Camilla starts by asking her about her experience with quadriplegics, of which Lou has none.
- Lou tries to make some jokes, but they fall as flat as pancakes.
- Camilla explains that her son, Will, "was injured in a road accident almost two years ago" (2.77). They have plenty of medical professionals helping out, but they also want a caregiver to watch over him nine hours a day.
- So, Camilla asks, does Lou want the job?
- Lou is shocked, but she accepts. Her first day is tomorrow.
- Camilla Traynor is giving Lou a tour of the grounds. She tells her that it's of the utmost importance that she not leave Will alone for an extended period of time, as he got "injured" last time that happened (3.8).
- Camilla leads Lou up to the room. First, Lou meets Nathan, a large New Zealander who provides for Will's medical needs. Then she meets Will himself.
- Will looks scraggly, with long unkempt hair and a beard, and he groans as soon as he sees Lou. Multiple times. It's awkward.
- Nathan explains Will's medications to Lou, though she won't have to deal with them too often. Still, there's a lot of stuff to remember.
- Nathan and Camilla exit, leaving Lou alone with her new ward. She tries to make small talk, but he mocks her until she decides to leave the room and tidy up instead.
- While vacuuming, Lou peeks into Will's bedroom and looks around. She sees a bunch of pictures of him engaging in all sorts of extreme sports before the accident.
- Lou's investigation is interrupted by Will. Whoops. Things are getting more awkward by the second.
- Nathan comes back at lunchtime, and Lou hops outside for a quick break, calling Treena and telling her that she wants to quit. Not going to happen, girl.
- After an afternoon filled with awkward interactions, Lou returns home. She continues to complain to Treena, but little sis has something important to say.
- Treena's going back to college.
- Lou is shocked. Though she's happy for her sister (kind of), this means that there's more pressure than ever on her to support the family.
- Two weeks pass, and things are just as awkward as ever. Although Lou feels sympathy for Will's plight, she hates how "vile" he is toward her (4.10).
- One day, Mrs. Traynor has a surprising announcement—Will has friends over. That's a first. They're a dude named Rupert (an ex-coworker of Will) and a gal named Alicia.
- Lou slowly realizes that she's seen Alicia before—in Will's photographs. She must be his ex. Oy vey.
- After some tense small talk, Alicia and Rupert reveal the reason for their visit. They're getting married. Yikes.
- Lou is making tea after they leave when she hears a crash from Will's room. Oh, no. She rushes upstairs and finds that Will has knocked his photos off the dresser, destroying them.
- That evening, Lou goes to the Kings Head pub with Patrick and his gym friends. She loves eating greasy food just to see them "pretend they [don't] want" some (4.105).
- Lou tries to talk to Patrick about what happened with Will, but he's not paying attention. Instead he just wants to talk about the upcoming Xtreme Viking marathon he plans on racing.
- The next day, Lou cleans up and organizes the scattered photographs. Will sees this and freaks out, telling her that he doesn't want to see them anymore.
- By now, however, Lou is fed up with his 'tude and straight-up calls him an "arse" (4.155). Strangely, Will doesn't react with anger. That's a first for him.
- We're now four weeks in, and Lou is sneaking some vegetables in with Will's mashed potatoes. He notices this and laughs, which is a rare thing 'round these parts.
- Yet it's been happening more often lately. Nathan tells Lou that it's a good sign.
- Lou even starts watching films with Will. She's down for the action flicks, but much less enthusiastic when he suggests watching a subtitled foreign film.
- Despite her preconceptions, however, Lou ends up loving it. Shocker.
- Will then asks Lou about her life, which is even more shocking. Lou can tell his disappointment when she reveals the rather boring extent of her experiences.
- That Friday, there is an appointment at the hospital. Lou is super nervous to drive Will there, noticing how he "appeared to shrink a little" as soon as he leaves the house (5.136).
- While Will is in the doctor's office, Lou asks Nathan if he's recovering well. Nathan explains that there's pretty much no chance that he'll ever get better, which is a real bummer.
- Lou pops into the doctor's office while Will is being checked and sees him with his shirt off. She quickly leaves.
- Lou wasn't scared by his naked body, however. She was scared by the "livid red lines scoring Will's wrists" (5.171).
- It's snowing when Lou arrives at the Granta House. Mr. Traynor greets her at the door. He says that Will isn't feeling well but Nathan has the morning off.
- Will looks pretty rough. He's burning up. Lou readjusts him to a more comfortable position before giving him his daily dose of painkillers.
- Lou checks up on Will at noon, and he's unresponsive. Oh, no…
- Luckily, Will stirs a few moments later, though he still looks legit terrible. Even better, Nathan appears a few moments later.
- Nathan flips his lid. He explains that Will "can't regulate his own temperature," which means that she should have been cooling him off and giving him antibiotics all morning (6.65). Whoops.
- Will starts seeming better after an hour or so. Nathan takes the opportunity to give Lou a full lesson on how to take care of Will should he not be present.
- Because of the snowstorm, Mrs. Traynor asks Lou to spend the night at the house. She agrees.
- Later, Nathan calls to check up. Lou asks if she should call Mr. Traynor and tell him what's up, but Nathan alludes to the old man partaking in extracurricular activities when his wife is out.
- Around eight, Will finally stirs. There's "no sharpness to him now, no edge" (6.109). She asks him about the accident and he tells her that he was hit by a motorcycle.
- Will then asks Lou to tell him "something good" (6.140).
- Apparently, Lou's idea of "something good" is to sing a song created by her dad called the "Molahonkey Song." It's as silly as it sounds.
- Lou also tells Will about her unique fashion style. It started when she was young and her mom bought her a pair of tights with bright yellow and black stripes—just like a bumblebee.
- Lou is dreaming that she's in a classroom when she's awoken by Mrs. Traynor's voice. Mrs. Traynor asks her why she's in Will's bed.
- It's now spring.
- Lou talks about how she and Patrick had met while she was working as a trainee hair stylist. Patrick was a lot different back then: a normal bloke with a normal beer belly.
- At some point, however, Patrick became "obsessed by his own shape" at the expense of their relationship (7.7). Lou tried to be supportive, but the distance between them grew.
- At the Granta House, Mrs. Traynor orders Lou and Will outside while cleaners take care of the house. They chill in the garden.
- Will asks Lou about her six-year relationship with Patrick. She responds by asking him about his relationship with Alicia.
- Things are different between Will and Lou now. There's still tension occasionally, especially when Will is in pain (as he often is), but they have an understanding.
- One day, Will asks Lou where else she's lived, and she reveals that she's never left her small town. Will is shocked—he thinks that she should live a little.
- In response, Lou decides to speak her mind back at him—dude needs a haircut and a shave. She's shocked when he agrees.
- Lou gets to work on Will's hair and beard, which feels "curiously intimate" (7.128). Quite curious, eh?
- As Lou goes off to get a mirror to show Will her handiwork, she hears the shouting of a young woman. What is it now?
- The woman is shouting about how "selfish" Will is (7.149). Will introduces her to Lou as Georgina, his sister, who currently lives in Australia.
- Lou leaves the house to let them do their thing, returning a half-hour later to find Will in a daze. What a warm family reunion.
- Later, as Lou is washing laundry, she eavesdrops on a conversation between Georgina and Mrs. Traynor.
- Mrs. Traynor confirms that Will tried to kill himself in January. She also reveals that he made her promise to take him someplace called "Dignitas" after an agreed-upon six-month period, which Georgina responds to with anger and horror.
- This chapter is told from Camilla Traynor's perspective. She starts by saying that she "never set out to help kill [her] son" (8.1). Heavy.
- Camilla is a magistrate, which in England is a non-official who takes part in deciding legal proceedings. She never expected something like Will's accident to happen to her family.
- Camilla's also an avid gardener, which is something she got away from after Will's accident. She's slowly got back into the habit, though.
- We're now in the present, with Camilla sitting with her husband Steven as they wait for Georgina to come upstairs. It's clear that she knows something about her husband's tomfoolery, by the way.
- Camilla describes her shock when Will first told her his plan. If you haven't realized it yet, they're talking about assisted suicide.
- Camilla didn't agree until Will attempted suicide himself. He had found an exposed nail in the wall of their house and wheeled his chair against it repeatedly. It's pretty horrifying.
- That's when he forced Camilla to agree: after six months, she'll help him end his life.
- Lou is so shaken by the revelation that Will has been contemplating assisted suicide that she can't sleep that night. She's both horrified and angry at being deceived by Camilla and Will about the true nature of her work.
- After work the next day, Lou writes a letter to Mrs. Traynor and leaves it on the kitchen table.
- When she returns home, she finds a crowd assembled on her street. Apparently their neighbor had cheated on his wife, and she's in the process of booting him to the curb.
- After a bit of this, Lou notices Mrs. Traynor pull up in her Mercedes—not a usual sight around these parts. Lou walks over and gets inside the car so they can talk.
- Apparently, Lou's letter had been about her resignation, though she hadn't revealed the reason. Now she does, saying that she can't stand idly by while everyone waits to take Will to the assisted suicide center.
- Mrs. Traynor says that yes, Lou was only hired to prevent Will from committing suicide before the six months were up, but now she thinks that Lou can give Will hope to live.
- Lou doesn't say anything either way. She leaves the car.
- Later that night, Lou reveals the truth to Treena, who is quite shocked. Still, Treena has an idea—with four months left, Lou should take Will on a bunch of trips to convince him that life is worth living.
- Camilla, Steven, and Georgina Traynor look surprised when Lou tells them about her plan. Mrs. Traynor seems oddly hesitant, but Lou says that she'll quit if they refuse.
- Meanwhile, Treena has come up with a list of activities for Lou to do with Will. She shows it to her big sis as they wait for Patrick to pass them while he runs a marathon. Lou is strangely unenthused.
- Patrick doesn't even notice Lou and Treena when he passes. What a swell boyfriend. A real keeper.
- Treena is going to be heading off to college soon with Thomas, so Lou requests that she take Treena's room, which is much bigger than her own. The sisters beef hardcore over this.
- On Saturday, Lou goes to the library, where she learns how to use a computer for the first time. Really. She uses her newfound technological prowess to begin her own list of activities.
- She only has "a hundred and seventeen days" left (10.109).
- You can tell that it's summer now, because the tourists have arrived. They're everywhere.
- It's a big day for Lou, because she's decided to take Will to the horse races under the guise of giving Nathan his first experience at the track. Will reluctantly agrees.
- Things go wrong almost immediately. When they reach the parking lot, our heroes realize that it's a grass field, which will cause Will to "sink" if he wheels across it (11.31). Strike one.
- After carrying Will toward the entrance (slowly), they make their way to their seats. And it starts raining. Strike two.
- Will impatiently asks how long they'll have to stay, though Nathan seems to be getting into it. They decide to grab lunch after a race or two.
- When they arrive at the restaurant, however, our heroes learn that it's only open to visitors with "Premier Area" badges, which our trio does not have (11.81).
- Lou lets loose on the server, but it doesn't help things at all. And that's strike three, folks.
- After getting a small lunch at a food stand, our trio decides to head back to the car. There's just one problem: the rain has turned the grass into mud, making it impossible for Lou and Nathan to lug Will across the field.
- Lou finds a group of veterans and lies to them, saying that Will was disabled during the Iraq War, in order to get their help. And they do help. Quite drunkenly, we might add.
- Back at the house, Will is giving Lou the cold shoulder. He finally tells her that he's always hated horses, and that she would have known that if she had just asked him.
- Instead, Will says, she did what everyone else does—she "decided for [him]" (11.185).
- Lou tells us that she can remember "the exact day [she] stopped being fearless" (12.1).
- It's seven years ago during a particularly hot July, just a month after the death of her grandmother. She wouldn't meet Patrick for several months.
- Lou was a lot more conventional back then, especially in her manner of dress. She also was a lot more interested in exploring the world outside her small town.
- As Rebecca Black would so eloquently say, it's Friday. Lou is partying with friends at a small fair on the grounds of the castle. Partying, partying, yeah.
- Lou ends up partaking in some illicit drugs in the center of the castle's hedge maze with the other kids. Before she knows what's happening, all of the other girls are gone.
- We jump forward in time to several hours later, when Treena finds Lou "silent and shivering" at the center of the maze (12.9). This is really weird, but it's not quite clear what happened…
- Back in the present, Lou is telling Will how she joined the library. The two of them talk about music, and Will tells her about his friend who plays lead violin in the orchestra.
- As she does with anything fancy, Lou shows utter disinterest. Still, Will wants her to go to one of his concerts, but Lou only agrees when he promises to join her.
- Lou ends up wearing a red dress to the concert, to which Nathan responds to with an earnest "Ka-Pow" (12.85). We think that's positive. Will is quite taken, too.
- Lou is blown away by the music—it's a borderline religious experience. Will, on the other hand, just seems to be blown away by Lou.
- We hop back to the flashback that opened the chapter.
- Lou never tells Treena what happened that night. She also alludes to having to "find [her] clothes" before they left the maze, which has some rather horrifying implications (12.154).
- Immediately after this event, Lou cuts her hair and starts dressing in her idiosyncratic fashion. She also never returns to the maze.
- After criticizing Lou for not going to his weekly exercise meet-ups, Patrick asks her what she wants to do for her birthday. She says that her mom is going to have a dinner at the house.
- Treena had left for college the previous weekend. Mom has been in a tizzy since then, but Lou has spent so much time on the computer at the library that she's hardly noticed.
- One day, Lou tells Will that he should send a thank-you note to his violinist friend. Will doesn't want to, however—he hates sending letters because it humiliates him that he can't write them himself.
- Lou has a plan, as usual. She buys him a small computer he can use to type out letters all by himself. A few days later, he sends her a thank-you note to prove that it works. How swell.
- Lou also invites Will to her birthday dinner. Time to meet the fam.
- It's a little awkward at first, but Will quickly hits it off with both of her parents. Lou's dad seems to get a real kick out of this upper-class bloke.
- Patrick—a little bit less so. He arrives unfashionably late and immediately gets confrontational with Will, pushing the idea that he could recover if he only exercised more.
- For real, bro?
- It's gift time. Lou's parents give her a lovely photo album. Patrick gives her a necklace that is "not remotely [Lou]" (13.101). Swing and a miss.
- Will, on the other hand, blows them all out of the water. He gets Lou two pairs of her precious bumblebee tights—custom-made. Now that's a home run.
- Before leaving, Will alludes to Lou's skills at giving baths to Patrick. Now that's a shot if we've ever heard one.
- That night, Patrick makes love to Lou in way that makes it clear that he's "determined to show off his [...] strength and vigor" (13.212). It's their first time in a while.
- Insecure much?
- In May, there's a whole lot of mess on the news about people going to Dignitas to engage in assisted suicide. What a literary coincidence.
- One case in particular catches Lou's eye. A twenty-four-year-old kid named Leo got paralyzed while playing football, and after several failed suicide attempts, his parents finally agreed to take him to Dignitas.
- In all of these cases, there was a bunch of public outcry along with the threat of legal action from the authorities.
- To top off this news, Lou's dad is fired from his job. He heads straight to the Job Center, as Lou did, but "prospects for a fifty-five-year-old man" aren't looking good (14.11).
- That week, Will receives an invitation to Rupert and Alicia's wedding. For real?
- Treena and Thomas come home for a visit a few weekends later. Mom is beyond excited to have them back, but they don't seem to be adjusting well to living in the small room.
- A few days later, Lou asks Will where he would go if he could go anywhere. He says Paris and waxes poetic about coffee and croissants.
- Will wouldn't want to go now, though—that would just sully his memories.
- The next weekend, Lou finds her parents sleeping on the couch in the middle of the night. It turns out they gave Thomas and Treena their room so they could get a decent night of sleep.
- We return to the conversation about Leo, the young man who went to Dignitas. According to his parents, "he finally looked like Leo again" after going through with the procedure (14.157).
- While Nathan gives Will his daily physiotherapy, our wheelchair-bound hunk asks Lou what she does when she's not working. The answer is unsurprising: she reads a lot.
- Nathan then gives Will ten bucks. Huh? Turns out they made a bet on the boringness of Lou's life. Lou is surprised by how much this hurts her.
- Lou confronts him about this later in the day. Will sticks to his guns, telling her that she's "letting [her] life slip by" (15.33). She should be doing something to make her life better, like going to night school so she can follow her dreams.
- Will ends up in the hospital two days later with an infection. Given some time off, Lou joins an internet forum for people with spinal injuries under the name "Busy Bee" (15.77).
- Lou makes a post asking how to cheer Will up and is shocked by the number of responses. There are a few that seem to support his desire to commit assisted suicide, but most are enthusiastic and compassionate.
- Will looks exhausted when he gets back from the hospital. Lou takes him on several more trips, with varied success.
- On the way home from a wine tasting, Will and Lou somehow get on the subject of tattoos. Neither of them have one.
- Impulsively, Will tells Lou that they must get tattoos. Tonight.
- So they do. Lou gets a bumblebee on her hip (because of course), while Will gets a tattoo befitting his sardonic sense of humor.
- It reads: "Best before: 19 March 2007" (15.164). That's the day of his accident.
- There's trouble at the Clark household: "the sleeping arrangements just weren't working" (16.1). Lou spends a lot of nights at Patrick's flat, despite him usually being out training, and despite the fact that she hates sleeping there.
- Later that week, Will notices that Lou looks particularly sleepy and asks what's up. She explains the whole housing situation to him, which leads him to make a surprising proposition—she should live at the Traynor house.
- Later, Will and Lou talk about Will's dad's affair. They're really laying the cards on the table, huh?
- A few days later, Lou's dad announces some more surprising news: he has a new job. Score. He'll be the new head of maintenance at the castle.
- And you know who runs the castle? Mr. Traynor.
- Lou is happy for her pops, but she suspects that Will used her knowledge of his dad's affair to blackmail him into giving Mr. Clark the job. Will doesn't deny it.
- That night, Lou goes to Patrick's triathlon meet-up. She tells him about her dad's new job before casually mentioning Will's offer to live with his family.
- Patrick has his own surprising offer in response—she should live with him instead. Lou hesitantly agrees.
- Well, this is going to turn out great. Nothing could possibly go wrong.
- Will is distant when Lou reveals her plan. Surprise.
- That afternoon, a man arrives wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. He introduces himself as Michael Lawler and asks to speak with Will.
- Lou is crazy curious, but she isn't able to eavesdrop on the meeting. She manages to find out the location of Mr. Lawler's office and does some research at the library after she gets off work.
- What Lou finds shocks her—Mr. Lawler is a lawyer and "specialist in wills" (17.48). Oh, no…
- Lou has a super awkward time moving into Patrick's flat. He heads out running almost immediately after she brings her stuff inside.
- Later, Lou tells Mrs. Traynor about Mr. Lawler's visit. Lou isn't surprised by her horror at this revelation, but she is surprised by how upset she gets when she tells her that she moved into Patrick's home.
- While walking the grounds one day, Will suggests that they explore the maze. Lou doesn't want to (remember the flashback earlier?), but Will persuades her to do it.
- Lou starts off well, but she eventually gets hit by a panic attack. She gets caught up in the memory of that day.
- We now see a bit more of that scene. After Lou's friends vanished, she was surrounded by drunk, disorderly men. They demanded that she kiss them.
- There's nothing explicit, but it's implied that Lou was raped.
- Back in the present, Will comforts Lou and leads her out of the maze. He tells her about the pain, panic, and fear he feels given his condition, which makes her feel safe enough to share her story with him.
- Will tells Lou that "it wasn't [her] fault" but that she doesn't need him to tell her that (17.245). But here's the thing—she does. No one has said that to her before.
- In a book filled with surprises, this might be the most surprising surprise yet: Will tells Lou that he's going to go to Alicia and Rupert's wedding on Saturday. And she's coming with him.
- Alicia's parents' house is insane. Alicia herself isn't too shabby, either.
- Lou and Will make it "through the ceremony without incident" (18.71). Phew. They both drink Pimm's cups when the reception begins, which Lou assumes are non-alcoholic.
- Spoiler: they're not. This is going to be fun.
- Will engages in a series of interactions, some of which are stilted and awkward, some of which are surprisingly normal. He seems to be having a great time.
- Lou ends up talking to a woman named Mary Rawlinson, who helps people looking to take part in adult education. She gives Lou her card.
- Realizing that they're too drunk to drive home, Will tells Lou to book a nearby hotel room. Hubba hubba.
- Alicia and Rupert finally come by to say hello. It isn't the most charming interaction in the world, but it could have gone a lot worse.
- Lou asks Will to dance. She plops on his lap, and they whirl around the dance floor, having a great time and attracting many confused stares.
- At the end of the night, Lou persuades Will to go on a trip with her. A real trip. He agrees. Being toasted certainly makes the dude more amenable.
- This one is told from Nathan's perspective, folks.
- And boy, is Nathan annoyed at Lou for how she took care of Will at the wedding. Will drank a bunch, which is a really bad thing for him health-wise.
- Will puts on a strong front, but Nathan can tell that he's hurting. His blood pressure is "sky high" (19.25).
- Later, Will and Lou reveal their plan for a getaway vacation and invite Nathan along.
- Lou tells Patrick that she's not going to be able to go to the Xtreme Viking marathon, which disappoints him, but not as much as the revelation that it's because she'll be on the trip with Will.
- In an attempt to ease his mind, Lou tells Patrick about Will's plans to go to Dignitas, and she explains that she's trying to change his mind. It doesn't seem to help.
- After talking with her online friends, Lou's finally figured out a locale for the trip—the Four Wind Ranch in California. It's specially designed for quadriplegics, allowing them to engage in a bunch of fun activities they never would be able to otherwise.
- Lou tells Mrs. Traynor about the trip and gets her approval. Score. Instead of going back to Patrick's (er, we mean her) flat afterwards, however, she goes to her parents' house.
- Lou talks with Treena for a while and tells her that she wants to find a new career. And why? Because she can't be both Will's caregiver and romantic partner.
- Now that's a bombshell.
- Lou's not one-hundred-percent sure about her feelings, so she doesn't want to do anything rash.
- Lou arrives at Patrick's home later to a surprising sight—a romantic dinner. Patrick apologizes for being so distant and promises to be better once the marathon is over.
- Lou and Patrick have a rather lovely dinner. That is, until he sees her vacation plans. He demands that she cancel the trip.
- Lou's answer is as telling as it can get: "But he needs me" (20.219).
- This chapter is told from Mr. Traynor's perspective.
- Lou has moved into the Traynor house. Steven likes her a bunch, so it's all good to him.
- Steven describes going out for a drink with Della, his mistress. It seems like he was planning on leaving his wife before Will's accident turned everything upside-down.
- The chapter ends on a real bummer of a note: Will is struck by pneumonia.
- Lou rushes into the hospital. Will had seemed fine on Friday—how could he get so sick so quickly?
- Lou sits with Will until he wakes up in the middle of the afternoon. He's in rough shape. After a bit of idle conversation, Will finally says the thing Lou fears most—he's not going to be healthy enough to go on the trip.
- While canceling her reservations, Lou is interrupted by Nathan. She asks him if he knows about Will's plans for assisted suicide.
- Nathan does. While he obviously wants his friend to stay alive, as does Lou, he only wants him to hold on "if he wants to live" (22.122). That's an important distinction.
- Lou isn't giving up without a fight, however. She thinks she can put together a different trip—one that Will's doctors will approve.
- Ten days later, Lou, Nathan, and Will are at the airport. This girl can really work some magic.
- Lou got help from Ritchie, one of the dudes in her online quadriplegia community. Who says that you can't find true friendship on the internet?
- Our friends going to Mauritius, a small tropical island off the coast of Madagascar. Yes—an island off the coast of an island.
- The three make it to the island without a hitch. Will still isn't feeling too well, but they're all in one piece.
- By the third day, however, Will's looking a lot better. All three of our friends are having an amazing time—Lou even starts wondering if she's "actually in paradise" (23.42).
- Will seems to have attained "a peace that had been missing" from his life for a long time (23.47).
- And Will isn't the only one having a great time, either. On the fourth day of the trip, Nathan meets a lovely lady from New Zealand named Karen. You go, boy.
- On the second-to-last night of the trip, Lou tells Nathan that he can have Karen stay over in his hotel room for the night—which means that Lou and Will will be sharing a room.
- Well, if they must.
- Lou and Will lie in bed while a storm rages outside. Will falls asleep as they cuddle, but Lou is so swirling with thoughts about the future that it takes her forever.
- On the last day, Will and Nathan convince Lou to go scuba diving. She doesn't want to at first—as usual—but she ends up having an amazing time. Again—as usual.
- That night, Lou gets a bit tipsy while she and Will share some alone time on the beach. She's in such a good mood that she dances as if no one was watching.
- And then it finally happens—Lou kisses Will. It's electric.
- Will stops Lou. It's not that he doesn't want to, but that he knows he can't give her the life he wants to give her. Kissing her reminds him of that.
- Lou reveals that she knows about Will's plan. She tries to convince him that his life is worth living and even tells him that she loves him, but he's resolute—he's going through with it.
- The conversation doesn't end well, to say the least.
- Lou pretty much ignores Will for the rest of the trip. Likewise on the flight home.
- Once they arrive, Lou immediately bails on the family and heads to the bus stop. Mrs. Traynor follows her.
- Lou tells her that Will is going to go through with his plan. Mrs. Traynor nearly passes out.
- Katrina is Treena, by the way. And she's the one donning the narrative cap this time around.
- Treena reports that Lou stayed in her room "for a whole thirty-six hours" after returning home from her trip (25.1). Not a good sign.
- Treena finally enters Lou's cave of despair and gets the story.
- Treena reveals that Lou got a letter from the college while she was away, which she went ahead and opened. Lou has an interview tomorrow.
- Lou doesn't want to go, but Treena convinces her. That's a good sister.
- That night, Lou reveals that she passed the interview. She still seems hesitant to go to school, however, especially now that she doesn't have any income coming in.
- Lou also decides to tell her parents everything about the Will situation. Her dad is sad but sympathetic, while her mom is horrified and angry.
- Mr. Clark notes that the Traynor family hasn't been home for the last couple days. Oh, no. With a shock, Lou realizes that tomorrow is the big day.
- The next day, Lou wonders whether she should have gone with Will. As she does so, the doorbell rings. It's a reporter from the Globe, and she wants to know about Will's plan.
- Someone must have spilled the beans. But who?
- The phone rings off the hook all day with calls from reporters. One call, however, is from a very different source—Camilla Traynor.
- Will is still alive, and Mrs. Traynor has booked Lou a flight out to Switzerland that night.
- Lou's mom is beyond furious when she finds out that Lou is heading to Switzerland. She tells her that she "needn't come back" if she decides to go through with it (26.25).
- Lou arrives in Zurich just before midnight and heads straight for the hotel set up by Mrs. Traynor. She can hardly sleep and chats with Ritchie to calm herself as much as possible.
- Dignitas is a lot different from what she expected. Instead of being some strange medical building, it's an awfully ordinary looking house.
- Lou sees the Traynor family entering. They look understandably shaken up.
- Lou and Will share a tender moment. He seems really happy that she's there.
- Lou tells Will that it's been "the best six months of [her] entire life" (26.100). He says the same.
- Lou and Will cuddle and kiss, and Lou feels more torn than ever. She doesn't know how long this moment lasts, but she suddenly feels Will loosen up and ask her to send his parents in.
- We're looking at some legal documents filed by governmental officials. They show that (a) Will went through with the assisted suicide, (b) the government decided not to prosecute the family, and (c) Will named Lou as a beneficiary in his will.
- Lou is at a Paris café, eating croissants and drinking coffee. She's doing this, according to her, because she's "following instructions" (e.1).
- Lou looks at a letter that refers to said instructions. It's from Will.
- The letter explains that Will is leaving Lou a small amount of money so she can go through with her education. He also tells her that she should live life with a new sense of zeal, though he knows that it will be hard at first.
- The waiter offers Lou another coffee, but she declines. She pays her bill, walks away, and gets ready to explore the world in a way she never thought possible a year ago.