Firefly Lane Book Summary, by Kristin Hannah

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Firefly Lane is a novel written by Kristin Hannah, who has written 20 novels. This novel takes place in the 1970s and tells the story of two women whose 30-year friendship becomes a stabilizing force in their lives.

Firefly Lane tells the story of two best friends, Kate and Tully. The narrative begins in 1974 when they were both eighth grade students. They met at that time, and their relationship lasted for more than three decades.

Tully moves to Firefly Lane with her mother, Cloud. Cloud is a drug addict and has abandoned Tully in the past. She must take care of her mother now, which causes problems for Tully at school because she’s not as involved with school activities anymore. At a party one night, she gets raped by someone she knew from high school. Her only friend during this time is Kate Mularkey who lives across the street from her grandmother’s house where they live after moving out of their apartment on Firefly Lane. Although they are friends throughout high school via letters and phone calls, when Gran dies (Tully’s grandmother), Tully moves back into the house on Firefly Lane to finish high school with Kate and her family.

Tully and Kate go to college together. Tully focuses on becoming a journalist, taking advanced classes and sending resumes all over. Kate finds that her interests lie less in journalism and more in writing, or even settling down with someone she loves. She gets a job at the local television station where Tully works as an intern. They both fall for their boss Johnny Ryan who is also interested in Tully but not Kate because he doesn’t know about her feelings for him yet.

After Tully is shot while live broadcasting a robbery in progress, she starts to move up the journalistic ladder. With Tully out of the office, Kate reveals her feelings to Johnny and pursues a relationship with him. After they get married and have children together, both women find that they want something more or need something more from their lives.

Tully tries to find her mother, Cloud. She films the process and posts it on YouTube. The video is popular, so Tully decides to start a show in Seattle with Johnny as her producer if she can be near Kate again. Her presence creates tension between Kate and Marah because they both idolize Tully.

As Marah and Kate’s relationship grows more strained, Tully (a producer) invites Kate to a live show in order to repair their friendship. However, the event does not go as planned and they end up arguing on air. Johnny quits as Tully’s producer and their 30-year friendship is ruined. In the aftermath of this incident, both Kate and Tully mourn what was lost but neither person wants an apology from the other.

After Kate is diagnosed with breast cancer, she reaches out to Tully. However, Tully is in Antarctica covering a story and doesn’t respond for several months. Once she returns to the United States and hears of her friend’s illness, Tully immediately goes to visit her at the hospital. She stays by Kate’s side throughout all of her treatments and comforts her when she knows that time is running out. After Kate passes away, Tully realizes how much love was exchanged between them during their friendship.

Chapter 1

A few years ago, Kate and Tully were best friends. They had a great friendship that lasted 30 years. Recently, they haven’t been as close as they used to be. Kate gets out of bed and calls Tully because she wants to talk about their relationship.

Chapter 2

It is 1970, and Tully Hart sits in her grandparents’ house quietly playing while the country is in upheaval. Her grandmother sits silently in her rocking chair doing needlework. She is a peaceful woman who has been through a lot of hardship, including having suffered a stroke. A knock at the door shatters this scene—Tully’s mother enters. Dorothy has not seen Tully since she was four years old; now she wants to take back custody of her daughter after six years away from home because she’s broke and can’t handle it anymore. When Dorothy tells Tully that they’re leaving, Tully realizes that her mother hasn’t shown affection or asked about what things need to be packed up for their trip together as mother and daughter. The girl feels afraid but seeks solace with the only person who ever made her feel loved and safe: Gran (her grandmother). As they say goodbye, Gran begins to cry, which makes little Tully feel sorry for causing these tears by having to leave again with Mommy Dearest so soon after arriving safely there once more. But Mommy doesn’t care about making little Tully feel better; instead she grabs the child by the shoulders and shakes her hard, telling her never to apologize because it makes you look pathetic.

Dorothy takes Tully to a VW bus filled with marijuana smoke and three of her friends. Dorothy doesn’t sit next to Tully, but smokes and talks with her friends about how badly she dresses. When Tully tries to give Dorothy a necklace that she made out of macaroni, it’s ignored by the mother. After drifting off to sleep, Tully is woken up by the sound of a busy Seattle street. They head into a war protest where they march all day until the drinking starts at nightfall. They continue walking together despite being tired and hungry until Dorothy loses grip on her daughter’s hand in the crowd while trying to grab another beer from someone else’s cooler. This causes them both to get separated from each other during the protest rally because there are so many people around them who were there for different reasons than just protesting against war or even listening closely enough to hear what was going on in between songs played by one band after another at this concert-like event which lasted well into nighttime hours when most people had already gone home; including some of those who brought their own alcohol along as if it were any old picnic in an open field somewhere without having been invited or knowing anyone else involved except through chance encounters like everyone else present that evening besides Dorothy & Tully; plus also not realizing that anything could have happened before either party went missing such as getting lost inside one particular building since no one knew exactly where everything was taking place anyway due solely upon luck rather than good planning beforehand especially considering how things turned out later on once again proving my point as always whenever I say “I told you so!”

Gran hugs Tully, who is upset about her mother leaving. Gran tells Tully that it’s not her fault, but Tully doesn’t believe her. When she turns 11 years old, Gran gives her a scrapbook as a gift. She uses the scrapbooks to collect all of the things from life that she missed out on because of being in prison and tries to show them to her mother through them. For many years after this point, she continues collecting items for these books and embellishing some parts of what happened so they seem more interesting than they really were. When Tully turned 14 years old, she decided that she was done with scrapbooks and didn’t care if or when her mother would come back home again. She tried not to think about anything related to having a mother at all anymore either by telling people that they’re dead instead (even though it wasn’t true).

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Chapter 3

Kate Mularkey dreads school. She’s going into the eighth grade and she feels like her friends have abandoned her, leaving her alone in social isolation. Her mother notices a moving van while they’re eating breakfast, and Kate gets annoyed with her mom for always being nosy. When she gets to school later that morning, Kate sees a very attractive girl at the bus stop but the girl never actually boards the bus.

Tully spends all morning trying to find the right outfit for school, but she can’t. She gets on the bus and decides that she doesn’t want to go to this hick school anymore. When she tells her mother about it, her mother says okay. Tully points out that she is only 14 years old and has no friends at this new school, then storms off in a fit of anger because her mom didn’t care about what happened or give any advice like “don’t do drugs.”

Kate watches Tully from a distance. She’s instantly popular, and the other kids talk about her with awe. This makes Kate feel even more alone and desperate for Tully to notice her. One evening, Kate’s mother sends her to Tully’s house to deliver a casserole. Her mother encourages her to take risks and try to make a new friend. However, when she gets there, it turns out that Tully’s mom is high on drugs; she answers the door but then lets in Tully before letting Kate in herself or saying anything else (which we can infer). Meanwhile, inside the kitchen, Tully tells Kate that her mother has cancer (which we know because of context clues). As Kate leaves later on after delivering the food and being made fun of for having such an unusual name as well as getting scolded by Tully for “being too sensitive” about being teased about it every day of school since kindergarten, she says resentfully that at least now she knows why everyone always laughs at them.

Chapter 4

Tully feels bad for snapping at Kate. She wakes up Dorothy, who prefers to be called Cloud, and eats dinner with her. Tully leaves the room when Cloud shows no interest in hearing about Tully’s life.

One night, Kate can’t sleep. She sneaks out to sit with her horse and thinks about how cool Tully Hart is and wishes she could be invited over for a party. A few days later, Tully goes on a date with the high school quarterback. On her way out the door, her mother tells Tully not to wake up when she gets home because it’s late at night. When Tully sees Kate’s house filled with family love, she wonders what it would be like if someday someone wanted to take her there instead of going to parties where they drink too much beer and have sex that isn’t really consensual. At the party, Pat notices that Tully isn’t drinking so he drinks all of his beers quickly in order to show off and get closer to having sex with him or maybe even getting married one day! After Pat has raped her several times in an isolated area by a tree stump outside of the party grounds (and after he blamed everything on poor little innocent Tullly), he leaves while she lies unconscious on some grass near their abandoned clothing until everyone else has left as well. The next morning when she wakes up alone from last nights events behind some bushes beside their clothes scattered around them both, which are now covered in vomit from herself due to being drugged earlier during the rape itself,she walks home feeling ashamed because people will think this was all just another stupid mistake made by yet another dumb girl who let herself get taken advantage of again.

When Tully arrives home, she doesn’t want to go inside because she will be reminded of how lonely she feels. Instead, she walks over to Kate’s property and finds her there. When Tully tells Kate that something happened at the party last night, Kate asks if everything is okay and hugs Tully. While talking with Kate, Tully reveals that she was raped by a boy named Cloud at the party last night. She then goes home to take a shower and thinks about what happened last night as soon as she gets in the shower. She quickly decides not to think about it again after getting out of the shower because it makes her feel vulnerable (37).

Chapter 5

Kate can’t sleep, so she prays for Tully and her mother, while also wondering whether she will be Tully’s secret friend. She doesn’t want to do anything to mess things up; only the popular kids know how this works. At lunchtime, Kate is surprised when Tully approaches her because they’ve never talked before. After Kate confirms that she hasn’t told anyone about the rape, the girls agree to be friends and fall into easy chatter.

After school, Kate goes back to Tully’s house and gets a makeover. She feels beautiful and doesn’t hide her new look from her parents when they come home. When they see the change in their daughter, Mrs. Mularkey is supportive of Kate and asks that she not break any rules again because it could cause problems for them as well. Mrs. Mularkey encourages Kate to think for herself instead of following Tully into trouble, which makes Kate angry at first but then she starts to feel guilty about what happened earlier that day with the principal (Tully). Her mother comes in to check on her while she’s feeling sorry for herself, and they talk things out until everything is resolved between them; Mrs. Mularkey even suggests having Tully over for dinner sometime soon so that there are no more misunderstandings between them all anymore.

Kate is roused from her sleep by Tully throwing rocks at her window. She wants to go out and play with Tully, even though she knows that it’s wrong. Kate doesn’t care about the consequences because she needs to be accepted by someone, so she follows Tully on a bike ride around Summer Hill. They both crash their bikes but laugh about how they’ll tell everyone else about what happened. It turns out that Tully has been having nightmares about being raped, but Kate reassures her that they don’t need parents or anyone else to listen to them because they have each other now.

Later, Tully’s neighbor brings over a tuna casserole for dinner. She realizes that he is drunk and stoned, but she treats him with understanding because her father was an addict and her sister had to take care of him. Her sister ran with a fast crowd to avoid pitying eyes from others, but Mrs. Mularkey urges Tully to believe in himself and dream big as he gets out of this situation. Part of getting out will include trusting his friends like Kate, so Mrs. Mularkey encourages Tully to be honest about his mother’s illness or she will tell Kate the truth herself since they’re best friends now anyway.

Tully goes to the Mularkeys’ house for dinner. She feels envious of their wholesome life: pictures of family, affection between parents, homecooked meals, and a perfect mom. After dinner, Tully and Kate go to the river and talk about how they feel like outsiders in school because they don’t fit in with other kids who are obsessed with drugs or sex. They promise each other that they will be honest from now on and that no matter what happens, they’ll always be best friends.

The summer after eighth grade was filled with fun activities, but it ended on a sad note. The girls saw a police car in Tully’s driveway and were told that her mother had been arrested at a protest. She would either be going to jail or into rehab, so she had to leave for good. Kate broke down crying because she knew this day was coming eventually, as they’ve talked about it before.

Chapter 6

For the next three years, Tully writes to Kate about silly things like new haircuts and fashion choices. But sometimes she also wrote about her desire to gain her mother’s approval. She often turned to Kate for comfort when her grandfather died.

Kate and Tully are about to be seniors in high school. They promised each other they would become journalists together, but Kate gets a job at the ABC affiliate building while Tully is rejected. She’s disappointed by that rejection, so she goes home and tells her grandmother how much it hurts that she couldn’t get the job because of her age. Her grandmother assures her that she will go to college and prove herself worthy of a position at the ABC affiliate. Since Gran is proud of her anyway, getting approval from Mom isn’t as important anymore.

Tully gets a job at the local newspaper. Kate has left for Canada with her family, and Tully couldn’t attend because of her job and Gran’s frail health. After writing the Sunday letter to Kate, Tully spends an evening alone thinking about what they could be doing in Canada. The next morning, she finds out that Gran died while sleeping. In order to deal with this loss, Gran had talked with Tully about what would happen when she died beforehand so that it wouldn’t come as a surprise or shock to her granddaughter. Therefore, after finding out about Gran’s death from the note left behind by her grandmother, Tully reaches for the box where Gran said there would be something waiting for her before leaving on their annual trip to Canada. Inside is a note apologizing for leaving Tully alone but assuring her that they will always be together in spirit no matter how far apart they are physically.

At Kate’s funeral, Tully wishes that her family could be there. She is halfway through the service when she leaves to see her mother outside. When she sees Cloud, a surge of joy fills her because now someone can take care of Cloud. However, Cloud is intoxicated and tells Tully that she cannot take care of herself anymore. The funeral lets out and Tully turns around for one last look at the mourners before heading back inside with her mother. But as soon as she turns around again, Cloud has disappeared without a trace.

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A social worker drives Tully to her grandmother’s lawyer, who explains that she has left everything to Tully and wants her to go to college with the money. She also asks that Tully continue sending Cloud money as a way of keeping track of her. Afterward, Tully leans against the wall outside his office and thinks about living with a foster family or going home tomorrow.

Chapter 7

Kate and her family return from their camping trip, and Kate helps unpack. When she is finished, she asks to call Tully, but it is late at night. Her parents don’t want to wake Gran up because they know how much she likes to sleep in on the weekends.

Tully watches the Mularkeys unpack. When the lights go out, Tully throws gravel at Kate’s window to get her attention. They ride their bikes to the river and lie down on their usual spots. Kate starts talking about a trip she took with her family; she complains about trivial things they did, like not letting her choose what radio station they listened to in the car. She also says that she knows how lucky she is because of all these things, but Tully doesn’t think so. She feels angry for no reason and tells Kate why: it’s because Gran died recently, as well as other reasons related to her mother and God (Tully believes there isn’t one). As Kate comforts her friend by saying that everything will be okay, Tully realizes that she can’t say aloud how alone she really feels without feeling crushed by those feelings herself.

Tully tells Kate about her future in foster care and suggests going to a party the following night. It will distract her from loneliness and fear, as well as drown out sorrow. She knows that this is not a good idea because it’s against their parents’ wishes, but she agrees anyway because Tully promises they won’t get caught and asks, “Do you trust me?”

At breakfast, Kate pretends to be surprised when Tully knocks on the door. Tully tells the Mularkeys that Gran died, and Mrs. Mularkey immediately comforts her. Tully lies and says her mother has been in and out of her life but that she is there now and staying at the house across the street. Kate asks if she can spend the night there, feeling transparent in her lie; however, her mother does not detect this deceit and agrees. Mrs. Mularkey tells Tully that she is special and has a gift, while also comforting her by telling her that Gran is watching over here from above; meanwhile, Kate feels envious of how kind words are being said about someone else instead of herself—she’s wondering why it doesn’t happen for herself more often than it does (or maybe it never happens). She feels like she doesn’t know how to make people proud or have any special gifts because all these things seem so far away from where she stands right now: alone with no one around who loves or cares for her as much as they do for others… To cover up those feelings, though, she changes the subject.

Kate arrives at the party with Tully. When she sees how drunk Tully is, Kate tries to leave but gets dragged in by her friend. She then drinks a beer and dances with Neal Stewart, who kisses her on the dance floor. However, someone yells “cops” so they rush back to the car and drive away without paying attention to what’s behind them. They hit Officer Dan’s car because of this and cause Kate’s head to hit the dashboard, dazing her for a few seconds before she realizes what happened.

After the fight, Tully is taken to a police station. She’s horrified by what she did and doesn’t want to go to juvenile hall. Kate wants her to live with them instead; however, Mrs. Mularkey tells Tully that she has no choice but to follow their rules if she lives in their house. After some time, when Mrs. Mularkey says that they’re going to be a family again, Tully feels relief because it means that she’ll have a stable home for the first time in her life.

Chapter 8

Tully and Kate are best friends who do everything together. They’re going to college, but Tully is much more outgoing than Kate. She encourages her friend to be brave and go out of her comfort zone because she’ll be there for support.

Kate and Tully are freshmen at the University of Washington. Their parents drive them to their dorms, help them unpack, and then leave for home. Kate is emotional about leaving her family behind but Tully begins making plans for sorority rush. She explains that she will always be by Kate’s side as Kate has been there for her in the past. Although they’re too young to join a sorority this year, Tully tries to get on the newspaper staff anyway because it would look great on her resume next year when she can join a sorority full time. The managing editor turns down their request because they’re not old enough yet so Tully becomes upset while Kate calms her down by doing her makeup before going out with friends later that night. At the frat party, people flock around Tully immediately and drag both girls onto the dance floor where they stay until hot outside makes Kate want to go back inside again where she meets Brandt Hanover who takes an interest in talking with her right away since he just moved here from Pennsylvania last week himself after his dad got transferred there by his company earlier this summer while he was still in high school back home which is why he graduated early even though he was only seventeen years old when it happened which made him feel like an outsider during those few months between graduating from high school and starting college now especially since everyone else already knew each other except him plus no one ever really asked him what had happened back home either or how long ago it had occurred instead of just assuming that everything must have worked itself out eventually over time whenever someone did ask about it if they ever did or maybe sometimes people were afraid to talk about things like that even though most situations are usually more complicated than simple black-and-white ones due to all sorts of different factors being involved including life experiences prior to whatever event took place such as growing up without a father figure present throughout childhood along with certain personality traits acquired through maturing into adulthood such as having trust issues toward men due to being raped herself two years ago but regardless of any differences between individuals everyone deserves respect regardless of age race gender orientation etcetera whether or not you agree with someone personally doesn’t mean you need disrespect them  in front of others

Six months after the party, Kate still smiles and talks about Brandt. She suggests that she might ask him to the spring dance, and Tully should go with them on a double date. However, Tully has an article to finish for school newspaper because they won’t publish any of her work otherwise.

The girls head to class. Tully is enrolled in a journalism class that’s reserved for juniors, but she wrote numerous letters to get into it. The professor is Chad Wiley, who used to be a star journalist and whom Tully wants to impress so that he teaches her everything he knows about the subject.

Chapter 9

Sophomore year is almost over, and Chad Wiley hasn’t noticed Tully. Tully is annoyed by Kate because she takes classes that aren’t related to journalism, and all she does is talk about guys. Meanwhile, Tully has continued to submit articles in pursuit of her dream.

Tully is angry when she arrives at KVTS to find out that she didn’t get the anchor position. She mumbles insults about Chad Wiley, but he hears her and begins to speak with her about how beautiful she is. She assures him that she’s also talented, and he replies that it may be in the future. He kisses her and asks if she wants more; Tully says yes, so they go behind the stage where there’s a couch, which they use for sex.

Tully searches for Kate everywhere, and finally finds her reading a romance novel on the roof. Tully tells her that she had sex with Chad 3 times, but Kate wants details. She says they should meet this man to see what he’s like in person. For a month, Tully tries to avoid meeting him because she doesn’t want to hurt him or herself anymore. Finally, Kate uses their line “Don’t you trust me?” and gets Tully to agree (112). When they meet, Chad is handsome and intelligent; he clearly knows why they’re there so he goes straight into it: letting them know that he could be fired if anyone found out about his relationship with Tully. He also reminds them that either of them can tell someone else about their age difference or drinking habits – which would also end his career as well as theirs (112-113). During their conversation, Kate realizes how much Chad cares for Tully. Suddenly, she isn’t afraid for Tully anymore but is afraid of how easily someone can crush this man who has been nothing but kind towards both of them ever since he started working at the hospital.

When Chad drops Tully and Kate off at home, Kate admits that she liked him. She also points out that dating a professor is wrong because it’s not the whole college experience. When Tully rebuts by saying that Kate thinks she’s only dating Chad to advance her career, Kate admits that this is part of it. She immediately apologizes for being so honest and storms out of the car.

Chapter 10

Tully goes to Chad’s house. He asks if she wants to talk about her fight with Kate because he knows how much Kate’s opinion matters to Tully. Tully realizes that he cares for her and has listened when she has talked about herself, so it makes her feel less alone. She feels comforted by his intimacy but also scared of it because she is falling in love with him too, which they both know is wrong since neither of them believes in love anymore.

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Kate is talking to her mother about Tully, and Kate tells her that Tully’s boyfriend isn’t right for her. She doesn’t tell her mom how old he is because she knows it would bother her. Her mother says that sometimes people have a fire in them and they can never be average, but they can use their fire in the right way if they let it guide them instead of letting it burn out of control (119).

Kate goes to the TV station and apologizes. Tully’s face crumples, but Kate promises that she won’t let a guy come between them again. She makes Tully promise not to leave without talking first. They hug and make up, and their friendship is stronger than ever before.

Tully is happy with her boyfriend, Chad, but she’s anxious to get out into the world. She wants to find a job as a reporter at a local news station, but Chad tells her that she isn’t ready yet because reporters need to have both objectivity and compassion. He thinks that Tully is too objective and cold when it comes to feelings. However, before Tully leaves for the interview, Chad gives in and says that Tully was born ready for this type of work.

Tully meets with Johnny Ryan at KCPO. Tully tells Johnny that she wants to intern for free and do whatever needs done, so he finally gives her a job. Kate is in college by now, but she doesn’t feel the same drive as Tully and doesn’t want to intrude on others’ lives. She feels like journalism may no longer be her dream, but she can’t tell Tully how she feels because it will hurt him. When Tully comes home telling Kate about the internship at KCPO and how they’ll get Kate hired too, Kate tells her that this is their day and their start together (129). However, when Tully questions whether or not Kate still believes in their dream of becoming journalists, Kate doesn’t know what else to say except that she doesn’t want to follow that path anymore (130).

Chapter 11

Thanksgiving is the time of year when women get together with their girlfriends to talk and catch up on things that have happened while the men watch football. Tully tells everyone about her recent success in getting some of her copy to air, as well as how she and Kate are on their way to becoming famous journalists. As Kate prepares to tell everyone that she has changed her mind about journalism, her mother and aunt begin talking about how proud they are of Kate’s decision, which makes it too late for Kate to change her mind without looking like a fool.

The end of senior year is wonderful. Tully and Kate spend a lot of time together, and although Tully spends many nights at Chad’s apartment, Kate is having fun dating. However, looming over all this happiness are their impending graduation and the fact that Kate still hasn’t told anyone she isn’t going into journalism after college. Finally, she calls home to come clean with her mother about what she wants to do instead: go work for her father in his law firm. She explains that while it may not be idealistic or exciting like working for the news media might be, it would make more sense because she doesn’t want to get crushed by the realities of being a journalist. Her mother chastises her for being realistic instead of reaching “for the brass ring.” Before they can continue their conversation, Tully bursts in saying that she has kidnapped Kate so they can leave school early together; as always when things seem perfect between them there seems to be something missing from their lives…

Kate is driven to a TV station by Tully. There, she meets Johnny Ryan, who offers her an office job. She accepts it because of her attraction to him and the feeling that she’s following Tully again. Kate realizes soon after that Johnny only has eyes for Tully, and she knows she made a mistake in taking the job.

Kate is happy to be working for the TV station, and she’s eager to learn what it takes to succeed in her new job. However, when she arrives on the first day of work, Johnny sends Mutt (the cameraman) and Carol (the reporter) out on a story. Kate is left all alone with no idea what to do. She answers the phone several times but has no idea who’s calling or why they’re calling. The only other person in the office is Johnny; he retreats into his office while Kate waits around feeling frustrated about not having anything productive to do. Finally lunchtime rolls around, so Kate goes over to Johnny’s desk with his food. He laughs at her efforts, and tells her that he’d tried unsuccessfully for months trying get Tully (his assistant )to do something similar. But now he knows exactly how much effort this will take from him : passion ! When he says that, Kate can see admiration in his eyes as well as feel it emanating from him too. She feels like she’s falling in love with him just by watching how passionate he is about everything!

Chapter 12

After college, Kate and Tully get an apartment downtown. They settle into a nice routine together. One day, they go to work and find things in disarray because Carol had gone into labor that morning. Tully will need to cover the protest happening in Yelm for her job at KUOW-FM, but she frowns when she learns that it’s in Yelm because she knows “someone who lives out there.”

Once Tully and Mutt leave the office, Kate is by herself. She has become close with Carol and Mutt, but she doesn’t know much about Johnny. He’s a cynical idealist that keeps her at arm’s length because of his looks.

Johnny asks Kate to join him for lunch. At the restaurant, Johnny mentions that Tully is single and seems to be very passionate about her job as a news anchor. He then says that he believes his own job is fine, but it doesn’t seem like something he’s particularly interested in doing long-term. It turns out that Johnny used to work as a war correspondent in El Salvador, but left shortly after because things got really bad there. When Kate questions why he left El Salvador and journalism behind, Johnny gets upset and leaves the restaurant early without finishing his meal.

Kate points out that despite what Johnny says about being over his time as a war correspondent in El Salvador, it clearly still bothers him deeply since it was such an important part of his life at one point—and therefore isn’t “old news” like he claims it is. She also notes how much passion she saw when he started talking about the subject before abruptly ending their conversation earlier on during their date.

In Yelm, Mutt pushes Tully into a crowd of protestors. At first, she’s nervous and awkward but by the third interview, Mutt isn’t coaching her anymore and people open up to her. As they drive back from seeing Cloud in Yelm (Tully’s mom), Tully asks if they can stop at a campground because she hasn’t seen her mother since Gran’s funeral. When she sees Cloud there with an addict glaze in her eyes, it makes Tully upset that TV is the opiate of the masses like Cloud said earlier.

When Mutt and Tully return, they are ready to continue working on the piece. Kate is distracted because she’s developed a crush on Johnny. She feels envious of him looking at Tully in that way. They go to a dive bar and get drunk together. The three of them watch Tully on TV, and then they dance. While dancing with Johnny, he kisses her; she scolds him for it but then runs off with Chad when he arrives at the club. When they leave, Johnny watches their exit door as if he might have had a chance with her after all; instead he walks home Kate who thinks about how kind and considerate he was today—maybe there’s hope for her feelings towards him yet!

Chapter 14

In late 1985, Tully feels great after a live broadcast. She keeps her walkie talkie, microphone and earpiece on as “badges of honor” (167). On the way back to the office, she goes inside a 7-11 and realizes that there is a masked gunman robbing the store. Tully works to conceal her audio equipment by whispering that there is a gunman hoping that Johnny will hear her. He does tell Tully that they are calling 911 but she should turn up her microphone so they can go live with it. As Tully whispers her reply, the gunman shoots at her in the shoulder. She crawls away tends to herself and tells Johnny that she wants to continue broadcasting from where she is hiding behind some shelves; however he says no because it’s too dangerous for them both if something else happens while they’re live on air. So instead he asks what happened next and then gets accounts from people in their cars or who were close by about what happened when shots rang out again shattering windows of other shops nearby including one man who was shot himself before being taken into an ambulance which drove off towards hospital leaving him temporarily stranded until another car stopped so he could get in his car safely whilst waiting for police officers to come over and take witness statements from those left standing around watching events unfold wondering why someone would want to rob this particular shop at such an odd time of night when everyone has gone home except staff still working overtime finishing up their work before clocking off for daybreak early hours morning shift start times etcetera etcetera…

Kate arrives at the hospital and sees Johnny. He tells her that Tully kept broadcasting despite being shot. Kate yells at him, saying he loves Tully because she’ll go into danger when he won’t. She reprimands Johnny for telling her about Tully’s newscast and not her health. Startled by Kate’s reaction, Johnny tells her that Tully is in surgery now. Chad calls out to Kate as he arrives, asking if she knows anything about what happened to Tully or why she was shot on air during a live broadcast of the news show where they both work as reporters.

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Kate embraces Chad as soon as he walks up to them and asks how his girlfriend is doing right now.

As Kate leaves to call her parents, she points out that Chad’s reaction is how real people help each other through hard times. Johnny seeks out Kate after her phone call and apologizes. He comments on how tough Kate seems to be, as well as how well she knows him. As they await news of Tully’s condition, he puts his arm around her and comforts her in a way that feels so natural but dangerous.

Tully wakes up and the first thing she asks Kate is, “Was I good?” When Chad comes in, he tells Tully how scared he was to almost lose her. He asks Tully to marry him and move to Nashville for his new job. She replies that Tennessee isn’t a top-forty market, crushing his hopes for their future together. As he leaves the room, he says that it’s over between them because of what she said.

Tully isn’t sure if she heard the professor correctly, and when Mrs. Mularkey comes in, Tully bursts into tears. Mrs. Mularkey scolds Tully for dating a professor and asks if she’s in love with him. Tully isn’t sure but thinks that it might be possible because the concept of love as “a durable and reliable thing” (176) is something that both her parents have had trouble with throughout their marriage.

Tully becomes a media sensation. Tully is released from the hospital and talks to Kate about Chad’s proposal. She starts getting offers for jobs, including one that she accepts without any struggle between her career and Chad. Kate realizes this, too, because Tully knows exactly what she wants—the job offer.

Chapter 15

Kate drives Tully to Chad’s house, where she tells him that she can’t marry him yet. When Kate goes inside the house and finds her crying, Tully is holding a letter from Chad in which he says that he loves her but won’t wait for her; he wants to move on. Kate suggests that perhaps there was something about their relationship that made it impossible for them to be together. She asks if maybe they were just friends who got married because it seemed like the thing to do. Tully admits that she doesn’t really believe in love and explains how even though everyone loved her, it wasn’t enough.

Tully feels as though she made a mistake in leaving Chad and wonders if he is happy. She makes tea and sits with Kate, who tells her that if she really loves him, she should be there with him. Tully worries that achieving success means losing love but Kate assures her that it’s possible to find love again by opening herself up to the possibility of being vulnerable. However, after hearing this advice from Kate, Tully feels “cold” and thinks something must be missing in her (183). She realizes Chad would have waited for her if he loved her; however, Kate cautions Tully not to assume people will stay forever just because they know someday you might love them back. While lying in bed at dawn thinking about what could have been between them, Tully hears herself say: “easy to leave.”

Chapter 16

Tully is busy with her new job, but Kate is in a bit of a funk. Tully cries about Chad and talks constantly of the “epic love” she felt for him, but Kate points out that if that were true, Tully would at least have called him. Newly single, Tully is sleeping with random men (not having sex), while Kate pines over Johnny (secretly). After the night at the hospital when he was worried about how she was doing after being hit by a car (186), Johnny reacted with more than relief to find out she was okay—he also responded to her kiss. He said it wasn’t right because he had feelings for someone else—Tully! The next day when they saw each other again, he acted like nothing happened between them and told her not to tell anyone about his feelings toward her. So now Kate understands that Johnny isn’t going to love her; so she decides to move on from Johnny’s rejection by taking up tennis lessons.

Kate comes home from work and starts looking for a new job. Tully shows up drunk with Johnny on her arm. They ask her to join them in dancing, but she knows it will be painful since she’s still mourning the death of her husband. After some prodding, Kate agrees to go out with them. She changes clothes and returns to the living room only to find Tully kissing Johnny passionately as he leaves to get drinks at the bar. When they’re alone together, Tully asks whether Kate cares if she sleeps with Johnny because that’s what she wants anyway. Kate pretends that this is ridiculous question and warns Tully not hurt him like before when he was in love with another woman. But Tully dismisses her warning, saying that nothing can happen between them now because Johnny loves her too much. Later, while sitting at the bar drinking heavily, Kate cries silently listening to their sex through an open window.

Johnny looks terrible and Kate doesn’t know how to help him. Mutt and Carol try to intervene, but Johnny pushes them away, saying he is fine. Tully has been complaining about the phone calls from Johnny, so Kate knows that she’s not interested in a relationship with him. She finds herself alone in the office with Johnny, so she goes into his office, pulls out two beers and prompts him to talk. He tells her that he already knows why Tully won’t be involved with him. He talks about wanting someone who does not want you back because it hurts too much (191).

Kate wishes she could tell him how she feels about this situation because they are both going through similar things at work right now. They’re stuck in jobs where they don’t fit in or feel appreciated for their contributions by their boss or coworkers.

Kate interviews at an advertising company. She does well and is likely to get the job. When she returns to work, Johnny is there by himself. He compliments Kate’s work and congratulates her on getting the job. Before she leaves for the night, he asks her to help with a story that needs some research done before it can be written up in time for a deadline. They stay late into the evening working together, and Johnny insists that they go out to dinner since they’ve worked so hard on this project together tonight. Kate agrees, but feels like something inside of herself has changed as they spend more time together outside of work hours than at their jobs in separate buildings across town from each other (193).

On the houseboat, Kate and Johnny talk about his parents. Kate explains that she knows him so well because they’ve worked together for a long time (195). When he asks why she’s quitting, she says it’s because she wants to be great at her job but feels like she’ll never get there (195). She tells him that wanting something you can’t have is awful, referencing an earlier conversation between them (195). He points out that he said someone not something, and when he finds out what it was, it becomes clear to him that Kate has feelings for him.

Kate thinks that it’s her last chance for love, so she tells Johnny to kiss her. He hesitates because he doesn’t want to hurt her feelings. She kisses him and when he starts kissing back, she cries. He tries pulling away but she won’t let him go. They have sex, and Kate is a virgin who asks if it’s always like that after the first time. Johnny says no and sees fear in his eyes as he speaks of what happened between them being different from anything else before or since then (197).

Kate wakes up in Johnny’s bed and doesn’t know what to do. She wonders if she should leave or stay with him. Johnny wakes up, and they talk about the future. He tells her that he is embarrassed about leaving El Salvador because it was such a mess when he left there. He also says that he wants to be careful not to hurt Kate too much because she is special, and maybe even the kind of girl someone could fall in love with (199).

After Kate tells Tully about her feelings for Johnny, Tully says that he is clearly on the rebound. When Kate points out that she could be in love with him, Tully says that it’s possible but unlikely because of his history. Even though Kate feels hurt by what Tully said, she asks her to support her decision anyway.

After their conversation, Kate can’t stop thinking about Tully’s words. She decides to call in sick at work and asks Johnny to come over so she has an excuse. When he arrives, she tells him everything that happened with Tully and then asks if he loved her when they were together. He says that it doesn’t matter because she didn’t love him back.

Chapter 17

Kate and Johnny settle into a routine, including visits to the Mularkey’s who love him. They don’t talk about their future together, but they enjoy each other’s company. Kate finds out that she is pregnant and knows that Johnny isn’t ready for this responsibility because he hasn’t told her that he loves her or even said “I love you” yet. She doesn’t want to ruin their relationship by telling him so she keeps it secret from him until she can no longer hide it at work. By 4 Pm, she calls Tully in tears and tells her that she needs help with this problem because Johnny is not ready for a child either emotionally or financially.

Tully immediately tells Kate what is going on with her. Tully believes that Johnny might feel trapped, but she urges Kate to tell him and “trust him.” This makes Kate feel less panicked because she has a plan.

Kate sits at Johnny’s house, waiting for him. She thinks about how her notion of love as something that lasts forever was wrong. If she had understood the nature of love better, she would have been more careful to avoid getting pregnant in this relationship. When Johnny gets home, he tells Kate that he can’t leave anymore because he loves her and is going to marry her.

Kate is getting married to Johnny, and Tully is worried that Kate will leave her. However, Kate assures Tully that they will never be separated again. After walking down the aisle, she takes Johnny’s hand and knows for sure he is her true love. The rest of the night was a blur of happiness as she danced with Johnny and cried tears of joy all night long. At one point, after dancing with Johnny, she went to get a drink when suddenly she glanced up at him looking at Tully alone in the corner. From then on until her death years later, Kate would always wonder why it happened or if something could have been changed to prevent it from happening.

Chapter 18

After Kate and Tully finish putting together a crib, Kate tells Tully that she’s planning on quitting her job after the baby is born. She’s dreaded telling him this because he always encourages her to work hard in order to get ahead. He tells her not to give up anything; it’s 1987, and women can do whatever they want. But she wants to be there for her child like how her mother was able to be there for her when she was growing up. As Tully talks about his day at work, Kate feels tired and dizzy, so she stands up but stumbles back onto the couch. Looking back at the spot where she just fell down, Kate sees blood stain on the couch cushion which makes Tully call an ambulance as he tries desperately to get help from a phone nearby.

Tully rides in the ambulance with Kate. When they arrive at the hospital, Tully realizes that Kate may lose her baby. She prays for both of them, but it’s too late; Kate has lost her baby and must undergo surgery.

Kate wakes up. Her mother and Tully are in the room with her, but she asks for Johnny. Soon after, he arrives. Kate tells him that their baby was a boy, and they cry together. As Tully watches them, she realizes that Johnny does love Kate after all. She had always thought that when he couldn’t have Kate (by marrying her), he would choose someone else instead of waiting around for another chance to be with her best friend. Mrs. Mularkey leaves them alone while Tully thinks about how much things have changed between the girls since they were little kids; now they’re on separate paths in life—Tully is going off to college soon—and it’s hard to believe that only yesterday everything was fine between them as friends forever.

Kate is recovering from the surgery, and Tully takes a day off work to be with her. She feels like she can’t do anything right for Kate. Kate tells her that she should go out and have fun, but Tully doesn’t know what to do. So she goes downstairs to clean up the dishes while Johnny comes home. He’s concerned about Kate too, so he talks with Tully on their way down to the dock for a drink. They talk about how lucky they are that they found each other in this house full of crazy people (Mularkeys). When Tully says that she wishes things were different between them, Johnny tells her that it isn’t what she wants – not really – since all of this stuff (the lifestyle) has been forced on her by circumstances beyond anyone’s control or even recognition until now. He offers his help in making some calls if there’s something better out there for her somewhere else; he thinks it might be time for her to move on and find a new place where people don’t look at you as though you’re an oddball who needs fixing because your family is messed up…

Kate can’t sleep. She looks out the window and sees Tully and Johnny on the dock having a party without her. Kate goes outside, kisses Johnny, and tells him that she loves him. However, she knows he could ruin her someday because of his bad boy ways.

In 1988, Tully gets a call from NBC News in New York. She auditions for the job and is surprised to find out that Kate sent in her audition tapes. This shows how much Kate cares about her friend who she helped get the job.

Tully loves New York and her new job. Her current job is to do pieces of other people’s stories, but she has plans to do her best and move up.

In the fall of 1989, Tully learns a lot about being an anchor, but she’s also concerned with how much controversy surrounds her coworkers. She plans to stay out of trouble and do a great job so that when positions get shuffled around, she’ll be noticed. During one conversation with Kate Mularkey, Tully finds out that Kate is pregnant again and things are going well for her.

Tully is tired after a long day at work, but she decides to go out anyway. She sits down at the Rainbow Room and meets a handsome blond man named Grant who is in town for business. Tully learns that his hotel isn’t far away, so they decide to walk there together.

Chapter 19

Kate delivers a baby girl named Marah Rose. Tully stays for a few days but realizes that she isn’t needed, so she leaves. When Kate tells her to come back when Kate is more mobile, Tully hides the relief of leaving and tries to convince herself it’s not what she wants. As Tully leaves, Johnny talks about moving out of New York City and taking a job as an international reporter in Washington D.C.. He says he doesn’t really want that life anymore because love changes your priorities, which would make sense if Tully had ever been in love before. The comment hurts her feelings even though Johnny says it with sadness rather than anger or resentment towards her personally.

Tully thinks about how words can be interpreted differently by different people and wonders if there was something else behind his comments.

Two weeks after Tully returned to New York, a snowstorm hit the city. Many people called out sick, but Tully bundled up and walked to work at her regular time. She was working on a story when Edna Guber approached her. Edna informed Tully that she had 12 days to prepare for an upcoming election in Nicaragua.

Tully calls Kate’s house and talks to Johnny. After congratulating him, he warns Tully about the dangers in Nicaragua. When she teases that he sounds worried, he says he is but then starts talking about what she needs to know. He also tells her where she can buy supplies for her trip.

Tully is nervous when she arrives at the airport. Edna laughs at her because of the way she’s dressed, which makes her even more nervous. As they travel to Nicaragua, Tully continues to get more and more excited about seeing new places and experiencing new things.

In Mexico City, Tully and Edna share a drink. They talk about the job that they’re doing in Mexico City. While talking, Edna tells Tully to not sacrifice her personal relationships for the job because she thinks it’s worth sacrificing them if you could do something that matters. This gives Tully justification for doing what she does at work and helps her feel better about it.

Chapter 20

Kate, Johnny, and their one-year-old daughter Marah are living on a beachfront property in Bainbridge Island. Kate is struggling to cope with motherhood. She has been putting up a false front that she’s coping well with the baby but inwardly she’s praying for strength when Marah cries or wakes her up at night.

Kate is a new mother who has lost sleep and gained weight since her child was born. Her skin is pale, her eyes are puffy, and she’s wearing old clothes because she hasn’t lost the baby weight yet. She jokes that Johnny must be having an affair with someone else because he thinks she’s attractive. They talk about their lack of intimacy lately, so Johnny arranges for them to have some time alone in Seattle while Kate’s parents watch the baby.

At 5:47am, Tully calls to tell Kate that she will be on the morning show. Kate is exhausted and doesn’t want to get out of bed. She’s not enthusiastic about it because she doesn’t care for Tully lately and thinks they have nothing in common anymore. Tully gets offended by her reaction, apologizes for bothering her, and hangs up the phone without saying goodbye. Kate feels like a bad friend because she can’t relate to Tully anymore since they’re so different now that one has kids while the other is single. They don’t talk much with each other these days except when there’s something important going on in their lives such as this TV appearance or Marah getting into trouble at school again. When Johnny comes out of the shower, he sees Kate crying over what happened earlier with Tully and asks what’s wrong. She tells him about what just happened with them arguing over a simple phone call but says it was inevitable due to their differences now that one has kids while the other isn’t married yet (or whatever).

When the guests arrive at Marah’s first birthday party, Kate is already getting a headache. By the time they leave, Kate feels overwhelmed and exhausted. She tells her mother that being a mom is hard work; it’s not easy to be both a good parent and successful in your career. But she gives in anyway and lets Marah go to her grandparents’ house for the weekend.

Johnny and Kate go downtown to a hotel. Johnny has set up champagne and strawberries for them. Kate laughs that he must really want to “get laid”, but Johnny replies that he is simply a man who loves his wife. They make love, after which they talk about the impending war in the Middle East. Johnny tells her that he wants to cover it as a journalist, but she doesn’t want him to go because she’s afraid of losing him. She makes him promise not to die if he goes there, swearing that if he does, she’ll hate God forever. Later on, Kate worries about what she said; did she challenge God?

Grant, Tully’s boyfriend, answers the phone and tells her that Kate is on the line. Tully takes it and says she was an asshole to Kate earlier. Kate replies by saying it wasn’t a good time for her to call, but she knows she was rude so she won’t apologize because there are more important things to worry about: Johnny is going back to Iraq tomorrow. The news studio tends get news faster than anyone else does, so they’ll be able to follow him through them. She’s afraid for him too.

Johnny leaves for a war zone, and Kate spends two days in a daze worrying about him. She hopes that she will hear from him soon. He sends her faxes describing the chaos of his surroundings, but they stop coming one day when he is bombed. A friend calls to tell her what happened; there was news coverage on TV about it afterward.

Tully takes Edna out for lunch and meets a lot of important people. Tully asks why she’s doing this, and Edna responds that Tully reminds her of herself when she was younger. A waiter walks over to their table with an urgent call from the newsroom about a reporter who has been killed in the line of duty. When Tully hears Johnny’s name, she knows he’s Kate’s husband, and becomes upset because they’re close friends. Edna realizes that going after this story is good for both of them: it will get Tully promoted at work while helping her maintain her friendship with Kate. However, Tully is worried about how Kate will react if she finds out what happened to Johnny on the job. She also feels guilty since his death might be connected to something he did as part of his job as a police officer. But eventually Edna convinces her by pointing out all the opportunities this could bring for promotion and making connections in high places through working on such an important story.

Tully tells Kate that she’ll meet her in Germany, where Johnny is in the hospital. Kate can’t believe it because Tully had promised Edna an exclusive.

Chapter 21

Kate rushes into the hospital where she is greeted by a nurse. She’s shocked to see Johnny, who looks “frail and broken” (260). The nurse tells Kate that he is alive and needs her strength. To stay strong, Kate focuses on staying strong for Johnny. When she sees him alone, she lashes out at him for not being okay like they agreed. Dr. Schmidt enters and informs Kate that Johnny has suffered serious head trauma; if he wakes up, they won’t know if he’ll be blind or not for sure until then because it could take 48 hours to find out how bad his injuries are.

Tully and Kate talk to Johnny for six hours. When they go to the cafeteria in the middle of the night, Tully asks what Kate plans to do about the press since they are so interested in Johnny. Kate is adamant that Johnny will not be a story because she doesn’t know how badly he was hurt. She tries convincing him that if he were part of it, she would understand being part of news coverage. Tully suggests that if she had an exclusive about this story, then she could protect them both from reporters bothering them at home or work all day long. He says that he’ll take care of everything and make sure there’s no more media attention on their lives after this incident is over with; however, Kate does not respond but thanks him for his help anyway.

Tully’s boss told her to get the story as soon as possible. She was promised a spot on the news nook if she did so. Tully decides not to betray Kate’s trust and instead gets her cameraman into the building for footage.

Kate meets with Dr. Schmidt, who is concerned that the swelling in Johnny’s brain has not lessened quickly. The doctor says that Johnny might need another surgery but that Johnny is clearly very strong. As Kate returns to Johnny’s room, she sees a cameraman in his doorway and runs down the hall to stop him. When she shoves him out of the way, she sees Tully with a microphone at the foot of Johnny’s bed. Tully says she was going to ask, then tells Kate that she’ll get fired if she doesn’t get the story. Kate is enraged. She slaps Tully and tells her to get out (267). An alarm on Johnny’s bed sounds, and the staff removes him from his room (267). Alone in the bathroom, Kate cries (267)

Kate sits in the waiting room alone, feeling more alone than ever. The doctor comes out and says that Johnny’s surgery went well. Kate goes into his room and talks to him until she falls asleep. In the morning, she resumes her one-sided conversation with him until there is nothing else to say. She turns on the TV and sees Tully broadcasting from outside of the hospital about how heroic it was for both of them to sacrifice so much for this story.

After meeting with Dr. Schmidt, Kate goes to get some lunch in the cafeteria. She thinks about how being alone is easier than being alone in relief after a tragedy like Johnny’s suicide attempt. As she sits down, Tully brings her tea and apologizes for trying to sell the story on Johnny’s suicide attempt to another news station. Kate congratulates Tully on getting a new spot at the news nook and tells her that she wishes that Tully would actually apologize instead of just giving gifts or offering help when it benefits her (273). However, she knows that Tully can’t apologize because it isn’t in her nature, so she accepts the tea without saying anything more about what happened between them (274). Not long after this encounter, they’re laughing together as friends do when life gets hard again (275).

Chapter 22

Johnny has a lot of work to do in order to recover from his accident. Kate notices that Johnny is different, and she cries until her mother brings her into bed with them. During the girlfriend hour at Thanksgiving, Kate begins to cry as she tells her mother and aunt about how hard this year has been for both of them. Tully arrives and hugs Kate while telling her how much she missed her over the last few months. As usual, Tully takes up the party by singing loudly; soon everyone joins in on the fun and they’re all dancing around together. Johnny hands Kate a box containing a heart-shaped locket; he says that he knows it’s been hard on her this year because of what happened to him but that he wants their relationship back since it means so much to him now more than ever before. He also mentions that he’s taken a job working at his old station again so that there will be no more worries about him being unsafe or injured anymore because he loves having something productive to do after getting out of rehab like this.”

In 1997, Marah is about to enter second grade. Kate has been a devoted mother for those first seven years of her life and has even found her passion in writing. However, she’s starting to desire something more than just being a mom; Tully and Johnny have both commented on that fact. Kate pulls herself out of these thoughts and turns on the television where she hears that Princess Diana died in a car crash—she was just getting started with her life as well. She realizes now how important it is to start doing what you love right away instead of waiting too long like Princess Diana did.

Kate regrets telling Tully that she would take a class. However, when Marah goes to school, Kate can no longer make excuses and enrolls in an “Introduction to Fiction Writing” class. In the beginning of this course, she’s older than everyone else including the teacher but as soon as they start talking about writing and storytelling, Kate feels like she belongs.

Tully’s agent, George, tells Tully to meet him at the Plaza hotel. He says he has big news for her and that she will be “making dreams come true.” They sit down with a CBS president who compliments Tully’s interviewing skills and offers her a cohost position starting in 1998. She is paid two million dollars per year after negotiations.

As Kate stands in front of her class, she thinks about how much she has enjoyed writing again and how confident it makes her feel. However, she is nervous as she starts to read her story to the class. The students give feedback on what they liked and didn’t like, which helps Kate improve for next time. Afterward, Kate feels ready to use their criticism and try again with another piece of writing. While packing up after class, the professor tells Kate that she has promise as a writer.

After class, Kate meets her mother for lunch. Her mother congratulates her on the essay she wrote and says that she wishes she had found something like it when she was younger. When Kate tells her mother that she should be proud of herself because of all the things that are going well in her life with children and marriage, her mother hesitates. Kate understands what it means to be a stay-at-home mom and how tough it can be at times, but also knows how rewarding it is. She tells her mother that everything she does for them makes them feel loved and appreciated, which brings tears to their eyes.

When Kate starts to eat, she immediately feels ill and runs to the bathroom. Her mother points out that mayonnaise made Kate nauseous when she was pregnant with Marah, too. She remembers being sick during her pregnancy with Marah but thought it was probably the flu or a stomach bug. However, there have been other signs of pregnancy this time around as well: nausea in the morning (which never happened before), tender breasts, fatigue, and frequent urination. It’s possible that she could be pregnant again since Johnny and her tried for another baby for quite some time without success; they decided not to try anymore because they were happy with just one child. Although things are going great professionally speaking, writing is something she can do whether or not she has two kids at home now.

Chapter 23

Kate is a mother of three children, and she feels as if her life is in constant chaos. She works to get everything done all day long, but it’s never enough. Her husband comes home from work with his new lover Tully in tow. Although Kate has always been good friends with Tully, she can’t help being jealous when Johnny spends time with her instead of Kate. When Tully arrives at the house, she hugs everyone and gives them presents. During dinner, they talk about politics and other important issues that are going on in the world today. Finally after dinner is over and the kids are put to bed by their father Johnny; he asks Kate what’s wrong because there must be something else besides just hormones or lack of sleep that could be bothering her so much lately? At first Kate denies anything is wrong at all but then finally tells him how overwhelmed she really feels even though she wishes she had more time for herself to write or do whatever else makes her happy; however due to everyday chores like cleaning up after three kids under five years old along with running errands for an elderly parent who lives nearby keeps getting in the way of doing things that make me feel better about myself such as writing my novel which I’ve been working on since before Marah was born! It’s not fair!

On July 1, 2000, Tully wakes up next to Grant and realizes that their relationship is superficial. When she asks him if he loves her, he says they shouldn’t ruin a good thing. However, when she looks in the mirror, she can see how hard her lifestyle has been on her body. As Grant leaves for work again, she tries to convince him to stay with her because lately it seems as though they’re both lonely even when they’re together.

Tully has sacrificed her personal life for her career. She’s been desperate to make people notice and remember her, so she took any job that came along. Now in her late thirties, Tully is less interested in parties and often chooses to go home and call Kate, Mrs. Mularkey, or Edna instead of going out with friends. When Edna reminds Tully that she chose this lifestyle because it was what she wanted at the time, Tully starts questioning whether success matters if she doesn’t have anyone “to share it with.” Before stepping on set for a television show, Tully turns on her camera smile; but when no one is watching (on TV), we see how unhappy and dissatisfied she really feels inside as well as how much more there is to life than just work.

After a headache-inducing shopping trip with the kids, Kate comes home to Johnny who says he’ll get the boys napping. He also tells her that Tully called and she’s coming to Marah’s recital. He adds that Tully wants to throw a party for Marah, which upsets Kate because ballet is something just she and Marah share, so she wanted to throw the party herself. Johnny knows not to say anything, and Kate realizes that she was being selfish; Marah idolizes Tully and will be thrilled when she finds out that Tully has planned a party for her.

Chapter 24

After a long day of normal things, Kate hops in the car and realizes that she needs to clean herself up. She runs back inside and quickly cleans herself up.

Kate helps the girls get ready backstage for their ballet recital. They’re excited, and Kate is happy to be there with them. Marah tells her that she loves her, which makes it all worthwhile because of how crazy things have been in their lives lately. Tully arrives late, drawing everyone’s attention when she comes in. She apologizes to Kate for being late and then draws even more attention by telling Marah that they’re going out after the performance—to a hotel suite filled with kids’ games and other girls from the recital! The party is extravagant but fun; Marah thanks Tully over and over again as if nothing else matters at all. Kate sees through Tully’s smile though; something seems off about it to her, but before she can ask what’s wrong, Marah asks Tully to take a picture with her friends.

On the way back to her house, Marah tells Tully that she loves her again. Tully feels a swell of emotion and thinks about how rare it is to hear those words from anyone. She regrets ever thinking that love would be waiting for her when she had time for it. When they get home, Kate grabs some wine and asks Tully what’s really going on. When she tries to talk about it, she doesn’t know where to begin because there are so many things wrong with her life: Her biological clock has probably run out; despite having an amazing career, it’s not enough; coming home alone after a long day at work isn’t fulfilling; etcetera… Kate teases Tully by saying that being rich and famous aren’t bad things but also points out that if they’re not fulfilling then maybe something needs to change in order for them to be more meaningful or rewarding. After they go inside, Tully realizes that she never asked Kate anything about herself or even bothered getting along better with each other like friends should do instead of just co-workers who live together (despite the fact their relationship was supposed to be strictly professional).

After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, people were afraid. However, life went on as usual. Kate was concerned about her daughter Marah because she had a hard time making friends in school and often came home alone. It seemed like there was a problem with Ashley, one of Marah’s best friends. When they baked cookies together at home, it became clear that Ashley didn’t want to be friends anymore for some reason. After comforting her daughter and giving advice to both girls, the boys arrived at their house; they were looking forward to eating all those cookies!

The next day, Kate surprises Marah and takes her out of school early. At a diner, Kate asks if Ashley is still being mean to Marah. When she says yes, Kate tells her that when she was a teenager and felt alone and friendless, she met Tully at the bus stop who became one of her best friends. She also tells Marah that when someone hurts you or stops liking you for no reason, you have to be vulnerable like in The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien which kept her company during difficult times as well.

Chapter 25

In 2003, Tully is tired from traveling. When she finally gets home to New York City, she realizes that the city’s people love her and adore her for what she has accomplished. She feels alone in all of this adoration because she hasn’t seen Grant for several months and they haven’t kept in touch much since their last encounter. Tully starts to feel like a fraud who doesn’t deserve all of the attention and praise. She wants more out of life than just being a famous actress but isn’t sure how to get it or even if there is something else out there for her besides fame and fortune.

Tully and Chad are both walking through Central Park. They see each other from a distance, but Tully doesn’t want to talk to him because she’s still angry with him for leaving her. She thinks about how they loved each other in the past, and now he’s gone. When she gets near enough to speak with him, Tully realizes that what she really wants is love like Johnny and Kate have—not just passion or lust but true love. While talking to Chad, Tully tells him that Kate married Johnny (which is news even to Chad), and he sees right away that she’s lonely. He mentions his daughter as if it were nothing special for them to be together; then he introduces her by name as well as the woman who lives with them (who seems more like his wife). After this introduction, Chad takes back control of their conversation by telling her that when they were together before, it was all about “getting” something else—her dream of being an actress or whatever else she wanted at the time—and not actually caring about anyone else except herself. After hearing this harsh truth from someone who used to care so much for her happiness years ago, Tully asks for some advice on how not only not feel so alone anymore but also how not let herself get into such a position again where everyone leaves before they’re ready too leave one another behind forever (like in life). It almost sounds like an apology letter directed towards those people who had been hurt by her actions in the past while trying desperately hard to achieve something great without thinking of others first–as if saying sorry would fix everything between them all over again…but it can’t! This is why I believe that no matter what you do or say after hurting someone close (or many people) there will always be consequences which follow you everywhere until you make peace with yourself or go down fighting till your last breath against those demons inside which never allow us rest until we’ve found our own inner peace within ourselves first…

For a long time, Tully has been able to keep painful memories at bay. However, she can’t stop thinking about her encounter with Chad and Cloud. She wonders if there’s any way for her to reconnect with Cloud after what happened between them.

Tully takes two weeks off work and flies to the West Coast. She goes to her sister’s house where she finds Kate and Johnny, who are surprised by her visit. After a nice afternoon together, Tully announces that she wants to find Cloud, put her in treatment, and try to forge a relationship with her. Kate cautions that this is not a good idea because it will only hurt Tully again but agrees when she says that she’ll go alone if necessary. Johnny suggests bringing along cameras so they can film the story of finding Cloud for Tully’s fans; he also offers to be the producer for the project. Marah comes running out of the house wanting to tag along too; after some hesitation from Kate about letting all three of them go on such an expedition, everyone agrees.

Chapter 26

Tully gets drunk and tells Kate that Johnny will take care of her when they film the reunion show. However, Kate warns Tully that he won’t because he doesn’t love her like she thinks. After tucking Tully into bed, Kate feels a twinge of jealousy as she watches Johnny and Marah say goodbye to the family. They drive around town looking for Cloud’s new location, but discover that it’s impossible to make someone fall in love with you no matter how hard you try; therefore, it is also impossible to find Cloud. When they go out for dinner later on at night, Tully asks Johnny if he thinks they’ll be able to find her mother or not. He cautions her by saying there is no way of knowing whether or not they’ll find Cloud since she could’ve left town already without telling anyone about where she was going next. If Tully wants him to back off with filming this story then now would be the time because if he goes through with his plans then everything will end up online just like what happened in Germany before when Tully filmed those kids who kept dying from drug overdoses.

The next day, the group follows leads to a commune. After speaking with some women there, they learn that Cloud has left. Before going to the next location, Tully feels anxious and stands apart from everyone else. Johnny joins her and reminds her that she’s Tallulah Hart; she can’t let her mother hurt her anymore. Johnny’s words are what she needs; turning to the camera with tears in her eyes, she says that even though she wants her mom to love her again, it doesn’t matter because now it’s too late for them both anyway.

Tully’s mother is passed out in her bedroom. Tully wakes her up and asks why she’s there and not living with Tully in New York. Her mother says that she was proud of Tully for being successful, but now wants to go on a trip with her daughter to get cleaned up and eat something.

When they get back to Seattle, Tully thinks about how her mother’s addictions might be the cause of their problems. She also realizes that rehab could help her and Kate start over. They check into a nice hotel, and everyone goes to bed. Marah stays with Tully, who tells her that she loves Kate because she is proud of Marah.

Tully wakes up early to go shopping for her mother. She is back by nine, but as she tries to get her mom, she finds that the room is empty. Tully feels like a ten-year-old girl abandoned again on a Seattle street. She sinks into Johnny’s arms and says it’s over when the camera is on her. When she remembers that her mother stole all of her jewelry, Tully calls Kate who tells Tully to come over so she can take care of everything and make sure nothing bad happens with the footage they have filmed together. After hanging up with Kate, Tully sees that Johnny looks at her in a sad way because he knows what happened between them during filming was real and not part of the act anymore.

Chapter 27

After the documentary airs, it is a huge success because of how Tully and Johnny interact with each other. Kate watches the documentary over and over again to see if she can pick up anything that would reveal their relationship. She realizes after watching several times that they are just friends who are working together on an emotional project, so she tries to end her old jealousies.

After the success of “The Real Thing”, Tully gets offered a television show. She turns down the offer until she is told that it will be in Seattle and Johnny will produce it. At first, he refuses because they have been fighting about her career lately. However, when Tully mentions that she’ll earn millions for doing the show, Johnny signs on to do it (344). Kate asks if he should work for Tully after all their disagreements over her job. She insinuates that being close to such a beautiful woman may cause problems with his attraction towards her. This angers Johnny who storms up to bed without speaking to Kate again (345). As Kate goes up after him, she realizes how important this opportunity is and how silly she was acting like an insecure teenager instead of a wife and mother who has accomplished so much already in life (346). After apologizing for what happened earlier, Kate decides that things are going well between them now and they can move forward from here as long as neither one lets fear or jealousy get in their way anymore (347).

Tully has been working long hours, so she calls Kate and invites her to spend the day with her. However, Kate says that she has other plans. Tully then asks if Marah could come instead. When they’re together, Marah complains about her mother’s strictness and lack of affection, so Tully tells her that she’ll take care of it by giving them both a makeover while shopping for new clothes.

Chapter 28

Tully is a star from the start and she loves it. While preparing for an episode about celebrities, Johnny brings Marah into the studio to spend time with Tully on a segment called “Take Your Daughter To Work Day.” When Tully jokes that Johnny has to tell her she’s perfect, he responds by saying everyone thinks she’s perfect. This comment makes Tully uncomfortable because it reminds her of what could have happened between them.

During the first week of September, Tully and Kate go to drop their twins off at kindergarten. Tully mentions that she’s noticed how depressed Kate is lately, so Kate admits that she feels like something is missing from her life. Tully tells her that it’s important to fight for what will make her feel whole again. They both agree not to borrow anything from each other anymore.

Kate has a lot of work to do for the Halloween Carnival. She knows that Marah, Johnny, and Tully are depending on her to finish it all by tomorrow night. However, she also wants to write a book because it’s something she promised herself when she was younger. While Kate is working hard at completing the work for the carnival, Marah calls and asks if they can meet with her and Johnny later during the day. At first, Kate thinks this meeting might be about writing a book but then realizes there must be another reason behind this meeting.

At six o’clock, Tully arrives for dinner. After Kate asks her if she knows what’s going on, Tully tells her that she doesn’t know anything. The next day at dinner, Marah wants to go to a modeling conference in New York City and asks Tully for the money. When Kate starts protesting this idea because of safety issues, Tully offers to pay for it herself. Johnny sides with Kate saying they can’t let Marah attend the modeling conference in New York City but agrees that sometimes risks are necessary. This upsets Marah who storms upstairs where Johnny goes to talk to her about it while Kate confronts Tully about taking advantage of their daughter by offering to pay for the trip without asking them first and causing problems between mother and daughter when all they want is what’s best for both of them. They don’t want their teenage daughter attending some scamming conference in New York City with an adult woman who isn’t even family or part of their lives anymore since she left years ago when they needed her most so why should they trust someone like that? She then tells Tully that Johnny is worried about how things have been between herself and Marah lately since he thinks something is up but instead of talking through it as a family which would be better than letting bad feelings get worse over time like this situation has done now so maybe now wouldn’t be such a good time after all if things aren’t already strained enough right now anyway because there are bigger problems out there than just one teenage girl wanting attention from someone else other than her own parents by trying too hard at life which will only hurt everyone involved including themselves especially if nothing comes from it anyway except more disappointment later on down the road eventually anyways so I guess you could say maybe we should just leave well enough alone instead I suppose either way because no matter how much anyone tries sometimes people just end up getting hurt afterwards anyways regardless anyhow…

Chapter 29

Tully is upset that Kate is mad at her for intervening with Marah. Tully goes to the Mularkeys’ house and tells Mrs. Mularkey about it, but she counters that Kate was right to protect Marah from getting hurt by a talent agent. Mrs. Mularkey argues that there are things like fame and fortune that come along with these opportunities, but they would have to sacrifice things like family and childhood in order to achieve them. Tully continues arguing her point of view, saying how much she’s worried about what will happen when Marah grows up since she doesn’t seem happy now. She also worries about taking sides between mother and daughter because they’re both so important in her life; however, Mrs. Mularkey points out that Tully should be more worried about Kate than anyone else because no one can take care of herself better than someone who knows you well enough to know your weaknesses as well as strengths.

As Kate sits in her backyard, she thinks about how quickly her children are growing up. She goes inside and puts the kids to bed, reading them a story before they go to sleep. When Kate goes to her room, Johnny brings up Tully’s argument with Kate earlier that day. They talk about it for a while until they both fall asleep together on the couch. In the morning when Kate wakes up, she decides that their friendship is more important than this fight and leaves without saying goodbye or making things right between them.

Kate is angry at Marah for skipping school and tells her that she’s grounded. Kate calls Johnny about the situation, but he doesn’t seem to care as much as Kate does. She then drives Marah back to school and they have a discussion in the car. Marah says that Tully would understand why she skipped school because Tully believes in her, which makes Kate upset because she thinks it should be up to Johnny if Marah can skip school or not instead of Tully.

After a fight with her mother over clothes, Marah tells Kate that she just wants to fit in. This makes Kate feel guilty because she knows what it’s like to not fit in. She apologizes for the way they’ve been fighting and offers to let Marah take modeling classes. After hugging her daughter, Kate wonders if this was a mistake since modeling is so focused on physical beauty and losing one’s childhood while growing up too fast. When her mother calls, Kate realizes how exhausted she is from being a teenager’s parent; however, Mrs. Mularkey assures Kate that she already knew how sorry she was before saying it out loud herself.

Kate goes into Marah’s room and apologizes for how often they fight. She explains that she either loves her daughter so much or gets really angry with her, but she wants to do something special with her because of what she means to Kate. Therefore, Kate invites Marah to go to the anniversary party for The Girlfriend Hour. They will spend the day together getting ready and then attend the party together. Marah is thrilled by this idea, and Kate leaves feeling hopeful that it might help shorten their distance from each other.

Tully should be thrilled that so many people came to honor her, but she feels lonely because none of them know her. She starts drinking when she sees the Ryans have not arrived yet.

Kate and Marah spend the day together getting ready for a party. Afterward, Kate is thrilled that they spent the day together without fighting and feels closer to her daughter.

Kate notices that Tully seems a bit drunk when she first sees her. She also notices that Tully is hanging out with Johnny and Marah, which makes Kate jealous. When Johnny asks if there’s anyone he should know about, Tully says Marah will be her date for the evening. Kate feels left out because she can’t have fun with her daughter like everyone else in the room does. Throughout the night, Kate watches as people admire how beautiful and charming Tully is and how much they love her teenage daughter who treats her so nicely. In hearing this, Kate realizes how silly she was to pin all of her happiness on a teenage girl’s chest (378). After working hard to look nice for herself and Johnny tonight at dinner, it doesn’t feel good to see someone prettier than herself again (378).

Chapter 30

Tully feels a bit drunk as she thanks the crowd. When they start dancing, the band plays “Crazy for You,” which was Kate and Johnny’s wedding song. Tully thinks back to when she first danced with Johnny and wonders if had she let herself love him, he would still be hers; that is why it hurts so much now that he isn’t. As they dance together, Tully asks what happened between them and why things ended up this way.

As Kate returns to the party, she hears a song that always makes her smile. She sees Tully holding onto Johnny and looking at him as if she’d just asked him to take her to bed. This makes Kate feel sick, so she runs out of the room. Johnny catches up with her in an elevator and tells her that it’s ridiculous for her to be making such a big deal about this. He says he doesn’t have feelings for Tully anymore, but even if he still did, he wouldn’t do anything because he’s not like that—he’d never betray his wife (Kate). He asks Kate if they can go back inside and dance together because dancing is what brought them together in the first place. They both come out into the hallway where they are fumbling with their clothing while immersed in passion from being around each other again after some time apart.

Two weeks later, Tully still feels empty. She thought that moving to Seattle and getting her own show would make her feel better, but it hasn’t helped yet. To try to cheer herself up, she asks Johnny if they can do a live show again. He’s hesitant at first, but eventually he agrees when she tells him that she needs more than just the pre-recorded shows. Tully is excited for the live show because it will help people with serious problems like alcoholism in their families; helping them will make her feel better about herself and fill the void inside of her.

One day, Marah comes home from school excited about a boy asking her to go to a concert. Her parents point out that it’s on a school night and she’s too young to go. She goes up to her room, lamenting the strictness of her parents. Kate feels bad for Marah, remembering how she wanted to act older when she was younger as well. After dinner that night, Kate goes upstairs and discovers that Marah is gone because the window is open with no sign of anyone around anymore either.

Tully looks out the window and wonders what Marah is doing. She tries not to think about it because thinking about her makes Tully sad. When she goes inside, Johnny calls to check in with her. He wants to know if Tully has heard from Marah yet. As soon as he asks, a buzzer sounds: Marah is at the front desk asking for a key card to their penthouse suite. Johnny is relieved and heads over there with Kate immediately so they can see that everything’s okay.

When Marah comes home, Tully tries to talk to her about what’s going on in her life. She says she hates her mother and can’t wait to get away from her. Tully is flattered when Marah tells her that she wishes Tully was her mother, but then surprised by how angry Marah seems at the same time. When Marah explains that they aren’t allowed to go see a concert because of their parents, Tully tries to tell them not being alone with teenage boys could be dangerous, but stops short of saying more than that and offers instead take all the kids in a limo so they don’t have to worry about driving or getting back late.

When Johnny and Kate arrive, Johnny immediately starts yelling at Marah. He calls Tully a moron for offering to take them to the concert. He says they’re going home instead because he doesn’t like Tully’s offer. When Tully tries talking to her, Kate brushes her off saying she’s too tired to talk about it now.

Chapter 31

Tully is feeling overwhelmed about Kate’s relationship with Marah. The McAdams, the family from the live rehab show, come into Tully’s office to thank her for changing their lives. This reminds Tully of what she wanted to do: change someone’s life and make a difference in this world. Johnny calls and asks Tully to meet him at a bar; he has something he needs to discuss out of the office. At the bar, Johnny tells Tully how awful Marah has been towards Kate and how worried he is that Kate might need psychiatric help because of it. He asks if Tully can talk to Kate about this situation and find out if there are any problems or issues that she should be aware of as well as whether or not she needs professional counseling help.

Tully decides to kidnap Kate, with Johnny’s help. Tully shoots her with a squirt gun until she agrees to go on the trip.

Kate and Tully go to a spa. After some shots, they go to the steam room where Kate starts to relax. Tully asks her what’s wrong, and she tells her about Marah. When Tully suggests that they do a segment on TV with Kate and Marah, it seems like an idea that could help both of them.

Kate feels relaxed after getting a massage, even though her daughter is still being annoying. She then talks to Johnny and finds out that she has been given the night off from watching her kids because they’re going on vacation without them.

Chapter 32

The Ryans return from their vacation, and they’re ready to go on Tully’s show the next day. Kate feels hopeful, even Johnny seems optimistic. She practices what she’ll say in the mirror, anticipating support from the audience. At breakfast, she thanks Johnny for his help; he tells her that it was all Tully’s idea.

Kate is nervous about going on the show and wonders if she will be laughed at or criticized for her life choices. She has a hard time getting out of the car, but Johnny encourages her to go through with it. Tully welcomes Kate and Marah onto the stage, which makes Kate feel better because she won’t just be doing this alone. During their makeup session, Marah tells Kate that there’s something she needs to tell her before they get onstage. In a rush, Kate dismisses Marah and goes on without hearing what she wanted to say.

Kate enters the stage and Tully helps her get used to the lights. Kate sees her parents in the audience, as well as Johnny on a screen behind her. When Tully introduces the show, she says that they will be talking about overprotective mothers and their teenage daughters who hate them. The psychiatrist is explaining how bad it is for children to have overprotective mothers when Kate realizes that they are calling her a bad mother because of this behavior. She turns around angrily and tells Tully that she has no right to give advice since she hasn’t had experience with family or parenting herself, only caring about fame and fortune. She storms offstage with Marah following after her while Johnny grabs onto Kate’s arm before going onstage himself to apologize for what happened earlier.

Tully tries to catch up with Kate, but she’s already gone. Tully goes back onstage and struggles to smile because she can’t stop thinking about her friend. The psychiatrist is trying to keep the show running by talking, but Tully interrupts him and tells the audience that she was just helping a friend. The audience applauds in support, but it doesn’t make her feel better as usual. She gets through the rest of the broadcast alone because many employees are angry at her for ambushing Johnny too. Johnny reappears while she sits there and asks why Tully would do that to him on live TV after he trusted her so much over their 30-year friendship. He quits his job right then and there without even looking back at her since he thinks their friendship is done forever now anyway since Kate isn’t likely going to call now either after what happened today during this disaster of a special taping session for “The Last Honest Man.”

Kate sits in bed the next morning, reflecting on what happened. She feels numb, and everything seems surreal. However, she is also angry at Tully for her actions; Kate rarely experiences anger. If they are going to be friends again, Tully will have to work hard for it because Kate doesn’t want anything from her anymore.

Marah comes into the room and says that her grandmother made her come in. She admits to knowing what was going on with the show, but she did it because she wanted to go to the concert. Kate realizes that Marah used Johnny as an excuse so she could plan a show with Tully. Kate is hurt by Marah’s selfishness and asks whether Marah considered her feelings at all. Kate points out that Tully will be busy for a while, until she apologizes, and Marah looks afraid of losing Tully (414).

Tully is at her birthday party, where a hundred people are present. She says that she thinks it was Mother Teresa who said that loneliness is the worst kind of poverty. A guest scoffs and jokes about how neither Tully nor anyone else there would know anything about either (415). As she goes outside to look out over the Ryans’ house, Tully runs through the day of Kate’s show in her mind and wonders why Kate could have been so cruel without calling her afterward. When she comes back inside, the phone rings, but it isn’t Kate—it’s Mrs. Mularkey instead. Upon hearing Tully complain about not hearing from Kate all day long, Mrs. Mularkey sounds disappointed before telling Tully that she loves her like a daughter and saying “like” makes it sound as if they’re not really related at all (417). After this hurts Tully’s feelings, Mrs. Mularkey laments what happened between Mary Ryan and herself when Mary left town for good while also expressing disappointment with how much hurt both sides caused each other during their fight (418). Before hanging up on Tully entirely, Mrs. Mularkey says that everyone close to them has taken Kate’s side because they love her more than they love Tully now. With no one supporting or loving her anymore,Tull feels utterly alone.

The next year, Kate no longer waits for Tully to call her. She doesn’t cry anymore, and she realizes that Tully will never apologize for what he did. This time around, though, Kate won’t cave in to his emotional manipulation tactics. Instead of showering or getting dressed for work every day like she used to do before the breakup with Tully, Kate sinks into a depression so deep that Johnny is worried about her well-being and prompts her to visit a doctor.

Kate goes to the doctor and tells her that she has been feeling depressed. The doctor gives her a regular check-up, during which they notice something on Kate’s breast. The doctors are concerned about it and order an ultrasound followed by a biopsy. Kate wishes Johnny or Tully were with her as she is afraid of what might happen next.

Chapter 33

Tully is awakened by a phone call from the hospital telling her that Cloud has been admitted for a drug overdose and beating. Tully goes to the hospital and finds her mother asleep. Cloud looks old and tired, and she has been beaten around the face. Emotional, Tully strokes her mother’s forehead and realizes she hasn’t touched her since that day in Seattle as a child. She doesn’t know what to say, so she just talks, telling her mother about her fight with Kate and revealing that she’s alone and the only person she has is Cloud. Cloud wakes up to point out that everyone is alone, but when Tully persists in saying they’re family (and not friends), Cloud tells her it’s better if they aren’t because it hurts too much when you lose someone who was close to you—expressing regret as she says it—and asks Tully to leave (424). The next morning after waking up at 5:00 AM, Tully goes through some of Clouds things before going back home where Edna calls asking for help on an Antarctic story.

Kate stands naked in front of the mirror and thinks about how much she has worried about her figure during her life. She realizes that it was all pointless, as she is diagnosed with stage four breast cancer that has already spread to other parts of her body. Kate’s son Johnny comes into the room and they talk about what happened. The night before they got the news, Kate had been taking care of herself by checking for lumps on a regular basis; however, this time there was nothing to be found because the cancer was not detectable yet. Her husband took it hard when he heard the news and needed his wife to be strong for him. As a result, Kate hugs her husband and reassures him that everything will be okay. They go upstairs together with their children Marah (age 10) and Michael (age 8) so they can tell them what happened. The boys ask if their mom is going to die soon but are reassured by their father who tells them that everything will work out just fine since he loves his wife very much and wants to spend as much time with her as possible while she’s still alive. Meanwhile, Marah knows exactly what kind of illness has stricken her mother—it’s cancer—and comforts Kate by telling her that she’ll take care of both parents until one day when she gets married herself someday in the future. Through all these events, Kate prays for strength from God so He can help heal everyone through His power alone!

Kate dreams of her childhood and wakes up crying. Recently, she has felt like she can’t separate herself from the memories of that time. She thinks about how important Tully was to her, but then realizes that it’s been a while since they’ve talked. Kate calls Tully, wondering what to say when she gets there voice mail. When no one responds, Kate says hi in hopes that someone will pick up the phone before hanging up. The power goes out right after this call, so Kate lights candles for each member of her family before today’s surgery. Her family gathers around her as the day breaks and all seems normal until the phone rings—but it isn’t Tully on the other end; instead it’s a nurse telling them about an accident at school involving their daughter Claire (Kate’s older daughter).

Tully returns to her apartment after a trip to Antarctica and is surprised that the power has gone out. She listens to messages on her answering machine, but she hears only Kate’s voice. Tully realizes that Kate was calling just to taunt her about not returning calls while in Antarctica.

Chapter 34

In 2006, The Girlfriend Hour is even more successful. Tully doesn’t think about what she lacks anymore; she has “boxed all that negative stuff up and put it in the shadow box” (435). After a show taping, Tully returns to her office, where her secretary says that Kate is on the phone. Tully tells her not to transfer the call but then changes her mind because Kate threatens to ruin her perm if she doesn’t speak with her. She gets on the phone and yells at Kate for being so mean before hanging up on them both.

Tully rushes to the hospital and learns that Kate has cancer. She is dying, and she had a minor stroke that made her forget things. Tully realizes that Kate called her when she found out about the cancer, but before she could finish her message, the phone cut off. Tully feels guilty because she didn’t call back right away.

Tully goes into Kate’s room and finds her asleep, looking like a broken doll. When Kate opens her eyes, Tully says she is sorry. This time, Kate reacts and apologizes for not calling back. Then the two women recall their shared history to get each other to remember how close they are. After recounting several memories from the past, a tearful Kate tells Tully to stop it because she doesn’t want to remember anything that will make her sad again. She also tells Tully that she could have tried harder to call back in the first place instead of just assuming that they had nothing more in common now than when they were younger girls together in high school or college studying poetry with Dr. Zola at one point or another every day after class during their freshman year of college until graduation on May 21st which was exactly ten years ago today…

Tully comes out of the room and realizes that the Mularkey family has gone to a cafeteria. Mrs. Mularkey invites her to join them, but Tully declines because she wants some fresh air. As she wanders around town, Tully cries on the street and wishes that she had called Kate when they still had time left together. She buys Kate a journal at a store and writes “Katie’s Story” inside it with instructions for Kate to write what she remembers so their kids can learn about their mom someday.

Kate wakes up, not remembering when she fell asleep. She wishes that she were with her husband or on Firefly Lane with her daughter. After months of trying and believing in every possible treatment, she has spent recent days filled with morbid thoughts. Kate knows that writing in the journal will be painful; both the good and bad memories will wound her. She begins by describing panic and what it’s like to see Johnny grieving before she is even gone. Then, she speaks to Marah about their fights as growing pains for a loving relationship between mother and daughter, telling Marah that they love each other more than anything else in life. From there, Kate tells her story from meeting Tully Hart at age nineteen until now (in 2004).

Chapter 35

Tully has called many doctors about her friend, Kate’s condition. The specialists have all said that they don’t know what to do for her. Tully rearranges the show and invites several doctors on to talk about inflammatory breast cancer because it is often misdiagnosed and aggressive. Without makeup, Tully goes out in front of a room full of strangers who are watching her show. She talks about how she ambushed Kate before with no makeup on, revealing that she was being herself at the time; however, this time there’s something different—Kate has breast cancer and doesn’t know it yet! A doctor comes onto the stage to discuss symptoms and tell people what they can do if someone close to them develops IBC (inflammatory breast cancer). At the end of the show, Tully tells Kate how much she loves her as a mother/friend/person; also telling everyone that she will be taking some time off from work so that she can take care of Kate while helping others learn more about IBC (inflammatory breast cancer) through their TV shows by doing research online or calling hospitals themselves for information.

After Kate’s last night in the hospital, Johnny takes her home and Tully stays with her. Tully shows Kate an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy”, but she apologizes to Kate for doing so. During this time, Kate notices that Tully is treating her differently than usual, so she asks Tully to just be herself.

Kate goes home and is tired from the effort of walking. She’s been in a dark room for a while, so she wakes up and finds out that Marah was there with her. Kate admits to being mean to Marah because she didn’t want to let go of her daughter. They both realize that they love each other despite their disagreements about how life should be lived. After all, every teenage girl wants freedom from her mother’s rules; it just took them some time to figure it out. Kate jokes that teenagers are always like this when they’re growing up, but then says proudly that Marah has grown into an amazing person who can make good decisions on her own without needing anyone else’s help or approval.

Tully has a plan. Kate is reluctant, but she agrees to go along with it. Tully grabs blankets and rolls Kate outside in her wheelchair. She tells Kate to close her eyes and imagine that she’s riding her bike over the hill toward the river again like when she was a kid. At the beach, they smoke weed from Kate’s pouch while Mrs. Mularkey joins them as well.

As Johnny is raiding the kitchen, he tells them to stop smoking pot. When Kate says not to tell her mom, they all laugh. Then Johnny takes Kate into their bedroom and helps her with bedtime routines. As they go to sleep, each of them tells the other that they need one another. Once again before going to sleep, Johnny kisses Kate on the lips but this time it’s different because for a moment everything else falls away and it feels like forever until morning comes around.”

Chapter 36

Kate spends the next week writing in her journal and spending time with her family. Kate gets a kick out of watching Tully try to manage the household duties, but she feels worn out from keeping everyone’s spirits up. Suddenly people are coming into the house with racks of dresses for Marah’s prom dress shopping. Marah tells Kate that she didn’t want to go without her, so they’re going shopping together.

Kate has been getting weaker and in more pain. Tully has taken over the daily routine, but Kate is still working on her journal. She’s worried she won’t have enough time to finish it because of how sick she’s become. Dying doesn’t seem as scary anymore, but Kate feels lonely since no one knows about her illness except for those closest to her. Marah asks Kate to come into the living room with everyone else so they can read a book together that was given to them by their mother when they were young and scared or alone; now that they’re older, none of them have had the chance to read it again until now. They all need this book right now because each person is feeling scared or alone due to their mom’s sickness and impending death from cancer.

As August fades into September, Kate’s health fades as well. She sits in her chair to finish writing her journal and she points out that what really stands out for her is love, family, and laughter. In the past she always thought that she had to do everything on her own and want more but now she feels proud of herself and proud of all the things that have happened to her family.

When Tully gets home from the grocery store, Kate hands her a journal. As she reads through it, she relives some of her and Kate’s memories and asks Kate how they could have ever been friends. To which Kate replies that there was no way for them not to be friends. Tully goes outside where she finds Johnny crying, so she holds his hand while he cries about losing his wife. He tells her that he doesn’t want to cry in front of anyone else but her because it makes him feel closer to his wife when he does so with someone who knows what he’s going through. She tells him that everyone needs an emotional outlet sometimes and offers him hers if he wants it; however, when Johnny says yes, Tully has a change of heart and decides not to share in his grief after all.

Tully heads back inside where she finds Kate already up and joking around with Johnny again. They both tell each other that they love one another before saying goodbye for the night as they go their separate ways: Tully into the guest room upstairs and Johnny off to bed with his dying wife.

Johnny takes Kate upstairs. He turns on the fire in their room and reminds her of the first time they slept together on his houseboat. Kate suggests that they have sex, and Johnny gently takes her in his arms. They snuggle close after having sex, and she tells him that she doesn’t like to think about him being alone if he ends up with Tully. She realizes now how much he loves her because he is completely honest with her, which was something she didn’t realize earlier.

Chapter 37

Kate is sick on the night of Marah’s play, but she asks Tully to help her with makeup and a wig. At the auditorium, Johnny gets Kate situated and leaves to get her parents and the boys. Kate asks Tully if she’ll contact someone from USC about getting Marah into acting classes there (474). When Tully acts surprised, Kate acknowledges that she didn’t want her going into acting, but it’s what she wants; therefore, Kate wants to support her by contacting this person at USC. She also tells Tully that love matters more than anything else in life; they should both reconnect with their exes if possible so they can be together again. If not possible for them as individuals, then maybe as a family unit again someday soon—Kate just wishes for happiness for all of them because love is really what matters most in life.

After saying goodbye to Kate and whispering one last thing to each of them, Tully realizes that she is now alone with her family. She then follows the list of things Kate wanted for her funeral, focusing on nothing else as they grieve together. As they walk into the church, Marah quietly cries while holding Tully’s hand. When they sit down, Tully looks at Marah and tells her how much she loved Kate. They will someday be friends who share stories about their mother when she was alive. After the music starts playing in the church, Tully leaves because seeing pictures of Kate would make it too hard for her to stay there anymore. Outside the church after everyone has left except for a few people from work and school who knew her well enough to attend a small memorial service held by Pastor Jeffries instead of attending the actual funeral itself (as per request), a funeral director approaches Tully with an envelope addressed to “Mrs Mularkey.” He tells her that he was told by Mrs Mularkey herself that if anyone asks him where she is right now or what time services are being held today, he should give this package directly to Mrs Mularkey without telling anyone else first so that no one knows exactly where Mrs Mularkey is at any given moment until it’s over (in case someone needs something from Mrs Mularkey).

Inside the box, Tully finds a note from Kate telling her to take care of Johnny and their kids. She also tells Tully that she knows that Tully thinks she left her, but Firefly Lane will always be there for her to return to. Inside the box is an iPod with instructions on how to use it. When Tully follows them, ABBA’s “Dancing Queen” plays and makes her feel like dancing (479).

Firefly Lane Book Summary, by Kristin Hannah
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