As Leo is dying, Nova goes to see Mal. He leaves without even telling Steph. He and Steph were supposed to go on a trip, so Steph is left waiting at the airport, and then when Mal finally phones, she doesn’t act very well, acting like a spoilt brat, worrying about the clothes that Mal has in the suitcases he took with him. I know that Steph didn’t act well, and I’m not crazy about him. Yet, I feel sorry for her, and we learn later that she is bipolar, which I already suspected. Steph also lied to Mal. It wasn’t true she couldn’t have children, but she refused to have them. She was afraid the child might inherit her mental problems, and with Mal’s mother’s problems there was a high possibility of her child going through the same. The only person she tells is her friend Carole, who she has always had a very shallow relationship with. Carole surprises her by comforting her and being there for her, and it is then that Steph understands how important Nova was for him and what a terrible thing she did to force her husband to end that relationship.
Nova’s family and Mal are all there to say goodbye to Leo. The doctor has said that he won’t wake up and he will have 48 hours more. The attitude of Nova’s parents, sisters, Keith, and Meredith are heartbreaking, and I feel so sorry for little Leo. What I couldn’t get my head around is Mal and Nova’s behaviour. First, when they speak initially, he comes and says that he wants to take her to bed because that was a way to overcome grief, and thankfully, Nova turns him down. But then when Leo’s end is closer, she decides to leave her husband with her dying son and goes to find Mal and they have sex. :O I really can’t understand Nova here. Her son is dying and she decides to spend the last hours of his life with Mal away from him. And what about Keith? I really don’t understand Nova’s relationship with him. She keeps saying she loves him a lot, but then she also says that their marriage is over because he wants to have a child with her. And then she also justifies herself by saying he can’t feel how she feels about Leo. I know that Nova has been portrayed like the good guy in the novel, but there are moments in the novel I didn’t like her and this is one instance.
Leo dies the following day, and naturally everybody is shattered. We know that Steph goes to the funeral, but Nova just registers her presence, realising that Steph is not important any longer. We know that after that Steph goes to visit Leo’s grave and leaves yellow flowers there, but this is a secrets she keeps from everybody until she tells Mal.
Mal and Nova talk three months later, and she tells him that she is pregnant. It is his baby, and when Leo offers to be there for him, she tells him that she has other plans. She doesn’t want him to leave and hurt Steph unnecessarily, and as for her, she is going away as her marriage is over. I feel sorry for Keith, who has been a support for her all along, and it is her who decides to cheat on him and leave him high and dry. In the prologue Nova writes to Mal, telling him about her life in Portugal and their daughter. She will return one day, but she doesn’t know when.