It is Elliott who finally sees Fern and makes contact.
They have a coffee at the station, but they are stiff and cold to each other, especially from Fern. She still hasn’t forgotten or forgiven what he did to her all these years ago. Fern longs to know about him, but the only thing she finds out is that he lives in Hastings, has a daughter, and his mother died five years ago. When they part, Elliot gets her phone number, hinting that they can meet again that night when they return to London.
The novel moves back from the past and the present. In the chapters about the past it is in 1980s when Fern and Elliott meet. Fern and her friend Jules throw a party, and Jules’s brother has a friend, Dan, and Dan’s brother is Elliott, who is also studying at university. The first meeting between Elliott and Fern is quite passionate, and a couple of minutes before they tell each other their names, they end up in bed. From then on they become a couple, and it is the following day when she and Elliot are walking hand in hand which Fern feels this is her moment and wonders if there will be something better than this.
The perspective changes to Elliott, and we see his thoughts and reflections. He is on his way to Wales to sort out his father’s house since the old man is now in a nursing home. From his thoughts we learn that he longs for Fern’s forgiveness, and this meeting has left him unsatisfied. Elliott’s daughter, Chloe, lives in Bath where she is studying photography, but the young woman seems unable to sort out things without her father. Yet, things aren’t right between them because since Elliott left his wife, Meryl, she has been poisoned their daughter, making her believe that Elliott is useless. There is a mention about a woman called Susan from his office, who apparently harasses him sexually. The feeling that Elliott conveys is that he is not a happy man; there is a longing to be loved and forgiven.
I imagine that he and Fern will meet again, and I wonder if they will finally talk about their outstanding matter. I am curious to know what happened between them twenty-five years ago.