Ellie's under a lot of pressure. Her dad's fighting overseas; she's taking care of her mom; and she's juggling school and an incredible internship opportunity with Caitlin. She can't handle it all, but her way of dealing is only going to make her problems way, way worse. Meanwhile, the good news is that Terri has a secret admirer. The bad news is that it might be Toby.
When Ellie Nash's father leaves to join the Army for a peace mission, she is left alone with her mother. Her mother, under a depression caused by her husband's departure, resorts to alcohol as a comfort.She is an alcoholic, neglecting Ellie and constantly vomiting all day, while she never moves from the couch. Ellie then takes care of her mother, and she does it without anyone knowing.
On the day of the interview, Paige "accidentally" spills chocolate milk on Ellie's clothes, embarrassing Ellie before her interview with Caitlin. Ellie also fails a Math pop quiz due to not being able to study.
At the interview, she wears a yellow overcoat to cover the milk stain, and smudges her eyeshadow, both causing her great humiliation. When she comes home to tell her mother, she is saddened to see that her mother is still laying on the couch, drunk. She picks up the bottles of vodka that her mother was drinking and puts them in the kitchen, realizing the seriousness of her mother's illness.
Going upstairs, she lies her book bag on her desk, only to be surprised by the sound of her mother throwing up downstairs. All her things fall out of her bag, including a compass.
Ellie stares at the compass, picks it up, and cuts herself for the first time to relieve herself from the mounting stress, crying while doing this.
The next day, Ellie receives word from Ms. Sauvé that she was chosen over Paige for the co-op job, giving Ellie some good news for once.
She begins her work at the co-op and interviews her first person (the person ironically states that he helps teens with issues such as cutting, among other things).
Ellie talks to her father for the first time since he left, and lies to him, claiming her mother is fine.
Stress finally starts to rise to its peak for Ellie as she struggles with school work, her job, taking care of her mother and trying to keep her job.
This dramatic increase in stress causes Ellie to cut herself in a more routine and increased manner, shown in a montage intertwined with clips showing her at work and her mother continually drinking.
Ellie is shown running to school (late). When she arrives at the desk, the secretary tells her that she has been late five times in the past two weeks and if she doesn't pull herself together, she could lose her co-op job.
As Ellie reaches for the late pass from the secretary, she literally begs the woman with her eyes to hand her the slip, pushing Ellie to feel the need to cut.
Ellie runs into the bathroom, pulls out her compass and cuts herself. She drops her compass into the sink as she hears Paige walk in the door.
Paige sees the blood in the sink as well as the compass and tells Ellie that she has to stop doing this.Ellie claims her arm is fine and that all she needs Paige to do is "...leave me alone, just like you normally do."
As Ellie walks out of the school at the end of the day, she walks past Paige, who is told by Ms. Sauvé that they'll talk about Paige's friend (clearly Ellie) and her problem in a few minutes.
Ellie approaches Paige, asking "....Who? Me?". Paige says that Ellie needs help and Ms. Sauvé will know how.
Ellie repeatedly claims "Nothing is wrong with me!" as a concerned Paige keeps asking Ellie to show her arm.
Ellie eventually gives in and shows Paige the numerous cuts on her arm, drawing sympathy from Paige as she sighs, "Ellie....." and runs her fingers over the scars.
Ellie finally realizes what she was doing to herself, breaks down, and cries. She then goes to Ms. Sauvé and she tells her she done an awesome first step: she realized she needs to talk and not cut wich Ellie agrees with.
Terri tells Hazel she wants them to be from Rick but with her luck, it'll "....be from the janitor."
As Terri and Hazel keep trying to build Terri's nerve to ask Rick, Toby puts forth evidence that could possibly point him out as Terri's admirer.
Toby continually shows up around Terri when she's with Hazel or Ashley and when Terri finally gets fed up with him, she yells at him, throwing the most recent rose in his face, displaying her disgust in him.
He tells her that Ashley claimed Terri had psychic powers and he was testing her for ESP, but she failed all of them. When Terri asks if he was her admirer, he tells her "...you wish!"This gives Terri even more confidence that her admirer is Rick.
Terri waits around after school, spying on her locker until she spots a boy coming up to pin a rose on it.
The boy is revealed, in fact, to be Rick, and he admits that he was too shy to ask her straight out, so he did it this way.
Terri admits that she's shy too, and the two walk out of the empty school as a newly formed couple.