The second part of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go begins with the essays the students are given when they leave Hailsham and go to the Cottages. They are supposed to be working on these essays for at least two years, and, although the guardians do not seem to consider it too important, Kathy and her peers cling to the essays as it is their last task from Hailsham.
The Cottages are a group of houses that are rather uncomfortable. The only person from outside is an old man named Keffers, who either ignores the residents or complains about the mess they are making. Apart from Kathy’s group, there are also older students living there, who are called veterans. The veterans sometimes go on trips beyond the Cottages, but the newcomers are still too afraid to do something like that.
Ruth and Tommy are together again, and Kathy notices that Ruth behaves with Tommy just as the veteran couples behave with each other. Kathy is sure the veterans are copying this behavior from TV shows. One day, while Kathy is reading Daniel Deronda, Ruth comes to tell her about the plot of the book. Kathy is irritated by this and calls Ruth out on her behavior with Tommy and how she is copying others. Ruth accuses Kathy of being jealous that she has other friends now and claims Kathy does not want to make friends with people who are not from Hailsham. Then she adds that, actually, Kathy made friends quite quickly with some of the veterans. This angers Kathy even more.
Kathy’s anger about what Ruth said is because she thought she and Ruth had an understanding: even though Ruth ignored her during the day in favor of impressing the veterans, at night they would have confidential talks and trusted each other not to judge what was said then. During one such talk, Kathy tells Ruth about her one-night stands with the veterans, and how she sometimes feels like she simply needs to have sex, and it does not matter with whom. After Ruth alludes to this during their fight, Kathy thinks Ruth has betrayed her trust.
The people at the Cottages mention the former students who are no longer there only in passing and usually avoid talking about them altogether. One of these former inhabitants is Steve who, supposedly, left a large collection of erotic magazines behind. The magazines upset Keffers, who is said to be very religious. One day, he brings a pile of them outside, intending to take them away but forgets about them. Kathy takes them to the boiler room and starts quickly flicking through them, looking at the faces.
Tommy discovers her and asks her what she is doing. Kathy tries to pretend she is trying to get herself excited, but Tommy tells her he knows this is not the reason. He adds that he has seen her doing this before. Kathy leaves without answering his questions.
Two of the veterans, Chrissie and Rodney, tell Ruth they had seen her possible in Norfolk. Someone’s possible is the person the future donor was copied from. No one knows the identity or ages of t...