Chapter 35: Jo came home to see Laurie graduate from college. Afterwards, they went for a walk and Laurie, though Jo begged him not to, profess his love for her. He asked her to marry him, but Jo refused telling him that she did not love him. He was heartbroken, and Jo was too for him because she did not want to break his heart. Laurie asked her if she was in love with Professor Bhaer and she said that she was not and did not want to love anyone. Laurie left her and went rowing to ease his pain. Jo then went to Mr. Laurence and told him what had transpired. When Laurie came home that night, Mr. Laurence acted gently towards him then finally told him that Jo had told him the story. He suggested to Laurie that they take a trip to Europe so he could forget his troubles. Laurie consented and spent the next few weeks while they prepared for the trip pining after Jo. He watched her from his window, but other than that, he avoided her. On the day of their departure, he said good bye to her and asked her one last time to be his. She again said no knowing that she should not marry him if she did not love him, and he left. From that day forward Jo knew that she would never have "her boy" again. Laurie would forever be lost to her.
Chapter 36: Jo took the money she had made writing for the paper and she and Beth went to the seashore. When she had come back from New York, Jo realized that she saw a change in Beth. She also realized that what she thought the previous fall was not true. Beth was not in love with Laurie. The thing that was making her act differently was that she knew she was dying. After being away with her, Jo knew this too, and one day they talked about it. Beth told Jo to tell their mother and father and Jo agreed to do it when they got home. Beth also told her that she always knew that she would never reach adulthood because she never dreamed the dreams of the other girls such as marriage. Jo agreed with her, and pledged to give her heart and soul to Beth while she was alive. When they returned home at the end of the summer, their parents did see the truth in Beth and everyone was devastated.
Chapter 37: The following Christmas Laurie met up with Amy in Europe and both they went driving together. Laurie would not talk about his experiences, but noticed Amy was as mature as ever. Both noticed other pleasant changes in the other, and when a Christmas ball came along, Amy made special care to look nice for Laurie. When he saw her Laurie was entranced and hovered over her as much as he could. He tried complimenting her, but Amy preferred that he be blunt as he usually was, and at the end of the night, both had different thoughts about the other.