Pinkie returns to the pub from the bathroom and watches as two posh men eye Rose. He can tell that they’re willing to have a go with her, if she’s willing, but that they won’t take too much trouble because she’s not really worth it. Pinkie feels a stirring of anger and possessiveness, seeing the men dismiss Rose so cruelly. He returns and the men clear out, laughing—laughing at him, he thinks. He considers scrapping the entire plan and letting Rose live. It’s all gotten so complicated and exhausting. Rose tells him she’s written the note he asked her to.
Pinkie will never admit to anyone that he values Rose as anything other than an alibi, but his jealousy is proof that he has, in fact, learned to care for her. His willingness to scrap the suicide pact is another indication that he sees Rose as more than just a means to avoid prosecution. Her writing of the suicide note, though, reminds him of his purpose.
Piker comes in to tell Pinkie he hasn’t paid for the drinks. While he goes to pay, Rose is seized with a desire to rebel. She is not, after all, of Pinkie’s flesh. She’s her own person and she does not need to do what he asks. She can take the gun from him; she can change his mind. There is still hope. She wants to wait until the last possible moment, though, and they get in the car, headed back toward Brighton.
Rose is much stronger than anyone realizes. Both Pinkie and Ida underestimate her. She is capable of independent thought and of being her own person. Still, up until this point, it seemed that her wish was to meld with Pinkie, to be a part of him, but now that he wants to die, she considers pulling away.
Rose asks Pinkie if he hates her for the fact that they had sex out of wedlock and committed a mortal sin. He tells her he doesn’t. It’s the truth. He hadn’t even hated the act, as he thought he would. As he drives, a heavy and inexplicable emotion overtakes him. He thinks of his school days, of God, of Dallow and Judy’s lust, of confession and repentance. He pulls into a side street leading to the ocean and stops the car. They listen to music coming from a garage radio and the sea battering a cliff. Rose knows she has to tell Pinkie she won’t do it, but she waits as he gives her instructions on how to use the gun and how to fire it.
Pinkie is not without a conscience. The emotion that overtakes him on the drive from the pub to the cliff at Peacehaven is guilt. The music stirs in him an awareness of Rose as an individual apart from him and his needs. Still, his plans are unchanged, perhaps because, if he grows desperate enough, he can always repent and confess, thereby regaining good standing in the church.
Rose lets her hope expand. She thinks about how she and Pinkie might go on living for years, long enough to go from meek and good to evil and back again. Pinkie says he will go for a walk. She can go first. Then, when she’s finished, he’ll take the gun and finish himself off. He kisses her on the cheek and leaves. Rose sits with the gun in her lap, thinking of Sunday school lessons, weighing courage and devotion against self-preservation. She doesn’t know at the moment if it would be more virtuous to stand by Pinkie or allow herself to live. She can feel Pinkie’s will making her act. She puts the gun to her ear, and just then hears someone splashing through puddles on the road, calling for Pinkie.
Rose’s confused Catholicism and her deep and abiding love for Pinkie are complicating what should really be a simple decision. There is no compelling reason for her to kill herself. It is Pinkie who is putting the gun to her head and Pinkie’s voice in her brain telling her to go through with the pact. Rose’s serious deliberations are made even more tragic by the reader’s knowledge that Pinkie only wants to be rid of her.
Rose sees Dallow and Ida coming toward her. They’re accompanied by a confused looking policeman. Someone asks her for the gun. She tells them that she threw it away. Pinkie begins yelling at Dallow, calling him a squealer and wondering aloud if he’s going to have to kill everyone in sight to put an end to this. Dallow tells him it’s no use; the police have Prewitt. Pinkie asks Rose for the gun. She tells him it’s gone. Pinkie pulls something from his pocket. There’s the sound of breaking glass and then of Pinkie screaming in agony. Steam rises from his face and then he’s gone, running off the cliff before anyone can stop him.
The voice Pinkie heard back in Sherry’s on his and Rose’s first date now proves to have been prophetic. It is left mysterious whether Pinkie threw the acid on himself deliberately then committed suicide or if the acid spilled was an accident, leading him to run to his death. Suicide is, according to Catholic doctrine, a mortal sin and would doom Pinkie’s soul to Hell, where he always assumed he would end up anyway.