As Nick and Go speed away from the vigil, Nick wonders if the detectives already knew Amy was pregnant, and are trying to make Nick look as bad as possible—which would mean they believe he killed her. Go starts to ask Nick if the rumor about Amy is true, but Nick admits he doesn’t know—Amy certainly didn’t say anything to him about being pregnant. Go laments that nothing is making sense.
This new development in the case makes Nick look worse than ever—but he insists he had no idea that Amy was pregnant, and judging from his past recollections of his and Amy’s lackluster sex life and her disinterest in having children, it seems like something is wrong.
Back at Go’s, Nick receives a phone call from Rand, who angrily demands to know whether Nick was aware of Amy’s pregnancy. Nick tries to delicately tell his father-in-law that not only did he have no idea Amy was pregnant, but that at the time of her disappearance they hadn’t even been having “relations” regularly. Rand reveals that the detectives have subpoenaed Amy’s doctor for her medical records—the truth will be clear soon.
Amy’s parents are growing increasingly distraught over their daughter’s disappearance and the upsetting new details that keep emerging. They are beginning, like Nick, to realize that they didn’t know Amy as well as they thought they did.
Go accuses Nick of “fibbing like a little boy” throughout the entire investigation to avoid looking like the bad guy—she warns him that he will soon have to stop and come clean. Nick asks Go if she thinks he killed Amy—Go replies only that she “would still love [him]” if he did. Nick states definitively that he did not kill his wife, and asks Go if she believes him—she is unable to give him an answer. Go heads to bed, and Nick’s disposable rings—he picks the call. Andie asks him to meet her at an old watchtower at the edge of town, and he does. He is almost warmed by the fact that Andie is still willing to meet “the pregnant-wife killer” alone late at night in a remote part of town.
Even though Go warns Nick that he needs to start behaving better and stop lying, Nick can’t resist meeting up with Andie for a rendezvous at the edge of town. The worse things get, it seems, the more he abandons common sense and focuses on short-term satisfaction rather than making himself look good in the long term.
An hour later, Nick returns to his house. The lawn is teeming with paparazzi, and he waits uneasily for a call from the police to come in about Amy’s medical records. His father’s nursing home calls to tell him that Bill has gotten out again, and that if he does it one more time, they’ll have to “terminate” his stay. Moments later, Nick sees a dark shadow huddled by the boathouse in the backyard—Nick goes outside to see his father dangling a foot into the river. When Nick asks his father what he’s doing at the house, Bill replies that Amy “told [him] to come”—she’s the only one who “loves” him. Nick brings his father inside, calls the nursing home, and gently walks his father out to the car they sent amidst the swarming photographers.
For the first chunk of the novel, Nick’s father Bill largely serves as a red herring. Between his frequent escapes from the nursing home and his alternating love and hatred of Amy, it seems as if he could be behind her disappearance. His other function is to make Nick question his own relationship with Amy, and women more generally—he’s afraid of becoming his father, and afraid of the patterns of misogyny and abuse the man represents.
Nick is walking back up to the house when a cop car pulls up—it is Boney, who delivers the news that Amy was pregnant after all. Nick knows that Boney is watching to see what his reaction will be, and he silently tells himself not to “blow it.” He forces himself to “act the way a man acts when he hears this news,” and buries his face into his hands and sobs.
Nick is getting better at looking out for himself—but the fact that he has to consciously make an effort to display emotion when it comes to Amy makes it clear that even if he’s not guilty, he’s not as good a husband as he wants others to think he is.