In the late, hot days of August, Nick is out on bond and awaiting trial. The proceedings won’t begin for months, and Nick feels helpless as he knows the police are turning into a product as they make their case against “Nick Dunne, Killer.” Tanner’s team of detectives has been unable to track Amy down, and though Nick has made several videos begging for Amy’s return and posted them on the internet, there’s been no sign of her.
Nick is desperate to get Amy home—if she doesn’t come back, he’ll go to trial and surely be convicted. Nick knows that Amy is his last chance to secure his freedom, and will tell her anything she wants to hear to get her back.
The doorbell rings, and Nick answers it—Amy is standing on the doorstep in a thin pink dress. There is twine dangling from one of her wrists, her hair has been chopped short, her face is bruised, and she is covered in blood. Amy flings out her arms and wails Nick’s name, collapsing onto him as the camera crews go wild. Nick pulls Amy close, pretending to fawn over her and embrace her. He lets the camera crews get their shots, and then whispers “You fucking bitch” in Amy’s ear before pulling her inside the house.
Amy is back—it’s what Nick has been praying for, but not for the reasons a man might pray for his missing wife’s return. As soon as Nick sees Amy covered in blood, he knows she’s done something awful. He isn’t happy to see her, and his cruel curse confirms that he still longs to do harm to Amy—or at least get even for what she’s put him through.
Once the door is shut, Amy looks at Nick with a “triumphant smile.” She proudly announces that she has made it back to Nick. Unimpressed, Nick asks her what her “story” is. Amy trembles as she tells Nick that Desi Collings took her on the morning of their anniversary. She says she was holding the handle to the Judy puppet when she opened the door, because it had fallen off while she was getting the gift ready. She claims Desi wrestled the handle from her, clubbed her, and she blacked out.
Amy has her entire story planned out—and she is gleeful about it. In this passage, she’s oddly both pretending with Nick and giving him a heads up through her body language and facial expressions that she knows he knows what’s really going on. She’s not yet ready, though, to admit to anything else.
Nick bluntly accuses Amy of framing him for murder. She promises she can explain everything, and Nick says he’d love to watch her try. Nick asks her the first question on his mind—why every clue was hidden in a spot where he’d had sex with Andie. Amy replies that she didn’t know about Andie until she saw it on TV, tied to Desi’s bed, his prisoner at the lake house. Nick asks Amy why all the clues led to places where there seemed to be evidence tying Nick to Amy’s murder. Amy insists again that in time, she’ll explain everything. Nick then asks her where Desi is, and Amy offers only a “sad little smile.”
Amy is determined not to reveal the truth behind her twisted story just yet, even though Nick is desperate for answers from his conniving wife. Though Amy tries to distract Nick with snippets of her experience at Desi’s, he has no belief in or sympathy for her at all.