Though small towns, Camille says, usually cater to one kind of drinker, “everyone drinks in Wind Gap,” so there are many different places to drink. The one closest to Adora’s home is an expensive upscale French-style eatery called “La Mére.” Though Camille supposes the restaurant is meant to be named “La Mer,” French for “the sea,” its misspelling instead translates to “the mother.” Camille heads there for a drink and runs into Jackie O’Neele and a group of Adora’s friends. The women invite her over to their table to “gab” with them, and Camille reluctantly accepts their invitation.
The misspelling of the French restaurant’s name—and the fact that its name technically relates to motherhood—is representative of the omnipresent influence of mothers and motherhood in Camille’s life, or at least the portion of it in Wind Gap.
The women ask Camille what it’s like being home, and they reminisce about their own childhoods spent visiting Adora at her house—one of them remarks that it’s the “same house [with a] different crazy lady running it” now. The women begin discussing Adora’s mother, Joya—they describe her creepy long and unpainted fingernails before one of them, Annabelle, changes the subject and asks Camille about her job reporting on the murders.
The women who purport to be Adora’s friends certainly don’t see her in a forgiving light, and even compare her to her apparently terrifying mother Joya. Camille wants to hear more about her family’s history, but gossip soon overtakes the conversation.
Camille asks the women who they all think committed the murders. Jackie says she believes Bob Nash, a “pervert” who always stares at her breasts in the grocery store, is responsible. Another mentions that John Keene has moved out of his parents’ house and into a carriage house in the back of his girlfriend Meredith Wheeler’s family’s home—one of the women asserts that John moved out because he is the killer.
All of the women assume that men—particularly men who were close to both Ann and Natalie—are responsible for the murders. The idea that a woman could be responsible for such heinous violence doesn’t even cross their minds.
Camille, remembering what Amma and her friends told her the other day, asks the women if John Keene really could be responsible—she mentions that she heard some gossip from some local teens. Jackie, thoroughly drunk, tells Camille that Amma is trouble. Another one of the women chimes in to add that Amma and all of her friends are sexually promiscuous. Camille attempts to steer the conversation back to John Keene, but Annabelle asks where Adora is and notes that she’s been acting “strange” lately. Jackie tells Camille that she needs to get back to Chicago—the “way things are” with Adora, she’s better off far away.
The women’s idle gossip takes a turn as they begin discussing the Crellin women. Amma is apparently a cruel—and promiscuous—terror, while Adora, according to Jackie, is deranged to the point of being potentially dangerous. Camille wants to hear more, but again, the women’s competing desires to dominate the conversation leave her in the dark.
After brunch, Jackie’s words stick with Camille, and she wonders whether she really should get out of Wind Gap. Feeling buzzed from the wine, she pushes the thought to the back of her mind and decides instead to return to the Nash family’s house. Betsy Nash lets Camille inside, and Camille sits in the disheveled living room with Betsy and Bob as their remaining three children hover around like “ghosts.”
Camille is still not doing her job according to any code of ethics—she shows up buzzed and unannounced at an interview subject’s house, and it’s only once she’s inside that she realizes the strange atmosphere she has walked into.
Camille asks Bob and Betsy what Ann was like in school, explaining that she hopes to paint a clearer picture of the girl for a longer, more substantial piece. Bob describes Ann as tough, and Betsy describes her as mouthy and defiant. As the two of them reminisce about Ann, Camille can see the other children, playing in the living room, begin to fight and smack each other, and Camille knows she has “shattered some delicate dynamic” in the Nash household.
Both of Ann’s parents describe her as willful and loud, with a strong personality—not normally the terms parents of recently-deceased children use to describe their lost little ones.
As Betsy ushers the children into another room to calm them down, Camille continues asking Bob some questions about Ann’s rumored violent streak, and whether Ann would have gone off into the woods with a stranger—especially if the stranger were a woman. Bob maintains that a man is responsible for the crimes—he can’t picture a woman “doing all…that to a baby.” Bob suggests that John Keene, who has no alibi, might be guilty, and confirms that others in Wind Gap believe he might be responsible for both murders.
Even in the face of James Capisi’s story, Bob Nash still cannot believe, even for a moment, that a woman could be responsible for such crimes. He would rather accuse one of the victims’ brothers than a random, faceless female.
Betsy appears suddenly in the doorway and announces that Adora is at the house. Adora breezes into the living room, apologizing to the Nashes for Camille’s intrusion. Bob admits he had no idea that Camille was Adora’s daughter, and Adora says he wouldn’t—Camille isn’t “the family type.” Bob asks why Camille wouldn’t have told him who she was—he reveals that Adora is a “very good friend” to their family, and she tutored Ann in English and spelling. Ann and Adora, Bob says, were very close.
Camille and Adora find themselves face-to-face at the Nashes’—and it’s clear that both women’s attempts to maneuver around one another within their small town are not going to work. Camille is shocked by the revelation that Adora was actually close with the girls—she’d thought her mother was just putting on airs.
Camille realizes that her mother hasn’t, in fact, been overplaying her mourning—she really was close with both girls. Camille wonders why Adora was tutoring Ann; though Adora had helped out at Camille’s school when she was young in order to get to know some of the other Wind Gap mothers, Camille thinks it strange for Adora to be helping out such a young girl from a less-advantaged family.
This new revelation sets Camille on edge—she is suspicious of Adora’s desire to connect with a little girl like Ann, who, by all accounts, was rebellious and headstrong and whose family is not in Adora’s social circle.
Adora tells Camille to leave—she’s here on a “social visit” and has trouble relaxing around Camille “these days.” Camille says she isn’t finished talking to Bob, but Adora insists she is. Camille feels the word punish flash on her hip. She thanks Bob for his time and leaves without looking at Adora. She begins crying before she even gets to her car.
Camille has returned to her hometown, and has had every aspect of her life, in turn, controlled by her mother. Camille cannot do the job she is here to do because of Adora’s influence, and she is beyond frustrated.