The Girl on the Train

by

Paula Hawkins

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Tom Watson is the lying, conniving, murderous antagonist of the novel. Tom disguises himself as a loving husband doing his best to make ends meet for his family—but as Rachel and Anna discover toward the end of the novel, Tom’s entire life and persona is built on a fragile and disturbing web of secrets and lies. While Tom was married to Rachel (before the events of the novel begin to unfold), he made a habit of portraying himself as a victim to her drunken rages. As Rachel’s drinking, fueled by her sadness over her inability to conceive a child, began spiraling out of control, Tom told Rachel morning after morning that she’d blacked out and verbally or physically abused him. But in reality, it was Tom who brutally abused Rachel, taking advantage of Rachel’s inability to form memories while intoxicated. When the novel begins, Tom is already remarried to Anna, the real estate agent with whom he cheated on Rachel and with whom he now has a one-year-old daughter, Evie. When Anna and Tom hire Megan to look after Evie, Tom and Megan begin an affair—yet when Megan becomes pregnant with a child who may or may not be Tom’s, Tom attacks and brutally murders Megan. As Rachel struggles to unspool Tom’s lies, she nearly loses her mind in the process as she reckons with the extent to which Tom has abused, gaslit, and deceived everyone in his life. Eventually, when Tom attacks Rachel and implies that he plans to kill her, Rachel kills him in self-defense using a corkscrew. Tom’s lies are exposed, and Rachel is able to begin repairing her memories, her life, and her sense of self—all of which Tom systematically sought to ruin. Tom is sly, magnetic, and deceptive—it’s impossible to fully know what motivates his violent behavior throughout the story.

Tom Watson Quotes in The Girl on the Train

The The Girl on the Train quotes below are all either spoken by Tom Watson or refer to Tom Watson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women and Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Riverhead edition of The Girl on the Train published in 2015.
Rachel: One Quotes

I have lost control over everything, even the places in my head.

Related Characters: Rachel Watson (speaker), Cathy, Tom Watson
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Two Quotes

Something happened, I know it did. I can't picture it, but I can feel it. The inside of my mouth hurts, as though I've bitten my cheek, there's a metallic tang of blood on my tongue. I feel nauseated, dizzy. I run my hands through my hair, over my scalp. I flinch. There's a lump, painful and tender, on the right side of my head. My hair is matted with blood.

Related Characters: Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson
Page Number: 39
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Three Quotes

Maybe it was then. Maybe that was the moment when things started to go wrong, the moment when I imagined us no longer a couple, but a family; and after that, once I had that picture in my head, just the two of us could never be enough. Was it then that Tom started to look at me differently, his disappointment mirroring my own? After all he gave up for me, for the two of us to be together, I let him think that he wasn't enough.

Related Characters: Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson
Related Symbols: Trains
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Four Quotes

The thing about being barren is that you're not allowed to get away from it. […] My friends were having children, friends of friends were having children, pregnancy and birth and first birthday parties were everywhere. I was asked about it all the time. […] When was it going to be my turn? […] I was still young, there was still plenty of time, but failure cloaked me like a mantle, it overwhelmed me, dragged me under, and I gave up hope. […] I was wrong to suggest that we should share the blame; it was all down to me.

Related Characters: Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Five Quotes

I'm thinking about her now. I have to convince Scott that I knew her—a little, not a lot. That way, he'll believe me when I tell him that I saw her with another man. If I admit to lying right away, he'll never trust me. So I try to imagine what it would have been like to drop by the gallery, chat with her over a coffee. Does she drink coffee? We would talk about art, perhaps, or yoga, or our husbands. I don't know anything about art, I've never done yoga. I don't have a husband. And she betrayed hers.

Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: One Quotes

When I wake again, Tom's not at my side, but I can hear his footfalls on the stairs. He's singing, low and tuneless, "Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you. . ." I hadn't even thought about it earlier, I'd completely forgotten; I didn't think of anything but fetching my little girl and getting back to bed.

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Tom Watson, Evie
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Two Quotes

We need to get away from here. We need to get away from her.

Page Number: 140
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Ten Quotes

It's different, the nightmare I wake from this morning. In it, I've done something wrong, but I don't know what it is, all I know is that it cannot be put right. All I know is that Tom hates me now, he won't talk to me any longer, and he has told everyone I know about the terrible thing I've done, and everyone has turned against me: old colleagues, my friends, even my mother. They look at me with disgust, contempt, and no one will listen to me, no one will let me tell them how sorry I am. I feel awful, desperately guilty, I just can't think what it is that I've done.

Related Characters: Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson, Rachel’s Mother
Page Number: 179
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Thirteen Quotes

“Every time I passed that hole in the wall I thought about it. Tom said he was going to patch it up, but he didn't, and I didn't want to pester him about it. One day I was standing there […] and I […] remembered. I was on the floor, my back to the wall, sobbing and sobbing, Tom standing over me, begging me to calm down, the golf club on the carpet next to my feet, and I felt it, I felt it. I was terrified. The memory doesn't fit with the reality, because I don't remember anger, raging fury. I remember fear."

Page Number: 230
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Six Quotes

I'm doing the things she did: drinking alone and snooping on him. The things she did and he hated. But recently—as recently as this morning—things have shifted. If he's going to lie, then I'm going to check up on him. That's a fair deal, isn't it?

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Rachel Watson, Tom Watson
Page Number: 242
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Fifteen Quotes

Everything is a lie. I didn't imagine him hitting me. I didn't imagine him walking away from me quickly, his fists clenched. I saw him turn, shout. I saw him walking down the road with a woman, I saw him getting into the car with her. I didn't imagine it. And I realize then that it's all very simple, so very simple.

Related Characters: Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson, Megan Hipwell / “Jess”
Page Number: 271-272
Explanation and Analysis:
Anna: Nine Quotes

"I don't believe you," I say. "Why would he lie about that?"

"Because he lies about everything."

Related Characters: Anna Watson (speaker), Rachel Watson (speaker), Tom Watson, Megan Hipwell / “Jess”
Page Number: 279
Explanation and Analysis:
Megan: Nine Quotes

"Did you hear what I just said?” he snaps, turning his back on me and striding back up the path towards the car. "You'd be a terrible mother, Megan. Just get rid of it."

I go after him… […] I’m yelling at him, screaming, trying to scratch his fucking smug face, and he’s laughing… […] It’s not even rejection, it's dismissal. […]

He's not laughing anymore.

He's coming towards me. He has something in his hand.

I've fallen. I must have slipped. Hit my head on something. I think I'm going to be sick. Everything is red. I can’t get up. […] Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look what you made me do.

Related Characters: Tom Watson (speaker), Megan Hipwell / “Jess” (speaker)
Page Number: 304
Explanation and Analysis:
Rachel: Nineteen Quotes

Tom's lips are moving, he's saying something to me, but I can't hear him. I watch him come, I watch him, and I don't move until he's almost upon me, and then I swing. I jam the vicious twist of the corkscrew into his neck.

His eyes widen as he falls without a sound. He raises his hands to his throat, his eyes on mine. He looks as though he's crying. I watch until I can't look any longer, then I turn my back on him. As the train goes past I can see faces in brightly lit windows, heads bent over books and phones, travellers warm and safe on their way home.

Related Symbols: Trains
Page Number: 317
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Girl on the Train LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Girl on the Train PDF

Tom Watson Character Timeline in The Girl on the Train

The timeline below shows where the character Tom Watson appears in The Girl on the Train. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Rachel: One
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...London, she spots a pile of clothes by the tracks, which disturbs her. Her ex-husband Tom always told her she had an “overactive imagination”—with that in mind, Rachel tries to calm... (full context)
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...sip, she lets the taste transport her back into memories of her first-ever vacation with Tom, when they went to Spain. Rachel polishes off the gin and tonic quickly, but she’s... (full context)
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...wine and fell asleep. This morning, her phone tells her that last night she called Tom four times over the course of the night—but she doesn’t remember what she said in... (full context)
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...up, and cooking breakfast. Rachel closes her eyes and remembers the message she left for Tom last night: she told him that she still loved him. Rachel knows she is going... (full context)
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...they might take care of each other. Rachel’s phone rings. Startled, she answers it—and finds Tom is on the other end. Tom asks Rachel to stop calling him. In a concerned... (full context)
Megan: One
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Thursday, August 16, 2012. Megan quits her job as a nanny for Anna and Tom Watson—finally, she feels free. She worries that Scott will be mad at her—but as a... (full context)
Rachel: Two
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...if she’s the one who’s been cheated on—again. She remembers finding an illicit email on Tom’s computer from a woman named Anna, and discovering a cache of steamy love letters they’d... (full context)
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...four gin and tonics in a row. She begins thinking terrible thoughts about Anna and Tom, who still live in the house that Tom and Rachel bought as newlyweds years ago.... (full context)
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...the day stretching ahead of her. She recalls how she used to spend Saturdays with Tom having lazy morning sex and making breakfast, and she feels pained. After wasting the day... (full context)
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...in. She has two voicemails: one from Cathy asking where she is, and another from Tom scolding her for frightening Anna and hanging around their home. Rachel has no idea what... (full context)
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...to ask for some financial help. Rachel notices a new message on her phone from Tom and listens to it: he apologizes for yelling in his previous message as well as... (full context)
Rachel: Three
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...in life—she feels it must have been when, in her early days of marriage to Tom, she began wishing for a family. Once that happened, she believes, the two of them... (full context)
Rachel: Four
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...Megan has been missing since Saturday evening, and while Rachel doesn’t want to run into Tom or Anna, she feels compelled to go to Witney. She has been reading articles about... (full context)
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...about her whereabouts on Saturday night. She admits that she went to Witney to see Tom—but she decided this was a bad idea and returned home. Gaskill told Rachel that she... (full context)
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...could not get pregnant. The pain broke her—and in turn, she broke her marriage. Though Tom didn’t need a child and insisted the two of them should focus on being happy,... (full context)
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...returned to the station and explained that she was drunk—and depressed by a Facebook post Tom made about the joys of new parenthood—when she went to his and Anna’s house and... (full context)
Rachel: Five
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...did the night before. As she opens her laptop, she remembers: last night, she emailed Tom. After a shower and a cup of tea, Rachel opens the email and faces her... (full context)
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Rachel recalls the day last summer when she went to Tom and Anna’s and took their baby, Evie, out into the garden, down near the train... (full context)
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Rachel realizes she has a new email—not from Tom, but from Scott. As Rachel scrolls through the email, she finds that she sent a... (full context)
Anna: One
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...quickly falls back asleep with the child beside her in bed. When she wakes again, Tom is singing to her—it is her birthday, which she completely forgot about. After breakfast in... (full context)
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When Anna returns from the shops, she finds Tom on his laptop. He quickly closes it. Anna realizes that he is reading an email... (full context)
Rachel: Six
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...connection to Megan and to Blenheim Road, he pieced together the fact that she was Tom Watson’s ex-wife. Rachel grew nervous and hurried to leave, but Scott insisted on showing her... (full context)
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...she starts getting ready to go to the liquor store, her phone rings—assumes it’ll be Tom, but when she goes to answer it, she realizes it’s Scott. Scott thanks her for... (full context)
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...might blow off some steam. Rachel recalls that even during her worst drunken fights with Tom, Tom always chased her down and calmed her. Scott admits that even in the morning,... (full context)
Rachel: Seven
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...As soon as Rachel stepped onto the sidewalk, she found herself face to face with Tom, Evie, and Anna. (full context)
Anna: Two
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Monday, July 22, 2013. Tom, Anna, and Evie go on for a family outing to a restaurant. Getting there requires... (full context)
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That evening, Anna learns that someone has been arrested in connection with Megan’s disappearance. Tom wants to discuss the news—but Anna is still focused on Rachel and whether she was... (full context)
Rachel: Eight
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...at Abdic’s home. She eagerly awaits more news, yet throughout the day, none comes in. Tom calls her multiple times, but she doesn’t pick up. As afternoon rolls around, Rachel’s constant... (full context)
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...her phone from bed and sees that she has missed calls from both Scott and Tom. After a shower, Rachel excitedly calls Scott back—but Scott darkly accuses her of lying to... (full context)
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...the streets of Ashbury in the pouring rain, waiting to sober up enough to call Tom. When she dials him, she tells him that she needs to talk to him about... (full context)
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Rachel continues asking Tom for details about the night—but Tom ridicules her for being unable to remember what happened... (full context)
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Scott asks what happened between Rachel and her ex-husband. Rachel says that Tom cheated on her with Anna while they were still married—and that her drinking started while... (full context)
Anna: Three
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Saturday, August 3, 2013. Anna sits alone in the kitchen. Tom is out with some old army buddies, and Evie is sleeping. Anna is bored, but... (full context)
Rachel: Ten
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...which she feels inexplicably guilty and ashamed—in the dream, everyone in her life sided with Tom against her. As she stirs, she recalls a time when Tom told her there was... (full context)
Anna: Four
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...her for having hired a potential “child killer” as a nanny. Anna tries to call Tom as she hurries home, but his phone goes straight to voicemail. (full context)
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...years ago—and that this murder could be a motive for someone killing her in return. Tom calls Anna back and urges her not to believe what she reads in the papers.... (full context)
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That evening, when Tom gets home, Anna confronts him angrily about needing to leave Blenheim Road. Between the passing... (full context)
Rachel: Eleven
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...at Witney and makes her way to Blenheim Road, forgetting about the possibility of encountering Tom, or Anna, or a crowd of reporters. She doesn’t feel guilty about seeing Scott anymore... (full context)
Rachel: Twelve
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...2013. Rachel wakes early in the morning. She believes that she is in bed with Tom. She wriggles her hips against his—but when Scott speaks up and asks her to stop,... (full context)
Anna: Five
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...great shock, she watches as Rachel emerges from the house. After returning home, Anna urges Tom to figure out what’s going on with Rachel—whether she’s sleeping with Scott or using him... (full context)
Rachel: Thirteen
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Monday, August 12, 2013. Rachel is with Tom in his car, parked at a local lake. Last night, he called and asked if... (full context)
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...number 15, chatting happily. Rachel anticipates moving forward, past number 23, where she believes that Tom will be waiting outside to wave to her—but the train won’t start again. Rachel screams... (full context)
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...specific memory Rachel wants to recall. She tells him about a night when she attacked Tom with a golf club; she woke in the morning unable to remember what had happened.... (full context)
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...seeing Anna wearing a blue dress and walking hurriedly away from her toward a waiting car—Tom’s car. Rachel realizes that this memory doesn’t make sense. According to Tom, he drove around... (full context)
Anna: Six
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Tuesday, August 13, 2013. As Anna watches Tom get ready for work, she misses the days when she, too, used to go to... (full context)
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That evening, Tom texts Anna to tell her he’s going to be late coming home—he’s having drinks with... (full context)
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Anna and Tom have sleepy morning sex. Tom says that he wants the two of them to take... (full context)
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After Tom leaves for work, Anna takes Evie for a walk. As she passes the house where... (full context)
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For the rest of the day, Anna is plagued with thoughts about whether Tom has been lying to her all along. She is afraid that she’ll end up just... (full context)
Rachel: Fourteen
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...to escape memories of her harrowing encounter with Scott. After leaving Scott’s house, she left Tom a note in the mailbox of number 23 and called the police to tell them... (full context)
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Saturday, August 17, 2013. Rachel calls Tom and asks why he didn’t respond to her note. Tom says that he didn’t get... (full context)
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...at home in front of the TV, feeling lonely and stupid for believing that either Tom or Scott had feelings for her. She is determined, however, not to drink in an... (full context)
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...the TV, she experiences yet another sudden flashback—she remembers being in the underpass and seeing Tom come toward her. He slapped her across the mouth, she remembers—and then he punched her... (full context)
Anna: Seven
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Saturday, August 17, 2013. Anna is crying—she and Tom have just had yet another fight about Rachel. Anna believes there’s something going on between... (full context)
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Now, Anna cries and drinks as she works to crack Toms laptop password. Once she figures it out, she hunts through his emails, but she finds... (full context)
Rachel: Fifteen
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...some kind of breakthrough. She is able to reflect on memories she’s had while drunk—memories Tom always told her weren’t true—and reevaluate them. Though Rachel is exhilarated and vindicated by the... (full context)
Anna: Eight
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...fence, down toward the train tracks, and heads back up to the house. She meets Tom at the bottom of the stairs. He asks what’s going on, and she replies that... (full context)
Rachel: Sixteen
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...to see Rachel standing before her. Anna pulls Evie onto her lap. Rachel asks where Tom is, and Anna replies that he’s out with his army buddies. Rachel says they need... (full context)
Anna: Nine
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...2013. Anna tells Rachel that she’s not going anywhere with her. When Rachel asks when Tom will be back, Anna says she doesn’t know. What she does know is that Tom... (full context)
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...knows full well that something is going on. Rachel asks if Anna has ever met Tom’s parents. Anna says that they stopped talking to him when he divorced Rachel. Rachel shakes... (full context)
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...herself and Evie and come stay with her. Anna says staunchly that she’s not leaving Tom over something as silly as an affair. Rachel says Anna must know there’s more to... (full context)
Megan: Eight
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...out an old mobile phone and switches it on, determined to get in touch with Tom, the father of her child. She sends him a text—the first communication she’s had with... (full context)
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...she loses her nerve. She walks to a nearby park and sends a text to Tom to tell him that she is waiting for him. She feels deeply depressed: she thought... (full context)
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...gets up and walks toward the Witney station. As she approaches the underpass, she sees Tom emerging from it. He has rage on his face, but he calls out for Megan.... (full context)
Rachel: Seventeen
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Rachel watches Anna hurry into the house and embrace Tom, with Evie between them. As they break apart, Tom smiles and asks if Anna and... (full context)
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Rachel calls out to Anna and begs her to see that Tom is lying. She reminds Anna that Tom was sleeping with Megan. Tom insists that there... (full context)
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Tom says that it is exasperating to put up with women like Rachel and Anna. He... (full context)
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Rachel drags Anna outside and begs her to calm down and distract Tom while she herself calls the police. Anna agrees. Rachel takes out her phone and struggles... (full context)
Megan: Nine
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Saturday, July 13, 2013. As Tom drives Megan to the woods, she notices that he has blood on his hand. He... (full context)
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Megan, incensed, follows Tom and begins hitting him and screaming insults at him. She tells him that she’s not... (full context)
Rachel: Eighteen
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Sunday, August 18, 2013. Rachel, Tom, and Anna sit in the living room of number 23. Tom begins talking to Rachel,... (full context)
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Tom turns to Anna and tells her that he never meant to kill Megan—but when she... (full context)
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...the moment to run for the door—but halfway there, she feels a horrible pain as Tom hits her in the head and drags her by her hair back to the living... (full context)
Anna: Ten
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...August 18, 2013. Upstairs, Anna puts Evie down and tries to ignore the sounds of Tom beating Rachel. She tries to remind herself that what she wants, after all, is Rachel... (full context)
Rachel: Nineteen
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...sound of rain and thunder. Her head throbs as she raises it to look at Tom, who is sitting at the table, drinking a beer. He asks her, once again, what... (full context)
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Tom pulls Rachel to her feet. She promises that she still loves him—and that because of... (full context)
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...for the fence separating the yard from the train tracks, but she slips and falls. Tom follows her and throws his weight on her. She manages to wriggle away and call... (full context)
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...happened in them. Rachel tries not to think about the night of her encounter with Tom—but she can’t help it. (full context)
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Rachel recalls how Anna called the ambulance that night—it arrived too late to save Tom. The police and detectives Gaskill and Riley showed up, and Anna answered all their initial... (full context)
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In the wake of Tom’s death, Rachel and Anna have learned that Tom was never in the army at all.... (full context)
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Safe inside, Rachel recalls one more detail about the night of Tom’s death. After she pushed the corkscrew into his neck, Anna ran out to the garden,... (full context)