Friday, July 12, 2013. Megan is pregnant. Though she believed that if she ever got pregnant again she’d want to get rid of the child, she is shocked to find that the wants to keep this baby and love it. She is scared of the baby, but she wants it all the same—even though she’s frightened that Scott will guess that the child isn’t his. Megan is standing in the kitchen with Kamal, the only person she’s told about the pregnancy. She confides that she is afraid something will go wrong again and that she’ll end up on her own. Kamal, however, insists that Megan is strong enough to handle whatever comes her way.
All along, Megan has felt resistant to motherhood because of her mistakes with Libby. This passage makes clear, however, that Megan has wanted to be a mother more than anything since losing Libby—she’s just been too afraid to admit her deepest desire to herself, for fear of ruining everything again.
Megan goes outside to the terrace, and Kamal brings her a coffee and kisses her as a train rumbles up to the signal. Megan asks if they can run away together, but Kamal laughs and says that Megan doesn’t need him—she and her baby will be fine with or without Scott, whatever Megan decides to do.
This is the moment that Rachel spied from the train at the beginning of the novel. Rachel, of course, could not understand the nuance of what she was seeing when she witnessed Megan kissing Kamal. This moment, in which the book comes full circle, demonstrates the ways secrets and lies can spin out of control because of a simple misunderstanding or misinterpretation.
Saturday, July 13, 2013. Megan knows that she must tell Scott the truth. This time, she thinks, she wants to do everything right. When she does so, however, Scott reacts violently, pushing her against the wall and crushing her throat with his forearm. As Megan begins to cry, Scott lets her go. Megan can see shame and pain on his face. He begins apologizing profusely. Megan springs into action and packs a bag to leave. Scott sobs at the door, begging Megan to forgive him. Instead, Megan pulls 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 him since April. Several minutes go by without an answer. Megan leaves a voicemail threatening to come over if he doesn’t call her.
Megan knows that telling Scott about her betrayal will be hard—but she also knows that if he can’t love her alongside her flaws, she needs to be on her own. When Scott reacts cruelly rather than empathetically, Megan feels betrayed and lonely. She reaches out to Tom out of desperation, not realizing how profound the consequences could be for her and her unborn child.
Megan pushes her way out of the bedroom and hurries downstairs to the front door. Scott begs Megan to stay, but she warns him that if he tries to follow her, she will never come home. Megan walks down to number 23, but at the front door, 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 telling the truth would be the right thing to do, but now she has done irreparable damage to her marriage.
Megan is lost, confused, and alone. Kamal told her that he believed she was strong enough to take care of herself and her child no matter what, but Megan doesn’t seem to believe this about herself. Society has convinced her that she needs the attention, validation, and permission of men, which is why she takes the risk of telling Scott and Tom the truth.
Feeling restless, Megan 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. He urges her to come toward his car—he tells her they can’t talk here. As Megan gets into the car and glances over her shoulder, she senses someone watching her from the dark underpass.
This passage makes clear that the memory Rachel has of seeing a man and women in the underpass is correct: she saw Megan getting into Tom’s car. This confirms that Tom was almost certainly the last person to see Megan alive—and given his track record of violence, he was likely her killer.