Summary: Chapters 18-19 and So Be It Chapter 13

So Be It Chapter 13

Verity seems to have hit a stroke of luck when she conceives Crew shortly after fabricating a pregnancy to keep Jeremy happy. She’s so relieved that she feels it must be a divine intervention, despite her lack of religious belief. However, the family is struck by shocking tragedy when Chastin dies of an allergic reaction at a slumber party. As they drive to the hospital Verity wonders how Harper managed to do it. However, her suspicions seem unfounded, as the death was a tragic accident. She grapples with regrets and what–ifs, feeling a residual guilt for not loving Chastin enough and harboring dark thoughts towards Harper. A part of her feels burdened by a sense of responsibility, questioning whether she could have altered the tragic course of events if she had successfully murdered Harper as a baby. 

Chapter 18 

In Chapter 18, Lowen finds Verity sitting still in front of the window in the living room. Lowen is very suspicious that Verity is awake, and tries to test her by tossing a glass ball near her, Verity doesn't react, leaving Lowen uncertain. 

Lowen starts making dinner for Jeremy and Crew, but quickly realizes the TV is muted. When she returns to Verity's room, she suspects Verity muted it but can't prove it. This infuriates her. Fueled by anger from reading the manuscript and from her feelings for Jeremy, Lowen curses at Verity, hoping she dies choking on her own vomit. When Lowen mentions Jeremy “f**cking her in their bed,” Verity urinates on herself, forcing Jeremy to change her. Lowen puts Crew to bed, and during dinner, she and Jeremy discuss his role in the family dynamics after Verity's accident. Despite her semi-comatose state, Jeremy is reluctant to make changes. Lowen suggests a care facility for Verity, offering him respite, but he refuses, saying he can't take Crew's mother away when he's already lost both sisters. Lowen encourages him to take time for himself, reminding him that he deserves to rest and replenish his energy. Jeremy then confesses that he actually only wants one thing he doesn’t have: Lowen. Lowen and Jeremy then finally consummate their sexual tension. As Jeremy begins to perform oral sex on her, Lowen has to cover the sounds of her orgasm, and bites down on the headboard herself. She is determined to make deeper marks than Verity did, on both Jeremy and the bed. 

Chapter 19 

Jeremy and Lowen lie still together in the afterglow. They start to discuss past relationships, and Lowen reveals her previous fling with her agent, Corey. She is gratified to see that Jeremy is jealous. Jeremy then shares details about his complex relationship with Verity. He says that they were very attracted to each other and had a good sex life, but that they lacked a deeper connection: one he has now found with Lowen. The two fall asleep in each other’s arms. 

The mood changes abruptly when in the morning they find the bedroom is locked from the outside. Lowen, sick with dread, tells Jeremy that she knows Verity was the one who locked it. In desperation, Jeremy breaks a window to escape, ensuring Crew and Nurse April don’t find them together.  


In this section lots of the novel’s major points of tension come to a head, as Verity’s suspicions about Harper are “confirmed” and the sexual tension between Jeremy and Lowen finally snaps. Verity's obsession with maintaining her control over Jeremy expands to the extent that it alters the architecture of their house. As Jeremy is spending his time working on the property, Verity installs windows in her office to observe him at all hours of the day. Her disturbing fixation on her husband has permeated every aspect of their life in Vermont, highlighting the lengths to which she's willing to go to keep him under her watchful eye. 

Unfortunately, however, she can’t keep her eyes on everyone all the time, and Chastin’s death happens outside her sphere of influence. Even though there is no evidence to suggest that Harper had anything to do with her sister's death, Verity immediately blames her. Jeremy senses this, causing distance between them, which only fuels her distaste for her only remaining daughter. Verity's frustration escalates as Jeremy's sorrow impedes their physical relationship, making her feel used and unappreciated. Where sex had previously been a source of connection, it now makes her feel less like herself than ever. She struggles with her anger with Harper, feeling a residual guilt for not loving Chastin enough when she was a baby. A part of her feels burdened by a sense of responsibility, questioning whether she could have altered the tragic course of events if she had successfully gone through with murdering Harper as a baby. The actual “truth” of Harper’s actions doesn’t matter she has merely become the site for Verity’s aggression and disappointment. This section highlights the blurred lines between Verity's obsessive thoughts and the actual events surrounding Chastin’s death. 

The manuscript of So Be It has become just as grim as Verity initially promised, and remains constantly on Lowen’s mind. By the time she and Jeremy finally consummate their sexual relationship, she's almost unable to enjoy it because she's so well versed in the history of his sex life with Verity. When they have sex, for example, Jeremy tells her that he wants to “take her” in all of the positions that he has been imagining her in. However, Lowen knows that many of the sex acts that he is describing are former favorites of his with Verity. When she first climaxes, she does so in Verity’s bed, in Verity’s favorite position, straddling Jeremy's face. She understands why Verity made so many bite marks in the headboard when she experiences Jeremy 's skills in that area. Indeed, she can't resist biting down on it herself. However, even at the peak of her sexual excitement, Verity is still on her mind. Rather than being in the moment with Jeremy, Lowen is determined to symbolically erase Verity’s presence from the room. She tries to do so by making her teeth marks deeper and more indelible than Verity’s. There seems to be no escape from the dark pall that Verity casts over the family, even when Logan and Jeremy are finally able to make their sexual relationship a reality. 

While many of the previous chapters focused on the psychological aspects of relationships, this section is far more concerned with the frailty and vulnerability of human bodies. Chastin dies because of ingesting a potentially tiny amount of peanuts, a preventable accident caused by a hereditary allergy. Her body fails her, and Verity—always so concerned with eating carefully and maintaining the health of the “machine”— is not there to make sure it is safe. It's also no longer enough for Verity to imagine Jeremy 's body near her. She has to be able to see his physical body working, which is why she installs the huge windows. Rather than imagining sexual encounters, Lowen is suddenly deeply immersed in sex of her own. Her body becomes twinned with Verity’s as she and Jeremy move through the sexual positions that he and Verity had enjoyed. Lowen’s body had remained pretty abstract for the majority of the novel before this, but in this section, she becomes an urgent, sexual being in a way eerily similar to Verity herself.