Summary: Chapters 16-17 and So Be It Chapter 9

So Be It Chapter 9 

Verity knows Jeremy is angry with her but isn’t sure why, so she tries to soothe him by preparing his favorite meal, chicken and dumplings. Despite the fact that they’re still having regular sex, she senses a growing disconnect between them. Trying to smooth things over, she attempts to make the dinner romantic, even wearing lingerie underneath her clothes. Initially, Jeremy denies anything is amiss, but when pushed, he reacts violently, splattering his food against the wall in a fit of temper. Verity confronts Jeremy in the bedroom, and he finally confesses his frustration because she often talks about Chastin but rarely mentions Harper. Verity insists she loves them both, but Jeremy remains skeptical. Verity mentions a daycare worker's suggestion to test Harper for Asperger's Syndrome, shifting Jeremy's concern. She promises to call a specialist, and he apologizes for his outburst, citing a tough day at work. Verity suggests he doesn't have to work if he doesn't want to. To bring them closer, Verity lies and claims she's pregnant, hoping to rekindle their passion as in the past. Jeremy's demeanor immediately changes, and Verity feels cherished and reconnected. She consoles herself with the idea that she can fake a miscarriage if she doesn't conceive soon. 

Chapter 16 

Lowen finds Verity's repetitive and explicit manuscript monotonous. She takes a brief break to work on an outline, awaiting Corey's feedback and a promised advance due to financial constraints. Seeking more distraction, Lowen visits the living room for the first time since her arrival. It is her birthday, and Jeremy insists they celebrate. The tension becomes unbearable and the two kiss. This escalates quickly into a sexual encounter, but their newfound closeness is interrupted when Lowen sees Verity watching them from the stairs. Jeremy tries to comfort Lowen, attributing what she saw to exhaustion and paranoia. Lowen, however, is absolutely convinced of what she witnessed, and questions the possibility of Verity faking her injuries. Jeremy dismisses the idea, insisting he's seen Verity's injury scans. Despite his reassurances, Lowen remains doubtful about his true understanding of the situation in the house. 

Chapter 17 

Lowen goes to bed absolutely convinced that she saw Verity at the top of the stairs. However, when she wakes in the morning, she has to re-address her own doubt and skepticism. Jeremy's departure from her bed also makes her feel uneasy: Lowen is not sure where they stand. When Jeremy visits her office later, he’s clearly exhausted and sleep deprived. She expects him to ask her to leave the Vermont house but is compelled to wait for money to hit her account before making any moves. However, instead of asking Lowen to go home, he offers to put a lock on Verity’s door so she can be shut in at night. Despite his reassuring words, Lowen's anxiety deepens. The gesture is intended to be comforting, but she wonders if Jeremy is also entertaining the notion that Verity might be able to move around.

These developments make her doubts about whether to share the manuscript resurface, especially as she and Jeremy are drawing ever closer. Her suspicions that Verity is possibly faking her condition are further fueled by comments from Crew, who mentions Verity talking to him. Balancing the desire to reveal her suspicions and protect Jeremy from potential distress, she hesitates to hand over the manuscript. She justifies this with the thought that she hasn't fully read it, and the remaining parts may hold crucial information about the deaths of Harper and Chastin.  


By the ninth chapter of So Be It, Verity has become less capable of hiding her distaste for Harper, causing a major strain on her marriage. In the midst of Verity's efforts to mend her uneasy relationship with Jeremy, a poignant scene unfolds as she prepares a dinner of chicken and dumplings, one of his favorite meals. Despite their regular moments of intimacy, she feels very disconnected from him and hopes the gesture will cause him to open up. In case this doesn’t work, Verity also dons lingerie underneath her clothes, knowing that her sexuality is often the best way to persuade Jeremy to see things her way. The confrontation that ensues is uncharacteristically violent on Jeremy’s part. He doesn’t usually express his anger physically, but this scene gives a worrying implication that he’s capable of doing so. He violently slaps the bowl of dinner Verity has made him off the table in his frustration, frustration stemming from his sense that Verity has been giving undue attention to their daughter Chastin, while seemingly neglecting their other child, Harper. Verity absolutely has been doing this, but tries to manipulate Jeremy into taking her side. She attempts to explain that her love for both children is unwavering, but “acknowledges” that Chastin's faster developmental progress often demands more of her attention. Jeremy's passionate response underscores the intricate emotional dynamics within their family unit. He insists that Harper is different, not lesser, and Verity, eager to soothe his concerns, reassures him by emphasizing that she recognizes and affirms Harper's uniqueness in different ways.

Seeing her opportunity to shift the blame to Jeremy, Verity mentions that a daycare worker who looks after Harper had suggested they have her tested for Asperger’s Syndrome. Jeremy is nonplussed and feels bad for not making the connection between her behavior and a potential autism diagnosis himself. This revelation reframes Jeremy's focus and concerns away from Verity and onto Harper. Jeremy eventually admits that his outburst was partly a result of a challenging day at work, and Verity reminds him that he has the option to leave his job if it causes him such distress. She reinstates herself as the person in control of the situation. Verity clinches this with the false revelation that she is pregnant again, a lie intended to rekindle their connection as it had in the past.  

Lowen's narrative here contains multiple threads of personal uncertainty and wariness. Her experiences, both in her dreams and waking moments, are tinged with doubt and self-questioning. She again questions the authenticity of her perceptions, particularly regarding Verity's mobility and how she could even begin to raise concerns about it. She is surrounded by people who truly believe that Verity is an immobile invalid, but there are too many suggestions otherwise for Lowen to be comfortable in this assumption. Jeremy's actions imply that she can trust him, but both his portrayal in So Be It and his reticence to believe her hints about Verity shake her confidence in him. Her sexual relationship with Jeremy is also a factor, here. She knows that there is something between them, as their kiss on her birthday demonstrates. However, the relationship is quite literally overshadowed by the presence of Jeremy’s wife looming above them. Lowen’s distaste for Verity after reading So Be It helps her dismiss the idea that being with Jeremy would be morally dubious, but that isn’t the case for those around her. She’s falling in love with Jeremy, but to anyone else she knows she would look like an opportunist taking advantage of a grieving man and the victim of a disabling accident.