Minny is outraged at the book reviewer who says the book may be about Jackson and flips off the television. Aibileen’s line is busy, and Minny wonders how long it will be before Miss Hilly reads the last chapter of the book, the chapter about her. She had better read it quickly so she can dispel the rumors that the story is actually set in Jackson. Minny knows Miss Celia will not fire her, for their hatred for Miss Hilly is the one thing they have in common. But once she fails to get Minny fired, there is no telling what Miss Hilly will do next. At least it will be a private war; the others should not be involved.
Out the window, Miss Celia is working in the garden; she spends most of her time doing this now. Mister Johnny has hired a yard man, hoping he would act as some kind of protection; however, he is so old and bent over he is not likely to be much help in an emergency. When the phone rings, she runs for it.
Aibileen is shaken at the potential damage the television book review could do to their secret, and Minny is the calm one for once. It probably works in their favor that there is now so much publicity; it is almost a guarantee that Miss Hilly will read the book because she will not want to be left out of everyone’s conversation. Five minutes after Minny hangs up the phone, it rings again. Aibileen whispers that Miss Lou Anne just came home with two copies of the book—one for her and one for her best friend, Hilly Holbrook.
Minny can almost feel Miss Hilly reading the book all night, but she knows she has not gotten to the chapter about her yet because she has not heard any voices screaming in her head. She is actually glad to go to work this morning, after she puts her copy of the book in her winter coat pocket. She has not read a book in her entire married life, and she does not want to raise any suspicions now.
Mister Johnny’s car is still in the driveway. This has never happened this late in the morning, and Minny’s instinct tells her to run. She carefully peeks into dining room where she hears voices. Mister Johnny is pale and shaken and asks for a glass of water. Minny has a bad feeling, but she brings him a glass and sets it down. As she does, he rises and stands right above her. Minny knows this is the end for her.
Miss Celia whispers that she told him about all the babies, and Mister Johnny thanks Minny for saving his wife’s life. He knows without her help he would have lost Miss Celia. Minny looks in Miss Celia’s eyes and sees a deadness there; the doctor must have told her there would be no more babies. (Thankfully, she dropped Dr. Tate and has been seeing a “real” doctor.) Mister Johnny squeezes Minny’s hand and then kneels to put his head in his wife’s lap, begging her never to leave him. Miss Celia tells her husband to tell Minny what he told her; he solemnly tells Minny Jackson that she will always have a job here in their home—for the rest of her life, if she wishes.
Minny expresses her solemn thanks, for there is nothing better she could have heard on this day. When Minny heads for the door, Miss Celia asks her to please stay. Minny leans against the sideboard because...
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her baby is weighing heavily on her, and she wonders how she can have so much when Miss Celia has none. All three of them cry in the dining room that morning.
That evening, Minny tries to act normal and take care of her family as usual, but the lady screaming in her head will not stop. She is nervous when she hears a car outside, and she slams the door and turns the latch. Out the window, she sees it is just a car turning around. Leroy looks at her and even starts to get aggressive, which he normally does not do when she is pregnant. He releases her arm and gives her a long look; she is unable to meet his eyes.