Chapters 23–29 Summary

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 966

Chapter 23: The Shell

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1965: Kya takes her boat out and meets up with Chase, as planned. They leave in his boat and don’t talk for the duration of the ride. Eventually Chase stops the boat, and the pair get out for a walk. Their hands brush together a few times as they stop to look at shells, and Kya rattles off the Latin name of a particular shell Chase finds, which shocks him. He spreads out a large picnic, and they talk of sea topics. Chase kisses her and then moves on top of her, pulling her shirt up. Kya jumps away, knowing his actions are much too abrupt. She runs away into the woods, refusing his offer to take her back to her boat, and she sobs in shame until she makes her way back to her own boat.

Chapter 24: The Fire Tower

1965: Ten days pass, and Kya finds Chase in an inlet. He motions her over and apologizes for his behavior. He asks her to go to the fire tower with him, and she agrees. While they are there, she gives him a necklace she made by attaching the shell he found on the beach to a string of rawhide. Chase asks to go to her house, and Kya reluctantly agrees. His presence there makes her feel exposed—not at all naturally comfortable, like Tate’s presence. They make plans for Chase to come again the next day; he promises not even to hold her hand if she doesn’t want it.

Chapter 25: A Visit from Patti Love

1969: Chase’s mother, Patti Love Andrews, arrives at the station and asks if there is evidence of foul play. The detectives tell her they suspect as much but that there is no definite determination. Patti tells the men that her son always wore a necklace made of a shell on a piece of rawhide, yet the coroner said that the necklace was not on Chase’s body. She goes on to tell them that she knows her son dated the “Marsh Girl” for some time. Apparently, he didn’t want to tell his mother where he’d gotten the necklace but eventually did. Patti thinks Kya was angry that Chase married another woman and killed him. After she leaves, Ed and Joe decide they need to go talk to Kya. After two visits to her house, however, they still can’t find her.

Chapter 26: The Boat Ashore

1965: Kya stumbles across Tate one day while in her boat, but he doesn’t notice her. Later, Tate watches Chase kiss Kya out in their boats, but she doesn’t notice Tate, who is home with an opportunity to do his graduate work in their local marshes. While away at school, Tate has realized that he can’t live without Kya, and he deeply regrets letting her go. He plans to ask her to take him back, but he is disheartened to see her with Chase. Kya realizes that she can borrow books from the local library and obtains highly scientific textbooks on organic chemistry and invertebrate zoology to fill her days. Chase presses Kya for sex once again, but she refuses. Kya goes to town and runs into Chase’s parents, but they avoid her. This prompts Kya to ask Chase when she can meet his parents; he answers with a vague “soon.” 

Chapter 27: Out Hog Mountain Road

1966: After about a year together, Chase begins making promises to eventually marry Kya, which fills her with hope. He offers to take Kya with him to Asheville on an overnight trip, and when they arrive at the hotel, he tells her that it’s time that they finally have sex. She agrees without enthusiasm. Several weeks later, she still finds lovemaking painful and lacking. She asks again about meeting his family and about possibly attending some of his Christmas events. He deflects and rejects all of her suggestions. For a few days after Christmas, Kya waits for Chase to return, and one day Tate appears instead. Furious, Kya unleashes her years of frustration toward Tate for leaving her without ever saying goodbye. Tate tells her that he is every horrible thing she has called him and begs for her forgiveness; he also wants her to know that he personally has seen Chase with at least one other woman in town. He encourages Kya, telling her that her collections of scientific art are publishable, and he offers to help her in that regard so that she can earn some money. 

Chapter 28: The Shrimper

1969: Hal Miller, a shrimper, catches Ed and tells him that he may have some important information about the case. On the night Chase died at the fire tower, Hal spotted the Marsh Girl’s boat headed in that direction at around 1:45 a.m. Hal thought it was odd because of the time of night and because she didn’t have any lights on. Ed and Joe think this may be enough to issue a warrant to look for the mysterious red fibers at Kya’s house. 

Chapter 29: Seaweed

1967: Kya goes to town for supplies and finds Chase with his arm casually draped across another girl’s shoulders. She picks up a newspaper to read more about a marine laboratory being built nearby and begins reading the story when she gets home. When she turns the page, she finds an engagement announcement for Chase and a girl named Pearl Stone. The picture in the paper shows the same girl Chase stood with his arm around in town. Kya hears Chase’s boat pulling up and hides in the woods, but she leaves the article open on the table for him to find. He goes inside and then comes out yelling for her, but Kya refuses to answer or budge.

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Chapters 30–38 Summary