The novel shifts back to the present, where Esther is hanging out with fellow intern Hilda. They meet up at the hotel cafeteria and walk over to the magazine conference room.
Esther asks Hilda how she feels about the Rosenbergs. Hilda replies that she's glad they're going to die.
In Jay Cee's office, a photographer tries to take a picture of Esther. Jay Cee gives her a rose to symbolize Esther's being inspired to write poetry. But instead of a smile, Esther bursts into tears. When she looks up, Jay Cee and the photographer have disappeared.
Esther tries to put some makeup on her face. Jay Cee enters and offers her some manuscripts to read.
Esther fantasizes about getting into a summer school writing course with a famous writer. She imagines sending Jay Cee some stories from the course anonymously.
Later, Esther tries to pack; she's leaving for home the next morning.
Doreen invites Esther out to a country club dance with Lenny and one of Lenny's acquaintances.
When they arrive at the dance, Esther notices a man with a diamond tie-pin. This is her date for the night – Marco the "woman-hater" (9.83). He offers her the tie-pin as a gift, but then bruises her arm as he escorts her away.
After being forced to dance the tango, Esther follows Marco out onto the country club grounds where Marco shoves her to the ground. Esther fights back. Marco gets a bloody nose, and smears a stripe of his own blood on each of her cheeks. Ew.
But he's not letting her go until she gives him his diamond back. She tells him it's in her purse, somewhere on the ground, and escapes.
She hitches a ride back to Manhattan with one of the guests.
On the rooftop of the hotel, Esther throws away her clothes, one by one.