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Janie becomes jealous of a "little chunky girl" named Nunkie who keeps flirting with Tea Cake. Tea Cake allows himself to be drawn in to the game.
One day in the field, Tea Cake and chunky Nunkie go missing. When Janie finds them in the cane field, they are "struggling." Nunkie takes off running at the sight of Janie. Irate, Janie tries to catch the younger woman, but Nunkie is too quick.
At home that evening, Janie and Tea Cake fight; Janie tries to physically strike him, accusing him of "messin’ round" with Nunkie, but he denies it.
They continue fighting, but eventually, they tear off each other’s clothes as their aggression turns into desire.
In the morning, Tea Cake again denies that he ever wanted Nunkie, saying, "Whut would Ah do wid dat lil chunk of a woman wid you around? She ain’t good for nothin’ exceptin’ tuh set up in uh corner by de kitchen stove and break wood over her head. You’se something tuh make uh man forgit tuh git old and forgit tuh die."