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The next morning, Dick wakes up and goes to find Nicole to apologize about his behavior the night before; she is totally disgusted with him and will not listen. Knowing that Tommy is in love with her, she thinks about taking him for her lover. When she sees Tommy, dressed in Dick’s clothes, she thinks he looks handsome and feels sad that Tommy cannot afford such nice things for himself. Comparing him to her husband, she decides that Dick looks like a drunk and acts in a pretentious way. When Tommy complains of a sore throat, Nicole says she will bring him a special camphor rub that Dick thinks is really marvelous. Dick tells his wife not to give Tommy the whole jar because they are almost out. When she refuses to listen to Dick and gives the whole thing to Tommy, Dick pouts like a child. The whole visit is a disaster.
Later in the week, the Divers receive a polite thank-you note from Tommy. A note also arrives from Rosemary, stating that she will be staying at Gausse's hotel, without her mother. Nicole sarcastically says, “How nice.” She has a feeling that Dick is ready to totally destroy their marriage, and she does not seem to care. She is tired of his complete indifference to her and his excessive drinking. She also thinks that Dick has become unpredictable and mean.
Later in the week, Nicole and Dick go down to the beach together to look for the children. Nicole notices that the beach is now covered with summer visitors, which makes Nicole sad. She remembers how it used to be; she also remembers how Dick used to be and how they used to be together. She then notices Rosemary, who is out swimming. Dick also spies her and talks Nicole into swimming out to the raft with him to greet her. After five years, Nicole is shocked by Rosemary's beauty, but annoyed by Rosemary's same gushy flattery towards her husband. She notices that Dick tries to be his old charming self, but he is not so adept as he used to be.
While skiing, Dick tries several times to lift a man onto his shoulders, but always fails; angered by his failure he tries even harder. Rosemary silently watches him making a fool of himself. During his last try, Dick nearly gets killed by a flying ski. When he is pulled out of the water and into the boat, he tries to make a little joke; a few people laugh, but Nicole is infuriated at his behavior. It seems to her that Dick can do nothing right.
Back on the beach, Nicole, Rosemary, and Dick sit under an umbrella having a drink. Rosemary tries to keep the conversation light and polite, but Dick insists on making his "deterioration" the subject of snide conversation. As they talk, the former Mary North walks by with her entourage. She stops to chat when she sees Rosemary, ignoring the Divers. Dick baits her by asking about her children and her sister-in-law. His behavior makes Rosemary recall a claim made by Baby Warren; she said that Nicole had thrown herself away on a dissipated doctor who was not received well anywhere. Rosemary agrees with Baby’s judgement.
Nicole knows that in Rosemary's presence, Dick will try to be charming. To impress Rosemary, he starts expostulating on "acting" in a very pompous way. Rosemary pretends to follow his rambling. Nicole grows exasperated and gets up to leave. Rosemary tries to stall her by asking Topsy, the Divers’ daughter, if she would like to be an actress. Nicole snaps that they have better plans for their children. Nicole marches off. Back to the villa, she realizes that she is finally separate from Dick, quite complete in herself. She thinks about Tommy Barban and writes him a provocative letter. The next morning, Dick leaves Nicole a note saying he has gone up to Provence for a few days. When Tommy Barban phones her a little later, Nicole welcomes his suggestion to come over.
Nicole decides she is ready to enter a full-blown "affair," not just a vague romance. Although she realizes it is dangerous, she blames Dick for the situation; his drinking and emotional absence have driven her to infidelity. Tommy arrives in a romantic flurry. Nicole finds she is totally at his mercy. When he takes her in his arms, she is enthralled. Since she cannot send the children and servants away, they decide to go down the coast to a small hotel. As they drive there, Nicole feels eager, justified, and content. At the hotel, their lovemaking takes place in a small bare room, a stark contrast to the luxury that normally surrounds Nicole. They are interrupted by a group of American sailors who are just outside their room, sordidly pursuing some girls. In the evening, Tommy and Nicole go out to dinner at a casino and then take a swim in the moonlight. It is all wonderful and new for Nicole. Tommy has won her; but she has to go back to the villa and reality. She must think of the children.