Life continues as before: every Thursday evening, the Raquins have their usual guests over to play dominoes.
So Thérèse and Laurent start leading a kind of double life.
In the morning, Laurent leaves for the office while Thérèse stays to run the shop, and the two enjoy a few hours of peace and freedom apart from each other. They both act a little happy.
But at night, when they're together again, they experience the same misery.
To avoid being alone together, the two actually spend as much time as possible listening to Mme Raquin prattle on about her day. What fun.
But Mme Raquin is slowly becoming paralyzed; her limbs and voice are growing weaker.
At least that gives Laurent and Thérèse something to rally together against. They spend all their energy attempting to preserve Mme Raquin's health, and Mme Raquin is deeply touched by all the attention.