If you haven't read August Fog here's the synopsis:
Monica Waters is a television editor living in Los Angeles reluctantly passing through her thirties in a damaged marriage to the love of her life Alex. They've worked hard since Alex's affair years ago to get to a place of predictable happiness in all areas except the bedroom. She's learned to accept the mediocre sex life in exchange for a comfortable and stabilizing companionship to her best friend.
When an artist from New York named Quinn Matthews moves in next door, all of the fire Monica has learned to suppress flares an obsession into a scalding and dangerously secret relationship. Quinn invigorates her lust for art, flesh and a life she hasn't been living and forces her to make the most difficult decision of her life. Will she clench to her commitment and history with Alex or be swept away by the life and lust she used to dream of with Quinn?
In this excerpt from December Rain Monica and Alex have taken a break from marriage counseling to embark on a second honeymoon trip to Hawaii that he planned before her affair was known. Their spark is back and they've started to relax and have fun together again. Monica has even been able to push Quinn out of her mind for the first time since they met. In this scene Monica and Alex are at an upscale mall in Maui with lots of art galleries to visit some friends from a previous trip.
Saturday - November 26th
The outdoor style shopping mall is bustling with tourist and local art lovers. Rows of art galleries surround the courtyard where a stage welcomes a local reggae band. Monica settles into a groove and starts dancing with the crowd. Alex tries to hang in for a couple of songs before he starts feeling claustrophobic and looks to the galleries and shops around them.
“Go ahead,” she says with a loving smile. “I’ll meet you down there… after one more song.”
He gives her a little kiss on the cheek and glides his hand across her behind before making his way out of the crowd. His attention is pulled by various pieces in gallery windows along the way. There’s a large glass sea turtle in shades of green and gold followed by a painting of an autumn forest with heavy texture. He stands daydreaming for a minute until he’s distracted by a reflection passing in the glass. It’s so brief he’s sure it’s his imagination. He barely catches a glimpse down the mall as the backside of the man disappears into another gallery.
Alex follows the ghost, dodging through happy couples and pushy salespeople trying to get his attention. Before he can see inside the gallery, a painting that’s prominently displayed on a front wall stops him. A cold washes over as he stands there staring at it. He slowly moves inside, mesmerized by the familiar vibrant paint strokes until he sees a few people gathered in the back. A man talking to two smiling women stills himself as Alex’s eyes freeze on the back of his shaved head. No words were needed as the tropical air takes a chill. Even the women sense a showdown, and step back to give Quinn room.
Quinn turns. What do I say? Fuck! I thought that was him. I hoped it wasn’t. Quinn moves very slowly towards Alex. Is he gonna hit me? I do deserve it. Might as well get it over with. “Hey.” Quinn pauses near the center of the room waiting.
Alex swallows hard, his nostrils flaring and fist clenched. His jaw flexes as his breathing grows heavier, but the emotions just start to turn to mush. His eyes fill as thoughts of his new friend’s betrayal wash over and the painting draws his eyes again.
“I’m sorry Alex,” Quinn says quietly.
Monica nearly passes the gallery on her way to see their friends when Alex’s shirt first catches her eye. She halts and shifts backwards until she sees the painting and stops. It’s a female figure bent forward reaching for her toes. The abstract form of her body in swirls of orange and reds is cradled by a man swathed in blues and purple. Oh my God! That’s me. That’s us, stretching. It can’t be. He’s...
She struggles for air as the tears swell, and she can already feel him. As she stands there, not crossing the threshold the two men watch her. When her eyes finally land on Quinn, electricity fills the room. She can only see him, and the deep tan that backdrops the pale oceany eyes reaching for her. A warm drop gently slides down her cheekbone as her breathing syncs with his. His lips move slightly hinting at words that he can’t find, and she struggles not to run into his arms.
Alex’s discomfort is audible as he clears his clogged throat to rattle her attention to his worried eyes. She steps in and touches his hand briefly. “I’ll be outside,” she says, turning without another glance at Quinn.
Her feet move quick as her thoughts try to keep up. What are they doing? Alex is gonna hit him. I can’t believe he’s here. What are the odds? Did he know we’d be here? No. Maybe he moved here. That painting was him and I together. Would Alex know that? It’s pretty abstract. Fuck! This can’t be happening. Before she knows it, she’s at the other end of the mall near the parking lot. She settles on a bench to wait for the world to stop crumbling around her.
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