Maria was sunning herself in Fiji by the time the news reached her.
She was reclining on a poolside lounge, her skin glistening with sunscreen. The scent of coconut wafted from her pores. Next to her, on a small round table, was her cocktail. The faint doof-doof of the base line from someone’s music played in the background.
Not enough to disturb Maria though. She was reading, her eyes lifting from the pages to survey the pool every so often. The book was good, but she wasn’t here to read. It’d do for now, though.
A waiter was walking towards her, with a tray. The type they usually carry drinks with. But this tray seemed empty; she hadn’t even ordered her next cocktail. The waiter was certainly for her, no doubt about it . He was staring right at her as he strode across, dodging the lounges and families running next to the pool.
‘Message for you, m’am,’ he said. He took a slip of paper from the tray. It was the size of a greeting card, folded in half. He held it for her. She reached for it, smiled and nodded her thanks.
She unfolded the paper. She scanned the words. Her heart jumped a beat.
Terrible accident. Loss of a great man.
What great man? Looking further down the message provided her the answer: Barry.
Barry was dead.
Barry was dead?
Barry was dead!
He was no great man, certainly not to her, not in the final days. She supposed, however, she’d not been a great woman in the final days either. But this was fantastic! How much of his estate was she entitled to? The lot, she hoped. They were only separated, not divorced. Surely he’d not had time to change his will.
Maria smiled, revealing her white, straight teeth. Her fingers kept hold of the paper, as if letting it go might mean that the news became undone. She glanced around; everyone seem unaffected, lives were continuing. But Maria’s life was set to skyrocket. She smiled wider, gleaming with enough heat to melt the ice bucket next to the pool lounge three down from her. With the Clooney look-a-like.
Time for her next move. She downed her cocktail, sashayed past him and dived into the water. It was her signature move, and had never failed her before. Coming up for air, she smoothed her hair away from her face. She turned, expecting to see him gasping, or at least openly admiring. Her bikini body was akin to a celebrity. Uma Thurman’s, Barry had once said.
Her heart sank. The Clooney clone had left.