I’d been on holiday for two weeks before it hit me. This wasn’t a holiday. I was escaping an ordinary life. I’d run to paradise (the song was on auto-play in my head constantly) to distract myself from laundry and lunches. And love.
The three Ls.
Here in Fiji, on the beach, it was easy for me to pretend. The South Seas were the ultimate holiday destination. Sand, sea, palm trees, in-room massages at the hotel, pedicures pool-side.
I looked down at my newly painted red toenails. They should be dry. Elenoa had left about ten minutes ago, taking her bag of equipment as she went. I stood from the pool lounge, undid my sarong and dived in the pool. The water cascaded over my body, seeping through my hair and tickling my scalp. I swam under water for the length of the pool; I emerged, gasping for air, refreshed. My fingers reached for the edge.
‘Erica? Erica Flynn?’ a voice asked. I jumped in fright. My heart raced. No one knew me here. ‘Is that you?’ A pause. I looked up, the sun’s brightness eclipsed by the face of…
Oh. My. God.
‘It is you! Erica, god! How are you?’
I wished I hadn’t left my towel on the pool lounge. Now I was faced with either staying in the pool and holding court, or getting out and conversing in my bathers. I faked confidence and chose the latter.
‘Will Mathers! Fancy meeting you here,’ I said, standing awkwardly, hands at my side, water dripping off my body.
‘Here, take my towel.’
I took it gratefully, yet assumed his gesture meant he was repulsed by what he saw.
‘Tell me everything,’ he said, as I towel-dried my hair and body. ‘Let’s get a drink at the bar.’
He was still self-obsessed. Hadn’t even asked if I was here with anyone.
‘Are you here with anyone?’ he asked. Had he read my mind? ‘I should’ve asked.’
‘No, I’m here alone.’
‘Oh good, we can pick up where we left off.’ He winked at me. He winked at me! Who does that?
That is how my brush with cheating began.
But hours later, in his room, as Will moved towards me, I wanted to throw up. Was I really going to give away my whole life for this guy? Who hadn’t been good enough for me at uni? Why would he be now? His arms outstretched, ready to hold me. I saw my chance. I kicked Will in the plums; he went down like a sack of potatoes. I ran from his room and into the safety of my own. I drew myself a bath with lots of bubbles, ordered room service and watched a movie.
It was time to return home. To my life of laundry, lunches and love.