‘Javier! My champagne is distinctly lukewarm!’
Marina Halliday tutted impatiently as the waiter reached her side, apologised, and scurried off again with the offending object. As he returned with a fresh, chilled glass of the sparkling wine he placed it into Marina’s hand, showering her with platitudes.
‘Many, many apologies Señora Halliday; forgive me.’
‘Well Javier, you have been an extremely naughty boy to let my champagne spoil, and it has rather upset me, but…’ Marina leaned closer and slid her hand up Javier’s thigh, ‘…if you come to my room around midnight I may just forgive you.’
‘Si Señora, si,’ smiled Javier, ‘I will see what I can do, but my work is very great this evening.’
As Marina lay back on her sun lounger and sighed unsatisfactorily, Javier went up to her daughter Holly.
‘And how about you Señorita Holly; would you like me to refresh your drink?’
Holly smiled conspiratorially and held out her glass, but before Javier could take it, Marina intervened.
‘No Javier. Miss Holly may not have any champagne until her twenty-first birthday tomorrow. She may however, have more orange juice if she wants it.’
Javier took the still outstretched glass as Holly scowled over at her mother.
Quietly, Javier leant in to where Holly was lying in her Moschino bikini and muttered.
‘Twenty-one tomorrow Señorita Holly; we must think of a suitable birthday present for you, yes?’
‘Oh I’m quite sure you will,’ murmured Holly mischievously. ‘Come to my room tonight at eleven.’
Javier leant away again, and winked at Holly, before collecting his tray and returning to the other guests at the opulent resort.
Marina pushed up the brim of her hat and turned to face Holly.
‘I don’t know what’s got into the pool boys these days. When I used to come here years ago, uh, a few years ago, the men in their late teens or early twenties couldn’t wait to attend to your every need, especially if it meant earning some extra…, whatever the currency is in this country.’
‘Yes mother, it really is too bad,’ giggled Holly, as Marina took another long sip of champagne and settled back onto her lounger.
Holly Halliday hadn’t wanted to come on holiday with Marina; in fact it would normally be the last thing she’d do, as she had enough of seeing her overbearing mother when in England. Not that Marina was there much either; her jet-set lifestyle of book tours, chat show appearances and ‘entertaining’ meant that watching her mother on ‘Oprah’ was often the closest she got to her, which suited Holly fine. Being the daughter of a best-selling author cast a shadow over Holly’s life, and she hated being put in the shade by anyone, especially her mother. Holly felt Marina was a hypocrite; writing books about men and relationships, despite being married four times, and none of them what anyone would call successful. The longest relationship lasted barely three years, yet Marina Halliday had carved out a stellar career in print and on TV, and Holly resented the fact that it seemed to come so easily to her mother. Hell; she resented her mother, full-stop.
Holly was no slouch though, and could also manipulate a situation when she wanted to; the chance to celebrate her twenty-first birthday on a friend’s luxury yacht without having to organise a thing was too good a chance to miss, and Holly never missed a chance to party in style. Besides, it was a choice between spending a fortnight in this Latin-American paradise courtesy of one of her mother’s ‘Gentleman friends’, or two weeks in some muddy Loch with her friend Portia’s family at their Scottish Castle. Portia’s brother Hamish had been in love with Holly since they were children, and Holly was secretly concerned that he would have popped the question that weekend while they were out on some windswept moor, wrongly imagining himself as a romantic hero from a Brontë sisters’ novel. Hamish had recently become a Laird in his own right, thanks to his Uncle ‘popping his clogs with no sprogs’ as Portia had eloquently put it when they last saw each other, and Holly feared that the only thing missing from his huge rural estate was a wife to share it all with.
Portia DeMarie was Holly’s best friend, although in their exclusive circles even a supposed best friend would stab you in the back for whatever reason they considered justifiable. Holly and Portia spent their time with a select group of other privileged, young, beautiful women, whom the tabloid press had nicknamed ‘GYROs’ with no little sense of irony. This stood for Gorgeous, Young, Rich and Outrageous, which neatly summed up the daily ambitions of their group.
Holly loved the attention; she had always wanted to be famous and considered it worth pursuing, to the detriment of everything else. Marina on the other hand felt that her daughter had to marry a rich and well-positioned man in the near future, to ensure that he maintained both of their positions in society, and Marina devoted all her energies into finding such a man ‘before the minor Royals have pinched them all’ as she frequently said to Holly.
It irked Marina greatly that Holly was far more interested in having fun and trying to be in the newspapers than she was in wooing suitable prospective husbands, and Holly knew that if her mother found out about Hamish’s desires then she would pack her off back to the UK before she could say ‘private jet’. Fortunately for Holly, Marina considered Portia’s parents ‘rather vulgar’ for preferring to ‘slop about knee-deep in mud’ rather than spend eight months of the year in more luxurious climbs like her, and Holly therefore knew that the chances of them meeting, let alone talking, were thankfully slim to none.
Holly was looking forward to meeting up with her girlfriends in a few days’ time; Portia, Serena and Tamara were using Serena’s family yacht for some sun and fun, and would be mooring into the closest port to the resort by the end of the week. Holly had enjoyed the last few days of tanning and shopping but she was sick of her mother’s interference in her life and couldn’t wait to cut loose with the girls for a while. Holly’s twenty-first birthday was the perfect excuse for all the girls to get together, and Holly knew that the muted celebrations with her mother the next day would be nothing compared to the debauched rowdiness that would take place on the yacht, and apart from the mind-blowing sex she’d have with Javier that night, there was nothing much to recommend making a fuss about her birthday at all. Holly didn’t care what rules Marina tried to lay down when they were sharing the same airspace, but in her opinion turning twenty-one changed nothing; all her life, if Holly had wanted to do something, she had done it, and to hell with the consequences.