A cool breeze danced across my bareback.

I shifted in my strappy gold heels and tugged on the edge of my transparently pale pink chiffon dress.

I swirled the golden champagne in my glass and took a sip, looking up at the full moon upon a backdrop of countless stars, as the bubbly drink sizzled down my throat.

I inhaled deeply, smelling the aroma of tropical flowers mixed with alcohol, perfume and smoke.

The sound of talking, laughter and flirting was suddenly drowned out by the fire works of New Year's Eve. People surrounded me. I felt alone.

"Leila!" My mother called my name from across the sand covered dance floor.

She sauntered her way over to where I was standing, elegantly weaving through dancing couples. She pulled me into a hug and pecked me on the cheek.

I could smell the heavy scent of wine on her breath.

Her words slightly slurred, "it's almost midnight darling! The count down starts in a couple of minutes! You'd better find someone to kiss, I know I have!"

She winked.

My mother's name was Beatrice. People said I looked like her, I couldn't see it.

A long emerald dress hugged her curves. Her blonde bob popped out brightly against the green silk gown. Her sharp grass green eyes were lined with thick liner and mascara. Her brows were plucked and shaped into a high arch. The foundation and bronzer that coated her face melted away any evidence of age.

"Well darling? Found any cute boys?" She wrapped an arm around my shoulders and looked into the crowd, "oh! What about that one?"

I looked away and took another sip of my drink.

My mother whined, "you simply cannot waste the hours of work I put into your appearance tonight!"

I closed my eyes and gritted my teeth, "mother, please."

Just hours ago my mother played with my hair, ultimately deciding to let the long dark chocolate waves hang loose below my shoulders. She lightly coated my eyes with neutral shimmer, liner and mascara. I softened my own lips with light tinted chapstick. Before we had left for the New Year's Eve party, I stole a spritz or two of my mother's Chanel perfume.

"Fine, fine! I'll stop. But darling, you do look divine in that dress, really, I am so glad we decided on this one instead of the black one. This is much more beachy, plus the color makes your skin glow!" She tugged at the ruffles of the short strapless flapper-styled dress.

I subtly pushed her hands away, "Beatrice, please."

My mother rolled her eyes, "okay! Okay! I get it! I'll stop."

She giggled, "but just one more thing look to your left, by the palm tree, the man in the white suit, yes, yes him- he's invited me back to his villa for a cocktail! Can you imagine?! Isn't he handome? Anyways darling, I want to know that you are okay if I leave right after midnight."

As if I had any say in the matter. "Sure mom, go ahead."

She squealed, "Darling, you're the best! Happy New Year's!"

She squeezed me and pecked my cheek before sauntering back to the bar to join the man in the white suit.

The man with a Villa. Didn't sound much different from all the other men my mother went for.

Another sip of alcohol sizzled down my throat.

The countdown began.


The extravagance of the fireworks from across the island's bay grew, if possible.


People began to gather in the center of the beach.


I didn't move from my spot by the open bar.


They rushed about looking for familiar faces.


My gaze sifted through strangers.


They searched for potential New Year's kisses.


I gulped down more champagne.


Men and women stared deeply into each other's eyes.


I squeezed mine shut.


They shouted. They hugged. They kissed.

"Happy New Year!"

I was alone.

People were leaving. My mother had already left. She had stranded me on an island, literally.

Oh darling, his Villa is on the neighboring island. I will be back by 6 AM for our flight back home. I promise!

My mother and I had come to the British Virgin Islands for my winter break from junior year. Our top-notch resort was on Tortola. The New Year's Eve party was on Virgin Gorda. My mother had left Virgin Gorda to go god knows where.

All I had was my blackberry and credit card.

I guess I'll be calling a water taxi, than.

"Hello, yes, I'll be needing a water taxi from Virgin Gorda to Tortola…. 3:00 AM is fine, but earlier would be better…. Well when is your next available time? … 5:00AM?! I have a flight to catch! … yes … yes … fine. 5 AM it is … please hurry!"

I shoved my phone back into my clutch and took the last swig of my fifth glass of champagne from the night.

This wasn't unusual in my life.

My family consisted of just my mother and me. My mother was the editor in chief of La Mode, a very successful international fashion magazine. To say the least, we were pretty well off economically.

Being editor in chief calls for invitations to extraordinary events, not unlike this New Year's Party, which in my mother's opinion, also calls for having to leave early to hook up with the wealthiest man within the vicinity. My mother was a straight up gold digger, and she didn't even need the money. Old habits die hard, I guess.

I placed my empty flute on the bar.

People were starting to leave. Probably going to various glorious after parties.

A waiter walked by with a tray of filled champagne glasses. I snatched a glass as he passed me.

I tilted back my head and poured the bubbly down my throat.

Of course, as I was chugging the liquid down, someone bumped into me from behind, causing me to spill the rest of the contents down the front of my dress.

I sucked in air quickly as the cold liquid splashed through my dress. I looked at the damage, hardly noticeable, yet annoying nevertheless.

I hand came down onto my shoulder, "Shit! I am so sorry! My brother shoved into me!" A warm British voice came from behind me.

Bloody Brits. Funny, I say that, especially since I am technically British myself, though without an accent, I grew up in the States.

I took a deep breath and turned around.

My eye level connected with the collar of a light blue button down, buttons undone at the top to reveal a sculpted tan chest. I saw the Ralph Lauren logo embroidered over the chest pocket. Nice shirt. My eyes traveled down to see the very nice light blue shirt tucked into fitting tan khakis. Simple yet tasteful, as my mother would say.

I came back to my senses.

I cleared my throat, raised a brow and stuck out my chin.

"Yes, well next time please watch-"

My eyes met his face.

My jaw dropped.

He was, to say the very least, very attractive.

A handsome tanned face looked down at me. Face structure very familiar… I think I had seen it on a Greek God's face before. Warm brown eyes gazed down at me.

I suddenly became very self-conscious.

"Um, it's okay…"

His eyes traveled down my dress, "no it isn't! I've spilt your drink! Is your dress okay?"

I shifted under his intent gaze, "yea, my dress is fine."

"Tell you what, why don't I make it up to you?"


"I would buy you another drink, but the bar is closing. Some people are coming over for an after party of sorts. Would you like to come along?"

My mouth bobbed as I wracked my brain for some sort of excuse.

"Right, you probably have about a million other invitations."

I frantically tried to from my words into a lie, but something about his gaze prevented me from lying to him.

He picked up on my silence, "well do you have anywhere else to be?"

Finally I found my tongue. I swallowed, "well, I have a water taxi picking me up."

He lifted his wrist and checked his watch, "oh, what time? I might have time to at least give you a drink to make up for the one I spilt."

He grinned.

My heart pounded frantically.

"Um… soon… ish."

He furrowed his brow and met my gaze, "what time?"

No escaping this one.

"5 AM."

He smirked, "Well that's plenty of time, isn't it? It's only 2!"

I weighed my options.

sit on the dock for three hours, drinking my sorrows away until the water taxi came.

Go with the attractive British guy to his house to, what sounds like, an awesome after party.

Needless to say, I chose the later.

I found myself to be regaining my composure. I stretched a half smile across my lips and raised a brow, "Sure, as long as you give that brother of yours a nice shove back for me."

He cracked a beautiful smile, "consider it done."