On the shore, Leo reclined in his lounge chair, admiring the sunset. Cool water tickled his toes, and ten feet away, Ulla was shoulder-deep in the sparkling blue. She ducked underneath a wave and came up with a marvelous shake of her head, spraying droplets that reflected the sunlight and made her look like a beautiful mermaid. Of course, she didn't need to be a mermaid to be beautiful; just looking into her eyes made Leo melt in a puddle of lovesick goo.
How did he, Leo Bloom, former accountant with little-to-no life, get this lucky? He was in Rio de Janiero, with the girl of his dreams and something close to two million dollars. He cast an appreciative glance towards his wife, who was wading onto the beach. The bikini clung tightly to her body.
Ah, those breasts.
Leo jumped in his chair, looking around wildly to see if anyone had intercepted his thought. Where did that come from? No, no, no, he quickly corrected himself. Those face…that face! That face, he amended again.
His mental panic attack was interuppted by Ulla, who sat in his lap and wrapped her arms around his neck. She learned forward, making a point to almost suffocate him with her wet bikini top. Leo averted his eyes, looking up into hers. She smiled; a dazzling, bright grin that lit up her face. Leo vaguely noticed that she was dripping on his shirt. Almost unconsciously, he reached towards a pocket that didn't exist for a blue blanket that was still in a garbage can, five thousand miles away. Ulla leaned towards him, intent on a kiss (and sex, because kissing always led to sex).
Everything fell into its figurative place for Leo Bloom. He stood abruptly, and Ulla landed with a whump on the sand.
"Why husband stand so quickly?" she asked, pointedly ignoring his denial of the kiss (and later, sex).
Leo looked down at her, and his throat constricted. He was…afraid? No, he was anxious. He suddenly pitied the blonde Swede sitting at his feet. He studied her expression carefully. She didn't seem disappointed, but not exactly concerned; only curious. He recalled words that he had quoted, that Max had spoken, at a time that seemed like years before: There is a lot more to me than there is to me.
When Max crowed that in his apartment, and when Leo repeated it at the accounting firm, he had made one of the biggest decisions of his life. Now, he was doing the same thing.
I can't love her. Idon't love her.
Leo turned on his heel, walking swiftly across the beach and up the steps to the terrace, intent on finding the nearest phone and booking the next flight to New York City. Ulla followed him, calling his name.
When Leo murmured "Thank you," and put the handset in it's cradle, Ulla watched him expectantly.
"Get the money," he said. "We're going back to New York tonight and I'm turning myself in. Max can't go to jail."
Ulla smiled sadly, and brushed the back of her hand against Leo's cheek.
"Bloom does not love Ulla," she whispered, more of a statement than a question.
Leo took hold of her fingers. "I… I'm not sure," he admitted.
Ulla sniffed, her eyes downcast. Leo put a gentle hand under her chin and pushed it up. "You're still the most beautiful woman I've ever met," he said, punctuating the sentence with a light kiss to the edge of her mouth.
Ulla blushed, something she didn't do often. She looked into Leo's eyes for what seemed like minutes, then broke off, and silently went into the other room to get the money.
Leo rifled through his haphazardly packed suitcase to find the white suit he'd bought the day they arrived. He put it on quickly, not caring that his shirt was still wet and he was covered in sand. Ulla came out from the bedroom as he was straightening his tie, carrying her suitcase.
"Ulla is ready," she said, in a tone conveying that she'd accepted the inevitable.
"I am ready," Leo corrected with a soft smile.
"Good," Ulla said, puzzled. "We go now?"
Leo picked up his suitcase. "We go now."