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CLEOTILDE San Juan puckered her lips and admired herself in the mirror of the ladies’ room. Perfect, she thought, smiling. If anyone happened to be there at the moment, that person would have thought her perfect as well. Maybe it was too self-patronizing, but Cleo found that even she could not keep herself from admiring her own looks.

Tall, fair, slender and beautiful, she was the stuff models and celebrities were made of. All that she needed was to change her old-lady first name and find a last name with more impact. “San Juan” just sounded so old-fashioned. Being called “Cleo” was her only consolation.

Cleopatra. Kids in school would call her that and it fitted her perfectly. In fact, she once played the part in a play, too. She was beaming all the while. Indeed, she felt like a queen. Everyone, even the teachers, admired her beauty. She had been class muse every year and won every beauty pageant that came her way. Commercials and modeling stints were abundant. She was popular anywhere she went and was never in want of suitors.

Cleo was not born rich, but being beautiful made everything easy for her…That was then, however, and this was now.

A tear fell on Cleo’s cheek and she hurriedly wiped it away, fixing her makeup. No use crying over it, she thought. She pushed the memory out of her mind. With one look in the mirror, Cleo winked at herself and went out the door.