At 8 pm exactly the doorbell rang. Sandy made the butler open it so she could keep up the pretence that she wasn’t really that desperate. In reality, she had been pacing the hallway since about half four.
April lingered in the adjacent music room and heard her mother announce in her most charming voice, usually reserved for movie directors and enamoured male fans. “Dr. Vatore, won’t you come in.”
“Ms. Moss,” came a reply in a new male voice that sounded like ice and fire at the same time, “please call me Caleb.”
“Broof!” Sandy called, addressing the butler by his first name, something she only did when she was trying to show someone how very down-to-earth and chill she was. “Please take Caleb’s coat.”
Their footsteps echoed across the hallway, heading towards the sitting room and April softly followed. The muffled conversation she could hear through the wall told her that Dr. Vatore was already discussing the angles of Sandy’s face. April pressed herself closer to the door, trying to listen.
It suddenly struck her. What was she actually listening for? Suddenly she realised that her plan hadn’t gotten this far. Caleb Vatore was in her house and now she had no idea what to do next.
Feeling foolish and unprepared, she took a step back to regroup, stumbled and reached out for the door handle to steady herself, accidentally opening it in the process and finding herself making an awkward introduction in to the sitting room.
Both Dr. Vatore and Sandy turned to look at the teenager who had suddenly appeared in the room. Sandy looked flustered for the briefest of seconds and then reached towards April. “Dr. Vatore, this is my daughter, April. April, Dr. Vatore.”
April reached out her hand, but Dr. Vatore did not take it.
He wasn’t… what she had expected. She had expected someone much older, gnarled, somehow grander. But here he was, quite young and, dare she say it, quite handsome. Was she wrong about him?
April pulled her hand back awkwardly, trying to think of a good reason why she was there. Thankfully her mother decided to style out the whole debacle. She picked up a catalogue from the table and opened it to a page about rhinoplasty.
“April is a bit keen to get started on her plastic surgery journey, isn’t that right April?” April stood dumb, nodded along. “I keep telling her, ‘Not yet April! You’re so beautiful as you are!’ But yet she insists!” There was that fake laugh again. “Teenagers! They’re so vain!”
Dr. Vatore blinked at Sandy. “I don’t operate on minors.”
“I’m eighteen!” April blurted for no reason.
“Really.” Dr. Vatore could not sound more disinterested. He turned his attention back to Sandy.
“We can fix this,” he motioned in the general direction of her face. “If you would please visit the surgery tomorrow evening to discuss further. For now, if you’ll excuse me, I must go. It has been a long day and dinner calls.”
Sandy was jumping up and down – on the inside. Her outside had the same, cool expression she always wore, even with her droopy chin. “Thank you, doctor.”
Dr. Vatore nodded and packed his belongings away. Sandy followed him to the door with April trailing behind. She couldn’t let him leave without confirming her suspicions. Sandy was already gushing about how lovely it was to meet him and thanking him for stopping by. Time was almost up. If April could just get him to stay a bit longer perhaps, ask him some questions…
“Wait!” April blurted out in her uncool way, “Dinner!”
“What?” Sandy was caught off guard.
“Why not have Dr. Vatore stay for dinner? That way he doesn’t have to rush off and you can discuss the details.”
Neither Dr. Vatore or Sandy seemed to relish the prospect of having dinner together. But the suggestion had been made and Sandy was not so rude as take the offer back. Plus, there was potential to hear gossip about her fellow celebrities’ surgeries and that was just too tempting. She smiled and insisted he dined with them.
As they sat down to their bland dinner in their opulent dining room, Sandy schmoozed with Dr. Vatore in her silkiest voice. April tried to interject with questions: Vatore, that’s an unusual name isn’t it – where are you from? and aren’t you quite young to be a doctor – where did you train? But he said very little in response, instead asking Sandy lots of questions about the house and her work. Of course Sandy was only too happy to talk about herself and didn’t seem to notice that Caleb avoided her daughter’s questions.
April was getting nowhere. The meal was almost over and she was no closer to knowing if her suspicions about Dr. Vatore were correct. She stared at her reflection in her spoon, watching how it morphed in the curve of the silver. Wait a minute.
She glanced up towards her mother where a large mirror was hung. Sandy had had it installed so that she could see herself as she ate, ensuring she never had food in her teeth. It didn’t quite reflect the part of the table where Dr. Vatore sat but it would, if April could just get him to move slightly.
As April wondered if it was over the top to start a fire, the butler arrived, carrying something he was passing off as dessert and April spied her chance.
She leapt from her seat suddenly and yelled, “Broof! Look out!”
The butler jumped a mile. April wasn’t sure what had surprised him more – that she had used his first name or that she’d addressed him at all – but she watched in slow motion as a bowl of dessert-like substance fell from the butler’s hand into the doctor’s lap. Everyone leapt from their seats. Sandy was mortified at the ineptness of the butler, reprimanding him and apologising profusely to Caleb as she mopped his lap with her napkin.
In this confusion no-one was looking at April, who was watching only half the scene unfolding in the mirror. Her jaw dropped, her suspicions confirmed.