April rushed to the music room, heart racing. She was right. She must be right.
After they had cleaned him up as best as they could, Sandy had somehow convinced Dr. Vatore and his lap full of chocolate pudding stains to stay for a drink. The two of them were in the sitting room again. April knew they must have passed a dozen mirrors on their way there, but she supposed that her mother was far too vain to notice that her guest did not have a reflection.
On the hat stand in the music room was the doctor’s coat. April had intended to root through the pockets looking for further evidence, but had been distracted by the sound of voices crossing the hallway. She had hastily shoved the coat into the adjacent bathroom. Now she was lingering in a new listening spot, across the hall from the sitting room. The acoustics here were very limited but she could see them — sort of — and it was, she thought, not worth the risk to upset her mother again this evening.
She could hear the trill of her mother’s voice as she became more tipsy, then Dr. Vatore’s response, then the unmistakable sound of footsteps heading towards the music room.
She panicked. Should she go to the piano? The toilet? As she flapped her arms and desperately searched the nearby area for an alibi she heard the footsteps stop behind her.
Turning around, she saw Dr. Vatore, framed in the archway to the hallway, looking at April who was in an unexpected place for the second time that night.
“Dr. Vatore. Hello. I was… I was just…”
His lips curled slightly at the edges. “…eavesdropping again?”
April shifted her weight and looked around, wishing she had more of her mother’s quick-thinking. Instead she blurted out, “What are you doing in here?”
He motioned behind her towards the bathroom door.
April nodded and let him step past, but immediately regretted it. Now he was going to find that his very expensive-looking coat was scrunched up on the floor next to a bidet and she’d have to explain. She looked around for a distraction — where was the butler with a terrible pudding when you needed one? Think, April.
“Why do you need to use the bathroom?” Oh god. Did I really just ask that?
He turned back slightly towards her, the shadow of a smile about his lips.” You’re not great at conversation, are you Miss Moss?”
His tone affronted her, so she scoffed, “I just didn’t know that vampires needed to use bathrooms.”
He looked at her for a moment, eyes slightly narrowed. “I’m not sure I’m following you.”
A charge surged through April as she looked at his face and her body felt compelled to step towards him. He immediately, almost instinctively, took a step back. She took another and so did he, backing himself against the bathroom door.
She was alight. She had never felt so alive. “I know what you are, Caleb Vatore.”
They stood for a moment, neither of them moving. She was so close now, she could touch him, if she just reached out her fingers…
Before her brain had even processed this command, he had caught her wrist. She glanced down, surprised by the penetrating coldness that curled through her from his touch. She dared herself to look back up.
“I know what you are,” she whispered again, trembling, her fear finally bubbling to the surface.
He let go of her wrist. “You do, huh?” He laughed and she felt her knees go weak. “Then perhaps you should know better.”
Sandy was drunk and bored. It had been a good while and she was wondering where Caleb was. She thought about following him to see if he was OK, but it was surely rather rude to follow a guest to the bathroom. Then again, it was a large house. Perhaps he had taken a wrong turn and couldn’t find his way back. Or perhaps he’d bumped into Travis and the spineless man had chosen to have a conversation. She couldn’t have that; she had to go find him.
She wandered into the music room, stumbling slightly in her sparkly high heels. She saw Caleb kneeling on the floor. “What are you doing down there?” she slurred.
It took her a few moments to realise that he was doing so because April was unconscious.
“What happened?” she whispered, clutching her chest. ” Is she… dead?”
Caleb was leaning over her, his fingertips pressed gently against April’s neck. He looked up briefly but didn’t meet Sandy’s eyes.
“I don’t know.” His voice was even and calm as he cradled April’s face. “I found her this way just now when I came out of the bathroom.”
Sandy leaned against a nearby chair. She pulled out her phone to call their private family doctor, Dr. Goth. She couldn’t risk calling an ambulance; there were always paparazzi outside. Her face would be all over the papers before sunrise.