“Here, my pet—hold onto this for me a moment, won’t you? There’s a dear.” He handed her his flute of champagne and strolled to a seemingly blank stretch of wall. He then shot her a cool, wry glance as he reached into the breast pocket of his tuxedo and retrieved a small key. The key fit smoothly into the wood paneling, and the wall split with a hiss.
“Oh my!” breathed Vivienne as the walls came to a halt. Before her hung Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night. She turned her awestruck gaze upon her host, who had glided back to her side unnoticed. “Is that—“
“Oh, heavens no. A reproduction.” He took his glass back from her and contemplated the fake. “The painting may be a counterfeit, but its beauty is real.” Vivienne watched as he drained his glass. “Yes. Very real indeed.”