April had never wanted to be the sort of girl who did things just because a man asked her to.
In school those were the girls April had laughed at. The dim ones who didn’t think they were worth enough on their own, who couldn’t stand on their own two feet. April had always been smart - she didn’t need a man to tell her anything.
But that had been before Philip. Philip was unlike any other man April had ever encountered. He was brilliant and accomplished and he had real plans. He was going to change the world. April knew she wanted to be a part of it.
And Philip was charming. It was a bit embarrassing that even though April could see it, even though April could watch him and think, this is a man who’s used to getting people to do what he wants, she still found herself falling for it. All he had to do was smile at her and ask nicely and April… April would do anything he asked. Philip smiled at her and suddenly April had become exactly what she hated. A silly girl looking to please a man.
“What if I were to get into Connor’s good graces?” April said to Philip once. “I could keep an eye on him, make sure he isn’t getting distracted.”
“April, that’s perfect,” Philip said, his eyes lighting up in that way they did when he was excited.
At the time, April had beamed in pleasure, knowing that she’d done something right. Every extra moment she spent in Philip’s company while he briefed her on how best to get through to Connor had made her feel like she was special. Important.
(A dim, silly girl who needed a man.)
But getting close to Connor wasn’t as easy as she had expected. Getting close to Connor meant, well, getting close to Connor. It meant getting to know him, seeing him as more than just a game piece to be pushed around a board. It meant seeing him with Abby and being forced to acknowledge that Abby was much more than a simple distraction. Connor may have been irritating and Abby was not to be trusted, but they were still real people.
April didn’t like the person she was when she was with Connor, false and calculating and secretive. That person was very much not April Leonard.
And yet April put on the ugly glasses and the horrible clothes and played the stereotypical geek she had never really been. She cosied up to Connor and flattered him until she disgusted herself with the things that came out of her mouth. She casually wormed her way into Connor and Abby’s relationship until she could see the cracks forming.
She did it all because Philip wanted her to. She did it because Philip needed Connor for New Dawn.
(What kind of a woman does something she doesn’t want to for a man?)
She told herself it didn’t mean anything. It didn’t make her a bad person because she was only doing her job the best she knew how. New Dawn was important; it was bigger than all of them. She couldn’t let anything get in the way of her success, not repressed guilt over doing what she had to and certainly not Connor Temple.
April told herself that pleasing Philip was okay because he respected her. When they were together, Philip treated her like an equal. He didn’t think she was silly or dim.
Philip didn’t think she was a bad person.
April told herself it was all worth it. Every smile and kind word she earned made it worth it. Every tiny bit closer they got to completing New Dawn made it worth it.
April only wished that it didn’t feel like she was losing herself in the process.