My carnival is one big game. I've been through a lot in this old life of mine.
I just want a talk, nothing more. Tea and a talk would be perfect, thank you.
Great. Let me get the tea ready. So, what were you doing at the carnival? If you don;t mind me asking, love. If I’m correct, it was invite only.
He had met Zora’s father and step-father once before, she had dragged him along to one of their dinners and introduced him when he was still getting over the emotional trauma or being beaten and refused to go out of her apartment for anything more substantial than getting the mail from the box downstairs. Apparently she had left him a few things, though ‘a few’ didn’t quite cover all of her books, her computer, and ten thousand dollars that he didn’t quite know what to do with. In a mixture of pity and gratitude, he had offered to box everything up for them, since both men were well over seventy and her mother lived in Montreal, too long a trip to make day in and day out.
The sound of her phone ringing on the kitchen table nearly made him whack his head on the top of the cabinet that he had been cleaning out, and he stepped down from the stepstool laconically, not particularly thrilled with the idea of answering it. He batted the device around with his fingers for a moment, stalling, before he answered it, and then he wished that he hadn’t. What do you say to someone looking for a dead woman with such a cheery tone in their voice? The fact that it was a stranger didn’t matter, it made him sick to his stomach all the same, and he flopped into one of the chairs before he could bring himself to say anything. "Jesus, mate. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but she’s dead." He said hoarsely, closing his eyes against the room. "S’not a joke either, I’m sorry. I wish it was one."
Samuel was taken aback by the sound of a male voice, thinking he had dialled the wrong number at first. But upon hearing what he had to say, Samuel feel silent. He was just about to consider this as some sick joke when the man on the other end clarified that thought too. “I don’t understand,” he said, thinking about how he had just saw her a few days ago. His throat dried up as he desperately tried to clear it before taking a deep breath. This was a first for him. It was like the emotion drained from his body as his brain took over the conversation, butting out his heart completely. “Who is this?” He asked, becoming slightly suspicious of the person on the other end. Was he the one who killed her? How did he have her phone?
In what seemed like a long silence, Samuel’s heart tried desperately to flood his mind with sadness but he was all set on seeking revenge on whoever took the life of his friend. He may not have known her all that well, but she was not the type of woman who deserved this.
"I am certain that you are the best person to be around for her, for anything that comes back, in any case. So what does she talk about, then? What is it she remembers?" Virginie would like it to sound like it’s a question about Samuel and Kiara, or maybe a general one, but it’s one born from selfishness, really. Selfishness because knowing that someone remembers her is exceptional for her still (discounting the times she is remembered for her work, but even those don’t seem to do the work she puts in justice), but also selfishness because she never seems to have devoted much thought to what it must feel like for Samuel, too wrapped up she must have been in exploring the first sensation. But discussing this doesn’t seem the order of the day for her and Samuel, and Virginie is grateful for it. This is an area where she likes to think she can give more than decent advice: "Yes, I understand. It is quite unlike the real world, and I mean that in every sense. However…please allow me the question: Are you getting by? I realize that I do have a privileged perspective here, but rent payments here are really high in my experience. And I do think that it is still very much possible to combine giving back and…well. Making ends meet." She raises both hands as if in surrender: "Once again, if I’m making things up, I apologize. But I suppose there are things that I have seen in the real world, and quite some of those are not pleasant." She lowers both hands as if in a gesture of surrender.
"She often talks of meeting you and writing to you. I remember her mentioned a time where she said you two would sit together…at night I think?" He bit his lower lip, thinking for a moment of what she had said. "I hope I’m getting that right…forgive me if it makes no sense." There was a whole lot more that Kiara had told him about Vir, but he couldn’t remember half of it. A lot was coming back to her so quickly that she often rhymed off random things to him during the day. Upon listening to her speak of rent and making ends meet, Samuel heaves a sigh and runs his hand through his graying hair. "Right now, I’m working off of money I’ve had put by. But you’re right, rent is expensive and I’m still trying to find a job to keep up the payments." Sitting forward, he leans on his knees and looks to her. "I’m getting by just now, but I am going to need to find a job soon, if I want to continue living in the big world."
I was at your carnival right before it closed. You were probably too busy to notice me on my way in, but I feel like I needed some closure after what I… Endured.
I’m sorry you had to witness that. But I’m not sure what I can do for you, love. Would you like to come in? I can make some tea and we can chat?
Samuel eyed the piece of paper on his table and bit the inside of his lips. He had been thinking about it for a couple days now, but now he had only plucked up the courage to call her, and invite her out for dinner. His mouth was dry as his nerves began to get the better of him. After all, the last person he had asked out on a date was Kiara, and that was a long time ago now.
Picking up the phone, he dialled the number and let it ring before hearing someone pick up at the other end. “Zora, it’s Samuel! How are you?” He asked, not waiting for her to even say hello.
Virginie sighs, and, exceptionally for her, it takes her a while to put her following thoughts into words: “You know, I must admit that I knew she remembered me at some point. I just didn’t expect her to remember me for so long a time. Children, I thought…they always have so much happening around them and so much to take in. But maybe she’s special that way as well. It wouldn’t surprise me.” Virginie steals a glance at her watch, surprised it’s still relatively early, it must be the flight that’s been tiring her out. But at least that means that if she wants to linger, it’s not overly rude of her to do so, particularly now that there is something she hasn’t thought of while buying the lamp, but that now appears a pressing question: “I realize this might be a somewhat personal question, so feel free to pretend you didn’t hear it, but do you have any plans for the future in that regard? I presume you did sell the carnival attractions, so I suppose you shouldn’t have to worry in that regard, but now that you’re starting a new chapter in your life, isn’t there anything you’ve always dreamt of doing? And that might sound very hypocritical coming from me, but I think this would be the perfect time to make it a reality.”
"Kiara’s memory is very vivid, which is difficult at times. I just hope that too much doesn’t come back to her too soon, regarding our past. I wouldn’t like to give her nightmares." His heart tinges a little when he considers the idea that Kiara sees him as more than a Father now, than a fiancé, like she had before. It’s sad, but he’d rather she was in his life like this, than not at all. Luckily, Virginie distracts him from his thoughts upon mentioning the carnival. "No, I didn’t sell up. The carnival is still there, and there are a few of my family members still staying there, keeping things in good shape. We reopen in Summer, but I just needed this time to get back in touch with the real world, you know?" He thinks for a moment of all the things he wanted to do when he was younger, but nothing beats his carnival. Nothing beats the life it has given him. "I’ve been everywhere. I suppose, now, all I really want to do is give back to the city that I almost destroyed."
Leah had to take a moment to make sure that she had heard him correctly. She recounted her words to him carefully, wondering if she had mentioned that he was her father, but nothing came up. He had known. You… She takes in a breath before collecting herself and giving him a hard state. You knew that he was my father this entire time, and you said nothing? We worked together for years and this was a secret you chose to keep from me?
He knew she’d react the way she did, after all it was only human. If he had been in her position, he would’ve reacted the same way. But this had been a promise he had kept for Leah’s father, and Samuel wasn’t one to break a promise; especially to one of his family. Leah, I didn’t chose to keep this from you. It was not my choice to make. Throwing his arms up, he lets them fall to his side again before sighing and looking to her. Your father was part of my family, and he asked me to keep his name, his existence, a secret. It wasn’t my place to tell you, you had to want to know first, love. Folding his arms, he eyes her and wants her desperately to understand.
She peers past him into the apartment and raises an eyebrow. Sorry about that…sometimes I tend to forget. She holds her hands up in mock surrender as she enters the apartment, rolling her eyes as she does. No funny business, I’m not here on a Rogue errand. Promise. I’d tell you to trust me, but I think we both know that’s out the window. Digging into her pocket, she pulls out a piece of paper and hands it to him. I’m looking for someone by the name of Edward Barrow. Last anyone heard, he was a member of your carnival. A telepath. I need to know where he is now.
Watching her as she speaks, Samuel cant quite believe that the girl before him has changed so much since he last saw her. The disappointment in his heart, upon hearing of her association with the Rogues, was something that wouldnt go away any time soon. Accepting the piece of paper, he glances at it before being distracted by the mention of a name. A name he remembered. A name he had kept hidden from Leah for a long time now. I…uh. He takes a step back and rubs at his mouth and chin before looking to her and sighing. Well, the bad news is that I have no idea where your father is now.
-Virginie felt a pang of jealousy there in a way she wouldn’t have expected. Worrying about Kiara felt so…archaic, in a sense, so simple. And for some reason, more important than her everyday worries at the same time. How complex the world could be if you let it be just that. She attempts a smile in return.- It’s probably even more difficult to part with something if it is all one has ever known. But I am speculating. -It’s also an unexpected joy to find that she can still buy decent presents for anyone she doesn’t know through work. But she knows better than to show overt joy at that.- She does, though? Did she say that? And well….moving is never a particularly budget experience, but it is also a chance to find new opportunities and to gain clarity on what one perceives as important, so I really don’t think it even should be. And it was all for work, yes, though I took my holidays over Christmas so I really have no grounds to complain. And yes, it was an exquisite experience. -She hesitates for a moment, seeing as the hour is late and she really wanted to drop the presents of, and now she feels out of place.- Look, am I keeping you?
Samuel nodded and smiled warmly. He was surprised that Virginie didn’t expect Kiara to ask of her often. In fact, she asked more of her than of the people at the carnival. He wouldn’t let on though, just in case it hurt her to know that her presence was one that Kiara wanted, when she was so busy. She did say that, Vir. Kiara has always been keen on you, and she seems to have carried that into her life, even now. With a smile on his face, he listens to her holiday plans and smiles, missing the days when he used to travel with the carnival. It was almost his favourite part of his job. Her question distracts him from his memories of the carnival and he smiles. From what? He asks, chuckling. The only thing you’re keeping me from is bed, love. And it’s not like I have a job to go to in the morning.
Zora did actually have some idea of who Samuel was, she had listened to Reese babble about his love for the carnival so many times in the past that she would have to have been completely daft not to make the connection. Five years ago, it would have bothered her enough to turn down anything akin to meeting for coffee with someone with such a background, but five years ago she wasn’t covering up murders and dedicating her skills to other less than legal pursuits. Besides, he was kind enough to offer, and certainly he was an interesting person worth talking to, no matter what she had read online.
Perhaps she could even mention Reese to him, arrange a lunch or something to assuage his carnival obsession as either a very early or very late birthday gift. She felt a bit overdressed by the time that she got to the address he had given over the phone, just from the heels she had crammed her feet into out of habit this morning when she had felt very short indeed, but she doubted he would mind. A smile worked its way across her lips as she knocked on the door, and she brightened it a notch or two as she waited, half anxious with anticipation.
When the door finally sounded the arrival of his guest, he dashed over and pulled it open, smiling when his eyes rested on Zora. “You made it!” He said, opening his arms in a welcoming manner. Stepping to the side, he held the door open, closing it when she entered. “Make yourself at home. Coffee?” He asked, wandering to the kitchen before pouring himself a cup. As he watched her, a small knot grew in his stomach. The apartment was still pretty bare but it was enough for now, then again, she probably lived in something much more extravagant.
"So, how was work, love?" He asked, wandering over with two cups and placing them on the coffee table. As he wandered back to the kitchen, he grabbed the sugar and milk before returning to the table and taking a seat on the couch. Plopping some sugar into his coffee, he put a splash of milk in, turning it a dark brown colour. He took a sip and sat forward to engage in the conversation. It had been a long time since he had had company like this, female company, at least.