My carnival is one big game. I've been through a lot in this old life of mine.
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.
Coffee often has a bonding effect on the people who share moments while drinking it. Strangely enough, Samuel had had very little experience in sharing his past over coffee. Then again, not many people wanted to know Samuel’s past, or at least they already knew all about it from the headlines in papers a few years ago. However, Zora seemed to show an interest in the part of Samuel’s life that was less exposed to the world, and this made him a little nervous.
Perched at the edge of his sofa, he glanced around, mentally wiping his brow due to the relief from how tidy the place had managed to stay. A fresh pot of coffee had been brewed and was filling the apartment with it’s bitter earthy scent. Kiara had already had lunch and was in her room keeping herself busy while Samuel waited for Zora to arrive.
-It’s now that she notices that meeting in this setting feels awkward somehow, like the tone of prior encounters has been dictated by meeting in a place where she once did something she now regrets. LIke it gave them an outline for interaction to go according to.- Have you considered finding a place somewhat more outside the city? Maybe you could even have a garden then, I assume that would be something that could please her. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes change is necessary, I am merely thinking in terms of space. Oh, I have been traveling a lot, as usual, the carnival grounds was on my way from the airport, that made it easier to pay a visit. But… -she searches through her bag and produces, somewhat awkwardly, a cuddly toy in the shape of a tabby cat- …I bought this in Paris. Do you think it’s something Kiara would like? If not, I could easily return it. And because I do not like to be unfair… -she produces a plastic bag from behind her back (a carton box inside) and holds it out towards Samuel. - Same rules apply. But I certainly know what it is like to move into a new place.
As strange as Vir was, Samuel often pushed his wandering thoughts to the side on what could make her like that. He accepted her for who she was, and her way of seeming incredibly withdrawn yet present at the same time. With a smile on his face, he looked to her and shook his head. Not yet, at least. Kiara should settle soon, she’s beginning to enjoy our walks to the park everyday, so things should get better. I’m just waiting for the day she stops asking for the others at the carnival. Watching as she searches her bag, Samuel smiles when she presents the toy and instantly warms to her. She’ll love it, Vir. Kiara loves anything from you, but the fact that its a cuddly toy makes it all the more lovable. He accepts the carton and opens it, whistling while he pulls it out. That must’ve cost you a pretty penny. It’s incredible. Thank you. He places it to the side, staring at it for a little while before looking back to her. Still travelling for work? Or did you finally take a holiday?
Hold my horses? Is that supposed to be a joke? Well, I sure do hope I’m interesting enough for your attention, Mr. Samuel.
C-can I help you?
I am beholden to your schedule, Samuel. If you need to move things around, just let me know. Here. She pulls out a notepad and scribbles her number on a sheet, then offers it to him. I have complete faith in your ability to get things into shape, but don’t go out of your way for me, okay? I’m hardly the neatness police, and children tend to make that twice as hard.
He gladly accepts the paper and looks at it briefly before folding it and placing it into his pocket. Well, hopefully, Kiara will help out. She tends to like female company, considering my lack of it. A smile takes over his mouth as he pats his pocket. I’ll call you tomorrow and see if you’re still available for a chat, miss. But I suppose I should let you get back to work, as much as I’m enjoying your company.