My carnival is one big game. I've been through a lot in this old life of mine.
Hm…okay, those feelings may be there.
If anyone can read your feelings, then it’s me.
I don’t know what you’re talking about! I’m completely innocent.
Really? Those beautiful eyes of yours hold something a little more exciting than plain old innocence, my fiancee.
I’m not going anywhere, love. I’m here, as always, for you.
You’d better watch out. Making faces like that can do things to a man.
And what does the mind of the great Samuel Sullivan desire?
You, my love. Just you.
Samuel was seated in the airport, staring at the small screen to see how long he would have to remain seated until the plane was ready to whisk Kiara and himself off to Italy, as part of Kiara’s birthday present.
Taking his eyes from the screen, he looked around for Kiara, wondering if she had gotten their coffees yet. A quick glance at his watch and his leg started to shake. The carnival would be setting up for the day. Philip would have to sort some breakfast and the kids wouldn’t have their morning hugs from Kiara. A strange sadness came over him, but when he saw Kiara nearing him, the smile returned to his face.
"I am one lucky man," he said to himself, watching the way Kiara moved as she reached his side.
Kiara watched him while his eyes wandered over her. Her gaze was soft, filled with care and concern for him. She wanted nothing more than to be there for him, to help him through whatever it was that was happening with him. If that meant simply being there as she was, then she would do so without a second thought. If he wanted to open up, later on down the road, she would not leave his side. The truth was, Kiara would do anything for Samuel, and would do anything to keep the family safe. That kind of motivation could be deadly, but she was already one to play with fire, wasn’t she? Samuel wouldn’t think twice about protecting her, why wouldn’t she return that favor?
She yelped a bit and laughed as he picked her up off her feet, and held on to him as he carried her to the bed. When he put his hands on her thighs, Ki placed her hands on top of his with a smile. Her fingers slowly trailed down his over and over in a light petting motion as she locked eyes with him, listening to him talk. “That you wrapped? Oh, well that makes them even more special!” She gave a light wiggle of her eyebrows before opening each present, one by one. With a smile, she plucked the bow off of one of the wrapped boxes and placed it on top of his head, then kissed his nose. “You’re the best gift of all! Though last time I had a male present, he jumped out of a cake.” She shrugged, winked, then resumed opening the gifts.
Each present brought a wide smile to her face. The gifts were so thoughtful. Samuel had taken the time to plan out each thing, which itself spoke volumes to her. She slipped the bracelet on and admired each charm, and spent a good minute looking at the photo. All of the various goodies found places on the bed after being opened, and then there was the box. She tugged the ribbon to untie it, pulled it away, and then opened the box up. Tickets..? Her jaw nearly dropped, and she quickly looked up at Samuel with wide eyes, speechless. A grin was on her face, however.
Smiling back at her, he plucked the bow from his head and placed it on the bed next to her. For a moment, he simply left the silence as the realisation dawned upon him that she liked it. “I figured, with everything you’ve been through this year,” he began, moving closer to her. “You deserve a holiday, Ki. And I think that time away would do us good, you know?” He stood up, sweeping the presents to the side before planting himself down next to her. “Someone can look after the carnival for me. Ryan, Nico, perhaps even Philip.” Taking her hands into his, he planted a small kiss on the back of each of them, before letting out a breath. “It would do Venice good to meet you, you know?” He gave a chuckle but was distracted by a knock at the camper van door. A small sigh escaped his mouth as he walked over to deal with what new trouble had come upon the carnival
It was Philip. A few of the lights in the rigging for the evening’s show had blanked out. Samuel stepped out of the camper van for a moment and informed Philip on what he was to do. He handed a set of keys over to him which would allow Philip to access the store van to get some new bulbs and/or fuses if he needed them. Sending him on his way, he walked back into the camper van and closed the door behind him. “So? Venice?” He clapped his hands together and gave a smile, putting the worries and thoughts of the carnival from his mind. Right now, all he wanted to think about was Kiara and the beautiful city of Venice.
-approaches his camper van timidly, and takes a deep breath before knocking on the door-
S..Sammy? Are you inside?
-dashes to the door upon hearing her voice and pulls it open-
Ki. Come in, please. -holds the door open for her, quickly running a hand through his hair-
Kiara couldn’t help but grin as she watched Samuel. Even setting foot in the tent, playing out the imagined scenario, gave an extra life to him that was invigorating and refreshing. There was something magical about seeing Samuel in his element. What it must be, to be in the audience and watch Samuel conduct the show, right in the middle of the tent. Its often said that all the world is a stage. But, in her eyes, only Samuel stood in the middle of that stage. Baby? She gave a delighted laugh at the nickname. Upon stepping forward, she turned towards the imagined crowd and struck a pose, her arms outstretched. Laughter kept Kiara from holding the pose long, and she then quickly closed the distance between herself and Samuel.
“Even empty, this is an intimidating sight,” she admitted with a slight laugh, motioning towards the empty tent around them. For someone who never really performed, stage fright was a natural thing. Her mind found ease in his embrace, and she settled into the hug, her arms finding their way around him. “Thank you, Ringmaster,” she said with a playful inflection and a kiss on his cheek. With a small smile, Kiara turned her head to look out at the empty seats within the tent. “So, Sammy, how do I get over this stage fright?” She looked to him, her eyebrows raising slightly. “I’m trusting you to get me going. Well…more than you already do,” she added with a wink and grin.
A small chuckle escaped his mouth as he placed his arm around her waist. One thing Samuel admired about Kiara was her ability to take such a positive approach to everything, even after all that she had been through. His question swam around in his head for a second as he took in the emptiness of the tent. “It’s easy,” he said, pulling away from her and stepping back a little. “This tent, at the moment in time, is empty. Not a living soul in those seats.” He swung around on his heel before returning his eyes to her. “You, my love, can perform and pretend when no one is here.” He returned to her and smiled, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. “All you have to is is pretend that the whole place is empty. No one around, and if that fails then you focus on me, because you could never do anything to disappoint me.”
Looking past her, he noticed the tightrope walkers podium high above them. A small smirk took over his mouth. “How are you with swooping?” He asked, imagining her taking a leap from the stand and swooping down over the audience. “I’ve seen you fly, but how are you with falling gracefully?” He asked, holding back a chuckle. “Now, I don’t want you injured, or I’d never forgive myself, but have you took a leap before flying before?” Thinking about what he was asking her to do, Samuel was beginning to regret it. The thought of Kiara being injured in any way scared him, more than he would care to admit.
Kiara looked up at Samuel quietly as he debated the matter, searching for any sort of sign or possible answer in the features of his face. Ever since joining the carnival, she had found a new inner strength , a new faith in herself and in what she could possibly do. That confidence had yet to bleed over into the area of herself involved with her ability. Everyone here in the family had accepted their abilities. It didn’t define them, it was simply a part of them. They defined who they were and what they could do. Samuel was the epitome of this, in Ki’s eyes. He carried himself with such a contagious confidence. Why was it so hard to feel any sort of confidence in herself, about who she truly is and what she could truly be?
A smile flickered over her lips at his touch as she watched him, her eyes lost in his as he spoke. A deal. Here he was, making a deal with her for her own good, and she had cold feet about accepting it. Work on a routine? It was a terrifying thought for her, to be up, alone, with a power that she couldn’t tame. Could she do it? “I…” She bit her lower lip, then let out a quick sigh with a smile. Maybe she didn’t trust herself, but she fully trusted him. “Okay. I’ll give it a shot.”
Grinning bigger than before, he pulled her into his arms, nuzzling his head into her neck as he breathed her in. A small chuckle escaped his mouth before he pulled back to look into her eyes. “I won’t let anything bad happen, I promise,” he informed her, rubbing his hands over her arms, before taking her hand and leading her on a walk. He was taking her towards one of the free circus tents so she could get a feel of the type of venue she would be performing in.
As they entered the fabric room together, Samuel let go of her hand and ran into the centre of the ring that was surrounded by seats. “Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to see one of the most beautiful sights you will ever lay your eyes on. I give you; The Phoenix!” He yelled, flinging his arms up flamboyantly in the air before letting them drop to point in Kiara’s direction. Patting his palms against his sides he raised his eyebrows in a questioning manner. “Come here, baby,” he said, opening his arms in a comforting manner, awaiting the feeling of her body against his. “Don’t be scared. It’s just me and you.”
Kiara listened to the exchange between Samuel and Philip, simply giving an awkward smile. The thought of getting up in front of people was nerve wracking enough. Factor in demonstrating her ability-her highly unstable ability-and that was more than enough to send her running back to the popcorn booth, to hide and sell the tasty snack to the carnival goers on their way to enjoy a spectacle like Philip’s. She avoided Philip’s gaze at the mention of her ability. Kiara was…slow to reveal her ability, despite the feeling of comfort she had with herself due to her ability. By now, she’d only shown a few friends what she could do. That was easy. They were friends. And, Samuel was much more than that to her now. She had no problem displaying her abilities for him. But for a crowd of strangers? What if her nerves got the better of her, and she lost control of what she could do? It wouldn’t be the first time. And here, it would be on a much grander scale.
She followed Samuel outside and glanced up at the Sun, taking the warmth of it in for the moment. It was always a comfort, getting out into sunshine. A slight sigh escaped her. How could she tell him that her ability was weak? That she was weak? Admitting it to him would be horrifying. Owning up to weakness always is. But it had to be done to get over it, right?
A weak smile played over her lips as she looked up at Samuel. His kisses on her hands sent her heart into a flurry of beats-he always had that effect on her. “Thank, Sammy.” She looked up at him and drew in a breath before continuing. “I don’t think I can do this. I…I can’t really control what I can do. I’m fine in front of you, but in front of a crowd, I’d be nervous. And when I’m nervous…well, it’d be dangerous for me to do anything.” Her gaze fell from his, and she leaned forward, to rest her forehead on his, falling quiet.
Samuel took a moment to think. Was he pushing her too far? Making her do something that she didn’t want to do was cruel, to say the least, but Samuel’s demands lay in other places. To begin with, he wanted her to feel more comfortable with her ability, to grow into it and trust it as much as she trusted Samuel. Secondly, he wanted her to get rid of the idea of her power being ‘out of her control.’ He knew that she could control it if she just let herself breathe and find the beauty in her ability that Samuel did.
He placed his hand at the back of her neck and rubbed it gently before pulling his head back and looking into her eyes, the sunlight highlighting how smooth her skin was. “How about this,” he suggested, placing his hands on her shoulders. “You and I work on a little routine and we can have you perform it to the family.” He looked into her eyes, hoping that the fear in them had disappeared. “We have people here with abilities that can prevent any damage you think you may cause.” He gave a chuckle and planted a kiss on her lips. “So, we perform to the carnival members, and if you like it we can take it further?” He asked, if that failed, he would consider having a double act with her, just to make her feel a little more calm.