Samson (Chapter One, Part Seven)

        "Ah, Mr. Kincaid, welcome back.  We've been expecting you."  A creature of habit, Samson returned to Ca'Sagredo every year for his Carnival escapade.  Although never one for history or art, this hotel, which is steeped in both, and particularly the Library Suite, which overlooks the Grand Canal, seemed the perfect place for Samson to unwind after a year's worth of writing and book tours.   He especially appreciated the royal treatment he received from the staff.  "How has your year been?  I see you have published another book?  I've taken the liberty of arranging your usual dinner reservations, for two."
        "My year has been much better than my day, Giacobb.  I won't be needing those reservations tonight, thank you."

        With just under an hour until Gina's tour departure, Samson decided a shower might help him wash off the failed attempts of the day.  Unfortunately for him, the steaming water only served as an opportunity for them to replay in his mind once again.

        "I'm a New York Times Best Seller?"  Did I really say that?  "I didn't throw it?"  What kind of answer was that?  Hint of a southern accent, but where is she from? Why do I even care?  It's Carnivale week, there will be plenty of eligible young women from all over the globe here to have a good time veiled by a mask of anonymity.  She means nothing to me.  I don't even know her name. 

        Samson's thoughts were filling his mind faster than his words had flooded the airport floor earlier.  Lord, can I have another chance?  Samson didn't know what had come over him, and couldn't remember the last time he had prayed (if you could call a one-liner a prayer).  He had hoped a shower might help return him to his A-game; little did he know it had in fact done just that, just not in the way he expected.


        Samson was as thrilled to see the sapphire linen suit as Beatrice was to see Samson when he joined the tour group.  Unfortunately, Samson didn't have a Harold to temper his excitement.  He knew his glee oozed from every pore of his being no matter how much he wished he could contain it.  Maybe that is what accounted for Gina's new-found interest in him.  "Well, Mr. Kincaid, I see you never fail to reel in some business for me.  I might just need to keep you here year-round."  For the first time ever, Gina not only greeted Samson with a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, she made small talk with him as if they were long lost loves, reunited.
        Like a puppy torn between his favorite ball and a new toy, Samson was momentarily caught off guard.  Giving him a knowing half-grin, Gina asked, "So, Samson, what young lady will be joining you for your traditional 'First Night in Venice' dinner this year?"
        Feeling the nameless beauty's eyes on him, he cleared his throat.  "I actually haven't made reservations.  I must be slipping."  Part of him wanted to slink away with his tail between his legs.  The other more comfortable and familiar part of himself wanted to seize the obvious opportunity Ginevra presented in her overt flirtations.  Eight years of trying out different bait, she finally seemed to have swallowed the hook, yet Samson suddenly found himself uninterested.
       Every year previous, although he continued to pursue Gina, he escorted a new "Eve" to standing reservations at Il Ridito .  The owner, Gianni, had been forwarned Samson's companion would be different each year and to be discrete about the fact this was a long-standing tradition.  Samson had never allowed Gina's rebuffs to prevent him from moving on to the next easy mark.  Admittedly, he had made somewhat of a sport of his attempts with Gina, but the cumulative effort he had spent on her the last eight years paled in comparasson to the mental time and effort he had spent in just this one day.  He couldn't put his finger on what made this lady in the blue suit so irresistable to him.  Nor could he explain why even if he ended up dining alone, he had decided he would not take a consolation prize.  The very fact the mystery woman had shown up for the tour, at least in Samson's mind, meant he would have at least an hour to convince her to share dinner with him that evening. 
        Gina had other plans in mind. She gave Samsom a less-than-subtle wink as she cleared her throat and said, "If everyone would gather in a little closer, now that my biggest fan has arrived we can begin the tour."

Samson (Chapter One, Part Six)

        Harold spoke up this time, clearing his throat, "Her name is Beatrice, my over-zealous wife of 25 years-as of tomorrow that is.  I do apologize Mr. Kincaid, I have been attempting to control my wife's enthusiasm for that same length of time and have yet to determine exactly how one controls emotion that rivales the swell of a tsunami."  Samson extended his hand to Harold and then to Beatrice and then graciously autographed the book.  Harold lined up the camera to take a photo of his wife and Samson.
        Samson seized the opportunity to once again speak to the nameless coquette, "Excuse me, miss, would you mind terribly to take a photo of the three of us together?"  Eyeing him, she reached for the camera without giving a verbal response.  As she was returning the camera to Harold, Samson pulled out Ginevra's Tour cards for the second time that day and gave one to the couple.  "The best tour is in just a couple of hours.  Even though this has been a traditional vacation for me the last eight years, I make a point to go on that particular tour to reacquaint myself with the city every year.  I'd be honored if you'd be my guests today.  Consider it my anniversary present to my biggest fan."  Beatrice swooned as Harold accepted the card as well as the invitation.  Glancing over Beatrice's shoulder, Samson was disappointed to see the woman who had captured his interest reading a small book instead of paying attention to him. 
        After chatting with the couple, all the while keeping Blue Suit in his peripheral vision, Samson realized they were coming to the last stop on the red line, in the Zattre district, quite a jaunt from his hotel on Cannaregio.  Taking what he prayed would not be his last chance to speak to her, he said, "Miss beautiful-lady-in-the-sapphire-suit, should I not have the pleasure of seeing you again, I pray you have a beautiful stay in Venice and that you not don a Carnival mask thereby denying the world the experience of your beauty.  However, I would be forever in regret if I didn't once again ask for your name."  
        Blushing, she smiled and replied, "Mr. Kincaid, I trust that I am not the only woman to have heard those words from you.  Might I suggest that you find something more useful to pray for?  Thank you again for the card.  Have a wonderful vacation in Venice."  Beatrice, having witnessed the exchange, poked Harold so hard in the stomach he doubled over, clutching his side in pain.
        Not wanting give the appearance of a stalker, Samson decided to walk away, even knowing he would have to circle back around to that exact spot in order to catch a water taxi to his hotel. 

(((Note to anyone reading:  Would you like bigger chunks of the story each time, or is this a good amount to post?)))