Blair caught a cab to Tomas's Gallery. She had decided, when she couldn't reach Christian, that she'd head over on her own to the Gallery. She was looking forward to seeing Tomas, and also getting on with finding Samuel. The cab pulled up in front of the Gallery and Blair got out and paid the driver. It was a beautiful day at least they wouldn't have the weather to contend with. Blair entered the Gallery and headed for Tomas's Office. The door was opened, Tomas appeared busy so Blair gave a gentle knock. Clearing her throat she said. "Good Morning."
Tomas looked up and smiled at her greeting. "Good Morning to you also. Are you ready for our adventure?"
Blair smiled and replied, " Well I am, but you look busy, perhaps I should just do this myself."
"Nonsense, I was just finishing up some correspondence Simone left me from yesterday. I'm eager to help you in your search. Yesterday was truly one of the best days I've had in a long time. I know together we can probably track down Samuel and I would love to spend another day in your company." that said Tomas stood up and came around his desk and took Blair's hand and gently kissed it. He led her to a chair and turned to face her, leaning on his desk. "Now, we need to make a plan. Did you bring the sketch.
Blair pulled the sketch from her purse and unrolled it. Again she marveled at how much Samuel looked like Todd. "Yes. You're sure this is Samuel?" she asked.
Tomas nodded, "That is most definitely the man I know as Samuel. I've been thinking. Samuel left here the other night on foot. Perhaps that means he lives somewhere in this general area. Maybe we should start our search checking the surrounding neighborhoods. Maybe he has been to other shoppes around here."
"That's perfect." says Blair, "We'll start locally and see what we turn up. It is certainly going to help that you speak French, by myself I probably would have a language problem."
"Very well. We have a plan. I informed Simone I would be out again today after I talked to you earlier on the phone. So we can begin right away." Tomas stood up and held out his hand to Blair.
Blair took Tomas's hand and rose from the chair and turned to leave his office. She stopped in astonishment as she saw the portrait on the wall in front of her. Stunned, Blair looked at herself standing in the light of many fireworks and the figure of the man watching from the shadows. It was so familiar it hurt. How well she remembered that night when Todd had given her that surprise. He had always done that, given her surprises that used to touch her deep inside. He had known her so well. She looked down at the sketch in her hands. This just didn't make sense. Samuel was painting memories only she and Todd shared and now Samuel appeared to look like Todd. Something just wasn't right. A thought was beginning to form that seemed too outrageous to consider. What if Samuel was Todd? But that was impossible, Todd was in Llanview. Or was he? Blair turned to Tomas. "We have to find Samuel! I don't know what is going on, but I'm beginning to think there is so much more to this than just finding an artist. I know this sounds crazy, but I think Samuel is my Todd."
"But Blair didn't you say your ex-husband lived in Llanview. You told me that your ex-husband had plastic surgery and you’ve been with him on and off for over seven years. Surely you know him. Why would you doubt that?"
"Oh, I just don't know Tomas. I know Todd is living in Llanview, but something all of a sudden seems very off. It's as if I'm waking from a dream and Todd is standing there in all these portraits yelling at me. He begging me to open my eyes and realize he needs my help. He's wondering if I'm going to come for him. Oh God, Tomas, I HAVE TO FIND HIM!" Blair looked at Tomas her eyes glistening with tears. "I have to find him!" she whispers.
Tomas was at a loss. He wanted to take Blair in his arms and comfort her. She had been so happy moments before but now her mood had switched to a deep pensiveness. She was lost in thoughts that had nothing to do with him and everything to do with Samuel. He was still trying to take in her exclamation that Samuel was her ex-husband Todd. Blair had told him the story of how her ex had disappeared only to return several months later with an entirely different face. She had recalled falling in love with him thinking he was someone else, only to find out that he was her ex. From all that Blair had told him, Tomas surmised their relationship had been full of many on again-off again moments. "My Dear, I'll do my very best to help you find Samuel, but you can't really believe he's your ex."
Blair smiled tremulously. "I know it doesn't make sense Tomas. My head is saying you've got to be mistaken, but my heart is telling me I'm right. I'm sorry. Today's mood has gotten way too somber. It's not the time to dwell on what might be. Right now we have to find him, then we'll worry about what it all means. Come on, lead the way Tomas. The stakes just went up on this mystery. I won't quit till we solve it." Blair rolled up the sketch and took Tomas's arm and together they left the gallery. The search had begun.
Not far away from the gallery, Samuel was cleaning up some of his paint supplies. He had spent the morning trying to decide when would be the best time to continue his relationship with Alex. He came to the conclusion that he needed to let a couple days go by and then he would give her a call. Samuel wanted to keep her off guard. He knew he had the upper hand because she didn't know he was on to her. Having made the decision about Alex, he then let his thoughts wander back to his sister.
He remembered when her image had come to him when he was so depressed and the feeling then, that they shared a common pain. He looked across the room at her and wondered just who had made her suffer. It bothered him deeply to know she had been hurt. He remembered her, but still couldn't recall her name. It was so frustrating. He was getting pieces of memories but not the whole. He had a child. Was it a girl or a boy? How come he wasn't with that child, who was the mother? With each memory came even more questions. He had to find out what was keeping the memories in check. Even the woman he had hurt still remained elusive. One thing was sure. With every memory he regained he felt himself becoming whole.
" Hmmm. Becoming whole was such an unusual phrase but it seemed to apply directly to him." Just thinking that phrase reminded him of the earlier feeling that he had heard another voice talking to him. Not just one voice but several. Why was he hearing voices and why did they feel real? Samuel paused what he was doing and headed to the bathroom . He quickly went to the mirror. He was seeing a scene in his head, another time when he had looked in a mirror; only that time he had been carrying on a conversation with several other people but he was the only one there. Samuel looked and posed a question. "Who are you?" of course he really didn't expect an answer but suddenly in his head he heard. " Oh, oh I'm Tom!" Then another voice spoke. "Shut up you moron!" "But Pete , he asked" "You idiot! Ms Perkins says he's not ready yet."and just as suddenly the voices stopped. Samuel blinked. "What the heck!" Okay now that was just weird. He really was losing it. Samuel looked at himself again. He didn't feel crazy. Well, if he wasn't losing it, then he had just been answered by two separate people in his head. They even had names. This was getting surreal but what else was new. His life had been surreal since he had awakened.
Blair and Tomas hadn't had much luck at the shops nearest the Gallery but they continued on to the next couple of streets. Most people couldn't recall seeing the man in the sketch at all. Blair was getting a little discouraged. Surely someone had seen or encountered him. On the next block Tomas suggested they stop and get a bite at the sidewalk cafe.
"Blair, we'll sit and rest and get some refreshment. Don't worry I believe we'll find someone who has seen him." Tomas directed her to a table in the warm sun but sheltered from the wind and they sat down. The waiter approached the table and took their order. Blair looked at the sketch again wondering why Samuel covered half his face. That was a very unTodd thing to do, and the real mystery was that he painted. Todd had been talented when it came to headlines and computers but she had never seen any artistic talent while she had been with him. If Samuel was Todd when had he learned to paint. The waiter returned with their order and before he left, Tomas took the sketch and asked if he had ever seen Samuel.
"Oui Monsieur, the gentlemen comes here sometimes for a quick bite. He is a very quiet man and always leaves a generous tip." the waiter replied.
Eagerly Blair asked, "Do you know which way he goes when he leaves."
"Oui, Madame, he walks back toward the Bank over there. I think he usually comes here right after going there. He always gives fresh crisp banknotes for a tip. Is there anything else I can help you with?" asked the waiter.
"Merci, what you have provided is excellent." replied Tomas. "So, Blair, our next stop will be the bank. You see things are beginning to look up. One person has seen him, and I'll wager someone in that bank knows him too."
Blair forced herself to remain calm and finished eating. All she really wanted to do was get up and run to that bank. She looked across the table at Tomas who was smiling so warmly. She couldn't help but smile in return. He was being so helpful. She enjoyed his company but thinking of Todd had put the brakes on starting anything new with another man. All the paintings and the memories had stirred up all the old feelings. If Samuel was Todd she might have another chance with him. With the kids getting older she really missed a man in her life. There were so many unanswered questions. Samuel had been living and painting in Paris for eight years. If he was Todd, why was he calling himself Samuel? Why hadn't he contacted her? How could he abandon his children? Why was he painting pictures of her but not trying to get in touch? The only way she was going to get answers was to find him. She didn't even want to think about Todd back home. If Todd was here in Paris, who was living at home as Todd?
Tomas quietly finished eating and sat back and looked at Blair. She was a million miles away. He thought to himself, Tomas you need to be careful, you are starting to care for this woman, but you might have already lost her to the past. You need to move slowly. She has a lot on her mind and you want her mind on you, not him. He picked up the check, paid it and said."Are you ready to go Blair?"
Blair blinked and brought her thoughts back to the present. "Yes Tomas, forgive me, my mind has been wandering. Yes I'm ready when you are."
Tomas stood and offered his hand. Blair took it and together they headed for the bank. The street was clear and they quickly crossed, made their way to the bank and entered. After the bright sun, it took a moment for their eyes to adjust to the darker interior. They saw several guards and a number of tellers. Who could they ask first. Tomas headed for one of the security guards and began talking to him. He then gestured to Blair indicating she should come to him. Blair went over and joined Tomas and he explained that he spoke to the guard and needed to show him the sketch. The minute they unrolled the picture the Guard nodded . He spoke rapidly to Tomas and then pointed to a young teller. Tomas said: "Blair, Samuel's been in here many times in the past to exchange money. The guard says he always sees that young teller."
As they neared the teller Blair looked at the girl's name. Curiously it was Jessica. Just another coincidence in a week full of coincidences. Samuel appeared to have made the acquaintance of someone with the same name as his favorite niece. When her customer left, Tomas and Blair went up and Blair asked,"Do you by chance speak English?"
"Oui Madame, how can I help you." replied Jessica
"Could you tell us anything about the man in this picture." Blair then showed the picture to the young woman.
"Oui Madame. That is Monsieur Toddman. He has been coming in for more than seven years to exchange American money. That is a good sketch of him, tell me is it for sale." She replied and smiled.
A little taken aback by the directness of the question, Blair was momentarily silenced. This young woman seemed to have a crush on Samuel, and that was definitely something new. Todd had usually inspired fear not adulation. Blair quickly recovered and said, "No I'm afraid I can't part with this picture but tell me do you have any idea where we might find Mr Toddman?"
"Alas, I must say I do not. He just comes to exchange money,he does not have an account with us and therefore we have no idea where he lives. Many times I have tried to get him to tell me more about himself but he is so mysterious. He usually smiles, thanks me and leaves. I never know when he is going to come in again. He was just in here a couple of days ago and I asked him if he had a woman to keep him company and he informed me with a rather cryptic smile that he had three lovely women that keep him company. I must say I 'm very jealous of those women." Jessica again smiled
Blair felt a burst of jealousy sweep through her. How dare he leave her and come here and live it up with three women when her life was turned upside down.
Tomas turned to Blair. "It appears we've hit another dead end." Even as he said it he saw the look on Blair's face. She looked like she was ready to kill someone and he thought he had a good idea who she wanted to kill. Something the young teller said, had a deep affect on Blair. "Blair," he repeated to get her attention.
She looked at him blankly for a second then blushed and stammered, " Oh, forgive me Tomas just some residual anger creeping in towards my ex."
He repeated what he had just said."Blair , it appears that we might have hit another dead end. We'll have to keep looking in the neighborhood."
Blair nodded and turned to thank the young teller. "Well we have his full name at least." In her own mind Blair thought about that last name. "So Samuel, your last name is Toddman. If that's true then I'm becoming more convinced that you're really Todd. Samuel Toddman why have you been hiding all these years?" One thing that Blair had always believed was that Todd loved his kids more than anyone else on the planet. He had always come back for them. In 2003 she had been convinced he had returned for them and she had believed Walker when he had admitted to being Todd. Now she was questioning that. If Samuel was Todd, why had Walker let everyone believe he was Todd..Even Vicki thought Todd was in Llanview but what if Samuel was really Todd. Samuel had been living here in Paris for eight years, while someone unknown had been living Todd's life. God, what a mess! In order to start making sense of everything they had to find Samuel. As they left the bank , Blair and Tomas looked around trying to decide where to go next.
Tomas spoke, "Blair if we look back in the direction of the gallery you can see we're on somewhat of a straight line. For the rest of today I think we should narrow our search to the streets that flow away from the gallery in this direction. I think maybe he might be along this path as opposed to the other direction."
"That works as well as any other direction." said Blair. They continued their search down a couple more streets along the same line as the Gallery and Bank. When they hit the third street they found themselves in a neighborhood full of apartments. "Perhaps Samuel lives in one of these. We'll have to start asking at each door." remarked Tomas.
Blair agreed but suddenly she had an idea. "Tomas you go ahead and get started, I need to make a quick call.” Blair pulled out her cell phone and called Starr. " Hi Starr, how are you and Hope. You're fine. That's great.... No, I'm going to be here a little longer. It has become very important that I find this artist. I'll explain it to you later. I need you to do me a favor right now. Would you keep an eye on your father and keep me informed if he appears to be acting stranger than usual. ... What do you mean he's already acting strange? How?... He's encouraging you and James to have a relationship? He was happy Marty's been put at St. Anns. ... You're right that sounds strange even for Todd ... Why did I ask that? It's nothing, you know me, I just like to know what your father is up to. Okay, I have to run. I'll call again later. Love to you, Hope and your brothers." Blair put the phone up. Starr was right, Todd was behaving differently. He usually kept all men away from Starr. Why would he suddenly do an about face? Also, why this complete lack of sympathy for Marty? Ever since Blair had known him, Todd had always tried to make amends to Marty for the rape. It was so out of character for him. Blair noticed Tomas coming back down the steps of the first apartment building. No luck at that one. She moved briskly to catch him. This was proving to be a long day of revelations and dead ends, but something else would indeed turn up. She had FAITH.
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