Monday, November 5, 2012

Chapter 18: Colorful

Needless to say, McKenna had never been on a 15-foot private jet so she hadn’t really known what to expect. Turns out, personal space was a ridiculous expectation. The plane was tiny!  It was obviously intended for a rich drug lord and his mistress (or possibly the CEO of Fisher Price and his wife) but it was not fit for 5 passengers, a pilot, and a doctor.

But here they were anyway.

The interior was plush and luxurious. The four seats at the front were separated by a small coffee table with fancy French coasters.  The seats were of the arm-chair variety and could swivel 360 degrees to face all members of the party. There was a tiny (yet effective) mini bar on the rear right complete with stools and more coasters.  Alfonzo was undergoing some pretty extensive medical work in the rear of the airplane and was taking up a good portion of the bar space. Jewel claimed the seat on the right and immediately turned the chair to the window, wrapped her arms around her knees, and stuck in her iPod ear buds. Ron crashed into the single seat behind her and was using his Persian pillow for its intended purpose.  McKenna sat across from the aisle from her dad and was pleased to see Luke sit in the seat directly ahead, not that he had much choice, really. But still.  

The plane lifted off. McKenna closed her eyes, fully expecting to sleep for the next ten hours.  From the faint sounds of Taylor Swift on repeat and the not-so-faint sound of snoring, she could tell that two passengers were already asleep.  McKenna fluffed her pillow and took off her sneakers. She closed her eyes, but sleep didn’t come. Thirty seconds later she realized she was too wired for snoozing. She opened her eyes right as Luke was spinning his swivel chair 180 degrees so that he was facing her directly.

“Oh!” McKenna was startled by the sudden movement.

“Sorry! Were you going to sleep?” Luke apologized and started to turn back around.

McKenna grabbed the arm rest of his chair and swiveled her own so they were facing each other at an angle, but both facing the window. How romantic.  “No, no. Sleep isn’t happening for me. At least not right now. “
There was an awkward silence as McKenna stared out the window. Luke could pick up the sound of Adele’s whiny voice coming from Jewel’s headphones. (Jewel must have an intense break-up play list.)

Luke caught himself staring at McKenna for a little longer than is considered socially acceptable, but he really couldn’t fathom the character of the girl sitting next to him. He was dying to know how she worked. What motivated her? What were her passions? Biggest heart-break? Life ambitions? There were so many questions that were running through his mind that he asked the first one that came to his lips.

“What color are you?”

McKenna threw him a bewildered look and he realized he’d have to explain his fascination with the psychology of the four color personalities. “I mean, do you know about the color code test? The one where different colors represent different motivations, drives, faults, and other stuff. Like Reds are leaders and like power, but they can be really good at motivating groups.  Blues just love everyone and like being close to those they love. Yellows are the fun flaky kids that don’t get anything done, but have wild parties. And Whites are peacemakers that go with the flow and are determined to make things work even if it is against all odds. It’s stupid, but I just learned about it in high school, and I kinda thought it was cool, but of course you probably don’t even want – “  Luke stopped rambling and looked up. McKenna was smiling. It was the first genuine smile he’d seen in a long time and his face immediately reflected the same grin.

“Luuuke…” McKenna drew out the letters in his name and gave him a knowing smile. “I love the color code test! I’ve studied it for years and I am obsessed with finding out the colors of all of the people I run into. I’ve met so many people with so many combinations of colors and it is so fascinating that they all have their place in the world.”

McKenna couldn’t stop with the grinning. What were the odds that the boy from the train station in France with the gray converse and the piercing eyes would be with her on a plane discussing her favorite form of psychology?

Luke was on the edge of his seat with his hands clasped in his lap ready to launch into a full detailed discussion about the color code. And it launched. They talked for over an hour about all the colors, sometimes leading to arguments about certain points. (Luke was convinced that all Yellows were slackers and had no redeeming qualities, but McKenna eventually convinced him that the world had a need for spontaneous adventurers).  They both agreed on the fact that Jewel was about as Red as they come and Alfonzo was an interesting arrangement of all four colors.  They laughed and joked, touched and flirted. The tension from the last 36 hours was finally alleviated as they became friends. The conversation began to veer to other topics, like high school, best friends, favorite fast-food, best vacation spot (Paris didn’t make the list for either of them), most embarrassing moment, celebrity crushes, and life ambitions.   

Hours seemed to fly by. Alfonzo had long since been deemed “fixed” and was up talking to the pilot. Ron and Jewel both continued sleeping except for occasional bathroom breaks. The plane made its steady journey across the Atlantic.

McKenna realized how easy it was to talk to Luke and faced the fact that her little obsession with The Boy with the Gray Converse, was quickly turning into a crush on The Boy Who Knew the Color Code. This moment was a small slice of paradise within the tumultuous sea that had become her life. McKenna decided she wouldn’t have any trouble playing the part of a young couple roaming the streets of Paris, and she was actually looking forward to some real alone time with Luke. Minus the fact that they would be chasing the bad guys by then and probably wouldn’t have time to delve into deep discussion about love languages or super-heroes. At least if all went well – meaning they all live through this – they would have another 10-hour flight back to Artichoke.

Although her body probably needed the sleep, her brain and heart begged her to continue talking to Luke. When he came back from getting crème sodas from the mini bar, McKenna decided it was about time to answer his first question.

“So, when you asked hours ago what color I was… I never answered, but you probably already guessed.” She paused for dramatic effect.  “I’m a blue.  I’m the one that just loves everyone.” McKenna gave him a simpering smile and a pat on the knee. “Your turn. What color are you?”

Luke smiled and covered her hand with his own, “I’m a white. I’m the one that tries to make it work even when all the odds are against us.”

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