A Changed Lock Chapter 14: The Color Blue

Submitted by Damaris Ann on Wed, 02/07/2018 - 23:56

Miles pulled out onto the highway. "So," he cleared his throat. "Do you feel up to chatting a little bit? I'm used to talking to Gramps while I drive, and it would help me stay alert if you don't mind."
"Sure," Jules said. "I don't mind at all." She slipped her converse off and pulled her feet up into her seat and hugged her knees against herself.
Miles smiled, his eyes warming into soft creases at each corner. "What are some of your hobbies?"
"I like to paint, draw, read, and listen to music. And take long walks. What about you?"
"Wait, you paint?"
"Yes, I do."
"What types--well, this might be a silly question, but what style do you paint?"
"That's not a silly question at all. I paint scenery pieces for the most part, but I've done a few portraits, too."
"Do you sell any of your pieces?"
"Yes. There's a coffee shop in downtown Dallas that displays them. The owner and I have known each other for a while now, and she's very kind in letting me sell from her shop."
"That's really neat."
"Yeah. So, what are your hobbies?"
"You'll laugh."
"Try me." Jules grinned.
"I have two hobbies; one super typical and cliché hobby, and then an odd one that nobody can ever guess. Well, and then there's a third, but it's semi-normal." He stopped talking and glanced at her, a twinkle in his hazel eyes.
"...are you wanting me to guess?"
"Okay. Here goes nothing: you like to work out and write poetry. And read."
Miles' jaw dropped. "What? How did you know?"
"Well, you mentioned some authors you liked during lunch, and one of them was a poet. And then pretty much all guys like to work out, so that's typical." Jules laughed. "If you didn't write poetry I was going to guess baking."
Miles burst into laughter. "Oh goodness, no. I don't bake."
"Don't, or can't?"
"Don't. Afraid to try for fear it would be 'can't'."
"Eh. Baking can be pretty fun. But messy, too." She laughed again. "I still can't believe I guessed right."
Miles smiled. "Me neither. So...back to your art." He grinned. "What are some of your favorite scenes to paint?"
"Well, I love to paint trees. I also love to paint sunsets and sunrises, as well as ocean scenes. But trees are definitely my favorite to paint as well as draw."
"Do you have any particular messages or themes that you try to weave into your art?"
"Yes, I actually do. I like to catch moods and character traits in my paintings. For instance, I painted an orchard of apple trees, and my theme was delight. I tried to catch that feeling with different colors. I have the painting at the house... I can show it to you if you'd like."
"I'd love that. Have you studied the symbolism behind each color?"
Jules smiled. "Oh yes, I have. Have you?"
"On a very small scale. I tend to think of people and their moods in terms of colors."
"Same here! And I think you're the color blue."
"Remind me, what are some of the characteristics of blue?"
"Loyalty, reduces stress, intelligence, soothing, reflection, trust, and tranquility."
Miles nodded thoughtfully. "Thank you." He drove on silently for several minutes, the quiet only broken by an occasional honk or the impatient diesel truck roaring past them. After several moments of mutual thoughtfulness, he spoke up again. "As cliché as it may sound, I think you're the color pink. The qualities I can remember are femininity, empathy, intuitiveness, nurturing, fun, and compassion. And warmth."
Jules smiled, pushing a stray bit of hair away from her face. "Thank you. That's very kind of you to say."
"You're welcome."
They sat very quietly for several minutes. Jules stared out the window, desperately trying to find another topic of conversation. She coughed. "Umm, so, how long have you lived with your grandpa?"
"Nearly ten years. My parents died when I was seventeen, and he took me in. Poor guy had to deal with all of my anger, frustration, and teenage rebellion all by himself."
"I'm so sorry about your parents. I know what it's like, going without them for so long. I'm so blessed to have my dad in my life now, though."
Miles voice was quiet, soothing. "How old were you when you moved in with Duncan?"
"He adopted me right before I turned six. I had been bounced around between a bunch of different foster homes up until that point. Some of the families, well, they weren't the best situations. One set of my foster parents ended up in jail for--for mistreating me. I was scared of Grandad for the first several months." Jules stared off through her window, her voice quiet and even. "I'd just hide in the corner of my room. Anyways, he's been amazing, and I'm so thankful for him."
"Wow." Miles gripped the steering wheel firmly. His jaw was clinched, and his words came out strained, yet still gentle. "What monsters. I'm so sorry you had to go through all of that, and at such a young age."
Jules turned away from the window and smiled. "It's part of who I am today. It makes me more grateful for the life I have than I otherwise would have been. Besides, I have parents again. At least, I have Dad, and I know where my mother is. And then there's Dad's wife. I can't wait to meet her."
"Is she coming down to visit?"
"They're moving here soon. I've got a little sister, too."
Miles' face lit up. "Aww! Really? How old is she?"
"I think Dad said she's two. I can't wait to play with her! I've always wanted siblings."
"That's really cool. Say, have you met Charlie Houser? At church?"
Jules smiled at the sudden change in conversation. "I don't think so. Why?"
"He's my best friend. The brother I never had."
"Ah," Jules understood.
"I'll have to introduce you to him next week; I think you'd get along."
"I'd like that. Was he at church today?"
"Nope. He's been out of town for the last two weeks. I believe he's been visiting family in California."
She nodded. "That's really cool. I've always wanted to go to California. I'd love to paint some of the beaches there."
Miles glanced at her with a smile, and nodded thoughtfully. "I've never been there myself, but I hear it's really beautiful. So, you said you like to listen to music?"
"Yes. Do you?"
"Oh yes. What genre? Or, genres?"
"Pretty much anything and everything. But I like stuff I can sing along to the very best."
"Same here. Would you mind if I turn on the country station?"
"Not at all." Jules laughed. "As long as you don't mind me singing along."
"Go right ahead. I'll probably sing along, too."
He turned the dial on the radio until the music came out clear and clean. Brett Eldredge's voice crooned out of the speakers.
"Oh," Jules paused her singing, "do you like jellybeans?"
"Jellybeans," she repeated, stretching her voice to reach above the music. "The candy. I have some in my bag."
"Oh, yeah, I love them."
Jules reached behind her for her backpack and pulled out the container of candy. "Here," she poured a few into his hand. "They're all different flavors. I'm a bit of a jellybean junkie."
"Same here. The fruitier they are, the better they taste." He popped a few into his mouth.
They filled up the rest of their time in the car together with music and singing. They both collectively sighed a little once Miles pulled up to Jules's house.
Jules reluctantly released her seatbelt and reached for her purse. "Thank you so much for the ride. I appreciate it so much."
"Any time." Miles reached into the back seat for her bag.
Jules paused at the front of the steps and turned around to look back at him. "Would you still like to see my painting?"
"I would," Miles hesitated. "That is, if you don't mind."
"Not at all."
Jules unlocked the door and flicked a switch. She blinked a little at the flood of light. "I'll run upstairs and grab it. Feel free to sit down, or grab a glass of water in the kitchen. Glasses are in the cabinet above the toaster."
"Thanks." Miles walked into the kitchen and groped around a bit for the light switch. "Ah, there it is." He had just filled his glass with water when Jules reappeared.
"This is it." She held the painting up for him to see.
"Wow," Miles looked genuinely impressed. "This is really good, Jules. I love how you sort of blur all of the colors together. It really does give off a feeling of delight."
"Thank you." She blushed with pleasure. "I love painting scenes like this."
"What's the name of that shop where you sell your pieces?"
"Cat's Corner."
Miles chuckled. "Interesting name. It sounds really neat."
"It is a very unique place." Jules moved to fill her own glass with water and ice. "The owner is pretty eccentric, but she's also very kind. She puts you at ease right away."
Miles leaned easily against the edge of the island. "People like that are great."
"Yeah, they are." Jules took another sip of her water. She shook the glass and thoughtfully watched the ice settle. "So..." she trailed off, looking at the floor. Miles didn't speak up, either, so a few moments passed silently. "Umm, sorry, I'm such an awkward conversationalist." She laughed. "What do you do for work?"
"You're totally fine." Miles grinned and spun his glass in a slow circle on the counter next to him. "I'm a political journalist. I also work as a personal trainer three days a week."
Jules nodded calmly, hoping frantically that she didn't look too impressed. "Do you enjoy writing?"
"For the most part. It can be really stressful writing for work, though. I'd eventually like to write a book. I might stop journaling and try to write books full-time. We'll see."
"That's so neat. What genre would you write?"
"Probably mystery. And then I'd eventually publish a book of poetry." He winked.
"Mm. I'd read either of those."
"You say that now." Miles laughed. He sighed a little and picked his glass back up. "Well, I guess I'd better head home. Gramps'll be wondering what took me so long." He carefully set his empty glass next to the sink, grinning a little and trying not to look self conscious. His grandfather would give him such a hard time about his ride with Jules. "Thanks for the water."
"You're welcome. Thanks again for the ride."
"It's no problem. I'll see you later."
"See ya." She stood in the doorway until he had pulled away. She locked the door behind her after his taillights disappeared, then walked into the kitchen to turn off the lights. She paused at the counter, looking thoughtfully at the two empty water glasses. A smile spread across her face while she thought about all of the things she and Miles had talked about. She had enjoyed his company much more than she thought she would. She flicked off the lights with a sigh and trudged upstairs. Her bed was going to feel so good.


Author's age when written


Mmmm, so Miles likes poetry...
That's pretty cool. Looking forward to more.
(I feel like I say that a ton, but I mean it every time.) :)