The Arrangement

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Coincidence

“Hello, Elizabeth!” Ryan said as he sat down in his chair next to Elizabeth.

“What are you doing on this plane? Is this my father’s doing?” Elizabeth asked across the aisle.

“Uh, no. Not at all. It’s just a weird coincidence.”

“Oh, really? Then why are you going to Paris?”

“To uh, meet a buyer for my parents’ house. He saw the news I was selling the house and wanted to buy an American home. He bought me a ticket out to Paris to discuss the exchange. I guess he wanted to meet in person before he bought it.”

Elizabeth stared into Ryan’s deep green eyes, “I believe you for now, but if I get one hint that my Father set this all up, I will for sure not talk to him till the end of time.”

“So, your Father, let you out of Gate then?” Ryan asked, settling into his chair.

“Finally. Strange behavior for him, so that’s why I’m suspicious.”

“Well, no need to worry yourself about that during your trip because this is all a silly coincidence.”

“Well, don’t get your hopes up that will fall for each other in the City of Love,” Elizabeth said as she shoved earbuds in her ears, and started playing a song on her phone.

“I won’t,” Ryan said to himself, resting back into the seat.

The whole plane was dark when Elizabeth awoke from her catnap. She looked around, dazed. Dim lights stopped the total darkness. Elizabeth gazed over at Ryan. He laid, reclined, sleeping. Something in Elizabeth made her climb out of her bed. She scuffled over the aisle in her slippers. Elizabeth hovered over Ryan. She scavenged for his wallet, note pad, phone, anything that might show that Mark had a role in this coincidence.

Elizabeth kept looking for a while. Checking ever so often that the Flight Attendants wouldn’t see her quietly riffling through Ryan’s stuff. Elizabeth finally found Ryan’s leather wallet tucked away in his cabin.

Elizabeth tiptoed back to her bed and began investigating. Ryan stuffed all sorts of things into the different slots. Elizabeth checked every pouch, crack, and zipper. In the last slot, Elizabeth stumbled on a folded piece of paper. She opened it up to show faint writing, ‘Meet at the bookcase’. She didn’t recognize it as her father’s handwriting, so she quickly placed it back in and returned it to its owner.

“I guess Ryan was right,” she whispered to herself as she snuggled back into her bed.

Elizabeth only got an hour of sleep before the plane began to shake. Elizabeth immediately woke up, startled. Her breath became rapid. The plane jittered again. Elizabeth was the only restless one, panicking. Her nerves started to take over her hands. She wanted someone to cling too for her last moments. Elizabeth jumped up as the plane bumped up and down. She pushed on Ryan’s arm impatiently.

“Hmmm, what?” He said sleepily.

“Ryan, we’re going to die,” Elizabeth said, hurrying on to his bed.

Ryan sat up, “What?”

“The plane, it's shaking crazily.”

“You mean turbulence?”

“No, like plane crash kind of shaking.”

The plane shook again, Ryan said “Oh, this is nothing, Elizabeth. No need to worry, I’ve been through worse.”

“Really?” Elizabeth grew pale at the thought.

“Now, go back to bed, you’ll be fine.”

“But what if I’m not?!”

“Okay, okay. Do you want to stay here or something?”

“Please, I’m scared to death right now,” Elizabeth’s face showed true distress.

Ryan let out a little huff, “Fine. I’ll stay up with you till the turbulence goes away.”

“Thank you, Ryan.”

Ryan grabbed a blanket for Elizabeth and tried to make her comfortable.

“Feeling better now?” Ryan asked.

“Less pale.”

“Talking helps me when there is bad turbulence. It gets your mind off the jiggling of the plane.”

“Makes sense.”

“Here, let’s play a game. We go back and forth, asking questions. The first person who can’t answer a question or responds, ‘I don’t know’, loses.”

“Sounds fun, I’m in,” Elizabeth said, relaxing a little. “I’ll start. Um, where are all the places you visited in the world?”

“Almost all around the U.S. and been to Australia, United Kingdom, Paris multiple times and a couple of African cities. My father made lots of deals across the States and other nations. I stopped traveling after he and my mother died, until now.”

“That must be really hard, losing both of your parents.”

“Yeah, but let’s move off of that gloomy topic. It’s time for my question. What is your favorite color, and why?”

“I never thought about that.”

“Really?”

“Well, it never crossed my mind to pick a favorite color.”

“Wow, that was an easy game,” Ryan laughed.

Elizabeth yawned a little, “Oh, stop it.”

“Oh, now I’m boring, eh?”

Elizabeth giggles, and laid back on the plane wall. The turbulence had stopped and in seconds her eyes were shut, asleep.

Elizabeth's eyes burned from the light beaming through the windows. She rubbed her face, trying to wipe away her sleepiness. She sat up in her bed and looked across the aisle to see Ryan’s seat empty. Chatter filled the plane. Elizabeth peeked through the window to see land in the distance.

“Hey, sleepyhead,” Ryan said, walking up behind Elizabeth.

Elizabeth turned around, “Hey, Ryan. I’m surprised I was able to fall asleep with all the turbulence.”

“Well, you need the rest because we are about to land in Paris in an hour or two.”

Elizabeth uncontrollably smiled, “I haven’t, even though about what I should do!”

“No need to worry, I can be your tour guide.”

“But you have that meeting with that guy who wants to buy your house.”

“He can wait.”

The rest of the ride was steady until the plane had to land. Elizabeth tensed up with every thump and was on the brink of screaming. When the aircraft came to a halt, Elizabeth finally felt safe. She followed the experienced Ryan through the airport. She came up to receive her bag, and that when it dawned on her that she would have to carry the behemoth of a bag.

“Ryan,” Elizabeth called, “Can you carry my bag?”

Ryan grabbed his small suitcase off the belt, “You want me to carry that?” Ryan looked at the scarily large suitcase.

“Please, I just got a manicure,” Elizabeth stared sadly into Ryan’s eyes.

“Fine,” he said, grunting as he flung the mass off the belt.

Elizabeth looked fabulous as she walked out of the airport. Her black blouse was tucked into her gray pants, synched at the waist with a silver belt. Her blonde bob waved in the wind as she adjusted her dark shades.

“Ryan, hurry up, I only have a week to see all the sights of Paris.”

Ryan sluggishly made it out of the doors, dragging Elizabeth’s bag in one hand and rolling his suitcase in the other, “A little help?”

“Oh, okay,” Elizabeth freed one hand off of her mini black tote to grab on to Ryan’s suitcase.

“Now, to the hotel!” Elizabeth ordered, clicking away in her white boots to the nearest cab.

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