Ruby settled into a seat at her favorite Cleavertown club – Indulgence. Peggy Lee and Nancy were with her. They were at their favorite northern booth with their three favorite drinks in front of them.
Ruby and Peggy Lee bought their own long island iced teas. Nancy, the cheapskate of the bunch, got one of her male admirers to buy her a rum & coke. All he got in return was Nancy’s cell phone number. Then he was discreetly shooed away for the evening so that she could keep her options open. Wide open.
“Ooo…that cute new dentist just walked in the joint,” Peggy Lee said from her place beside Ruby on the left side of the booth. “They say his name is Dr. Sweetwater.”
Ruby followed her gaze to the right. This wasn’t her first time hearing about Dr. Gavin Sweetwater due to the local gossip mill. Yet it was her first time seeing him on account of the fact that she didn’t have any cavities or other dental concerns and thus had no legitimate reason to visit his office.
Looking at Dr. Sweetwater now, Ruby almost wished she did have a cavity. The handsome Native-American man was quite a sight to see with his brown sugar complexion, muscular body, neck-length black silky hair, slightly cleft chin, and strong masculine features. From the gossip mill, Ruby already knew that he was thirty years old, single, and with no children. Those vitals screamed eligible bachelor around these parts.
“I think his name should be Dr. Sweetcheeks on account of that cute tush he got,” Peggy Lee continued, revealing what part of the man’s body she liked the most.
Ruby laughed. “He does look kinda tasty.” She licked her full lips, not behaving so demure now as her wild side emerged among kindred spirits. Her current outfit was nowhere near demure either. The orange crisscross halter top, matching mini-skirt, and sexy orange and white boots screamed, ‘Wild child in full effect!’ Those gray sweat pants and shirt she’d worn at home to hide her voluptuous curves had been quickly discarded at Peggy Lee’s house.
On the other side of the booth, Nancy rolled her eyes. She didn’t bother to look in Dr. Sweetwater’s direction. “I think he should be called Dr. Stiffwater instead. At my last appointment, I did everything I could to get a rise out of him. Wore my tightest jeans and my lowest cut blouse. Nothing came of that visit except some really nice bleached teeth. I could have been a man sitting in that chair for all he cared.”
Ruby chuckled and turned back around. “Maybe that’s what the good doctor prefers – a man,” she said, reminding them that some homosexual men looked very masculine in appearance. Her best guy friend Dior had been muscle packed and yet he’d been completely sold out to the gay lifestyle. “Darn shame if he does though.” She turned back in Dr. Sweetwater’s direction. “A girl could have lots of fun with a fine brown frame like that.” She licked her lips again.
Peggy Lee’s eyes widened. “You think he’s gay?” she whispered as she turned to face them again. Her long dark hair swung upon her shoulders when she snapped her head around.
“Could be.” Ruby faced forward again. “How many straight men we know willingly turn down blondes?” As a person who’d had a gay man as a close friend, she knew some of the signs to look for. As the only redhead in the bunch, she’d seen plenty of men prefer Nancy over her and Peggy Lee simply because Nancy was blonde. As someone with two blonde older sisters, Ruby was used to that kind of thing by now. Over time she learned to appreciate her red-headedness and ignore those that didn’t.
“Maybe he’s one of the few men that don’t prefer blondes. Maybe he likes redheads or even brunettes,” Peggy Lee suggested with hopeful eyes.
Ruby smiled at her friend’s unwillingness to let go of her crush on Dr. Sweetwater. She understood that reluctance, though she didn’t embrace it. They were all fast approaching thirty. Peggy Lee wanted to be married and with at least one child by the time she reached the big 3-0. Nancy wanted to be married yesterday to keep from turning out like her mother, who was still the mistress of a married man in town after twenty years.
To the other extreme, Ruby didn’t want a husband at all. Not if it meant trying to fit into yet another pre-conceived role. She was filling enough of those already. She just wanted to be free, free to be herself, free to go anywhere and do anything she pleased…when she pleased.
Right now, Ruby wanted to find out what Dr. Sweetwater’s preferences were, sexual or otherwise. “Well, girls, there’s only one way to find out what the man likes.” She stood to her feet.
“Where are you going?” Nancy asked, lighting up yet another cigarette. Her chain smoking was the main reason her teeth had to endure constant bleaching.
“I’m going to ask the man to dance, rub up against him a little, and see if I can get some type of rise out of him. If he likes women, I’ll know.” Ruby grinned mischievously. “If he asks me for my phone number later, then we’ll all know that he’s just not into blondes. But first let me take this to the head.” She picked up her glass and slowly downed her drink to give her that extra boost of courage that she needed. Experience taught her that drinking alcohol too fast could cloud her thinking just as fast.
“Hot dog!” Peggy Lee chuckled. “I love how spontaneous you are, girl. I wish I’d thought of that.”
“You need a bigger brain to think of things like that, honey,” Nancy replied sarcastically. Inhaling, she pulled the nicotine deep into her lungs before slowly blowing it out again.
“Oh, hush up, Nancy. Just ‘cause you got better grades than me in high school, don’t mean you smarter than me. Specially since some of them classes you passed had a lot to do with how short your mini-skirts were,” Peggy Lee reminded her. “I’ll have you know that I scored the highest on my beauty school exams. Besides, Ruby graduated from a four-year college and everything and she still ended up working as a mechanic in her father’s shop.”
True…unfortunately, Ruby thought, fighting not to choke on resentment as she continued to empty her tall glass.
“Ruby had no choice but to come back to work for her father,” Nancy replied. “Her mama and sisters don’t know anything about cars or tires. And those brothers-in-law of hers don’t have the book smarts to handle the business side of things. They would’ve let the place go under after Papa Hudson got sick if it hadn’t been for Ruby stepping in.”
Also true, Ruby thought.
“You, on the other hand, ain’t qualified to do nothing but fix hair,” Nancy continued in that same snappy tone.
Not true! Peggy Lee is just smart in a different way, Ruby thought, finishing what was left of her drink.
Peggy Lee sucked her teeth and folded her arms across her small bosom, which was much perkier after Ruby gifted her a large box of wonder bras for her last birthday. “I’m gonna remember that when you need your hair done again. And for your information, all that hair fixing I do bring in more bucks than that secretarial job you got down at that lawyer’s office.”
“I’m sorry, Peggy Lee. I didn’t mean no harm,” Nancy said, quickly trying to make amends. They’d been friends since grade school, much longer than they’d been friends with Ruby. Nancy clearly didn’t want to mess that up. She definitely didn’t want to mess up her long-standing free hair appointment.
“Didn’t sound like it to me. But I forgive you anyway ‘cause I know you’re just mad about getting rejected by Dr. Sweetwater,” Peggy Lee replied. “You’ve been in a bad mood ever since he walked in the door.”
Ruby watched Nancy open her mouth and close it right back without making a sound as their brunette friend revealed where her true intelligence was. For all those C’s and D’s Peggy Lee got in high school, when it came to evaluating people’s feelings, she qualified for straight A’s.
“What’s the matter, secretary? Cat got your tongue?” Peggy Lee teased with a forgiving smile.
Nancy smiled, despite herself. “I told you I’m a par-a-le-gal,” she replied, putting a fancy name on the job her mother helped her to get with a long-term lover.
Peggy Lee rolled her eyes. “What-ev-ver.”
“Y’all pretty heifers done fighting?” Ruby chuckled, sitting her empty glass down on the table.
“Yep,” they said in unison with wide grins.
“Good. Now hush up and watch me get Dr. Sweetwater to buy me another drink,” Ruby said, waving goodbye to them before heading across the room.
© 2014 by Mi’Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier