Unexpected tears pricked the backs of Ruby’s eyes and she didn’t like it one bit. She came over here to tantalize Gavin enough to find out what his sexual preferences were. Now she just wanted to hug him tight and sang Kumbayah while they cried over his father together.
Gavin’s obvious devotion to his father touched her in a special place. It made her feel connected to him somehow. Like him, she also put her father’s dream above her own. Unlike Gavin, Ruby’s father wasn’t dead or grateful for her sacrifice. Instead Papa Hudson acted like she owed him that level of sacrifice after what she’d done to shame the family. That she would owe him for the rest of her life.
Blinking rapidly to compose herself as Gavin courteously ordered her a glass of red wine from the top shelf, Ruby cleared her throat and forced herself to get back on track. After all, Nancy and Peggy Lee were watching her. She couldn’t let them down. It was bad enough that she abandoned her college friends. She hadn’t contacted any of them since she abruptly left school. They eventually stopped trying to contact her, as well.
“I think it’s great that you established a free dental clinic in my hometown,” Ruby told Gavin after the spiked-haired bartender filled her drink order and walked away to assist another customer. “Taking that fifty-minute ride into Cleavertown is fine when you just want to socialize like we’re doing tonight, but it’s no fun at all when your mouth is hurting.”
“I agree.” Gavin laughed, showing an adorable dimple in his left cheek.
“I had a bad toothache once when I was sixteen. One time was all it took for me to start practicing better dental care. I thought I was going to die from the pain. The only thing that remotely helped until I could get to the dentist again was clove oil.”
“Ouch! Was it a dry socket? They hurt the worse.”
“Yes, it was.” Ruby smiled, impressed by his ability to quickly and correctly assess the source of her pain. “I had a couple of wisdom teeth pulled a week before, one of the sockets dried out, and whoa, baby, the pain was intense.” She winced at just the memory of that experience.
Gavin let out a low moan at the word ‘baby’, yet he quickly recovered and stayed on topic. “Yeah, without the protective blood clot that forms during the healing process, the bone is exposed, creating a dry socket. Dry sockets cause excruciating pain and prolong healing.”
“Are you speaking from a dentist point of view or from personal experience?” Ruby took a light sip of her drink. She was two drinks away from her quota for the night, so she had to take it easy with the alcohol. Beyond that her inhibitions would drop too far. The last time she overindulged in alcohol, she ended up in the wrong type of video.
“Both. My wisdom teeth came in early, too. I had just turned fifteen. Two were impacted and had to be removed. Dad told me to take it easy for the first three days after the extraction. Stay on soft foods for a while, he said. But no, I just had to have a burger and the crispiest fries on the Burger Land menu. I paid for it later though.” He put a hand up to his right jaw, winced, and added, “In spades.”
“Sounds like you did.” Ruby chuckled, once again feeling a connection to him. She could talk to him all night. She could look at him all night, too. Him and that sweet brown sugar skin of his.
“I sure did. Now back to what you said earlier about that almost hour-long commute from here to Blue-eyed Hollow. Since there are no hotels or even motels there, I’m thinking of possibly opening one up. Maybe even a Bed n’ Breakfast. That way, I’ll have some place closer to stay during my visits and won’t have to do all this extra commuting. I fly and drive enough during the week.”
“You sound like a very busy man.”
“I am busy. Sometimes too busy. I can’t recall the last time I’ve been out on a date. Maintaining an active dental practice during the day while going to flight school in the evenings and on weekends has all but bankrupted my social life over the last two years.”
“Wow! So I guess that means you’re as single as I am, huh?”
“Yes.” Gavin smiled, looking pleased that they were both single. “Do you have any children?”
“No, siree! I have enough on my plate without that kind of added responsibility. Whenever I feel maternal, I go play with my sisters’ kids.”
Gavin laughed. “I don’t have any children either. Because I’m also an only child, I don’t have any nieces or nephews, so I spend time with the kids of my various cousins.” His eyes saddened. “Well, I used to before I decided to become Super Dude a couple of years ago and add the pursuit of a pilot’s license to my already hectic schedule.”
“You know what they say about all work and no play,” Ruby reminded him teasingly.
“Yes, which is why I recently made some changes in my schedule. Now I make it a point to take vacations at least twice a year and take at least one night off a week for myself. A night where I’m free to do nothing at all,” Gavin said. “I’ve learned that a fat bank account isn’t everything. Plus Dad made sure Mom and I never had to work again unless we wanted to, so working to make a living is no longer an incentive either.”
I hope he doesn’t go around telling everybody that he’s a rich doctor, Ruby mused, thinking about what Nancy would do with that kind of information – go crazy. Or maybe he’s just testing me again like he did when he mentioned that he was a doctor right off the rip.
“Is tonight your Me-night?” Ruby asked, choosing to ignore his last statement altogether.
“Yes.” Gavin smiled, looking pleased by her slight change of subject.
“Well then, let me help you make the most of it.” Ruby stood up. “C’mon, let’s dance.” Not waiting for an answer, she tugged him by the arm toward the dance floor. It was time to get a definite answer to the question of the hour, then head back to her friends before she became even more attached and attracted to this gorgeous man.
(c) 2014 by Mi'Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier
(c) 2014 by Mi'Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier