As a child, Ruby was a one ponytail tomboy. In contrast, Pearl and Opal were girly-girls wearing two or more ponytails in their hair and lots of colorful ribbons. Sadly, those basic differences kept them from getting as close as she desired back then. Over the years they all stopped trying. As a result, she seldom felt her sisters’ love, only their tolerance.
Things were slightly different with her parents. Ruby could feel their love through the things they did for her. Yet she also felt their disappointment. Not just because of the shameful things she’d done lately, but simply for the fact that she wasn’t born a boy.
Ruby was Mama Hudson’s last attempt to have a son. She had a miscarriage at the beginning of her marriage and then two children by C-section after that. Each child had been a girl.
When Mama Hudson became pregnant a fourth time, the doctors advised her to stop there. Back then three C-sections were the recommended number for any woman to ensure the safety of both mother and child. Which meant no more children for Mama and Papa Hudson. Which also meant that Ruby was the end of the road for them when it came to bearing children.
Realizing early on in life that the only way to win her parents’ love was to be what they wanted her to be, Ruby went out of her way to behave like a boy. She found it pretty easy to do considering the fact that she felt more comfortable in jeans than she did a skirt, enjoyed all kinds of sports, and actually liked working on cars.
Ruby became so good with cars that her father gave her a job at his tire and repair shop at the age of sixteen. While other girls were busy dating and going on hay rides with their fellas, she was busy under the hood of a car. Over time she became better than any mechanic Papa Hudson had at the shop.
Moreover, Ruby could change a tire faster than any man in town. That was proven every year at the spring fair. Hudson Tire & Repair’s booth came with a challenge entitled ‘Change a tire faster than my daughter and get four new tires free’. They hadn’t given away a free set of tires yet.
Each year business at the shop increased directly after the fair. Most of the post-fair customers were new men to the area who were trying to get another look at the beautiful mechanic phenomenon known as Ruby Dee Hudson. Others were women who admired her spunk and wanted to applaud her success by having their oils changed or their cars tuned up by her.
Though Ruby still went out of her way to please her family, they couldn’t seem to get over that one thing she did in college. If that wasn’t enough, some people in town, most of the male persuasion, refused to let her live down that DVD. Even now she often heard the phrase ‘country gal gone wild’, whenever she passed certain men on the street.
Ruby was able to cope for the most part because of her friendship with Dior Thompson. Dior had been very accepting of her no matter what she did and vice versa. Unfortunately, Dior had also been in the military and wasn’t able to remain in Blue-eyed Hollow for very long. When he died last year in a combat situation overseas, she was devastated all over again, yet in a different way.
If anything positive came out of Dior’s death it was Ruby’s decision to start living her life the way she wanted to. It had become extremely tiresome trying to redeem herself in everybody’s eyes anyway, so she just stopped. However, out of respect for her family, she stayed out of any real trouble and only let her wild side loose when she was outside of hometown city limits. Out of respect for herself, she kept her drinking to a minimum and chose her men more wisely.
Through her frequent trips to neighboring nightclubs, Ruby eventually paired up with two other Blue-eyed Hollow rejects – Peggy Lee and Nancy. They were known for being on the wild side themselves, so it was easy to assimilate among them. The fact that they were also deemed non-marriage material by many in their hometown made them prime pickings as friends in her book.
Though Ruby hadn’t been around the block nearly as much as Peggy Lee and Nancy, she saw no reason to inform them or anyone else otherwise. She liked having her friends think that she was on their same level in every way. It made for smoother friendships with them and gave her a sense of belongingness.
As for that promiscuous reputation she garnered from her past actions, it served its purpose, as well. It kept eligible bachelors from trying to hitch up with her. All except for one – Logan. But Ruby wasn’t about to marry him no matter how many brownie points he’d earned with her father over the years.
Thinking about Peggy Lee and Nancy now caused Ruby to look down at her watch. Ten more minutes had passed. They would be calling to check on her soon. What am I going to tell them? She had to think of a good lie.
I know. I’ll tell them that Gavin turned out to be another dud, Ruby decided, reminded of the first guy she ever dared to have a one-night-stand with. His name was Larry. She called him Lame Larry.
Lame Larry climaxed within a minute of intercourse, leaving her dissatisfied and lacking fulfillment. When it took too long for him to recharge his battery, she made up some excuse and went home. Lame Larry was never called again. Neither were any of his calls answered.
Yeah, telling them that Gavin was a dud, too, will keep Nancy from going after him again, Ruby mused, suddenly feeling very territorial over the good doctor.
Smiling at her genius, she proceeded to start up her red jeep.
Just then, someone knocked on the driver’s side window.
“Sheesh!” Ruby exclaimed in fright. She instantly pressed down hard on the gas, causing her toes to ache in protest as she made a fast getaway. She left her gun at home and wasn’t in the mood to fight an attacker, so she had to flee.
As the car surged forward, Ruby looked back in her rearview mirror to get a good look at her would-be assailant. When she recognized who’d been knocking at her window, she pressed the brake pedal just as hard as she had the gas. Again, her bare toes protested. The front tires screeched to a halt in their own form of protest.
Ruby rolled down the window and looked out. “Gavin?”
“In the flesh.” He grinned.
Ruby’s heart leaped in her chest at that gorgeous smile. She quickly put the car in reverse and backed up in a smooth straight line that only those with certain vehicular skills could attain at such speed. Everything in her wanted to get back to that delicious-looking brown sugar man posthaste.
(c) 2014 by Mi'Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier
(c) 2014 by Mi'Chelle Dodson/Suprina Frazier