Author's note: Written for thenewhope's request, found here, this is a very short look at one part of Idgie and Ruth's life together.
When the screen door opened, she looked up from behind the counter. Ruth stood at the doorway, removing her hat and smoothing her hair before turning to greet one of the ladies drinking iced tea, waiting out the mid-noon heat. Idgie stilled the impulse to interrupt, to drag Ruth back to the kitchen and demand answers. Instead, she finished dishing out the pastries Sipsey brought by earlier.
Ruth passed her by, pulled an apron down off its hook and slipped it over her head before Iggy spoke. “How’d it go?” She turned to face Ruth, watching her falter tying the ribbons.
“Fine. Everything’s just fine,” she replied in her soft, lady-like voice. Idgie almost gave it up then, Ruth had that sort of power over her.
Fair brows drawn slightly, Idgie followed her into the kitchen. “Wha’d Doc say?”
In the middle of reaching for a mixing bowl, Ruth stopped and looked over her shoulder. “Everything’s just fine, Idgie.”
Not satisfied, Idgie backed off, for now. She’d just have to make a trip after supper to Doc’s and get him to spill. The door out front opened and she heard Grady calling for a cup, but still she hesitated. “Keep your shirt on!” she hollered, and continued to watch Ruth mix biscuits. Now that she’d made a decent batch or two her own self, the magic in watching the separate ingredients become something else entirely hadn’t yet waned. But then, it was Ruth doing the making.
Grady had taken a seat under the fan, and Idgie pulled up a chair. The sheriff launched into one of his stories, a minor tiff between feuding farmers that landed him in a pile of manure. A distraction from her worry, half her attention was still on the woman in the back. The unusual clatter didn’t escape her, and as soon as she could, she ushered Grady out the door.
Flour and biscuits were scattered on the floor; Ruth was sitting on the back steps, holding her head in her hands. Idgie grabbed a Coke from the cooler, and headed out the door. Dropping to the wood step, she handed the cold drink to Ruth.
“Here.” Her glance was quick, and she avoiding looking again. “When ya gonna tell me?” she asked, hardening her tone, fighting to keep the ache from her voice. Ruth’s tears didn’t help.
The bottle from taken from her hand, and a quiet steady, “thank you,” was made.
Idgie looked out over the bare patch of yard, skipped over the barbecue and toward the line of trees lining the creek. If she strained enough, she could almost hear the water flow. Off in the distance, a few lots over, she did hear the boys in the middle of a game, and wondered who was winning.
“There’s nothing to tell,” Ruth’s voice remained steady. Her drink-cooled fingers touched Idgie’s bare arm, pulling her attention back. “I will tell you.”
Her eyes searched Ruth’s face; the serenity reflected angered her. “I told you I’d be here no matter what. I ain’t running out on you.”
“No. No, Idgie.” Ruth was suddenly soothing, her hand softly stroking. “I know you wouldn’t do anything like that.”
For several minutes Idgie stared at her, let her words and her presence smooth the worry away – like she always had. Jumping to her feet, she gave a sharp nod. “Why doncha finish that Coke, and head for home. George and I can handle the evening crowd, and I’ll send Stump down with some supper.” Ruth nodded, giving her that much. “Best get back, then.” As she passed to go back inside, her hand dropped to the nearest shoulder and she squeezed it gently.
Just to the side of the doorway, Idgie watched. Ruth set the bottle on the step, and clasped her hands together tightly. Even from her angle, Idgie could see they were shaking. She wanted to go back out, demand what was wrong, and confront what was hurting her Ruth. But, for the moment, Ruth wanted this for herself; Idgie would have to let her be – for now.
“Lord,” Ruth whispered, bowing her head. “Please grant her the strength she’s going to need.”
She drew in a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Idgie’s breath caught, and she leaned a hand on the counter to hold herself upright. Ruth stood and dusted the back of her dress before bending to pick up her bottle. Without going through the diner, she walked the way home by the creek, and the cool shade the trees there offered.
It was at times like these that Idgie wished she believed. And times like these she swore she’d kick the crap out of whichever God there was for taking like that.
I do hope this fits the request!