“Ray, which one do you think looks better,” Ruby asked anxiously. She held up a tan shirt in one hand and a beige one in the other.
I scrunched my eyebrows and pretended to think, “I like the beige one, it goes perfect with your complexion.” I commented her, sitting up on her bed. She squealed excitedly and threw the beige one on the bed and proceeded to put on the tan colored shirt. I looked at her like she was crazy.
“What?” she asked when she noticed how I was staring at her.
“Why would you ask me which one I liked if you weren’t going to put it on anyway?”
She laughed out loud, going in the direction of her closet After she rambled in it for a good two minutes she held up two pairs of shoes, one black and a tan pair, “Which one?” she asked trying to hide a smile. I rolled my eyes and pointed to the red pair on the floor. She laughed and stomped her foot, “Come on Ray,” she begged bobbling her body impatiently.
“The black pair,” I said shaking my head, she was being ridiculous. All this was not necessary we were just going to the movies for crying out loud.
“In that case, I’ll put on the tan one‘s, I have a pair of pants to match these perfect,” she said laughing to herself.
“Rube, I don’t even know why you go through so much to get all dressed up, when you know he’ll love you in anything you wear.” I complained.
“I don’t know. I can’t help it. I just want to look good for him, even if we are going to the movies.” She explained, as she put her shoes on the floor next to the bed. “And besides that, I like to see his face light up when he sees me all done up. “ She then ran to her dresser, digging around. Pulling out a pair of dark brown dress pants, she threw them on without even having another pair for me to judge.
“Where exactly are we going to meet him?” I asked standing up, ready to go.
“At his house, then we are going to the movies in his car.” she turned to look at me, “That’s if you don’t mind.”
I shook my head, “The only thing I do mind, is you taking forever with everything you do. Can we go, we’re going to wind up catching a later one, slowness.”
She laughed out loud and picked up her brush, running it through her auburn hair. “You know how I am, so don’t be like that, besides you’d love me either way,” she said playfully, sticking her tongue at me through the mirror. I just rolled my eyes and smiled.
She was right.
That still did not excuse the fact that she was the slowest person in history, to ever get dressed and to never be on time for anything. She was set on seeing “The Proposal” and insisted that I attend the movie with her and her Andrew. I was not looking forward to it, but she insisted that I tag along. She truly had no idea how pleasant my night would be if she would have let me stay home. I loved to be alone. She just was one of those types of people who did not get that. Including my mom.
Let Ruby put it I needed to get out and have fun, like a normal teenager. I was no normal teenager and I surely was no normal person period. I knew watching them together would not make me feel jealous, I knew it would make me feel uncomfortable. I was not used to all the kissing and hugging and all that crap. It kind of freaked me out. When Torian used to try and attempt to kiss me, I would turn my head away and pretend to be shy. Truth was I had no idea how to kiss, let alone be affectionate to anyone. So seeing it happen in front of me would only make me feel weird. Tonight I would just have to suck it up and deal with it. I was actually looking forward to seeing this movie. It was supposed to be really good. So I hoped it would be worth my seven dollars, plus tax.
“Okay, I’m ready,” she said, walking out her room, in her eyes finally decent.
“Finally,” I groaned playfully, as I started to head for the steps down the hall.
“Oh hush up Ray, I’m not all that bad,” she wined closing her door.
I smiled, “Yes you are, I was ready a good twenty minutes before I got here,” I explained, walking down the rest of the stairs.
“I’m sorry Ray,” she said catching up with me and hugging me from behind. “I’ll try to move a bit faster in the future.” she said hugging me tightly.
I turned to look at her and she looked sad, “Aw Rube, you know I was just kidding,” I said feeling guilty.
Her face lit up instantly, “I know,” she giggled as she walked past me towards the door. I shook my head and followed, I’d give her that one and I‘d just have to get her next time.
* * *
The ride to Andrew’s was funny. Ruby told me all about the day they first met. She explained to me how she was shopping at the mall, her usual spot when they bumped into each other.
Ruby had just purchased some things and was on her way out the door. So it surprised her when the security monitors began beeping. She looked around in the bags to see what the problem was, beings that she knew she just paid for her things.
Andrew happened to be the security guard on duty in the store that night, so he stopped her. When he approached her she did not see him until he was dragging her back into the store.
I almost fell out my chair laughing when she told me the cashier had to come over and explain to him that she forgot to remove the sensory tags. The cashier had to pry Andrew’s hands from Ruby’s arm.
Ruby explained to me how she was angry and ready to hit Andrew since she knew she did nothing wrong, but couldn’t. The moment their eyes met she could not stop starring at him. All her anger for being humiliated in front of the whole store did not matter, nor did the fact that he man handled her make her angry at all.
She couldn’t explain the actual feeling she felt when they locked eyes, but she claims it was pretty intense. She told me how it was hard for her to just walk by him and pretend she didn’t notice the way she felt. She also said he would not stop staring at her.
Since then they have not gone a day without seeing each other.
I was happy for her, she deserved him. He seemed like a good guy and I was looking forward to meeting the young man that would eventually be marrying my best friend.
Pulling into the driveway I heard Ruby gasp, I looked at her and she was staring at the steps of the house. There he stood, looking handsome. I could not even get the car to a complete stop before she was out the car and running like a little kid into his arms, his smile seemed to match hers. Anyone could look at the two of them and clearly see they were in love, completely head over heels for each other.
I parked the car and got out, feeling that weird feeling again. I was a little reluctant to walk over to them. It seemed that if I went over to introduce myself I would ruin their moment, since she clearly forgot about me. His eyes never left her face and he seemed to be glowing, my stomach cramped up, this was going to be a long night. I looked at my watch and the time was six thirty-two. Our movie started in twenty-eight minutes, and the drive was fifteen.
So I walked over to them, determined to see that movie. I tapped Ruby on her shoulder and she turned but did not take her eyes off Andrew. I waved my hand in front of her face, “Um, hello, we do have a movie to catch.” I reminded her.
She finally broke his glance and looked in my direction, “I’m sorry Ray, this is Andrew,” she said grabbing his hand, “Andrew this is my bestest best friend Rayne.” she giggled lightly.
I turned to look in his direction and froze. I oddly felt drawn to him. Maybe this was the feeling Ruby felt when their eyes met, I had no idea. He looked at me in disbelief and shook his head, seeming to be trying to figure out something. His eyebrows furrowed and his lips curled up and he began to chew on the bottom one. I thought maybe he was assessing my appearance and immediately felt self conscious. I pulled my arms over the front of my body and looked at the ground.
“Hi,” I spoke softly, still looking down.
“Hey,” was his only response.
Ruby must not have noticed the exchange, because she turned in the direction of his car. “Now that the introduction is done, let’s be on our way.”
Before we could even take a step two boys came bursting out the front door of what I would assume to be Andrew’s house. They were on the porch before I could even blink. I thought I was seeing double until I realized they were twins. The only thing that distinguished them from one another was one had a short hair cut, while the other‘s was in a neat ponytail. The one with the ponytail walked down the steps his eyes focused on me in disbelief and his mouth hanging wide open, he now stood a good two inches away. I leaned back as he leaned in closer, his face possessed the same look Andrew’s did. The other one came around on my other side and stared at me as well, with the exact same expression. They both towered over me and I had to look up to see both of their faces.
I moved out from between them, not because I was afraid, only because I felt drawn to them all in a odd way. A way that a daughter would feel compelled to be close to her dad, or mom, maybe even a brother or sister. It just felt like I was surrounded by family and I was completely safe, but the feeling was stronger than normal. It was starting to really freak me out. I blinked my eyes furiously and looked in the direction of the porch. There was now a older man who looked a great deal like Andrew, who I presumed to be his dad. He made a huffing noise with his mouth and the two boys backed away from me. Their eyes never left mine as they retreated up the stairs, and onto the porch. The old man walked up to me and stared into my eyes then shook his head, a smile spreading across his lips. I smiled nervously too, not knowing what else to do.
“Who would have thought…” he started, but trailed off. I looked in Ruby and Andrew’s direction and she seemed just as confused as I did, Andrew just stared at me. “You’d better alert Kyle so they can get here as fast as they can.” he ordered one of the boys who still stood on the steps gawking at me.
One of them turned sharply for the door and bolted inside without even asking what to tell whoever Kyle was. The other seemed to be just as anxious to follow. I watched as he ran off the porch taking his shirt off in the process before darting into the backyard. Things were getting even weirder, they were stripping now.
“Dad I’ll be back in a little bit.” Andrew said glancing between me and his dad.
His dad’s face seemed unsure, “You sure you guys don’t want to stay and go another time.”
Andrew shook his head, “I promised I would sit through this,” he replied, glancing at Ruby, who’s eyes were fixed on me, “Just send Brandon and Leon to do it. Tell Skyler and Chase to go with them just in case,” he added. His dad still seemed unsure, but nodded his head, his eyes still focused on me.
Not knowing what else to do I outstretched my hand to shake Andrew’s dad hand, “I’m Rayne.”
He laughed and took my small hand into his huge one, “Nice to meet you Rayne, I’m Aaron.” I heard someone laugh and turned in Ruby’s direction, Andrew had a smile on his face. I guess laughing at my attempt to ease the awkwardness.
“Dad can we hurry and go, so we can be back sooner,” I heard Andrew say.
“Sure,” his dad surrendered, letting my hand go.
“Come on Ray,” Ruby said as her and Andrew walked to his car. I quickly followed, ducking away from Aaron’s penetrating gaze. Walking away from him I felt a sudden sense of lose, like this was where I belonged. So I stopped walking and turned back in the direction of the house, staring at it, not knowing what could be going on. Why was I feeling like this, the urge to walk back to the house was nearly impossible to resist. “Ray?” Ruby called, but I paid her no mind as I watched Aaron walk up the stairs. He turned to look in our direction when he heard Ruby call me. Our eyes met for what seemed like an eternity, his face harbored the look of a worried parent.
I felt a hand grasp my arm. It startled me so I turned around, “What has gotten into you?” Ruby asked as she pulled me to Andrew’s car. “I’m really weirded out right now, so please come on.” she urged, pulling me by my hand.
We all got into the car without a word. My breathing was a bit heavy, and I could feel my heart sink as we drove away from the house. A place I wanted to be, but could not understand why. A place that my heart told me was my home, my life, my future. My heart sank deeper into my chest as we drove away.
Ruby turned to look in Andrew’s direction, tapping her long nails on the door impatiently.
He glanced at her then looked away.
“Andrew, what was all that about!” she asked, a bit angry.
No answer, he just kept driving.
“Andrew!” she yelled at him now.
“Yes?’ he asked, his voice sounded angry.
“What the hell was that back there?” she asked getting angrier.
He just shook his head, and continued driving.
“God damn it Andrew, what the hell was that! Look at her, she’s scared to death!” Ruby was pointing to me now.
Andrew looked in my direction briefly then pulled the car over.
Ruby climbed into the back with me and wrapped her arms around my body. “Shhh, it’s okay,” she rocked me back and forth. “Don’t cry hon, it’s alright, don’t cry.” She cooed me, patting my head. “Andrew she’s shaking, what are we going to do?”
Was I crying? I placed a hand up to my eyes and felt the moisture on my face. Snickering to myself, I rubbed them away quickly. I hated crying.
I felt the door on my side open, and within seconds I was sitting on Andrew’s lap. He held me close, hugging me like a newborn baby. I immediately felt relief. My body seemed to come back together. Since he was hugging me, I felt safe again, I felt normal. I felt, complete.
Ruby’s hand still rubbed my sides, whatever parts Andrew’s huge frame did not cover. Then asked, “Rayne, are you okay?’ she asked looking like my worried mom. I nodded my head yes and relaxed in Andrew’s arms, he was so big and strong, I couldn’t help but cuddle next to him. It reminded me of the nights when my dad would rock me to sleep. “Are you sure?” She asked, seeming unconvinced.
I nodded my head again and leaned it into Andrew’s chest. “Does this mean no movie?’ I asked looking between the two of them.
They then looked between each other, ‘That’s up to you Ray, I thought you might want to go home,” she explained to me.
I shook my head, not wanting to ruin their night, “Its fine, we can still go, I want to see that movie.” My voice came out even that time.
Kudos to me.
“Okay Ray, I’ll drive,” Ruby said hopping into the driver’s seat and starting the car again. As she began to drive, I ducked my head into Andrew’s shoulder and fell asleep.
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