Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2233409-Thanks-Ray
by Kotaro
Rated: E · Short Story · Romance/Love · #2233409
First in Show Don’t Tell contest. A story of a secret love.
Ruby came out of the brick building housing the literature college with her books to her chest. My heart pressured mine, as I watched. That was as close as I had ever shared my existence with her. I wanted to help her carry those books, but that wasn’t part of the plans I had struggled to decide on.

I knew her routine and was sitting on the grass waiting for her to appear.

Down the steps and onto the concrete path she walked. Brushing the grass off my pants, I stood up and got a safe distance behind her.

Despite the short length of her red hair, it danced in the autumn wind, as her hips, under her knee length plaid skirt, swivelled. I knew that image would last forever in my mind. It was Friday, and the trees seemed drunk on the setting sun with their red and orange leaves; as drunk as I was on Ruby. What a name! I couldn’t stop repeating it like a hymn.

I had been following her for a few minutes when two coeds, one a blond the other a brunette, approached Ruby. Waving their hands in greeting, they stopped in front of her. I stood under a tree, looking up at the leaves, listened, and peeked now and then.

“...having a party at Greg’s home. Want to join us?”

Ruby paused. I nearly wished out loud that she wouldn’t say yes.

“Oh..., no, I can’t. I gotta cram for my exams.”

I let out a deep breath. The wind carried it away unheard.

The blonde joined in. “Come on, Ruby. You can cram tomorrow. Tonight, you need a break. You really do. Everyone will be there. Lots of cute guys, food, and drinks, and it’s all free!”

I prayed Ruby wouldn’t change her mind.

Ruby laughed, then frowned. “Tempting, but I really can’t. It’s just the timing. I’m sorry.”

The blonde was about to add something, but a restraining hand on her shoulder stopped her.

The brunette said, “Hey, we understand. Well, if you change your mind, look for us there.”

I silently thanked her.

Nodding, Ruby said, “Thanks, I’ll do that..., if I change my mind.”

They parted, Ruby in one direction, her friends, all the while talking and gesturing, in the other.

Great, she was going back to her dorm to study! My plans depended on discovering where she lived.

I kept my distance till she reached her dorm. I was in luck, for all the rooms had a window to the garden with trees. I waited in the gloom till the lights on her room cast my shadow behind me. I took a deep breath to summon my courage. What if she just thought me a nuisance and told me to get lost? I told myself you’ve got to change yourself before things change for you. With that thought, I pushed myself over the point of no return.

I had looked on the internet for songs with the name Ruby in it, chose one, and sung it till I knew it by heart.

I closed my eyes, pictured her face above me like an angel, and began singing.

They say, Ruby you’re like a dream
Not always what you seem
And though my heart may break when I awake
Let it be so, I only know

Ruby, it’s you

They say, Ruby you’re like a song
You just don’t know right from wrong
And in your eyes I see heartaches for me
Right from the start, who stole my heart?

Ruby, it’s you.
I hear your voice and I must come to you
I have no choice, so what else can I do?
They say, Ruby you’re like a flame
Into my life you came
And though I should beware, still I don’t care
You thrill me so, I only know

Ruby, it’s you
I hear your voice and I must come to you
I have no choice, what else can I do?-what can I do?
They say, Ruby you’re like a flame
Into my life you came
And though I should beware, still I don’t care
You thrill me so, I only know
Ruby, it’s you

I opened my eyes. Ruby was leaning out the window and smiling. She said, “That was sooo lovely. What’s your name?”

Stunned, I stood silent, for I had never liked my name.

Ruby laughed with joy. “Wait, don’t go away. I’m coming down.”

It seemed a long time, but I guess it wasn’t. She took my hand and asked, “What’s your name, sweetie?”

Her pale blue eyes and faint freckles mesmerized me, and it took a while to moisten my mouth, but finally I managed to say, “Toby.”

“Toby, your song melted my heart.”

“It’s a Ray Charles song.”

“It’s our song now, Toby.”

I smiled. “I’m glad, Ruby.”

“Well, Toby, shall we go someplace to get to know each other?”

My smile broadened. “I was hoping you’d say that.”

We went to a restaurant popular with the college bunch. We were silent for a while at first. I guess Ruby was waiting for me to take charge. Finally, she started. She told me how lonely she was away from home, how she missed her friends, how different life was in a big city, everything. Then, she started asking about me.

It was strange, in a unique kind of way, for I held nothing back. I totally trusted that no ridicule for the way I had lived my life would be in her heart. Ruby wasn’t a person I had met for the first time, nor a stranger I had known for years. Maybe, twins had this feeling, a feeling of being so comfortable with another human being.

We went to a disco in the touristy part of town with a local band and no dress code. We danced all night, yet the only song that I remember was Frankie Valii’s, My Eyes Adored You, for at the end we kissed for the first time.

Ruby was a great kisser.

She didn’t do so well on the exams though.
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