The Ten Things I Love about You

Summary: Ruth isn't good at expressing her feelings. But she is good at making lists. Rated K+ for femslash.

Author's Note: I don't own Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe... but I'd love to go there someday. :(


"Did you like it?" Her voice was calm, with excited undertones as she wrung out the dishtowel for a third time.
"Oh Idgie, it was perfect!" Earlier this morning, Ruth had found a vase of flowers, red and golden wildflowers, to be exact, sitting on her night-table, with the following poem attached.

Roses may be red And violets may be blue But not of these damned flowers Can ever compare to you Happy Birthday!
Your Bee Charmer

Ruth had promptly flung off the covers, snatched up the poem, and run downstairs in her nightgown just to see Idgie. When she found her in the living room ironing a pair of pants, she flung her arms around the blonde, nearly toppling her over. Idgie almost dropped the iron, and Sipsey came running in with Buddy Jr. After the previously mentioned exchange took place, the four sat down to a wonderful breakfast of Ruth's favorite-- blackberry pancakes. Buddy Jr, aged two, flung food everywhere, and Idgie stayed behind to help clean up after him while Ruth headed over to the Cafe.

While Ruth had a few solitary moments to herself, behind the shop counter, she put down the broom and took out the feather-quill they used for marking down expensive receipts. It hadn't been used in a week. She tried to write a poem.

You're a great friend "Great, now what rhymes with friend?" She thought bitterly. "End, mend, send, lend... none of these work! Scratch that, then"
You make me smile "No, that's far too cheesy!" She ripped the paper in half, then in fourths, eighths, and sixteenths. Then she cast the pieces into the fire.

Ruth had to admit: she was hopeless at writing poetry. But, she contemplated thoroughly and matter-of-factly, "I can write lists. But what good is that in love!?" She was nearly about to give up, when she put pen to paper in a last final attempt.

The Ten Things I Love about You

1. The way your eyes sparkle when you know a secret, and how you bite your lip to keep from telling me.
(She always told in the end. Idgie couldn't keep a secret)
2. How I can always depend on you, even when I don't expect a miracle. Like that day when you came to get me from Frank's house. That house was hell, and yours is heaven.
3. The tenderness you show to Buddy Jr, as though he was your child -- no-- he IS your child, too. You've got just as much claim to him as I do.
4. The surprises you bring to my life... those nights when I have no idea where we'll end up at daybreak.
(There hadn't been so many of those since the Cafe opened, but every now and then, on a Friday's eve, Idgie would surprise Ruth as was her custom)
5. The way you look at me when you think nobody's watching, and how I'm sometimes lucky enough to catch those glances.
(Needless to say, this note was a private one)
6. The sweetness you show. You think you've got everyone fooled into thinking you're a tough and rumbling tomboy, Idgie Threadgoode, but I have my suspicions that there might be a real lady hiding inside you.
7. You're such a comfort whenever we're in danger. If I had to choose between you and a whole Army battalion, I'd choose you, because I know you'd never leave Buddy and me.
8. The way you're not afraid of what people think of you. I used to think that was one of your faults, but now I see how far that mentality has gotten you, and I envy you of that.
9. The passion and zeal you've brought into my life. It's not just your crazy antics, but every cause you take. I didn't question the place of the Negro in society before you came, and now I see them as people of equal standing.
10. Last but certainly not least, I love the way you love me. I've loved you since that summer I finally convinced you to spend some time with me. I love your stubbornness, your non-conformity, your nonsense, your tall tales, your vices like drinking and gambling! I love your smile, your laugh, your face even when it's stained with tears, your voice. Mostly, I love you, Idgie Threadgoode.

Ruth set the pen down shakily. She'd been writing so fast and so furiously she hadn't noticed another person entering the Whistle Stop. Hadn't even felt another person's presence right behind her.
"Whatcha writin', Ruthie"
"A list, just a list." It was no good. Idgie would hear the lie in her voice.
"A list of what"
"Well... well... it's a list of..." At that moment, Sipsey came through the door, carrying Buddy Jr, who was squalling for his mother. Saved! "Oh, baby, come here, precious!" She took him into her arms. But when she went back behind the counter, the list was gone, and Idgie had already begun to set out napkins and silverware for the first morning customers.
Ruth gave up, and went to take orders. "A piece of blueberry pie for you? And a coffee? Will that be all, gentlemen? Thank you."

It wasn't until much later, around 2:00, when the Cafe finally slowed. There was nobody in the booths, and only Smokey at the bar. Idgie poured him a glass of Scotch, and he blessed her, the poor dear. Ruth sat down beside him and asked him if he wanted her to read to him. He loved hearing her read the Psalms. So she opened her bible to Psalm 92, and read aloud. "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High"
Idgie stopped washing dishes to listen for a moment, and became mesmirized by the voice.
"To proclaim your love in the morning, your faithfulness at night." As she read on, Idgie was envious of her easy ability to sort out the letters on the page as if they were mere trifles. It would have taken Idgie nearly a whole minute to read those two sentences. A poem like the one she'd written yesterday took her nearly twenty minutes. Perhaps that was why Ruth valued it so much, she reflected bitterly. "If only I'd stayed in school." Ruth was teaching Idgie some, but an hour here and there wasn't a very good educative practice.

"Idgie! Imogene!" That woke her from a daydream, for sure. "Are you alright? You were just looking out the window. Come on, there's work to be done." Then she paused for a moment, as though unsure if she wanted to continue. "And, Idgie, have you seen that list I made this morning? I do declare, it just walked off on me!" She laughed nervously. Idgie crossed her arms and leaned back on her heels.
"Nope, ain't seen it, Ruthie. Why can'tcha make another"
Ruth was hedged in. "Yes, I suppose I'll have to. Thanks anyway, Idgie"
And they returned to their separate tasks.

It was late at night, and Idgie still had the oil lamp lit in her bedroom. Ruth saw the light under her door and went to stand beside it. From inside she heard a faint sound. Then again... she listened closely.
"That. h-house... was. hell. and. yours. is. h-heaven." Ruth stood petrified. So she did have the note! She clutched her throat involuntarily, struggling to remember what had come before that. What was number one? Well, no matter, she remembered what came next. Slowly, cautiously, she turned the old door handle, and pushed ever-so-slightly on the wood. It slid open without a sound, and the next minute she was standing in the room, and Idgie was laboring over a word.
"The. t-ten tender tenderness! you. show. Buddy Jr. as. t-though. he. was. your. child." Idgie's voice became thick with tears. But, out of the darkness, another voice continued for her. "No. He is your child, too. You've got just as much claim to him as I do." It was Ruth! Idgie would have known that voice among a thousand others.
"Number four. The surprises you bring to my life... those nights when I have no idea where we'll end up by daybreak"
Ruth walked closer and closer, now she stood beside Idgie, and placed her hand on the blonde's shoulder. "Number five." Idgie read a little. "The. way. you. look. at. me. when. you. t-think. n-nobody's. watching." Ruth picked up, "And how I'm sometimes lucky enough to catch those glances"
Idgie and Ruth continued to read the note, until "Number ten. Last. but. c-certainly. not. least, oh Ruthie you read it, it's too long." There was hunger in Idgie's voice. Ruth knelt beside her and read in her strong, sweet voice. "I love the way you love me. I've loved you since that summer I finally convinced you to spend some time with me." She looked up at Idgie's face, the picture of delight. "I love your stubbornness, your non-conformity, your nonsense, your tall tales, your vices like drinking and gambling!" They laughed together. "I love your smile, your laugh, your face even when it's stained with tears, your voice." And Idgie surprised her again. She might not have been the best reader, Ruth would reminisce later, but she was a damn good kisser. When they finally parted, Ruth began the last line, but Idgie beat her to it.
"Mostly," "I love you, Ruth Jamison."


Author's Note: If you liked it, or hated it, please review. Join the review revolution!