Outside Heaven


Summary: They always knew Ruthie would be different, but they were all too ignorant to possibly predict this …

After tragedy strikes the Camden family, Ruthie is terrorized by her emotions and a deep dark secret she is holding inside.

Note: I've always felt the season 11 finale had a "symbolic" meaning to it, which this story is based off of.

I'm not abandoning Rock Bottom; this is just an idea that has been circling my mind for awhile.


Chapter 1

Tragedy

A rush of anxiety and sorrow traveled through seventeen-year-old Ruthie Camden's veins as she sat with her legs spread across the bathroom toilet. Her eyes, wet and sore from crying, focused on the very bath tub her older brother had taught her to swim in. I have had many memories in this house, Ruthie sighed. I can't believe he's gone. She knew her future did not lie in this house. Nobody had mentioned their moving, but Ruthie knew it was coming; her father was no longer the minister of the Glen Oak Community Church, which meant they could no longer live in this house.

Family members and old friends would be crowding the house over the course of the following days, as the funeral would be the next day. Ruthie would have to pace along side her family into the church she had attended for seventeen years, her entire life. She would force herself to sit in a pew, next to her grieving mother and siblings, and listen to her sister, Lucy, give the memorial sermon. Then, as Lucy stood at the pulpit, they would all watch her break down. Everyone had recommended that Lucy step down and allow another minister to give the sermon. Lucy, hard headed as she was, insisted she could handle it—she felt she owed it to her father.

Lucy had her own guilt on her plate. She felt she, too, was responsible for her father's death. Lucy had been the last to see him alive and the one to take him to the hospital where he passed. She felt had she only gotten him to the hospital sooner, the doctors could have done something for him. The doctors who had been at the hospital with their father over the final moments of his life assured Lucy that there was nothing she could have done; he was dying before he came into the hospital.

Her eyes traveled around the room, avoiding the object she held in her hand. She remembered the time Simon, the same brother who had taught her to swim in that bath tub, had come home from his first "party" his sophomore year. He had been drunk and Ruthie and her older siblings had conspired together to help hide him from their parents. Mary, the family's prodigal daughter and resident screw up who finally had gotten her life on track, had been the only one of the four siblings to vote against helping Simon. Ruthie remembered the talk she had with her father about "sex" as her siblings were busy hiding Simon. She had asked her father why dogs and cats can't have babies. Memories from her childhood innocence only added to the sorrow and guilt she felt in the present time.

Ruthie couldn't believe he wasn't there for her now when she needed him most. If only he were there to tell her once again not to have sex before she was married, that sex was for married couples only. She felt if only she had listened to him he would still be here, if only she had waited he would still be here. She hadn't.

They were alone in the house, alone in the Camden house had once been a rare occasion—but now, it was quite regular. Dad was at the church and Mom was out with the twins. T-Bone and Ruthie had the house to themselves. All Ruthie could think about was being with T-Bone; she had been "waiting" for so long. She had the opportunity in Scotland more than once, but her gut feeling kept telling her it was wrong. She had seen her brother go through living Hell during his college years. He had been terrorized by girls telling him he had fathered their child, which both situations turned out negative, and the worst of all had been his STD scare. Did Ruthie really want that for herself? She was smarter than Simon, she thought she was anyway. She had been carrying around condoms secretly for months "just in case." Ruthie was prepared for when the time came and the time had…

If she had known at the time a month later her father would be dead, she would have thought and behaved differently. God had his way of working in mysterious ways; Ruthie knew she was being punished. She didn't know if she could get through this.

Her attention refocused to the small curved object in her hand. Slowly, she brought her eyes to focus in on it. Come on, I have to get this over with, she sighed. I have to eventually, there's no getting rid of this. She turned it over, and read the small black word in the center:

"Pregnant"

A lump coiled in the center of her throat as golf ball sized tears began to fall out of her eyes. She felt as though she was dead, as if her soul had died and gone to Hell. She would never see her father again, for he would reside in Heaven; rejoicing in song forever. He would be so disappointed in her.

Before she could move, a hard knock thumped from her mother's fist on the door that Ruthie had locked before coming in to take the pregnancy test. "Who's in there? You know we don't lock the door!"

Her mother had been handling her father's death under an emotional roller coaster. One minute, she would pretend nothing had happened. She would act as if he had just gone down to the church for a counseling session or to work on a sermon. Moments later, she would burst into tears. She was confused, and after being married to the reverend for thirty years, nobody blamed her.

Crap, Ruthie thought, I have to get rid of this! She knew she couldn't place it in the trash can, someone would see it when they emptied it. Quickly, she stuck it in her pants; she would dispose of it outside in the trash can.

"Just me," Ruthie choked, tears were still rolling down her eyes. "I just needed some privacy."

"Are you alright, honey? Open the door," her mother's now raspy voice asked.

Ruthie opened the door; she could feel her face burning from the tears still streaming down her cheeks. Her mother did not know the full reason for her tears, but they were appropriate for the time being. Ruthie could not bear to tell her mother her news at a time like this, there was no way. She knew she needed to talk to somebody, but she did not know who. Grief was already tolling through the entire house, nobody could ask for this on top of it.

Will they kick me out? Ruthie wondered, she couldn't imagine her mother kicking her out. Her mother needed her now more than ever, still, that didn't justify her to accept Ruthie having a baby at seventeen and unwed. Her mother had always said that Ruthie would be "different", but Ruthie knew that she thought that she would be smarter than her siblings. She had thought Ruthie would be the one to graduate college, get a career, get married, and then have a baby. There was no way she could have possibly foreseen her turning out like this.

Ruthie had grown up seeing her family support teenage unwed mothers. Her mother and sister had housed an entire housing system for teenaged mothers after all. She couldn't imagine them turning on her just because she was a Camden; that would make them full blown hypocrites.

When she saw Ruthie's tears, her mother's eyes swelled up and tears began rolling down her face. She wrapped her arms tight around Ruthie. Neither of them spoke for moments, Ruthie just worried about her mother "feeling" the object in her pants.

"I'm so sorry, Mom," was all Ruthie could say.

"Ruthie, you have nothing to be sorry for, none of this is your fault. Your father's time was up on Earth," her mother choked out. "It's hard for me to accept, too, but there was nothing any of us could do. God was calling."

If only she knew, Ruthie sighed to herself.

"Matt, Sarah, Mary, Carlos, and your nieces and nephews are all supposed to be flying in today, their flight is due to land at five, I was wondering if you could help by driving the other car to go pick them up at the airport? We obviously can't all fit in the van, not with five little ones who need car seats."

Matt, Ruthie thought, I can talk to Matt. Matt was likely to be the only family member who would be able to help her at this time. He had been there for Simon when he had thought his girlfriend was pregnant and he would be there for her. Still, Dad was still alive, Ruthie sighed. If only she could have known he wouldn't be here. She remembered how she used to fantasize getting married and then getting pregnant and how she would tell her parents. Ruthie always imagined she would sit both her parents down, her husband holding her hand, and announce to them they were going to have their umpteenth grandchild. They would jump up thrilled, her mother would wrap her arms around her, and her father would give his congratulations.

"Yeah, Mom, I'll go with you," Ruthie gave a faux smile.

"I knew I could count on you," her mom smiled feebly giving her another hug. "I can't believe how much our family has grown in the last couple years, it makes me wonder how much it will grow over the next ten years, I feel lucky to still be apart of it, even if your father cannot."

You won't think you can count on me for much longer, Ruthie contemplated to herself. I'm such a let down and a disgrace to this family. I killed my father.


I realize Ruthie is playing a "Grace Bowman," and some people may not approve of that. Personally, I think 7th Heaven is the better of the Hampton dramas…

Reviews and constructive criticism are welcome.