A/N: This is my first Ruby & the Rockits fanfiction. It's lightly Jorby (I think there are some people that call it that) but not completely. I will say now, and most likely again a few times, that I operate under the assumption (at least I believe) that the show is going to turn out that Ruby is not David's daughter (allowing for the weird feeling from Jordan to be acted on) and will be able to stay because she did so much good for the family. I think that's what is going to happen, but who knows, maybe they'll surprise me and she really will be his daughter. But till then, this is what I think and most of my one shots will be written under that belief (even if it's not mentioned). Anyway, enjoy! R&R! Thanks! –Mac
So, I wrote this oneshot and that A/N before the show got cancelled, so I guess we'll never know if I was right or wrong. lol. But that is still the assumption I operate under regarding this show.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ruby & the Rockits.
Smoking Out The Truth
Ruby stalked around the corner of the building, a scowl set firmly on her features. She had her eyes down cast and she was muttering to herself. She was gesturing wildly with her hands. She was almost on top of him before she noticed him. In fact, he was sure she would have stormed right past him without sparing him a glance if he hadn't spoken up.
"Ruby, Ruby, Ruby…shouldn't you be in class?" he replied.
"Jordan?" Ruby's eyes shot up to meet his. She looked startled for a moment before the scowl set back in. She pursed her lips and asked folded her arms across her chest. "I could ask the same question."
Jordan held up the pack of cigarettes in his hand, waving it in her face for effect. He pulled out a cigarette and placed it between his lips. He fished for the lighter in his pocket as he replied. "I'm getting a head start on lunch."
"It's second period," Ruby responded and Jordan shrugged.
He finally found his lighter and reached up to light his cigarette. He cupped his hand to protect the flame. Once it was lit he took a deep drag. He pulled the cigarette away from his mouth as he leaned back against the wall of the building, propping himself up with one bent leg. He let the smoke curl slowly out of lips, before disappearing into the air above his head.
The scowl eased off of Ruby's face, "Can I bum one of those?"
Ruby held out a hand. Jordan started to reach out the pack of cigarettes to her but pulled it away just as her fingers grazed it. A smirk inched onto his lips, "Perfect, bubble-gum sweet Ruby smokes? Since when?"
"That's none of your business," Ruby responded sharply, "And I'm not perfect."
"Well, if it's none of my business then perhaps I should just take my cigarettes and go on my merry way," Jordan said as he began to inch away from Ruby.
"No, wait," Ruby held up a hand to stop him. "I started a couple months ago, haven't been able to kick the habit since."
Jordan offered her the pack once again and she pulled one out. He nodded slightly, "I would have never guessed."
He clicked on the lighter and Ruby leaned forward to make use of the flame. She took in a slow inhale, savoring the taste of tobacco and nicotine. Her eyes fluttered closed as she breathed out the smoke. Jordan could see her muscles begin to relax. She looked at him with half lidded eyes and a small smile.
"There are a lot of things you don't know about me," Ruby murmured, as she moved to lean against the wall next to Jordan.
Jordan refrained from mentioning the things about her he did know, that she didn't even know herself. Instead he changed the subject, "So what's got you itching for a smoke today?"
"My Dad," Ruby breathed out with her latest puff of smoke.
"David?" Jordan raised an eyebrow. "What did he do this time?"
"Oh, the usual," Ruby shrugged. "I don't know why I get my hopes up. I always wind up…disappointed."
"I suppose if I was any other person, this is where I would tell you that if you stick it out, eventually it will get better," Jordan responded. "But as I'm not, all I have to say is that we've all learned to lower our expectations. You've been here long enough, you should too."
"But it's my Dad," Ruby replied firmly.
Jordan quirked a small smile and chuckled, "You say that like it makes a difference."
"Well it should," Ruby paused to take another drag before continuing, "I mean, it's not like I imagined it would be that's all."
"What's not like you imagined?" Jordan frowned.
"Having a Dad," Ruby answered. "I had this picture in my head of what my life would be like with a Dad in it and…"
"…David is not it," Jordan finished for her. Ruby shrugged and turned to stare off into the distance. Jordan could feel the secret he kept bubbling up in his throat, but he swallowed it back down. "Well we all know he's not really father material, but he's starting to learn."
"Do you know how long I've been here, Jordan?" Ruby raised an eyebrow at him.
"Down to the minute," Jordan muttered. He busied himself with finishing his cigarette when she frowned, unable to hear his answer.
"Huh?" Ruby titled her head closer.
"Nothing," Jordan waved it off. "You've been here a long time."
"Right," Ruby nodded, still eyeing him curiously. "If he hasn't figured it out by now, I have to assume he won't."
Jordan dropped his finished cigarette and grinded it into the dirt below his feet. Ruby took her last puff of smoke before following suit—putting out the embers with the toe of her sunshine yellow high heels. Jordan fingered the opening of his pack of cigarettes, contemplating pulling out another. He pushed the urge away and tucked the pack safely away in his pocket. He kept his hands busy by toying with his lighter, flicking the flame on and off.
"My mom says it takes a lifetime to figure out how to be a parent, and even then there's no way to know everything," Jordan said after a long moment of silence. "In Uncle David's defense, he's only had months, most parents have years."
"Whose side are you on?" Ruby scowled.
Jordan put his hands up in surrender, "Yours. Always yours. But Uncle David is resistant to change. I mean, he still thinks he can be the Rock star he was when he was young. Learning that he has a daughter—even a teenage one that doesn't require him to feed, bathe and clothe her—would require a long time to adjust to."
"That's what Uncle Patrick said when I first got here, and periodically since then," Ruby responded. "I'm done waiting for him to learn to think of someone other than himself."
"He's shown improvement. Look, at the things that have happened since you got here. Everything was falling apart and you put it back together," Jordan said. The lighter flicked on, flicked off, flicked on.
"That is so distracting," Ruby exclaimed.
She reached out and gripped his hand as the flame went out again—keeping his fingers from reaching it again. Jordan's whole body went tense. Ruby's eyes tilted upward to meet his. She slowly retracted her hand and Jordan swallowed hard.
"You don't still…" Ruby started, her eyes darting away from his. She trailed off and then started again, "We're cousins."
"You knew?" Jordan responded incredulously.
"You weren't exactly subtle, Jordan," Ruby rolled her eyes. She shook her head slightly, "You need to get over this…We're cousins."
"No, we're not!" Jordan exclaimed. He winced as it left his mouth. He slapped his hand to his face. Well, there it was. For months, he had been keeping that information as his own personal little secret and then in one slip of the tongue it was out there for all to see. He pulled the pack of cigarettes back out of his pocket, "I need another cigarette." He freed one from the package and raised the lighter. His hands were shaking as he tried to get the flame to light and it sparked out every time. "Damn it."
"Excuse me?" Ruby rounded on him. Confusion was etched into every inch of her face. She pulled the cigarette from his mouth and held it away from him. "Explain."
Jordan sighed, "Remember a while back, when that guy came to interview David for that Parenting magazine?"
"Yeah," Ruby answered slowly, trying to find her answer in what little had been told to her.
"Remember how I kind of, sort of ripped out a strand of your hair?" Jordan continued.
Ruby's eyes widened, "You didn't…you didn't do a paternity test on me and David." It came out like a statement, but Jordan knew it was meant as a question. Ruby met his eyes and whispered, "You wouldn't."
"I had to know," Jordan replied simply.
He had told Ben he wasn't going to send in the test, but as soon as his little brother had vacated the kitchen, he had dug through the trash to retrieve the samples. He had sent in for the test, received the results and kept it all to himself. At the time, he hadn't been sure if he was ever going to share the knowledge, but he couldn't take it back now.
"And what?" Ruby prompted. "You thought I was lying?"
"No," Jordan shook his head. He responded the way Ben had, "But maybe you were lied to."
"So you're saying my Mom's a liar?" Ruby was getting angrier by the second.
"No, but maybe mistaken," Jordan tried to stay calm. "Or maybe she never expected you to be without her so soon and the stories about David were her way of protecting you from whoever your real father was. You wouldn't have needed to find him if she was around."
"So, you're honestly saying David's not my real father?" Ruby suddenly went quiet, her arms wrapped around herself.
"The test came back saying you weren't a match, so yes, that's what I'm saying," Jordan answered, "I'm sorry."
"In an odd way, it's a relief, but it hurts too. I barely knew David, but I knew he was my Dad and that meant something. Now…" Ruby trailed off. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want you to go away," Jordan responded honestly.
"Why would I?" Ruby frowned.
"I almost didn't send in the test because if he turned out you were a match, then that was it, you were 100% family and I would have to get over what I was feeling, but if you weren't a match, you would leave because we weren't family. But I had to know. If you were family, then I didn't need to say anything because nothing would change, but if you weren't, I couldn't say anything because I didn't want you to leave."
"You knew I would feel this way, didn't you? Like I don't belong anywhere," Ruby said.
Jordan nodded, "Yeah, I guessed you would. But you still belong here. There is a reason you came to us. You belong here more than ever. You belong here with me."
Ruby quirked a weak smile, "I think you're right."
"Good," Jordan responded, "And Ruby?"
"Can I have my cigarette back?"