Fandom: Fried Green Tomatoes (Book)
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Summary: A moment in family life
Ruth sighed as she collapsed with as much grace as possible into the raggedy chair at one of the few tables scattered around the café. She set the cup of hot coffee she'd just poured herself down, the steam billowing against her palm as it passed over the brim on its way to rest on the table top. She tiredly wiped at the beads of sweating dotting her brow, and briefly thought she should switch the coffee out for a nice cool glass of grape drink. Her eyelids drooped heavily, though, and her limbs protested at any idea of moving from her new spot.
The café had finally closed for the night, the last customers sliding their coins across the countertop and ambling out the door back home. Sipsey, Onzell, and Big George were on their way home as well, Onzell making sure there was a pot of coffee on for Ruth in case she wanted a cup before bed. With everyone else gone, the building was quieter than it ever got. If she held her breath, she could faintly hear the comforting chirp of crickets and lightning bugs in the distance, and even farther out was the whisper of a train whistle. She took a sip of her drink, the dark liquid heating her already warm body as it slid down to her belly. It was getting close to winter, but the Alabama weather was still hot enough to keep the tiny restaurant filled with people searching for ice cold drinks and cool pie throughout the day.
Ruth let her eyes close for a moment and leaned back. Even though the café was closed for the night, she was still used to hearing the radio turned to one of those mystery shows her son loved so much. Stump would sit back in his room with the lights turned off and listen to stories about robbers and spies so the next day he could meet up with his friends and reenact the whole tale. While he was busy doing that, Idgie would usually be puttering around doing something. Idgie was the type of spirit that didn't like to stay still for too long. Not this night, though. Idgie had taken Stump out with her and her brother Julian to the woods for the weekend. Stump had promised to bring back a bunch of fish when they got home.
Ruth took another sip of her coffee. While it was always nice to get a small break from the normal hustle and bustle of running a café and raising a son, she missed having him around. He was her baby, even if he was growing into a fine young man every day. She had even noticed the way he tended to follow after little Peggy. She and Idgie had talked about it a few times. Idgie was about ready to tease the boy until Ruth slyly pointed out how he acted sort of like Idgie did that first summer they had together – all bright eyed and wanting to impress her.
Idgie. Ruth missed her too. It was amazing how she could still feel this way about somebody after all this time. Whenever Idgie would grin at her, Ruth felt like she did the first time she ever saw it. That devilishly charming glint in her blue eyes made Ruth give into temptation every time they twinkled in her direction. The fact that Idgie and Stump got along so well and loved each other so much was the answer to all her prayers. It wasn't what was expected of her, but the family they formed was better than anything she could have ever imagined for herself. Of course, there were the normal bumps along the way. Like the fact that Idgie had made it her life's goal to bother poor Reverend Scroggins till the day she died. Ruth would have loved for her companion to go to church, but if there was one thing the town knew it was to keep Idgie and Scroggins as far away from each other as possible. Then, there was their son. She still had nightmares some nights of seeing her little boy in the hospital, his arm gone. He recovered well from it, though. It made Ruth proud the way he didn't let his loss hold him back.
Ruth traced the handle of the mug with the tip of her forefinger. She loved her family dearly. To think, at the beginning she had thought she was to be subjected to a life with Frank, bending to his every whim while trying to be the wife he wanted but would never truly get. She couldn't be who he wanted when she was in love with someone else. Idgie saved her and brought her home. Ruth smiled gently as she remembered the way Idgie had swooped in like a guardian angel to take her from hell. Now, they had a popular business, friends, and each other.
Her brow furrowed as she heard a rattling coming from the kitchen. Then, the banging of the door echoed in the empty building. Ruth turned and began to stand. Who could that be? The café was closed for the night. Had Big George been sent back to get something? As she got to her feet, she heard voices talking.
"Now son, me and Julian showed you that spot in secrecy. Don't be tellin' nobody bout it." Idgie's strong voice was clear as day.
"I know Aunt Idgie." Stump's childlike tone eagerly replied, "Do you think we'll catch that many fish again?"
"Why sure we will. It's the best damn fishing hole in all of Alabama." Idgie answered. "Hell, I caught a two hundred pound catfish there when I was about your age."
"Didn't I ever tell you about that?"
Ruth smiled as her lover and their son walked out of the kitchen, both caught up in the conversation. She shook her head at the tall tale she knew was brewing in Idgie's head. That girl had a story about everything.
Stump glanced up when he entered the café and bounded over to Ruth, "Mamma! Me and Aunt Idgie and Uncle Julian caught three strings full of fish!"
"You did?" Ruth wrapped him in a hug. She looked over his head at Idgie, who was watching them, "Is that why your home early?"
"Yes ma'am. We caught so many fish, Uncle Julian said we needed to leave before we caught the whole hole dry." Stump said.
"Is that so? It sounds like you had a good time."
"A lot of fun." Stump pulled out of the hug and peeked at the clock on the wall. His eyes widened, "The Adventures of the Thin Man is about to start!" He quickly pecked his mother's cheek and dashed toward the back where his room was, "G'night, Momma!"
Ruth chuckled at his enthusiasm. Her laughter died down as she felt Idgie step up next to her, "He loves his radio programs." She tilted her head and accepted the hello kiss, "Welcome home."
"Good to be home." Idgie murmured, kissing her again.
Ruth pressed her hands to Idgie's shoulders, "Slow down, Idgie. Buddy could still see us."
"No he can't." Idgie muttered, but she leaned back slightly.
Ruth's hands slid along the overall straps hooked over Idgie's shoulders, "You're home early. I wasn't expecting you till tomorrow."
"Caught enough fish to feed the whole town for a month." Idgie lightly nuzzled Ruth's hair, breathing in the comforting scent of soap and home, "Besides, storms moving in. Stump don't need to be camping out in that."
Ruth tugged at the straps, "He'd catch a cold being out in that."
Idgie nodded, "Still got another hour or so till it rains. Take a walk with me?"
"You just want to get me alone." Ruth teased.
"And what if I do?" Idgie brushed a kiss to the shell of Ruth's ear. "It's real pretty outside."
Ruth giggled, "Idgie Threadgoode, did you come home early just to take me for a walk?"
Idgie leaned back and her sparkling eyes met Ruth's, "Maybe I did."
"Maybe?" Ruth nudged her.
Idgie snagged her bottom lip with her teeth, "Julian wanted to get home to Opal, and you know how Stump doesn't like to miss his radio shows." She shrugged, "And, maybe I missed you and didn't want to go the whole weekend without seeing you."
Ruth let her hand slip down Idgie's arm and tangled her fingers with the other woman's at their sides, "How about we take that walk."
"Alright," they began to walk toward the kitchen, "Ruth?"
"I love you."
Ruth felt her heart skip at the honest words, "I love you, too." She squeezed Idgie's hand and kissed the side of her head.