Title: Rotgut Rye
Fandom: Fried Green Tomatoes (Book)
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters.
Summary: Idgie had to drive home after watching Ruth get married…and after drinking a bottle of liquor.
A bottle of rotgut rye was never good for anyone. At least that's what all them temperance folks used to say. It sure as hell wasn't good when your heart felt like it was about ready to die, and that's exactly how Idgie's felt. She'd emptied the whole bottle while sitting in Julian's car waiting to see Ruth marry that man. By the time the doors to the church closed and the organ began to play, there was nothing left to do but let the liquor do what it could. The second those doors burst open and Ruth went running down the stairs with that man at her side, laughing and smiling like it was the best day of her life, Idgie couldn't take anymore. She cranked up the car and sped off, honking the horn one more time for good measure.
The rotgut rye made the waiting bearable, but now all she could do was throw up whatever was in her stomach all over the side of the car as she raced down the worn country roads. When she wasn't bent over the side of the door open mouthed and sickly, she was steering the car and wishing her mind would stop showing her Ruth smiling in her white gown while that man was right next to her. Ruth looked just as beautiful as Idgie knew she would. Ruth looked beautiful all the time, to be truthful. The image of Ruth smiling down at her as she whispered "You're an old bee charmer, Idgie Threadgoode, that's what you are," appeared in her mind, and Idgie didn't know whether to cry or throw something. Why did Ruth have to marry that man? Why couldn't she have just stayed in Whistlestop? Why did she have to go?
By this time, the car had been swerving pretty badly, going back and forth across the small road as Idgie felt her gut turn and her head spin. She was drunker than she'd been in quite a while, and that was saying something. Ever since Ruth left, she'd gone back to drinking and gambling to pass the time. Of course, with it being Ruth's wedding day and all, Idgie was bound to drink more than usual. Usually when she got this way, she'd end up on a bed at the river, most times with a shock of red hair nestled near her face. She wasn't at the river, though, and there was no one else around to make sure she didn't get herself killed.
The picture of Ruth in her wedding dress popped up again, and Idgie pulled the car over to the side of the road, parking near an old tree that had seen better days. The world was spinning faster and faster now, and Idgie held onto the steering wheel with all she had. Her body weaved from side to side, and she felt another churn in her belly. Before she could think to lean out of the car, because Julian wouldn't let her use his car again if she dirtied it up, her body slumped to the side and her eyes dropped closed.
The hot Alabama sun was shining down on the rolling countryside. Idgie blinked her eyes at the bright light and tried to adjust her suspenders, but the waistcoat she was wearing covered them up. She could feel the sweat dripping down her back, but a light breeze showed up and helped to cool her down some. She looked around, and immediately recognized the spot. It was the one near Double Springs Lake that she'd found years ago. It was the place where she'd taken Ruth on a picnic and showed her the secret about the bees. There was the waterfall and the clear stream. Craning her neck, she could see the smooth brown and gray stones, round like eggs.
A slap on her back had her turning around to see Grady, his hair slicked back and all dressed up. He grinned at her and Poppa Threadgoode walked up, her brothers behind him. They were all dressed like they were going to church. Grady looked like he was about to say something, but a familiar laugh caught Idgie's attention and she peeked around till she saw where it came from.
Idgie's heart beat loudly in her chest as she saw Ruth standing a little ways away in her beautiful white wedding dress. Momma Threadgoode was fussing over her, and Idgie's sisters and Ninny were talking all at the same time as they hovered around her. Ruth gave them all a little shy smile, but then she looked at Idgie, and her smile grew wide. Idgie felt like someone had hit her in the chest, and her palms began to get slick with sweat. Ruth had never looked more beautiful than she did at that moment. Idgie couldn't take her eyes off the older girl, and there was no way she wasn't going over there to say hello. She stumbled over to Ruth, ignoring her family members, and stopped right in front of her. She wiped her hands on her trousers and drawled a breathy, "Hey."
"Hey." Ruth's smile deepened and she reached for Idgie's hand, "Are you ready?"
"For our wedding, silly."
A sharp rapping noise had Idgie bolting upright, her head aching at the sudden movement. She pressed a hand to her head and glared through hazy eyes at a man standing next to her car.
"You alright in there?' the man asked.
"I'm fine." Idgie rasped, her throat raw.
The man gave her a once over. Then, with a nod, he walked back to his car and drove off. Idgie's head hurt terribly as she rolled over to the steering wheel. She took a steadying breath and thought back to what just happened.
"For our wedding, silly."
Teeth grit, eyes wet, and hands on the steering wheel, Idgie roared back onto the road. When she burst into the River Club, Eva didn't say a word but poured her a drink and tugged her toward her cabin.