Title: Rose

Author: Fab_fan

Fandom: Fried Green Tomatoes (movie)

Pairing: Ruth/Idgie

Rating: PG-13

Disclaimer: I do not own these characters

Summary: Ruth had planted a rose bush in front of the house over a year ago and the thing had yet to bloom


Ruth was alone in the café, the early morning sun barely peeking over the horizon. Her hands were covered with flour and shortening as she mixed together a pie crust for one of the many pies the customers would be clamoring for by lunchtime. Her voice hummed quietly in the silent kitchen. Her dress was already sticking to her skin, the hot Alabama humidity never ceasing in its relentlessness. Her long brown hair was held back in a bun, but a few random locks had fallen loose and curled around her face.

She'd woken up before Idgie and Stump, not that difficult considering the two would sleep till nightfall if given the chance. With the sky still dark, she had slipped out of the house and walked to the café, going in through the back and wrapping an apron around her waist. Sipsey would be in soon to start on the biscuits, and Stump would come stumbling in soon after when he smelled fresh bacon sizzling in the pan. Her boy always had a nose for when a meal was being prepared. She'd feed him a heaping portion of bacon, biscuits, and grits before sending him back to the house to get ready for school. Hopefully by then Idgie would have ambled in to start opening the café, her eyes still half closed after another long night taking Grady's money in marathon poker games.

Ruth bit her lip as she dug her hands into the white mixture. Lord, she loved Idgie, but that girl had a way of driving her crazy sometimes. She stayed out all night the night before with Grady and a few other of the town's men gambling and didn't get home till well after midnight. She knew Idgie enjoyed her nights out with the boys, but it always meant she'd take her time the next morning getting in to the café. They were always busy during breakfast, and it got to be a lot on Ruth, Sipsey, and Big George. Of course, Ruth couldn't stay mad too long at her. Idgie would always charm her with a joke and a grin, then promise to take care of the dinner crowd while Ruth went home and rested. It was happening more and more lately though, and it was getting rather tiresome not being able to see Idgie at home except for when she stumbled in during the early morning hour and quickly fell asleep next to her.

A drop of sweat rolled down Ruth's cheek, and she jumped as a finger wiped it away. Spinning with a gasp, she found herself face to face with Idgie Threadgoode. "Idgie!" Ruth breathed out, a hand coming to her chest.

"Sorry." Idgie apologized, her blue eyes fluttering over Ruth's face.

Ruth swiped her hands on her apron, "What're you doing here?" She was sure Idgie would still be asleep. Had she woken her when she left the house?

Idgie's gaze flickered down to Ruth's plump lips for a second, "Thought you might need some help."

"Help?" Ruth caught the look and felt the corner of her mouth turn up. Idgie wasn't a cook. She worked the register and served the customers. She stayed as far away from the kitchen as she could. Sipsey wouldn't even let her near the frying pans.

Idgie moved closer to Ruth, "You did teach me how to cook."

Ruth's body hummed as Idgie stopped inches away from her. She could feel her skin heating up, and it wasn't from the weather. Her mind went back to the time Idgie tried to cook a batch of fried green tomatoes. It'd ended with them covered in food on the floor and Grady wondering what was going on. She focused her brown eyes on Idgie's blue as she remembered what they did after the café closed that night, and by the way Idgie was leaning into her, she knew the other woman was imagining the same thing, "Idgie, honey, Sipsey will be here any minute, and Stump's going to want breakfast."

Idgie snagged a strand of brunette hair and pushed it back behind Ruth's ear, "Sipsey won't be here for another hour, and Stump's gonna stop by Ninny and Cleo's for breakfast."

"How do you know that?" Ruth's eyes fluttered as Idgie cupped her cheek.

Idgie leaned in close, her words smoothing over Ruth's lips, "Don't ya trust me, Ruth?"

Yes, she did.

Idgie closed the gap between them and pressed her mouth to Ruth's. Ruth's eyes fell shut at the touch. Her body thrummed as she kissed Idgie back. Tanned hands held her face, thumbs caressing the tender skin of her cheeks. She gasped as a wet tongue slid across her bottom lip before slipping inside her mouth.

Ruth pulled back slightly, her breath coming out in pants, "Idgie, wait." Her mind was barely holding on, and what little was left was telling her this was a bad idea, "Honey, breakfast..."

Idgie kissed her nose, her chin, then moved to her neck, "Can wait."

Ruth bit back a moan as teeth nipped at her throat, "Idgie,"

Idgie sucked at the soft flesh, her tongue darting out to taste the creamy skin. Ruth gasped and let her head fall to the side, silently giving in to the hungry mouth. Idgie smirked to herself and bit down gently, her tongue soothing the reddened mark soon after. Ruth's eyes shut and she grasped Idgie's shoulders, digging her fingertips into the thin white shirt stretched across the strong muscles.

Ruth quickly sucked in a lungful of air as a calloused hand slid up her front, tenderly palming her breast through the cotton dress. A questing thumb flicked at the small nub as the hand massaged the firm mound. Ruth's hands slipped from their perch, skimming down Idgie's sides. Idgie leaned up and pressed her mouth to Ruth's ear, her words blowing like the summer breeze across the reddening area, "You sure are the prettiest gal in Alabama, Ms. Ruth."

Ruth let her hands settle on Idgie's hips, unconsciously pulling her closer, "Always the charmer."

Idgie smiled, "I love you."

"I love you too." Ruth whispered. She tilted her head, letting her brown eyes catch Idgie's blue, "Even if the only time you get up in the morning is to be like this."

Idgie's eyes lit up at the sparkling brown orbs, "Why Miss Ruth, don't you know I'd do anything to be like this with you? Getting up early ain't nothing special."

Ruth gave her a chaste kiss, "I know." Idgie had proven more than once that she'd do anything for the people she loved, and Ruth thanked God everyday for letting her have someone like that in her and Buddy Jr's life. She cupped Idgie's cheek, "That don't mean I'm gonna do that with you here in Sipsey's kitchen."

Ruth had to bite back a chuckle as Idgie's face fell into a pout, "Honey…"

Ruth gave her another quick kiss before pushing her away slowly, "Don't Honey me, Idgie Threadgoode. You know me better than that."

Idgie brushed her hand against Ruth's side, "I've missed you."

"I've missed you." The corner of Ruth's mouth twitched and she crossed her arms, "Maybe if you came home at night instead of cheating at cards with Grady and the boys, we'd have time to be together like that."

Idgie's eyes widened and her mouth opened, but before she could say one word, the back door to the café swung open and Sipsey strolled in. She stopped at the sight of the two, and her eyes narrowed. She looked back and forth between the blonde and brunette, clicking her tongue, "You best not be thinkin' bout doin' what I thinks you are in here."

Ruth turned her head, a blush coating her cheeks at the blunt statement as she stepped away from Idgie. Idgie glanced at Sipsey, but before she could get a word out, Sipsey was waving her hands at her, "Shoo, child. Git outta my kitchen 'fore I sic Big George on ya. Those tables need settin'."

Idgie shook her head and grinned as she walked toward the entrance to the dining room, "Can't even be in my own café's kitchen."

Sispey shot her a look, "Don' ya come back here till it's closin' time, ya hear me?" As Idgie stepped into the dining room, Sipsey turned and headed toward the frying pans, "That child ain't never gonna learn."

Ruth smiled to herself at Sipsey's mutterings and picked up a tiny basket of blackberries. Soon the two were focused on working, the breakfast crowd pouring in. Idgie was out front ringing up sales and serving plates while George was out poking at the slabs of meat on the barbeque. By the time lunch rolled around and the only person left was Smokey Lonesome reading the newspaper in the far corner, Ruth was covered in flour, crumbs, and sweat. She wiped at her brow and slumped out to the dining room, flopping gracefully onto a stool. A glass of water appeared in front of her, and she greedily gulped down the cold liquid.

"Why don't you head on home?" Idgie asked from behind the counter. Ruth peered up to see the other woman leaning against the wood, "Get some rest. I'll send Stump home with some dinner after school."

Ruth smiled softly, "I can stay and help." She blinked rapidly as her eyelids threatened to fall.

Idgie leaned further over the counter, snagging a loose strand of hair and looping it behind an ear, "Don't need it. Go on."

Ruth turned and gave a light kiss to the inside of Idgie's wrist before standing up. "I'll be back to help with the supper crowd."

Idgie hooked a thumb over her shoulder, "Sipsey's got the kitchen down just fine. You can stay on home…work on that damn rose bush you keep thinking's gonna grow."

Ruth had planted a rose bush in front of the house over a year ago and the thing had yet to bloom, "It just needs a little time."

"Sure it does."

Ruth put her hands on her hips, "I thought you'd know a thing or two about needing a little time to get things right."

Idgie bent her head, "Maybe I do. Don't mean that damn rose bush's gonna grow, though."

Ruth let her hands drop, "You'll see."

"Uh huh." Idgie jutted out her chin, "Now, get out of here before I have Grady come over here and haul you out."

With a sigh, Ruth left and went back to their house. She took a tiny nap, the heat from the ever present humidity draining her body. True to her word, Idgie sent Stump home with some fried chicken, greens, and cornbread after school. The two had dinner together, and Ruth helped the boy with his schoolwork before he bolted off to his room to read the new detective story he got at the store. Ruth knew as soon as he finished it, he'd be asking to go over to the Weems' place to talk it over with their boy.

Cleaning up the plates and forks from their supper, Ruth washed them in the sink and stacked them. She would take them back to the café and help out with the leftover supper crowd and preparing for the next day. As she scrubbed the plates clean, her mind wandered back to Idgie and her poker nights. She knew Idgie loved to play poker. The younger woman had even taken to teaching her how to play, and though she'd never admit it, the blonde took pride in the fact Ruth was getting just about as good as her. It was rather easy for Ruth to read the tomboy's face when there was a hand of cards in front of it. Idgie'd brag that Ruth was good, but she would never admit she took to beating Idgie whenever they played now. Course, Ruth had a feeling Idgie might have thrown a game or two, but she would let Idgie keep on thinking she didn't know.

It wasn't the poker that had her lying awake at night. It wasn't that Idgie was out with the boys telling lies and making up the most foolish stories ever told. What kept her up was that Idgie was there and not with her. Ruth tried to never be selfish. She wanted the ones she loved to be happy. But, that didn't mean it didn't ache deep inside to lie in that bed alone at night when there used to be a warm body wrapped around her. Now, the arms that used to hold her gently through the night, protecting her from whatever lurked in the darkness didn't show up till long after the nightmares had passed.

Ruth didn't say much about it, her words that morning the first time she really confronted Idgie about it. She told herself she didn't say anything because she didn't want to take away from Idgie's way of being, and maybe it was partly true. But, she also knew Idgie was a free spirit. She was never one to be tied down too long. Ruth had a feeling if she tried to make Idgie stay, the woman would run off as quick as she could – like an animal sensing the cage nearby. She didn't want to cage Idgie. She just…wanted her to come home at night and be with her. Like they used to be back when the café was just starting and their son was still as tiny as could be. Like back when Buddy Jr lost his arm and the family pulled together to weather the storm. Like it was before they fell into the routine of life.

Picking up the freshly washed dishes, she quickly told Stump she was going to the café, and that he should head on over to help George and Idgie as soon as he finished his story. He grumbled that he would. With that done, she balanced the dishes in her arms and stepped out onto the porch. She began toward the street, but the glimpse of something red caught her eye. Swiveling to her side, she peeked over.

What she saw caused her heart to skip and the dishes to tremble in her grasp.

There, on the rose bush, was a single red rose.

Not trusting her shaky grip, Ruth carefully set the dishes down on the porch. Straightening, she slowly walked over to the bush, swallowing thickly at the flower. That hadn't been there when she got home, and flowers didn't grow that quickly. Her eyes roamed around, studying the beautiful bloom. After a moment, her gaze caught sight of a piece of string. She followed the line to see it was wrapped around the stem of the flower, holding it in place within the bush.

Ruth untied the string and plucked the flower, bringing it to her nose. The sweet floral scent floated up, and she delighted in the smell. Her eyes fluttered shut for a moment, and she hugged the flower to her chest. Her eyes slid open as she heard a soft shuffling behind her. A smile tugged at her lips, and she spun around to find a slightly anxious Idgie standing before her.

"Looks like that damn plant finally stopped taking it's time and grew something." Idgie spoke up first. Her hands shoved into the pockets of her trousers. "Musta been those fried green tomatoes I had Stump feed it the other week. Those roses sure do like 'em."

Ruth bit her lip, and affectionately replied, "Oh, Idgie, you old storyteller, you."

Idgie ducked her head at the loving look, "Yeah…well," she lifted her head, "Sipsey's told me not to come back to the café till tomorrow, so I thought maybe we could see about getting some more of those flowers to show up."

"What about your poker game?"

Idgie shrugged, "Eh, I've taken enough of those boys' money for a time. Gotta wait for 'em to get some back before I can win again." She winked, "Besides, you sure are a sight prettier than them."

Ruth pursed her lips, "I see." She might be happy to see Idgie, but that didn't mean she was going to make this incredibly easy for her. One flower and some words weren't going to fix the fact that Idgie had been choosing poker over her home.

Idgie stepped up to her, taking her hand, "Think I might be welcomed home a bit early tonight?"

"Just tonight?"

Idgie rubbed her knuckles with the pad of her thumb, "Well, if I get home at this time every night, it won't be early anymore." She peered up into Ruth's eyes, "But that's only if ya want me to. Do you want me to?"

Ruth bit her bottom lip and whispered, "I do."

"Good." Idgie pressed against Ruth, "Stump home?"

Ruth nodded, her breath hitching at the movement. She couldn't help but recall how close they had been that morning, or how long it'd been since they'd been that close in their bedroom.

"Think he might want to visit Albert, Cleo, and Ninny tonight?"

"Why?"

Idgie nuzzled the crook of her neck, "Thought I might start making up for not coming home before," she placed a quick kiss there, "and start showin' ya how we can spend our time now that I am."

"Is that the only reason you're coming home now, Idgie?"

Idgie placed a soft kiss to the side of her neck, "No, ma'am. Thought we might drive down to Birmingham with Stump to see a movie tomorrow. I love you so much, though, Ruth. Let me show you?"

Ruth melted at the gently spoken words. "You can tell him he's going over to his aunt and uncle's."

"What're you gonna do?"

"I'll be in our room."