This is a quick fanfic of a fanfic- Miss Puppet's brilliant Woman of Yorkshire- set on the last night that they're all in Hollywood: after Ruth and Dr. Wellington have met she can't quite get him out of her head. So, unable to sleep, she seeks Celia's advice. Written out of admiration for Miss Puppet creating a Calendar Girls category and because Ruth and Celia are my two favourite characters.
No matter how fancy a hotel she stayed in, Ruth found she generally ended up in a room that had a connecting door to the next one. Usually it bothered her- she remembered one night checking particularly thoroughly that it was locked on her side on a night over in London with Eddy in a room booked at the last moment at a hotel that was rather too seedy for her liking- but now she found she was rather grateful for it. This was a nice hotel and she knew exactly who was on the other side of the door: Celia. And what she really wanted to do at the moment, unable to sleep, was to talk to someone, and for that Celia would do quite nicely.
Sheepish bouts of mild insomnia were a souvenir from nights when Eddy was on his "business trips"- she still found herself calling them that, even though she knew what they'd really been- but for some reason this felt different. Usually she would lie in a sort of awake sleepiness; not thinking of anything, blinking only seldomly at the ceiling, acutely aware of the emptiness beside her. Now her mind was apparently in hyperdrive, and, turning over frequently to try and get comfortable, she seemed to be taking up the whole king-sized mattress.
She didn't trouble to put on her slippers; it was warm enough to go without them and they would look very silly with her new nightie. She did, however, take her dressing gown down from the swish coat-stand thing beside her bed and wrapped it around herself. The nightie had been a new fancy she'd seen when they'd been out shopping. It had caught her eye, but she hadn't worked up the nerve to go in the shop with everyone else there so she'd doubled back when Jessie had insisted on trying out "that Starbucks place you see everywhere over here". It was made of lovely stuff that hugged her figure in the right places; a pale cream that she thought set her skin off at just the right tone; and made her feel younger than she had in years. She even suspected that it made her look young, but this was an illusion she wasn't yet willing to have broken, so she fastened the dressing gown belt tightly.
Softly, she padded across the floor of her own room, and tried the handle of the connecting door. It wasn't locked, she hadn't expected it to be. There had been moderate panic from Celia when they had arrived that the crazy person in the room next door might let themselves in to prey on her while she lay sleeping, so much so that she had phoned Ruth up to tell her and ask her what she should do. Ruth herself had been a tiny bit worried about her own connecting door and where it might lead- in many senses- but then she remembered that Celia had been shown up to a room on the same floor as hers, and had simply walked straight through while still on the phone; frightening the life out of Celia at first but then making her hoot with laughter at her own paranoia. She opened the door slowly to avoid a repeat performance of poor Celia jumping out of her skin.
The little lamp on the bedside table was on, casting light on Celia's face. Seeing that she looked asleep, Ruth made to shut the door quickly and go back, but the sound of the hinges seemed to rouse her. Squinting a little groggily in the light , Celia half-sat up slowly.
"Ruth? What's the matter? What time is it?"
"Sorry," Ruth whispered, still hovering at the door, "I couldn't sleep. I thought you might be awake."
"Well, I almost am now," Ruth made to go, "No, you might as well come in now."
She shut the door behind herself and made her way gratefully over to perch on the other side of the bed, putting her feet carefully on the immaculate duvet. Celia still looked very sleepy in the dim light but Ruth was grateful just for the company, it made all the difference, she found.
"Feels strange to be going home tomorrow," she remarked, "I feel as if we've only just got here."
"I know," Celia replied.
"Shame in a way," Ruth continued, "Though in another it'll be good to be back. Get home."
She was still unused to what a transient term home had the potential to be in the future and was not quite sure how to deal with it; only that it would be nice to be back in Yorkshire where things were smaller and more familiar. She like Hollywood in its own way, but, simple as it sounded, it wasn't Yorkshire.
Celia gave no reply to this- still sleepy, Ruth thought- and she realised that it would be up to her to steer this particular conversation, if it was to go anywhere at all. She felt the need to share what was on her mind with someone, and it seemed to her as if Celia was the best bet. She suspected that her conversation with Chris earlier had done more to build her hopes up than to keep her in a realistic frame of mind; she daren't trouble Annie with something like this at the moment; and she felt much more comfortable talking to Celia about this than to either Jessie or Cora.
"Celia, I met someone today."
"We've met lots of people," Celia told her- her eyes closed- with a small yawn, "So many people."
Celia's right eye opened sharply. That had her listening, Ruth thought.
"O 'eck. Was he a fine specimen?" Celia enquired, looking as if she was trying not to giggle.
Even she had to admit that she found the idea of herself having man trouble- that originated outside of her marriage- a little bit silly, but here they were. Settling her hands across her stomach, Ruth gave a little bark of laughter.
"Finest bloody specimen I've seen in while," she replied, not a little wryly.
Now Celia actually turned over properly and sat herself up, both eyes open, surveying Ruth almost curiously.
"And you had a wonderfully quick and passionate fling with him in a nicely secluded corner of the beach this afternoon?" she asked, "That would kill you and Eddy getting back together in the bud."
"If one of us has made absolutely sure that there's no chance of us getting back together, it's him, Ruth told her firmly, "I wouldn't have him back if he crawled over hot coals and broken glass. And anyway, this is Hollywood, not the Magical Kingdom far far away where all your dreams forever come true."
There was a pause for a few seconds, that Celia used to raise her eyebrows.
"Perhaps I didn't mean it to come out quite like that," Ruth tried to correct herself.
"Freudian slip, I think," Celia remarked, smiling a little slyly, "Anyway, how come I haven't seen this fine specimen wandering around? Was he in his swimming trunks?"
"No Celia, he wasn't."
"That would probably explain it."
Ruth sighed a little.
"I don't know why I keep thinking about him. Chances are that we'll both go home tomorrow and never see each other again. That makes it all sound very silly, and I suppose it is."
"Where's he from?" Celia asked.
Celia sat bolt upright, an expression of pure startlement and optimism on her face, but Ruth cut her off.
"Yorkshire's a big place, Celia."
"Stranger things have happened."
The fact that she was here in Hollywood at all- not to mention the reason that she was here- only seemed to support that, so Ruth decided not to say anything more on that score. Instead she continued on a different tack.
"Anyway, my taste in men being what it is, he'll probably turn out to be a right moron," she continued dismissively, thinking it might have more effect if he himself had shown any evidence at all of moronic qualities, "They usually do around me."
But Celia, it seemed, was having none of this soft pessimistic talk.
"How many?" she asked bluntly, "Apart from Eddy, that is," she added, seeing Ruth's mouth open too quickly.
"I had this boyfriend once," she began slowly, "Just after I left school it was, and I had a job at the paper shop down the road from where we lived. I'd sort the newspapers out to be sent round the houses and he'd come in on Fridays for half a pound of liquorice on his way back from college and I'd smile at him, and... it was wonderful."
"And what happened to him?" Celia asked.
"He married the girl who delivered the newspapers."
"And after him?"
"I went out with a man who was quite a bit older than I was. He asked me to marry him, but my mum wasn't having any of it, she said I'd regret it a few years down the line when some handsome chap closer to my age turned up."
"So I waited for a bit, and then, well, Eddy."
Celia looked a little uneasy.
"That's only two out of three."
Ruth snorted quietly.
"It's more than enough for the time being," she replied quietly, "Anyway," she added, trying to make herself sound brighter, "Home tomorrow."
"Yes, home tomorrow. Do you feel better for having told me about him?"
"Yes," Ruth lied. She hadn't felt so much as bad about him before, only uncertain, and she didn't feel any different at all now, "Thanks, Celia. Goodnight."
But Celia's head was already back on the pillow, and she was apparently sound asleep. Smiling a little at her friend, Ruth slipped off the bed as gently as possible and quietly padded her way back to the door to her own room.
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