Title: Waiting and Wondering
Fandom: Fried Green Tomatoes (Movie)
Disclaimer: Not mine. Owned by NBC Universal, Fannie Flag, Jon Avenet, etc.
Spoilers: Um…the movie?
Summary: Idgie might act like everything was fine, but Ruth had to find out what was going on.
Note: Based on a scene that was not in the original theatrical release but is on the special edition DVD. If you don't have that version…what's wrong with you? Go get it!
Ruth sat on the porch swing, the Birmingham News open across her lap. The front page spouted off about a recent Klan flogging and the court date being postponed, but Ruth wasn't reading about that. Actually, she wasn't reading the newspaper at all. She couldn't concentrate on the printed words long enough to get the gist of the story.
She knew something was wrong. Ever since Frank showed up and saw the baby, Ruth had been terrified he would come back and take him away. She never wanted Buddy Jr to ever meet Frank. Her little boy deserved so much better than an evil abusive man. She thought she could raise him in Whistlestop, surrounded by people who loved him, and with Idgie. Idgie loved Buddy Jr like he was her own, and in every way it counted, he was her child. She helped to take care of him, worked to bring in money to feed him, and told him wild stories that made Ruth smile and shake her head at their audacity. Ruth might not have known it before, but the moment she learned she was pregnant and Idgie came riding in to rescue her from Frank, she knew there was no one else on this earth she wanted to raise a child with. They were a family now, and Ruth thanked God everyday for blessing her with Buddy Jr and Idgie.
Then, Frank showed up with his Klan friends – the reason why she was attempting to read about the Klan trial – and saw Buddy. She protected the baby as well as she could with Sipsey and Smokey Lonesome, but Frank threatened to come back. When Idgie showed up from her night out gambling with Grady, Ruth told her what happened. Idgie promised to not do anything, but they both knew it was a lie. Idgie would protect them even if it meant doing something crazy. Idgie was a passionate being, and Ruth knew she would do anything for their family. When they went to bed that night after putting Buddy down, Idgie held her and Ruth felt for a moment that everything would be ok. Idgie wouldn't let Frank near the baby again. She would get Grady and the rest of the men in town to make sure of that, and they'd make sure Idgie didn't get hurt, either.
Soon after, she went away for one of Reverend Scroggins' Revivals. The instant she was back in town, she knew something had happened. No one would say anything about it to her, but things had changed. Sipsey had a look in her eye and always found a way to leave whenever Ruth showed up, whether it be to the back of the kitchen to cook more chicken or outside to bring Big George a glass of lemonade. Big George was boiling hogs earlier than normal, and he just stayed quiet whenever Ruth was by him. Smokey Lonesome had left town in the middle of the night.
Then, there was Idgie. Her sweet Idgie was always talking, telling stories and cracking jokes. But now it seemed like she was trying too hard. Idgie was always up for a good tall tale, but Ruth knew her. Idgie was hiding something from her. She could tell in the way Idgie would get quiet when she thought no one else was in the café. Late at night when they were in bed, Idgie would kiss her, but the kisses were different. It was like the first few times they kissed after they returned from Valdosta. Ruth was nervous and worried. Did something happen while she was gone? Maybe Frank had shown back up and threatened to take Buddy away again. She couldn't let that happen. She wouldn't. Not her child.
With these thoughts in mind, Ruth sat on the porch swing and waited for Idgie to close the café and come home. The sheriff from Georgia – Curtis Smoote – was still there eating barbecue. Idgie had volunteered to stay behind and urged Ruth to head on home. That was another thing that was strange. When Curtis Smoote showed them a picture of Frank, Idgie had done her best to act like it didn't matter, but Ruth saw her eyes when she turned to walk away. Idgie was lying again, and not just about him being run over by a Brinks armored truck.
A sigh of relief burst out as Ruth spotted Idgie ambling down the road from the café. Idgie grinned happily at her, but Ruth couldn't smile back. Not with all the worry she had inside. Idgie sat down and Ruth moved to lean her head on the other woman's shoulder like she usually would, but she stopped short. Idgie might act like everything was fine, but Ruth had to find out what was going on. She glanced up at those blue eyes she loved so well and asked what Curtis Smoote wanted.
Idgie looked at her and replied that the man had said that was the best damn barbecue he ever had.
Ruth pulled back a little so she could look at Idgie's face better. She always knew when Idgie was lying or bluffing. More than once she had heard Grady mumbling to his friends about asking Ruth for help during the weekly poker nights.
Idgie was lying to her.
Ruth stared hard at Idgie and asked if that was all.
Idgie stared back at her for a second, and Ruth swore she saw a flash of something in her gaze. Then, that charming grin appeared and Idgie replied that he liked the pie too.
Ruth knew Idgie was lying. It hurt that Idgie would lie so much to her. The only thing that hurt worse was that she had a horrible feeling it had to do with Frank and that sheriff. As Idgie leaned into her and put her arm across the back of the swing, Ruth rested her head on the comfortable shoulder and closed her eyes.
She would have to do something. To protect both Buddy Jr and Idgie.