This is it. Today is going to be her, Ruby Fiera’s, last day on earth. The universe is out to get her today.
Because why else would Sapphire, her best friend of nine years and crush of four, suddenly decide to bring her dress-shopping around Beach City’s biggest mall, The Temple? And to wear every single form-fitting, lacy dress she could find? AND TWIRL AROUND AND ASK RUBY WHAT SHE THOUGHT EACH TIME???
Ruby sighed, and sank her head into her hands, tugging on the red headband around her afro in an unsuccessful attempt to retain her sanity. Sapphire had just gone into the cubicle with her latest selection, and Ruby sat outside on the dressing room bench, thankful that her deeply tanned brown skin hid any signs of a flush or blush. So many times today had she almost blurted out some cheesy pick-up line or awful flirt…she was surprised that Sapphire had taken her stutters and choked replies as refusals instead of- HO MAMA WHAT IS THAT.
Ruby froze at the sight of a long mocha-brown leg, feet covered with dark blue peep-toe heels right beneath her. The toenails were free of polish, (Sapphire hates all nail polish, and dressing up in general, why were they here again?) but that only served to accentuate the long arch of perfection that Ruby’s eyes traced as she slowly looked up.
Sapphire stood before her, in a shimmering navy blue tie-back gown with one smooth shoulder bared, long dyed-blonde tresses over the other as she played with the ends. Snow-white, elbow length gloves with silver trimmings graced her hands, and the dress was bound to her neck by a simple black ribbon.
The gods should strike her down- Ruby has seen one of their own.
Sapphire bit her lip, a single blue eye peeking out from the gap in her bangs shyly. “So…how is it?” Sapphire asked.
(Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it…)
“Are you McDonalds? Because I’m lovin’ it.” (She said it.)
Sapphire laughed, a loud, un-ladylike series of snorts that reminded Ruby of just why she loved making the other girl giggle. Sapphire quickly composed herself, but left a smile small enough for only Ruby to see. Her heart stuttered. “Guess that means I’m buying this then”, she quipped.
Then Sapphire turned, allowing Ruby a full view of the open, steep V-back of the dress.
Yup, the universe was definitely out to get her today.
“So…who’s your date for prom?”
Ruby choked on her slurpee. She clutched at her throat, trying to cough out the offending lump of ice, before finally regaining enough composure (sort of) to look up and stare at her best friend in shock. “What?”
Sapphire raised one neatly pencilled eyebrow (her blue-tipped bangs made it hard to see but Ruby knew she was doing it) and repeated herself. “Who are you going with for prom?”
Ruby coughed again, hoping that she could pass off the nervous act as an aftershock of just now (she couldn’t). The shorter girl leaned back into the cushy seats of the Dairy Queen they were in, hoping that they would swallow her whole. “I…er, haven’t asked anyone yet.”
Sapphire smiled strangely, and put down her own milkshake to place her hand over Ruby’s. “Well…do you have anyone in mind…?”
YOU, Ruby’s mind screamed at her to say. But instead, Ruby just let out her highest pitched shriek/laugh yet and made very rapid, vague gestures in the air before she replied, “nah. Nobody’d agree to go with rotten old me.”
Sapphire squeezed her hand, and Ruby felt more than heard her next few words.
The pair of them fell silent, and the blonde girl retracted her hand. Sapphire fidgeted in her seat, looking away from her best friend…bashfully? Ruby really shouldn’t let her hopes get up. There’s no way that beautiful, sweet, kind Sapphire wouldn’t already have a date to their junior college prom. But just to be sure…
“Well, are you going to ask anyone to prom?”
Sapphire laughed breathily, still looking away, and Ruby felt her heart sink further with each word “Honestly, I’m hoping that they’ll ask me first. I’ve liked this person for a really long time.”
Ruby looked down, and clenched her fists under the table. She knew she shouldn’t have asked. At least before this she could have entertained the possibility that Sapphire would say yes but now she knows that Sapphire likes this other person that’s not her and if that person has half a brain they’ll ask her out to prom and then they’ll start dating and go to university together and get married, get a house, have kids and then-
“You’ve got a bit of Slurpee on your face. Let me get that for you.”
Ruby halted her internal meltdown just in time to see Sapphire lean in and kiss her on the cheek, flicking out her tongue to wipe away the last traces of slushie left there.
The universe just loves teasing her, doesn't it. (Ruby was never going to wash that cheek ever again.)
Prom night. Otherwise known as the night where everyone blows off exorbitant amounts of money on sub-par food and seats and even more cash on a dress/suit that they will never wear again. Ruby tugged at the choking bow-tie around her neck, a remnant from her dad’s own high school days. If things were up to her, she wouldn’t even be at this stupid prom – but Amethyst and Bismuth had pitied her dateless ass and asked her to go with them as their friend. As if they wouldn’t abandon her at the first chance to hang out with their respective partners.
So, here she was, thirty minutes in and on the wrong side of the gaudy gym door. Ruby shoved her hands into her pockets, and watched couples dance under swirling spotlights. She had spotted Sapphire a while ago, on the arm of some tall suave being. Grinding her teeth, Ruby was trying very hard not to regret not asking Sapphire out she still had a chance. Now they were graduating, and moving to different countries for college (by that she meant that Sapphire was going to study law in New York and the local police academy had already accepted Ruby’s application), and there were still too many words unsaid. Or, mainly just three.
A soft cough sounded beside her, and Ruby turned, an automatic apology on her lips. However, all higher cognitive processes immediately fizzled out when she met the shimmering blue gaze of her best friend, dolled up in winged eyeliner, her hair half-up and falling over her shoulders like a smooth waterfall. Though they weren't at prom together per say, and they had seen each other in freaking jumpsuits before, the shorter girl suddenly felt immensely under-dressed in the plain red-breasted black tuxedo Bismuth had shoved her into.
"Sa-Sa-Sapphire! Hey! What's up?" Twisting her lips upwards even though her stomach was churning, Ruby bit out a cheerful "Where's your date?"
Sapphire only smiled enigmatically in response. Casting a glance around for something (for what, Ruby didn't know), the taller girl then held out her hand to Ruby. “Follow me outside for a while? This party is getting rather loud.”
Caught off guard by the request, Ruby mutely took Sapphire’s hand and they walked out into the quiet night. In her peripheral vision, Ruby thought she saw Amethyst shoot her a grin and a thumbs up, but her attention was much too focused on the contrast between Sapphire’s cool hand and her clammy ones to formulate a reply.
Slowly, they walked across familiar asphalt and sat down at the edge of the parking lot, just far enough to muffle the music coming from the school but near enough for coloured lights to throw their shadows onto the ground. With nothing else to do, Ruby looked up at the star-filled sky, and wondered if it would still look the same once Sapphire was gone.
A gentle squeeze of her hand. Ruby turned to face Sapphire, who was looking down at the black tarmac, strangely enough. “Not enjoying your night?” Ruby asked, concern etching her tone. Sapphire shook her head, shifting a little to rest her coiffed curls on the other girl’s shoulder.
“The person I wanted to come with didn’t ask me out.”
Ruby jerked, shocked (and maybe a little happy, but this was Sapphire’s moment, not hers). “What? Who’s that idiot? You’re gorgeous and smart and funny and nice and anyone would kill for a chance to dance with you Sapphy, I can’t believe that there’s a douche that is so blind that they can see you and not-“ a finger to her lips stopped Ruby’s impassioned rant. Ruby went slightly cross-eyed looking down at Sapphire’s hand, and then dragged her eyes upwards to meet Sapphire’s one.
Sapphire’s full lips quirked up at the corner, and she withdrew her hand to sweep away the bangs that normally hid her cataract-clouded eye. The blonde girl was always self-conscious about the blemish, but Ruby thought that the swirling blue-grey pattern of it was beautiful and always told the other girl such. Still, Sapphire never put up her bangs around anyone except for her.
“So…I decided to make the first move instead.”
Ruby furrowed her brows, about to retort that she deserved the best and if that asshole was so oblivious then they could go and- wow. Okay Sapphire’s lips were really soft. The afro-ed girl closed her eyes and leaned into the kiss on instinct, still chasing after that addictive taste when Sapphire pulled away. Slowly, she opened her eyes, convinced that this was a dream because no way did the girl of her dreams just kiss her in a dingy parking lot with slow music in the background.
But there Sapphire was, both eyes twinkling and a soft giggle on her lips. Lips which had just been against hers.
Well. If the universe was out to get her, then this was one hell of a way to go.