Even though Ruby’s parents had been tight on money, they’d always made sure their only daughter was protected since they didn’t have a lot of family. They’d obviously wanted her to be taken care of if they weren’t around to do it themselves.
In reality, they’d obviously put their daughter’s safety over their own comfort.
“What do we have to do in Ohio?” she asked, her expression still unreadable.
“You’re going to need to sign some paperwork to get your trust,” I explained.
She nodded. “Then I guess we’re going to Ohio.”
“Are you okay?” I asked, worried that she hadn’t really said much.
“I will be,” she answered vaguely.
I expedited things so we could get in and out of Ohio quickly. There was nothing there for Ruby anymore, but she was going to have to deal with her past one more time.
While we were on our way to the airport, I swore that this time would be the last.
“I’m glad it’s over,” Ruby said in the same monotone voice she’d used all day.
She was actually starting to scare me.
She’d signed the paperwork involving her trust like it was just another task she had to complete, asking the necessary questions with very little emotion.
We were in the car I’d rented, and we were headed back to the airport after going through everything with an attorney who had taken on the task of getting Ruby’s trust to her bank account.
She still had very little to say. Her words had been her first since we’d gotten back into the vehicle I was now driving.
“Can you turn left up here?” she asked.
It was a small town, and we were approaching the edge of the city limits. It wasn’t difficult for me to make the sudden adjustments to make the requested direction.
She moved forward in her seat, her expression pensive for a moment before she said, “I think it’s the next right.”
I knew exactly where she was going, and I’d anticipated the instructions. I had come to know Ruby pretty well, so I knew she wasn’t going to leave town without visiting her parents.
“I know where the cemetery is,” I told her soberly, making it unnecessary for her to keep trying to guide me to where she wanted to go.
I also understood her need to find a way to make a connection. I hadn’t gone to see my parents’ resting place for some time, but I’d flown back to Rocky Springs fairly often to visit my parents’ graves for the first several years after their deaths.
Once we passed through the gates, she guided me straight to the site, and then jumped out of the car.
I met her on the passenger side of the vehicle.
“I wish I would have brought some flowers or something,” she said in a wistful tone.
Clasping her hand, I answered, “I took the liberty. I hope you don’t mind.”
We walked together silently to the place where Ruby’s parents had been put to rest. I wasn’t exactly sure of the spot, but I’d arranged for flowers to be put on their stone.
I stopped when Ruby halted next to me. “This is it,” she informed me as she looked down at the single stone that marked the site.
“I’d wanted a lot more for them, but my uncle said it was all he could afford,” she murmured.
I squeezed her hand. “He didn’t pay for this, Ruby. It came out of the life insurance before it was put into your trust. But your parents had everything laid out in the will. They didn’t want a big stone. All they wanted was for you to be well if something happened.”
“They were like that,” she said, her voice starting to tremble with emotion. “Neither one of them ever wanted much except to be together.”
“That’s all they wanted, even after their death,” I said solemnly.
“I hate my uncle for making me second-guess how much they loved me,” she stated. “They were everything to me. They were all I had. But he told me they had never really wanted me, and I had spoiled their opportunities for a better life. He made me rethink everything I knew was true. And I believed it because he’d forced me to listen to him. And I guess after a while, you start to believe it if you hear it enough times.”
I squeezed her hand again, but my gut was rolling with fury. “They knew you loved them, Ruby. I know they did. You loved them even when you weren’t quite sure if they loved you.”