“I don’t think anyone’s prepared for you, my friend, but I’m glad you had a good time, even if it didn’t work out.”
Ruby’s antics make me think about the past two days. Overanalyzing both exchanges, I’ve come to the conclusion that Joshua doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he doesn’t know anything about me. Sure, he’s quick to throw in his two cents, but that doesn’t mean that opinion should be taken into consideration.
I have a feeling he got what he wanted—more of my time.
“You should not let me drink on a school night,” Ruby says.
“A case of wine was the first thing you moved in, so I don’t think I could have stopped you if I tried,” I reply, teasing.
“I’m glad you didn’t try.” She kicks her feet up on the coffee table, her arms going wide. “My body hurts from laughing. It’s good to hang out again.”
“I’m glad you’re back, too. All I did was work this summer. It’s good to hear that one of us had fun.”
“You could have fun if you wanted, Clo.”
“Fun is for when you’re dead, according to The Great Dr. Fox.”
“So it sucked working for your pops?”
“The clinic was good experience and exposure to operations, but nothing between my dad and I has changed. He sees me in one way, and if I try to have fun, I’m told my mom is to blame.”
“I’m sorry. I was hoping it would get better.”
I hate admitting it out loud, but my boring life back home makes me feel unwanted. It’s Ruby, though, and she already knows most of my secrets. “I went to the beach once and ran into Trevor.”
“Trevor League?” If there was a family that held more prestige than the Foxes in Newport, the Leagues were it. Trevor has continued the playboy reputation he built back home and developed it in Connecticut. “How’d that go?”
What my father has built as a surgeon, Trevor’s father has built a bigger fortune in finance. It was only natural, considering our families’ ties, that one day, Trevor and I would have a relationship. We went to homecoming together freshman and sophomore year. I didn’t put out, so he dropped me for a senior who was happy to sacrifice her virginity at the altar of the arrogant sophomore for a shot at League family money.
I never felt an obligation to give two damns about him or their standing in the community. My goals were bigger than the Leagues because my goals don’t rely on money. They rely on healing and making a difference in people’s lives.
“He sat next to me like we’re old friends and told me I was ‘looking good these days.’ Those were his exact words, Ruby, as he lowered his sunglasses to get a better look at my cleavage. He’ll never change. He’s still cocky as ever.”
“Considering how hot he is, he has a right to be. The real question is, how cocky is he?” she infers all the dirty with just those few words. Her hands spreading wide wasn’t necessary.
But since they’re hanging in the air, I push them together and break out in laughter. “I wouldn’t know, but rumor has it, not cocky enough down there to back that ego.”
“Damnnn. Girl’s got some bite.” Pushing my arm, she adds, “I always did like your feisty side.” After drinking her wine, she then spins the stem between her fingers. She suddenly sits up and pours more wine into her cup. “You need more play to balance all the work. Work. Work.”
“You sound like my mom.”
“Your mom is awesome. Listen to the woman and enjoy life before you get stuck working seventy-two-hour shifts and falling for a dermatologist because medical people are the only ones you interact with.”
The word “stuck” has become one of my least favorites as it climbs under my skin from the other day—stuck in place. I shake my head, but when I see Ruby watching me, I say, “For the record, dermatologists are highly regarded professionals.”
She fake yawns. “Boring.”
I know what will sell her. “They make a ton of money, and I bet the wife of a dermatologist has amazing skin. And they can give you free Botox.”
“Sold. Where can I get one?” I thought that might pique her interest. “Medical school.”
A light laugh is followed by her mindlessly scrolling on her phone. “I think I’m going to change my major from premed to visual arts tomorrow.”
“I spent the summer working on my photography portfolio and just decided I love it enough to pursue it professionally.”
“I can imagine that didn’t go over well with the Darlings.”
“They don’t know. The original agreement was that I get a degree. I guess they figured I couldn’t get creative at Yale. Silly parents. I proved them wrong.” Before I can ask more questions, she pivots to food in one quick change of topic. “Are you hungry? I’m starved.”