Chapter 17

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(Ruby's dress to the side)

(Ruby's POV)

"Ruby, come on." Mom groans through the curtain. "Show me."

"Two seconds, Mom."

We're currently in the mall and I'm trying on a dress for tonight's memorial. I know, talk about last minute. It's not as if I haven't been looking, it's just that it's so hard to find a nice dress.

"I'm getting old out here."

"You," I say as I yank the curtain open. "Are the most impatient woman I know."

"Oh, honey," she gasps, her hands covering her mouth. I know she hasn't listened to a word I said. "You look fabulous."

I roll my eyes at her behaviour. She's said the exact same thing for the last five dresses, which, might I add, were all awful dresses picked out by her and the ancient shop assistant. This dress was one I had picked out myself and I hope to God it's nice.

I turn around to glance at the mirror. The cream color of the dress matched my complexion perfectly. The sleeves were cuffed and ended at my elbows, giving the dress an almost innocent look. It ends a few inches above my knee, which, knowing Ryan and Matt will be 'far too short for me to be wearing'. It has a low neckline; but not too low that everything is on show.

I place my hands on my baby bump and smile at Mom in the mirror. "It's perfect."

After buying the dress and a pair of four inch gold heels, we make our way home. Four inches is the shortest pair of heels I've ever bought. All my heels at home are either five or six inches, but, wearing heels that high when I'm eight months pregnant probably isn't the best idea. Still, at least I'm not wearing flats.

"Are you excited?" Mom asks as we pull into the driveway. Dad's car is parked  in the garage but Matt and Ryan's are no where to be seen.

"Yeah," I lie, a smile on my face. "I am. It'll be nice to meet all Ryan's friends from the army."

Dad opens the front door for us just as Mom goes to put the key in the keyhole.

"Did you get one?" He asks, holding the door open for us after giving us both a hug.

"She did," Mom practically squeals. "Oh, Martin. Wait until you see it. It's beautiful!"

"I'm sure it is, dear," he replies.

"I'm going upstairs to get ready," I tell them both as Dad leads my overly excited mother into the living room.

I glance at my reflection in the mirror for what feels like the hundredth time. My long blonde hair, which is usually straight, is curled and ends half way down my back. My blue eyes are lined with a black eyeliner, while a golden brown covers my eyelids. I have a nude lip gloss on my lips, completing the look. The more I look at the dress I chose, the more I fall in love with it.

I rest my hands on my swollen stomach and sigh. As the time ticks on, I can't help but dread the night ahead. I have a strong feeling that something is going to go wrong. Ryan, on the other hand, can't wait to introduce me to everyone. Excited doesn't even cover how he's feeling. He's like a child who had just been told they were moving into Disneyland. I've tried to act excited for his sake because I know tonight means a lot to him, but I just can't shake off the bad feeling that I have.

"It's probably just nerves" Matt told me when I expressed my concern to him this morning. I suppose he's probably right. I mean, Ryan has told these guys so much about me. In fairness, who wouldn't be nervous to meet a bunch of guys from the army?

"Ruby," Dad calls from downstairs. "Ryan's here."

"Coming!"

I slip on my shoes, grab my clutch and take one last look in the mirror. "Here goes nothing" I whisper, smiling at my reflection.

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