“Okay, time for a confession.” He said after a few moments.

     “Confession?”

     “I phoned around a few places and I couldn’t get a reservation anywhere.”

     “Then where are we going?” She sounded as if she thought he was going insane.

     “Shopping!” He exclaimed with a smile. “I thought I could cook you something instead. But I’m going to let you choose what we eat. Or at least have a say in what we eat.” He smiled again, somewhat dreading her reaction.

She laughed. James felt relief rush over him. “You’re so wayward.”

     “Thank you.” He replied, unsure if she meant it as a compliment.

They pulled into an ASDA car park minutes later.

They both got out without uttering a word. The cold air hit them both and momentarily took their breath away. Ruby met him around the front of the car and they started walking towards the store. The cold chilled them through their coats and they found themselves walking very close to each other. It was only when James felt something warm brush against his hand he noticed just how close together they were walking. His hand brushed against hers again and she discreetly moved over, blushing.

James felt warmth run across his own face. They made their way over to the harsh neon lights of the store and gladly stepped into the warmth.

James turned to Ruby once they were sat back in his car. They’d returned with two fillet steaks, a bag of potatoes and a bottle of Pinot Grigio.

     “You better be damn well hungry; I don’t often cook steak.”

She looked into his eyes. “Then why bother?”

     “So you won’t die of starvation. That’s why I’m bothering.”

She didn’t reply. Instead, she stared out at the inky blackness as they drove away from the harshly lit ASDA. James noticed her silence and kept stealing anxious glances. She remained silently staring out of the window for the whole journey. All women confused him, especially her.  It was almost as if he didn’t understand the rules with women.

He recalled Jenna; brilliant smile, sandy blonde hair and twinkling blue eyes. She was everything a man would want, in public anyway. She loved him and he knew it. He may have grown to love her too, if that one fateful night hadn’t occurred. If only he hadn’t found her secret, if only she hadn’t felt the need to keep it in the first place.

He was desperate to say something, anything, to break Ruby out of her trance. He fiercely searched his mind for a topic; away from the pressures of work and the mystery of what was wrong with her. He needed something normal.

     “Um…” He tried.

     “What?” She pressed gently, turning to look at him.

James chuckled. “I don’t know. We seem to be stuck under a cloud of awkwardness tonight.”

     “Sorry.”

     “Don’t go back to staring out of the window.” He said quickly.

     “Sorry.” She muttered again. With a sigh, she shifted her position so she was facing out of the windscreen.

     “Stop apologizing. It’s okay.” He couldn’t help but think maybe the night was going to be wasted.

     “Thank you.” She murmured.

He opened his mouth to scold her gently for apologizing again when he registered what she’d said.

     “What for?” He couldn’t quite grasp where she was heading.        

     “For not pressing me to tell you what’s wrong with me. You’ve gotta be wondering, right?”

     “Yes, of course. I mean, you’re my friend. I…I care about you.” He felt a blush creeping across his face and prayed that it would be too dark for her to see.

      Ruby opened her mouth as if she was going to say something, and then closed it as if she’d decided against it. James pulled up outside his house before the tension could multiply.

     “You good?” He asked. He noticed that he felt warm and his palms were sweating.

     “Yeah, I’m good. Come on.” She opened the car door and stepped out into the bitter cold.

James mirrored her action and started towards the door, somewhat dazed by the sudden change in temperature. He unlocked the door and opened it. He then jumped when he turned around and Ruby was standing right behind him. They were standing within inches of each other but neither of them made an effort to move. After a second or so, James cleared his throat and stepped aside to let her in. She nodded and stepped inside. James followed, flicking the light-switch as he passed it.

     “Go on through, you know where the kitchen is.” He gestured to the door connecting the kitchen to the living room. She walked through and he followed. The kitchen wasn’t much but it doubled as a dining room. The walls were painted a slightly off-white colour, looking surprisingly nice against the black table and chairs dining set. The kitchen was well-equipped; he liked to cook, it helped pass the time. Ruby sat down in one of the padded chairs and ran a hand through her hair. He knew something was troubling her. He also knew it would be hard as hell to convince her to tell him what it was.

(A/N) Sorry guys, I know I said in the comments that what's wrong with Ruby would be explained in this chapter but I'm going to do that in the next one. The next chapter is going to be Ruby's thoughts and feelings so that's why I decided not to explain in this one. Happy reading everyone! :)

(A/N 2) I hadn't realized that it's been almost a week since I updated last (it's the 23rd). And I haven't actually written anything else. Sorry! I've been slightly busy watching YouTube, eating, listening to "Angel With A Shotgun" (that's a kick-ass song, listen to that) and sleeping. Hey, it's Summer, gimme a break! :) Thanks for reading anyway! Love you all!  

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