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Week 37: Ruby & Jaden

(reunion with Chance & Jo)

It had been ten years since they’d graduated high school. Ruby looked around at the old place, which looked a lot smaller than it had when she’d been a student there. 

“Babe, are you ready?” Jaden asked. 

“Yeah,” she replied and turned around to see her wife standing there with their one-year-old daughter. 

Ruby smiled because she still couldn’t believe that she’d met Jaden ten years ago and that they were married, had a home together, and now, had a daughter. She hurried over to them and tickled her daughter’s round belly before she took her from Jaden and kissed her on her tiny nose. 

“Hi, baby. Are you ready to go to the festival?”

Her daughter nodded and stuck her thumb inside her mouth. Jaden rested her head on Ruby’s shoulder and rubbed her back.

“I can’t believe it’s been ten years.”

“I know. Crazy, right?”

“Are you ready to receive your award?”

“No.” Ruby chuckled before they started walking toward the car. “I don’t want an award. I’m just glad the festival is still happening every year.”

“We haven’t been back in four years. Can you believe that?”

“No, but I can’t believe it’s been that long since I’ve seen my best friend in person, either.”

Chance and Jo had taken off for, what they’d called, their world tour four years prior after the last Pride festival that they’d all attended together. They backpacked around South America first, spending as little money as they could after saving up for years. Then, they’d stopped at home for a few months before going back out again; that time to Europe, where they crashed in hostels and took odd jobs whenever they needed extra cash. They’d returned for a few more months after that but left again once more to explore a few countries in Africa before heading to Australia and New Zealand. Ruby still couldn’t believe that her best friend since childhood was this world traveler now and that she’d written and self-published two books about her travels, co-authored by Jo.

Those books hadn’t been bestsellers or anything, but they made them enough money to stay on the road, and that was what they’d wanted until now. Chance and Jo were back home, and Ruby and Jaden, who had moved about six hours away from their hometown, had come back specifically to meet them at the Pride festival that they’d all started together. They’d only stopped by the old high school just to see it, and then they got into the car and headed over to the field where the festival was held annually.

It had grown substantially over the years as more and more people were drawn to the event. Despite some people in the country trying to prevent other people from being themselves and welcoming everyone, this town continued on, and they’d added booths celebrating banned books and selling them as well. They’d also added a lecture series to learn about the history of gay Pride and the art of drag. They’d done so much to make people like Ruby and her wife feel like they could always come home and always be themselves.


Ruby turned and saw Chance running toward them. Jo appeared to be pulled along by their joined hands, but she was laughing, so Ruby figured she was okay with it. When Chance got to her, though, she let go of Jo’s hand and pulled Ruby in for a long hug.

“Hey, Jo,” Jaden said as she laughed.

“Hey.” Jo chuckled, too. “And hi there, little one,” they added to Ruby and Jaden’s daughter. “God, she’s already bigger than she was in the last picture you sent.”

“Oh, my God. I finally get to see my niece in person,” Chance said and let go of Ruby instantly, giving her a little push out of the way.

“Hi, my little love,” Chance said and held her arms out to take the baby.

“Say hi to Aunt Chance,” Jaden spoke, rubbing the baby’s back.

“Hi,” the girl said in her tiny voice.

Ruby smiled at her daughter and moved to wrap her arm around Jaden’s shoulders. 

“It’s so nice to see you like this and not on my phone screen,” Chance said as Jo walked up beside her and rubbed the baby’s back.

“She’s a little shy,” Jaden shared.

“How long are you two back this time?”

“For good,” Jo replied. 

“For good?”

“Yeah, we wrote a third book about our time in Ethiopia and Nigeria, which was amazing, and we’re going to edit and publish it here. We’ve already applied for a temporary apartment, and we’ll live there until we find a house to buy, but we’re here for good,” Chance explained. “Or, at least for a while, because we’re both tired and I want to watch this little one grow up and spoil her rotten like a good aunt,” she added.

“You’re moving back home?” Ruby asked.

“Not exactly,” Jo replied and nodded toward Chance.

“We applied for a place near you two.” Chance smiled at them. “About twenty minutes from your house, actually. I just wanted to tell you in person.”

“You’re moving near us?” Ruby asked. “Really?”

“Yes. We didn’t want to move back here with you two being there. It would be a long drive just to babysit this little cutie.” Chance kissed the baby’s cheek.

Ruby turned to Jaden and smiled at her. She’d missed her best friend. Hell, she’d missed her best friend’s partner, too. Jo was great for Chance, Chance was great for Jo, and both of them were the best kind of friends for Ruby and Jaden.

“So, you’re available to babysit next Friday night?” Jaden joked. “We’d love to have a date night.”

“Hell, yeah! We’ll babysit,” Chance replied. 

“She’s very excited about spending time with little Chance,” Jo said and gave the baby a funny face.

Her daughter, Chance Jaden Simon, whom they called CJ for short, giggled, and all felt right in Ruby Simon’s world.

Pride Festival
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