Scott watched the monitor carefully waiting for the camera down on the stage to come awake. It beeped on its little recording light with a nice shot of cleavage as Ruth leaned over the camera to adjust some settling on the top of the camera, before she took a couple of steps back and smiled down the lens. “Working?” she asked, allowing the camera’s build in mic to pick up her voice.
Scott flipped a switch in the booth so that his voice would carry down to the stage. “Yeah. Thanks for all this. I would have called Billy to help but—“
“Billy is useless at this kind of thing. I get it. How does it look up there? What do you need me to do?”
“Find Billy’s mark, please. Stand and talk for a little while, I want to make sure that everything is in order.”
Scott watched through the monitor rather than looking down at the stage as Ruth scanned the floor for the proper little mark and sidestepping to cover the space with her toes. “Talk huh?” She bounced lightly on the spot, squinting up past the lights as if she might have a chance of seeing Scott hidden in the booth. “What in the world should I talk about?”
“Well, you are being recorded, so perhaps nothing that you will want to deny later.” Scott suggested, and was rewarded with a warm smile.
“So, what you’re saying is no detailed confessions of my torrid crime spree all across America, then?” She teased.
“I’d advise against it.”
“Well, then, I have nothing at all to talk about,” she sighed with a dramatic shrug of her arms—a habit that she’d picked up from her friendship with Billy. Scott had always wondered why it was always just a friendship. From the time he met them, he thought that Billy and Ruth would have been an inevitability, and something spectacular at that. But—here they were six years on, both clearly attracted to each other, and no one had said anything.
Curiosity might have gotten the better of Scott as he suggested, “I don’t know. Talk about Billy. This is his event, after all.”
“Billy, huh? Well, he’s a good man. Funny. Kind. Tall. Sweet. The stupidest genius I’ve ever met. One of my very best friends. I don’t know. What you do want to know?”
“Well, Do you like him?” And then feeling extremely childish he added, “Like—like him, like him?”
Ruth laughed openly. “Scott, are you an eleven year old in a twenty-seven year old body?”
“Yes. I am. But, you didn’t answer the question, Ruth?”
“I—well—Yes.” Ruth stopped bouncing on her toes, not looking up towards the booth or to the camera, but down into the empty chairs. “Yes, of course I do. I thought it was obvious.”
“Have you ever told him that?”
“No,” she laughed, “Not bluntly. He never asked and I guess I never thought to volunteer the information. It doesn’t really matter though, does it? He and I—we’re not exactly on even playing ground, are we?”
Scott made a skeptical face before realizing that Ruth still couldn’t see him. “What in the world is that supposed to mean?”
“Well, he’s tall, he’s fit, he’s funny, and he’s kind.” She repeated her list blinking up past the lights, the smile back on his face. “He makes plans and get things done, while I am a creature of daydreams and whims. He was making his dreams come true while I was still living with my parents dreaming of marrying Darren Criss.” He watched as she gave a little shrug, her own calm shrug instead of Billy’s exaggerated one. “Besides, it’s not like I’m a particularly subtle woman, or been entirely hush-hush about the whole thing. After all, I’m letting you record this as I literally declare it on a stage. But nothing has ever happened. So, I’m not going to be in a relationship with William Branson. I think I’ll find a way to survive.”
Scott almost didn’t realize that she’d finish talking. He been using the remote zoom. Her mother said she’d survive, and he didn’t doubt that she would, but this close up said she was heartbroken. That was all the proof Scott needed to feel justified in his new game of matchmaker.
“Scott? Is everything okay up there?” Scott started, and returned the camera back to its defaults.
“Yeah, yeah just saw something on the camera I wanted to take a closer look at,” Scott reassured her.
“Maybe. Give me a minute. Keep talking.”
“About what, Scott? I’m fried a bit. I can’t think of anything.”
Scott scrambled for a second—he needed her to keep talking about Billy—what could he get her to say that would be the most useful to him on this recording? “Well—I don’t know. Hypotheticals? What would you do if Billy showed up at your front door tomorrow morning and just kissed you?”
“Well, I’d make sure he was sober—not still reacting to a part from the night before. Then I’d proably ask exactly what his intentions were because I really don’t do friends with benefits or one night stands. And then I’d probably ask him if he was really sure he wanted to do this.”
“And if he was sober, wanted a relationship, and was sure?” Scott pressed.
“Well—Yeah.” She grinned wide, and Scott began to feel a little guilty. If this didn’t work—he would be breaking her heart twice. But—it had to work. “That would be something wouldn’t it?” Ruth added, before giving herself a little shake and started bouncing on her toes again. “You fix everything up there? Camera’s working well?”
“Yep. Yes. Everything is excellent. Thanks for all your help. You can go back to whatever it was Billy roped you into working on here today.”
“Cool,” She gave him a mock salute both towards the booth and towards the camera. “Let me know if you need anything else, Scott my man.”