Title: Token of Remembrance
Characters: Mrs. Bradley, Riza Hawkeye
Word Count: 1,204
Summary: She was along on the holiday.
Ruby Bradley sat on a sofa in the farthest corner of her husband’s library, curled up with a book and a blanket draped over her legs. She didn’t quite consider the library by any means theirs, it was filled with any kinds of political, history, economic book possible, and she was pretty sure her husband had read all of them. She just had her own shelf to fill with her romances and classical novels. She didn’t get very many moments to read them. As wife of the Furher, she was kept busy with parties and guests constantly flowing through the house. Her life was busy and she felt bad because of it. She barely got a moment to herself, or with her son. Ruby didn’t enjoy other women having to take care of her son just because she had to keep up public appearances. It wasn’t fair on him, but that was the life of the Furher’s wife.
March fourteenth was a public holiday, a celebration for couples in Amestris, but it wasn’t a big enough celebration for there to have to be a party at the Bradley manor. It was more of a quiet holiday, one celebrated by only couples privately, so Misses Bradley spent the free day she had with her son. Her husband was away in the east and couldn’t be with her on this holiday. But she understood and the loneliness of her situation had long worn off. She was used to spending holidays without him. And either way, she had spent the whole day with Selim, which was a treat.
By now Selim had gone to bed and Ruby had time to herself to read the novel she had bought almost a month ago but had had no time to pay attention to. It was by one of her favorite bestselling romance authors, and she had been longing to get around reading it. Ruby loved a well written romance novel, but she had standards, like any person, over the books that she read. She enjoyed romances, not books that are as unrealistic as fairytales where men are as a perfect and fake as they come. She preferred things that were well thought out and carefully planned, each twist and turn to the story described with the upmost care. She enjoyed stories in which the characters had to discover themselves and work to make their love work. But above all, Misses Bradley did not care for tragedies.
She didn’t like to read about characters which she would find endearing to later end up either unhappy or dead. Ruby did not look at such things in life as something she herself wanted to read. She is an optimistic person, and she wanted to read about how the characters did triumph over all evils. She did not care to get her hopes up for something that would only result in death.
The book she held right now seemed to be going in the right direction. It was optimistic. At the moment, a young talented woman searching to make herself into the powerful world of men is now meeting a man at a dinner party which would not only sweep her off her feet, but help her achieve her dreams. Ruby had read enough works of fiction to know the outcome of the happy ending, what fascinated her was how the protagonist would make her dreams a reality.
Ruby sipped a small glass of chardonnay before putting it back on the little stand next to the sofa. She sat leaning slightly towards the stand which not only held her drink but also a small table lamp. Not long after the protagonist first began to feel something for the witty man she was talking to at the party, a knock came to the door of the library.
Misses Bradley looked up and took her reading glasses off. She folded them and rested them on the stand. “Come in,” she said.
For a few moments, no one appeared, but Ruby could hear the steps of someone in the room. “I’m in the back,” Ruby said, hoping to clarify the person’s confusion. She knew the rows upon rows of mahogany shelves could cause someone to get lost in such an enormous room. The light blue paint on the walls didn’t help make the room seem any smaller.
She sat up straight, putting her legs on the ground and straightening her back in a more lady-like fashion. She fixed her silk robe into a more suitable presentation before laying her hands down on her lap.
Ruby recognized the sound of military issue steel-toed boots. Her husband and most of the people that Ruby knew wore them. The familiar clucking sound didn’t as a surprise to her, even at this time of night. But instead of a man as she would’ve expected, a woman came out from between bookshelves, holding a bouquet of roses. Misses Bradley faintly recognized the pinned blonde hair to be that of her husband’s secretary.
The woman smiled and gave a slight bow in her presence. “I’m sorry to bother you at this time of night, but I just received these to be sent to you from the Furher.” She handed Misses Bradley the flowers. “He says he is sorry he cannot be with you tonight.”
Ruby stares at the flowers, an unusual gift from her husband. He didn’t usually send her gifts on holidays when he is not present. Even the occasional phone call is rare. Now to be given a bouquet of roses—her favorite flower—was something she would’ve never dreamed of. Ruby touched each soft petal with gratitude towards her husband as she thought of how much she really did miss him.
After a few moments of staring at the flowers intoxicated with the beauty of the tiny moment, she realized that the woman was still standing in front of her, waiting to be dismissed. She looked up and was surprised that annoyance was not the least bit evident on her young face.
“Thank you for bringing these to me. It was very kind of you to still be willing to do so at this time of night.” Ruby smiled up at her.
The woman smiled back, but, maybe she was just imagining things, her facial expression seemed kind of saddened. She bowed in respect once again. “I’m glad you are happy.”
Ruby cradled her roses in her arms as she watched the woman walk away. Maybe she was sad because she did not have a lover to give her flowers on this day. Or maybe she was just tired. It was a little late to be working.
Ruby called for a servant to put her roses away for her in a nice pretty vase where they could sit in the foyer. She told the servant that they didn’t have to go on preparing them till tomorrow, but to at least put them in some water to keep them alive. She watched them leave the room, held in the arms of a stranger, before returning to her book. As she read, she thought she was luckier than its protagonist for the wonderful man that loved her so much.