Illusional Beauty

by the Crazy Cat Lady

This is a one-shot of Ruby Royce's past. She appears in my completed story, Sable, which I am working on editing. Here is her past that explains her character in Sable.

Ruby rested her head against Shane's shoulder. It would finally be a couple of more weeks until they get married in July. It excited her that she would soon be his wife and know she would spend the rest of her life with him.

Drawing Ruby closer from her waist, Shane kissed her cheek. Ruby lifted her head to return him a kiss, and they both smiled. His hand played with a long strand of her red hair that had slipped behind her ear.

"You are the most beautiful woman I have ever laid my eyes on," he said softly, gazing intently into her round green eyes.

Ruby did not blush. Shane often told her how beautiful she was that she had gotten used to it. Sometimes she found it a bit tiring, but overall, she did not mind. "Surely the better looking one is talking to me."

Shane chuckled and moved his lips to her forehead. "No, but I am glad that out of all the men, you picked me."

Ruby wrapped her arms around his neck. "You are the most handsome man I have ever loved," she said, looking at his blue eyes. It was true what she had said—Shane was the only man she had ever found handsome. In the beginning when he courted her, it was his attractiveness that intimidated her. She did not see why someone like him was interested in her. "But, I won't argue with you," she added.

Shane rolled his eyes slightly, knowing he was indeed the luckiest man on Earth. When they were first training with the falchion a few years ago, Ruby's beauty took his breath away. She also had excellent swordsmanship skills, and he would fondly watch her spar and practice moves with the master swordsman and other trainees. He admitted he was jealous—Ruby had a lot of attention from other men, but she mostly lay her eyes on him. And soon, he would be married to her which felt too good to be true. It felt as if he had won what was rightfully his, and he was proud of knowing it.

For the past few days, Ruby noticed the sudden blemishes forming on her face. More and more grew on her forehead and cheeks. She could not understand why her skin was recently breaking out; the last time she had blemishes was during her early adolescent years.

Splashing cold water over her face, Ruby hoped that they were minor and would go away by the time July would come. Blemishes did not bother herself much, since they were just blemishes. But would Shane think she was still beautiful? She did not want him to think of her as hideous just because of a skin condition she was suddenly having. It would greatly stunt her ego if he would thought less of her.

Heading downstairs, Ruby sat at the dining table. Before her was a bowl of wheat porridge which was similar to oatmeal, but it was better tasting and cheaper. Her mother had recently started to replace oats with the wheat that had been becoming popular as a crop. Before Ruby was about to eat, her active thoughts halted her.

Wait, she thought. Her blemishes started to form at the same time her mother started using wheat. Could wheat could had been the cause? It was disbelieving that a body could react to a food to cause blemishes, however.

I guess I will have to experiment, Ruby thought. Hopefully it was the root of her problem. Excusing herself from the table, Ruby skipped breakfast. Thankfully there was no sword training today, so she did not have to worry about Shane.

It turned out Ruby's face healed back slowly over the few days as she avoided wheat. She replaced porridge with fruit, but it was not filling enough to last until lunch time. She grew more tired and hungry every morning, and by the time it was noon, she was already exhausted to do anything else.

One morning, she gave in and had wheat porridge. She could not go on satisfying her stomach with just fruits in the morning since there was nothing else she could have. As Ruby expected, the blemishes returned on her forehead as she continued to have wheat porridge for breakfast. The blemishes grew more inflamed, but on a bad day, since she was going to see Shane at training soon.

Even though men knew Ruby was with Shane, they still usually eyed at her. Today, she did not get as much attention. It was actually a good thing for herself, since fewer men had been staring at her. In fact, one looked quickly away, perhaps startled by her blemishes that had gotten redder.

Ruby found this a bit relieving, since it was annoying to get unwanted attention, but now she was going to worry about Shane. She sat nervously on the bench under a tree, gripping her falchion's hilt tightly. She hoped Shane was different from the shallow men and still find her attractive with unclear face. She wanted to know that she was still beautiful to him that it nearly grew into an obsession in her mind until she felt hands covering her eyes from behind.

"Guess who I am," the voice asked.

"Shane," Ruby answered. It was obviously him. She found herself smiling, suddenly forgetting her doubts and worries. She turned around, releasing Shane's hands around her eyes.

She was met back by startled blue eyes that were staring at her blemishes that dotted her forehead and cheeks. They showed a mixture of disgust and horror, making Ruby's heart sink. Although she rarely cried, she was on the verge of almost bursting into tears. It broke her heart to see his expression as if she was a hideous human being.

Recovering from shock, Shane tried to smile. It was awkwardly fake that it caused Ruby discomfort, and the fact that he could not look at her in the eye, it depressed her.

Regaining her ego, Ruby stood up and turned away. "I'm sorry I'm not beautiful anymore," she said, her voice a little shaky.

Shane remained silent, trying to figure out what to say. He stared at her back, honestly preferring to stare at her body rather than her face. What had happened to her? Over the years of being with her, he had never seen Ruby's beautiful face being so damaged before. What would his friends and family say on their wedding when they see her with horrible skin? He would be remembered as the man with the most "ugliest" wife.

Unable to stand being in Shane's presence, Ruby left the training grounds. It was the last day she would ever see him again.

For weeks as July had approached, Ruby had been weeping inside her room. Her parents tried to comfort her, telling her she was still beautiful without clear skin. They took advice from the herbalists to try to help their daughter heal her skin, but with the lack of care, Ruby pushed them away. She could not care about anything anymore.

What was worse was not hearing from Shane again. He did not bother to visit her, apologize, or even make plans for the wedding which had become officially abandoned. But what hurt the most was knowing that he did not truly love her at all.