Ruby Leanne Bell was born in the back seat of a rusting, yellow 1977 Ford Escort. The carload of teenagers was on its way back from a night of clubbing, and Ruby’s mum had to shimmy out of her jeans right there by the side of the road. The driver was the only one clear-headed enough to offer to help, but Leanne Bell didn’t want her best friends boyfriend putting his hands up there.
Ruby came into the world loud and pink. Leanne wrapped her in the pale green cardigan she’d brought with her. Everyone piled back into the Escort for the drive to the nearest hospital.
Leanne and Ruby lived in a group house, with Leanne’s twelve closest friends. Ruby grew up ruling the roost, spoiled and indulged. She was extroverted and dominating, and anyone who challenged her was soon removed from the home for one infraction or another.
Ruby hated school and had to be bribed to attend. By year five she’d realised that all the other kids were a complete waste of time. She preferred the company of adults, especially the ones who were easy to manipulate.
She aced every test, every subject. She read books a stack at a time and she never found a topic that didn’t interest her.
In high school, she finally saw the point of making friends, although she went after the timid, easily led people, male and female, first. Creating a large group who sat together at lunch and went on outings after school, Ruby led with an iron fist. Nobody was allowed to get ahead of her. Few tried. Everyone had to put Ruby first.
Ruby got a job at a local law firm, doing all the unskilled grunt work for anyone who put their hand up. She was confident that this would look great on her resume later.
Graduating dux of her high school and receiving offers from her top three university choices was no surprise to Ruby. It was what she expected. A huge party at her home with mum and the regular crowd, along with her high school group, made Ruby realise she needed to make a clean break with this old life if she was to concentrate on achieving everything she wanted. The law degree crowd wouldn’t want to mix with a houseful of wanna-be hippies.
Her high school group was easy to avoid, Ruby simply bought a new mobile and didn’t give the new number to anyone. She threw the old phone in the Parramatta River.
University was everything Ruby had expected. At last, an adult world to explore, no more children.
She joined the appropriate clubs and socialised with the right crowd. Her only problems were her temper, her tongue, and her high opinion of her own opinions. She argued with her professors, and not in the appropriate way. She called out in lectures and tutorials, disputing what was taught, the way it was taught. She yelled and called the tutors names. Some quit, others complained.
She was warned, suspended and eventually expelled.
She re-applied for admission and enough of the staff at the university came together against her that her readmission was never going to happen. She was so infuriated she refused to even consider applying to other uni’s. They didn’t deserve her, none of them. She phoned the law firm she’d been working at and quit over the phone.
On her way back to the flat she shared with three guys who were so afraid of her they paid most of the rent, she walked past a real estate agency with a sign in the window advertising a receptionist job.
Ruby lied her way into the position; she had decided to defer uni for a year, earn money and save up for her fees. She smiled and nodded like a champion. Promised dedication and attention to detail, kindness toward buyers, respect to rentals. She started the next day.
It turned out she loved real estate. She worked hard, was ruthless, studied real estate and made a lot of money.
Law would have been a waste of her time, she’d tell people, real estate was far more lucrative. It was just the kind of game Ruby liked; playing both sides against the middle and making a fortune doing it.