Ruby's poem about Louise had gotten six reviews, and her most recent story had only received one review at all (but given that it was a new story, it didn't have a lot of views yet), all of them positive. Ruby smiled, very proud of herself. She never expected her writing to be liked so much.
Then she made a decision that she had no idea was going to change her mood entirely: she was going to read her own stories back to herself, to try and see what the readers saw.
Louise: A poem by rubygem466
With fur of an auburn-tan,
I've known her since my memories began.
Her loyalty is second-to-none,
We like to have fun in the sun,
And with her, she often brings her little cousin.
His name is Morris,
(Couldn't find a rhyme in the thesaurus.)
Though when he plays with Max
Through all their schemes she helps me relax.
She wears a green tartan dress
And just like me, never been a fan of a mess.
Louise is a rabbit who's my best friend,
And I hope we stay that way until the end.
Wait...that wasn't how she wrote it. It wasn't nearly that long. (Or descriptive). Frowning, she clicked on the link for The Perfect Gift.
The Perfect Gift
Today was Ruby's birthday. All her friends came...except Max.
"Where's Max?" Ruby wondered. "My own brother didn't show up to my party...I hope he didn't forget!"
After having cake it was time to open up presents! Ruby had gotten everything on her wish list from the guests.
"Wow! Thanks everyone; I love them! It's just too bad max isn't here."
Everyone turned as the front door opened. A little bunny in overalls hurried over to the table, out of breath.
"Hi, Ruby. Sorry I'm late." Giving her a tiny box with a delicate pink ribbon, he declared, "happy birthday!"
"What is it?" Ruby asked.
"Open it and find out!" Max replied, grinning.
Ruby carefully unwrapped the ribbon and opened the tiny box. Inside of it was a bottle of perfume, shaped like a rose.
"Oh!" Sniffing it, she found it was rose-scented. "Oh, Max, it's wonderful! I love it! Thank you."
"You're welcome, Ruby," Max said, giving the birthday girl a big hug.
That wasn't how she wrote that one, either!
Then, something dawned on her: she didn't remember actually going to publish the stories. She had first assumed the site posted it by itself, but when she checked the FAQ on how to publish a story, she found that wasn't the case.
She didn't understand how it was the stories were out there, then! Unless...
"...Max," she growled, folding her arms crossly. She didn't know how, or why, but somehow, she knew he was behind this. It could have only been Max. But how to prove it...?
The next morning, Ruby found Max running around his room, pretending his toy boat was a laser beam-shooting spaceship.
"Hi, Ruby. What's up?"
"Grandma called me and told me I left some things at her house last time we visited her. Can you be good for about the next half-hour while I go get them back?"
"Sure! See you later!"
Watching Ruby walk down the stairs, Max twiddled his thumbs anxiously, waiting for the sound of her closing the front door behind her.
Discreetly approaching his bedroom window, Max watched from just behind a curtain as Ruby walked down the sidewalk, and out of sight. Smiling and rubbing his hands together, he ran to Ruby's room and checked on the fanfics from her computer.
It was only about half a minute before he found yet another draft in her computer, and decided to take a look:
both max and ruby were up early on april foosl morning good morning max ruby said to her brother as she came into the kitchen
hi ruby I made you cereal max said
thanks max ruby grabbed her sppon ready to take a bite but she couldn't get it out what the she asked its frozen
yes because I froze it overnight max said april fools ruby
ive got to find a way to get back at max ruby thought as she got herself a new bowl of cereal
later rubys friend louise came over to play
wow im thirsty how about you ruby
yeah I could go for some lemonade
so then they went inside and made some lemonade now all it needs is ice ruby said
ill get the ice louise said she got the ice tray from the freezer and poured some in the pitcher ah
whats wrong louise ruby asked
theres bugs in the ice
ah they screamed
hey wait I know those bugs these are maxs toy bugs
yep max said april fools ruby
max had one more prank he wanted to pull he was gonna put food coloring inside the faucet and turn the water orange giggling he went to go dry his hands with the paper towels whats this he asked himself as he noticed its a message
max I know you've been changing my stories on fictionfansunite and publish them with out my permission this is a trap I set for you you are in big trouble
Max stared at the screen for a bit, trying to make sense of the ending...though perhaps it just wasn't finished yet. Still, that was an oddly coincidental in-story message. Reading it again, his eyes widened with realization...this wasn't a part of the story: this really was a trap!
"AGH!" Startled, Max spun around the chair to see Ruby standing in the door glaring at him crossly. But, how? How did she get in so quietly? He didn't even hear her come back into the house! "R-Ruby?"
"What are you doing?"
His heart began to race. "N-Nothing. Just playing video games."
"Oh really?" she asked, storming over to him.
"Ruby, no!" Max cried, trying to hide the screen, to no avail.
"What's the matter, Max?" she growled. "If you're just playing games, what do you have to hide from me?"
Max was cornered: even if she couldn't see the screen with her unfinished fanfic on it, he knew she knew the truth, and the jig was up. Slowly moving his hand off of the screen, he stuttered, "R-Ruby...I-I can explain..."
"'Explain?!'" Ruby snapped furiously. "Explain what?! That you break into my very private account and mess up my stories?!" she wailed, hurt. "Why, Max? Why would you do such a thing?"
"Ruby...I, I just-"
Sniffling and holding up her hand, she pushed the words past the lump in her throat: "no. Don't say anything," she whispered, her voice cracking. "Get out. Right. Now."
Max looked at the screen one last time, then at Ruby, her eyes glazed over with tears. Ears drooping, he reluctantly slid out of the chair, and walked out of the door.
Standing in the doorway, Ruby's glare pierced right through his soul. "There is nothing you can say or do that will make this better. Leave me alone...and don't touch my computer, ever again."
Max tensed as she slammed the door in his face. Time seemed to stop as he stood there in shock, processing everything that had happened so quickly, the sounds of his sister's sobs just faintly touching his ears. Unsure what else to do, he trudged back to his own room, and crawled on his bed, holding his knees against him.
Taking a deep, shaky breath, he closed his eyes and whispered the words he knew she couldn't, and refused to hear: "I'm sorry, Ruby. I was just trying to help."