Your description of Ruby was so detailed and perfect that, for me, it really brought her to life. I could actually feel myself sitting next to her, drinking the cheap whiskey, being overpowered by her Shalimar, hearing that croaky voice, and being just mesmerized by the mystery surrounding her.
And the ending… Wow! That was a fabulous surprise… guess Nigel won’t be a starving artist much longer!
Brava! Wonderful story!