Riding for the BrandbyColleen Thomas©
"If I didn't know better I would think you were following me," Connie said.
"No, I was looking for someone else," Maria said quickly. She was still not sure how angry to be or even if she should be. What she was sure of was that this girl had some hold on her and it was disconcerting to be so close to her.
"Oh, looking for your man? He's over by the trailers," she said indicating the line of trailers where the riders dressed with a nod of her head.
"How do you know who I am seeing?"
"I asked around," the cowgirl said with a wry grin.
"You're pretty cute, I decided to find out more about you. I saw you staring at me after my ride and wondered why you said hi to me,"
"I was impressed with your riding," Maria said quietly, "I just wanted to ask how you got so good at it,"
"Oh, well that's easy. It's all in your hips and I have a lot of experience," she said arching an eyebrow.
"Experience?" Maria asked, she was almost in a trance, unable to tear her eyes away from those piercing gray ones.
"Yeah, experience," Connie said with a smirk. When Maria just blinked the lanky cowgirl stepped behind her and in a smooth, single motion caught her hips and pulled them tightly back against her pelvis. A few stabs of her hips against the smaller girl's soft ass made it clear to Maria what she meant. Maria blushed scarlet and tried to move away from her but the cowgirl held her hips tightly. The smaller girl nearly jumped out of her skin when she heard Connie's voice close to her ear.
"Now, you best get along and find that little boy of yours, you're too cute a little filly to be running around free and I am tempted to shake out a loop and slap my brand on your cute ass," she whispered. Her hands had released Maria's hips, but Maria was too stunned to move.
"Or maybe that's what you really want? Would you like me to show you how I got so good? Or maybe you want to practice your riding?" she whispered and then licked along Maria's earlobe.
That caress sent a stab of excitement through her that was far more intense than anything she had ever experienced with Carlos, but when she spun around to confront the lanky bull rider all she saw was the girl's back as she walked away. Try as she might Maria had a hard time not staring at the girl's ass. The sound of several pairs of boots helped her break the trance she seemed to be in. Curt, Carlos and two or three of their friends were approaching.
"You all right sis?" Curt asked.
"Yes, I'm fine,"
"If that bull dyke was getting handsy, I'll personally kick the shit out of her," he declared.
"I too will have words with her," Carlos said.
"No, it's all right. I just came to wish you guys good luck,"
"Someone is going to have to do something about that bitch," Donnie said. He was one of Curt's best friends, but Maria had never cared for him.
"Yeah, she was hitting on my girl last week," another volunteered. While they discussed what a bitch she was, Maria took Carlos aside. She was kind of upset at the boy's words, they were obviously very threatened by Connie. Maria suspected it had nothing to do with her sexual orientation; they just resented a woman in their sport.
"Carlos, I know about you and Marsha. I just came to say I wish you both the best and I hope we can stay friends,"
"Of course Maria, you will always be my friend," he said with a smile. Maria returned it.
"I am sorry I did not tell you sooner, but I did not want to hurt you," he said. Maria could tell he was being sincere; of all the boys she had dated the proud young man had always treated her with kindness. He had been her first and she knew she would always have a soft spot in her heart for him.
She hugged him and wished him luck, then made her way back to the stands. Kim had returned and they all chatted about guys and the upcoming competition until the announcer called out the first rider. They all cheered for Carlos and he had an excellent ride on a powerful bull called Danger Wheel. Curtis did the best he could with the bull called Streaker, but the animal didn't put up much of a fight and it hurt his score. Bo drew a vicious animal called Stomp, but wasn't able to stay in the saddle and looked rather disgusted with himself as he headed back to the trailers. Now that all the boys had ridden Marsha suggested they all go back to the dressing rooms to meet them so they could get to the fair before the crowds let out.
"Up next, Connie Robinson riding Columbo," the pa announced. Maria immediately turned her attention to the ring.
"Coming Maria?" Kim asked.
"No, I'll catch up," she replied. Kim gave her a very quizzical look. She then turned to Marsha and the rest of the girlfriends.
"Y'all go ahead, we'll catch up," she said and sat back down next to Maria. Maria crossed her fingers when the gate flew open and Columbo came out. He was a real high kicker and Connie rode him as easily as she had handled the last bull Maria saw her ride. Somehow Maria's eyes stayed glued to the girl's hips, watching as her body undulated, matching, even anticipating each of the bull's moves. Even when he suddenly reversed the direction of his spin Connie didn't loose her balance. Experience. The word echoed through Maria's mind, causing her to blush hotly.
"Sexy ain't she?" Kim said suddenly. Maria turned to her, but her friend's face held no mockery, only a smile and her blue eyes sparkled.
"What do you mean?" Maria asked.
"You can't blow me off like that, I've been watching you and you are hung up on her, aren't you?"
"Oh, come on Maria, you can tell me, anyone can see you have a major crush on that girl," Kim said.
"I… I don't know," Maria said at last. Was it a crush? Examining her behavior over the last few days Maria admitted to herself it felt like one.
"Don't worry about it, I have kinda suspected for the last few months you might be gay," Kim said matter-of-factly. Maria just stared at her friend; this day was becoming more and more surreal by the moment.
"Just a feeling. Look Ria, its no biggie. I'm bi and so is Bo, we have both wondered about you. You have been giving off the right vibes for a while and when I heard you took Carlos and Marsha hooking up so well I had to wonder if maybe you weren't more relieved than upset?"
"You knew about them?!!"
"Honey, everyone in Texas could see it. You just didn't seem to care so no one said anything," Kim said in a placating voice. Maria sighed heavily and looked back to the ring to see Connie walking off. Her eyes went to the board to show the girl rider had again taken first. Despite herself she was elated, even though it meant Carlos would have to settle for third.
"You do have a crush on her don't you?" Kim said taking Maria's hands.
"Oh Kim, she's just…I don't know… I have been dreaming about her every night since Austin,"
"Yeah, you've got it bad," the blonde said laughing.
"But, I don't know what to do, or even if I should do anything," Maria said.
"Just be yourself, see what happens. If you think about it this isn't the first girl you have had a crush on. Remember Miss Martinez back in ninth grade? We were just too young back then to know what it meant,"
Rosa Martinez had been their ninth grade music teacher. She was beautiful, sweet and had the loveliest voice. All the young guys had been crazy about her, but so had Maria and Kim. Maria was lost in memories of staying after class to help put away the books and stands. She and Kim had both gone out of their way to spend as much time around the young woman as they could.
"Come on, let's catch up with everyone," Kim said, shaking Maria from her memories. Maria turned back to the ring, but Connie was gone. Kim took her shoulder and gently turned her until they were face to face.
"Don't worry about it, it will all work out,"
"How do you know?"
"I have my ways," she said mysteriously.
While the guys were getting cleaned up the girls all sat around talking about the fair and what rides they wanted to try. Kim disappeared, but Maria was actually thankful. She was ashamed that she felt uncomfortable around her best friend, but the subject of the girl bull rider was deeply troubling to her. Kim showed up with a coke and gave Maria a wink. Maria knew her wild friend well, but wasn't sure what that wink meant.
Once the guys were all cleaned up and dressed for the midway the whole group started off towards the entrance to the fairgrounds. Kim lagged back a little and made sure Maria was near the end of the line with her.
"Wait up a minute," Kim said as she knelt and removed her boot.
"Y'all coming?" Bo called.
"We'll catch up!" Kim hollered back.
"What is it Kim?" Maria asked. The blonde just smiled and put her boot back on then watched as their group of friends disappeared around the corner of the building. Maria was staring at her friend like she had lost her mind when a lasso settled over Maria's shoulders. Before the startled girl could react it tightened, pulling her arms to her sides. Her eyes shot to Kim's face to see her friend smiling broadly.
"Have fun," she whispered as she turned and scampered off to catch up with the others. The rope was taut now and Maria felt herself pulled back towards the shadows. She turned to find Connie pulling the rope to her hand over hand. The lanky cowgirl wore a blue shirt with 2 rows of buttons, one was done up to her shoulder, but the flap lay over showing white. Impossibly tight black jeans, black boots, Stetson and a string tie completed her outfit.
"What the hell?" Maria said. She was confused and felt a deep nervousness, but also a powerful excitement. Connie drew the rope in until Maria was standing close to her.
"I told you, if I found a cute filly like you running maverick I was going to slap my brand on her," Connie said with a big grin. It suddenly became clear to her that Kim had ratted her out. Instead of being angry she found herself loving her wild friend even more.
Maria tried to speak, but Connie released the lariat and wrapped her arms around the small Hispanic girl, her head dipped and she pressed her lips to Maria's. When her tongue played along Maria's lower lip, they involuntarily parted. Connie's tongue slipped between them and she began to gently french kiss Maria. The smaller girl was still apprehensive, but it felt so natural, so right. She found herself kissing back with more passion than she had shown any of her boyfriends.
When the kiss broke Maria felt flushed and hot. She shook her hands free of the lariat and put her hands on her hips. She watched as the tall girl coiled up her rope.
"So now what?" Maria asked. Sometimes things just felt right and this did. She couldn't explain it, or even really comprehend it, but she knew she wanted to stay with this intriguing girl, consequences be damned.
"That's up to you, I'd like to take you to the fair, but I don't know how you feel about being seen in public with me,"
"Would you like to be seen with me?" Maria asked coquettishly. She was fishing for a compliment and knew it, but Connie's reaction surprised her. Connie stepped up before her and placed both hands on her shoulders then shook her.
"Wise up Maria, this isn't an adolescent fantasy. I'm out and everyone knows it, if you walk out of here with me they are going to assume you're a lesbian, even if we don't do anything. I have been living with the looks and snide comments for a couple of years, you don't even know if you are really into girls or just have a crush, but if you spend the evening with me at the fair you'll be called cunt licker and worse. People can be a lot more cruel than you know; do you really want to sign up for that shit, because I promise it's coming if you hang out with me,"
"If it bothers you so much why do you put up with it?" Maria asked. Connie laughed and shook her head.
"You just don't get it do you? I didn't ask to be this way, but I am and I'll be damned if I am going to skulk around hiding who I am. The difference here is I know I would love to take you home and fuck your brains out, you just think you might enjoy it."
Maria blushed deeply, Connie's graphic descriptions embarrassed her, but she had to admit they also excited her. She had no real conception of the stigmatization Connie had to endure day in and day out, but the boy's earlier comments gave her some idea. On the other hand she had dealt with being a minority all her life, where as the girl before her hadn't.
"I'll go with you to the fair," Maria said.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes. I don't know what is going to come of this, or even what I want, and while you scare me a little it just feels right," she said.
"Well, I never have been one to shy from what I want and I want you for my own," Connie said earnestly, her gray eyes found Maria's and everything else just didn't seem to matter very much.
"Come on, I'll show you a good time tonight at the least," the cowgirl said as she tossed the lariat over a post.
Connie put her arm around Maria's shoulder and guided her out into the sultry Texas evening. As they stood in line for admission Maria felt the eyes on her, instead of being intimidated or scared she found it exhilarating. She felt natural, for the first time in her life she felt like she belonged and Connie's arm around her made her feel safe.
They moved slowly down the midway enjoying the sights and smells. Maria had always loved the fair and tonight it seemed even more wonderful than usual. They stopped and got a funnel cake and coke, which they shared while watching the high wire act at the mini circus. Connie turned out to be a quiet person, but an excellent listener and Maria found herself talking nonstop. She often talked a lot when she was nervous, but this was different. Connie seemed genuinely interested in her past, her hopes, and her dreams, and with short comments prompted her to keep talking. Maria began to get the idea that the tall cowgirl was very lonely and that she was just enjoying having someone talk to her.
They were moving through the portion of the midway where all the games were. Maria watched as all the boys tried to win prizes for their girls or kids wasted their parent's hard earned money for trinkets that cost a fraction of what they spent trying to win them. She had a fine collection of stuffed animals in her room that were worth nothing, but had cost her dates a small fortune.
Suddenly Maria stopped and let out a little squeal of delight. On the top shelf of one of the games sat a beautiful miniature carousel horse. It was pink, with intricately carved tracings and saddle and mounted on a small hand carved jewelry box. Maria had been collecting carousel horses since she was a small child. Maria gazed at it longingly then started to move on, but Connie pulled her over to the stand. The carnie was a thin man who smiled lecherously at them both.
"What do you think miss? Want to show these clowns up?" he asked indicating several guys throwing baseballs at beer bottles while their dates cheered them on.
"How much?" Connie asked, ignoring his stare.
"Three balls for two dollars, one broken bottle wins,"
"How much for that one?" Connie said, indicating the horse Maria had been staring at.
"That's a top prize, you have to trade in ten wins for it,"
The tall cowgirl nodded, produced a roll of bills from her pocket and peeled off a ten-dollar bill. The carnie smiled and poured out fifteen balls on the counter before her. Maria smiled, she liked the fact that Connie was going to try to win the horse for her, but she didn't want her to waste a lot of money. Maria recognized the carnie's smile too, he was looking forward to making a lot of money off this. The tall cowgirl hefted the ball and then stepped back from the rail, with a fluid motion she whipped the ball underhanded and a bottle flew into pieces.
"Now ya see folks? Even a girl can do it! Any prize on the bottom row Miss," he said loudly. He was good Maria mused, quickly making sure all the other players knew it could be done and challenging their manhood to make sure they kept playing.
"Keep it, I want the one on top," Connie said and with the same motion flicked another ball and another bottle busted. Even the carnie seemed impressed and all of the people in the immediate vicinity gathered around. The cowgirl took no notice and flicked another ball that also found its mark. In the end she had to buy six more balls to win. Maria felt like the most special girl in the world when the tough cowgirl smiled self-consciously and handed her the horse.
"All state pitcher, three years running," she said by way of explanation. They continued on down the midway with Connie's arm firmly around Maria's waist. Maria saw a lot of couples and wondered if any of the girls felt like she did now. Maria was so happy and having such a good time, but an excited anticipation was building within her. When would her cowboy decide to kiss her again? That first one had been so arousing and Maria longed for another.
A lot of people gave them long stares, but no one said anything. Maria smiled when she imagined what they were seeing. A petite Hispanic girl in gaudy riding outfit with hair down to her ass and a tall, lanky cowgirl holding her close. Maria thought it must look strange, but she also liked the mental image and Connie's arm around her waist felt so natural. They made the big turn and started down the east side of the midway. Games began to thin out and the rides started to become more and more prevalent. At first it was kiddie rides, but these quickly gave way to the more expensive and wild ones like the Avalanche and the Cyclone.
"You like the rides?" Connie asked as they passed a ticket booth without a long line.
"I love them," Maria replied.
Connie bout a bunch of tickets and they rode several of them. Maria had always loved the rides and the adrenalin rush that came with them, but tonight nothing compared to the rush she felt being pressed close to the lanky bull rider or the thrill she felt when Connie's arm slipped around her and held her tight. They were passing the double ferris wheel when Connie guided Maria into the line with her.
When they were next Connie took the horse from Maria and approached the carnie, pretending that the main idea was to give it to her for safekeeping. Maria felt a blush rise to her cheeks and pretended not to notice her date slip the carnie a large bill. She knew what that was for, Carlos had done it often enough. The idea of being stopped at the top of the ferris wheel with the lanky cowgirl sent a thrill through her, but also left her nervous.
They both sat down and the carnie, a fat woman with blue hair winked at Maria as she closed the gate to their chair and made sure it was secure. The big wheel turned and stopped again and again, to on load people and then with a lurch that brought Maria's stomach into her mouth the whole thing rotated taking their wheel to the top. From here she could see the whole fair and watched with bright-eyed interest as the midway passed beneath them. The second wheel was empty and not moving so they were alone at the top of the world when their wheel came to a stop.
Connie's arm around her shoulder tightened, pulling her close. Maria turned slightly in the seat and looked up expectantly. Connie's face dipped and she pressed her lips to Maria's. The tall cowgirl captured Maria's lower lip between her teeth and slowly slid her tongue along it, causing Maria's tummy to knot. She melted against the taller woman and sighed happily when Connie's tongue slipped between her lips. The girl's tongue gently explored her mouth and Maria kissed back passionately, dragging her tongue along Connie's and sucking gently. As good as it felt Maria balked when she felt Connie's hands working on the button at the throat of her blouse. She disengaged herself and giggled.