A little over 3 hours later, a wardrobe change and us once again running late, I’m seated among the masses as close as I can get to the arena center. Cowboys and women surround the fence, standing in their dust-covered boots on the bottom rail of the metal fence as they awaited their turn in the arena. The hundreds of people seated in the stands are extremely rambunctious and the majority clearing drunk, the pungent scent of alcohol permeated the area as the assembly of people hoot and holler in an overly excited manner.
After Mason and I had finished working are shift at the food truck we had headed to the motel we’re staying at. We had both had a quick shower together so we wouldn’t smell like grease and then changed. I had switched out my t-shirt and shorts for a dark pair of jeans and tank top with a light jean jacket, even with it being mildly hot out. I had spotted dark storm clouds rolling in from the west and decided it was better to be prepared than be caught in a storm in short shorts. Lastly, I had made sure to grab some cash and my phone before throwing on a pair of worn-out cowboy boots. Mason had changed into a blue plaid button-up, pairing it with dark jeans, boots and his cowboy hat.
When we arrived we had met up with our buddies Poppy and Jamie, Mason having to leave to go check on his horse and wait his turn. Poppy and I had parted with Jamie to go find seats while he grabbed food and drinks.
Now I and Poppy sit waiting, keeping an eye on the door for Jamie. My boot-clad feet are resting on the seat beside me as a silent claim to the rest of the people trying to find a spot. Being sideways in my seat my head is resting comfortably on Poppy’s shoulder. Her dark brown hair is pulled back in a lazy ponytail showing off her high cheekbones and pretty brown eyes, tan skin flush from the heat even though she only wearing a thin plaid shirt and shorts. I had taken off my jean jacket a while back and tied it around my waist after the heat started to affect me.
The moment Jamie came through the door Poppy was on her feet hopping up and down while waving her hands and shouting his name, while I righted myself after my head fell back awkwardly.
“Alright, darlin’ I’ve got the goodies” Jamie smiles brightly as he takes his seat, Poppy instantly snatching the popcorn from his hands as he passed me my corndog. Shoveling fist fulls of buttery salted goodness into her mouth like a starving animal causes Jamie to choke on a mouthful of beer. He beats his chest, coughs then laughs at Poppy’s childish eating.
“Sooo good” Poppy moans as she stuffs another handful into her mouth. Giggling at her antics I quickly finish off my corn dog and grab my soda, taking a long gulp. Suddenly the crowd goes crazy and I look to the arena center to see the Bull Riding is beginning. The first contestant is a burly light-haired man. He readies himself on the bull as the giant black beast huffs and bangs against the gate separating it from the rest of the arena.
The buzzer goes off and the gate opens, starting the event.
It didn’t take long for the blonde man to be bucked off and the rodeo clowns enter the arena, luring the bull back into its pen for another round. Contestant by contestant enters the ring only to get bucked off seconds to minutes later. The judges record the times and the crowd cheers for the riders. Finally, its Mason’s turn and I stand with the rest of my friends as we join the crowd in their cheering. Mason readies himself on the bull and the buzzer goes off, the bull making a grand entrance as it wildly bucks right out of the gate. Mason rides well but sadly doesn’t make the best time.
It doesn’t stop any of us from cheering as loud as we can, my throat sore from cheering so loud.
The events continue for a while, Mason joining our group on the stands after he’s done his rounds. The scores were passed, sadly Mason didn’t make any of the winner spots but that doesn’t stop me from giving him a popcorn and corn dog tasting kiss, bring a smile to his face as he complains about my breath.
Squeezing through the crowd we leave the arena and head to the fairgrounds, making sure to stop by mom’s truck. Dad is now sitting in his fold-out chair, beer in hand with my 1-year-old niece, Beau on his lap. Edson and his wife Nora, who is also Poppy’s older sister, had gone with the family tradition of naming baby Beau after the city Beaumont where they live.
“How was the rodeo?” Mom asks as she exits the food truck, leaving Sy and Nora to attend to the line.
“It was good, where’s Edson?” I reply as I take a seat at the picnic table near dad. Mason takes a seat beside me, grabbing my legs and pulling them over his lap as his hand rubs circles on my thigh. Poppy grabs Beau from dad, cooing at her niece while Jamie sits opposite of me and Mason.
“Nora forgot Beau’s baby bag at the camper, he went to go grab it” Dad answers as mom walks over to his, sitting on his lap and giving him a kiss on the cheek while he rubs her hip. The affection reflecting in their eyes is clearly visible, the love they hold for each other so strong it’s survived almost 30 years of good times and hardships. Their marriage is the relationship goals I can only dream about having with Mason.
“You guys gonna go on some rides tonight?”
“Yeah, we were gonna head over once we grab some supper, what’s the special menu item tonight?”
“Chicken and Dumplings”
“Awesome, whelp guess I know what I’m doing for dinner” Smiling happily I leaped up from my spot and headed over to the food truck, swinging the door open to see Nora and Sy bustling around.
“What do you want?” Sy snaps as she hands over an order to a customer. Said customer must have thought she snapped at her because the ginger-haired woman huffed and roughly snatched the grilled cheese from Sy’s hand. Sylvan growls as she shoots me a glare before turning to greet the next patron.
“Hey, Nora you have a moment?”
“Not really, what do you want?” Nora’s soft voice asks as her pale blue’s playful narrow at me, a sweet smile gracing her pretty face. I really do love my sister in law, she’s the sweetest woman I have ever met.
“Can I get 4 orders of dumplings?”
“Sure thing just give me a sec”
“Why can’t you grab it yourself” Sylvan hisses, hands on her hips as she now ignores the line to shoot daggers at me.
“It’s crowded” I answered her simply. Not looking pleased with my answer but not being able to retort as an annoyed customer calls her attention, she pins one more glare on me before turning away again. Catching the annoyed face of an impatient mother with 3 children hanging off her, screaming at her for food I can only hope she will rip into Sy for blatantly ignoring her.
“Here you go honey” after handing my food I thank Nora before going back to sit with my family and friends.
Placing the 4 serving on the table Mason, Poppy and Jamie were quick to grab theirs as they basically snarfed down their food. Bunch of beasts, I swear.
We all quickly finish then say our goodbyes to my family before heading towards the rides. The majority of the night is filled with fun rides, sweet foods, and a drunk off her ass Poppy, who thought it was a smart idea to do a topless picture in the photo booth. Yet by the time 9pm rolled around the storm clouds had reached us, resulting with everyone packing up early and heading out. Not wanting the fun to stop we all headed to the nearest bar, where Jamie followed Poppy’s example of adulting and drowned himself in alcohol. Mason had a few beers and I stayed somber, being the designated driver tonight.
Poppy and I headed to the small dance-floor, leaving behind the men and danced like no one was watching. We danced for what felt like hours, up until the bartender called the last call. A fine layer of sweat coats my entire body, t-shirt clinging to me like a second skin.
“Hey we should probably head out soon” I huffed in exhaustion as we stepped off the dance floor and headed back to our table. Poppy nods in agreement. Once we reach the table I plop down beside Mason who slings a heavy arm over my shoulder and kisses my forehead.
“You ready to go baby?” he asks as a yawn escapes me.
“Yeah let’s go”
“Wait guys, I gotta go to the bathroom quick” stumbling away from us, Poppy disappears around the corner.
“You gonna go with her?” Mason asks.
“Probably” I answer back as I walk away from them to follow after Poppy, who I assume is puking her guts out right now over a dirty toilet bowl from the way she had rushed away from us. Just as I turn the corner the women’s washroom door bursts open, a wheezing Poppy fleeing so quickly that she crashes into me. I catch myself on the wall and grab her arm so she doesn’t fall but she instantly rips her arm out of my grasp. Falling hard on her knees, Poppy instantly started to crawls away from me.
Her blurry eyes quickly lock onto my face, tears streaming down her face as she sobs. I’m over to her in an instant, hugging her tightly as she sobs into my shoulder, rubbing her mascara streaked face all over my white shirt.
“What’s wrong? What happened? Are you okay? Are you hurt?” I rapidly question, pushing her away slightly to grab her cheeks. Her eyes meet mine and all I see is fear and confusion. She has a small scratch on her forehead and a cut on her lip. I instantly know what has happened and rage boils inside as I scream for Mason and Jamie.
“Jesus Poppy what happened?!” Jamie’s on us the second he’s around the corner, wrapping his arms around and hugs us close. Poppy hasn’t answered yet, her intense sobbing making her unable to. I glance over my shoulder to see Mason glaring at the bathroom door, fists clenched quickly at his sides.
He takes a step towards the bathroom.
“NO!” Poppy suddenly screams, voice raspy and hoarse as she makes a move to stop Mason.
“No?! Poppy whoever did this to you is dead! The fucker behind this door is dead!” Mason snarls but Poppy just rapidly shakes her head.
“N...no one i..is in the..there I..I just sl..sl..slipped” her stutters are unconvincing but the way she couldn’t meet our eyes confirmed she was lying.
“NO! Let’s just leave! I want to leave!” she shouts, her nails digging into my arm as she shoots me a pleading look. Jaw clenched tight, I try to subdue my increasing blood lust as I nodded back at her. She signs softy in relief.
“Really! We are just going to let this go!” Mason growls as he slams his fist on the wall, his face red with anger.
“It’s what she wants so yes we are” I snarled back, shooting him a glare that instantly had his tense shoulders sagging in defeat. Jamie and I help Poppy to her feet before Mason picks her up, hugging her close to his chest as she sobs into his shirt. Jamie stays close beside her, brushing her dark hair away from her eyes. I stand there for a moment, watching as they round the corner out of my sight. Tears of anger prick my eyes, my nails bite into my palms as I clenched my fists. The want...no, the need to burst through those doors and beat that bastard black and blue flares, my eyes unable to move from the door.
“Jay? Honey come on” arms wrap around my shoulders as Jamie leads me away but all I want to do is push him away.
I don’t though.
I know he is feeling the same way I am, yet it seems even when drunk Jamie knows its not the right move. He knows Poppy needs us more than anything else. All I can muster is a nod as I stop fighting him. Mason isn’t in the bar as we round the corner, most likely waiting for us at the truck. I stop for a moment and slap my hand on the bar, calling for the bartender’s attention.
“You have an unwanted guest in the women’s washroom, I suggest you grab that baseball bat and ‘kindly’ escort him out” I snap harshly. The bartender just gives me a look of surprise before he frowns and nods his head.
After grabbing our things off the table, we leave the bar and climb into Mason’s truck. Mason is in the backseat trying to comfort a crying Poppy, hands rubbing up and down on her arms. Jamie crawls to the other side of Poppy and tries to help Mason. The big diesel flares to life as I start it up, gravel crunching beneath the tires as I put it in gear and drive us to the motel. Even though Poppy and Jamie have a room right beside ours, I know they will be staying in our room tonight so when we pull up to the motel and I turn on the engine, the boys get right to work. Carrying Poppy into our motel room Mason leaves her in the bathroom, where I instantly go join her.
“You wanna shower quick?” I ask and she nods. I start up the shower and head her out of her shirt and jeans before leaving to let her deal with the rest. Jamie had quickly gone to their room and grabbed her pj’s and shower bag which he then handed over to me before I returned to the bathroom.
“Hey it’s just me, I got some clothes and your shower stuff”
“Thank you” her voice is soft as I hand over her bag. Quivering hands barely grab hold of the handle, the skin of her pale incredibly pale compared to her usual tan. Her hands disappear behind the pale blue shower curtain only for a sudden bang to startle me.
I don’t get an answer as she starts retching. I pull back the curtain to see a trembling, pale Poppy on her knees. Her half-open shower bag is covered in vomit, the water only partly washing it away before Poppy throws up again. Sobs shake her trembling frame. I quickly turn off the water, move her shower bag and grab her hair, keeping the dark wet strands away from her face as she continues to vomit.
Once I’m sure she all done I wash away the vomit on the tub floor and grab a towel, wrapping it around her. I then strip to my underwear and restart the water, climbing in with her. The warm water felt great on my sweaty skin but didn’t help quell my anger.
Seeing her like this...
It broke a piece of my heart she has held since middle school. Seeing the girl I considered my sister in such pain hurt me more than words could ever describe.
Hello :) Here is Chapter Two and I hope you enjoy.
This isn’t edited so there will be lots of mistakes.Thank you and have an awesome day.