During school on Monday, Rarity had a hard time keeping her mind off of Applejack. Her dreams hadn't stopped and now they weren't faceless. She wasn't sure if this was a good thing or not.
All her friends shared their homeroom together, and while it was usually nice to be able to talk to them for most of the morning, she couldn't stop staring at Applejack.
Rarity sat beside her friend, close enough to smell the scent of fresh countryside air mixed with a little bit of apples and a little bit of something she could only define as Applejack’s natural scent. It was intoxicating.
Seeing Applejack in such a different light was something she wasn't sure she could get used to. Applejack was her friend. One of her closest friends, in fact. After the night of the sleepover, all she could do was romanticize their relationship.
Rarity rested her chin on her hand and sighed quietly, looking over to the girl of her affections.
Applejack was concentrating on the lesson, her beautiful green eyes focused to the front of the room. She had worn her hair in a loose braid, something Rarity herself had convinced her to start doing months ago.
Rarity smiled. Their close friendship wasn't anything she wanted to disrupt. She liked it the way it was.
Shaking herself from her thoughts, Rarity turned her head back to the front of the class.
Towards the end of the day while at her locker she heard her name being called.
It was Sunset and she waved her down as Rarity closed her locker.
"Good afternoon, Sunset."
There was a concerned look on her friend’s face, but she didn’t seem to be alarmed so Rarity cleared her throat, wanting to ease her into a conversation.
“Uhm, so, how are you doing today?”
Sunset smiled a little. “I’m fine, I was just-”
"Well," she hesitated, running a hand through her hair. "I wanted to make sure you were okay."
Rarity put a hand on her chest. There wasn’t anything she could think of directly affecting her day, besides her little crush, and it seemed a little unexpected, hearing such concern.
"I'm perfectly fine, what is this about Sunset?"
"During the sleepover this weekend you just seemed, I don't know," Sunset shrugged but continued, "a little distracted. I was worried about those dreams you've been having."
Rarity felt the blood drain from her face and her stomach drop. She knew her friends had been concerned when they found out about her dreams, but she didn't know it was enough to warrant worrying days later.
Sunset spoke up again. "I know you said they didn't mean anything, but I thought maybe I could help."
She lifted her hand in front of her.
"Maybe I could use my power to see into your dream and help interpret or figure out what it's about."
Rarity practically shouted. Her friend took a step back, startled at the outburst, her hand outstretched, still hovering between them.
Rarity clutched her books to her chest. "I'm sorry." She said, much more calmly. "Forgive me for my outburst but, I don't need any assistance with that." She chuckled nervously. "You wouldn't find it that interesting anyway."
"Uhm," Sunset faltered, clenching her hand into a fist and finally dropping it at her side. "Okay, that's okay."
Pulling on her backpack strap she gave Rarity a smile, one that was gratefully understanding.
"Just let me know if you want to talk about it, alright?"
Rarity smiled, trying to ease the tension out of her shoulders. "I will, darling."
Sunset gave her one last smile before turning to leave and as she watched her walk away, she breathed a sigh of relief.
She knew her friends were either going to figure out she had some sort of crush, or they were going to bug her about it until she caved, but it didn't hurt to keep that conversation at a distance for now.
The next couple days didn't prove to be any easier when it came to being around Applejack. Rarity experienced the same dream each night and being near her friend just made the romantic scenarios in her head stronger.
While they were all together as a group, it wasn't much of a problem, but Rarity shared a couple classes with Applejack. Classes where they would always talk and sit next to one another.
"Ya seem a bit off today, sugar." Applejack said as she took her seat.
Rarity only smiled and made sure not to make eye contact. It didn't deter her friend from continuing.
"Is somethin' the matter?"
Taking a breath, Rarity lifted her gaze. "I'm fine, really. I'm just nervous about, um –" she stalled a second, fiddling with the end of her bangs, trying to find something to direct the conversation towards. "– a, uhm, a test. There's a test in my economics class I've been stressing over."
Applejack nodded in understanding and smiled. "Aww Rare, you're the most business savvy person I know."
She put a warm hand on her shoulder, and it made her entire arm numb at the touch.
"You'll do fine, I'm sure."
Rarity smiled, a little too warmly. "Thank you darling."
They stayed like that for so long, she couldn't help but lean forward slightly, wanting nothing but to be as close as possible.
She wondered if Applejack felt the same magnetism between them. The blouse she wore left her shoulder bare and the hand that rested on it burned her skin in the most delightful way. Rarity breathed in the atmosphere, warm and calming and something she never wanted to exhale.
A loud sound of a book slamming onto a desk broke Rarity out of her trance. Applejack removed her arm, seemingly unfazed by the magnetic energy between them.
"Since ya seem distracted, I won't ask you about your other classes." Applejack said. "How about the party next week?”
“Hmm?” Rarity said, a bit dazed.
“Well, I’m sure you’re lookin’ forward to dressin’ up all fancy for the party Pinkie is throwin’ for those girls from Crystal Prep.”
For a small brief idyllic moment, Rarity had thought Applejack was going to ask her to accompany her to the party. Realistically, she knew this was a silly idea. Her friends always went to parties together as a group. Plus, it wasn’t a formal party, one where a date was required.
She breathed out, for the first time since Applejack had touched her.
“Yes, I already know what I'm going to wear.”
The party was going to be thrown by the party central socialite, Pinkie Pie, for the Crystal Prep students. Ever since they had helped them win the money for their school, they had become somewhat friends.
With everything that had been happening to her during the past week, dealing with a crush on her friend and unable to stop dreaming about said friend, Rarity had forgotten about the party almost completely.
Socializing at a party sounded like a great idea to get her mind off of her feelings.
She glanced over at her friend, who had turned to the front of the classroom. Rarity bit her lip. Even if she really didn’t want to stop the flood of affection that was continuously growing.
After school had ended, Rarity and her friends stood outside talking, near the statue in front of the courtyard. While they conversed about their classes, Sunset gave Rarity several side glances. It made her squirm, as if the redhead could tell what she was thinking just by looking at her.
Rarity glanced at Applejack.
While her crush on Applejack wasn’t anything she could really have seen coming, it was also something she couldn’t stop. Rarity thought she would have gotten over it by now but the more time she spent around the blonde, the stronger her feelings got. It was frustrating.
Rarity really couldn’t push her attraction aside any longer.
Applejack was laughing, a low guffaw that made her chest shake. It was so beautiful that Rarity felt herself clutching to the bag on her shoulder. She could feel her cheeks reddening but, after days of viewing her friend in this new light, she found she didn’t care.
Rarity slowly smiled to herself.
When the group of friends made their way towards the parking lot, there was the sound of a loud snap. It was the heel of Rarity’s shoe and suddenly she was falling to the ground. She let out a screech but as she braced herself for the scrape of concrete, she felt rough hands grab her arms.
"Woah there, what happened?"
Her friends stopped and gathered around her as she held tightly to her savior.
Looking up she saw Applejack’s concerned face and if it hadn't been for her shoe, she would have swooned at the sight.
Looking at the ground she picked up her shoe and let Applejack steady her against a bench nearby.
Rarity held her broken shoe in her hand and cried.
"I can't believe this!!" She said, tears coming to her eyes. "I just got these last week!"
Rainbow tried to hide her snickering but failed. She put a hand over her mouth. Rarity glared at her.
"Serves you right for wearing those ridiculous shoes to school."
The shoes in question were standard 4-inch, stiletto heels with beautiful accents on the toe. They were, admittedly, a little much for school wear but Rarity couldn't help herself. They were so top of the line and so new she simply had to show them off properly.
She lifted the shoe up to examine it.
The heel had dislodged itself and hung loosely. She was overly gifted at clothing design and could stitch a ripped seam with her eyes closed but shoes were a whole different matter.
It made her want to cry even more but she heaved a breath and sighed dramatically.
"What am I going to do now?"
"Look, I'll carry ya to your car."
Rarity looked up sharply, a blush forming on her face.
Twilight spoke up. "You know we're not really supposed to use our powers at school, Applejack."
She waved a hand. "Naw, I don't need my powers for that."
"Wait-" Rarity said.
Suddenly, without warning, Applejack bent down and wrapped one arm around the back of Rarity's upper thighs, flinging her over her shoulder. Rarity made a loud grunt at the force, blushing as she was swiftly hauled away.
"Waaaait!!" She screeched, slapping her free hand on Applejack’s back, and hitting her with the shoe in the other.
Applejack just laughed as she walked, the vibration going through Rarity like a wave. It would have been much more pleasurable if she weren’t halfway upside-down.
She could feel Applejack’s arm firmly pressed against her legs and, despite the situation, the feeling sent a thrill through her. Whether it was from the proximity of their bodies, the muscular arm holding her down, or a combination of them both, Rarity couldn't tell.
"Applejack, you put me down right now!"
The serious tone was ruined by the smile she couldn't stop from forming on her face, but Rarity made an effort to squirm around enough to get her point across.
She could hear her friends laughing behind them as Applejack slowly and gently placed her on the ground, a rough hand sliding down her back.
Rarity breathed steadily and wished she had worn her backless red top that day, wanting to feel the rough skin against her own.
Her bare foot met the gravel of the parking lot and Rarity cringed, immediately lifting it away, using her friend’s conveniently flexed arms as balance.
"I would very much not like to be carried that way." She huffed.
Applejack graciously steadied her, keeping her elbow out. "Then what would ya like me to do?"
There were so many ways Rarity could answer that if not for the mixed company and she bit her lip before answering.
"Scoop me up!" She emphasized with her free arm, the shoe she still held dangled from its strap. "Carry me like a lady should be carried. Don't throw me over your shoulders like some bag of horse feed!"
Applejack chuckled lightly and the sounds of it warmed her chest.
"Well then, would the lady care to step into my arms?"
It almost took Rarity's breath away and she simply nodded.
Slowly this time, and not so suddenly, Applejack wrapped her arms around Rarity's back and knees, lifting her up. As she fell against her soft chest her breath was stolen at the sight.
Gently, Rarity pulled her arms up around Applejack’s neck, unable to breathe and unable to take her eyes away.
Their faces were close, so close she felt the urge to count the freckles on her face. Applejack was looking at her with a curious expression, her smile from before melting into one of mild shock and confusion.
If she leaned forward, just a little or tugged on the neck her arms were around, their lips would touch. She could finally feel the soft skin she had been plagued with in her dreams.
She wanted it so much her chest ached.
“Well,” she said breathlessly, as they walked. The grip she had on her friend's neck tightened. “Who needs a fainting couch when you have strong arms to fall into?”
Applejack let out a nervous laugh and looked away. Rarity watched her cheeks flush slightly and it was the most beautiful expression she had ever seen.
All too soon they arrived at her car, the moment slowly fading. Rarity was finally able to breathe as she was set down on her feet, now using the cold metal of her car door as leverage instead of the warm inviting forearm of her friend.
"Thank you." She said lightly.
The others had made it to their respective cars, leaving the pair alone. Slowly, a thought occurred to her.
Perhaps the moment didn't have to pass.
Rarity had seen Applejack blush at the compliment about her strength, and while she knew it probably really didn't mean anything, time had stood still for her during that moment. It could have been wishful thinking, but she was sure she wasn't the only one who had been frozen in time.
Slowly, delicately, Rarity lifted her finger to the side of her face and twirled it through a purple curl. She smiled and batted her eyelashes ever so slightly, a well-trained technique.
Flirting, Rarity found, was the best way to send a signal to someone to tell them you were interested in them. Something coy and not too over the top. She didn't want to put herself out there quite yet. Depending on the subject, there were several little tricks she had perfected over time that would almost guarantee a reaction.
The fact that she was using her skills on Applejack was thrilling. If she got a reaction, then perhaps it could mean there was something between them. But, if flirting didn’t mean anything to Applejack, then Rarity thought there couldn’t be any harm in flirting with her in the first place.
The blood was pumping in her ears, adrenaline keeping her on the edge, looking for some form of response. She bit her lip for good measure.
Applejack’s face began to glow a bright red.
It was exactly what Rarity wanted to see and she turned on her one heel, moving to open the car door.
She looked at her friend’s dusted cheeks and smiled sweetly.
"What a knight in shining armor you've been."
With that she turned away and forced herself into her car, not daring to look at her friend's face.
The trick was to leave them wondering and wanting more and more is exactly what she was after.