• Published 12th Sep 2013
  • 1,277 Views, 22 Comments

Canterlot Wondercolts - risingdusk

Applejack juggles school, work, and family problems, while also helping her friends' relationship problems and falling in love without realising it.

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Chapter 6

"Applejack, darling, I can't believe you still own this...rubbish."
A pair of well worn jeans flew in the direction of Applejack and ducked to narrowly avoid them. "Hey now, Rarity, them's my favourite pair of pants yer throwin' 'round."
"They're absolutely hideous," Rarity whined, arching an eyebrow in Applejack's direction, while her hands continued to skim through Applejack's closet. Rarity had a fashion sense that absolutely drove Applejack crazy sometimes, but she agreed to let her friend pick an outfit for the first day of school. She wasn't going to back out of that now, even if it meant getting a headache from the constant eyerolling.
"They're practical."
"And hideous," Rarity insisted, returning her attention to the closet. Applejack simply snorted and laid flat on her bed, covering her face with her hat. Soft grumbling and the swish of clothes being aggressively pushed aside filled her ears, and she began to drift off.
"Oh my stars, Applejack!"
The sudden exclamation jolted Applejack awake and she started into a sitting position, while fumbling for her hat. "What in the hay?"
The look of pure indignance on Rarity's face as she held a faded plaid shirt with holes peeking out in different areas was almost priceless. "Hold still, I gotta snap this," Applejack joked as she groped for her phone.
"Applejack this is serious!" Rarity held the offensive item an arm's length away, curling her lip in distaste. "Haven't you had this since we met in middle school? Judging by this state, I would say even longer than that!"
"It still fits," Applejack answered with a shrug. "Don't see why I gotta get rid of it."
"Applejack, darling, it's time to let go," Rarity replied, tossing the shirt in a pile that was quickly accumulating into a mountain of clothes she felt the need to discard. Applejack scrutinised the discard pile and then studied the emptying closet.
"Erm, Rarity, don't you reckon I should have at least something to wear? I don't care much for getting kick out for being naked."
"It's not my fault all of your clothes look as if dumpster called for them ten years ago," Rarity protested as she tossed away another shirt. "Honestly, Applejack, when was the last time you bought new clothes?"
The question provoked some serious thought and Applejack frowned as she tried to remember. "Reckon it's been a while. Don't much have the need for new clothes if they still fit. Could use the money on somethin' more important 'stead."
"Then that settles it." Turning to face Applejack with hands on her hips, Rarity declared, "Put your shoes on, my dear. We're taking you shopping this instant."
"Rarity, I ain't got the money--"
"Nonsense! This is a fashion emergency and I say we must resolve this at once." Skirting around the pile clothing on the floor, Rarity picked up her handbag from Applejack's desk, and dug her keys out of it. "I simply cannot allow you to look absolutely dreadful on your senior year of high school. Can you imagine how that would reflect on me? Now gather your things, Applejack, we're leaving at once."
"I ain't going."
"I wasn't giving you an option, Applejack."
"How am I suppose to pay for this? I know how you get..."
"Don't worry, my dear, I'll pay for everything. Ooh, maybe we can stop by the salon and have your hair done! Wouldn't that be just lovely?"
"That's awful kind of you, Rares, but I can't let you..."
"Oh enough." Rarity waved her hand impatiently and stood at the entrance with her arms crossed. "I said we're going and that's that. No further discussion. Come along now."
With a sigh of exasperation, though she did have a slight grin on her face, Applejack slipped on her boots and grabbed her phone and hat, then followed Rarity out. "Granny, I'm going out with Rarity," she shouted before leaving the house. "I'll be back for supper!"
"Y'all gonna climb a tree?" Granny Smith shouted back. Applejack guessed she was in the sitting room, where she usually took her nap nowadays. "Don't break a leg, ya hear!"
"No, Granny, I'm going out with Rarity!"
"Catch some bees? Ain't time for honey yet!"
Applejack shook her head patiently, and tried once again, chuckling afterwards.
"What are ya hootin' and hollerin' about, youngyun?"
With a look to Rarity, Applejack said, "Just a moment. Go 'head get the car started. I'm guessing yours, right?"
"I wouldn't be caught dead in that old thing," Rarity said with a sniff, turning to exit the house. Applejack rolled her eyes but walked away with out saying anything. The sitting room wasn't too far away, and when she entered, Granny Smith was rocking back and forth in her chair, dozing off.
Granny's eyes snapped open, and she looked at Applejack with bright orange eyes that held a slight glaze over them. "Eh? Soup's on, go on and stir it, Honeycrisp."
The name left tears stinging in Applejack's eyes and threatened to spill over her cheeks, but she swallowed them away and cleared her throat. "Granny, I'm Applejack."
There was a moment of confusion reflected in her expression, but it cleared away to be replaced by a scowl. "I know who you are, young'un, think I don't know my own gran'child? What ya want?"
"I'm gonna head out with Rarity."
"Rarity? Who that?"
"My friend. She's the one who fashioned the green scarf you got for Hearth's Warming?"
"A friend of yours?" After a bit of rocking back and forth in her chair, Granny Smith said, "Alright, but you be back for supper, 'kay?"
"And tell Ginger Gold to fix that water chute, will ya? Darn thing busted 'gain."
Applejack swallowed hard, but nodded her head. "Alright, Granny. I'll be back."
She had already begun to nod off again, so Applejack went to catch up with Rarity, trying to erase the sour taste in her mouth. The mention of her parents' names was a hurt that was still too fresh, even though the accident happened over a year ago. It shook the family to the core, but it was her and Big Macintosh that recovered the quickest so they could buck up and support Granny Smith and Apple Bloom. Recovered wasn't really the right word, but there wasn't really time to stop and mourn. It still ached. It was a throb that would always be there, even when she got as old as Granny Smith.
Sometimes when the nights were especially quiet and she couldn't find sleep, she heard Big Macintosh crying quietly and she would walk over to his room and join him. They'd hold each other, silently supporting each other in a way that they would never show in front of anyone else. Even around her friends, Applejack would stubbornly keep a mask on, so they wouldn't worry.
She forgot to put it on when she entered the car though and silently cursed when she saw Rarity's concerned expression. "Applejack? Darling, are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Applejack answered, a little too quickly. "Can I put the window down?"
There was a very visible battle on Rarity's face as she contemplated the decision and Applejack grinned. Because of her vanity, Rarity kept the windows up and the AC on so her hair wouldn't "look like a bird's nest." The pained expression was always worth asking the question, though she genuinely enjoyed the wind in her face, and the warmth of the summer sun on her arm. "If you insist..."
"Nah, I'm good," Applejack laughed, tucking her hands into her lap.
Relief flooded Rarity's face which earned another chuckle. "So, how is Granny Smith doing? I feel rude not asking earlier, I do hope you'll forgive me."
A dark cloud shadowed on Applejack's face and she turned away to look out the window. Rarity had just pulled the car out of the driveway, and rows of apple trees waved at her as they drove past. "You're fine, Rares, but if it's all the same, I'd rather not talk 'bout it."
"She's getting worse, isn't she?"
Applejack pursed her lips together and refused to answer. Her health had been fragile for a long time, even before her parents' passing, but it seemed to only have gotten worse with their deaths. "I said I don't wanna talk about it. Can we talk 'bout somethin' else?"
An uncomfortable silence hung in the car, and Applejack knew she shouldn't have been so short with her friend. The apple trees were beginning to fade from view and the road smoothed out as they entered the road leading into Ponyville. Just as she swallowed her pride to apologise, Rarity said, "So I've decided I'll let you keep your old clothing on condition that you never wear them to school."
"You expectin' me to wear the same outfit everyday then?" Applejack asked with a snort, though she was grateful for the topic change. She was almost surprised there was no music playing in the car, but considering how much her and Rarity differed in tastes, that was probably a good thing.
"Heavens no!" Purple hair flicked in front of Rarity's face with her vigourous headshake, but she flicked it to the side with one hand. "That's nearly as bad as letting you wear those atrocities to school!"
"Well you're gonna have to pick one or the other."
"Applejack, darling, I thought we established that I'm getting you new outfits for the school year?"
"Outfits? As in more'n one?"
"It's the least I can do for allowing you to romp around in such rags for your previous high school years."
"Rarity, no--"
"I insist, and I won't have another word. I'll even get Apple Bloom some cute little outfits for her school year. Won't she look so fabulous in a cute skirt and some blouses?"
"Rarity, I won't be able to repay--"
"I'll say!" Rarity took her eyes off the road to glare at Applejack, which made her extremely nervous. "I'm giving you a gift! Do you honestly believe I expect payment?"
"Rarity, the road..."
"What kind of friend would I be if I expected you to pay me back for a gift?"
"The road..."
"Honestly, I would have thought you would be more sensible than that!"
Horns blared and tires squealed as Rarity swerved to get out of the opposite lane she had accidentally drifted into. It looked like ghosts had possessed their bodies, leaving them pale and breathless, Rarity clutching at the steering wheel, Applejack at the door handle. Not one of them said a word until finally the initial scare left them and allowed them to speak.
"I should, ahem, perhaps pay attention to the road a little better."
"Ya think?"
The bluntness of Applejack's statement left Rarity, perhaps a little hysterically. It bubbled over and soon both girls were laughing away the fright that almost claimed them. The rest of the ride was less eventful, since Applejack thought it would be in their best interests to let Rarity ramble on while only halfway paying attention. Ponyville shifted around them, and in the distance she could just make out the high school's football posts piercing into the sky. Beyond the field, the school buildings peeked out, clustering together in an attempt to hide behind the stadium, but doing a poor job of it. It reminded Applejack of her own problems, and she smirked. The very school serving as a metaphor to her problems would soon be serving as yet another distraction.
"Applejack, aren't you listening?"
"Huh?" Shaking her head, she pulled her gaze away and looked back at her friend, who rolled her eyes. "Sorry, must've spaced out."
"You're impossible," Rarity huffed in exasperation. "I asked if you thought Rainbow Dash will be okay? Being kicked out of the house must be hard, and I know Fluttershy is being a dear by letting her move in, but it must be hard on her. I couldn't imagine having to make it on my own right now."
"Yeah, I couldn't either."
Rarity must have caught the edge in Applejack's voice, since she gave a sideways sympathetic glance. To avoid any tension between them, Applejack decided to answer the question. "Yeah, Dash is tough. She ain't gonna let it beat her." She avoided mentioning how Rainbow Dash almost quit school, since she wasn't sure if Rarity knew, or if Rainbow Dash wanted them to know. "You know why she get kicked out?"
They were pulling into the mall's parking lot now, and the mall traffic was insane, though Applejack wasn't surprised. The last day before school started, lots of students would be either last minute shopping or trying to enjoy their last day of vacation. "From what Fluttershy told me, it's because well...her parents don't agree with her...life choices."
Applejack frowned and had a feeling of what choice exactly. Last semester, Rainbow Dash finally came out as being a lesbian to her parents, and they had fought nearly every day since. Especially with her mother, who particularly didn't settle with the news. Everyone else had known since middle school when she dated Gilda for a while, and it was such a messy breakup that it became the gossip for a long while. Surprisingly it never did make it back to her parents until Rainbow Dash felt it was time to tell them.
"I just don't understand what is the problem," Rarity continued, and furthering confirming Applejack's thoughts. "Love is love, and not everyone is the same, yet everybody seems to think it's the worse that could happen! You should hear the malicious talk behind Rainbow Dash's back. It really irks my nerves, but it isn't lady like to deliver the beating they deserve."
"Eh, she'll be alright," Applejack said with a shrug. Finding a parking spot was proving to be a challenge, and she was convinced Rarity would use all of her gas just to find a spot. "Like I said, she's tough."
Another glance was thrown her way, one that Applejack couldn't quite read, but she didn't comment on it. "So, do you think Flash Sentry and Twilight will fight as much this year?"
Narrowing her eyes, Applejack let out an unhappy grunt. "Flash is a good guy and all, but they ain't no match. I reckon they gonna be fightin' worse 'n ever this year, being senior year and all. Twi don't need that."
"Oh, but they're so cute together...when they're not fighting," Rarity corrected, after seeing Applejack's look of disbelief. "Don't you agree that when they first got together they were just the cutest couple?"
"I guess." Applejack shrugged and continued to scan the parking lot. She almost pointed out an empty lot to Rarity but another car took it before she could say anything. "That don't change the fact that they fight too much now. 'Course I don't know how they were durin' the summer."
"I didn't hear any problems, then again Twilight is very terrible at responding to text messages. Like certain people."
Applejack laughed, knowing that was intended for her. "I don't always keep minutes on my phone, ya know that. Ain't always got the money."
"Perhaps I should start giving you a money card--oh don't give me that look! If you're not going to keep in contact with your friends over the summer, then at least have a phone. I send the most hilarious Snaps and you always seem to miss out. I do believe only Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy regularly keep in contact with me. But at least Rainbow Dash isn't as bad as you or Twilight. I swear I have to come calling myself just to make sure the two of you are alive!"
"Well summer is the harvest season," Applejack said with a shrug. "I'm mighty busy during this time."
"I can imagine. How did Applebucking go? Didn't Apple Bloom help this year?"
"Yeah, she was a good help. We actually managed to get it done pretty early. Ma and Pa would have been proud."
"I'm sure they would have," Rarity replied, smiling. "Ooh, finally a spot."
They were only just able to snag the spot away from another car who almost raced for it. "Well come on then," Rarity announced, opening the door and turning off the car. "Let's get shopping!"

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