Chapter 1: A Vein of Gossip

It was a slow weekday afternoon in Ponyville's Carousel Boutique. Rarity was at her designer's table, dabbling in some new designs for her line of fall dresses. Unfortunately, she was having an off day. With no business or news traveling in and out of the shop, she wasn't really up for being creative. She slams her hooves with frustration on her desk. A pencil lazily falls to the floor. "I admit defeat. Today is just not a day for anything. Come Opal. I'll get you a snack while I make myself some tea."

A white Persian cat opens it's eyes annoyed that it was woken up from one of the many naps she takes throughout the day. With a quick stretch, she follows her owner into the kitchen and sits there waiting patiently for her treat. Rarity opens the container and lifts a few treats out for her companion. As Opal was aggressively eating her delicacies, Rarity moved over and made her tea. She took her drink into the boutique floor and quietly sipped as she watched the streets of Ponyville. The streets were as empty as her store. "Must not be a day for commerce." she thought to herself. The door to her shop opened. Rarity's eyes popped. She looked down and noticed she was in her robes. Embarrassed she was caught in inappropriate attire she ducked down and was trying to move towards her private quarters.

She was almost to the threshold but a little voice caught her "Rarity, Why are you on the ground?"

Relieved it wasn't a customer, but was Sweetie Belle, leaving her image intact, Rarity quickly stood up and adjusted herself presentable to her sister. "I was searching for one of Opal's toy's. Seemed to have gone underneath the dresser again." She let out a nervous laugh hiding her lie.

Sweetie Belle looked with innocence at her big sister. "Well Ok, because I thought you were doing aggressive exercises like Big Macintosh and Miss Cherrilee."

That sentence peaked the curiosity of Rarity. "Wait. Whatever to you mean?"

"Well I was walking home with Scootaloo and Applebloom when I realized I forgot a book back in the classroom. I told them I'll catch up later and went back to school. When I entered the class I saw Miss Cheerilee and Big Mac on the floor behind the desks. All I could really see was their top halves but they seemed to be wrestling so I told them to stop fighting. Miss Cheerilee screamed and told me to not come any closer. She explained that Big Mac was helping her with some aggressive exercises and they weren't fighting and quickly tried to shoo me away. So when I saw you on the floor I thought you got swept up in the craze too."

Rarity was trying impossibly hard not to burst out laughing. She was just imagining the situation and couldn't help but think how steamy that classroom was getting. "This day just started picking up."

"Sweetie Belle. You keep this little story to yourself. One day when you're older you'll look back and be glad you did. That being said, are their any more details?" she boldly hinted.

"Uhh they were sweating a lot, but that's to be expected when you're exercising right Sis?"

Through little bits of laughter Rarity was able to eek out. "Yes, hehe. Sweating and exercise go together." Rarity finally let it out and enjoyed the reveal of this glorious juicy gossip. She composed herself and told Sweetie Belle to close up the shop and do her homework before she has to go home. Rarity was going to pay a visit to the only pony that would be interested in Big Mac intertwining with anypony.

Rarity made her way down to the largest family owned business in Ponyville, Sweet Apple Acres. She trotted her way to the main house and knocked on the door. Applebloom answered and was pleased to see Rarity. "Hey ya Rare. Sweetie Belle make it home alright?"

"Oh yes. She's home. I am here for your sister. Is Applejack in?"

"Well she's in the fields right now, finishin' some last minute applebuckin'. I do believe she's in the east orchard. I mean, ya could wait here fer her. I'll whip you up some apple crisp." the little filly said enthusiastically.

"Thank you, but I must decline. I'll just take my chances and look for her in the fields. I'll see you when I see you Applebloom."

"This actually is the best possible option. Last thing little Applebloom needs to hear is stories of her brother gallivanting around with her teacher." Rarity still let herself smile again at such unladylike thoughts. Rarity made her way to the fields. She was lucky enough to see a cart and set of hoof tracks and decided to follow. She eventually started hearing distant thuds of timber being pounded on. The purple maned pony felt relief that she wasn't lost and got closer to the noises until the orange earth pony came into view.

"Good afternoon, Apple my dear."

Applejack turned around and wiped the sweat from her brow with her forearm. "Oh hiya Rare. What brings ya all da way out here?"

"Well I got something that maybe you should know..."

Rarity was interrupted unexpectedly by a saddle basket being securely harnessed on her. "Umm Applejack, what in heavens are you doing?"

"Sorry Rare, but if you got time to talk, you also have time to help me applebuckin' these last few trees. Sorry fer not askin' but my baskets and the cart's full. Hope you don't min' getting' yer hooves dirty." Applejack teased. Rarity always noticed that smirk when the farmer made fun of some of her mannerisms.

Rarity was always quick to retort. "Well so long as you don't mind getting your thoughts dirty. I've got some news that will shock and awe you."

Applejack rolled her eyes. "Honestly it's a hit and miss with you as everything can be an emergency." The two ponies moved over to the next tree Rarity positioned herself underneath the tree and Applejack ready to buck. "So what's this wondrous information you got fer me?" Applejack let a thunderous kick to the tree and the apples delicately landed in Rarity's side baskets.

The two mare proceeded to the next tree. "Well Sweetie Belle came home today with the most interesting story. Turns out your big brother Mac, oh how should I put this? Was doing off the clock applebucking in Miss Cheerilee's orchard." Applejack stopped dead in her tracks causing Rarity to bump her nose on the apple cart. "Ouch" Rarity rubbed her snout gently to ease the pain.

"Gosh. Rarity. I really didn't need to know that. What if I came to you with news on Sweetie Belle and some young colt?" Apple jack turned with disgust and worry towards the fashionista.

"Well it's different with me and Sweetie Belle. When the day comes when she is curious about colts I'll be there with making sure she isn't making a mess of the situation. I'm sure you'd be there for Applebloom."

"Ok so that means you don't know where I'm coming from. Yer right. I'll be there fer Applebloom makin' sure she stays the sweet little filly she is, but you don't have an older brother. We're old enough to know what probably happens what he goes out with mares. However I don't need to know the when, who or where it happens." Applejack's cheeks were flushed from getting all flustered. Rarity tittered as Applejack was very easy to rile up. The two ponies made it to the last tree and into positions.

"Oh Applejack. I know it's a little embarrassing to talk about, but aren't you happy for your brother. Miss Cherrilee is a great mare. Smart, great with kids and a heart of gold." she praised.

Applejack was readying herself for another bucking. "Don't get me wrong, I like Miss Cherrilee, but I don't know. Mac gets distracted real easy. A pretty mare like her would make any stallion stumble on their hooves. The farm needs Big Macintosh for a little more time" A great bucking to the apple tree let loose a little too much produce . Rarity looked up and was hit with a few solid apples to the forehead.

"Ouchie. That one really hurt." Rarity massaged her forehead. pain showing in her eyes.

"Ah horse apples. I am sorry sugar cube. This news got me all distracted and threw off my kick." Applejack rushed to the white pony's side. "Move yer hoof. I'll take a look." Rarity moved her hoof to the side. Applejack inspected the wound. "Ah shucks. Get up it's fine. Just a lil' red marking. Probably heal up 'fore bed." Applejack put on a smile, relieved she didn't really hurt her friend.

"A red s-spot?! Oh my flawless complexion tainted by a scarlet blemish." Rarity over-dramatized.

"Oh Rare, it's nothin' honestly. No fussin' about it. What do you want me to do about it? Want me to kiss it better or something?" Applejack said in a snarky fashion.

Rarity pursed her bottom lip. "Would you please?" Eyes welling up with small tears.

Applejack rolled her eyes, slightly embarrassed that she associates with someone so frail. "Just get up and come along. We're done out here." Applejack starting pulling the cart and Rarity soon caught up to her side.

"Applejack, you're so shy about talking about love. We're not little fillies anymore. Don't you daydream out here in the fields about that special somepony to whisk you away from all this work and treat you like a lady."

"Rare, you've seen me work. I rarely got time for breaks, let alone daydreamin'. If I mess up out here and flub up a section of trees, we lose profit and this isn't some big farm. It's a modest business with honest tactics. It's all just enough to keep the farm up and runnin' and some luxuries. Besides I'm not so big on the whole romantic gestures n' letting the world into my private life, ya know."

"Seems as if you're not big on the physical part either. You shy away anytime anypony mentions the smallest hint on their love life. I have literally seen you flinch at two ponies kissing each other in public. I bet even if I gave a half-hearted effort I could make you blush."

"One. No you couldn't. And two, I've always thought love is something special that should be shared between two ponies. I feel that when the public sees more than they need to see or if they know the innards of how you operate in n' out of the relationship, it sorta lessens the specialness"

Applejack got a white hoof wrapped around her neck. Rarity swiftly moved into front of the orange mare. The seamstress slowly fooled around with the golden ponytail and looked deep into the emerald eyes. Applejack caught onto the farce quickly and a deadpan look of disapproval set in. "Nice try Rare. Get off me now. We're almost to the barn."

"Ok fine." Rarity got off Applejack "You have made your point and I sort of liked what you said. I may be more extravagant in my ideas because it's hard to hold it to just yourselves. I would assume love would ooze out if I were to contain it so if it comes out ever so often in public, I wouldn't see the shame in it. Albeit Applejack, I think we can both agree on this. Love is special."

"Love is caring." Applejack added

"Love is beautiful"

"Love is a rarity."

"Aww. Applejack..." Rarity lightly sighed out.

"By the way yer blushin'."

Rarity checked the flush in her cheeks and the red tint deepened as she realized Applejack made her heart race for even a second. "How did you do that?"

Applejack snickered and simply replied "I guess it's my southern charm." She looked over to Rarity and flashed a triumphant smile of victory. They reached the barn and emptied their load into an apple pile. Rarity unstrapped her self and adjusted her mane,making sure she was always looking her best. "Well Rare thanks fer yer help and I guess fer the information as well. Guess it's good to know Big Mac isn't off foolin' around Ponyville with just anypony. Granny Smith taught us right."

"Not a problem dearie. I'm sorry if I was a little over-enthusiastic about telling you. It's just been a slow day. Honestly any news would have been welcoming, but this was a mineral vein of gossip."

"Anyways, it's time fer some lunch. I'll make something fer ya fer helpin' me."

"Oh Applejack. That's not necessary..."

"Granny Smith didn't raise some ungrateful mule. Please I insist. Just go inside and rest. I'll be in soon."

Rarity couldn't say no to such politeness. She abides the orange mare and trotted inside. She always loved the Apple home. Despite being a farm house, it was always clean and well organized. She couldn't help but notice that this house, being what it is, is not different than her carousal boutique. Actually her and Applejack shared a lot of the same qualities just reflected differently in how they play them out.

Rarity glanced at an old portrait of the family. Little filly Applejack stood out like a sore hoof with freckles and bouncing ponytail. Next to her was Big Mac and Rarity couldn't help but titter about the colt. She placed the frame down at the sound of the front door opening. In came the crimson pony that has been the center of Rarity's attention today. A mischievous smile creeped over on Rarity's face.

"Good afternoon Big Macintosh. Has it been a pleasant day so far for you?"

"Eeeyup."

Rarity got up off the couch and carefully examined the stallion, just seeing if she can caught a waft of that distinct scent of love making. To no avail was Rarity able to find what she was looking for. Still knowing this pony was guilty to first degree fooling around, she pressed ahead. "So Big Mac, you seem stronger than when I saw you last. More work in the fields or are you so full of energy you feel the need to exercise more?"

As if it was even possible, Big Mac got redder. Big Mac walked away without a "eeeyup" or "nnope" Rarity listened for a bedroom door closing before letting out a a squeal of laughter. Applejack was also treated to a prancing pony in her living room. Eyes following the usual graceful pony up and down. "Uhh Rarity. Am I interrupting something?"

Rarity stopped in her tracks, still with smile on her face, "Oh nothing dearie. Just had a really funny thought."

Applejack shrugged it off and proceeded into the kitchen. Over some fresh apple dumplings, the two were able to have a pleasant conversation. "Applejack we haven't done anything in awhile. You busy tomorrow?"

"Sorry sugar cube, but I am. I might be tied up on the farm for awhile. Makin' sure I get all this produce 'fore the trees go dormant fer the winter."

"Oh I see..." Rarity averted her eyes, a little shamed that she was turned down.

Applejack picked up on this. "But if n' yer not busy like today. You can come over fer dinner. This day was kinda nice, ya know after the news of Big Mac course." she said while taking another bite from her dumpling.

Rarity's ears perked up. "Oh that would be lovely. I think I'll take you up on your offer." As she said this she couldn't help but notice apples on Applejack's face. Rarity lifted a napkin off the table and moved it towards the orange mare.

Applejack raised her hoof instinctively but Rarity succeeded. "Rare..what..chu..."

Rarity had a look of frustration "Oh, do stop fussing, darling! You've got apple all over your face. See there. Perfect again."

Slightly annoyed Applejack licked her hoof, "I see apple on yer cheek too." Applejack reached over and caught the tailor off guard.

Rarity was taken aback from the sudden sensation of saliva on the side of her lips. "Oh how rude! Applejack that's so disgusting."

Without missing a beat Applejack quickly said "Yer blushin' again." A satisfying smile sat on Applejack's face.

Rarity's eyes popped. The farmer was right again. "What is wrong with me?" Rarity sat up and used a napkin to wipe her face off.

"Hoowee, that's the second time today. And what's with that blush Miss Rarity? Lil' nervous about some mare spit hitting yer lips. I thought you were the one all right with this sorta thing." teasing the white pony

"I'm not blushing. This is unpleasantness rising through my body and expressing itself through my face." Rarity was presented with a moist washcloth in the mouth of a cheerful pony. "Thank you."

"Twern't nothin'. You heading out now?"

"I suppose I will. Opal needs dinner and I wish to unwind with a nice bath. Despite all this thank you for the meal. As always it's quite delectable." Rarity was let out by Applejack and made her way back to the boutique. After all was said and done, Rarity put on her sleep mask and slipped into her silk sheets.

Business was better today in the boutique. Orders were coming in for Rarity left and right and she was ecstatic that today was picking up the slack of yesterday. Rarity was one with a flare for gems on her outfits and realized she needed to go on a small gem run. Rarity saddled up with her baskets, the white mare pranced her way to the outskirts of Ponyville. Rarity couldn't help but notice that it wasn't just her shop that was busy but most of Ponyville's privately owned businesses were thriving today too. Passing the Sugarcube Corner, she peered inside to see if her good friend Pinkie Pie was in. Not seeing her at the counter she looked around but saw something that distraught her. Applejack was at a table laughing and having what seemed like a great time with a fine stallion. Upon further inspection the unicorn noticed they were sharing a milkshake and trying out some of the irresistible desserts.

"I-I thought she was busy. Then what's this?" Not wanting to cause a scene Rarity backed out slowly from the bakery. Rarity got a lump in her throat remembering what Applejack said about being busy. "I know I'm sad, but why do I feel like my heart is getting ripped out?" Knowing she still had a job to do, the white pony briskly trotted out of Ponyville, leaving a trail of fresh tears.

Thanks for reading. Be sure to review, follow and favorite as there will be more coming soon. If you are a Flutterdash fan as well, please feel free to check out my other story That Flutter in Your Heart. Once again thank you.