“You know, Gabby, if you came out to visit me more often, you’d have a fighting chance to get acclimated to life out here,” Wes explained as he handed Gabby her dinner. He sat across from her at his kitchen table, grinning as Gabby shuddered in response.
“And you know, it wouldn’t kill you to come out and visit me,” she replied as she toyed around with her alphabet soup.
Wes watched her in amusement. “We tried that once, remember? Your fancy city life is way too opulent for me.”
“Oooh, ‘opulent’ – big word for a country boy,” teased Gabby.
Knowing his cousin, Wes just stared at her with a carefully blank face so as not to egg her on. But as usual, it didn’t work. Gabby continued, “in case you weren’t sure, that was sarcasm. Here, let me spell it out for you,” and she started to dig around in her soup. Wes couldn’t contain a smirk any longer, and it played at the corner of his lips as he watched Gabby’s brows come together. “What’s the matter, cuz?” he asked.
Gabby put her spoon down in frustration. “I can’t find what I’m looking for. Why are there no punctuation marks in alphabet soup?!”
Wes laughed. “Have you ever had alphabet soup before, Gabby?” She just smirked back at him in response.
“I’ll take that as a ‘no’,” Wes chuckled. “Well, hurry and finish your dinner, because I have another ‘first’ planned for you tonight.”
Gabby eyed him suspiciously. “What are you up to?” she asked.
Leaning back in his chair, Wes smiled broadly as he said “Bullesque.”
Gabby crinkled her nose. “Bullesque? What the fuck is that?”
“It’s only the most high-end dining, drinking and bull-riding bar around here. Pure country opulence,” he teased.
“Bull riding?” Gabby repeated in disbelief.
Wes shrugged. “Well, mechanical.”
Gabby rolled her eyes. “God help me,” she muttered.
Wes threw his napkin at her. “Better get dressed, if we get there too late we’ll be hard-pressed to find parking.”
Gabby arched a brow. “Seriously? Parking there is a problem?” Wes gave her a leveled look. “I mean, ye-haw!” she tossed back at him, then bolted out of her chair as Wes made to come after her. Laughing, Gabby ran upstairs to change as Wes stood in the kitchen shaking his head at her.
After a bit, Gabby came into the front room calling out to Wes. “I’m ready to go! When will you – ” She stopped short when she saw her cousin sitting on the couch. Looking him over, she asked “Really? Is that what you guys wear to go out around here?”
“What?” asked Wes as he stood up and slowly spun around in front of her. “What’s throwing you off? The belt buckle? The boots? The hat? Surely I don’t look that alien to you. Around here, this is is perfectly ordinary. ” He flashed Gabby his most rakish smile.
“Perfectly ridiculous….” Gabby muttered under her breath.
Wes feigned insult. “What was that?” he asked.
Gabby smiled sweetly at him in return. “Nothing, dear warped cousin. I’m always game for an adventure.”
Wes was the one rolling his eyes this time. “Never one to miss an opportunity for sarcasm, are you?”
“You know me,” replied Gabby lovingly. She grabbed Wes’ keys from the coffee table and tossed them to him. “Ready to rock n’ roll? Or boot-stomp, or whatever it is you do out here?”
Wes caught the keys and chuckled. “Oh, you are so going down tonight.” Gabby merely smiled at him in response as she breezed past him through the front door.
Fifteen minutes later, after claiming one of the few remaining spots in the parking lot, Gabby and Wes walked into Bullesque. Gabby paused just inside the door as her eyes strained to take in her surroundings. “Oh my God. The whole world here is flipped upside down” she mused in astonishment.
“What do you want, Gabby? Cherry blossoms in winter?” asked Wes with a smile.
Gabby looked at her cousin with a wry glance. “What, you’re a poet now? All this fresh air has finally done you some good?”
“Amazing what a little unpolluted air will do for a person.” Wes gave her a pointed look, which she ignored. Instead, she focused on the commotion to her left. In the center of a large, roped-off platform, she watched as a man whipped back and forth on the back of a mechanical bull, waving his hat steadily in the air with one hand and holding on tightly with the other.
“You weren’t kidding?? People really do that?” she asked incredulously.
“Yes,” replied Wes. “They do it because they’re ‘game for adventure’.” Gabby didn’t miss his pointed retort, and she glanced sideways at him.
“You are going to ride the bull, aren’t you?” Wes teased.
Gabby gave him a startled look. “You can’t be serious?”
Wes shrugged. “Nothing’s impossible.”
“You’re impossible,” Gabby replied. Looking around the room at her options, she zeroed in on the only one that made any sense to her – the farthest side of the room with all the liquor bottles lining the shelves. She turned to Wes and said “I’m just going to hang around the bar. I don’t want to look conspicuous.”
Wes eyed Gabby as she walked away, her long red skirt swaying with each step and her crystal heeled stilettos clicking across the wooden floor. ‘Don’t want to look conspicuous’? Yeah, good luck with that,’ he laughed to himself as he stepped in line behind her.
© Dahlia Ramone: December, 2013