Chapter 36:  Puttin' on the Ritz

Wednesday afternoon had finally come.  Olivia had been bugging Alex all week about going riding.  Now that it was finally going to happen, she began getting nervous as she followed Alex to the stables.  “She’s not gonna bite me, is she?”


“Don’t be silly, Liv.  Ritz is the gentlest mare I know!”


“Hey, just making sure.  She could be just as feisty as her owner,” Olivia teased with a smirk. 


Alex playfully hit her on the arm.  “Ok, Liv.  Time to tack up.”


“Tack up?” Olivia asked, confused.


“Putting on the saddle and bridle and stuff,” Alex clarified.




They went into the tack room.  Alex began getting the tack for Caesar.  Olivia gave her a funny look and said, “Alex…the nametag says that Ritz’s stuff is over here.”       


“That’s for you to get.  I’m riding Caesar.  He’s my mom’s,” Alex responded.


Olivia looked at her with a panicked expression on her face.  “Wait, I thought we were both gonna ride Ritz.”


Alex grinned.  “No, Liv.  You’re gonna ride by yourself.  She’s good.  I promise.  Don’t be scared.”


“But what if I fall?” Olivia whined.


Alex smiled and placed a hand on her arm reassuringly.  “You won’t.  I will be right beside you.”  She kissed her on the cheek and handed her Ritz’s saddle.  “Here.  I’ll get the rest of her stuff and help you tack up first.  But first you need to groom her.”


She handed Olivia the brush and they went to Ritz’s stall.  Olivia gently began brushing her coat.  “Harder, Liv.  It won’t hurt her,” Alex instructed.


When Olivia was done grooming, Alex handed her a hoof pick.  Olivia looked at it quizzically.  “What’s this?”


“It’s a hoof pick,” Alex informed her.  “You use it to pick the dirt outta her hooves.”  Bending down, she leaned against Ritz to balance her and picked up a hoof.  “See?  Just like this.  The mud is gonna be caked, so you gotta make sure you dig deep to get it all.  You won’t hurt her.”  When she was done, she handed the pick back to Olivia.  “Ok, do the other three.”


Olivia went to her back right leg and tried to get Ritz to lift her hoof off the ground.  “It’s not working, Al.”


“Squeeze right above her fetlock and lift.  Like this.”  Alex demonstrated how to get her to lift her hoof again.  “Ok, you try.”


Olivia tried again and successfully lifted the hoof.  Alex smiled at her as Olivia began picking out the dirt.  “See?  You’re gettin’ it!” Alex said encouragingly.  Olivia grinned.


After she was done picking out all her hooves, she asked, “Ok.  So what next?”


“Now you need to put on her saddle pad.  It protects her from getting sores from the saddle rubbing up against her back,” Alex told her.  Olivia nodded and put it on.  Alex slid it up a little farther.  “Ok, now go ahead and put the saddle on.”  Olivia did as she was told.  “Move it up some more.  That’s good,” Alex complimented. 


Alex then handed Olivia the girth.  “Ok, go over to her right side and strap on her girth.  I’ll help you.”  She watched as Olivia attached the girth to the girth straps under the saddle flap.  “That’s good.  Third hole is fine.”  Alex went around to the left side.  “Now pass it to me under her belly,” Alex continued.  When the girth reached her hand, she tightened it accordingly and stuck her hand in between the girth and Ritz’s belly to make sure it wasn’t too tight.


Alex then tested the saddle to make sure it didn’t slide back and forth.  “Ok, now pull down the stirrups.  If they end at your elbow, that means they are probably around the right length.”


Olivia pulled down the stirrups on one side and measured.  “They aren’t.”


“That’s ok.  Adjust the buckle until they are.  The only way you can tell for sure, though will be when you mount her.  If you’ve miscalculated somehow, I’ll adjust them for her so you won’t have to get off.” 


Olivia adjusted accordingly and then did the same to the other stirrup.  “Now what?”


“Run the stirrups right back up the saddle so they won’t get in the way when you lead her out.”


Olivia did just that and then turned to Alex.  “Ok.  That’s done.”


Holding up Ritz’s bridle, Alex began, “Now you’re gonna put on her bridle.  First, undo the halter and slide it off her.  Next we’re gonna try to put the bit in.  We need to make sure the bit is secure in her mouth.  You may need to slide your thumb in a little at the corners if she’s fussy about taking her bit.” 

Olivia’s eyes got wide.  “My thumb?  Are you sure she isn’t gonna bite?”


“Positive.”  Alex pulled out some apple-flavored spray and sprayed some on the bit. 


Olivia smirked.  “If she bites me then I get to bite you.”


Alex laughed and passed her the bridle.  “Yeah, yeah Liv.  Now hold the bridle over her nose.  Go ahead and dangle the bit near her mouth.  When she takes it, pull the crown over her ears.  Everything else will go in place automatically.”


Olivia tried but Ritz wouldn’t take her bit.  “She won’t bite it.  What do I do?”


“Put your thumb just at the corner of her mouth.  Wiggle it a little if you have to.”  Olivia put her thumb at the corner and Ritz opened up her mouth slightly.  She quickly removed her fingers and slid the bit in.  Then she pulled the rest of the bridle in place over her face and ears.


Alex clapped.  “That was perfect, Liv!  You’re a pro!”


Olivia grinned.  “Thanks.  So am I done?”


Alex smiled at her.  “For now.  Come on.  You can watch me tack up Caesar.”


Olivia followed Alex to Caesar’s stall.  She watched Alex in awe as she skillfully tacked him up.  “Wow, you did that in like 5 seconds!”


Alex shrugged.  “After you’ve done it a couple hundred times, it becomes second nature.”


Olivia laughed.  “How long have you been riding?”


“Since I was 5,” Alex replied.


“Wow, Alex.  That’s a long time.  No wonder your um…mounting skills are so good,” Olivia teased with a twinkle in her eye.


Alex hit her with a crop.  “Liv!  Don’t corrupt my horses too!”


Olivia grabbed onto the crop.  “Ooh, kinky.  I like.  Can we…can we bring one home?”


Alex rolled her eyes and said, “You’re incorrigible, Liv.  Now if you’re done fantasizing about the riding equipment, I’d like to go out to the arena now.”  Olivia just giggled.


They put on their helmets and led their horses out to the arena.  “Ok.  Now pull down your stirrups.”  After Olivia had pulled down both her stirrups, Alex continued, “You always mount from the horse’s left side.  Turn the stirrup out and put your foot in.  Yeah, just like that.  Grab the reins with your left hand.  Now grab the pommel with your right and jump up and swing your leg over the side.”


Olivia looked down at Alex.  “Whoa, Alex.  It’s kinda high up here.”


Alex smiled up at her.  “Don’t worry, Liv.  You’ll do fine.”  She took Olivia’s heels and turned them downward so that only the balls of Olivia’s feet remained in the stirrups. 


“Alex, my feet are gonna fall out of the stirrups!” Olivia complained.


“No, they won’t.  You should always keep your heels down when you ride.  That’s one of the cardinal rules of English riding.  All I ever heard from my instructor when I first started riding was ‘Heels down.  Heels down.’  But it’s a good thing, though.  It’s gonna keep you in balance, even though it won’t seem like it at first.  Slide your legs back a little.  Yeah, right there.  You should be able to trace a straight line down from your ear to your heel.”  Next, Alex took the reins and adjusted them between Olivia’s ring and pinkie as well as thumb and index fingers.  “Ok, thumps up.  Imagine that you are holding a delicate teacup in your hands and if you move your fingers, the cup will break and tea will spill all over you.”


Olivia nodded as Alex mounted Caesar.  “Ok.  Slightly squeeze her sides with your legs.  Give her a little kick if you have to.”  Olivia squeezed Ritz’s sides but the horse didn’t move.  “Kick her,” Alex instructed.  She still didn’t move.  “You’ll need to kick her harder than that, Liv.  Don’t worry, you won’t hurt her.”  Olivia gave her a firmer kick and then the horse started to move forward.  “Awesome, Liv!”  Olivia turned her head over her shoulder and smiled at Alex.


Alex walked Caesar right up beside her and fell into pace with Olivia and Ritz.  “This is fun, Alex,” Olivia said, grinning.


Alex smiled.  “And you’re doing great.  Just keep your leg on her.”  Olivia gave her a confused look.  “Keep kicking her from time to time to keep her moving or she’ll stop,” Alex explained.


After they had walked around the arena a few times, Alex asked her, “Ok.  Are you ready to trot?”


Olivia looked over at her nervously.  “Uh…I dunno.”


“We can’t walk the entire time, silly.  I promise you’ll be fine, Liv.  I won’t let you get hurt, ok?”


Olivia nodded.  “Ok.  Tell me what to do.”


“Well, now we’re gonna try posting the trot.”


“What’s that mean?”  Olivia asked.


“When the horse moves forward, you’re gonna lift your butt outta your saddle slightly and move forward with her.  I’ll show you.”  With that, Alex guided Caesar into a trot and began posting.  She circled Olivia and then stopped beside her.  “Got it?”


“I think so…” Olivia said, although still unsure.


“Don’t worry about posting on the right diagonal for now.  What that means is that your butt should be in the air when the horse’s outside front leg is going forward.  Since the fence is to the left of us, that means you’d need to pay attention to the front left leg.  If it was on our right, we’d post whenever the horse’s right leg was moving forward.  But like I said, you just need to get the feel of posting the trot down right now and not worry about being on the correct diagonal.”


Olivia nodded.  “I’ll try my best.” 


“Ok.  Move the reins up just a little.  Now squeeze and kick.  If you have to, say the word ‘trot.’ She’s pretty much trained to take voice commands for all the gaits.”


Olivia smiled.  “I wish you had told me this earlier.  I would’ve just told her to walk instead of doing all that squeezin’ and kickin’.”  Doing as she was told, Olivia began bouncing around in the saddle when Ritz launched forward.


“Good, Liv!  Now get a nice up and down rhythm going.  Let her natural motion guide you.  That’s it, Liv!  Up, down, up, down.”  Alex began trotting again beside her.


“This is fun!” Olivia exclaimed as she rounded the bend.


Alex smiled.  “See?  I told you you had nothing to worry about!”


Olivia grinned.  “Yeah, except that my ass is gonna be sore with all this bouncing around.”


Alex smirked.  “Won’t be the first time.”


Olivia’s mouth dropped open.  “Hey, you’re breaking my concentration!” she accused.


Alex giggled and trotted past her.  Olivia soon caught up with her.  Alex turned her head and smiled proudly.  “Wow, Liv!  At the rate you’re learning, you’ll be cantering next time we ride!”


Olivia grinned.  “Does that mean Ritz and I can chase you two around?”


Alex laughed and rolled her eyes.  “I don’t think so.”


They trotted for several more minutes so Olivia could work on her posting technique more.  After Alex had halted and told Olivia to do the same, she instructed her to dismount.  “Ok.  Time to drop your iron and get off.”


“How?” Olivia asked.


“Take your feet out of the stirrups and hold the reins in your left hand.  Now grasp the pommel with your right.  Then go ahead and swing your right leg over her back and slide down.”  Alex got down from Caesar and went over to help Olivia properly dismount.  Then she led Ritz over to the fence and tied her to it.  Turning to smile at Olivia, she said, “Ok, now we’re gonna canter together.”


Olivia’s face lit up.  “Really?”


“Yep,” Alex replied, walking back over to Caesar.  “I’m gonna get on and then I want you to climb up behind me.”


After they were both atop Caesar, Olivia wrapped both arms tightly around Alex’s waist.  She then snuggled in close to her and planted a kiss on her neck.  Alex giggled and asked, “Are you holding on tight?”


“You bet,” Olivia replied, placing another kiss on her neck.


Alex moved the reins up Caesar’s neck and shortened them.  Squeezing with her outside leg, Alex led them into a smooth canter.  Olivia laughed behind her as they soared around the arena, the wind beating against their faces.  “This is so much fun, Al!”


After a few minutes of cantering, the girls dismounted and then led their horses back to the stables.  After they had brushed them down, picked out their hooves, and removed and returned all the tack, Alex said, “Ok, time to feed them.  Ritz gets one clump of hay and one big scoop of food.” 


Olivia went to get Ritz’s food and when she returned, she saw Alex giving Caesar his.  “Hey, how come he gets two of each and she only gets one?” Olivia asked.


Alex smiled and answered, “Because he’s bigger.  If Ritz gets too much, she’ll get sick.”


“Aw, I wouldn’t want her to get sick,” Olivia cooed, stroking her mane.


After they had finished feeding the horses, they said goodbye to them and then returned to the tack room.  Alex handed Olivia a sponge.  “What’s this for?” Olivia asked curiously.  “I thought we were done in here.”


“We are.  We just need to wash down the bridles and figure-eight them,” Alex answered.


“Figure-eight?” Olivia asked, confused.


“I’ll show you.”  And with that, Alex washed down her bridle and twisted it into a perfect figure-eight.  “Your turn,” she said smiling.


Olivia tried to do the same but somehow couldn’t get it to work.  So Alex undid her bridle and demonstrated the technique for her again, step by step and more slowly.  “Come on, Liv.  We’ll do it together.”


Carefully watching Alex demonstrate it a third time and following her lead, Olivia successfully twisted her own bridle in a figure-eight.  “Cool!” Olivia exclaimed excitedly.


Alex patted her on the back.  “That’s my girl.  Ready to go?” she asked.  Olivia nodded.


As they were walking away from the stables, Alex noticed Olivia had something behind her back.  She rolled her eyes and said, “Liv, put the crop back.”  Olivia smirked and returned the crop, then they got in her car and headed back to Alex’s house.




After they were back in Alex’s bedroom, Olivia said with a teasing grin, “You know…we could play horse and rider one day.  I’ll be the horse and you can um…ride me bareback.”


Alex’s eyes got wide and her mouth dropped open.  “Liv!”


Olivia grinned wider.  “Hey, if it offends you that much, you can be the horse!” 


Alex threw a pillow at her.  Getting out of bed, she said, “I’m gonna go take a shower.  Try to behave while I’m gone.”


Olivia got out behind her.  “Can I…can I come?”


“You already know the answer to that.”


Olivia shrugged and replied, “Hey, a girl can hope.”  Alex ruffled her hair and then walked to her bathroom.


In a few minutes, Alex heard the door open.  She pulled back the curtain and stuck her head out.  “Liv!  What are you doing in here?”


“I need to pee!” Olivia answered, starting to pull her pants down. 


Alex quickly pulled the curtain shut.  “Well hurry up!”


When Olivia was done, she asked, “That quick enough for ya?”


Alex stuck her head back out.  “Liv, you’re distracting me,” she whined.


Olivia dried her hands off and smiled.  “Geez, Al.  How much concentration do you need to shower?  Anyway, distracting would be me standing here naked.”


“Liv, don’t you dare!”


Olivia grinned.  “Nah, I’m just gonna go stand naked in the other bathroom.”  She laughed when Alex’s mouth dropped open and then left to shower.


About twenty minutes later, Alex was in her room when she heard Olivia yell, “Hey Alex, I need a towel!”


Alex grabbed a towel and then walked to the bathroom Olivia was in.  Opening the door, she began, “Here ya go.  I—”  She stopped abruptly and her mouth dropped open as she saw Olivia standing there naked and dripping wet before her.  “Liv!  You’re…you’re naked!”


Olivia smirked.  “Well, what did you expect?  I told you I needed a towel.”


“I-I expected you to be in the shower…or something!”  Tearing her eyes away from her breasts, she shoved the towel in her hands and ran back to her room.  Olivia just chuckled.


When Olivia came back into her room, Alex turned her back so she could get dressed.  Olivia climbed in bed and turned Alex back toward her.  “Why are you blushing, sweetie?”


“Because I saw you naked.”


Olivia smiled.  “It’s not like you’ve never seen me nude before.”


“I know, Liv.  But seeing you makes me…it makes me wanna…”  She looked down.  “Do stuff.”


“What kinda stuff?”


Alex blushed harder.  “You know…stuff,” she said quietly.


Olivia pulled her closer to her.  “Baby, that’s completely normal.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  I do it.”


Alex smiled.  “I know that.”


Olivia shrugged and gave a lopsided grin.  “Hey, have to relieve myself somehow.”


Alex rolled her eyes.  “Don’t remind me.  Tweety told me he still has nightmares.”


Olivia waggled her eyebrows.  “I have dreams about it at night, too.  But I wouldn’t call them nightmares.”


“Liv!” Alex said, shoving her arm. 


“Hey, there’s no shame in my game.”  Olivia snuggled closer to her.  “You know, I had a great time today.  Thanks for teaching me how to ride.”


Alex gave her a kiss on the forehead.  “It was my pleasure.  We’ll have to do it again soon.”


Olivia grinned mischievously.  “We can do it right now.  You know, my offer to let you ride me bareback still stands.”


Alex’s mouth dropped open.  Hitting her with the pillow, she exclaimed, “Liv!  You’re dirty!  Where do you come up with this stuff?”


She shrugged.  “Let’s just say I have an overactive imagination.”


“I’ll say.”


Olivia smiled coyly.  “I’ll bet you do too.”


“I refuse to dignify that with an answer,” Alex said, folding her arms.


“You just did,” Olivia said, grinning.  Seeing Alex blush, she pulled her into her arms and said, “Come on, Al.  I think it’s cute.  And sexy.”  She leaned across Alex and turned off the lamp.  Giggling, she teased, “Now you can’t see what I’m doing.”


“I really don’t think I want to.”


“You sure about that?” Olivia asked, peeling off her tank.


Alex gasped in the darkness.  “Liv, you are not to touch me again until you put your top back on.”


“But I’m hot, Al,” Olivia whined.


Alex moved farther from her on the bed.  “There.  Now you don’t have the added body heat.”


Olivia scooted closer.  “I wanna cuddle.”


“Liv, I am not cuddling with you topless.”


“But Al, the pokies miss you,” Olivia whined.


“Liv…” Alex began.


“Come on, Al.  I miss the feel of your soft skin against mine,” Olivia coaxed, reaching out to glide her hand up and down her arm.


Alex smirked.  “You mean you miss the feel of my boobs against yours.”


Olivia giggled.  “That too.  Don’t you?”


“I’m not answering.  It will just encourage you.”


Olivia smiled.  “Alex, the last thing I want to do is make you uncomfortable.  Do you really want me to put my shirt back on?”


“No,” Alex responded a little too quickly.  Olivia smiled harder.  Alex continued, “I just don’t want things to go too far.”


“Sweetie, I don’t wanna make love to you,” Olivia responded.  Alex gave her a look that Olivia could make out even in the dark.  “Ok, I do.  But I don’t because you’re not ready to again.  Still, I can tell you need release.  I’m just trying to help you out a little.  I even turned the lights out and everything so it wouldn’t be awkward.”


“Liv…you want me to…to touch myself in front of you?” Alex asked incredulously, although secretly turned on by the idea.  She was even more turned on at the prospect of what Olivia’s reaction would be if she watched her.


“Well…yeah.  Listen, what about if I do it?  To make it more comfortable,” Olivia suggested hopefully. 


However tempting the idea sounded, Alex still declined.  “That would only make me more uncomfortable.  The last thing I need to hear is ‘Oh Alex, ohhh Alex.’”


“Hey, I do not sound like that!”  Olivia moved even closer to her.  In a sultry voice, she said, “Mine is more like, ‘Oh Alex…oh fuck Alexxxx.’”


Blushing, Alex shoved her in the darkness.  “Liv!  Stop that right now!”


“You’re blushing.”


“You can’t see me blush.”


“I don’t have to see you to know you are,” Olivia replied, rolling onto her back.  “Well, I guess I’ll take a nap since you won’t play with me.”


“Yeah, Liv.  Like I’m gonna be stupid enough to fall for that.  You’re gonna pretend you’re asleep in the hopes that I’ll masturbate.”


Olivia laughed.  “You have me all figured out, don’t you, Al?”  She turned onto her side and was surprised when Alex snuggled up behind her and tucked an arm under her breasts.  “I thought you weren’t gonna cuddle with me topless.”


Alex buried her nose in her hair and replied, “Eh, I changed my mind.  Of course, if I’m generating too much body heat I can just go back to my side of the bed.  You know, since you’re hot and all.” 


Olivia firmly placed a hand on her arm and held it in place.  “Don’t even think about it, Cabot.”




An hour later, the door to Alex’s room opened.  Seeing the room shrouded in darkness, Serena started, “Alex, don’t tell me you’re asleep.”  She reached for the light switch.  “You know we—”  She stopped mid-sentence when she saw Alex cuddled up to Olivia in bed.  “Ok, what the fuck?!”


The combination of the lights being turned on and Serena’s loud voice caused both girls to wake up.  Alex gasped and Olivia pulled the sheets up over her chest.  “Damn Serena, ever hear of knocking?” Olivia asked rudely.


“I did fucking knock, Olivia.  But I guess you two were too busy gettin’ busy to hear it.”


Alex sighed.  “Serena, we weren’t doing anything.  We were just sleeping.”


Serena scoffed.  “Yeah, with each other!”


Olivia rolled her eyes.  “She’s telling the truth, Serena.  We were only taking a nap.”


“Yeah, with you naked!”


“I’m not fucking naked.  I just took my shirt off,” Olivia responded crossly.  She reached down and picked up her tank off the floor then turned her back to Serena to put it on again.  Turning back around, she continued, “Anyway, I don’t have to explain myself to you and neither does Alex.  What the hell are you doing here?”


Serena put her hands on her hips and frowned at Alex.  “I’m here because Alex and I were supposed to study Euro together for our quiz tomorrow.  However, it seems that she was preoccupied studying other things.  Last time I checked neither one of you was taking Anatomy,” Serena retorted, glaring at Olivia again.


Alex slapped her hand to her forehead and cringed.  “Serena, I’m so sorry!  I forgot all about that!”


Serena scoffed again.  “Yeah, I can see that.”


Olivia groaned.  “Fine.  I’ll let you guys study.  Alex, I will see you later,” she said, kissing her on the cheek and starting to get out of bed. 


But Alex grabbed her arm.  “No, I don’t want you to go,” Alex whined.


Serena’s mouth dropped open.  “Alex, are you fucking serious?”  Serena picked up her stuff and turned to the door.  “Forget this.  I’ll just study by myself if she’s staying.  I’m tired of being blown off for her.”


Alex jumped out of bed and ran over to her.  “No, Serena.  Don’t go.  I didn’t intentionally blow you off.  We just came back from riding and were really tired.  Listen, I love you both dearly and I’m tired of the tension between you two.  I want you both to stay because I’m not cutting either of you from my life, and you’re both just gonna have to get used to being able to stay in the same room without wanting to kill each other.  No better time to start than the present.”


“Alex…” Serena started.


“Listen, Serena.  If you both love me, then you’ll stay and get along with each other.”


“I’ll stay,” Olivia stated.


“Good,” Alex said, smiling at her.  She turned back to Serena.  “Now it’s just up to you.”


Serena sighed.  “Fine, Alex.  I’ll stay and try to get along with Olivia.”


Alex patted Serena on the back.  “Good girl.  Come on, guys.  Group hug.”


Serena smirked and Olivia looked down at the ground and chuckled.  Then Olivia walked over and all girls wrapped their arms around each other.  Pulling back, Alex asked, “See, that wasn’t so bad now was it, guys?”


Serena slowly let a smile cross her face.  “I guess not.”


“Good,” Alex replied, giving Serena another hug.  “Now let’s get started.”


Serena and Alex got on her bed and opened up their notebooks.  Alex called out to Olivia, “Come on, you too.  This bed is big enough for the three of us.”  When Olivia got in on the other side of Alex, Alex suddenly jumped out.  “Wait, we’re missing someone!”


“Who?” Serena asked, confused.


“Duh!  Tweety!” Alex responded, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.  Olivia groaned.


Alex ignored her and ran to get Tweety.  When she returned to her position between them, she sat Tweety in Olivia’s lap.  “Alex!” Olivia whined.


“Stop neglecting him!  He just wants to be close to his two mommies,” Alex said, giving Olivia a kiss on the cheek.


“All right, all right,” Olivia conceded.  “I’ll hold Tweety.”


After several minutes of studying, Alex’s stomach growled.  “Time for the Cabot feeding?” Olivia asked, smiling.


Alex lightly pushed Olivia on the arm.  “Hey, a girl has to eat.  Come on guys.  How about Chinese?”


Olivia shrugged.  “Fine with me.”


Serena agreed.  “Same here.”


Olivia got off the bed to go get menus.  After they’d all decided what they wanted, Olivia called in to order.  Suddenly, Alex called out, “Hey, Liv!  Don’t forget to order enough for Tweety!” 


Both Serena and Olivia laughed and rolled their eyes.  Olivia got off the phone and got back in bed.  “It’s gonna be a long night,” she said as she pulled Tweety back into her lap.


Serena looked at Tweety and smirked.  “I’ll say.”