Kathryn was fretting. "I just wish we'd got here in time for me to walk the course. If only I'd looked at the map earlier, then maybe we wouldn't have got lost."
I gave her a hug. "You'll be OK, just keep watching the others. We got your entry in, and you've got plenty of time to pick it up before you even need to saddle Spartacus."
The contestant in the ring crashed into the fence wing and went flying. One steward ran forward to catch the horse, and two more to start resetting the fence. In the pause, Kath turned to glance round. "What time did you tell Bodie to get here?"
"I told him it started at 10.30. But it's anyone's guess what time he'll turn up. He said he'd bring his new girl along."
Kath nodded, and turned her attention back to the ring as the rider remounted and took the jump again. She seemed very interested in when Bodie would arrive. It wouldn't be the first time Bodie had chatted up one of my girlfriends. Still, Kath and I weren't exactly joined at the hip, and he was bringing one of his own along this time.
Kath had calmed down a little by the time she'd saddled Spartacus. She led him towards the showring and handed the reins to me. "Hold him while I fetch my number, Ray. Then I'll need to ride down to the warm-up."
She'd just vanished into the Steward's tent when I was hailed from behind. "Morning, sunshine!"
Glancing at my watch as I turned, I wasn't surprised to see it was nearly midday. With the infrequency of our days off you could hardly blame Bodie for taking his leisure hours seriously.
"Morning? Only just..." The rest of my sarky comment dried in my throat. The girl with him was a stunner. Well, OK, it wasn't often that Bodie had anything but stunners on his arm, but this one - blonde, tousled hair (that had probably taken hours to get just right), heart-shaped face and striking blue eyes - wow.
"Ray, this is Mel. Melanie, this scruffy individual is my partner, Ray Doyle."
Scruffy? I supposed compared to Bodie I was. He was - as usual - immaculately dressed, wearing dark cords and polo neck jumper with a black leather jacket. Not garishly out of place, but different. Bodie liked to stand out in any crowd.
Mel, on the other hand, was dressed for the day, albeit a high street store version of what the best-dressed people wore to a horseshow; smart shirt with fitted trousers, hacking jacket and boots, which had heels that you wouldn't dare ride in. I thought this was probably the closest to a horse she'd ever been.
My eyes completed the tour back at her face, and was startled to see that she had been doing the same tour of me. Wellies, T-shirt, faded and slightly ripped jeans and equally old wax jacket that belonged to Kath's dad, Mel nonetheless seemed to like what she saw, and her eyes smiled along with her lips. "Hello, Ray."
I swallowed, feeling bewildered. "Hello."
"So has Kath ridden yet? We haven't missed her?" Bodie missed the look between me and Mel - just as well. I didn't need to reply as Kath returned, tying on her number and throwing a welcoming grin at my partner.
"Got here at last, Bodie?" Her brief welcome included Melanie. "Hello."
"Kath, this is Mel. Sorry we're a bit late, we had trouble with the map."
"You weren't the only one." Kath seemed a little dismissive, but I'd been with her to shows before, and knew she was starting to focus on the event. "Give me a leg up, Ray."
Taking the bridle in my left hand, I turned and cupped her shin in my right, before lifting her aloft. "Is the girth OK?"
"I can do it. I need to take Sparty over the warm up jumps, so I'll catch up with you both later."
We all watched her as she walked Spartacus away. He was a big horse, and I wasn't surprised at Mel's awe. "Is she really going to ride him over those jumps?"
"Not just over them; she's aiming to win. But there's a larger turn-out than she expected." Kath was a capable rider, but so were a lot of the competition. There had already been 14 clear rounds; it was going to be a long day.
"She'll walk it - well, ride it," Bodie joked. He slid an arm around Mel. "So where's the beer tent?"
That had been the other bit of bad news. "There isn't one. The truck broke down."
His jaw dropped. "No beer tent? What do we do for refreshments?"
I pointed to the small catering van. "They do burgers and a half-decent cuppa."
The look Bodie gave me was scathing. "Tea? You drag me miles out of town into the middle of nowhere and the best you can offer is tea?"
Mel interrupted him. "I'd like a cup of tea."
Their relationship was clearly still at the stage where he was trying to please her, although he didn't look thrilled at having to join the queue. "Well, OK. Want anything, Ray?"
I shook my head, grinning to myself as Bodie stumped across the uneven field. He'd be even less amused when he saw what they were charging...
"Have you and Kath been together long?"
My attention shot back to Melanie. That question was a bit out of the blue; if I didn't know better I'd think she was seeing how the land lies...
Her eyelashes fluttered gently over blue eyes, and I felt a familiar tug at my stomach muscles. She was flirting with me. I flashed a startled glance after Bodie, as she took a step closer. "I mean, are you exclusively hers?"
I gulped. My earlier impression hadn't just been wishful thinking, then, Mel was definitely interested in me. "Umm - not exclusively, as such..." My mouth dried as my jeans suddenly got tighter, and I wished the jacket was a bit longer.
She smiled, eyes dancing impishly. "Good."
I shot another glance after Bodie. I could square my conscience over Kath; sometime lovers, we'd remained good friends and I didn't think she'd be too upset. And I never lost an opportunity to chat up Bodie's girls either - it was a running contest between us. But this - Mel was giving me the green light before I was even aware I was on the start line. Not that I was complaining, you understand...
Bodie returned, somehow managing two plastic beakers of tea and a burger in a napkin. "Do you know how much they wanted, just for two teas and a burger? 90p! Nearly a pound! Talk about a rip-off!"
"Supply and demand. They've got a rare commodity, you want it..."
Bodie was sipping the tea, pulling a face. "I'm not sure I want it that much..."
The PA boomed, giving the positive result of Kath's round. "Another clear round there for Kathryn Powell and Spartacus. That's 16 through to the jump-off, with just one more to go on the first round."
Leaving the ring, Kath brought the horse to a standstill beside me, grinning. "He went really well, Ray."
"What happens in the jump-off?" One hand stroking the horse's nose, Mel had managed to get close to me and the other hand was stroking something else; my left buttock. I just hoped Bodie couldn't see...
"They shorten the course by a couple of jumps, and put it against the clock. The fastest clear round wins."
Mel sighed. "I think horses are amazing. Such wonderful muscles; I think there's something really sexy about them..."
I caught Bodie's startled but delighted stare over her head. My own startled response had less to do with her words; her hand had progressed to squeezing...
Kath was also looking slightly amazed at Mel's words but she dismissed them with a shrug. "I want to take Sparty over the practice jumps again. I've got him nicely warmed up, and don't want him to lose that before I have to go in again."
The horse wasn't the only one getting nicely warmed up. I took a sidestep away from those teasing fingers. "OK. Do you want me to come down with you?"
She shook her head. "It's like a bog down there; you'll only get muddy. I'll see you later."
We watched her walk away, and Mel gave a deep sigh, glancing around her at the other horses. "So wonderfully sexy..."
We watched the first few riders in the jump-off, but Bodie was less interested in the horses than in finding something else to eat. "Man cannot live by burgers alone, Doyle."
"Been telling you that for years. Look, if you're really hungry, there's bound to be a chippy in the village. You could drive down there, and bring some back for all of us. You could even get some beer while you're at it."
My partner brightened immediately at the suggestion. "Now you're talking. I should still be back in time to see Kath." I nodded, assuming Mel would go with him, but she didn't move.
"I want to stay and watch the horses. You go, Bodie."
He'd barely vanished into the first line of cars before Mel was sliding her arm around me. "How long have we got?"
10 or 15 minutes for him to reach the village, he had to find the chippy, then return journey... "About half hour." What was I thinking? "We can't..."
She nuzzled along my jawline, one hand tracing lightly down the front of my t-shirt. "Why not?"
Good question. I didn't have a good answer. Her lips brushed mine and my jeans got uncomfortable again. Tight jeans might impress the girls, but this wasn't the first time they'd nearly got me in trouble.
"I want you, Ray." Her hand slid lower.
Hey, who was I to argue? I seized the tormenting hand and turned her. There was only one place we could go.
Discarding my jacket, I pulled the doors of the horsebox shut behind us, feeling Mel already pulling at my t-shirt, and helped her to tug it over my head. She moved straight onto my jeans, unbuckling the belt and working swiftly on the zip while I finished undoing the buttons on her shirt. I'd already discovered on the way that she wasn't wearing a bra.
She willingly shrugged the shirt off her shoulders but returned immediately to getting my jeans down, sliding to her knees and evading my hands as I attempted to catch her. The breath caught in my throat as my cock sprang loose, and was immediately sucked into her mouth. Christ, she didn't waste much time...
Further thoughts were suspended; at that moment everything was centred around my groin and her hands kneading at my buttocks. My hands caught in her hair and tousled it some more as she sucked, hard and then soft, tongue giving little darts to the tip, and I moaned something incomprehensible, even to myself.
I was quite happy for her to keep going, but it seemed that was just for starters, and Mel pulled back, maintaining the suction until the last moment. I came free with the sort of noise that kid used to make on the frozen peas advert, when the pod went pop...
Mel giggled and danced away from me, and I bent to pull off the hampering wellies and jeans, desperate now to get hold of her. She was clearly as eager as me though, and by the time I was naked, she was down to her panties, skimpy little pieces of white fabric decorated with red cherries. I pulled her firmly towards me, hands exploring whilst our tongues met.
She had lovely firm tits, hard nipples getting stiffer under my touch. I held her close with my left arm, right hand exploring lower, tracing lines and circles down her spine, echoing the movements of her fingertips on my back. Reaching the top of the panties I flattened my hand under the material and stroked and squeezed her buttocks. Her tongue darted in and out of my mouth, the fingers on my back insistently pulling me towards her, pressing my cock hard against her belly.
Pulling away from her, I reached for the horse blanket on the hook, and shook it out onto the floor. Not the cleanest or softest covering, but better than nothing.
Mel was smiling at me, blue eyes sparkling, as she sank onto the blanket. "Why, thank you, kind sir."
"My pleasure, milady." I joined her without delay, and promptly proved I was no gentleman by homing straight in on her right nipple and sucking it hard. She squeaked, with pleasure I assumed, so I moved over and tackled the left nipple in the same way, hand pressing hard on her stomach and moving lower.
The panties were in the way now, and I hooked my fingers under the elastic and pulled, finding Mel lifting her legs to help me. They ended up on one foot and she gave a tremendous giggle, flicking them away as I sought and latched onto her lips again, thrusting my hand firmly between the now spread, naked thighs.
My cock jerked responsively as I felt how ready she was, how wet; and I sent my tongue into her mouth at the same time as I sent a finger inside her. She seemed to appreciate the double intrusion, squirming her body up towards me and uttering a few more of those squeaks.
I could feel her muscles squeezing at my finger giving me a delightful impression of what was to come, and broke out of the kiss to suck again on her nipples, licking the tips forcefully.
The squeaks were getting louder and interspersed with moans. "Oh, Ray..." She snagged her fingers in my hair and pulled my head up. "Stop messing about and fuck me."
Not the sort of instruction one needs twice. Since she was already flat on her back, I went straight for it, so to speak, and plunged into her. I've never found missionary boring, personally. Particularly if the girl knows how to move with you. Mel did.
The squeaks were increasing in volume and intensity and I experienced a moment's panic in case someone heard her. The horsebox only bolted shut from the outside...
She squeezed those wonderful muscles and I quit worrying. After all, we wouldn't be the first couple to take advantage of the vehicle.
With her legs wrapped around me, I pounded into Mel, our bodies parting and joining in swift but ecstatic rhythm. She was getting breathless; her squeaks coming frequently and closer together as she neared orgasm...
Muscles spasmed strongly, and she climaxed with a short yelp, coming in a series of small rolling orgasms rather than one huge one... The pattern of squeezing was extraordinary and I followed her into a crashing climax of my own, feeling my strength evaporating as I came, and collapsing onto her.
We didn't stay like that very long. I raised myself onto my elbows and kissed her, a gentle kiss with little of the passion of a few minutes before.
"Mmm." Mel shifted under me, eyes half-closed. "That was great. Knew you'd give me a good time..."
Time. I wrenched my arm free and checked my watch. "Christ!"
"What?" Taking in my sudden alarm with a frown, she caught on. "How long?"
Bodie had been gone nearly half hour. Added to that, it occurred to me belatedly that Kath was probably back from the practice jumps and looking for us...
We dressed hurriedly, Mel in giggles in spite of our joint panic, and I cautiously opened the doors. "All clear." Our scamper back through the ranks of parked horseboxes went unnoticed, me behind Mel and pulling bits of straw from her now genuinely tousled hair as we went.
Back at the showring, Kath was waiting her turn. Her glance as we hurried up was curious, but she didn't seem suspicious. "I - er - was just showing Mel where the toilets were."
"And Bodie went to find something to eat."
Kath grinned, gesturing behind us. "Looks like he found it. Try and save me something."
We turned jointly to see Bodie approaching, unable to wave because of the carrier bags he was carrying. "No chippy. But there was a supermarket, so I grabbed some picnic bits. Even found an off-licence and bought some champagne to celebrate Kath's win."
"Bodie - I've not won yet." Kath turned Spartacus as her number was called. "Oh well - keep your fingers crossed."
Bodie dumped the bags at his feet and slid his arm around Mel to kiss her cheek. "Miss me?"
"Of course. I was counting the minutes." Well, she might have been, but not because she was missing him. Mel sent an impish smile over her shoulder to me. I didn't dare return it.
"Clear round in 2 minutes 20 for Kathryn Powell there. Miss Powell goes into the lead, with just Angelcake to jump now."
Kath slid to the ground, and began to loosen the saddle girth. Bodie clapped her on the back. "Well done! See, told you we'd need the champagne."
His confidence was well founded: Angelcake mis-timed the second fence and sent the whole thing crashing to the ground. With congratulations from around us, we made our way back to the horsebox and while I unsaddled Spartacus, Kath shook out the horse blanket onto the grass for us to sit on. I didn't dare look at Mel.
Bodie unpacked his bags, having bought a variety of sandwiches, crisps and fruit, as well as some beers and the bottle of champagne. He'd even picked up some plastic cups. "Who says I can't be domesticated?"
I finished Spartacus and joined them on the blanket. "Yeah, yeah. Stop bragging and get that fizz open." I'd obviously given Mel an appetite, she'd already polished off a pack of sandwiches and was reaching for some of the fruit. "Oh, cherries. I just love picking cherries, don't you, Ray?"
She caught me taking a swig from the can of beer I'd just opened, and the memory of those brightly decorated panties flying away was enough to make me choke. Concerned, Kath banged me on the back. "Are you OK?"
I spluttered some sort of response and took another gulp of beer...
Another hour and we were boxing Spartacus prior to leaving. Bodie and Mel had left a bit earlier; after a few glasses of bubbly Mel had been coming on strong to Bodie, and he was obviously keen to get back to his flat and do something about it. I wondered if he'd actually get that far; Mel seemed to like the great outdoors...
I was folding the blanket while Kath was securing Spartacus into the box, and noticed her pick something up. "Ray?" She turned, holding up Mel's panties. "How on earth did these get here?"
I swallowed, sure that I'd gone as red as the cherries. "Dunno. The box was open, maybe someone took advantage..."
She shrugged, and tossed the panties down. "The cheek of some people."
Unseen, I retrieved them. I hadn't got Mel's number, but maybe there'd be a chance to return them in the future...