It was one of the few times that I actually felt grateful to be lacking a horn, despite me sticking out like a sore hoof. I actually was starting to feel sorry for Vinyl Scratch. There were nearly a dozen different types of forks, spoons, and knives all specifically suited to a eating a particular dish on silk napkins. Lacking the ability to levitate objects meant that as a lowly Earth pony, I was forgiven for eating messily.
I caught her staring at my parents' horns. I squeezed her hoof tightly.
Things got off to the kind of start that made you wonder why you had even said yes, what made you think it was even a good idea in the first place. If there was ever a time to get absolutely wasted, this was it.
"Pleased to make your acquaintance, Miss Scratch. Or would you prefer I call you by your stage name, DJ-Pon3?"
"Vinyl Scratch is perfectly fine," she replied without a beat.
"Tell me, Octavia darling, how did you two meet?"
I cleared my throat, looking up from the menu that I had studied for the past five minutes, keeping an ear turned towards the conversation. "As you know Mother, I found myself, err, financially challenged—"
"After that Gala fiasco, yes, I am aware," Mother interrupted.
"—I moved to Manehattan since it was all I could afford that the time," I finished.
"I honestly don't understand why you did not simply move back in with us, dear," my father suddenly said.
I bit back a retort. Why do you think?
If had I found myself to be stricken without poverty, unemployed and not a bit to my name, starving and cold in the streets, I would still have slept on the sidewalk rather than come crawling back home to them.
"Well, I wanted to be...financially independent," I smirked.
"Your wardrobe certainly reflects that," she smirked.
My face fell slightly, keeping my expression neutral. Says the mare wearing more frills and lace than a lingerie store with husband who looks like a penguin!
A brief respite came when a waitress came to take our orders for appetizers, gazing down upon Vinyl and I as if we were the dregs of society.
"Could I have some garlic bread?" Vinyl paused. "Hold the garlic. And could I have a glass of water?"
The desire to give myself permanent brain damage was overwhelming.
"I'll have what she's having," I simply said. "With some scotch." I was going to need something strong.
"Scotch?" he chuckled. "I believe we've raised a mare with expensive tastes, my dear."
Mother was less amused. "Such strong alcohol."
I continued, "As I was saying..."
"And you say you met Vinyl Scratch where?"
I paled. "In a," I squeaked, "club."
"A nightclub, dear? I taught you better than that."
Mother was giving me the look. That disappointed, disapproving look that was meant to shame me.
"There were some extenuating circumstances!" I nearly shouted, slightly panicked. "I met Vinyl in the club-"
"Were you drinking?" she inquired.
We were absolutely smashed beyond belief.
"Not at all! Mother, I am certainly not that type of mare, and neither is Vinyl!"
She smirked, seemingly satisfied. "Good. I'd like to get to know you a little more, Vinyl Scratch, if you don't mind."
Our appetizers came, and I realized all too late that I had gotten bread and butter. Imagine being able to eat using only your mouth! Butter, margarine, they're all the same. Incredibly delicious, fattening, and messy. I decided to settle for the bread when I saw Vinyl's horn glow.
Vinyl held a piece near my face. "Have a bite," she grinned.
She was trying to feed me. I wanted to die right there on the spot. I laughed, a bit too loudly.
It would have been a faux pas for me to refuse, so I leaned over and took a dainty bite.
"What would you like to know?" Vinyl asked.
"Anything you've be comfortable with telling us," my mother answered politely.
Vinyl paused. "Well, I was born in Ponyville. I lived there for eighteen years and set off to pursue my music career in Manehattan and occasionally Canterlot."
Good job, Vinyl.
Her answer was vague enough so as not to be specific but enough to keep a conversation going. I found myself a little interested in her background myself, having no knowledge prior to our meeting in Manehattan. Born in Ponyville?
"And how was Ponyville?" My mother was hoping for an answer to justify her prejudice against those "backwards country bumpkins."
"Ponyville was great. Really cozy," she answered. "A tight-knit community. Everypony knew each other. Not like Canterlot."
"And what will you all be having for tonight?" the waitress rudely interrupted.
"I'll have the potato salad," Vinyl answered. "And some corn on the side."
"The stir fry, please," I said. "She works as a DJ in Club Canterlot," I continued, hoping that the prestigious nature of the nightclub would impress her.
"A disc jockey?"
"Not only a disc jockey!" I threw in, stammering. "She also produces her own music! Perhaps you've heard of the song Equestria Girls? She worked on that song with one of the Elements of Harmony. Isn't that right, Vinyl?"
"Oh yeah! Pinkie Pie sang the vocals."
"The Element of Laughter? My, what an honor." Mother's eyes raised. "Quite the one-hit wonder, I must say, though I'm afraid I'm not much of an enthusiast of pop music."
The way she said it made it sound like it was worse than death. Her offhoof comment about Vinyl's song being a one-hit wonder made my blood boil. It was insulting. However, Vinyl took it in stride.
"I could scarcely go outside without hearing it," my father added snidely.
I asked Vinyl innocently, "I believe you did a fashion show in Ponyville as well?"
She nodded, smiling. "For Miss Rarity. I met her through my mother, who connected us together. My mom's a fashion photographer, you see."
That got my mother's attention. "What an honor. Carousel Boutique fashion is quite prestigious in Canterlot."
And for a while, our conversation ended, leaving an awkward pause with only the music and chatter in the background to fill the silence as we ate. Vinyl stabbed her fork into her dish, taking a bite with a loud, obnoxious crunch. I cringed, glaring at her.
"Vinyl," I grunted, "I thought you ordered a potato salad."
Vinyl thankfully swallowed and wiped her lips before answering. "I did. A potato chip salad."
The velocity at which my skull would have collided with the table would have been enough to send Vinyl and I on a vacation to the moon, with enough speed left over a round trip.
"Vinyl and I got to know each other and we started to hang out a bit more," I explained, leaving out plenty of details.
"Oh, just some classical concerts, discussions on music theory," I lied. "She suggested that we move in together and find a bigger, better apartment and well, we've been together since!" I smiled, closing my eyes in a satisfied manner.
She raised an eyebrow.
"I meant living together. Not together, together," I laughed nervously, tugging at my collar. "That would be quite improper of me to suggest that she and I were, well, together."
Mother gasped. "Your neck!"
I choked, covering it up immediately.
"The bandages!" my mother shrilled. "What in Equestria happened to your neck?"
Vinyl came to the rescue. "Don't worry! We were uh, horsing around the other day."
I jumped in. "Yes! Just us two, getting a bit too friendly and getting tangled up. Nothing to worry about!"
Mother eyed us suspiciously. "Show me."
I gawked. "Here?"
"Is it a bruise? A cut?"
I stammered. "I don't think the other guests," I sucked in, speaking as loudly as I could, "would appreciate having blood everywhere!"
I saw Vinyl lick her lips at the thought.
"Did you go to the hospital?" my father inquired. "Goodness, it sounds severe."
Subject change, now.
"So, what's for dessert?" I sheepishly grinned.
I felt sorry for Vinyl to have to listen to their mindless drivel about the superiority of unicorns as opposed to the other types of ponies out there.
We spent the next half an hour mostly poking at our dessert, which consisted of the best cheesecake in all of Equestria, crafted with only the finest ingredients and topped off with fresh fruits, nearly rivaling Princess Celestia's personal chef's cooking. I leaned down, trying to angle my mouth so as to not get frosting everywhere. I took a bite and leaned back up. Delicious.
Vinyl giggled, pointing at me.
"What?" I said.
There was a dollop of frosting on my nose. She leaned in, and for a second I thought she was going to lick it off. Instead, she wiped it off and grinned.
"Such a shame Octavia wasn't born with a horn," my mother lamented.
"Uh, yeah," Vinyl said, not exactly agreeing.
She looked about ready to crack. I considered using a knife to lobotomize myself. I decided the fork would be better suited to my purposes.
"Although I think it's amazing how far she's come, despite her disability."
Just eat the cake, Octavia. Don't say a word, not a word.
"Ouch!" my father exclaimed rather lamely, examining his hoof.
I suppose that was what you got for trying to eat cheesecake with a fork and knife.
"I believe I have cut myself." He used his napkin to wipe at his incredibly miniscule cut.
A hundred bits they're going to sue.
Vinyl sucked in sharply, her eyes a faint tinge of red. I could see her lip quivering. I followed her gaze to the silk cloth, where there was a drop of blood. She clenched her jaw and shut her eyes.
"Is there something the matter?"
"Nothing! It's nothing!" I grabbed Vinyl's hoof and pulled her along. "She just needs a moment."
She hooked her arm around my neck as I pulled her along. "I'm—fine!" she growled, struggling.
"Where's the nearest bathroom? Thank you!" I blurted.
I bucked open the door and threw us both in. I turned on the sink and splashed Vinyl's face with ice-cold water.
"Vinyl. Vinyl," I slapped her face lightly. "Are you alright? I thought you had fed."
"I did," she grunted, her face tense. "You know how it is with us vampires. Warm blood bags everywhere."
"Don't say that. You're going to be alright."
She didn't look alright. Even the sight of fresh blood was enough to send her into a frenzy. She slumped to the tiles, her fangs extended and her eyes crimson. She was moaning, clutching the side of her head. It was as if she was trying to psychologically fight off her blood lust. I squeezed her hoof as tight as I could, never leaving her side.
"I think I'm gonna be okay," she finally said after a breather.
"It's fine. I probably should've taken a sip before we left."
I smirked. "Well it's not like you anticipated this." I helped her to her hooves slowly, holding on to her and never letting go.
"Octy," she mumbled, her head cast down.
"Hey. Shut up."
I kissed her on the lips, slightly perplexed as to why her eyes were wide with horror. Vinyl was looking right past me at something. She tried to mumble something as our lips were locked.
Vinyl pointed behind me.
"What? What are you...?"
I turned around. We should have locked the door behind us.
My mother screamed. I barely had any time to open my mouth and scream myself before Vinyl dashed up to her and slammed her hoof into the side of her head. Mother crumpled and collapsed, laying on the floor, still breathing and miraculously alive.
She just punched my mom.
"What? Why did you...?" I struggled for words. "Bluh?!"
"Man, I've been waiting to do that," Vinyl said, shaking the pain from her hoof. "No offense, but your mom's kinda an ass."
"Vinyl?" I whispered shakily. "I want to—"
"Give me a hug?"
"NO! TO BITCH SLAP YOU!"