If there was one thing that Hoity really, truly enjoyed in his life, it was restaurants. Eateries in general always elicited such an air of chaotic grace about them, from their dancing waiters to the dull, symphonic murmur of the fellow patrons. He loved everything about them, provided that the food was good.
The Dancing Hooves in particular had always been a favorite of his, ever since Fancy had introduced him a few months back. There was something about the atmosphere of the place that had always clicked with him. It could have been the soft, moody lighting, or it could have been the simplistic grace of the meals themselves. Salads and delicacies from across the country graced the thick, fat menus that were so ceremoniously laid on their tables, and not one of them had a bad thing about them.
He was looking over this menu now, salivating as his eyes trailed over the breakfast choices. With so many options, indecisiveness was just inevitable. Humming to himself, he unthinkingly chewed on his lower lip in thought.
"Having trouble in picking something out, Hoity?" Fancy asked, smirking.
"Hm?" Hoity looked up from his menu at the two unicorns seated across from him, blinking as if ripped into a daze. "Oh... no. I'll probably get the usual," he murmured. "What about you?"
Fancy rolled back his broad shoulders in a careless shrug. "I'll pick something at random, like always. Won't I, love?" He turned to the spindly mare lounged against his side and moved to peck her cheek, at which she giggled airily in reply.
"Public, dear," she chided gently, raising a tiny hoof to push him away. Her light pink mane fell in front of her painted eyelids, and she gracefully blew the lock away. "No need to get crass, hm?"
The older male sniffed and turned away, his horn lighting up to meditatively twirl at the end of his mustache. "I suppose not," He capitulated, turning to Hoity with little smile. "Back on topic, though. What did he call unicorns again? Fickle?"
"Fickle." Hoity snorted and drew his hooves into his lap, sitting up stiffly. "It's almost like he tried to make an excuse with it, too. And then he tells me right before he leaves that he has a 'habit of being fashionably late'. As if there was anything 'fashionable' about missing your first appointment!" he exclaimed, nearly sputtering by the end of his rant. "The nerve!"
"Hm. This can't be good for that high blood pressure of yours, can it?" Fancy joked, grinning widely. As if on some sort of rehearsed cue, the mare placed a hoof to her mouth and laughed.
The distraught Earth pony slumped back into his chair with a scowl. "Is this funny to you?" he muttered.
Before the alabaster unicorn could issue a proper apology, a suited waiter cantered up to their lone table, a notepad floating at his side. "Do you have your orders ready, Sirs and Madame?"
"I'll have the scrambled tofu," Hoity rattled off, his eyes locked to the window at the table's side. The sky was still tinted a light pink, betraying the last bit of sunrise. Evidently the Princess must have stayed up later than usual. Then again, it was still the tail-end of summer. All that roamed about the normally packed streets were a few young ruffians, their tattered manes and dirt coats visible even from their vast distance.
Fancy observed the cobalt stallion with a worried frown before turning to the waiter. "Oh, hold on a moment." He had been caught off-guard, and turned to the menu as the mare at his side rolled her eyes.
"Black coffee for me, small," she ordered, turning to her companion with a tiny smile. "Dear?"
"Ah, well." Fancy threw up his hooves and levitated the menu to the waiter. "Surprise me. I'll eat anything." he dismissed the waiter with a wave of his hoof.
“Very good, Sir.” The peppercorn black unicorn magically lifted all three menus and trotted away, his head held high.
As he left, Hoity shook his head and wrenched himself away from the window’s view. “I suppose it wouldn’t be so bad it he weren’t a member of the royal family,” he mused, tilting his head down to gently rub the bases of his hooves together. “At least then I wouldn’t be so afraid of getting a lawsuit.”
“Lawsuit?” Fancy raised an eyebrow. “Blueblood doesn’t seem like the type to needlessly press charges. He isn’t quite smart enough for that.” He turned to the snow-white mare nestled against his side. “What do you think, Fleur?”
The mare puckered her lips in distaste. “He’s quite stupid, Prince Blueblood. Especially stupid if he managed to get cut off from his family’s money,” she stated bluntly.
“Oh, I know that he’s stupid.” Hoity scowled. “That’s what makes me so nervous... you can’t afford to be stupid in this business.”
Fancy cocked his head to the side, his expression oddly blank. “Hoity?”
“Mm.” the stallion’s gaze was locked to the table, counting out every thread that made up the white cotton cloth that was draped over it. The sheer amount of white nearly made his head spin, from the white cloth, to his white mane to even his white companions.
Even their subject of conversation was white. The thought made his brow furrow in distaste.
While Fancy Pants could not read Hoity’s mind, the cobalt stallion’s face was quite readable in its sheer internal conflict. Cautiously, he reached out a hoof to gently tap against the table. “Oi, Hoity!”
“What?” The stallion looked up at the two, and immediately blushed in embarrassment. “Ah, sorry,” he murmured sheepishly, bringing up a hoof to wring his ponytail.
“Quite alright.” Fancy cleared his throat awkwardly and moved to place his napkin on his lap. “I was just wondering, and forgive me if I’ve delving a bit deep here, but have you considered getting yourself a companion?” he asked, hesitantly.
Hoity stiffened and pressed his back against the cushioned back of his chair, as if driven into a corner. “Ah, no. Not really.” He bit his lip, eyes darting to and fro, anywhere but Fancy’s face. “I consider myself married to my work, you see.”
“So am I, but that doesn’t keep me from Fleur,” Fancy replied coyly, turning to the spindly mare with a devilish grin. “Right, love?”
“Oh, I suppose.” Fleur smiled back and leaned over to quickly lick the stallion’s cheek.
Hoity shook his head, his bundled up mane bouncing slightly at the sudden whip of his neck. “I don’t have time for it, the maintenance of a relationship... you know?” he reasoned simply.
“Oh, please! That’s just an excuse,” Fancy waved a hoof. As he opened his mouth to say something more, the waiter had cantered to their table’s side, a couple of dishes floating above him with a little cup of coffee at the side.
The three were silent as he placed the dishes at their respective places, save for a few murmurs of ‘thanks’ before he walked off, leaving them alone once more.
Hoity stared at his mound of scrambled tofu with a sour frown. He had lost his appetite all of a sudden, but he reluctantly picked up his fork all the same. He glanced at Fancy’s dish, and found it to be the same as his own. Apparently the waiter didn’t have much of an imagination for surprises.
Fleur lifted her coffee, the pinkish glow of her magic lightly enveloping the whole of the mug as she brought it to her lips, her eyes closing in contentment.
Fancy merely ignored his own food and focused his attention on Hoity, his own fork lying untouched. “I could try and find somepony for you, you know. Going to drab social events does have it’s advantages,” he proposed seriously. “Which do you prefer? Mares or colts?” He leaned back and let his magic take hold of his fork.
“Honestly, Fancy, I really don’t have time for anything like that, especially blind dates.” Hoity stirred his fork about the contents on his plate, mixing them into a mushy, tasteless mass. “I wouldn’t want you to waste your time on me...”
“Nonsense!” The stallion gesticulated wildly, waving his magicked fork about in his own enthusiasm before the mare gently took it from him and set it down. He didn’t even seem to notice. “I have nothing better to do with my time, anyway! Blasted retirement makes me sour, you know? Now, mares or colts?”
The distraught earth pony set down his fork and shrugged. “I don’t know... Um...” He scratched his head and adjusted the clips that held his snowy white mane together. “Colts, I guess,” he finally murmured.
“Alright, alright!” Fancy nodded approvingly and smacked his lips in thought. “We’re getting somewhere already, then. Now, what about the personality?”
“Look, Fancy,” Hoity pushed back his chair and helplessly looked back to the window. The pinkish aura about the rising sun had melted into a bright marigold, its rays transcending upon all of the little ruffian colts and fillies that scurried into the alley-ways upon its arrival. “I really appreciate it, I really do, but it just isn’t practical.”
In an absentminded gesture, he reached up and pulled down his sunglasses, which had been resting upon the top of his forehead, like any fashion accessory. Wearing them had always acted as a sort of childish pacifier for him, a way to shield his eyes and expression from being observed.
Fancy pouted, and immediately grabbed at the glasses with a touch of magic, slipping them away from the stallion’s snout. “Come, now, don’t be shy! You’re a nice looking fellow. A well-groomed coat, good fashion sense... I’m actually quite surprised that you don’t have that 'special somepony'!” he complimented, the sunglasses hovering teasingly above the table.
The mare at his side rolled her eyes, her horn taking on a pinkish glow as she yanked the glasses away and gently set them back upon Hoity’s nose. “Here, you go, Mister Toity,” she murmured.
Hoity kept his face blank. He was far too used to Fancy’s silly antics to really be irked by him, though Fleur’s kindness elicited a small smile from him. “Always my best employee, Miss De Lis.” He offered her a mock-bow of the head. “At least you understand my little idiosyncrasies.”
Fleur merely smiled and looked back to her coffee.
“Either way, Hoity, I think the companionship would help your stress some. Why not think it over a bit?” Fancy insisted, and took hold of his fork once more. “I’ll start compiling a roster for you to pick and choose from, in the meantime.” He nodded to himself, taking a bite of his scrambled tofu. “Mm... A good batch of boys, variations in color, muscle build and the like. You’ll need a good variety, after all,” he mumbled as he chewed, his brow bunched up in thought.
Hoity frowned, his hooves nervously fidgeting about to smooth his modest waistcoat. “Well, that bill should be coming along soon, don’t you all think?” He jerked his head up and scanned the dimly lit room, searching for some sign of their waiter. There wasn’t a soul in sight. The other tables all stood empty, their vacant nature only added to what had become a lonely, almost oppressive atmosphere.
It was Fleur who broke him out his flurry of thoughts, her own calm contralto voice seeping into his ears. “We have an appointment the day after tomorrow, don’t we, Mister Toity?” she asked innocently.
Fancy grinned and placed a hoof to his cheek. “Oho! That’s a day after your appointment with Blueblood, isn’t it? Good!” On an impulse, he snaked his foreleg about his partner’s slender shoulders. “You tell Fleur what happened, alright? I’m quite curious when it comes to the royal family. Such an eccentric lot!”
“Fine, fine.” Hoity impatiently adjusted his glasses, his long tail swishing back and forth from underneath the chair’s frame as the waiter hustled forward with their check. As soon as the booklet touched the table's surface, he snatched it up. "Well, I should probably get back to Photo, you know," he murmured as he hastily fished about in his pockets, unearthing a choice number of bits to lay on the table. His hoof quivered as it placed the coins down
The couple glanced at one another worriedly, and Fleur allowed for a flash of her magic to gently take a lock of Hoity's mane and brush it aside, if only to get his attention. "Mister Toity? Are you alright, dear?"
Fancy nodded, though the arm that he held about the mare drew her closer so that she nestled against his side, despite the gap in-between their chairs. "Did I go too far, Hoity? I apologize if I did. It's all in a bit of fun, right?"
"Apology accepted." Hoity scraped back his chair, the ends of the wooden legs squeaking terribly against the marble floor. "In all honesty, though, I really should get going. It was a pleasure, though." He tilted his head down in a little polite bow. "I'll see you the day after tomorrow, Miss De Lis."
The mare simply nodded, the side of her face pressed against her partner's broad chest.
Fancy rubbed at her shoulder and eyed the other stallion with a concerned frown. "Well, alright then, but do send us a scroll if you feel the need, won't you?" he begged.
Wordlessly, Hoity nodded. There wasn't much else to say apart from a mumbled goodbye, and with that he scurried away, losing himself amongst the empty tables to obscure himself in the shadows.
The couple watched as he vanished from their sight, and Fleur turned to the stallion at her side with a pouting frown. "I'm worried about him." she mumbled simply.
Fancy bent down to press a practiced kiss to the corner of her lips. "So am I, dear."
And that was all that had to be said.